Nature, walks and wildlife

This category contains 88 posts

Museo Casa Alpujarreña – Bubión, La Alpujarra

If you visit La Alpujarra, you’d be foolish to ignore the fantastic Museo Casa Alpujarreña, next to Bubión’s church. It’s a typical house of this area, barely altered since its previous – and final – occupier lived here. A time-capsule of a former home, it’s as if someone entered one day and asked for the … Continue reading

To dye for – cochineal (a prickly tale)

Life is – in the countryside here in Andalucía – never having to say you’re sorry…for killing things. Huge ants build empires under the lawn, wild boar trash the place, processionary caterpillars cause a risk to animals; they need a tough talking to now and again, lest they take over one’s entire house and garden. The muffled … Continue reading

Burnt earth, wind…and fire

It’s been a strange few weeks; warm weather, fires across the mountains near Lanjarón, howling winds to wake the dead and, now, a return to mild temperatures. For the last two days much of southern Spain has become a theatre stage of yellow dry ice – only that it’s Saharan dust, obliterating the Sierra de … Continue reading

Follow the leader – processionary caterpillars

We recently noticed white ‘clouds’ in our pine trees – like blobs of candy floss abandoned high up in the branches. We discovered they were the silk nests of processionary caterpillars. Should you touch one – or a dog or cat step on one – it can be very unpleasant and even fatal to animals, … Continue reading

Rainforest Órgiva

A friend told us recently: “do not leave that huge hole in the orchard without filling it in, otherwise it will turn into a well if it rains heavily.¨ Oops. Imagine pouring a bucket of water over a couple of ants; that’s how we felt earlier today. One of us stayed inside ‘holding the fort’ as … Continue reading

Lanjarón honey window (photo)

This cute window, full of jars of miel tomillo (thyme honey), was spotted today in Lanjarón. Órgiva’s nearest town even has its own honey museum, which, like this person’s home, is filled with honey collected from the hundreds of hives that perch on mountain sides in the area. To us it sums up what La Alpujarra … Continue reading

Day of wine and roses

A snaking road just past Torvizcón takes you on a stunning journey up the Sierra de la Contraviesa. In 16km only two cars squeezed by us as we headed for Europe’s highest vineyard. At 1400m above sea level this was the first time in Spain we experienced absolute silence; no breeze, no dogs, no flies, … Continue reading

Cabo de Gata, Almería – isolated beauty

Heading east along the coast from Motril, the greenhouses around Almería sweep right to the seashore giving the impression you might be driving through a winter-wonderland rather than the driest place in Europe. More than half of Europe’s fresh fruit and vegetables are grown in these vast greenhouses which cover an area the size of … Continue reading

A mine of information in Órgiva

A while ago, small rock boulders suddenly appeared outside the building on Plaza Alpujarra that never opened and what people thought was the tourist office but it wasn´t (see this post). But it´s open and from mausoleum to one-room museum, Órgiva now celebrates the area´s history of mining on what is its own Uluru, the Sierra de Lújar. … Continue reading

Jardin Nazari – Vélez de Benaudalla

A small piece of the Generalife in the Alhambra was seemingly plucked from Granada and gently placed in this sleepy town, a short distance inland from the Costa Tropical. But the Jardin Nazari, tucked away in the backstreets of Vélez de Benaudalla, is no Johnny-come-lately – it´s been here, in one form or another, since … Continue reading

A cycle of seeds in Órgiva

The strips of sunlight shrink as dark spreads like black ink over the blotting paper slopes of the Sierra de Lújar. After sunset (officially around 7.15pm at the moment) there’s still a chill in the air. We put the littl’uns to bed each night; seedlings, that is. The huddled trays and pots form a plastic jigsaw in our … Continue reading

Abandoned bee hives (photo)

As we enter the last week of February, devoid of a leap day (the next is 2016), we awake to light and not dark. For several days the air has been warm, the daily ritual of building a fire will soon be gone. Away from the roads and bustle of Órgiva, the rocky, mainly dry riverbed of … Continue reading

The sky’s the limit: Pitres time lapse

We stumbled upon this brilliantly-edited, beautiful time lapse film of the ever-changing skies above the town of Pitres, a 40 minute drive from Órgiva. The photographer – Francisco J Perez Herrera – states that ‘it’s the result of 4 months of work taking over 18,000 photographs, through more than 30 hours of editing and countless hours … Continue reading

Passing wind (hopefully)

If the orange earth under our feet were the sea, our house would have headed for port a long time ago. A bride leaving Órgiva’s church would be in tears (or hopefully laughing); her hair in tatters, her bouquet ruined. The lights flicker; banshee-wailing winds have come with a vengeance. The outside area has been rearranged, … Continue reading

One for the vine: pruning and the moon

It’s sometimes starless here, sometimes bible black; and on those still nights you could hear an almond drop. At the new moon – as it is today, 20 January 2015 – the valley’s dogs will know it’s time to settle down on this dark night. Our knowledge of ‘country life’ – in Ireland, England and … Continue reading