Weird and wonderful on a beautiful sunny Halloween! From galls to fungi and flowers in October in the Sierra in Southern Spain

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Chanterelle mushrooms near the wet of the water deposit.
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A gall on Lentiscus Terebinthus on the South side of the house.
Hibiscus in full flower in late October.
Hibiscus in full flower in late October.

Autumn is proving a very magical time of year. And changeable. From cold rains at the end of September to a Spanish ‘Indian’ Summer with sometimes the temperature reaching the 30 s. The mushrooms and the mushroom hunters have been out in full force. Along with gathering the chestnuts it is a very popular time of year for the Spanish to enjoy Autumn colours in the Sierra Aracena and forage. More on the chestnuts later as am still busy collecting them and not often in a wifi bar!

Dahlias might become a favourite. These survived the August drought and have been flowering away. Just fading a bit on Oct 31st.
Dahlias might become a favourite. These survived the August drought and have been flowering away. Just fading a bit on Oct 31st.
Hibiscus, flowers and fungi , an orange bracket fungus on side of tree branch border!
Hibiscus, flowers and fungi , an orange bracket fungus on side of tree branch border!
Mushroom as yet us identified surrounded by flowers from lentiscus.
Mushroom as yet us identified surrounded by flowers from lentiscus.
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Feed the World with small scale farming: Cultivando Biodiversidad: Red Andaluza de Semillas: Seed biodiversity .

We spent some interesting hours at this Seed Network Fair in one of the nearby towns in the Sierra Aracena. There was an exchange of seeds by various people or collectives that are trying to cultivate organically or here in Spain ‘ ecologica’ or ‘ bio’. We were able to visit  a plot of land that had been an abandoned ‘huerta’ outside the smaller village of Las Chinas. The aim of this collective was to cultivate organically and to be able to use abandoned land. The collective was called ‘sin tierra’ without land. It was great to see the young people involved in horticulture and we saw the most amazing sized tomato too! We have now bought some very tasty veg from them. Am not sure how my own attempt at self sufficiency will go and maybe it is better to support other projects and help people make a living out of growing on a small scale.

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The seed exchange stall at the Andalucia seed network Fair
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The stall of the collective Sin Tierra

There was also a stall about permaculture in the Sierra Aracena and some very tasty apple juice was being shared from a wooden press.  image I struggled with my Spanish but attended some talks on how to conserve seeds and preservation of fruit and vegetable. Speaking to Trini who was giving some of these talks and who runs a very successful Eco Finca it was clear she also meant the biodiversity of flowers and all kinds of cultivating. She felt that monoculture can damage the environment. Is there hope for more small scale farming and the ability to support the natural world along with feeding the billions of human mouths. One of the food myths on the BBC web site from the UN was that large agribusiness was the way forward for the future. The suggestion was that small scale farmers are major producers of food to feed the world already and that biodiversity of the natural world can be supported by this type of farming.

Summer sun and sand in September. Conservation of Spanish sand dune coastline

Umbrella pines on the sand dunes.
Umbrella pines on the sand dunes.

Now that the summer seems to be really over and cool Autumn mornings have settled in here are a few photos of our short break at the beginning of September in Punta Umbria, Huelva in Spain. We were lucky to stay near the restored sand dunes and the natural beauty before getting onto the beach was an inspiration. There are many ways to have a beach holiday but the best must be when the beaches and habitats nearby are  full of natural beauty and not Costa Concreto. Along this stretch of  long sandy beach the sand dunes, flora and habitats are being restored.  Los Enebrales is the name of the type of Juniper found on the dunes.  This area of Spain is well known by the locals but this year did not have such a good turn out of  other tourists. It is near some very important conservation on sites such as the Marismas del Odiel and The Parque Donana.  Well worth combining the birds and the beaches! The future of habitats such as this is in our hands if we demand really responsible and sustainable tourism.

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