Our First Autumn

Each season here in Extremadura has brought surprises and delights anew.  Of course we were warned that summer would be unbearably hot.  Bring it on we thought.  Now of course we know better.  Summer here is everyone's least favourite time of year.  For about 6 weeks you are confined to a vampire-like lifestyle unable to go out of the house during the day and then mercilessly eaten by mosquitoes and midgies during the night - which is only marginally cooler than the day time.

The summer broke in early October with an amazing thunderstorm.  We were still staying in the yurt at the time and even the dog came under the bedclothes with me!  Three days of steady rain followed and we were able to see the way the terrain on the finca channels the water downwards and away, or not, as the case may be.  We had started clearing the stream but not finished and now we understand why our water meadow is a water meadow.  Another stream needs digging, perhaps was dug once upon a time but has been left to silt up and now the water just spills out onto the meadow and drains very slowly downhill into the main stream.  we have plans to grow things on our water meadow if we can manage the water properly and seeing exactly where it goes is the first step in this process.

In the aftermath of the rains the grass grew back lush and green and a whole myriad of wild flowers have sprung up.

With multitudes of butterflies of all different varieties flitting from bloom to bloom.  Huge gossamer trails of spider web float about the sky, rising and falling with the heat of the day and the slightest breeze... only web, we have never yet spotted the spider that is surely using the long tendrils of web to hitch a ride.

The days continue to be warm and sunny and I am reminded of English summers in Cornwall when I was a child.  We are able to take the dog out for long walks during the day and everyone we meet is friendly and rejoicing that the summer has passed and somehow life is renewed and joyful, just how we feel in spring in the UK.

Our olives are very fat and juicy and it is time to gather them for pickling.  We would love to have a go at this but simply don't have the time this year with the house still unfinished and so many little jobs needing doing.  We were given some olives ready cured by a neighbour.  They look fab but are not really to our taste.  Likewise the wild asparagus that is springing up all over the finca, when cooked is revolting, in spite of several people telling us how wonderful it was.  Sometimes things just sound romantic but the actuality is far from it.  This is not true about autumn here.  Autumn in Extremadura is wonderful, and romantic and has me looking forward to Christmas and winter in a way I never did before.

My daughter and her husband and my darling little grand daughter are coming for Christmas and I am already planning the food.  I love looking through the cookery books and selecting possible menus.  I may do this for a couple more weeks before making a final choice.  There are gifts to be made and I haven't started on that yet so this year's gifts will be a challenge for sure.  We do have some rather nice edible gifts on hand but we are discovering that dried figs (even if covered in chocolate and stuffed with alcoholic truffle) are not to everyone's taste.  Can't imagine why... they are simply devine!

The maddest thing about living in a foreign country is that so much of the flora and fauna is totally new, and exciting and interesting because of it.  We found this weird looking seed under a crab apple tree.  There were a couple of them.  We cannot think what it is or where it ame from....

The weather is turning chilly now in the evenings but we can still manage 18C in the shade during the day.  In the sun its so much warmer of course.  We seem to have the best of both worlds - lunch alfresco in the sunshine and then cosy evenings in front of the woodburning stove (if our woodburning stove was ready to use that is lol!).  

And finally... if you really want a taste of where we live...


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