A place and time for being

A place and time for being

This blog entry is in English just before 4 of us from Guneskoy leave for this year’s GEN (Global Ecovillage Network) meeting in Tamera, Portugal.

Though dramatic cumulus clouds still fill the sky, the ground is at last no longer saturated with water: The Balaban River is still flowing but has dropped in level for the first time this year; in 2008 it had totally dried up by the first week of June. A combine harvester has started on more open fields, where the wheat dries earlier. The ground everywhere is drying out.This means the dreaded Pıtırak (Xanthium strumarium) are too well anchored in the soil; the root too often refuses to move, and will quickly regenerate a much stronger stem, vigorously throwing out more branches that will bear hundreds of mini-hedgehog like seeds, with tiny hooks on the end of each spine – most likely the inspiration for Velcro.

Driving on the smaller roads, with birds singing and cricket chirping, is calming after the busy traffic of the main road, thickened with ‘Almanci’ – Turks living mainly in Germany, but also Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and France – zooming past, in their rush to reach their villages further East.

The water channel to the fields below our land is now flowing; frogs took no time in settling in. When I get too near, the croaker stops serenading and a muddy cloud in the water shows where it had been.

Arriving 5pm Saturday 3 hours before sundown for the flora check I’ve been doing systematically since we heard the Turkish Railways (TCDD) was planning to build the Ankara-Sivas high speed train through the middle of our land. Blue dandelion, wild onion, … the bees are thriving on Stachys cretica (a pale blue labiate, tightly packed into a sea humming with bees).

Plants are so developed many are knotting into each other; beware of natural trip wires.

The seeds have turned brown and crisp, sticking to anything knitted – like socks (needed to tuck trousers into and discourage small uninvited visitors). The slopes now defend themselves well against all but the most determined; the price is itching and stabbing from grass seeds that work into shoes, tangle laces and are virtually irremovable from socks… Must remember to bring an old toothbrush: a useful way of removing most prickles without risking fingers.

Grass hoppers have also turned brown; difficult to photograph, unless missing a back leg; hovverflies, bumble bees, dragon flies, butterflies fluttering around (how much energy does it take to keep air born without a rest?). A brightly coloured 8cm long caterpillar. The young ‘little owls’ (Athene noctua) are about, even in the day: hopping on the roof outside their nest and flying to perch on nearby posts. Sparrows love basking in the shade; we must remember to create habitat spaces in any structures we make.

The Solar Greenhouse: the birds have taken to it, and plants are thriving; in 4 weeks they have grown fast! The solar panels arrived on Saturday, and will now provide energy for pumping water, etc.

Our trees are now giving fruit:  cherries, sour cherries and strawberries.  We’ll have grapes in two months…  Vegetable produce is now in full swing, requiring planning and coordination. A spray gun is sticking, drip irrigation along the perimeter fence would relieve a lot of work; Colorado beetle is among the aubergines/ egg plants


Who planted the second row of almond trees above the bees, at the base of Güneş Tepe, between straw bales that we put in place December 2010?  … Ali Osman Sinan’la 2009 da mı?

Peganum harmala – African rue, üzerlik – is now flowering. Later the seeds will provide ‘beads’ for traditional decorations to ward off evil.

Centaurea urvillei flowers, looking rather like thistles but in fact related to corn flowers, are tasty for tortoises

‘Purple flagged’ sage (Salvia viridis) is still waving its deep purple flag to show bees where to come for the much smaller flowers below – a parallel with large supermarket signs indicating where the building is; no one goes to the sign on top, but directly to the entrance at ground level.

Sabiosa rotata, not very stricking as a flower, is not turning out its polyhedral seed heads – these could have inspired an architect or designer…

Yellow tufts of Allysum are still seen on the slopes, and thyme is still flowering. Storksbill, Erodium ciconium – one of the earliest flowers of spring – is still in flower

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