Cabin Life

Not Much Ado About Nothing

Well, here we are again slumming it up here near the clouds. We knew there wasn’t really much to do apart from plant a few broad beans, earth up the leeks, check on the well-being of the worms and generally ensure all was well.

We arrived to a sparklingly crisp, cool, clear day and a near freezing cabin! Get that soba going and warm the place up.

Meanwhile, J was busy earthing up the leeks, posing for a photo op and cooing to the worms which were doing very nicely in their insulated home. The minus temperatures had once again ‘popped’ the garden watering system so we needed to call out our plumbing neighbour to get that sorted. He’s stopped the leaks and will come at some time soon to fix us up with a stop-cock underground so we can shut the system down and avoid this in the future.

‘And what about you?’ I hear you ask – well, there is always something for this multi-skilled Jack-of-all-trades (you know the rest!) to be getting on with. This time it was the main door. You know about the beautiful old doors we acquired and had fitted – they look splendid and we love the look and the feel of them. The one at the main/only entrance was showing its age and sagging a lot. Various remedial efforts had failed to solve the sag and so I’d made a couple of ‘L’ brackets to overcome the problem. Spray-painted ‘antique gold’ (all I had available) they are fitted, look good and, so far, seem to have done the job.

So, jobs are jobbed and all that remains is to relax, idle away a couple of days reading, writing and Scrabbling mixed up with a few episodes of MASH, a couple of home-made Rakıs and enjoy keeping Jack Frost away with a nice, warm soba.

Jack Frost nibbling at your hose – Brrrrrr!

A&J taking great pleasure in small things.

'Burası Türkiye!' 'This is Turkey!'

For Your Delectation

There are few things that give greater pleasure, in my opinion, than the feel and smell of a good book or the taste and smell of fine food. Especially Turkish food! Add to that pleasurable mix a fabulous volume of recipes from probably the finest exponent of bringing Turkish food, especially southern Turkish food, to the table and you have a truly palatable combination.

Archers does not, as a rule, do promotional stuff. I’m going to break that rule for the very best of reasons. Özlem Warren is an internationally reknowned culinary master of her craft. She is also one of the nicest people it’s been my pleasure to meet and know. If you are not already using her recipes from her superb blog  then you  really are missing out and should click the link and get acquainted asap.

Now she is presenting a cookery book in hardback of such oustanding quality that it deserves a place in every kitchen and, for the wonderful photographs alone, on every coffee table. This is a ‘must have’!

the lady herself – a great ambassador for Turkish cuisine

So, you lucky people, here’s your chance to get your copy of this volume of Turkish Delights. Act quickly and pre-order now for delivery in early April 2018 and you get a hefty 10% discount. Now that is just too good to miss! So, click this link right here!


Cabin Life

A Gloomy Outlook

It really is! Drizzle, everywhere looking grey and miserable – not a day to be out planting onions, leeks maybe, but definitely not onions.

So, what to do on such a day apart from getting depressed even more by the global situation – politically and environmentally. How to bring some colour into a post and at least let me feel uplifted? The answer just might be to give you a rare view of the inside of our hidey-hole cabin. It might help to explain why we love it so much up here.

the lovely old doors and the bread oven

kilims old and new

beautiful Palestinian embroidery – a cabin-warming gift from dear friends

the comms centre – laptops, Bose, DVDs, CDs, Books, radio, etc there’s even a tv for MotoGP

The outlook may be gloomy but we are cozy and contented at 1200mts. Alan

ps Looking for the famous Okçular book and PDF of walks and cycle rides? Then click here

Stuff, Wanderings

Worms From The Back Of Beyond

On our way back up here to our hidey-hole in the mountains J and I took a detour to meet up with our dear friend and brother ‘Deli’ Ahmet. Long-time readers will remember Ahmet as the blue-sky thinking collaborator with me on Gülay’s exercise machine. Well, Ahmet has a new project that he was keen to show us and that required a trip to the back-of-beyond in the mountains of Aydin Province.

my mate Ahmet thinking in the sky again

Winding through narrow village lanes we climbed and climbed often needing to use 1st gear! Eventually we crested a rise and there below us lay a small village. Our reactions were a mixture of wonder at the beauty and sadness at the obvious dereliction and decay. Here was a village in the process of dying.

sunlight on the local stone houses

a view to the grandchildren

Once upon a time the village thrived by harvesting olives and pine nuts. Today only the old folks remain whilst the younger generations have moved away to the towns and the work that can be found there. There are, perhaps, less than twenty residents left in the community. Houses that were once built from the local stone lie roofless and windowless as they slowly moulder away.

The survival of this beautiful, peaceful place lies in outsiders who recognise what a true gem it is and choose to move here and begin a process of revival. There are signs that this is happening with one couple, she a ceramic artist and he is a man after my own heart who distils fine rakı and whisky deciding to enhance their lives and settle! Then there is Ahmet who has a vision of restoring several houses and making them available for walkers/cyclists/lovers of peace and quiet. As you can see above he will have his work cut out to achieve his dream.

Loving bulbous plants as I do it was a treat to find cyclamen and Sternbergia lutea growing all over the place.

Remnants from a once thriving past are to be found everywhere.

olive crusher

What, you may wonder, has this got to do with worms? Well, it turned out that the lady ceramic artist also cultivated worms for composting and, having extolled the virtues of these amazing creatures to J, insisted that she have a couple of kilos to get her going on her very own worm composting venture. Here’s J getting started with a bucket of worms and in the next couple of days (weather permitting) I’ll set about building the interlocking wooden boxes that will become their permanent home.

Life is never dull! Alan@the wormery!

Cabin Life

At Risk Of Being Boring

If you are looking for the Okçular walking and cycling guides then click here.

After the excitement caused by the last posting about bottling your own rakı it’s time to come down to earth and get grounded in ‘normal’. And ‘normal’ for J and me equals pretty, bloody boring for you!

Mr Bean

I mean, if this blog is to maintain its position in the Google Premier League then I have to post regularly whether I, or you for that matter, like it or not! Algorithms rule so here we are, I’m trying to make the ordinary scintillatingly interesting and you’re trying to pretend you are not bored out of your brain.

Our life here at the cabin is mostly quiet and simple. We harvest our veg – potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, aubergines, melons, cabbages, tomatoes, beans, tobacco. There’s been an apple, a plum, a few peaches and the cennet elması/paradise apples/persimmon are coming on a treat. Dried they are scrummy!

We weed, grub out or layer the hedgerows, find interesting things to do with rocks and, after the success of this past season, widen the veggie plot and add plenty of goat manure.

Just in case you get the idea that the only person who works around here is J let me ask ‘Who do you think built the path? And who is up the ladder waterproofing the woodwork?’

When the cabin was built the exterior was done over with varnish – in my opinion a big mistake. It never lasts very well in extreme conditions like we experience up here. Hot summer sun and ice, snow and -20C in the winter. I use this stuff and find it works very well – it waterproofs wood, stone, concrete, you name it – they even use it to waterproof the domes of mosques!

Alan, back to the job in hand!