Hoeing the terraces

By February and through March farmers are hoeing and digging over the terraces up and down the valley. They have pruned the vines and in the next month will be trimming the olive trees. You can see plumes of smoke as the weeds are burnt off (the ash can go back on the land, and burnt seedheads won’t sprout). Am I worried to see these wildflowers dug out?

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Malaga has been in drought for over two years.

The parched land

The La Viñuela reservoir in the heart of the Axarquía has capacity for 165 million cubic metres of water. It provides water for irrigation to hundreds of farms and drinking water to thousands of homes.

Coming for a walk?

Up to the 26th of February – six months into a nine month “rainy season” – it held just 35 million cubic metres: 21% of capacity. So the promise of a week or more of rain seemed heaven sent.

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Having a laugh in any weather

Avril & Andy undaunted by rain

We’re delighted that some long-promised rain has arrived. As I type this all I hear is rain pinging off the metal grills over my windows and spattering in the street from terrace spouts. Given the severity of the recent drought its a big relief. And the timing was perfect. Last week of Feb I was walking.

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On waste-ground

Old Jerusalem tree (agave) backed by a threatening sky.


Admiring the building rain clouds (at last we may have rain!) I pull over to get a shot of an old ‘Jerusalem tree’ against the dark sky. I haven’t time to walk today but on the other side is a patch of waste ground covered in wildflowers. Are they all Oxalis? Let’s have a look.

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Almonds and Oxalis

Oxalis on a track side

While it is freezing in London and snowing in Paris here it feels something like spring. Perhaps it is the bright yellow I can see on the fallow terraces and track-sides. They are think with Oxalis or “Mediterranean Buttercups” – a spreading weed that opens a cheery yellow face to the bright sun. It’s cheering to see given that, even in Málaga, January and February bring spells of rain, wind and cold. Continue reading Almonds and Oxalis


A little stroll by the Cájula

It seems like just a dull little path but it is not. Had a lovely little walk here by the Río Cájula early this month. It is very low in spite of recent rains. We have had a spell of cold weather, with snow making La Maroma look like a giant cake and the high meadows nicely dusted with icing, along with a week or so of rain on and off – but not enough to make up for months of drought.


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The sunlight flight

Standing beside the sunlit vineyard after the storm, the other day, I noticed a few bugs floating by on the slight breeze. Lovely day. I’m at work, talking away (politely) to clients and trying not to drift off into watching the kestrel floating down the valley, or the Sardinian warblers bickering in the olive tree. Now I find that, as I look over into the vineyard I can see plumes of insects rising from it, the wings catching the light. It looks bright and hopeful to see them drifting up into the air. I wonder what they are. One of my clients yelps and bats at something floating onto his ear, knocking it down. “Don’t worry,” I say hastily, “Only a flying ant.”

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