Monday, 7 April 2014


All together now...sweeeeeeet!

Here is Curious, born 24 hours before to Fidget, one of our Ripollesa sheep.

Camera? What camera?

Dance like a hoverfly...

...look like a bee. Or a wasp.

This, I think, is Volucella zonaria, a wasp-mimicking hoverfly. H/she was drying her wings in a sunny spot above a miniature wetland we've created using an old water tank. He's big!

Big, bug and beautiful
And this is the (not so) Scarce Swallowtail, Iphiclides podalirius, laying eggs on 5th May 2014 in the mud outside the donkey stable. Not a great photo, but I wanted to record the date.

Half a dozen here, half a dozen there

Sunday, 30 March 2014


I'm not programmed, as a Scot, to worry about the rain. In Scotland, we get plenty.

Here in Catalonia things are different. It's a good day when it rains. Especially if, as now, we have had a very dry start to the year (91mm against the average 161mm in the first three months of 2014). 

It's blooming raining

The rain in Spain seems to be falling mainly on the plane...and not in Catalonia.

Bug Scale

I've got bugs on my orange trees.

I grew the trees from seeds, taken from a bitter orange tree near here that was subsequently felled. So I'd really like to help these trees to grow. But some of the trees are under assault from a bug. The bugs are orange and mobile when young, becoming white and powdery and immobile as adults. They produce an orange liquid - but not red like Cochineal - when you squish them.

Mealybug? or Scale?

Which bug is it?

Is it Planococcus citri, a citric Mealybug?

Or is it Icerya purchasi, the Cottony Cushion Scale?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

She wept

I pruned the vine today, far too late into a warm spring.

She wept:

Sapping experience

So I stopped. 

We'll get plenty of grapes, whether I prune or not.

Vetching question

So, which vetch is this?

Could it be Orange Bird's-foot, Ornithopus pinnatus?

Ornithopus pinnatus, or not?

Flowering today, 16th March, above our olive trees

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Four by Four

It's still the best form of transport on our steep slopes. Rugged 4x4 all-slopes traction, and totally carbon-free:

Work, work, work. When will he give me a rest?
Arran and I went up the hill to prune the olive trees. I prune a bit, he eats a bit, I prune some more, he eats some more. It's like having a mobile composting machine, managed by a slightly grumpy farmer...