|Ikaria is a Greek island situated in the North Eastern Agean group, close to Samos and the Turkish mainland. I drew and took notes on the things I saw there|
|Pages from a sketchbook|
In 1973 Barbara and I met, fell in love, and decided to leave England early in the spring of 1974 in order to travel to Greece. The intention was to spend a year living Greek life. I had visited mainland Greece, a place near Evdilos called Narantziza, a few years previously and was desperate to return to pick oranges and lemons in the autumn, it seemed such an exotic thing to do. A friend had told me of a windy island in the North Eastern Agean group that he had visited and after a few weeks acclimatising and pulling urchin needles out of our feet we undertook the 12 hour ferry sailing out to Ikaria.
|The Olive (elliess) The Olive Tree lives to a great age becoming gnarled and twisted during growth. Olives are borne on the wood of the previous year’s growth. Every part of the tree is used – the olives themselves for oil and eating, the leaves are fed to animals, the wood for bowls and utensils. The wild shoots can be used in making woven baskets – and whatever is left over for the fire in the cold winter months.The olive tree spreads its roots far into the rocky soil and prevents land erosion. Terraces formed on sloping ground for an olive grove hundreds of years ago remain as terraces, the roots preventing natural land slip. They require little or no attention during the year. Occasional pruning prevents them from going wild – the wild shoots obtained are extremely supple – perfect for basketwork.The olives ripen from November until January and are picked from the ground and lower branches. The fruit higher up in the tree is either left until it eventually falls, or is knocked off with a long stick and collected with a sheet underneath. Branches crack easily so they aren’t climbed|
|Large foorno with chimney|
|A large oven is constructed from bricks, broken pithari, tiles and red clay to stick it all together. It often extends from the side of the house. The oven is made by first placing sticks covered by ferns and then earth on top to form a flat hemispherical shape. Broken pots and bricks are then cemented with red clay over the top of this dome. An access arch is formed in the wall of the house and a chimney above the door. The dome is insulated further with red clay and pot fragments and filled in with earth. A roof is constructed over it to protect from the rain. The interior floor is of red clay. Six or seven hours firing is required to harden the clay. When the correct temperature is reached glass bottles will melt inside and these can be used to give a smooth bottom. Six to twelve loaves may be baked at a time depending on the size.|
|A pithari oven is constructed by laying a pitharii on its side and packing round with a broken pots, tiles and red clay.It is covered with earth and stones as insulation and made weatherproof. The inside his first filled with sand to a level coinciding with the lip, then red clay packed on top to a height that gives maximum use of floor space and height (usually just below centre). The clay is left to harden and then fired to a high temperature using brushwood .Ground glass can then be sprinkled to give a smooth bottom. After firing the ashes are pulled to the front and a stone placed over the door of the oven. In addition a lower door may be let in to apply extra heat during cooking.|
|Tools for bread making:
Bracken bunched and tied to the end of the stick to brush small bits of charcoal (pana or panisma)Wooden spade for manoeuvring dough and bread (psomopitharo)
Scraper are for pulling ashes to the front of the oven.
The bread made by the majority of the islanders is a sour dough, that is dough which has been left to absorb wild yeasts. A portion of each week’s dough is kept back for future use, stored in a suitable container to prevent too much drying (a half coconut shell is excellent for this) on the night before baking and the dough is mixed with a little water at blood at temperature and covered with sifted flour. A mark is usually made in the surface of the flour (often a cross). It is covered with a cloth and left overnight in a warm place. In the morning the yeast / flour mix will have risen. It is made into a soft dough by adding water and kneading well. The required amount of sifted flour is added. By dipping the hands into a bowl of warm water and constantly on kneading the mix for at least an hour, the yeast is distributed throughout the mix and air introduced. The dough is then formed into flattened spheres and a handful of dough kept back for future use. The dough is covered with flour and placed into cloth lined a baskets. This is then covered with blankets and kept in a warm place for four hours or until the dough has risen. The furnace is prepared by burning brushwood (anima is best for this) for at least half an hour. The inside of the furnace turns a sandy white when the correct temperature is reached. The ashes are pulled to the front and the interior brushed clean. A suitable flat stone is placed on the ashes inside to prevent hot charcoal falling on to the bread when the door is closed. The dough is then flopped on to the psomipitharo so that its bottom in the basket becomes the top of the loaf. They are then slid into the furnace and left to cook. When the top surface is brown the loaves are stacked to the sides of the furnace to cook on the bottom a little. After removing the loaves the oven is at a temperature suitable for cooking meals, pastries etc.
