It was a beautiful sunny day today after lots and lots of rain - I should have done some gardening and cleaned the house but I decided to go on an organised walk with the Dutch people - who go on wonderful walks every month. Today we went from Evangelistria up to Zia, from Zia up to Kefalovrisi and from there across the mountain and down to Assomatos. It was an excellent walk. We stopped at the new (or rather very old - newly restored) cafenion "Kazino" . It has been beautifully restored and was originally opened in 1906. It has the original"bar" inside, original beams and stone floor, restored furniture and pictures - the place is amazing. The Greek Coffee is served in the "Briki" (the little pot they make it in) and there is a piece of "loukoumi" (Greek sweet) on the saucer. They also had homemade Baklava and spoons sweets. They are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the winter and will probably open more in the summer as they have a wonderful terrace at the front. They are open in the evenings for ouzo/wine, mezedes (little snacks) and live music - definately a place to visit - you will find it up the steps next to the Church of Assomatos. After discussing the situation in Greece and deciding that it was time for an uprising we them ambled back to Evangelistria. The whole walk took about 2 hours (we spent an hour in the cafenion - so it was really good - hopefully Betty and I are going to test out another walk for next month Lagoudi - Konario - Pyli Castle - Mystery Taverna in the Woods and then back to Lagoudi....
Christmas came and went - too much food was eaten and now have high cholesterol - time to start the mega diet!!! It was not only Christmas it was also the wood fire that we put in the middle of the living room this year. As it has a top to cook on and an oven, it just looks at you and says "cook something on me" so we do/did - pancakes with melted chocolate seemed to be the favourite and fresh bread - no wonder our cholesterol went sky high!!! We are now drinking herbal teas every day - all herbs freshly picked from the garden - marjoram, dill, fennel, sage, mint, rosemary to name but a few - all healthy and cleansing. Winter salads are great now - grated fresh carrot, grated radish, chopped fresh celery and chopped lettuce tossed in our own olive oil wiith freshly squeezed lemon juice - wicked!!! The weather has been terrible for quite a while - loads of rain (which is good for the land). Today was one of the first days I went for a nice long walk down the farmer's lane towards Tingaki, A lot of the wild flowers are coming out now - anemones, minature iris, daisies, marigolds, dog rose - they are going to be in for a shock next Wednesday as they say it is going to be -5 chill factor!!! I must remember to bring my Avocado in for a few days otherwise it will freeze. I pulled up a few roots of wild Thyme and bought them home and planted then by the Lavender - let's hope it takes. Reminds me of that song - wild mountain thyme.... I ran back up the hill which certainly cleared my lungs - I have given up smoking now for 29 days and really need to get fit!!! Maybe I should have run down the hill and walk back up????
We finally finished picking the olives last week - in the rain!!! We ended up getting 168 kilos of Extra Virgin Olive Oil 0.2 Acidity Level which is about as good as it gets. This has now been put aside for the sediment to settle and should be ready by next month. I also made/prepared about 60 kilos of Kalamon Olives (the black ones) and they will be ready this week. Another 50 kilos of Kalamon Olives have been stored - these are special and will be ready in June. Manos has been busy making his magic liqueurs, amazing soaps and Limoncello from our organic Lemons....Life is looking GOOD!!!
Well, unfortunately, there has not been any time to do any gardening this week - except a cup of coffee in the garden and a quick word with all the flowers to see how they are getting on. I always find that the flowers/plants/bulbs I talk to grow better than the ones I do not talk to - strange you might say - but a harmless past time you might say (or not!!!)
Other things had to be done this week such as making the Christmas Cake, Christmas Pudding and, of course, putting the tree (not a real one) up. As usual we lost the lights - borrowed a couple of sets - finished putting the tree up and then....found them. Nevermind - we can put some on the olive tree at the front outside for a change....
I have a lot of lemons too so have been making lemonade and, if the chickens start laying again, I will be making some lemon curd. Funny things chickens..but they are another story!!!
