An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Friday, April 14, 2006

Nature loves a trier or he who dares wins, Rooney.

Today it rained. It rained for most of the day so it was just as well that we had, as ever, made the most of yesterday. Mind you the rain didn't drive us indoors until G had cleared all around Lav1 of thistles (she borrowed Farmboy's work gloves to "grasp the thistle" and to tug it, by main force, root and all from the ground dampened by the early morning showers that later gave way to torrential and sporadic downpours). D managed to get the bigger of the two avocado trees that he has grown from stones planted by the garage - it's the best part of 5 feet tall now although presently all but entirely bare of leaf (the dreaded and damaging south wind burned all its leaves to dust). Stabbing G's second best mid-sized mattock deep into a clay lined hole kneeling. He also managed, with help, largely muscle, from Eddie he also knocked up a new set of irrigation pegs (roughly u-shaped they are battered into the ground to hold irrigation pipe in place against the sometimes ferocious water pressure that comes through the farmwater feed. The rain was welcome and remarkably well-timed - for the farm at least. It cost the girls an outing in the fields (too muddy for us not them) but we were in all grateful.

Yesterday was a great day though - productive and beautiful. The red suited ones finally got their fondest wish and woke to a dry day with just the lightest of breezes (and from the north). It has been dry for a few weeks now and this was the kind of a day that they had been waiting for. The very day for burning the olive grove prunings that have languished down by the river since early December. The bigger logs are in the log-pit but huge quantities of smaller mass cuttings pile up as the trees are trimmed and pruned into shape for the following year. Farmboy is good with fire but Eddie is, we all agree, a pyromaniac genius. Eddie could get water to burn. Eddie's rejig of the pile took about half an hour, another ten minutes setting two core fires into the two metre high pile, and then two matches later the thing was begun. Inside of 5 minutes the blaze was caught and the red sits were retiring from the heat. Flames leapt. Cracks crackled. A satisfying and warming sight. Two and a half hours later and the bulk of the pile has reduced to a meltingly hot core no more than four foot around and one high. And almost no smoke.

And while all this was going on G was guiding the Husqvarna, recently serviced, around the perimeter of Lav2 opening up two new arcs that will soon be the home of her best cuttings from last year and some new plants raised from Californian seed sent over by the Mermaid. Lovingly nurtured and tended they are now fit to begin fending for themselves. D was raking the burr clover back as she came arcing around and dragging it to the glowing bonfire. Huge mounds of matted growth, green and moist soon had the previously smoke free fire billowing massive clouds of grey white signals over to the native americans in Kastellos to the south. And then 70 metres of irrigation pipe, robbed from the olive irrigation system of two years ago, was laid into the two new rows - the baby plants will be selected and planted in the next month we think. Lav2 is transformed and the end of the transformation was witness to a scene the A E houseman might have visioned up - Gill walking up and down the new trenches broadcasting by hand a fine mixture of wood ash (from winter's warmers) and depleted compost.

The red suited boys were red faced and red armed too by close of play - a sunnier day than they had reckoned on had turned their flesh crimson. That and the heat blast from the bonfire but luckily they were not lastingly damaged and a day off (rain stopped play today remember) will have seen things calming down. The rain meanwhile has washed the potash into the new rows for us and bedded the avocado tree into its new home.

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