Hooray for the dwarf wild irises!

Hello again!

When I went for a walk this morning along the cattle track La Cañada Real Soriana which skirts north of Posadas and Cordova, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the wild irises are out already. Above is just one example (I can’t include more at this stage because, as you might know already, I’m working on limited multimedia capacity!) — but I just couldn’t resist putting up this velvety delight:­-

Dwarf iris — Iris cristata (I think!)

The iris flower means wisdom, hope, trust, and valour and it inspired the fleur-de-lis decorative symbol used by French royalty.

In the 16th century BC, irises were introduced to Egypt from Syria and were used to decorate the sceptres of pharaohs, representing victory and power.

The Ancient Greeks associated irises to the goddess of the rainbow due to their wide variety of colours. Iris was a messenger for Zeus and Hera and accompanied female souls on their way to heaven. Even to this day irises are placed on women’s graves so that the Goddess will help them find their place in heaven.

Each colour represents different qualities:

Purple, for royalty and wisdom; white for purity; yellow — passion; and blue for faith and hope.

And to end this flowery blog, here’s a beautiful poem by the American, Madison Julius Cawein (Kentucky, March 23, 1865 – December 8, 1914). (His father made patent medicines from herbs, so it is not surprising Madison’s love for nature!)

Madison Julius Cawein (Wiki)

The Wild Iris

That day we wandered ‘mid the hills,-so lone
Clouds are not lonelier, the forest lay
In emerald darkness round us. Many a stone
And gnarly root, gray-mossed, made wild our way:
And many a bird the glimmering light along
Showered the golden bubbles of its song.

Then in the valley, where the brook went by,
Silvering the ledges that it rippled from,-
An isolated slip of fallen sky,
Epitomizing heaven in its sum,-
An iris bloomed-blue, as if, flower-disguised,
The gaze of Spring had there materialized.

I have forgotten many things since then-
Much beauty and much happiness and grief;
And toiled and dreamed among my fellow-men,
Rejoicing in the knowledge life is brief.
»Tis winter now,’ so says each barren bough;
And face and hair proclaim ‘tis winter now.

I would forget the gladness of that spring!
I would forget that day when she and I,
Between the bird-song and the blossoming,
Went hand in hand beneath the soft May sky!-
Much is forgotten, yea-and yet, and yet,
The things we would we never can forget.

Nor I how May then minted treasuries
Of crowfoot gold; and molded out of light
The sorrel’s cups, whose elfin chalices
Of limpid spar were streaked with rosy white:
Nor all the stars of twinkling spiderwort,
And mandrake moons with which her brows were girt.

But most of all, yea, it were well for me,
Me and my heart, that I forget that flower,
The blue wild iris, azure fleur-de-lis,
That she and I together found that hour.
Its recollection can but emphasize
The pain of loss, remindful of her eyes.

Thank you for visiting.

I hope you are keeping well. Bye for now xxx


What I’ve been up to this week in my country abode of Posadas (Cordova)

Hi folks! Firstly, I hope this find you all in good health and spirits.

Secondly — what I’ve been up to. Well, I’ve had a bit of a busy week what with teaching, writing and doing some of my craftwork — as well as a) straightening out my vegetable patch after the wild boar broke in again, and b) preparing the olives for marinating that I am picking from our trees. And so I would just like to share with you some photos of my progress. Starting with a):-

Here he is, the ‘little’ blighter, sniffing around for acorns and roots! (Canva)
I had to straighten the pepper plants after ‘he’ had a go at them (but ‘he’ avoided the chilli peppers this time!)
That’s me hard at work with the roll of black string, tying up the tomato plants that have got taller than me. I tied them to the arched ribs that once used to support plastic sheeting when this used to be a greenhouse, but temperatures soared too high in the summer so I had to do away with it. Note the very blue Andalusian skies!
Old olive trees grow all around. I will be picking some of these too for my marinated olives — the manzanilla and gordal variety for pickling

The first step in preparing the olives is to cut each one of them (you can also lightly crush them, or not cut them at all but place them in caustic soda for a while. I have never yet tried these last two methods.) As you can see, I had a little bit of help…

Bag of small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree
Curious kitten wondering about the small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree
Curious kitten getting all anxious to lend a helping paw with the small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree
But I take command of the knife with which I make a sharp cut in the small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree! (And my fingers get oilier, greener and purply by the minute!)

The olives in the photos were picked from my son’s young olive grove…

This grove lies just by the old cattle track, Cañada Real Soriana that skirts the foothills of the Sierrezuela de Guadalbaida, and the Roman quarry, Cantera Honda.  It stretches approx. 500 miles, originating in Soria, NE of Madrid, then across the Sierra Morena continuing west to Seville, passing close to the Guadalquivir River and the Puente Romano (Roman bridge) in Cordova on the way.

The Cañada Real Soriana cattle track is number 7 on the Wiki map. (You might need your magnifying glass to spot it!)

And now to the first theme: my craftwork. Well, I have just finished making my angels (or fairies, call them what you want!) — and they are available to the public. So here are the little‘uns:-

Well, that’s all for this week. Thank you for reading — comments and questions always welcome.

Take care! xxx