back to extremadura for a short week to clean the pool ready for winter, and to pick some olives for curing. at this time of year the campo is looking quite green after some rain over the last two months, though there has not been much and water levels in fuentes and stream beds are still low.

the fig trees are just about to drop their leaves, making a splash of bright colour amongst the sombre greys and greens of olive and encina and stone wall.

closer up the olives are beautiful, shading from deep purple-black to bluey-mauve and brighter green. they make a decorative pattern of repeated oval shapes hanging amongst the curving branches and fringe-like leaves of the trees.

I have found a secret valley off the path to Arroyomolinos, a perfect place for picnics in the spring. it is the dry water course that connects up from the higher fuente and the chamomile filled stream and the boulder strewn torrent crossed by the path.

most of the water has disappeared after the dry summer, but if we get enough rain this winter there will be a running stream here when I come back in the spring.

a different view of this arm of the sierra

a little olive grove which as always is full of flowers; used for grazing it never gets the “cure”. locals prefer to spray the life off the ground under their olives, and rake up all the olives that fall on it before and during the harvest. the local olive oil is of very poor quality as a result, including over-ripe and indeed rotting fruit. my olives which will be shaken down into nets will just go into the mix, never mind that they have not had any herbicide or spray for at least eight years.

the seed heads of the spring and early summer still make pretty patterns against the lichen and moss-covered stone walls.

here is the fuente, the source of the stream, with its “not drinking water” sign. I wonder, have they tested it? it should come from rain water on the sierra and be quite pure.

there is a little allotment up here, a huerto, with tiled shed and water tank.

cebollas, onions, seem to be the main crop. generally the land around here is not very fertile, but perhaps the stream and its little marshy outlet has deposited some good soil.

the prickly pear adds a little colour to the landscape at this time of year. I have tried picking it with unprotected hands and regretted it; the fruit is full of tiny needles which embed themselves in your skin and are impossible to remove.

the swimming pond has its autumn colours as well; the rushes which must be cut before they drop their leaves to rot in the water;

the lily pads too are changing colour from green to gold and then to purple brown. there are still flower heads amongst them.

a haiku would seem to be suggested here, about autumn, reflections, pale light on the water, etcetera ….

the pool, the house, the olive trees, the sierra, all enfolded in the soft evening light.