Winter in the Greek Countryside

6 Feb 2011

Skyros, Greece

In the farm, it’s all about the weather. There are two kinds of days – the rainy ones and the sunny ones – and during my two weeks here I have seen no deviations from this black-and-white scale. It’s always either very rainy or very sunny.

On the rainy days, there’s a lot of work. A strong wind usually comes along with the rain, summing up to a quite nasty weather which is as frustrating for the ponies as for us, tough as they are. So if the rain persists for longer than half a day – and it always does – we bring them in. This also prevents their hay from getting wasted by being blown across the field before they even get to it. Ponies in stables means a double load of work – cleaning out the stables, making their beds and cleaning out again when they go outside is a lot more time-consuming job than mucking out the fields, which needs to be done anyway, and wet muck is twice is heavy. (Fun fact – the 27 ponies at the farm produce an average of 1 ton of muck within 3-4 days.) About half of the time it has been rainy and I think it’s mostly the rainy days that are to blame for all the weight I’ve been losing in the past weeks. Rainy days are tiresome, both physically and mentally.

That being said, I must add that there’s a big part of me that enjoys the heavy physical work, especially on rainy days. It brings you down to earth and makes life very real.

But today is a sunny day. Although there was frost on the grass early in the morning, it is, in fact, the sunniest day this far. It must be more than +20 degrees C as I’m sitting here, wearing a tanktop and linen trousers, and I’d be deeply surprised if I didn’t end up being sunburned by the evening. On such days, the only big job in addition to feeding, is mucking out the fields, and even if I do all the 5 fields on my own, I get done by lunch time. For the rest of the day there is little or no work. Occasionally there is a fence to be moved, grass to be cut or water buckets to be brushed, but even after doing all that, there’s plenty of time for the simple pleasures of life, such as taking a walk to the seaside or up to the hills, hanging out with the ponies, enjoying a fresh juicy orange or reading books. I’ve read through 4 novels during my time here, and hungry for more.

And on sunny days there are some jobs that are not jobs at all, such as walking the ponies. When the foals reach the age of 6-7 months, they are trained to wearing headcollars and walking on the leash. Some of them are rather easygoing and quick enough learners so I get to train them on my own. I can’t even imagine a nicer way of spending a sunny day.

On a beautiful day like this, you also start noticing little things that were there before but didn’t catch your attention as you were busy hiding from the wind and rain. The greenery, lushous even in February (especially compared to the endless fields of snow back at home), the surrounding sounds of turkies, roosters, donkies and goats, the robins singing and finches bathing in puddles, the moist air of the Mediterrenean, sheep grazing on the hillsides, and still my favourites – the lemon trees with their countless bright yellow fruits.

So it’s all about the weather. You wake up every morning, hoping it will be a sunny day, and having looked at the colour of the sky, immediately know what the day will bring.

Published in: on 9. veebr. 2011 at 12:54  Lisa kommentaar  

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