Almonds

Went to the market in Kas on Friday morning as usual and saw a few friends whilst there. I saw Selahaatin (the guy I employed to help with some concreting once) and asked if there was anything big he was buying that he wanted me drop off for his wife at their house in Pinarbasi. Selahaatin works for the Forestry Fire Service in the Summer, they are on duty 24 hours a day and he only gets home one day in fourteen. There were some things to take so I told him to drop them in the back of the car and I’d drop them off when we went back up to the village.

Well while I was getting the stuff out of the car at his house their neighbour from across the road came shouting about a ‘Yilan’. In Turkish ‘Yilan’ means snake so I asked where it was and what they were doing about it. It was in a storeoom of their house and had been roaming about. Just then Selahaatin’s wife Nejmir and their daughter Jancel came out of their house and a great commotion ensued, the upshot of which was that Jancel ran back into the house and came out struggling with a shotgun that was longer than she is tall. Somewhat alarmed by the fact that the muzzle was waving around all over the place, including at me I relieved her of it and opened it to see that it wasn’t loaded.

I must have looked as though I knew what I was doing with it and was promptly delegated to go and shoot the snake. Nejmir went off to get a couple of cartridges and I had a bit better look at the gun. It has seen better days and had a brown covering of rust but seemed to open and close and fire properly. I knew that Selahaatin had used it fairly recently so when Nejmir brought the cartridges I thought I’d give it a go. The cartridges were of the type that had a colourles plastic translucent body so the shot can be seen. Looking closely I could see that these things would be for large wild boar at least, a bit too much for a snake but there were no others. So off I went and looked in the store, there was indeed a snake, a big black one a little over a metre in length. Not knowing if it was venomous I was a little nervous as I was wearing shorts and flip-flops so I didn’t want to get too close. The snake poked it’s head out from behind a flour sack and BANG that was the end of it, but it didn’t stop twitching for a couple of minutes. I picked it up with a stick and threw it outside. Everyone was well pleased at the result. Later I had a look for that type of snake on the internet and was a little sad when I discovered that it probably wasn’t dangerous to humans or poisonous, and that it ate small rodents and eggs. I’m pretty sure it was a type of Black Rat Snake.

On Saturday we went down to Jenny’s house and started harvesting the almonds. There are lots of them this year and harvesting can be a painful process. Sheets are spread out under the tree and a long pole is used to rattle the thinner, almond bearing, branches whereupon a rain of almonds descends. From the lower branches it is fairly harmless but the descent from the higher branches gives the almonds a fair turn of speed and when they crack onto your skull they really hurt, especially if it’s the pointed end that hits you first. Next time I will make sure I wear a hat. We got about 15 kilos which represented about a quarter of one tree’s almonds so have to go back a few times next week because there are quite a few trees.

This morning Wilf was being naughty, he nicked a pair of my underpants off the drying rack and the two dogs then went charging off around the garden with them (that is the third time for these pants, they’ll be worn out from washing before I can wear them again by the look of it). Then a bit later he grabbed a cushion, one of the nice red ones made from an old kilim, and again they both went off round the garden. It wasn’t damaged though and only needs washing.

I’m off to Dalaman later to take Rob and Sam back to the airport.

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Posted August 28, 2007 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

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