Autumn back at Navasola

September and October have passed in a flurry of activity, visits to the UK and Ireland have filled the days. But now we are back we can stand and stare as we did this morning. A cat still, poised up on the cork tree was there for a good 10 minutes. We were surprised by its behaviour, its ears, and finally tail when we saw it. This cat was fitting so much of the identification features of a wild cat. Here they are called gato de monte, cat of the mountain. They are similar to domestic cats but the ones we have here that are to some extent feral have quite different faces, colours and markings. We know the local cats but had never seen one like this one.

After remaining in the tree for such a long time it delighted us by descending crossing the new grass and then seemed to pose for photos. We saw its teeth quite clearly, tail and markings. I have also seen what I thought to be a wild cat some months ago, much bigger than our usual moggies round here and with the tail. And a larger version of this one which was quite young. When we first moved here we were told there was a wild cat living near the studio where there are some rocks and caves. We suspect this one is a hybrid but are fascinated to see such a different type of cat and are fairly sure it isn’t just a beautiful tabby on the hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a lot of autumnal colours at Navasola at the moment as the leaves of the oaks and fruit trees are well advanced with their colour changes. The chestnuts are the last to bud in May and the last to fall. The chestnuts are not quite ready to be picked yet. We will have that pain and pleasure in about a weeks time.

The weather has been warm and mild until this weekend and the red ladybirdlike beetles are intent on mating perhaps.
But for this bumble bee we think it is near the end of its life and was found struggling to fly. We offered sugar water and a safe place but many bees and bumblebees begin to die off in late Autumn or the Queen is looking to hibernate.

It was good to walk around the finca and enjoy the autumn colours and the sunlight through the trees and the rocks covered in green mosses again.

 

I seem to do well with the fruits that I do not cultivate or irrigate.I enjoyed blackberry picking in September from the wild parts of the finca, that is most of it! The Madrono or Strawbeyy trees always give a good show of colour in autumn with both flowers and fruit apppearing at the same time. The flowers will be next years red berries. The berries are gritty but we have managed jam from them but not found the means to prepare a madrono liquor.The quince goes well with apples and creates a good contrasting taste and also makes good membrillo jam which the Spanish eat with cheese. There’s quite a harvest this year as we have had so much rain and the chestnuts too should be larger than last year.

Wild Autumn Crocus

 

Mushroom foraging is a popular and possibly lucrative activity in these parts. We have found a variety this year as shown in the photos. I am not hurrying to pick or eat these as identification is hard work but we do pick the tall ‘gallipiernas’ as shown in the photo below.

 

 

 

 

 

And to leave you with the cat. Is it or isn’t it a Gato de monte?

30 thoughts on “Autumn back at Navasola”

  1. I love finding fungi but am never tempted to pick and/or eat them! Your cat certainly looks different to an ordinary tabby cat. Those ears look like lynx ears! The autumn crocus is beautiful!

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  2. Georgina,
    Sounds like the Garden of Eden. Beautiful cat. Maybe you’ll see more of him. I wish I knew my flora and fauna so well. Afraid of the mushrooms and don’t know anyone who can advise me.

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    1. Not sure about Eden but we let nature take most of its course here. The Spanish would consider the finca needs cleaning up! Think is this is a Wild cat we will not see mush of him or her. It’s young so hope it fares well.

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  3. That cat looked too pampered to me Georgina!! A fine specimen. I’d like to think it was a cat of the mountain though. Looks nice there! It’s turned cold here in Yorkshire!

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  4. It is a beautiful and thoughtful cat – especially in the last picture. So kind of you to offer sugar water to the bee. Oh, and I love the circular opening through the bushes. It’s mysterious, like the cat.

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  5. Gorgeous cat, I’d love to make friends with it!

    Enjoy the foraging, we picked sloes just before we came back out and so hoping the gin and them are happy together back home. And love some chestnuts, I’ve got a few recipes for them.

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    1. Good to hear from you. I love collecting chestnut recipes but not collecting or trying to peel them! These cats round here are so feral they won’t come near. Shame because there are some beauties but don’t think they would be a lap cat.

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      1. Ooh yes forgotten that painful bit of working with chestnuts!! I’ve got too accustomed to buying them peeled from a supermarket. Another reason I’m happy to be back in Portugal, buying real food direct from growers and producers.

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  6. Great post. I am afraid I don’t think the cat is a wild cat. I saw one for the first time ever here in Navarra, and it was unmistakable, even though I only saw it for three seconds as it crossed the road in front of me. The size is really different and the tail is like a ring-tailed lemur, so striking is the banding. I plan to try get a shot with my trail cam of it, and if I get one I’ll post it. Yours looks a bit like a bengal house cat. The fact that it hung around means it was accustomed to humans – something a mountain cat certainly isn’t. the one I saw didn’t even stop to look back at the car when it went into the ditch, the way feral cats will. Incidentally, I told some old neighbours and they were sceptical I’d seen it, though they promptly said the last one they’d eaten, back in the 50s, was caught just on the other side of the valley!

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    1. How interesting? There have been reports of wild cats round here from the past but we think it may have been a hybrid, it was young but possibly mother is the feral one that sometimes hangs around. I don’t encourage them because of the birds. Do send me a photo when you come. We have stayed in Navarra, I think, near Roncevalles?

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    1. Thanks Annika, am enjoying your book, ‘ The Story Teller Speaks’ it’s good to dip into as am still busy with house moves and grandchild. When back in Spain for New Year And constant wifi I will be able to catch up with all my ‘stuff’ and blogging. Have a wonderful festive season.

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