For some time now Joe had been looking longingly at the empty space between the back of the house facing La Maroma and the two nicely maturing oak trees. It needed a wall, he said, so a wall it got. Not high enough to shield us from the prevailing wind, but I certainly agreed with him that a low wall would finish off that area nicely.
He went at the task with his usual gusto – lots of foraging trips interspersed with intensive building – and within ten short days some sturdy foundations were in place, quickly topped by several substantial stone layers. Some of the stones were monsters, one in particular pushed his body to its limits.
He does have an annoying habit of making things look easy.
We had to dash back to England for a couple of weeks. Elderly parents; who’d have ’em?! But it was lovely to come home, great to be on the final leg of the drive from the airport, swinging round the last bend and catching first sight of our little wooden house waiting for us. Everything was so green!
However, on getting out of the car there was a very noticeable buzzing that we recognised immediately. Oh god, the bees are swarming again! About five years ago, again on returning from the UK, we found the honey bees had made their home in our eaves. That time, once we’d encouraged them to leave, Joe had to dismantle part of the side of the house from which he removed a half metre tall honeycomb. That was before our roof ladder was stolen – it would be tricky to do the same again without one now, we thought.
They were swarming around the eaves in the same place as before. We hurriedly got inside the house, crunch, crunch – hundreds of crispy bee corpses all over the floor that you couldn’t help walking on. It was quite heartbreaking. Dead, dying and buzzing bees littered every room except one: nothing we could do about it as they apparently die of dehydration indoors after a short period of time. The cabin has masses of cracks and holes and the honeybees certainly rubbed it in! We felt under siege for the rest of the afternoon and evening, catching more and more of the little chaps and putting them quickly outside.
Anyhow, after another day of fairly light bee activity, we have been largely left in peace, although every day we have a sort of bee tinnitus when we go outside as it is now a bumper time for them with all the native and cultivated flowers and grasses bursting into life.
I wrote in an earlier post that the wild boar had rotovated most of our land and I was worried that they’d targeted the pink butterfly orchids that had been slowly colonising. Well, the good news is, they didn’t manage to harm the orchids, and here’s the living proof – we have more than ever before. Thank you jabali!
This little chap wasn’t so lucky, however. As I walked around staring in wonderment at the orchids, I stumbled across the remains of what I think was a smooth snake. His head had been bitten off, so this made him a little more difficult for me to identify! Yuck! I wonder who dunnit?