Rusks (paximathi) Unused and stale bread is cut into thin strips soaked a little and baked for many hours as the oven cools. They may be stored indefinitely as they do not mould. They are too hard to be eaten directly but are dunked in soup, goat’s milk, or tea.
Storage pots (pithari) Formed from red clay. The various sizes but usually large, used for storing wine and olives. Often buried in the ground or built into a terrace, and surrounded with earth and stones. The lid is often a circular slate with a hole cut in it to take a brushwood handle. Often found in groups near the wine press. Any decoration near the top is simple as they were made not to stand to be built in and covered. They can be used to make ‘beehive’ shaped oven
|On the Beach
bamboo root and oil-stained bamboo (kalami)
Reservoir, method of plugging the reservoir and terrace gardens
|Water conservation ReservoirMost rivers will dry up completely during the summer months. What little water is left in larger rivers tends to disappear underground or meander so much over the riverbed that it is absorbed. The method above of damning and reserving water is the most common on the island. Walls are built at a suitable site on the riverbed and a watertight finish obtained by placing a large flat stones up right against the wall on the waterside. The joins are sealed with clay and grass or cement. The drain and plug are simply a large stone let in to an opening with whole board into it, in which fits a branch. The rate of flow is controlled by using different sized branches. To seal completely the largest sized branch is used and packed around with leaves and mud The reservoir is situated above a number of gardens which it serves. Water is allowed constantly to seep out to the next reservoir situated further down the river valley. When required, water is directed into irrigation channels on either side of the valley.Gardens (gipos) Very little land in the valleys is flat of course and so workable areas are formed by stepping on the land into terraces (bezoulia) earth is piled up around small areas to form trenches with removable openings for of grass and flat stones. Each trench is filled with water by opening the door and stopping the flow to the next trench. When filled to the brim the door is closed and the same procedure adopted for the following a trench. When all the trenches on one level are filled the water is allowed to flow to a lower terrace. Fertiliser can be placed in the openings where the water flow will carry and eventually distribute it among the plants. The amount of water applied in this way in one session is sufficient to meet the plants needs for one week. The more usual plants grown in this way are string beans, sweet corn, peppers, aubergines, tomatoes, courgette, cucumber and a number of salad crops vlita and horta.|
RightClick on images to see large sizes and read descriptive texts!!!!
|Copyright © 1974-2012 Jeff Soan|
Tuesday October 26, 2008
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Interesting! I suppose this for you is called «Everyday life on a Greek island in Late Neolithic» ☺
Tuesday October 26, 2008 – 06:10am (PST)
Nana -> I meant to say that yours is far better layed out than the original.
Alien -> Late Neolithic, correct. Maybe a bit right before Bronze age. That was good old 1974. Back in those summers I felt like a coloninst. I stayed in Armenistis and didn’t dare to hit the backcountry -of my own island! It was a world apart.
Tuesday October 26, 2008 – 10:07pm (EET)
‘Όπισθεν Αργά’ δεν είναι το σωστό; Ή έγραψες ‘Όπισθεν Ηρέμα’ επίτηδες;
Tuesday October 26, 2008 – 10:09pm (EET)
* what was before I was born is Prehistory
* laying (out) oh! my life!
* Επίτηδες είναι το Όπισθεν Ηρέμα’. Εδώ δεν είναι καράβι.
Wednesday October 27, 2008 – 02:45pm (EET)
Wonderful drawings! It seems that it takes a toymaker to make such goodies.
This guy -btw- must have an obsession with Ikaria. In his page there is no other link to a geographical location.
You know me; frevr falling for old hippies…
Wednesday October 27, 2008 – 12:35pm (PST)
I find the title of you entry very sexy. *backwards smoothly* (w/ the moving fish underneath ::)
Wednesday October 27, 2008 – 12:38pm (PST)
σου είμαι βαθύτατα ευγνώμων που δεν ασχολείσαι με σκάνδαλα, εκβιασμούς, eurovision κτλ, κτλ,
Δεν φαντάζεσαι τι μέιλ παίρνω αυτό τον καιρό, τι νέα blogs (και καλά δήθεν αστεία…). Σε καταευχαριστώ, γενναίο άγριο αγρίμι.
Thursday October 28, 2008 – 03:07pm (EET)
Μη με ευχαριστείς. Απλά δεν έχω άλλη επιλογή. Κι εγώ παίρνω τέτοιο spam από φίλους και ξένους.’Οπισθεν Ηρέμα’ λοιπόν. Πίσω στις βασικές αρχές. Αλλά ήρεμα, έτσι; Όχι να γίνουμε φολκλόρ.
Thursday October 28, 2008 – 09:57pm (EET)