Sunday, March 25, 2012

The new chicken villa

It´s been ages since I have updated the blog, but here are the biggest and latest news from Kairos garden: the new villa for the chickens!

Built in wood and with proper roof tiles, this is definitely an upgrade from the old chicken shed. The chickens also have got a huge yard, with two olive trees for shade - no wonder they are happy! Look at the rent we get:

Eventually, they will have to share their space with some ducks,  but that also means the installation of a pool (= old bathtub), so I don´t think they will mind!
The villa even have a wall painting, a fresco with a scenery from a Greek island.

So nice, that Christos thinks of moving in here himself...:)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Listen to the Birds!

One of our guests recorded this with her mobile phone, at the back balcony of Villa Kalypso.

Kairos Garden is a hot spot for bird watching - and listening. See the amazing list of birds one of our birding guests watched in only five days in early May here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year!

A bit late, but never mind!
I have been busy updating our website, with new info and new pictures. The job is far from done yet, but make sure you enjoy the pictures from northern Greece, that you can see here and the update on our village.
You´ll also find loads of new photos from our local beaches here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

CHRISTMAS and the Greek family...

Ever since I moved to Greece almost 20 years ago we´ve celebrated Christmas here. When Christos was working he was never able to take days off for any major holidays, so we couldn´t go to Norway. By now, we´ve established a Norwegian-Greek Christmas tradition, so there would be tears in the Greek family should we decide to celebrate in Norway one year. Or so I´d like to think!
Like I have written in former posts - the Greeks are lost when it comes to Christmas. As it´s Christos´ name day on Christmas day - and name days are big in Greece - he believed Christmas was something one celebrated because of him. Actually, his inner child still believes that and can´t really understand why other people shall receive gifts, too.
(As for that guy Christ? Christ - Christos - what´s the difference?)
Further, he couldn´t get that I insisted on having everyone over for dinner on Christmas Eve, which is the Big Day in Norway.
The rest of the family didn´t get it, either. The first Christmas they politely showed up, two hours after they had been invited, wearing track suits and carrying their gifts in plastic bags.
Luckily I married into a family of foodies, so at least there were no complaints, only curiosity, about all that weird food they were served.
Actually, I think any Norwegian celebrating with us also would find the food, and especially the food combinations,  pretty weird. One thing is that I can´t get hold of all the ingredients, so - like the creative woman I am - I have to improvise. Another thing is that the Greeks insist that we´d put some feta cheese, olives and salad, too on the table. Forget about delicious sauces or fancy dressings - they pour olive oil over everything!
They still show up a couple of hours after they are invited, but dressed up - and besides, now I am used to it. I am also used to never knowing how many people we´ll be at the table. It´s very Greek to just bring someone along - and not to tell about it. It´s also very Greek not to show up - and not tell about that - and it´s not even considered impolite in Greece!
So of course it´s impossible to have a north-European style dinner with starter, main course and dessert, all served with precise timing. We just put everything on the table (except the dessert): The gravlaks and mustard sauce, the pork roll, the tytteb√¶rsyltet√ły (a cranberrylike jam), the sursild (pickled herring), the pate, the boiled potatoes and Brussel sprouts,  the pickled beetroot, the village sausages and the German smoked sausages, the Waldorf salad, the sauerkraut and the cabbage salad, the spinach pie from my sister in law, the feta cheese and the olives and the olive oil...And then everyone just come and dig in whatever the time is when they show up.
I am especially looking forward to one guest this year: Julenissen, Santa Claus, who´ll come all the way from the north pole bringing gifts...

Two years ago, at Christmas eve, our niece Eleni revealed that she was expecting a baby. Now Anastasia is one and a half years old - old enough to be introduced to Julenissen! He´ll come knocking on the door, carrying a huge sack filled with gifts that he´ll deliver before he leaves. (The sad thing is that I always use to miss this, as I am at the toilet when he arrives, but never mind..:))
I LOVE Christmas Eve!
A wonderful Christmas to you, too, whenever you celebrate it!
PS: And as I am writing this, the sun has come up and there´s SNOW on the mountains of Thassos!

Friday, December 16, 2011

When Life Throws You Mandarins...

..what do you do?

We have two mandarin trees in the yard outside our kitchen, bursting with fruits. No matter how long I´ll live in Greece - I´ll always find this very exotic and special!
At Christmas, when I was a kid, my mum used to buy a case of mandarins, and we´d eat those sweet fruits until we felt like bursting. It was this once-a-year-thing, a part of the Christmas celebrations.
Now you can probably buy mandarins even in June in an average Norwegian supermarket. Artificially grown - as we to need to have everything available all the time.
What happened to seasonal?

Well, my trees grow 100 percent naturally, and bear fruits in December.
So even as a grown up, at Christmas time, I can eat as many mandarins as I want - and I even get to pick them myself!
Isn´t that truly amazing - or what??

My kids have to leave for the school bus at a quarter past seven in the morning, when it´s still dark. Some mornings I feel sorry for them, having to leave our warm nice home to go out in the cold and wait for the bus...(If we had lived in Norway I´d probably do home schooling in the winter!:) Other mornings I feel guilty for not being a better mum (don´t tell them!). And some mornings I am simply nice.
Then I go out in the dark, to the mandarin trees, and pick mandarins. The fruits glow in the dark. They´re small, so I need quite a few for the mandarin juice.

The juice is so sweet you believe sugar was added. You can´t possibly drink more than a glass. But you do manage to eat a few mandarins for dessert - that´s a whole different chapter.

And that´s what to do when life throws you mandarins.
Enjoy the fruits!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The New Parterre

Like I told about in this post a few weeks ago, I have been pretty busy moving earth (and building muscles). The parterre behind Villa Lotus has now been filled both with soil and a row of lavender plants.

I love lavender.  It´s not only the smell and the pretty flowers, but all the associations connected to this plant: The good life in a Mediterranean country, long lunches outdoors in the shade, stone walls and the smell of heat from the ground...

Yes, I know you can grow lavender in other countries, too, but that´s not the same.. . It won´t keep the same ideas of full, warm, dry summers, the intense song of the cicadas and long, lazy evenings under a velvet sky...

When the plants grow bigger an flower, this will be a cozy and private little yard for our guests staying at the blue studio. Cool and shady in the morning - a perfect place for your morning coffee. Actually, I think I´ll be visiting!
At the end of the row I have planted a cypress tree. Only this tall!  But in a few years it will have reached the sky!:)

As I have mentioned before,  many times when I work in our garden I find these shells. Especially along the old stone wall, that stretches all along our land and prevents our neighbour´s land, a terrace higher, to slide into our garden.

Now as I was cleaning out weeds and thorny wild raspberry bushes along the wall, I found these kind of shells again.
How did they get here?
I never find these kind of shells at the beaches.
I imagine that a woman like me, who once lived at this land, collected these and used them to decorate her home or garden. Just like I do.
But from where?
And when was this?
And who was she?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Saint Anna´s Feast

Today the Greek orthodox church celebrates Saint Anna - and of course, that means nameday celebration for everyone called Anna.
Traditionally, Greeks celebrate their namedays, not the birthday.
Because, according to my mother in law: "We are Christians". She didn´t even know which day she was born - like most of her generation.
Most Greeks are named after a saint, as many priests, even today, will refuse to baptist a child another name. Except from ancient Greek names.
Though "our" priest was more liberate and said that any child can grow up to become a saint - the name doesn´t matter. I guess he´s right about that. It´s not like mother Teresa would not have become a saint if she was called Tove, or what?
Back to Anna. I am mainly writing this post as it´s an excuse to share one of my favourite Greek songs, Annoula tou xionia - Little Anna of the snow.


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