The sailing season kept us busy, work on the house and garden continued, for Michael full time and for me, between trips… I had a full sailing summer and finally in September, our long waited trip to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup rolled around and also set me back a lot in my yearly scheme of things and correspondence is waaaay behind!
It has been a good year, except that it is over just too soon and I am sad to see 2011 go. Sailing was…a breeze (!) this year with agreeable winds and very fun trips, Pwyll behaved so very well, we managed to only get a few high winds and in most cases they did not stop us from getting where we wanted to get to. When we did get held up on Patmos once, we made good use of our time and partied hearty!
I sailed down to Turkey in May, and as usual brought back …trees! Poor Michael had his work cut out for him with all the plants that I brought back, I bring back plants that I can’t find at the nursery on Leros - which now, is very big and the nursery owner, Yannis, (Johnny) is quite informed, he has helped me keep at least 80% of the things that I plant, alive! Eucalyptus grows the fastest and gets through the dry spells the best, so for wind breaks, now I have now planted about 8 of those. It is important to me to keep the tree and landscaping harmonious, but wind breaks to protect some of the land really help. Our fruit tree “grove” now has a few different types of oranges, lemons, bergamot, one pear, apple, plum, and I think that the apricot will make it as well as the avocado…we will see in the spring. The banana has tripled in size, so I planted another, and two kinds of figs…many of the plants around the house that were planted about 3 years ago have now really taken hold and adorn the house nicely, the plants are an integral part of the design.
We continue to walk on bare concrete floors, (with throw rugs) but with time, they have become somewhat smooth! We may decide this year to pour the bedroom floor, and the jury is still out; oak planks or polished concrete…I am going to bring back some very nice planking that I have found is available from a saw mill about 2 hours from the house in Umbria, if it does not become a floor, it will become drawer fronts. This house building is somewhat of an odyssey but we talked it over, and we know that we will continue to use it primarily in the summer for some time yet, with Tricia as a back up, so there is no reason to go into debt or get in a rush.
Michael has created rock walls and rock planters all around the borders and here just outside the bedroom - this is the raised area where the "orchard" is.
I continue to study various aspects of solar electricity production and passive solar heat, the efficiency each year increases so much; there is now solar window film, solar roof tiles, even solar paint!! This means that there are more and more ways to absorb the sunlight in order to transform it into electricity.
It may be that now that Michael has a great assistant, Yannis, we will be “filling in” all the walls next year and putting on the first layer of plaster, on all the unfinished walls. I am now thinking of building two “trombe” walls for passive heat, on the back and side of the upstairs.
The space to the upper right, the east facing back wall upstairs is where the trombe wall will go.
Notice the size of the banana?? Having someone there to water while we gone this fall made a huge difference. The little tree in the foreground is my acacia which has never really taken off, but hangs in there!
There is a link to more pictures at the end of the letter.
The sailing crowd was varied this year with couples, families and some wild women. The Betrand Clan from Quebec camped well on board and they all got on just perfectly! It never felt crowded and I have never had so much help on Pwyll!
The crazy ladies from California and I whopped it up a bit on Leros and Patmos, my liver and dancing muscles took awhile to recover from that trip! Funny how the mind continues to think you are young…we had the good fortune of finding a club on Patmos playing 70’s music, the day the wind kicked up and we could not leave. I am sure that the younger crowd had little idea of what three, 50-something women were doing dancing until the early hours of the morning - nonstop- but the lights were low and we had help from some 50s-something good men of Patmos! A good time was had by all…had a hard time hailing a taxi at that hour however!
No pictures available. sorry! Use your imagination...
I have been treated to the company of some fantastic young people of different ages and different cultures this year, all very enthusiastic about being on a sailboat and in the water. The “exchange” was really good, it is so encouraging for me to see very lively young people whose heads do not solely exist inside computers.
There is hope.
These two young sisters compete at a serious level in skiing, in northern Italy where they live, and as all the young people I had on board this year, they were great in the water and at the helm as well as helping on board.
I stayed up at "the house in progress" between all the trips, and Michael virtually stayed there all summer, our little Roo kitty was very very pleased to live up at the house with us, dear little Roo does not walk well, but her stumpy little legs strengthened with having more space to get around and explore and was much healthier by the end of the summer, Michael and I dote on our kitties who give us so much love and enjoyment, they provide us with daily lessons in life.
The wind gods, and Pwyll treated everyone well this year, the sailing was good, we had varied winds but always agreeable, and I, for one, can say that I had a great time sailing with everyone that came on board!
2012 will bring changes in the world, there is so much going on everywhere, the important thing is to feel alive and be thankful to be so!