We have many colourful characters around here, especially some of the local farmers.
We were getting ready to settle in for the evening on Monday 10th Sept - being English we tend to do that a lot earlier than the locals, who seem to be up till midnight as a general rule! - it must have been about 8pm or 8.30pm, when one of our local farmers appeared at the gate. We only knew this as the dogs were going crazy. The three of us ventured out to say hello. C, dressed but with no shoes on, hobbled out to the gate, J and I had our pyjamas on with flip-flops.
Our farmer M, who grows specialist rice here in Sa Pobla, was waiting with his van. I just about understood what he was asking.. 'Do you like aubergines?'. Well, actually no I can't stand them, but C likes them and I know they are pretty good in chutneys so we nodded and said 'si, si, muy bueno'. He beckoned to us to come outside and spoke Mallorquin to J, so I had no idea what he said. J then interpreted (it's great having a son that can tell me what is going on), saying, we have to go with him down the road to his friend's finca and pick some veggies. C & I looked at each other and to not appear rude we said 'ok'.
The 3 of us piled into the van and we trundled off down the lanes to another small farm. A tied up dog barked at us furiously as we drove into the driveway and we pulled up outside a small house. Out we got, no sign of anyone! were they there?
Eventually an elderly man appeared at the door. We weren't introduced just told to go round to the field at the back and pick what we wanted! There wasn't a great deal to choose from but we had aubergines and a few peppers.
It has been a bad year for many vegetables this year, apparently because it has been so hot. I know that our veg hasn't done at all well, in fact I think we only managed to salvage about 3 courgettes and 5 tomatoes! Our sweetcorn is being pulled up today because it's got some disease or other, bulging with nasty blackness - yuk. Any cobs we can salvage will be dried and used as fire lighters for the winter.
So, J and I stumbled about in the dark collecting aubergines and peppers whilst M (our farmer) nattered on about how bad everything was this year.
We eventually ended up at the front of the house, after inspecting the beans, sweet potatoes and leeks, which apparently won't be ready for at least another 15 days. The old man was there and pointed to an enormous mound of squashes - they all looked like giant butternut squash - one of my favourite vegetables roasted with chicken - yum. Anyway, he offered us two. One from the front which was rather green and one from the back of the pile. I tried to pick the green one up and succeeded, but it was unbelievably heavy! It had to be two foot long or more! He told us that it would not be ready to eat for another 6 months!! the yellow one would be ready for now. C, J and I thanked him very much and piled back into the van, after C made friends with the dog. The old man found it very funny us trying to carry the squash to the van and we left him chuckling away with his dog and family.
When we returned home C weighed the largest squash - the green one - and it was 10kg!! ridiculous.
When we got home M also gave us some rotten peaches which he said the chickens and turkeys would love. I've yet to try them on fruit. Perhaps today.