Monday, July 4, 2016

A Greek Farming Lesson

Is it healthy clean food you're after? Perhaps you've had the dream I've had since my teen years in the 1970s: to live off the land, pick my own food, simplify life to its basic components.

Well, suffice it to say that my first moments in Epirus Greece in the early 1980s shook some sense into me. Back then I was a new bride, married to a Greek I barely knew and the countryside lifestyle in those days, in that area, was grueling to say the least, but I didn't give up the dream. . . I just modified it. Erase that "simplify life to its basic components" nonsense. I am thrilled with the changes made in Epirus since then: Indoor plumbing, passable roads, independent transportation, a livable house, internet connections. I need a bit more than just basic components, thank you anyway. But the farmer-living-off-the-land dream remained and this year I vowed to make it work. That is, until a few days ago. Now, it appears that I may need to modify a bit more of the plan, based on some recent Greek Farming Lessons.

Here is what Maragariti, my adopted village has taught me:

1. Chicken sh@# is not just a word to describe a fearful person. Chickens actually have excrement and it's disgusting.

2. Picking your own food is a hassle. After it's removed from the ground/tree/bush, it still has to be cleaned and the inedible portions cut off. I now know why Village Greek Salad doesn't consist of lettuce. It's hard to grow and hard to
clean. . . not to mention the fact that I pulled most of it out while I was weeding. It doesn't grow in a neat little round ball. How was I to know?

3. Weeding is unpleasant. It hurts your back and ruins your manicure. And the next day, the weeds are back in the same place. And if you are a bee keeper and have your bee hives next to the garden, which is a good idea for the pollination of your crops and the taste of your honey, the bees sometimes chase you . . . and your neighbors have a good laugh.

4. A bee keeper's hat is kind of uncomfortable and it tends to ruin your hairdo. And if you borrow your brother-in-law's it might have a hole in it. It's a better idea to buy your own. Also, bees will attack you if you are wearing deodorant when you attend to the hive.


Farming is back-breaking dirty work. I'm sure there are those who would sing its praises. I'm just not one of them. However, I have not yet given up on this idea of living off the land. I just need to modify it a bit more. I haven't quite figured that part out, but I'm working on it here in this land of philosophy, analysis and ouzo. I just need a little more time.