Kea Spring in all its Glory

Spring arrived in a hurry this year. Just as Kea was unusually cold for weeks in March, it suddenly turned very warm for a few days; then cooled again, to a British-like pleasant spring weather. 

But not everybody enjoys these glorious days, especially the Greeks that celebrated May 1st on the island and expected to go to the beach (!) But the plants and flowers thrive now, before the sizzling sun dries everything…

 

Our pink Cistus parviflorus is in full bloom, and the Lomelosia cretica (above) is following along.

 

As our neighbor’s goats observe, Costas whacks the dried greens very carefully, among the fragrant thyme and savory bushes, and the vivid yellow blossoming phlomis.

Flowering plants are not many in our property, we only spotted four wild orchids under the olive trees this year. They seem as if they are speeding up their pace to catch up, blooming as fast as they can among the already yellowing greens.  

 

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Spring’s Cold Beginning

Although we passed the spring equinox, it still feels like we are in the heart of winter.  Northern winds bring a humid cold to the Aegean, and it is expected to last into the end of March.  

But even in this wintry weather certain plants thrive, triumphantly marking the beginning of spring.  

 

Most of the flowers this time of year are yellow, and only our favas break the rule with their delicate whitish blossoms. (more…)

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ALMOND TREES in Bloom!

They are not impressive or particularly beautiful the almond trees that fill the slopes of Kèa, as well as most islands of the Cyclades. But when in bloom, around this time of the year, they are such a joy to look at! Their sweet aroma fills our bedroom as one of the old trees—we have more than 30 in the property—is right outside our window.

 

They come in various shades of pink, and some are pure white. I guess the people who planted the trees, many years ago, chose different kinds; some produce small round fruit, others larger, elongated and very hard, difficult to crack. In the old days almonds from the islands were considered particularly delicious and fetched high prices. Now, with plenty of cheaper imports, people don’t even bother to harvest and crack them…

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In a few weeks, when the green almonds reach the size of a small bean, or the nail of my small finger, as my neighbor says, I will collect a few to pickle. It is important to select green almonds that are crunchy but tender –before their shell hardens, and while the nut inside looks like a translucent jelly.

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Winter Cold and Spectacular Moon!

January is cold, often very windy and it may even snow for a day or two. But we also enjoy some occasional sunny days, to do the needed garden work.

We also experience THE most spectacular moon this January, not just in the evening, but also early in the morning… 

 

We may even get some snow on Kea this coming weekend!  

People are often surprised to hear that we occasionally get snow on the island, but we do; not much, and mainly high, on the mountains. It only lasts for a couple of days at the most.  But we do experience snow once a year, usually in January or February, as you can see in the pictures from previous years.  
 

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Fall in our Island Garden

The first rain on Kea confirmed the coming of our 21st fall on the island!

We were very grateful not only for the much-needed water, but for the comforting, cool  temperatures after a very hot summer.  We still have some vegetables, and hope for a few nice oranges, soon.

We started to get ripe, yet small fruit from the arbutus bush, and soon we will be harvesting the first oranges. 

The few, aromatic quinces we got are ripening in a basket, and are soon going to be used in meat and vegetarian dishes, also, of course in our cakes as well as in jams, and spoon sweets (fruit preserves).  

A low layer of green grass now covers the property, and our rose bushes are filled with tiny oblong red berries, and the big carob tree is filled with foul-smelling flowers buzzing with bees –an unexpected end-of-season treat for them. In Crete, where carob trees are ubiquitous in the rocky mountains, I heard that the densely-flavored carob honey is considered the best for melomakarona, the Christmas cookies.    

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