Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Come rain or shine, there is work to be done...

We've had a couple of weeks of very mixed weather here in Asturias. One day bright sunshine and the next, torrential rain, hail and strong winds. There is snow in the mountains but at least here on the coast, that never causes us problems apart from the chill factor. The fields around us are flooded, there are several trees down and on the coast there has been damage to the promenades and tonnes of wood has been brought down stream in the swollen rivers and has now been deposited on the beaches.

It is always depressing to see such a large volume of plastic amongst the wood on the beach. Why can't people just dispose of water bottles and such, responsibly rather than just tossing them into the void that is apparently also their brain?

The rain in Asturias is relentless at times. Last week we had around 106 litres of rain (per square meter) with most of that coming down in short sharp bursts.

At this time of year we try and coppice the hazel that borders our land on the north side. We have a fence that was installed when the house was built sited just inside of an old limestone wall that has now fallen into disrepair; this wall is the actual boundary. One day we will restore it and remove the fence. About half way along, this wall becomes a retaining wall for our garden which drops down nearly two meters into the field below - hence the name La Pasera meaning the stepping stones. Along this dividing wall, hazels are prolific and thick but provide something of a wind-break from the storms that hit the north coast from the Atlantic and bay of Biscay. Never-the-less they need keeping in check or they become too impenetrable and a nuisance. We are about half way through now and when the weather allows we will continue behind the shed and compost bins. The coppiced wood will be chopped, left to dry and used for firewood or for plant supports in the garden.

In between the storms we have made a start on thinning out the hazel and where possible just leaving a few main branches to break the wind and prevent damage. The cats love the coppiced hazel and spend their time pouncing on the dried catkins, scent marking the twigs by rubbing their noses along the length and hiding from each other amongst the piles of cuttings ready to pounce when the opportunity arises.

On wet days, Wentworth and Gawber take refuge inside but use every opportunity on finer days to explore the surrounding fields and cuetos (rocky outcrops) in search of mice and lizards. Come rain or shine, there is always work to be done.


  1. Hello! You live in a beautiful spot - I haven't been that far along northern Spain - only just got a bit further than the Basque Country but it's lovely and green there with the mountains behind. Love your cats and your black cat looks very similar to mine, who is female.

    1. Yes, Asturias isn't very well known at all so therefore it remains unspoilt and a lovely place to explore.


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