Last of the summer grapes

I only have a single grape vine on the land where the donkeys graze, but I have been harvesting sweet grapes since mid-August and picked the last two bunches today. I have not dusted the vine with sulphur, so now that the harvest is finally over and I have dressed the vine, the donkeys ate the remaining leaves and the dried up grapes still on them.

I made a bonfire to burn all the left over garden waste from summer and once the donkeys had eaten their fill of vine leaves, I burnt the remaining branches. I was suddenly transported to the Gospel according to St John the Evangelist, “I am the vine and you are the branches,” as I watched the fire consume the last of my carefully tended vine branches.

It is a glorious day and I will walk up to Finestrat with Aitana, who seems to be in “sensible donkey” mode today. Matilde has been limping, so I am not sure if it´s a good time to walk her. More photos later. The light is wonderful today.

UPDATE: 4 pm
Aitana walked to Finistrat but would not settle down to a bowl of cereal and some carrots while tied to the bench opposite the bar. She was braying loudly and trying to uproot the bench (which was bolted to the paving stones only on three legs.) I had to rush my beer and abandon my conversation with Carl to start walking Aitana home again. After descending the path into the gorge, she dragged me all the way up the other side and raced all the way home, straining at the lead rope. When we arrived home it became clear what the panic was all about: she went straight to Matilde for feeding. Surely 13 months is way beyond milk-feeding stage?

As soon as I finished writing the last update and uploading photos I realised I no longer had my watch. I reckoned it would be exactly at the spot where I took that last photo, as I wrestled with the lead rope while getting the camera strap caught in my watch strap… I figured the watch strap must have broken without me realising. The walk back to the spot took ten minutes and I found the watch with the aid of the photo to pinpoint the exact spot on the path! Lucky nobody had walked the path since we came back.


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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3 Responses to Last of the summer grapes

  1. Karin says:

    Love that they shared so sweetly with you this time.

  2. Barbara says:

    Not sure I like the implications of the vine parable…..
    As for the milk bar, I think that was just insecurity being away from mum. The “sevrage affectif” as opposed to just not feeding is around a year old, but they are of course still friends, the depth of the friendship will vary but it seems they are very strongly linked. Nice pictures!

  3. Frere Rabit says:

    Funnily enough, Rubí and Morris who were separated for a few months because of his “male problem”, are now much more inclined to groom each other. I have never seen Aitana and Matilde grooming each other at all. One of the things that I really liked about your Dalie and Rosie, when I was in my first throes of fascination with donks, was the way they groom each other with such affection.

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