This is a mixed news letter, firstly I’ll deal with us. We have the flu! Not such a big deal you might think but when I literally cannot stop sneezing and have pulled my ribs doing so it is not good. So my wife went into town two days ago and got some antibiotics for me and some cough medicine for herself. It has been two old sods shuffling around looking after each other living off cups of tea, as neither of us were hungry. Today we are feeling a little better and that’s all I’ll say about that. So to the real news.
Well I know that summer is officially over. The other morning we were woken by the “where’s our water”tweeting of the blue tits who have just returned. Peace up here is no more. So it was no surprise when we were having coffee to see a bird hovering over the water bar before flying into the tree. He did this several times before actually landing and taking a bath. It was then I saw the crest Dangerous Dan had returned as bossy as ever now the only one missing is Bobbin Robin. Boris never left us but in the summer when the weather is really hot he along with most of the others take to the shade of the forest. They are not currying favours with my wife just now as she was sitting outside in the ff zone listening to the olives dropping off the tree onto her garden, when I heard a shout of “Oi you little sods stop that!” I went to investigate and she said that Dan along with Elsie and the others were picking the olives off the tree and dropping them on her garden. Well, how I stopped from laughing I don’t’ know, but as I watched they continued to do it. Now we are picking the olives out of the garden and putting them aside for the birds in winter.
The butterflies are out and some are really large, brownish in colour with striking markings they flutter by potted plants next to the fly free zone (FFZ) looking for water whilst on the netting of the FFZ preying mantis and large grasshoppers lurk it is becoming a regular little restaurant for them.
This is the garden wall that the pigs knocked over one night. The bit in front of the water bottles is made up of heavy stones, well rocks actually, so it was no mean feat to knock it over. We never heard a thing so I MUST GET A CAMERA…. It is made from the same stone my wife used to build the wall of the tree garden which looks really good. Yes that is an old loo sitting on the end she planted a lemon scented geranium in it to turn it into an unusual planter. The roses in the photograph are looking a little rough but most of this is due to the wasps who have been munching on the leaves to make their nests. Although she has sprayed them nothing seems to work has anybody any ideas? The bush in front is dead, I think, and she would like a few more in there so come December I shall be rose hunting nice xmas pressie.
This is our Fly Free Zone nothing elaborate just a simple covered place we can sit away from the biting flies which can give you a nasty bite. It is also the place where I write and we sit in the evenings watching the birds and animals that come by. Because the netting is dark they cannot see us here as long as we are still. The other week we were watching and a small rat wandered by. Not one of the large town ones but just as scary. Every farm has one or two and now we know we have one as well, mind you how long it lasts up here will depend on how fast it can run. Birds of prey and snakes are its biggest problem.
Ok that’s it for now, more news next week.
(C) Michael Douglas Bosc
I suppose that change – if it comes gradually – is a good thing, well it is here. This photograph was taken years ago and the only thing to have changed here is we’ve got rid of the swing seat and where the small tractor is there are now two small ‘art’ works. Ok not the types of sculpture that people normally have in their gardens but this is a forest olive finca and this is the easiest way of dealing with the odd bits and pieces that abound on farms.
It’s a simple idea really, by simply taking the ‘bits of this and that’ lying around and turning them into objects of ‘art’ we have not only tidied up the farm but given a bare space character. By making use of the old pump and sat- dish in this way my wife has given a depth to the lilies, iris and flags – the flags grow wild up here – along the edge of the terrace giving it a natural look so that in a few years it will look as though it has all been there for ever. I have a few more bits and pieces to get rid of so at least a couple more plinths will go up.
I am pleased to say the garden is beginning to take shape, which between our ideas is no mean feat. I put these steps in so that we can climb up to the cacti garden with out slipping on the slope and breaking bones. My wife has planted bulbs – these are the only things that really survive up here without loads of water – along the sides so in the spring there is a show of dwarf tulips, wild daffs and other small growing bulbs. She has moved her saffron garden to that side where there is more room. It may not seem much but I can say that paella made with saffron is something mmm…..
The next project was to build a small wall defining the rose garden from the farm and forest. She made a good job of the wall – which took her ages – but this morning we found that during the night the pigs had managed to knock part of it down – the bit in front of the water bottles. Hey ho that’s what its like up here, no shouting just a determination to teach the little sods to jump……
But to the main characters of life here. It is always a pleasure to sit and watch the birds flying back and forth to their water bar, seeing the different characters returning, recognising their calls, getting shouted at in the early morning because there is no water in their dish, such are the pleasures of forest living. But one of the main delights is watching the Golden Eagles as they fly along the mesa. It was one of these giants sitting on a tree stump on the mesa that caught my eye one morning. I was dismantling the top of the old cisterna and when I took a break I looked up at the skyline. As I moved my view along the mesa I could see what I thought was either a person or animal moving. So my wife got the binoculars out for a closer look. At first she thought she was looking at a tree stump then found she was looking at the turning head of an Eagle. As we watched it’s mate flew along the front of the mesa and next minuet the ‘tree stump’ took off to glide majestically after its mate. We do not have a camera that can give us close shots over this distance but our birthdays, anniversary and Christmas approach so we might just treat ourselves.
