Sostenibilidad at micro level – be fruitful and have ants –

Sostenibilidad at Mer Sober
Sustainability - real life example

Sustainability or “sostenibilidad” needs to be nurtured and a way of live, not just talked about.

One way to encourage this is to use and buy firewood locally. There is a saying (at least in Germany) that wood heats multiple times.
Cutting it, move it, staple it and burn it. Buying locally helps by putting money in the local economy, encouraging reforestation with trees other than pine and very probably keeps me from having an accident with a chainsaw. I still get enough heat cycles out of it.

Wood insulation west facing
Feature and insulation



We also use some of it as great insulation on a west facing wall. Keeps it cool in summer and warm in winter.

Because during the year(s) it shrinks and moves a bit, my wife refuses to park near it. During my apprentice ship in wood stacking I made no allowance for this, and the first stack promptly collapsed onto our old car.  Not just elephants have long memory……

Also be aware, in Spanish there are two kinds of wood – lena – is wood to burn – madeira – is wood to make things off or with.


The "lecker" time is upon us
The "lecker" time

The “lecker” time is arriving. “Lecker” is one of these words for which there is no direct translation, as it also conveys a feeling – yummy – moth-watering – delicious – sobroso – rico;  is sort of close.  There is now an incentive to get up in the morning. Not only is it nice and cool, but one gets the first pick of juicy fruit like raspberries. If you grow them nice and high it avoids competition from the more down to earth people. The vertically challenged do get their own back  when it comes to picking strawberries. So everything, if left to its own devices – balances.

Suddenly sad
Suddenly sad


Ambling through the garden the eye is suddenly drawn to a struggling plant, bush or young tree. I put so much TLC (tender loving care – for the English challenged) towards this plant and now is withering, what is going on here.  That yellow leave wasn’t there 5 minutes ago and anyway there is absolutely no reason why it should look so bedraggled.


Look at the ground around it.


Check under nearby stones or decorations.

Ant nursery
Ant nursery - Click for full scale

The culprits. Ants established a nursery under a stone, close to the tree.

Ants themselves do not harm the tree, plant or bush but they like to keep green-  and black-flies as the equivalent of milking cows. They do guard them and do get a sweet secret as a reward. (Real cows would be a bit impractical).

No all of them do this, but they all build extensive well ventilated nests. This is the other problem. By doing this they dry out the ground and if there are nearby roots they use these as natural supports. As a result the roots simply run dry and the greenery on top, relying on good supply of water to fend off the Galician weather,  starts to suffer.

Here are some interesting facts about ants

If they can’t be enticed to move, Borax is a natural ant killer and there are lots of home made or professional solutions about, just check the net.

So off to make hay…….