Monday, 23 January 2012

Pining Away.....

We've been up in the forests above the village recently, where we found lots of these cocoons/nests in the pine trees. Processionary Moths. Dangerously unpleasant creatures, certainly not to be trifled with in whatever shape, state or form they may be in:

Over the past few weekend days, we went foraging in the higher hills above the village, looking for Pine Cones and decent kindling for the woodburner. There are countless criss-crossing tracks over the hills and swathes of forestry, mostly pine and spruce, with batches of holm oak too. It was a fruitful pursuit and very pleasant in the sunshine albeit with a light chill in the occasional mountain breeze. The car was filled with sacks of both kindling and pinecones within about 30 minutes. We also kept an eye out for traces of mushrooms but saw none. Probably a bit too cold up there for them at this time of year:

This is the small village of Berchules, seen from the hill above. The work that must have gone into making, managing and maintaining these terraces of Olives and Almonds must have been truly formidable:

Another view looking down towards one of our nearby small towns, Ugijar, from on high:

At one point, we bumped into the Gannal/Shepherd with his random melange of sheep and goats, straggling and struggling uphill on the dusty mountain track:

There is still a fair covering of the white stuff on the higher hills above the village, despite the sun:

And the track up the mountain is really pretty good, given how remote it is up there:

Our village, Mecina Bombaron, seen from high above. (Our house is to the left):

We also came across this wonderful piece of dry stone-walling. In the middle of nowhere, with no apparent purpose - no terraces or cultivated land for miles around - we christened it the Great Wall of Mecina:

Throughout our time up there we could hear the crash and bang of rifles in the ditance. Great bombardments of shots echoed across the valley where the local hunters sounded as if they were shredding their prey with Gattling Guns. The smoke from their volleys was clearly visible in the still valley air:

Jack was in his element, snuffling around happily on the hillside track, probably with scent of wild boar and others:

More terracing around Berchules:

Clear blue skies on the high hills of the Sierra de Alpujarra:

We have been discussing our future here in Spain. While we both enjoy the weather/climate and cheapness of everything, we both miss our Swedish home and its wildness. We also miss our good neighbours up in the North and the general, at times challenging, lifestyle. We originally came down here to our Spanish place in a bid to organise a sale of the property, to get it cleaned up and on the market. Obviously, the market is dead here - like most of Europe - so this will take some time. As a result, we think we will investigate the holiday/summer rental market and maybe try that while trying to sell the house. Our daughter, LVP, will have to organise a website etc., for this but that should not be a problem. And the income would be handy.

If we proceed along these lines, we will almost certainly return to Vaster Norrland in the North of Sweden, where we still have the house and cabin, with a view to renovating the cabin (to a fairly basic standard, nothing fancy) a bit and also going for the summer/holiday rental market with that. The bird-life, flora and fauna etc., is superb there, so we believe there would be a market for it. If so, we'll probably head back up to Sweden in a few months time, when the weather is beginning to improve and summer is still full of promise.

This is a shot of the gathering flocks of Canada Geese that meet up prior to flying South in Autumn. Each year they - and huge numbers of Common Cranes - gather in the field below the house. They are incredibly noisy, stay for four or five days, eating contstantly and then, one day, they have gone. They just up and off, on an extraordinary migratory journey South to Africa:


  1. My brother has a beautiful townhouse in Ontinyente - been up for sale for about 3 years now. Stunning house, reasonable price but not much interest. Holiday let sounds a good idea!

    Regarding the moths, when we first arrived in Limousin, we only saw them a little further south, but over the years they have gradually crept north and now we have them in our village. The commune's solution is to chop the infected tree down and then burn it - we live in a chemical-free village when it comes to insecticide/weed killer. At this rate, we''ll soon live in a tree-free village!

  2. Interesting times for you. I wish you well with whatever you decide to do. I enjoyed the trip up the mountain - reminds me of a wonderful touring holiday we had around Madrid to Toledo and Siguenza. xxx