© Michael Douglas Bosc
Well a lot has happened since I last wrote, some of it dramatic and worrying some of it normal forest life. Anyway I thought I would re-cap a little, well a lot actual
First there was the forest fire in the mountains on the other side of the river which got out of control filling the sky with a cloud of smoke whilst at the same time dropping bits of ash on us further up river and making the night sky glow. Then it rained….. This was a great help and aided the fire fighters enormously. All returned to normal for a few days then the weather decided to turn decidedly erratic, several places here have had freak weather. Marca had an isolated hail storm which devastated the vines destroying some, so the harvest there is looking very bleak.
My wife has been suffering from a prolonged case of the ‘sniffles’ due to the change in atmospheric pressure so on Tuesday I took her out to visit Club Nautique for the first time this year. Now they have been very busy there, laying a new floor and installing the new awnings. Anyway whilst we were there a thunderstorm passed behind the town next thing we knew the float planes were off again going like the clappers yet another fire due to lightning. We arrived home a short while later to find the planes hurtling back and forth over the house from the dam. Last year I painted our terrace roof white to reflect some of the heat in summer and it seems to be used as a turning point by planes and choppers alike, so white it stays. We have also seen on the tv lots of storms where it has hailed leaving the villages and small towns looking like a winters scene or war zone. But then the weather settled down although it has been a bit cloudy, but stayed fine and sunny, any rain we’ve had was basically a sprinkling. Then my wife’s book of poems was published it’s out on kindle and in most on-line book sites as well as stores. I have now got my own domain, mind you building it is something of a challenge but I think I am getting there bit by bit. It’s michaeldouglasbosc.com and is mainly for my books and blogs, however there is another site when I get it up and running so keep a look out. The Petanca season is in full swing but this year I have not won any hams just wine and dried sausages but my wife won our only ham the other week, so Christmas is looking good. This weekend we are off to Tivissa for an end of season BBQ, if it is anything like the last one it will be very good. We are taking the camera so the next news will have some pics there is also a blog on its way.
The garden is at its height as with the heat it will start to die back so my wife is busy building flower beds and things ready for next season. But I have to admit it is a bit disconcerting to hear scraping noises outside the bedroom around 6am but as this is the only time it is cool enough to work she has no choice. During the morning we look for stones for the walls but about 11am we have to stop as it is far to hot to do anything and at our ages it is not wise to be out there in the heat. Mind you the other evening when we heard scraping noises we looked out of the window and there was Boris Blackbird scratching away in the olive tree garden for all he was worth. Then we noticed Hunny Bunny on the slope so everyone is back and we are content. When it gets hot we grab a cooling drink and either write or as now watch the Tour d’ France (yep this is that old). We rather like the cycling and were pleased to see the reception they got in London. Well there you are, not exciting just fun and our daily life, although as you will see in the next news sometimes our characters are a little less wanted.
© Michael Douglas Bosc
One of the things I love about living where we do is the fact that no two days are the same. Some times we look up at the maser behind us and see nothing, then looking a little later there are the goats or Ibex on the ledge or the eagles flying along its length hunting.
So it was no real surprise when rounding a bend on my way home I came face to face with two young goats. At first glance they looked more like young deer but as we don’t have any in our forest these were more likely the Ibex. There are around four different types of goat and the Spanish Ibex does lean more to the deer than goat in both size and colour. These two looked healthy with good coats of a chocolate colour that looked soft, with straight spiral horns although being young they were short.
I don’t know who was more surprised them or me. I got the camera out but by this time they had decided it was time to go and headed back into the forest. It is comforting to know that they are around as it means the wild boar are also here. We have not seen any for nearly 2 years but recently there have been signs they might be back. When I was tidying up the track I noticed that a ‘trail’ led from the lower field to the south field and on into other parts of the forest.
Until I moved here I was not a naturist, but the birds and animals we live with have taught us so much about the forest and the way they live. They have made us laugh, and enriched our lives that I don’t think I could not live in a city again. Where else would a robin come up to the table and peck your foot whilst you’re sitting drinking coffee to ask for a water bar so he and the other birds had some where to drink from during the very hot months. Or sit still whilst you took a couple of photographs. Or a whole load of them sit squawking outside your bedroom window because there was no water in their dish and still sit there whilst you filled it up. This is what makes the finca so perfect for writing and inspired my wife to write the poems.
We have a diverse bird ‘family’ up here, all of them different in habits and song, which makes it a wonderful place, if noisy at times. I have been thinking that we might do what a birding friend of ours Dena Rowlands ( firstname.lastname@example.org) has done. A keen birder she set herself the task of spotting 200 different birds, We are not looking for ‘outsiders’ just the birds that are living up here I think twenty is about the number so far. It would be good to know the different types and hopefully get photographs of them as well. But I have to admit that the one difficulty with that is they hide in the trees when the camera comes out, some really sneaky thought is needed here.
© Michael Douglas Bosc
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