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South of Madrid March 29, 2016

Posted by anagasto in photography, Spain.
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Photos by ghD with permission

That is spring about 20 miles south of Madrid.

The ground is all limestone and may even be salty. What can you do with land of this kind?  The tiny shrubs on  those ridges are thyme.

There are shepherds with their sheep. There used to be hunters, too. Some years ago somebody bought up and enclosed a lot of land.

He thought he could make a fortune turning it into a golf course and a residential area.

He could not sell his 1000 flats because the demand collapsed, and he would be a fool to set up a golf course because water is scarce; you’d have to have artificial irrigation working day and night from early spring till late in autumn, but in the height of summer even that would not be enough to keep the grass from turning brown.

Those large shrubs are genista, also called broom. In spring they bend under a load of small yellow flowers:

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Would you know what those white things are ?

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There was a hand-written sign: “Precaución: Abejas; Warning: Bees”.

Beside the sign there is a wild almond tree with big almonds hanging from its branches though this is still early in spring. These almonds are bitter, really bitter, the best thing to try if you are not sure what bitter  means.

Having bees, apiculture, in this part of Spain is probably just  a hobby, not an income. A jarful of honey is worth only a few dollars and lasts for a long time. I don’t know why that is so. In Machado’s  ballad about the land of Alvargonzalez, beehives are mentioned as assets just like sheep and cattle and  olive trees.

Yet remember that there are times and places where “a few dollars” will make all the difference.

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Along the train tracks  there are  wild almond trees.

Couldn’t they be grafted to produce sweet almonds? Sweet almonds still fetch good money anywhere.

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The shepherd is from North Africa; this is hard work; have to milk them one by one.

There are almond trees and genista. Last year’s thistles are still taller than the almond trees.

Look how none tries to buck the line.

The sheep seem to understand the idea of a road and that you should not step on freshly ploughed ground!

:)

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Added later:

It isn’t as I thought. The sheep do not keep to the road. They follow the shepherd, but if that shepherd is new to his job, look what happens:

He has to go after them!

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