Tuesday, 28 April 2015

April is a big month for the Fogies

April is definitely one of the most momentous months for us. On an everyday basis it is the month when we begin to change from winter mode into summer one. The outdoor furniture goes back outside, the terrace starts to be an additional room in everyday use, the pool is cleaned and prepared for the season, the heating goes off, and most important of all - sunshine starts to be regular rather than a spasmodic affair.

Of course the sunshine means that we can get outside again and David is doing well with his building tasks and the garden is looking fairly good. In the veggie garden peas and broad beans are almost ready to start picking, we are already eating lettuce and the leeks and onions are doing well. But we have high hopes for the fruit trees this year. Plums and peaches are looking good, but more importantly we look as though we should at long last, five years since planting, get our first apricots and our first mulberries.We did unfortunately lose our lemon tree to the hard frosts this winter so we have to accept that Uzumlu and lemon trees do not mix - we were warned - and replace it with something else.

In the village life changes too. The goats and donkeys start to reappear and a few days ago we watched the first nomadic herd coming along the road and off up to the mountains for the summer. The shops, cafes and restaurants step up a gear with longer opening hours and summer menus. The village of course also hosts the three day mushroom festival which is great fun. Summer is in the air!

First large herd of sheep and goats going past our house this year

But April is also a big month for us on a personal level. It was April when we first saw and fell in love with our present home. It was Friday April 13th when we moved here together with our animals and incredibly we are now into our fourth year of living here. April 19th was David's 67th birthday and April 23rd was our pups (sisters) 2nd birthday.

We don't bother to go out much other than shopping in the winter, but this month we have ventured down the hill to Fethiye, Calis and Oludeniz and it's great to feel like going out and about again. We love to wander along Fethiye harbour and to take in the stunning views of the bay over a coffee. We see that early holiday makers have now arrived and the town is starting to have it's summer buzz.

Pit stop for coffee and to take in the wonderful view

One of the things we love about being here is that you never quite know what you are going to see, and last time we went to Fethiye we saw a car with it's number plate fixed to the back by putting it in a picture frame, and as we were crossing the road, suddenly along came a band dressed in traditional costume followed by hundreds of school children carrying plaques marching down the road and all the traffic ground to a halt as they made their way through the streets.

Out shopping and suddenly .. a band!

In Calis last week the beaches were still empty, although the sun loungers were piled up in the car park ready to go out, and the shops and restaurants are getting ready for the season. The activity in Oludeniz was manic as all the businesses were busy preparing for the new season to begin. The atmosphere was electric.

One small boy thoroughly enjoying Calis beach to himself, but not for much longer.

Today has been really hot. 42C in our garden and the local goats have taken over our pile of sand as their resting place. Bless!

So all in all we're feeling good and looking forward to a long hot summer.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Yesiluzumlu Mushroom Festival 2015

Today is the last day of the annual three day mushroom Festival and yesterday we wandered down to join the festivities. It seems strange to see our village which is normally so quiet heaving with visitors. The roads through the middle of the village are closed to traffic and trade stands and make shift cafes are spread along the streets. It really is a great atmosphere to be there with everyone in festive mode.

We did notice that there were not nearly as many stands as in previous years, and speaking as someone who loves to wander and browse the wares it seemed a shame. But nevertheless I did manage to make a couple of purchases.

Some lovely things on the stands

I bought two bundles of garden canes, a couple of plaques for the garden and of course a couple of bottles of Uzumlu wine. I have learnt now that it is not a good idea to drink the Uzumlu wine and then go out afterwards. Last year with family we had a very pleasant afternoon whiling away the afternoon sipping Uzumlu wine by the pool. It was our wedding anniversary and we went out in the evening for a meal with family and friends. Unfortunately after imbibing during the afternoon I found I was almost incapable of speech throughout the evening, so this time it will be savoured at home on a day we intend staying there!

There is a great choice of items made from dastar the cloth which Uzumlu is known for and has been made here for hundreds of years, and a wide selection of village foods.

Lots of village food on offer too

A lot of villagers are making gözleme (pancakes) and along with the normal fillings, mantar mushrooms are an option because it is these mushrooms which are what the festival is actually all about. However, we opted for a kofte kebab and a coffee, sitting at tables and chairs which were set out in the middle of what is a road when the festival is not on.

Gözleme being cooked everywhere ...........
........ you're spoilt for choice ......

...... and then eat it in the street

Usually when the Festival is on we can hear the evening concert at home, but this year we have had high winds from a different direction to normal and it has scuppered our chances of hearing it. However, I understand that the village square was packed and that it has been highly successful again.

Long may the festival continue it is so nice to see so many visitors enjoying what Uzumlu has to offer.

Monday, 6 April 2015

The weather has improved and it's go, go, go at Fogie's Place!

Hooray it's April and summer is getting close, another winter done. The weather is variable with some rainy days and showers but interspersed at last with some beautifully warm - almost hot days. The tortoises are coming out of hibernation, leaves are coming on the trees and both ourselves and the animals are able to spend a lot more time outside again. 

I am like a different person in the warmer weather, I hate the winters with a vengeance and whereas I sit around indoors like a blobby all winter, in the summer I am out there busy, busy, busy. I love the warmer weather.

We haven't been anywhere of interest in the last month. I have spent my time pulling the garden round and starting to sort the pool. David has been cracking on with his building and at last our major project is coming together and we can see the end in sight. Everything we do now is improving the look of the place and it is changing from gypsy encampment into visible hope of a pleasant place to sit and while away some time.

After months of using a pallet to keep the dogs in the front garden, it has now been replaced by a gate. The joy of undoing a catch and walking through instead of having to undo wire and lift a pallet out of the way every time you need to pass is unbelievable.

Goodbye Pallet ..........

...... Hello opening, properly functioning, dog proof garden gate

The wall is now built between the drive and our back garden and grapevine run along the top of it. Yes I know there is a bit of clearing up to do! We have a heap of rotten wood that was our bedroom floor but more of that later. The two biggest boulders that we had to remove from the garden - I just have to think of something to do with them. I am determined to think up some way of incorporating them into the garden somewhere, to remind us of the hard work that this project was. Also some roses that someone was taking up from a garden in Calis and were going free. Unfortunately the roots were hacked about when they were taken up, but I have put them in pots to see if I can salvage them to use at a later date in the garden.

Drive wall finally finished

David had now started on the top half of the barbecue and hopefully that will be finished very soon.

Meanwhile in the house the saga with the water damage in our bedroom continues. We had removed the parts of the wooden floor that had gone rotten, measured up the part that needed to be patched in which ended up being (we thought) a piece about 3 metres by 2 metres, and the carpenter was scheduled to come and put it in almost two weeks ago on a Thursday. The allotted Thursday duly arrived and along with it an electricity cut, so it had to be postponed to the following day. The power finally was reconnected at teatime. But at 8.30 the following day it was off again all day and the same on Saturday.

On Monday morning, anticipating that the carpenters may come that day, David checked the floor to be sure everything was OK. It was not! The boards that had been left because they were undamaged were soaking wet underneath. Anyway the long and short of it was that because when the floor had been originally laid they had not left a breathing gap around the edge, condensation was sitting under it. Obviously to have the new bits put in would have sealed it in to yet again to cause more damage later on. We therefore made the decision to rip the entire floor up and have the whole thing replaced, more expense. The carpenters are up there as I write, finally putting a new floor in and it should be finished later today. 

all ready for the new floor 

We have of course had to entirely empty the bedroom and spread the furniture all around the remaining rooms upstairs both to rip up the old floor and to put the new one down. So the other rooms upstairs now look like a second hand furniture shop with things stacked everywhere including in front of our wardrobes so that it is a major performance just getting clean clothes out to wear each day.

We will therefore be highly delighted when the job is done and all the furniture is back where it belongs. However, to prolong the inconvenience even further, in my wisdom I have decided that it is too good an opportunity to miss having the room empty and that we should decorate it now too. In the long run it seems the sensible thing to do.

On the plus side there will be enough good flooring to use for the köşk which we intend building in the front garden. That is if we ever finish the back!

Meanwhile as Head Gardener I have just finished my spring maintenance the whole way round the garden. I have weeded all the beds, retied and pruned the climbing roses, tidied up all the other plants and swept the paved areas. I have also planted a privet hedge and some bamboo between us and our neighbour to eventually give us more privacy and I have cucumber, aubergine, hot chilli pepper, bell peppers and two kinds of tomato seeds sown in pots and radish and lettuce sown in the veggie garden.

Broad beans in flower now

The peas, beans. leaks, onions and lettuce that had been planted earlier are coming along well so we may have something to eat later on when we have spent all our money on the bedroom!

All in all it's a stay at home and get on with things time of the year, so that later on we can enjoy some time with friends and family when they visit in the summer.