Saturday 18 May 2013

Stocktake Spring 2013

Having returned to Crete after a short break in the UK for family commitments my efforts have been focussed on overcoming what I hope are the last hurdles in gaining the Building Permit for the house we are proposing to have built. The final documentation was submitted on the last working day before the Greek Easter  i.e. Thursday 2nd May so now await the final approval to go ahead.

Spring - Marjoram in flower
In always trying to make something positive out of any setback I have used the long frustrating periods of bureaucracy (it has taken 3 years to get this far!) to observe the site, draw up preliminary designs for the agroforestry areas and to note, in successive years, that Cretan sheep seem capable of amazing things. For example they are able to knock down dry stone walls to gain access to our plot, shift large stones holding gates in place to get at the choicest of grazing and most amazingly to lift a metal covering plate to gain access to the site's water storage tank!! Having kept both sheep and goats on a smallholding many years ago I know what they are fully capable of but these amazing feats are far beyond my experience!!

The plans, therefore, now include a requirement to secure the boundary with a mix of fencing and shrubs, in particular oleander, which both the sheep and the mountain goats seem to dislike  and grows readily in the area. It also means that I should be able utilise sections of the fencing for training vines and other climbers.
Spring - Over wintered mountain sage cuttings in flower

Being positive, and assuming that work on the house should start (fingers crossed) in the not too distant future, it is only worth taking temporary measures to deter the intruders, (both 4 and 2 legged!), in order to limit further damage and erosion, caused by the marauding flocks damaging the supporting walls of the series of terraces (in place to slow water run off), as once the excavation and subsequent build starts there will be little chance of securing the whole plot. I will, however, endeavour to maintain any sections with crops growing secure and will be spending a lot of my time on site over the coming months to ensure that the building techniques used fully reflect those necessary for an earth sheltered, solar passive, high thermal mass house. i.e. not those, I have noted, used when infilling  the usual concrete framed structure. In addition I will endeavour to ensure that no trees other than those I have approved are to be removed/pruned or transplanted and that the access to the site should disturb as little as possible the surrounding soil and subsoil as it is vital to leave undisturbed the underground path of the spring water supply.

Snow on Mt Psiloritis Spring 2013