Practical Ecology

Nature Switched On





in the Pyrenees  the first 10 years

floristic catalogue
faunistic catalogue
gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-
>> 2011 Jun 12
<< 2011 May 8

                         a   S T A M M E R  project              

2011 May 22 to June 3

It may be the influence of a fellow photographer or of the recent meteorological conditions but fact is that sky and clouds fascinate me more than ever. The geographical location of our zone may be quite privileged as well, just at the frontier between the dry, clean skies of the Ebro valley and the frequently stormy weather conditions of the Pyrenees. And then the views from our place over the Pyrenean skies are unbeatable.
The sky should of course play an important role in almost any landscape picture and the landscape paintings of the famous 17th century Dutch school (beginning with Ruysdael) are inspiring examples.











Looking north-east.
2 Jun 20:

Looking north.
22 May 21:23
Looking south-east with the solar green house on the left.
31 May 14:18
Looking south-east.
1 Jun 19:14
From the Sedum  roof, looking south-east. Green house on the right.
1 Jun 12:33


The stormy skies brought a lot of rain recently which was especially beneficial for the vegetable garden, the ponds and the green roofs. The next pictures give an impression of the four green roofs, each of them featuring a completely different substrate. For the moment the roof of the garden house and of the toilet building are the only ones which don't receive any additional watering. For a more detailed account of the green roof development see the corresponding section in the index.












This picture was taken half May and shows abundant but quite ephemeral growth of Medicago minima on the garden house roof (see right picture).
13 May 11:37
The same corner 2 weeks later than the left picture but without Medicago minima for which the soil layer of 6cm is probably too shallow; no problem for the yellow Sedum acre.
1 Jun 12:36
Little by little the red tinged Sedum anglicum is occupying the empty spaces with the expanded clay pellets.
1 Jun 11:38
Sempervivum tectorum is going steady but slowly.
1 Jun 11:45
The drain-pipe couldn't cope with stormy showers of 20lt in 15 minutes but the overflowing water didn't cause mayor problems thanks to the stones and the roof rim finish.
1 Jun 12:39








The green roof of the washing machine shed is doing fine with only an occasional extra watering to help the Sedum cuttings establish.
2 Jun 11:42
The improvised green roof of the compost toilet building is furnished with knobbed roll (HDPE) left-overs. Not completely watertight but the knobs help to prevent the sliding of the substrate.
3 Jun 10:26 
The roof of the fire wood shed is not very green and needs regular watering. On a waterproof EPDM sheet I put straw, tiles and then some soil in which I planted Sedum cuttings.
3 Jun 10:22


The upper pond had dried out somewhat, causing quite some damage to the macra alga vegetation of the Chara species which I don't regret too much: it suffocated other aquatic plant life. At some point I decided to add water from the mains and subsequent stormy showers filled this pond up to the brim (helped by the tube from the garden house roof to the pond). Although the mains water was added very slowly, the resulting temperature shock and possibly the nutrients and chlorine in this water were disastrous for aquatic animal life as very few insects could be seen afterwards. In the future I will add water from the mains in less quantities and even more slower.

I was so concentrated on inspecting the water that I didn't notice the Ladder snake (Rhinechis scalaris) which was coiled up right at the border of the pond and I stepped directly on it. The snake seemed to be as startled as I because it almost didn't move during the next minutes and I was able to take some close-up pictures.







The Ladder snake (about 100cm long) in the almost dry upper pond.
22 May 19:21



Close-up of the beautiful snake.
22 May 19:24

The lower pond didn't receive water from the mains and counts uncountable water fleas, water snails and backswimmers.
2 Jun 11:21


After the showers and the fill-up the water in the upper pond is crystal clear but with very little water wildlife.
1 Jun 9:40



The cat family is alive and kicking. They move tactically every 3 of 4 days but their main base seems to be the compost toilet building. The kittens remain very timid and only Blanca is able to catch them with the exception of the black one which is nervous and explorative, not very sociable and going his own way (probably a male so).










The gang.
22 May 20:48


In the entrance to the toilet.
22 May 20:39






First climbing lesson.
1 Jun 9:20

Inspecting the compost heap.
As can be seen, the heap (1 m3) is only half full, after receiving on average one human 'call of nature' per day for two years so far.
3 Jun 9:56


The vegetation of the zone is looking beautiful with an infinite number of details and shades which are impossible to show satisfactorily on a computer screen. This is a pity because so many people are blind for this kind of details (having ultra-high definition eyes) and only say mechanically How beautiful! when they see the overkill of colours and forms of a typical flower garden with  lawn. But (with some effort) I have to stop preaching, force myself to make a concession and show some close-ups of two conspicuous plants: the orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis and the impressive thistle Onopordum acanthium. Of the first I counted more than 50 flower heads, considerably more than the 11 specimen I counted in 2007.
The thistle I had detected before in 2006 but it has appeared again more or less at the same spot with two plants.

Anacamptis pyramidalis in the half-shade of the central terrace.
2 Jun 11:41
A flower bud of Onopordum acanthium.
2 Jun 11:34

floristic catalogue
faunistic catalogue
gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-
>> 2011 Jun 12
<< 2011 May 8











Latest revision on:  01/08/2018