Wintertime Cometh (2009)

Winter snow NOT in Kaş

Winter snow NOT in Kaş

Winter on the south coast of Turkey is fast approaching. I grew up in Kansas, therefore I can appreciate the fact that “winter” and “cold” can be a relative term; relative compared to where you currently reside of course…

We are trying to make sure the house and garden are prepared. We are into November and the night temperatures are starting to drop below 10℃ (50°F), where the sunny days top out about 26℃ (78.8°F) and the rainy ones around 15℃ (59°F). In September we had one overnight rain, the first of the fall season but the rest of the days and nights were gorgeous sunshine with cool nights. The average temperature for September was 29℃ (84°F) and for October was 20℃ (69°F); we had our first real rains in October.

Mediterranean winters are always a shock even to local people who have lived here all their lives. This region usually gets over 300 days of sunshine a year, but December and January seem surprisingly cold, windy, very WET and sometimes has high winds causing the pouring rain to come down nearly horizontal.

Winter firewood and our covered terrace

Winter firewood and our covered terrace

We try to make sure the roof does not leak, we have repaired or replaced the gutters, have gotten our firewood cut and stacked, we bought a new, small gas heater for upstairs as well as our fireplace downstairs, and we have stripped the garden (almost 2000 sm) of old, dead grass which should never been allowed to grow as tall as it did. We hope to get a few more trees and some vines planted before the winter rains start so they will grow well through the winter, and so on.

Not much going on here in our Çukurbağ village house, every morning I get up early, sit on our terrace with my first cup of coffee and seriously soak up the “sounds of silence.” It is so quiet here that we hear people talking in normal tones clear across the valley. I remember listening to folks talk or a dog bark in Barnes, Kansas from the old Harry Hogue place which was over two miles away, our place is that quiet. The ringing in my ears from my military days is a constant annoyance, living in the city it was just “white noise,” now I hear it quite loud early in the morning. A barking dog can be an annoyance but the mule doing its “hee-haw” (“aWww eee” in Turkish) or the rooster crowing seems to fit the ambiance.

I occasionally count the cars going by, that gets exciting sometimes, I have counted as many as five in one day, of course one was a small farm truck and the other a tractor but a noisy vehicle none the less. Some of the vehicles are motor scooters and one obnoxious four-wheel scooter contraption.

At night we sometimes hear the wild pigs immediately below our place digging up the turf and trying to find something to eat, occasionally we hear a fox bark and just after the sun sets below the hill above our house, a pair of owls come and start their vigilance for food. (Owls are called baykuş or bay kush which translates to “Mr. Bird” (sort of) in Turkish, what an interesting name.) They talk to each other for quite a while and then silently push-off from the perch in the tree on their deadly survival missions. Just before sundown the breeze or wind (it does not blow hard at our elevation of 600 meters) usually dies down and again, complete silence prevails.

In these ways, life is good…

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