A Letter From The Troodos Mountains In Cyprus

It is always a delight and a thrill to receive an email and letter from a farmingfriend. I was delighted to receive a letter from my farmingfriend David who lives in Cyprus.

Hi Sara

It is quite a while since I last emailed you and the days continue to fly by. It must be age!!

I was so sorrry to hear your news about Hatty the Hen. I know that we must all be somewhat detached from our farming livestock but we all form attachments to our animals and when we lose them unexpectedly we all feel a sense of loss. My lovely little cat Tensing died recently due I suspect to poisoning. The Cypriots still put out Lanate and although it is now banned here they obviously have old stocks to dispose of. Tensing came in under the weather one Sunday night and I thought that I would take him to the vet next day if he was no better. Sadly he was dead next day so I was too late. He was a lovely little cat greedy and self assertive but my two domestic cats rather liked him and I am sorry he has gone.

Well my weather forecasting for the Troodos and Tsada for that matter was totally wrong. We seem to have had various coptic storms over the last few weeks and although the sun has shone on some days there has been an awful lot of rain with hail thunder and cloudbursts. Of course we stoic Ex pats put on a stiff upper lip but I think we will all be glad to get some warmer weather. It is not really cold and temperatures do hover around 18 – 20 degrees but most of us are still in thick coats and woollens. Last year by this time central heating systems had been turned off and we were thinking about getting the shorts and flip flops out. It is still raining now with a good thunderstorm going on and both cats are on the bed with Aurora actually under the duvet. They are forecasting 23 degrees for saturday so lets hope they are right.

Last week I was up at the site and saw two young Moufflon higher up the mountain. They stayed for quite a while and when I told Aristos that night in the tavern he was delighted. I have been trying to find out where the name Moufflon originated. Aristos said that the true cypriot name is τράγος (pronounced traghos) which really only means “goat” so that is not much help. I shall speak to the forestry guys and hopefully get more information.

The almond trees are looking in good heart and I hope to be planting apple pear quince and cherry trees this week depending on what Marina (our local gardener and horticulturist)advises. Next week I will be putting in about 100 vines if Neofytos has remembered to get the stocks so things are moving along..

We are now into really warm weather (a week since I wrote the above) and although the streams in the mountain are still flowing it will not be too long before they dry up. I have cleared all weeds and rubbish off the site and am now ready to plant my fruit trees.

I saw my first snake of the year the other day on the road up to Troodos. It was a very small black Whip snake which are quite common here. They do bite but are not really venomous and tend to attack the Blunt Nosed Viper which is our most dangerous snake. As a note of caution anyone here should beat the ground and undergrowth with a stick to frighten them away. They are not really aggressive but will attack if threatened.

I am giving up any type of weather forecasting from now on. We had an almighty thunderstorm in Tsada last week and the lightening strike took out the telephone service and with it my modem in the computer. Thankfully the motherboard was not affected but I have now fitted surge protectors etc and will unplug the telephone line if I am away for any length of time.

I think I have located a source for some manure. Nitsa who runs a coffee house in Kidasi a small village knows where I can get some goat manure (called κοπρια) so that is likely to be my next job and then I must start on building my house or field shelter on the site so I can at least overnight there when it is a bit warmer. I am pleased to say that the maple trees are almost in leaf and the fig trees are not far behind. Cherry trees will need to be planted soon so I am in for a busy period. What a delight! I would love some of the Khaki ducks but I fear Cyprus in mid summer would be too hot and anyway there are other matters to deal with first.

Next week is our Easter so there will be the usual fun and games in the village. I will let you know whether the local lads actually manage to blow up the church this year!

Best wishes to all from sunny (at last) Cyprus.

David

I hope that you all enjoy reading David’s letter’s as much as I do. I always feel transported to Cyprus when I read David’s letters and it’s great to find out about the Cypriot weather, which is so important to farmers and smallholders and what is growing or being planted there on David’s smallholding in the Troodos Mountains.