Category Archives: Nature

Whose tail is this?

When I opened the door I stepped back, at first glance I thought this was a long, dried-up, dead worm. On closer inspection it was something more fascinating: the tail of a lizard. lizard tail 14-5-14Six inches long, so its owner must have been a fair size; say 10-12 inches in total. Before his loss. I’ve heard that lizards lose their tails in pursuit, in danger, in panic. It is said that the tail continues to wriggle after it is shed. For sure, something large and hungry was chasing the tail’s owner. We will never know the full story.

5 to remember
a primera vista – at first glance
reseco/a – dried-up
un gusano – a worm
en una inspección más cercana – on closer inspection
en persecución – in pursuit

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Is it a worm, is it a snake? No… #Wildlife in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1rn

April in the valley 2017

Think of a colour, and at the moment in the valley there is a wildflower. Blue vinca, white hawthorn, pink Arabian pea, greeny Cypress spurge, yellow charlock, and the promised red of peony plus scarlet berries. Even the threshing patch has a yellow flush as wildflowers and fresh grass grow thigh-high. And all around us is green: ivy green, grass green, wheat green, wild oats green, leaf green, moss green. I love this time of year.

5 to remember
en el momento – at the moment
una flor silvestre – a wildflower
las escarlata – scarlet
un color – a flush
amo – I love

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Green, everywhere in the #secretvalley & wildflowers of every colour #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Ub

Galls in springtime

As summer approaches, it is almost time for gall wasps to lay new eggs. But last year’s galls are still around. I’ve written about galls before, in the autumn before and after hatching. Galls are tough, they hang onto trees through winter storms, or fall and bounce. These are galls which have over-wintered, day-by-day being hidden by the fresh green growth on the holm oak trees. They are mysterious objects, like small packages containing a secret. Which of course they did. There are about 1300 different species of gall wasp, and 70% choose a type of oak tree as host plant. The holes may be either exits, or attack holes by predators such as woodpeckers.

Read more about oak galls in the #secretvalley, before and after hatching.

5 to remember
resistente – tough/resilient
antes y después de – before and after
día a día – day-by-day
misterioso/a – mysterious
un secreto – a secret

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Oak galls survive the winter in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1U3

Leaves and sun

An April day, spring sunshine and the green of new leaves: it is like no other green. I struggle to name it, except that it is made of fresh growth. Leaves appear green because of the chlorophyll they contain, chlorophyll is the part of the leaf that uses carbon dioxide, sunlight and water to produce sugar.

A leaf with plenty of chlorophyll masks other pigment colors. Chlorophyll, an essential component of photosynthesis, is a green pigment found in the chloroplasts of plants. Leaves often show as a vivid green when they are close to other leaves, because the light people see bounces off the green leaves before it reaches the eyes. Chlorophyll utilizes mostly red and blue light energy, while the green energy passes through or bounces off the leaves and reaches a person’s eyes so leaves appear green.

As autumn ends, plants and trees produce less chlorophyll because light regulates the production of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has a constant decomposition rate so the green colour of leaves begins to fade when chlorophyll starts to decompose.

5 to remember
el dióxido de carbono – the carbon dioxide
la clorofila – the chlorophyll
un pigmento – a pigment
para utilizer – to utilize
la descomposición – the decomposition

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
What makes leaves, green? #trees in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1TS

Springtime: old and new

This is the time of year when new young energy pushes aside the tired, the old and fading. New growth next to dying or dead. Fresh bright green next to browns, blacks and greys. Spring is relentless.

5 to remember
este es – this is
la energía – the energy
desvanecimiento/a – fading
muriendo/a – dying
muerto/a – dead

Spring patchwork

At no time during the year does the landscape change more than during the spring. A day of sun or rain alters things dramatically. Overnight, buds of tightly-woven almond blossom burst open, winter-sown wheat takes on a deeper more luscious tone of green, and the fields of peas seem to grown centimetres within hours. And so the agricultural patchwork of parcelas changes from pale greens and browns, divided by the haphazard lines of silver-grey stones and paler dried earth, to deeper tones, helped often by a night-time sprinkle of drizzle.

5 to remember
en ningún momento – at no time
el paisaje – the landscape
dramáticamente – dramatically
durante la noche – overnight
los campos de guisantes – the fields of peas

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Spring draws its patchwork of colours & textures in #Spain #countryside via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Pw

Wildflowers/White

The white wildflowers are my favourites. There is something pleasing about the juxtaposition of white and green and, at the time the white wildflowers are everywhere, the spring hills are at their greenest. That said, there are so many different shades of white I struggle to describe them without sounding like colour names on a paint chart. So, here are some whiteish wildflowers, photographed on my morning walks along the tracks.

5 to remember
la yuxtaposición – the juxtaposition
por todas partes – everywhere
más verde – greenest
me esfuerzo por – I struggle to
un gráfico de la pintura – a paint chart

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Wildflowers come in many colours in #Spain Here are some white ones #nature via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1PP