Don Máximo Rodríguez Pérez is one of Tijarefe’s oldest goatherds, in fact, he retired very recently. He’s been grazing goats in this area since he was 17. He was the first to start grazing in that area. Before these lands were used to cultivate vineyards, fig trees and peaches. He bought pieces of land, until he gathered his grazing area.
He says that when he arrived, the abundance of pastures was much greater, there were plants like lechugas, escobones, tagaigos (called garguiteros in Puntagorda) vinagreras y cabezotes. This area gave to graze for about 60 goats, today there is not much food. Without rain the ravine looks dry and depleted.
At that time, he alternated this grazing area and the summit, living in transhumance. From December to March he was in this coastal area, which are the months with more rain and vegetation. From March to August he took them to the summit. This alternation allowed the forage resources of grazing areas not to run out.
In August he brought them down to the coast to get them pregnant, during a month, later he took them to the summit again. Until December.
Most of the time they were at the summit, which is the area where there is the most food. Today it is forbidden to graze at the summit and the territorial management of the Canary Islands places the farms on the coast, where there are fewer and fewer resources, having this an impact on the ravines.
- Coast (ravines): January, February, March.
- Summit (top of the mountain): April, May, June, July, September, October and November.
- Coast: August and December.
The wide path that crosses this ravine was very important “it is the road that existed in the past”, the most used route by people to move from Garafía and Puntagorda, to go to exchange their products (cheese, eggs, etc.) to Tazacorte and Los Llanos. They did it with beasts, with mules, donkeys, horses, or merchandise on their shoulders and women, on their heads.
In this ravine he found the remains of two people. Archaeologists told him they were dating back to 1,000 AD. The clothes were like braids, made of grass or straw. One’s jaw was tiny and they said, he was about 35 years old. They are apparently two Guanches or Awara bodies (first settlers of La Palma) to be more correct.
To get the lost animals out of the ravine, he tied them up and pulled them out with the help of the traditional spear.
His grandparents lived in that ravine in a cave with a pipe, there they had 3 or 5 goats and made cheese for themselfs. They moved to a pajero (little ston house) in Tinizara and by the time they returned within a few days the cave had fallen. They loved living there. Before almost all people lived in caves, in Tinizara there were only 5 or 6 houses. They started building when people came back from Cuba with some money. Some caves had walls in front of them, some with doors and others were uncovered.