Zahínos 2008

August 21, 2008 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Family, Photos, Spain 770 views

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In back of truckWhen we go to Extremadura, we stay mainly in my mother-in-law’s hometown of Higuera de la Serena (Fig Tree of the Serene). But we also always visit my father-in-law’s hometown of Zahínos. Higuera de la Serena is a very small town, but most of the people we see there have moved away to the Basque Country and are visiting on vacation like we are. So, despite the size of the town, Higuera de la Serena feels more urban because of the people there. But Zahínos is still full of the rural people that have always lived there, so Zahínos really feels like a small town. Marga’s uncle, Ángel, after suffering three heart attacks, no longer works, accepting a social security check and spending his days renovating his house and working on his farm. And, because it’s small town Spain, the thought of Ángel’s wife or two daughters ever having a job has never occurred to anyone. So things are reeeally laid back, since the family members we visit there are all on permanent vacation. The most interesting thing we ever do there is go to Ángel’s farm.
Grapes to the horizon

During the two-hour drive from Higuera de la Serena to Zahínos, we pass right through a vineyard that stretches from horizon to horizon.

Piggies

The pigs rush to the gate because they know what’s coming.

Feeding Pigs

Ángel dumps watermelon rinds to the pigs. He claims that this is pretty much all they eat.

Pigs eating watermelon rinds

Oink oink. Snuffle snuffle. Pigs eat very…vigorously.

Pigs eating watermelon rinds

So would these be pork rinds? I crack myself up.

Gobble gobble!

He’s got turkeys too.

Turkeys

Gobble gobble.

Swell Well

A circular well with a rectangular wall.

In back of truck

The way we go to Ángel’s farm is in his backseatless truck. This year it was my turn to be in the back.

We were there for the annual town festival in Zahínos. The only real event we saw was the Ribbon Race. The event consists of riding a horse at full gallop under a bar upon which ribbons tied to metal rings hang. The competitors have to stick a pencil-sized stick through the metal ring, capturing a ribbon as they gallop by. Needless to say, this is very difficult. There are quite a few residents of Zahínos with some excellent equestrian skills. It was very fun to watch. I tried for some action shots right by the ribbons, but I ended up with 15 photos of the ribbons and the sky. Not a single horse. Let’s just say the iPhone isn’t for photographing fast things.

Ribbon Race

“Whoa!!” They use that word in Spanish, too. Although I guess it would be spelled guo. You can see the ribbons there on the left.

Ribbon Race

He looks like he’s in a hurry to go write something.

Horse parked at saloon

Afterwards we went for some drinks. There were several “parked” horses at the bar saloon.

Frog Legs

Fried frog legs. Pretty good food. I don’t eat much amphibian.

 
  • Uncle Neil

    That is a very impressive pig pen set up for the long term. What kind of tree is that growing in there? Fencing on top of a rock wall embedded in concrete. The outward curve in the top looks to keep out dogs and such. The gate looks like it was well placed over boulders or bedrock maybe fifty years ago. One pig per person from piglet per year. I suspect that the work Angel, his wife, and daughters do managing their farm, home, and food supply is quite significant. How do they preserve garden produce? Canning, root cellar, and more?They were probably glad to visit with family.
    Does that style of saddle predominate in that area? The high back design is for those who might spend all day in the saddle moving slow or just sitting.

  • http://www.erik-rasmussen.com/ Erik R.

    Extremadura is known throughout Spain for producing the best Spanish hams. The important factor is that they are in large enclosures with many encinas under which the pigs eat the potent acorns, called bellotas, that add flavor to the meat.

    Yes, they have a very significant cellar in their house and make more cheese and sausage than they can consume. During our visit, he extracted a gallon of milk from his goats. I’m not sure about garden produce preserving. Presumably they have some conservation process involving jars.

    As for the saddle, I have absolutely no idea, nor do I know anyone I could ask. Sorry.