We were on our way into town today to buy some rebar to use in fencing our garden. On passing a neighbor’s finca, we noticed 3 guys out spraying the land between the olive trees.
We knew this is a sure sign of spring approaching – guys out spraying the land, all land, every scrap of it, with ‘liquido’. This is the all-purpose word for all things horrendously poisonous that they spray regularly on the land, usually Roundup or worse. I hate to generalize, but the Spanish do seem to love spraying the shit out of everything, in an attempt to get rid of all the weeds.
They embraced the technology of 30 years ago with both hands. What a miracle it must have seemed – you could take a container of liquid, mix it up with water (often double strength or more, just to be sure it’s strong enough), and get rid of all the weeds quickly and easily.
We now know better – that perhaps it’s best not to spray the land all the time. But it’s not like the Spanish authorities haven’t tried to change attitudes, it’s just that most campo guys are 60+ and see no need to change at this point.
It’s a double-edged sword. Our friend Manuel loves to spray his weeds, but some of his olive groves don’t bear many olives, as pollination is difficult when there are no flowers anywhere to attract the bees. Many of his groves look like desolate moonscapes, with not a weed or flower in sight. He calls this a “tidy campo”.
When we moved to Spain, we decided not to follow suit. We love the wild flowers (“weeds” to Manuel!), the small lizards and the bees. And the bees and other insects attract the birds, which in turn attracts the birds of prey to our land. On a daily basis, we see gorgeous finches and other small birds, as well as hawks, eagles, and sometimes even vultures. At night, we still hear owls in the forest, too.
For us, our finca being considered ‘untidy’ is a small price to pay for enjoying these natural wonders of Andalucia.