Sowing and Sounds

Sowing and Sounds

Patates When you eat a potato, how aware are you of their journey to your plate?  Plough the land, prepare the raised beds, open up holes, drop 2 potatoes in each (carrying a bucket with many potatoes is heavy!), add a shovelful of organic compost, and close the hole! And that is without setting up the drip irrigation.   3 rows have 3 potatoes each: will it make a difference?  

In the morning, Battal came to plough up the spinach field: the roket too has gone: both wilted rapidly, though I did manage to gather enough for today's salad, and a meal.  Battal also ploughed between the fruit trees.  As we worked on the land, thrushes were nearby, singing hidden among the grasses.  

I weeded couch grass from the potato raised beds. How much root actually feeds a single blade of grass? Dig down into the soil and release the tangled networks of roots, ready to snap off at any challenge! They half filled a 10 litre bucket, and still some remained in the ground...

Pumpkin, watermelon and melon planted in rows, 1.5m apart. Strings are stretched tight; every two steps dig a hole, bury 3 seeds and cover up with soil. Doing this, I got a lot of grit/ dirt/ dry soil in my shoes. By evening, the soles of my feet with tingling after hours of fine massage.

Most of the cucumbers have now taken root and are ready to start growing. However, other species have had a head start: Convolvulus, bindweed, locally known as tortoise grass, already has deep roots and is starting to spread laterally across the soil. At the northern entrance to the polytunnel, many are about to flower, and a few have flowers about to seed! "Annual weeds should not be allowed to flower, at least not to seed!" says Gardeners! Question Time. In warmer climates Convolvulus are perennials; here our strong winters mean they start each year from seed... Correct? Without waiting for an answer, I started ripping up the bindweed from the central bed, and those about to flower. At the southern end, taller plants with broader leaves are starting to flower; rip up the Cardaria! Both are flowering that little earlier than their peers outside, in the greenhouse.

Acacia cuttings to be rooted, then planted along the borders. So many trees now in need of care: watering, pruning, mulching, weeding at the base, watching for insects: And we carry on planting more! "Tree care now is a full-time job", someone should focus just on that says Celal!

6 weeks ago I planted 18 willow cuttings on the edges of the Canyon. A third have started to bud: 3 are on the East; the 3 on the West side are stronger. This can't be due to the soil - only 150cm apart. But wind and sun could make the difference: how much moisture is retained, how hard the slope is beaten by the elements...

Though it's been cold till now, spring has come at last. So many more flowers! This black poppy is a descendent from one that flowered a decade ago at METU, self seeding over the years at Güneşköy. Many trees are blossoming: the strong white of "idris ağacı" or mahalebi cherry, and the bright yellow of the currants we planted nearly 15 years ago. Nature and Entropy? I say YES, as I consider the order that each plant establishes; Doğukan, observing on a broader scale nitices the chaos resulting from the stess and clashes as each species attempts to dominate and get as large a share as possible. Each to their own strategies.

Bombus, what happened to you? Why have you died with your mouthparts sticking out? I found you in the polytunnel; did you come here because it was warmer in your last hours? Why did you die? No chemicals at Güneşköy, but were you affected in neighbouring fields? In the glass house, the sparrows are too comfy, breeding several times a year and taking over! We tried playing eagle sounds (microphone enhanced); the first time they did panic and were confused as they tried to flee. That evening it worked again, but the next morning, they were less affected. Obviously sounds need to be supported with the movement of the bird...

To clean the pond of reeds, we need the water level to be lower. Today Doğukan was about to pull out an algal mass which slowiy came out as a sheet, rich in nitrogen: to be added to the compost heap.

The recently landscaped land between the viaduct pillars can finally settle. Alyssum murale is a true pioneed, ready to flower here as much as anywhere. This plant is known to be a hyperaccumulator...

On the newly landscaped steep slopes between the viaduct pillars, newly planted trees and shrubs need a water line. Acrobats needed! Scrambling up the slopes without slipping down, and taking up the drip-irrigation pipe without getting it caught in branches of Jerusalem thorn, while spinning the pipe to release the twists... May they take root. And lets see what else may start growing where there is moisture.

An evening without telly! Celal and Doğukan got into an amazingly charged game of Pişti. I'd tried learning, but understood little and the card game was heavy and confusing. This time I watched the experts in their duel, not fully understanding the moves but enthralled by the energy as cards were slowly retrieved from a hand and slammed down on the table. Cries of victory, grunts of loss... What a crescendo as one who'd taken the lead fell behind, then caught up at the end, finishing with a draw! Once Celal went to bed, and I got my mandolin, Doğukan started a lesson in music theory. How much difference could I hear between sounds? I've now grasped ... I do not know the necessary words in English! Mlle Raberin had given us fantastic foundations 50 years ago, and the French is the same as Turkish: gammes. First time this year that it is warm enough to play outside in the night at KeşifPoint! The 10 day old moon sheds light from behind the clouds, as the frog chorus resonates loud from the pond. Now they croak day and night "From high-pitched whirring, to a deep “bonk”, or an insect-like chirp, male frogs sing to attract their own kind. Female frogs even have ears tuned into the specific call of their own species, so that they can locate a male of their own species in a chorus of multiple, noisy males". At night they sound louder as the valley rests; down at the stream, the "nighting gale" (I should check for ornithological accuracy) sings its heart out, and somewhere else "Puuu... Puuu..." Single calls of another night bird. Local names don't match those given online...

Badminton at Güneşköy? We worked out several places where NOT to play: in the glass house, the shuttlecock can land on the seedlings! Playing near Paliurus spina-christi is not recommended! The more we tried to retrieve the shuttlecock, the deeper it lodged into the tangled mass of spiny branche. Gentle cutting away at key branches allowed us to open a way to gingerly insert a hand... Finally the wind meant a challenging balance of calculations and strength of swipe... Too many unpredictable factors for a novice player!

Going home at the end of the day, to break the fast 17 hours after sahur by 3.45, and the animals to the safety of the barns. But not everyone makes it: Sadık Doğan, while I was without reception at Güneşköy, you were fighting for your life. May you rest in peace; you were helpful and caring, and never took more than you needed as you raised your family. "True shepherds are merciful, responsible for those entrusted to them" says one with years of experience.

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