Friday, August 21, 2015

Denial


This morning I am in full and conscious denial that in less than 2 months, this will no longer be at my fingertips, that Malta will no longer be our home. Feeling a childish, knee knocking, floor flailing tantrum upcoming, followed by a frowny face and big sigh.
My heart hurts.

I am so NOT a procrastinator... ever... until now. I don't want to leave, for really the first time. If it were another country awaiting for us, it might be easier, but heading to VA is so not on my fun list. I will be positive and get it done, but today is a pity party of sorts. And these final 4 mos, I am constantly neck deep in children on summer break. And while I love showing them Malta, part of me wishes I had time to be alone with my Malta, to photograph her (but honestly is there truly a shot I haven't snapped?) or sit on the beach and breath. Let's be honest, a pretty big part of me. Alas, it shant be. And so it is.


It makes me sad that I haven't documented our tour here more, but that also makes me happy. I think it means we haven't had downtime. We've been out LIVING it... every... day. Yay for that! And yay for the happiest 2 years I maybe have ever known! But I'm not ready for it all to come to an end. Boo for moving before we're ready, but such is the makeup of this beautiful life.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Kumquats



We've been watching our kumquat tree bloom, produce fruit and ripen for months. I don't know why it was so difficult for me to pick the fruits, maybe because I know it may be our last kumquat for years... and they're just so pretty as we pass by the upstairs balcony each day.

Tonight as I was washing the summer sandy grime from the balcony, the fruits easily popped off just from the water spray. I wanted them to be as ripe as possible before picking, gosh are they! So called up the girls and let them enjoy picking the 32 tiny bright orange fruits from the tree. They both agreed the kumquats don't taste very good alone, but I've found some fun recipes to try. Hope the tree can have a little rest and maybe bloom again before we leave.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Merill Eco Tours- Olive Oil Tasting 2015

Last year, I had the good fortune of visiting Tan-Nixxiegha Olive Grove on a great tour led by Merill Eco Tours. It was one of my favorite excursions during our time here in Malta... and that is saying a LOT, because we LOVE life here.

A few weeks ago, they announced a new smaller tour (their attention to detail is stellar), one with a named venue/date/time, where multiple separate bookings could be made and all could meet up at one location for a group experience at a lesser price. This is especially appealing for families or those visiting Malta on a budget, or heck, even as a great opportunity for local Maltese who want to peek at a hidden natural gem in their backyard.

We got the girls to take a small nap and geared up for a fun night outside, exploring and being in nature. After the previous night's chameleon buzz, they were still reeling for animals and digging around in open spaces.

We met about 20 something other guests at tiny Bingemma Chapel outside of Mgarr, a rural area in western Malta known for its agriculture and natural setting, near Gnenja Bay. A bit early, we soaked in the scenery- the Victoria Lines, old cave dwellings, stunning orchards all the way to the sea and the wild thyme on the hillsides fully in bloom with purple. When time to meet, we all strolled a bit down the main road to meet at Tan-Nixxiegha.
 
 
  
 

 
  
 
Upon entering the grove, you're greeted by local flora and fauna, small ponds alive with life and a multitude of nature sounds. We spent the next 2 hours exploring fruit trees (plums, citrus, olives, pomegranates, carob, nasplene??/local fruits, etc), walking amongst plants that at times felt tunnel like, winding down hand laid paths. Several wells dot the landscape, while bee hives line the edge of the main orchard. A handful of chickens meandered about as we took our time to enjoy each area that our guide (and Merill founder) Jeanette pointed out to us. She led the children around, pointing out hidden fruits and explaining to all of us how the orchard was founded and how it has developed over the years (believe it is now 10-12 years in cultivation).
 
The tour rounded out back at the patio area, with a view for a king, where helper Stephanie offered local delicacies: mint lemonade, fresh Maltese bread with Chully's own olive oil, fruits, goat cheeses, tomato spread, caprese and wine. We mingled and enjoyed the view, while the girls flittered about and tried new foods (yay for new foods!!). I guess we starved them, as Ceti even ate the bread crust!!
Leaving was again bittersweet, but a successful day outdoors as a family was splendid! As always, we look forward to more days with Merill and rural Malta before we depart this fall.