Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘almonds’

 

Oi! What Are You Writing?

What does he think he’s doing sitting in there. It’s not right, It’s not fair. I mean there  I was, sitting  in an almond tree minding my own business taking in the sun and singing away happy as Larry, when along he comes with his daughter and son-in-law in tow and starts poking around in the branches. Well, I mean, what was I supposed to do?   Anyway, I stopped singing, waited until he turned away then jumped on his shoulder for a ride.  I mean fair doo’s, he disturb me. 

On that basis I thought, it  is only right he should carry me to my next tree.  Only it didn’t quite work out that way…. 

We had almost got to the tree when hs daughter went  ‘Ohhhh dad whats that on your shoulder?’  next thing I know Matey – that was he was called – got me off  my transport and put me on here.  Then he get’s his camera and starts taking pictures (hope he got my good side) whilst my transport went inside this tent thing and started writing.  So here I am hanging upside down on the out side whilst my transport is in there and wont come out.  I expect he thinks I can walk over the top and fly the few feet to the tree.  No way sunshine, your my taxi, and if you want a good tip finish the journey instead of  leaving me hanging around.

Honestly what next, the kids have called their mum to come and look at me, I should start charging. It’s not right is it?  I need to get to my next tree, it’s just behind him but he’s not having it.  These author’s, no consideration for others unless they are in a story. 

Lady Hanna

‘Oi, yes you mate, come on fair’s fair,  Lady Hanna the Cannibal got a ride on your wifes trousers down to the field, she told me so just after she ate her husband,  so how about my ride to that tree?

Read Full Post »

When you think of a forest  you picture tall trees, sun dappled glades, leafy paths, bramble patches, carpets of bluebells, swaths of primroses dotted with wood anemones. Flat tracks wending their way through the forest, perhaps a house here and there nestling in the arms of the trees, birds, deer, rabbits, foxes, badgers and other wild animals.

What you do not think of is war. Death, fighting, guns with bullets flying around, men fighting and dying on the terraces amongst the trees. A bloody time in Spanish history, when men fought their own people, even their own families, fighting for freedom and their rights – Civil War. This is the story of such a forest the one I live in and love.

The Bombed Church at Garcia

From 1936 to 1938  the Spanish Civil War  centered around this area, the river, train line, and mountains.  The village of Garcia was bombed by the Germans who used the civil war to practice their skills for when they took on England and the rest of Europe.  There the church was badly damaged, it has been left untouched, a memorial, and a new one was built in the village.

The rail bridge that crossed the Ebro was also bombed and destroyed  in an attempt to cut off supplies to the Republicans. It was later re-built in its present form providing a service to Barcelona one way and Llieda the other. Although passenger trains still run it is mostly freight that uses it now.

Memorial at Mora de Ebre

Every year the town of  Mora de Ebro re-enacts the crossing of the river and street fighting between the Republicans and Franco’s troops.  The town has erected a steel boat in commemoration of the event and planted a shrub at each corner.  On Catalan Day, the various organisations the Petanca Club included, lay flowers there.

The Republicans fought Franco and forced him back as far as Corbera de Ebro. The Russians, who had been supplying the Republicans with arms, stopped the supply, and the last battle in this area was fought at Corbera de Ebro. The village being raised, has been left as it was, their memorial to those who died both soldiers and civilians. A new village has grown up around the ruins and a thriving wine industry has developed. Amongst the fighting men of the International Brigade was George Orwell whilst Ernest Hemingway wrote for the North America papers, keeping people informed of the struggle

Since we have lived here I have dug up bullets and machine gun ammunition, some of it still live. We took a batch to the  History museum at Gandessa, here they have a pictorial history of the war as well as artifacts. Here we found out the just what the fighting had meant and saw a photograph of the railway bridge at Garcia destroyed by the Germans.

At peace

But that was then.  Today the forest is a place of quiet, with a sense of peace and safety. The only disturbance is the odd vehicle or bicycle going up or down the valley.  The track that wanders towards our farm, twists and turns its way through it, crossing the baranca then upwards and onwards. It is rough and stony, kept as natural as possible allowing nature to repair and heal its scars.

Parts are in dappled shade others in full sunlight, tall pine trees line the way whilst the natural oak trees, more like bushes than trees, dotted here and there, fight for their place in the ecological way of things. Today that is the only type of battle here, takeing a walk along the track reveals birds and flowers of  various types, some already known others new and interesting.

           

At this time of year the forest comes alive. Grape hyacinths, minature daff0dils, asters, poppies and much more flora than I can name. These are followed by wild Jasmin and Honeysuckle their perfume filling the evening air. The one flower we look forward to seeing is the little Orchid that grows under one of the olive trees. It’s small but perfect blooms are the highlight of the season, small purple slippers on green stems.

On a logging trip

I forage for fallen trees to stock up the winter log pile, noting where the squirrel drays and the misletoe balls are.  There are all sorts of shrubs and trees to be seen if you look between the pines. We have the odd Carib tree, Witch Hazel its stems corkscrewing skywards. There is one bush which spreads and covers a wide area, green with a reddish tinge in winter, which in spring is covered with red berries a birds delight.

To one side of the house is a terraced hill from where the views are spectacular, the local hunters  hunt there during the season on Sunday mornings.  Sometimes they shoot a wild boar but more often than not they leave as they arrived empty-handed.

A Squirrels Dray

The squirrels here are dark red almost black in colour. Thin furry sticks of mischief with pointed ears and a thick bushy tail, they dart along the branches of the firs playing games of run and jump.  It is later in the year we notice them more, when they are hunting for their winter stores. There is a Dray near the small house which is refurbished from time to time.

I have tried not to disturb my surroundings in the years I have been here.  Because I do not use chemicals on the land, the birds and insects have gradually returned to their habitat.   The olive trees, some hundreds of years old are doing well and with selective pruning, provide enough oil for the year.

Considering what has happened here over the years we feel safe. It is as if the forest envelops us in a healing of souls, just us and nature. This then is my forest valley, my home.

Read Full Post »

DSCF2434 (640x480)[1]

I was recently reminded about our feathered friends, and the time we first moved here.  I had started to dig out two small tree roots to lay the foundations of our home when I was assisted by a robin and great tit. We named them  The Clerk of Works – the robin –  the Forman – the great tit. It was wonderful to see how tame they seemed, they did not appear to be frightened of me and gave us many a laugh as the robin would inspect the hole as I was digging and I often had to stop or I would have hurt it as he would get under where I was working with the pickaxe. If I stopped, then the great tit would come and shout. The funniest thing was when my wife brought a cup of coffee out wearing her slippers, the tit hopped over doing his usual shouting then decided to galvanise us by began pecking at the slippers. These two birds gave us such a wonderful insight to our new world.

Then there is the `singing tree’.  This is an old almond tree which can be seen from our bedroom window and is used by the birds to teach their fledglings how to fend for themselves and we watch the goings on with interest. The males also use this tree in the mating season to strut their stuff, singing and bobbing up and down to attract a female.  There is also a bird of prey nesting in the trees at the edge of the lower field every morning we can hear the young screeching out to be fed I am hopeful of getting a picture or two when I can work out where it is.

Not everything is sweet and gentle, the wild boar can be so noisy at times. Take last night for instance, I am flying to the UK today so I needed to get some sleep, but there I was 2am listening to the pigs squealing away; what ever they were doing they seemed to be enjoying themselves. But at least they are back, we used to sit at night and watch some of them as they wandered round our land but at the beginning of the year a large cat arrived, again, we think it is a lynx any way it has departed because the goats are back on the maser and the pigs are being noisy.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: