Wide eyed moons, red hot earth and fiestas

This is the month for relaxation, doing nothing, soaking up the sun, keeping cool, eating simply and listening to the distant sounds of flamenco. Around the middle of the month (to include the public holiday on the 15th, the Assumption of Mary), the villagers hang up their tools, let their hair down and make their own party. It's all fiesta, from 0 - 100, waltzing couples to flamenco queens to all night pop and they do it till they drop! At dawn there's olive oil and bread. Shoes off, they wander home.

The ground is now pale ochre, the corn fields long since harvested and the distant mountains hazy in the mid-summer heat. Olive and fading almond green are all that remain on the near hills, the olives patiently waiting to ripen, the almonds ready to fall.

andalucia-landscape

The ploughed earth is dusty and red, so hot and dry with red hot stones too. Cicadas sing strong all day and all night and the only other creature to break this trance are the occasional carpenter bees that are prone to dive bombing, seemingly out of control, next to me. If this happens to you, all you need to do is to help them to their feet and off they go again.

For those of us mad enough we are ready to start the almond harvest. Usually it's tapping on the other side of the valley that makes us think that we should get going. Rising early, we drag long nets alongside the trees that are ready to drop. There's less effort involved than with olives and a tap with a long stick to the uppermost branches brings most of them down.

harvesting almonds

Into the sacks and back along the track before the midday sun. Ice crushed in tea towels rolled up at the back of the neck keep the head cool, heavy boots tucked in trousers combat any encounters with large insects in the dusty grasses, most of them very well camouflaged.

aloe vera close up

The Aloe Vera, back in the garden cut straight up the spine, oozing soothing gel. Calming for the skin, sunburn, prickly heat and insect bites.

The herb circle, now dryer than usual due to the water shortage. Work starts with strong coffee, once drunk at 11.00 is now needed at 09.00 along with something sweet, fresh dates will do.

andalucia olive grove

August is a month of observing, that's if you're doing enough of nothing. The burning bush, sometimes you will see one at dusk, glowing on a distant hill, a short while later it is a burnt out bundle of sticks.

The horses hardly move at all standing all day under the trees, tails occasionaly swish, eyelids droop and the odd bird comes to perch on their back sides.

An early morning walk along the Peace Path takes you to the Hobbit seat. Thinking possible Elf bath, olive oil and hot stones - could be a spa treatment one day.

At one, eating lots of sun ripend tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil and handfuls of spinach, full of vitamin C to keep going followed by a siesta recharge at four, enough to make it into the night.

Graphosoma lineatum

Another reminder to go slow and that this is a month of quiet summer hibernation. Two red and black bugs (Graphosoma lineatum) stop over in this dried out umbelliferae and stay a month.

august moon

And to the moon. After work on the near horizon we are greeted as it literally sits on top of the hill, a tree silhouetted, we stop to stare completely mesmerized.