Sunday wake at 4.30, leave home at 5.43 driving through the barren linearity of concrete and glass, not a human in sight. A couple of dogs waiting to chase any vehicle that passes; birds wandering on the tarmac looking for seeds. I reached Elmadağ stopping at only one red traffic light.
At 7.00, the shadow of the viaduct is stroking the hill to our West. Celal and Merdan are off to work: weeding onions, etc. After simit and yogurt, and three mugs of tea (anticipating the heat of the day), I set off to clear the Canyon. At the mouth, tall thick clusters of wild mustard need to be cleared before they dry out and scatter seeds. Further up, Berberis and Jerusalem thorn (vicious spines, no wonder it was used for the Crown of Thorns!) in particular have sprung new growth from the sides, their sharp spines deterring any adventurous soul. The cut branches are hard to trow over the edge as the thorns catch on even a grass, changing the trajectory and bringing them tumbling back into the trench. Interesting to see which species have settled in; some wheat. The canyon is in parts a little less deep as soil builds up; some sides are wider, less steep as they fall inwards.
As always my rubbish bag fills up. Microplastics! polyurethane foam used in the viaduct construction is still found scattered over the land, under bushes, with plants growing around. As it ages, it gets more brittle and crumbles. Soon we might say "No more plastic around", but in fact it will still be there as fine dust.
10.00: Ali and the architects arrive. The gravel foundation for an earlier project is the focus of the new accommodation structure. Yes, we can make walls with bottles, even decorating some beforehand.
14.00: Özge, Ali, Mira and Atlas visit, bringing fresh kid's eye views and questions. They notice the large green beetle...
19.00: I set off with secateurs to cut back suckers at the base of fruit trees one the eastern terraces. Quite a few are infested with caterpillars, especially the pear trees.
22.30: After dinner, at KeşifPoint my mandolin needs a lot of tuning - the day was so hot after days of cool damp weather. The night lights up in the south-east as the moon starts to rise. Then it burst out from behind the cloud.
Monday 6.00: Celal has breakfast ready as the first rays of sun hit the viaduct. Chirping sparrows are slotting twigs and grasses into their nest under the photo-voltaic panel, above the glass window - how many other sparrows have such a nest?
8.00: Just the rake is enough to reach quite a lot of the floating materials. Frogs are not only heard but seen, and so are tadpoles! The frogs are happy enough to croak as I work.
Take a closer look at some of the rotting reeds; where did those tiny shell-less snails come from? We never planted the reeds in the first place...
The pond area will be attractive once we've put in a lot of work. Cutting the grasses, gathering stones, filling holes and picking up rubbish. The greatest challenge will be clearing the pond liner we needed to use at the beginning. This thick plastic sheet is now in pieces; no longer useful for us, they can be a huge barrier for certain creatures such as this young tortoise who kept skidding while trying to climb the slippery slope. How much energy is wasted as they try to adapt to human made conditions that we aren't even aware of?
A car in the field? The Grillo needed a boost to start. Driving backwards in a field without hitting young trees is not covered by driving instructors... 12.30: now too hot to be outside. I tick off all the more sedentary tasks on my list: sorting educational material, tidying, throwing out junk and cleaning. The top bunk is now a shelf. Painting on glass happens in the cooler evening - the paint in the pot would dry out.