Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mi Cortijo

My parents had bought such a beautiful farm at the top of Mojacar, with spectacular views. After living in Mojacar for a while I knew I wanted to live on the hill as well. On an adjacent piece of property was an old converted pig sty. It had been fixed in traditional cortijo style. Small windows, rock and mud wall, bamboo ceilings and rock floors. It had been abandoned for about twelve years. After a lot of convincing, I talked the lady into selling it to me. It meant I had to work several jobs while fixing up the place, but I loved it and it adjoined my parents’ farm so the children could go from one place to the other with no traffic or dangers, just wild flowers and baby goats jumping in the grass. The children learned the old and the new at the same time, they learned how to make bread in an old dome clay oven outside and then run across the field and work on my father’s computer. They had the best of both worlds. It was perfect and always full of children as you can see in the picture To move in we first had to cut away about two trucks of spiky cactus to get to the front door. Once inside it had two floors one with kitchen, two bedrooms and a bath, down the steps and there was a living room and another bedroom and bath. The views were spectacular. It took a lot of cleaning to get ready to live in but was soon ready for occupancy. The house was completely surrounded by a wall. One morning we woke up to hear voices and see the ends of rifles all lined up against the wall. I went out to see what was happening, it turned out the Americans were doing military maneuvers with the Spanish army and they had to conquer The Cortijo de Maria. It looked like the right place on the map but I had never heard of our house as cortijo de Maria. It turned out they were right on the mark. We soon made friends and showed them around town on their time off. I t was a bit frightening in the beginning hearing American voices and seeing rifles. We left the cortijo in the traditional style because we liked it and we didn’t need any more convienences than it already had. We loved to collect wood and cook over the fireplace, mostly things grown on the farm, citrus, potatoes, onions and spinach. We did have a small fridge and stove in the kitchen. We had an era where the girls did their hay-surfing and then we started to collect animals. We seemed to start overflowing the cortijo, with children and animals, and decided to move into Lenox’s family home which was much bigger and had a swimming pool. Lenox’s childhood home also had lots of property which we soon filled with stables and paddocks, baby pens, aviaries. We have had many wonderful years in this big old house but it seems a bit empty with most of the children and animals gone. We have kept a few easy-to-keep animals and our son brings his friends over which helps to fill the void. This is still where we live to this very day. My brother now lives in my cortijo and it looks like something out of Better Homes and Gardens. I preferred the old look but it is much easier to clean now and a much more respectable house but I still think of all the memories we have from that little cortijo.

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