Well I will have to finish for tonight as I must write some christmas cards too......
Well the long awaited rain has arrived with avengence - no blue skies for 2 days now and it feels like the end of the world! I do not know how I would ever manage to live in UK again - although I do miss the beautful flowers and trips to the garden centres - my favourite was Pole Hill.
I just remind myself that at least the plants will have grown about 2 inches by the the day after tomorrow and the last lot of olives will be nice an plump and ready for picking. Let's hope we can get them picked by Christmas - we do everything ourselves and are very particular - each olive is picked by hand....when we take them for pressing the are no leaves - not even a stalk left on them. This gives us the highest quality of oil - normally 0.1-0.2 acidity level which is the best!!!
This is the time of year we harvest the "Kalamon" olives - the tree is heaving this year. These are special - we hand sort these into barrels - cover them with brine and seal with our oil - leaving them to mature for 6 months. Usually they are ready for Easter. But we will have to wait for the rain to stop - probably a couple of days.
The views in this weather are amazing from the house - you can watch the rain coming in across the sea - then slowly Kalymnos diasppears, then Tingaki, then Zipari and then, all of a sudden, we are in the rain storm clouds and can not see a thing. Gradually it starts to clear and you can see Kalymnos again - amazing. Whatever the weather the views are incredible and I would not swap them for the world....
Well, it is the 4th of December 2011 - the weather is amazing - 20 degrees - nearly 70 degrees in "English"!!! It has been a busy day today - the garden takes a lot of work. The tractor ploughed the land around the Olive Trees yesterday - in preparation for the rain - making sure the olives get plently of water before the long, dry summer starts. The olives produced here are totally natural - they do not get watered all summer or sprayed with pesticides so are totally organic. This is why we produce such excellent quality extra virgin and virgin olive oil - very high quality soap and washing machine detergent and last not least - St John;s Wort oil. I must say, so far, it has been a fantastic winter - it has actually been like spring since October.
Today I started cuttings off of Geraniums, Australian Basil (that grows into a very tall bush), Sage, Oregano, Lavendar - could say it was a herb day today!!! As the land had been ploughed though it was really easy to get the soil - which made a change - normally you need a pick axe!!! MInd you it was easy filling the wheelbarrow but I could not push it - had to get my son, Stephen, to do that....I even found some celery growing in some of my flower pots so I transplanted that as well. I must have done at least 30 plants - a good start...
It gets dark quite early now - about 5pm - so I knocked off at 4.30ish to go and collect some dry twigs to light the wood burner for the evening. Last night I started the fire with dry lavender twigs - the house smelt beautiful. Tonight I have collected dried lavender and sage - amazing aroma - beats airfreshner any day!
So much to do and not enough time....I really need two more hours of daylight! I still have loads of cuttings to do - 2 trees to move, start planting the natural borders around the property (4000 sq mtrs), still a lot of weeds to clear and, of course, the leaves to clear up and start the compost heap.....
I will have to go and get on with all the things I did not do - ironing, washing, cleaning (lust boiling lavender and sage on the wood burner to clean the furniture)!!! I hope I will be able to keep this diary up and I hope you enjoy reading it. Gardening in Greece is hard - it is trial and error. I have tried everything and made millions of erros I can assure you. One plant I can not grow is a Gardenia and I can not work out why???
If anyone has any suggestions - email me.Well, after looking into this a bit more - I suppose that this is the best place to put the diary..not quite got the hang of all this yet - trial and error - like the plants really!!!
Hi, I am Kayt - someone who can do everything and anything - well that is what I like to think and it definately gets harder as you get older!!! My husband (Manos) and I built the Olive Grove in 2001. It is set in 4000sq mtrs and we have spent years trying to "get it right" - I do not think it will ever be "finished" - I will always find something else to do - but that's life.... I thought it was small in the beginning but then the little birds started leaving the nest and now we think it is time to share it with the rest of the world and hope that you love it as much as we do....