It rained more this past week than it has the entire time I’ve been in Spain. This is to say, it rained three days in a row and the sun still managed to peek through the churning clouds intermittently. April showers bring May flowers…and a healthy Easter garden, I hope. The rain seemed to have a rather loopy effect those of us at the farm. The men were off dealing with the horse trailer in England and us ladies were left to tend to all things on the finca. When it wasn’t raining, we were either amongst the avocado trees or per Olivia, “reversing the tractor into a large pile of poo.” In other words, dealing with large amounts of horse manure. When it was raining, we were scheming of ways to acquire vast amounts of fancy champagne. Por que no?
Each avocado tree is assigned a number and a letter. This comes in handy for a couple of reasons, either when there’s a tree that needs special care or you find yourself lost in the depths of the avocado orchard. We marked each trunk with cal (calcium paste) that looks just like white paint but doesn’t damage the tree. Some of the letters and numbers from last year are still visible, but the majority have been erased by the previous winter’s precipitation. Aside from the drone of bees gathering pollen from the avocado flower, it is dark and quiet underneath the canopy of avocado trees. I easily fall into a rhythm – dip brush into cal, brush on tree, crunching of leaves underfoot walking to the next tree, and repeat. It is both methodical and mellow. The trees are starting to produce small buds now and the fruit will be ready to harvest come September.
Trixie is one of Olivia and Chris’s sixteen dogs. She was rescued by Olivia over nine years ago and has been treated like royalty ever since. The first night I arrived at the farm, I heard Trixie whimpering at my feet and bent down to pet her. Soon after, I walked away and assumed that if she wanted more love, she would follow me. She didn’t. Trixie can’t walk. She has a severe case of arthritis and has lost mobility in her little legs. She is a lap dog in every sense of the word. She often sits with Olivia at the dinner table and gently whines. Aside from a constant hand petting her head (rather difficult while eating), the only thing that keeps her quiet is a dabble of champagne. Olivia swears it is Trixie’s true love. Ohh Trixie, a dog after my own heart! Unfortunately, unlike our avocadoes, champagne doesn’t grow on trees. So, in an effort to make Trixie as comfortable as possible in her old age, we decided to compose a letter to five different, high-quality champagne companies, informing them of Trixie’s delicious habit. And what letter is complete without a photo of Trixie with her favorite bottle of bubbly? So, we orchestrated a photo shoot complete with Trixie, the champagne bottle, and small bowl of champagne with a strawberry on the rim – all arranged ever so carefully on an armchair. Our letter to Veuve Clicquot is as follows:
April 17, 2009
Moet Hennessy España SA
c/ Consell de Cent, 334-336, 3e planta
Dear M. Directeur,
I am Trixie, a Spanish stray. I love Veuve Clicquot. The mere pop of the champagne cork makes my ears tingle with delight. Although I come from the land of cava and am of Spanish blood, I insist on nothing less than Veuve Clicquot. If served any other brand, I turn my head in disgust.
My English parents rescued me from the streets nine years ago and nursed me back to health. I now find myself older than I ever imagined I would be, crippled with arthritis and unable to walk. My one remaining pleasure is my nightly bowl of Veuve Clicquot champagne.
I know my impecable taste comes with a price. My parents are entertaining the idea of substituting Veuve Clicquot with a lesser brand. Could you find it in your heart to help me?
Olivia and Victoria are working on the letter’s French translation. Once finished, we’ll send the letter’s off to Trixie’s favorite bubbly businesses in France and keep our fingers crossed for the cases to start rolling in. Trixie could live out the rest of her days in champagne-soaked splendor…and so could we.