Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A walk on the campo.

Hi. We are off to choir practice soon, but I thought I'd try to do a quick blog post first. i intended to do it last night but I got bogged down in something else on the computer. We have had a week of really lovely weather with lots of sunshine. It still gets chilly enough to put the fire on for an hour or two in the evenings, but during the day we have been sitting outside as much as we can. Chris even went into shorts for the afternoon on a couple of days. I had to sit in the shade so that I could do some knitting. Jonathan asked me to knit a jumper for Ella, that is wide red and black stripes, and very baggy! I want to get it done before it is too hot to knit, and I try to do at least one stripe a day. I am on the last piece which is the back - so the biggest one. I usually do that first but I was trying to see how far the yarn was going as I am combining three different patterns to get the shape she wants. Unfortunately I will have to go and get one more ball of the black just to do the neck ribbing, but I can always make a pair of gloves for dog walking next winter, or something.

Yesterday we actually had a day with no other commitments so I suggested we took the dogs for a good run, and we went over to the campo. Sadly we have to keep them on their leads most of the time, because throughout the winter months the local men are licensed to shoot rabbits and although they are mostly out at the weekends, you never know when it is safe. And from next month there is sometimes a 'warden' on patrol to make sure you stick to the pathways and keep dogs on leads because of the ground-nesting birds, which is perfectly reasonable, but I would love to give our dogs more chance to run free. Anyway it was very quiet over there yesterday. There were no workers on the new railway site, no other walkers, no gunfire, so we did let them off for a short time. Foxy was off like the wind but she comes back when we call, and she enjoyed herself so much. Miki is not as keen to run, but even she had a good root around and kept running up the banks to look for her friend. She doesn't like it if Foxy goes out of sight. Then we saw them both getting very excited so we walked over to see what they had found, and it was a tortoise! I called them off, and went to make sure it was alright. They had bowled it around a bit so I set it the right way up again, and left it where it was. They are protected here and there are heavy fines if you are found with one. He wasn't willing to come out of his shell for the camera, but I can't blame him. He had just been used as a ball by two boiterous dogs. He did eventually show me his nose and toes, so I had to be content with that. I was surprised to find one out of hibernation already. It was a nice warm morning but the nights are still chilly. Perhaps they don't hibernate over here, but I would thik that they do.

It was nice to know that the tortoises are still around over there. The land has been so disrupted by the works for the AVE (Auto Velocedad EspaƱa, or high speed train). Over a year ago they started digging out a valley where the track will run, and there was a constant stream of lorries, transporting soil and rock to further down the track where it has been used to build up the banks etc. More recently we have had to drive down into this valley to cross it to the campo where we walk the dogs, and it was very wet and muddy last time we went. But yesterday they had opened one of the new bridges and we were able to cross on that. They have built these bridges all along the valley to maintain acess to all the remote fincas scattered around the campo. From the bridge I took a couple of photos, one looking to the right, towards Mojacar and the sea, and one to the left towards Sorbas and on to Almeria city. It is a huge piece of engineering, and though their method is quite different from in UK, with little bits going on all over the place, when it all comes together it is very impressive. We are enjoying watching it being done, and just hope we are still around to see it when it is finished.

Everyone out here keeps talking about the lack of rain this winter. We did have some heavy falls in early autumn, but we expect to have much more in January and February, and this year we have really only had a couple of wet nights and some light showers. So I shouldn't really have been surprised (though I was) when the men who look after the orange trees next door, came on Sunday and turned on the 'acequia water', which is agricultural water that comes down from the mountains and each house can pay a small fee to be allowed to turn it on to flood their land once a month I think it is. The valve is in our front yard so when we heard the dogs creating a racket out there, and went to investigate, the men were turning on the valve. The earliest I have seen them do this in other years is May, but they obviously felt the trees needed it. I took a photo, much to their amusement, because I love the way the early morning light was reflected off the water, broken up by all the fallen leaves. It made me think about all our potted plants, and when I checked on them, I found they were very dry so I had a watering session yesterday as well.

I don't know if anyone else is interested, but following my previous blog, my friend John told me that the spider who came to call, was a wolf spider. I had heard of these though I hadn't seen one before, and they are best known because the female carries her egg sack around attached to her abdomen, and when the spiderlings hatch, they climb on to her back and are carried around for a few weeks until they are ready to fend for themselves. I looked it up on the net, and this was described as 'ugly', horrifying', 'scarey' etc, but I think it is 'amazing', and lovely to find such an example of caring motherhood in a species that is generally disliked. I wish it had a been a female who came to us, as I would have loved to have seen this. However I also learned that although they are not agressive, these spiders do have a venomous bite, which in severe cases needs a shot of anti-venom at the hospital. So perhaps I should be a bit more careful when getting 'close-up and personal' to take photos of unknown bugs! You can see a photo of the female with her babies by clicking here.


  1. Be careful of wolf spiders, they are not welcomed around here at all. I stomped on one a long time ago and the babies were on her back and they scattered like the wind, it was very scary and made me scream! I even tried to get the babies, after all it was in our garage and I didn't want them making camp where anyone could easily get bitten. Anyway, just had to check out your other blog, your quite the writer!

  2. Lovely post to read and so interesting. I hope you are happy out there despite missing your family. My friend lived over 10 years in La Zubia, a little place just a way inland from Torra del Mar and we used to visit her so often. It was a good life until she came home for health reasons. She also had a casita up in the hills in Capistrano where she went in Summer as it was cooler. I miss it so much.
    JoZarty x


Thank you for visiting my blog. Your comments are appreciated.