Glad to be Back to nature

I hope the baby bird that hitched a ride in our favourite car is glad to be back in the woodland at our finca. In my dash to the village before shops shut at two pm I did not think to check to see whether I was transporting animals. On arriving at the village, locking the door and then thinking a bird was trying to get in the car I suddenly realised this fledgling robin was actually inside! I couldn’t release it so far from its territory so I drove all the way back . While the baby robin checked the mirrors I managed to be the obliging chauffeur and open the door for it. I hope it is glad to be back in our finca woodland and the parents have found it. For those loyal readers of my blog they may remember the different animals that visit us and the odd ones that like to take a car ride to the village with us.

Well, we are glad to be back too. It seems a long time but almost no time too. A year lost in many ways but significant with a death and a birth and a lot of reflection and writing work. All was well with the house and the land was enjoying growth spurts from all the rain. Our faithful car got us back from Portugal and gently pushed up the boughs of the young oak that was arching low over the track.

Thankfully the house and garden had been well looked after through the drought of last summer to the heavy frosts of January. We even had some garden flowers to greet us and a plethora of wild ones. The storm called Barbara the Borrasca had brought down some of the very old branches of the chestnuts but no trees fell. A lot of work had been done since then and we had some fantastic looking wood piles. Many of the chestnuts here in this region are ‘millenarios’ and are also protected. But it was the worst storm many around these parts had ever witnessed and there was a lot of damage to trees.

So we have been busy through the month of June with strimming back a bit, sorting out the irrigation and some post Brexit formalities and residency cards to be updated. The most difficult will be over driving licences as we may now have to take the Spanish driving test. Small mercies the multiple choice theory can be in both languages and is tricky and certainly tests reading ability. Another challenge is all the grass pollen, olive pollen and chestnut flowers. Mask wearing is a bonus I had never thought of before for when I work outside!

This year I could see a lot of the tiny olive flowers so I am hoping for lots of olives in the Autumn. This has also been a bumper year for plums and we even have a good crop of apples on a tree that never produce much. All of this is without any of our work. The actual vegetable garden was laid to rest but the trees with perhaps a really cold spell and then lots of rain have responded well. The trip to the village was for’ vinagre y azucar’ for chutney and jam making. And the vinagre was shelved with the vino. I searched and then had to ask.

Swifts flying over Castano de Robledo

This time of year it is good to see the swifts establishing their nests and future generations over the village of Castano de Robledo. Here there are the common swifts but fortunately more common are the rare Pallid swifts. There may also be rock thrushes and crag martins. The church that was never finished provides good homes and the even the older church. These homes were saved for the swifts by a sharp ecologist living in the village who found out that all of the bird holes were to be concreted up because the pigeons were causing so much damage. His knowledge helped inform the local town hall and the pigeon sized holes were made into swift sized ones. The swift community here is thriving and wonderful to watch and with the extra sunset views which are so beautiful from this spot in the village.

As for other animal life. We had a visiting cat again that we fed and it returned a favour by killing a young lizard on the porch and not even hungry enough to eat it. These cats know how to get round us humans and we respond and often give them unfair advantage over wild animals. This cat is very similar to the one that turned up last year. There is no castration control here or inclination to. These siamese crosses do like human company unlike the previous much more feral cats that have passed by. Wildlife would be helped and cats if there could be more concern over cat numbers and welfare.

Ocellated lizard

And at last I am back with my art group which Ruth Koenigsberger whose art work I often show leads. There’s a lot of catching up to do. I was more busy with poetry while editing the novel last year and a publisher is looking at the first part now.

So with the art topic being water and reflections I will leave you with our visit to El Puente del Charco not far from here. This time it was peaceful but the last time we went we were graced by the presence of a Spanish stag party. It was a pre nuptial and very friendly as we were offered jamon and beer but lots of loud music too. It is good to be surrounded by the Sierra Aracena and the spirit of the Spanish people here.

Here’s hoping everyone can get back to some normal contact and visits to be with friends and family. With love from us all here at Navasola.

19 thoughts on “Glad to be Back to nature”

  1. I am glad to see you back at Navasola, Georgina! It’s good to know the house and garden were so well looked after. What a pity about the feral cats – they are a problem in so many places. Pollen has been a big problem here too. The cool wet summer has produced so much grass and massive amounts of pollen. My younger daughter has had a really bad time with her hay-fever. I love that your local ecologist was able to solve the simultaneous problem of the swifts and the pigeons.
    Take care xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Clare, Good to hear from you. Yes we took the sudden opening to get here. Not sure it was an adventure but am glad we did. All sounds so depressing with so many more cases and friends in Manchester are more disrupted in their lives. My grandaughter’s pre-school closed because of staffing and childminder closed because of covid. Friends of friends having to self isolate because test and trace say there were somewhere where there was a covid case. All seems crazy since we left. I hope all goes well for you and your daughters though and you can get back to some normality.

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  2. You sound oh-so busy. Rescuing baby birds by taking them on a round-about village tour. Battling pollen (achoo, I feel your pain.) Hosting a neighborhood cat. Mourning a dead lizard. Reporting on the building of Swift nesting spaces created to trade up from pigeon poop to a more aerobatic display of winged beauty. The only question unanswered is, do you know how to brine the olives you grow? Inquiring minds are eager to know.

    On my side of the continent–I mowed my lawn. No pictures to follow.

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    1. Thanks, all in a month or a day sometimes! Sometimes I just sit on the porch! Yes, I have brined olives and it is quite a fuss. You have to remember to change the water and think it can take up to 6 weeks. We buy some local cooperative olive oil as our old olive trees are not really easy to harvest for oil and a good press is needed. Hope that helps a bit!

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      1. Color me totally impressed that you have even tried. I think I might find the process to be a bit daunting. Then again, I’m making a dish this weekend that requires two different kinds of jello prepared separately and then combined with a whole bunch of weird sugary ingredients only for it to be called a “Salad.” So, apparently, my fear factor is higher than most people’s. I’m going to write the recipe up some day this weekend. Look for it under Aunt Peg’s Layered Jello Salad if you are feeling brave.

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  3. Oh, you had a cat visiter. It occurred to me how once, years ago in the country a cat went after my mother, me and our friend when we were collecting flowers. We fed it and it stayed in our cottage. Apparently the cat had been left homeless after the hostess living next door had been hospitalized. We finally found a home for it from the old lady next door. Every summer the cat came to greet us when we were at the cottage. Now it’s in cats heaven.

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  4. No pics of the Spanish stags????
    Great to get your news…wish I was there…torrential rainstorms here for a week now…guess the gardens need it !!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How lovely to be back! And how kind to take the fledging back to where his parents might be. Aren’t you a super chauffeur ..! How wonderful to see the buds on the olives, we didn’t pick again this year, and we have our trees booked in for a serious haircut 😀

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    1. Thanks, good to hear from you. Am sure blessing must be beyond plurality! Hope you are and yours are all well too. I will post again and catch up with you soon. It’s has been a busy month with lots of changes! May you be well blessed.

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