Soil: variations

Until we lived here, I never really looked at soil. I guess it’s because here we are surrounded by fields which spend a lot of time bare, ploughed, recovering for the next crop, or seeded before the new shoots show through. patchwork of fields looking towards cuevas del beccero 12-10-13 (2)patchwork of fields looking towards sierra de las nieves 12-10-13 (2)I never appreciated just how much colour variation there could be: brown is brown, isn’t it? Except here, when it is brown, chestnut, terracotta, red, orange, dusty pink, rose, speckled with flecks of white like chalk, golden stalks of dead crops [below]… wheat field ploughed, earth and straw 12-10-13 (2)

Now the main reason for this must geological. The hills round here are a mixture of red sandstone, and white limestone. Water must be another influence, wet soil is darker, dry is pale.

Disturbance of the soil is another element to consider, ploughed or unploughed. Below, the untouched soil at the roadside is a pungent orange. orange earth 12-10-13 (2)

The thing is, the soil doesn’t just change its colour after a few miles, it changes on a hillside [below]…  soil colour changes on a hillside 12-10-13 (2)

pink earth drilled for olive saplings, on road to canete 12-10-13 (2)…. and sometimes within a field [below]. field of striped ploughed earth - looking towards sierra de las nieves 12-10-13 (2) two shades of pale pink soil on road to Canete 12-10-13 (2)

pink to dark earth - ploughed field on road to canete 12-10-13 (2)Sometimes, in mid-summer, the soil is so dry the colour seems to leach away [below]. The paleness is emphasized by the shading between each long thin parcela, a result I think of being ploughed at a different time, in a different direction, by a different tractor.

dried golden soil in thin parcelas - road Canete to A367 12-10-13 (2)Although I don’t understand the reasons behind the colour variations, the effect is something I know Vincent Van Gogh would have appreciated.field of striped ploughed earth - looking towards sierra de las nieves 12-10-13 (2)field of striped ploughed earth - looking towards sierra de las nieves2 12-10-13

5 to remember
la tierra – soil
las variaciones – the variations
el panel de interconexiones – patchwork
marrón – brown
terracota – terracotta [colour]

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