What you can learn by observing Nature
I have lived in my now 180-year-old farmhouse since 1981 and as it was a ruin when I bought it nature was really wild in those times. There was a big patio and a well which had been closed by putting big stones in it. I think perhaps with the thought no village children would fall into it when they would come to play in this abandoned place. I observed that potatoes were growing on the patio and on looking closer I discovered there was some 20 cm of old leaves which presented the nourishment for things to grow there. Underneath this layer, I saw a nice pattern of cobblestones which, with a slope, led away from the house.
Farmers were clever people, even if this house has no foundation, it was built on the earth with big stones, straw, and sand to make its thick walls of 50 cm, never any rainwater has come in. The cobblestones would take care of that.
The property is quite big, close to being 1 hectare and as it is surrounded on 3 sides by one neighbor who has an organic farm with avocados, that is why many birds, insects, and small mammals live here. I build a small fish pond on the patio, a bigger one on the East side of the house and on the Southside, a bit away from the house, is a really big one which I repaired.
I have always loved to observe nature, I find it fascinating and one can learn a lot of curious things.
The amazing Dragonfly
Every year one can observe the wedding dance of the dragonfly. There are red, green, yellow and blue ones. When they fly as a couple you never see a pair of the same color. I have not discovered the meaning of this but perhaps it is a help for them to not chose the wrong partner, who knows. They fly for hours putting their eggs in the shallow water
The Praying Manta
In the garden, one can often observe a grown-up Praying Manta, quite an impressively big and green insect. I always hope my cats do not get hold of it because if it escapes it often loses a leg.
I was curious to see the nest of these insects but it took me many years to find out. Then one day I came upon a strange, like egg-shaped, thing hanging in a tree. I touched it and it felt and also sounded like ctenophore plastic. It had a light brown color and then it happened, a baby Praying Manta, barely 1 cm big and transparent, came out. From that moment on I always took care when watering the garden or cutting trees and bushes to not harm them.
In the big fish pond, a lot of exciting things have happened over the years. In 1981 I made an expedition to the brook which was nearby. There I saw a spot with some big stones because of which the water flow was divided. On the other side next to the big stones the water was very calm and on the bottom, I could see a small sandbank. There I fished 2 small turtles and took them to my pond.
Just as well as years later a new urbanization was built on the slope of the mountain, As in those times the laws on wastewater were not severe it was led into the brook and all life died, the water started smelling bad and formed like dirty foam.
Over the years I observed the turtles grow and as the pond is cleaned in January I always know how many there are. Years later, while cleaning the ground around it, close to the fence my gardener found a nest with 6 baby turtles which, after seeing they were ok, were introduced to the pond.
Something else which happened years ago was absolutely sweet. A wild mother duck had her nest in the neighboring plot and when the eggs hatched she took her children swimming. Many afternoons I was able to observe this from a distance. Then after some weeks, the whole family went away, babies must have been grown up enough to start taking flying lessons.
The endangered toad
In Spain toads are a protected species, they like humid hiding places and when it rains like in October and December they come out to go to the wedding in the big pond. It can happen when coming home in the dark they are crossing the access road to the property. The girls are big and the boys are small, it is quite a sight to see her carrying him on her back. If they are blocking the traffic I just pick them up and put them to the side. They often walk on the patio and my cats look but know not to bother them as they do not present walking food. The years where there is little rain one normally does not see any.
There is a big problem. In case there are too many boys she will run the risk to be strangled underwater, not so nice. The eggs are put like a pearl necklace tied up on a floating stick or the leaf of a water plant. It often happens that some of the parents die and lie on the bottom of the pond. When the tadpoles come out they first eat the jelly which surrounded them. Afterward, they clean up their parents, I have often seen a small white skeleton lying below. I think that nature has organized that nicely, parents who care for their children even after they are gone.
I have always enjoyed observing nature, one can learn so much and it is always interesting. One should really take the time as nature holds so many beautiful things.
Source: My Life
Photo Source: Free Great Pictures and Private Photo.