Resort Guides

TefiaLast week I described the buildings in the eco-village at Tefia, which have been preserved to show traditional life from the poorest home to the better off farmer. I also showed you some of the workshops which house the crafts which were essential to village life and are now continued through the artisan network.

Bread and water are of course essential to life and the outdoor bread oven is working in Tefia on a daily basis providing artisan bread for the cafeteria on site and local "panaderias"(bakeries) as well. Obtaining and storing clean water became more and more of a problem as the island got drier and drier. The locals stored their precious water in underground cisterns which kept it cool and prevented evaporation. Although most houses can be connected to the mains water supply now, this is not the case in all areas and the courtyard of a traditional Canarian house may well still have a large underground storage tank, nowadays probably filled up by a delivery of fresh water brought by the water board.

Animals were an important source of meat, milk and animal power. Camels were better suited to the hot dry climate than horses, so were used for ploughing and carrying and driving the mill wheels round. Goats survive on the scrubbiest plants and are very nimble so they are far more prolific than sheep which prefer lusher, less rocky pastures. Goats milk is mostly these days used for making cheese and most village still have their "Queseria" or cheese making facility. Last week I showed you the cheese making rooms at Tefia. The cheesemaker plaits palm leaves into a band which is put around the cheese to keep its shape and also produces the distinctive pattern round the sides. At the annual Fiega (agricultural festival) there is fierce competition to win the coveted gold medal for cheese making excellence. Camels and goats are on show at Tefia.

Apart from camels and goats, the island has two distinct breeds of dogs, both of which take their ease in the sunshine at Tefia. The podenko is a ginger coloured dog, built like a greyhound but with very distinctive pointed ears, the shape reminiscent of the Egyptian cat. The Podenko is bred as a hunting dog. Hunting is strictly regulated and there are government licenced hunting grounds and it is only allowed at certain times of the year nowadays. You would be unlikely to find a podenko in Corralejo, as they are not kept as a pet but they are very numerous in the villages and almost always chained up living in packs. Hunting rabbits and is normal and now the Barbary squirrels or as they are sometimes wrongly called chipmunks can also be hunted as they are officially classed as vermin.

The other traditional dogs are called Bardinos and are more powerfully built, their coats are dense and have a variety of colours in the brown/black range in them. They are more likely to be kept singly as guard dogs. Kennels can be made of anything that is available nowadays I have seen many of these dogs sheltering from the sun in cable drums! Here at Tefia the Bardino is shown with his more traditional kennel made of stone.

Pepper tree in a simple garden

Courtyard gardens range from very simple, with simply a tree for shade (pepper trees are popular or a fruit tree such as a pomegranate) may be the only thing in it with maybe a stone seat attached to the wall of the house. The house of the better off gentleman has a garden which is more recognisable to us with its lush flowering cacti and geraniums. A visit to Tefia is very worthwhile and a marvellous glimpse into traditional island life.





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