Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another nature walk

When walking around the campo now, you could be forgiven for thinking that everything is dead, parched dry and brown by long days of hot sun. But if you take a look there is still a lot of life to be seen. As I walked the dogs this morning I was surprised to see quite a few flowers in bloom. There are still pretty patches of blue chickory, a new batch of pink convolvulous, yellow thistles, and some healthy green plants with small yellow daisies on them. Of course none of them are anything like as showy as they were earlier in the year, just after the rain, but they are there none the less, battling bravely on against the heat. But the thing that facinates me most is the snails. You would think that in such an arid landscape, snails couldn't possibly survive, but somehow they do. I don't know what you call it, but they do the opposite of hibernating. i.e. they go to sleep for the summer. During the rainy months they emerged to feed and presumably lay eggs, but now they just cling to every blade of grass and stalk, cacti leaves, and even a rusty old road sign. They pile up on one another, and bleached white in the sun, they just stay there until the next season's rain wakes them up again. It is quite extraordinary to see them. Here are just a few of the ones I saw this morning.(Click on image to enlarge it, then on the 'back' button to return to this page).
Some of you know that we have a lovely purple bourganvillia shrub, rambling along the fence outside the kitchen door. What you may not realise is that amid the beautiful coloured bracts, there are some vicious thorns. While sweeping up the side yard the other day I managed to get a branch wrapped around my neck and untangling myself was somewhat painful, so I got out the shears and gave it a severe pruning. It is a rapid grower and it needs to be cut back regularly, to keep it under control. As I chopped off one branch this bug fell onto me. It is a bit like a green ladybird, and I thought it was so pretty that I took a picture of it to show you.

And finally here is another picture of Arwen and Baggins. They are settling in well. They both eat quite well, so hopefully they will soon gain some weight. I still keep them in my room most of the time, but in the evenings I leave the connecting doors open and the kittens come down to say 'Hello'. Last night the dog, (Chico), came down as well and they all seemed to tolerate one another really well. There were a few grumbles, but no fur flying and no-one hid away, so it looks promising that they will fit in here quite happily. Already they are looking a lot more relaxed aren't they?

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