Earth fire and moonlight

I love the simplicity of how I work with clay now, gathering clay fallen onto the beach, the olive grove being my studio, moon lit shadows of the olive trees surrounding me, layers and layers of stars, bats flying, owls calling to each other in the olive groves, a bright fire, my hands making with clay.

This was a making night with a fire and bright moon earlier this month.

I will fire the clay pieces with the olive branches cut from the olive harvest which we did today, so will build the fire next week.

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November in Greece

I especially love November at Gargarou, still warm sun, eating breakfast and lunch outside or lunch on the beach, wild flowers growing, and delicious ripe pomegranates, the last of our okra and the last figs last week.  The rosemary and lavender is in full blossom and full of buzzing of bees going from one flower to another. And some thunderstorms and some rain and rainbows over the sea!

We can see the Taygetos Mountains more clearly this time of year, in the summer it can be a bit hazy, this is from Gargarou beach.

Early morning light in November

After the sun rises I enjoy seeing the sun beam on the houses in Harocopio and the village of Chrysokellaria glistens in the hills behind. I watch the birds fly from olive tree to olive tree, beautiful chirping blackcaps, jays, crows, robins.The last few weeks looking over the valley to the north, towards Vounaria I have seen ravens and hear their deep caw. Later in the morning they fly over our olive grove to the valley towards Koroni, just below us. This morning a raven flew right over us as we had breakfast on our terrace, cawing as it flew and then a minute later we heard the beating of the wings as another raven flew rapidly the same flight path.

I so appreciate the natural beauty of the land and sea here, and each morning I feel a deep peace and delight.

Fallen clay

We have had some days of wild storms and rain that have brought down cliff falls and I gather some clay before it gets washed into the sea.

I find different clays, some with more plasticity, some with with more iron oxide in, some sandy, some with stones and roots in, some smooth. After wetting down and drying I wedge ready for the evenings making.

 

Moon rising over Taygetos

Walking down our path last Sunday evening I was stunned by the moon rising over the Taygetos mountains, a full moon, huge and orange. On Monday it rose just by the Profitis Ilias summit, it was awesome to see it rise just over the triangular peak.

Photos or words can’t convey the stillness and wonder, the stillness in the moving silent moon, the stillness in the distant sound of waves touching sand, stones, the stillness in moonlight on sea, moonlit shadows of olive trees. Its as if everything has stopped for a few moments as the moon rises.

 

 

A week of Sunrises 16-22 November

I love the stillness at dawn, the delicate scent of jasmine and sage, subtle hues of sea and mountains, distant soft sounds of moving waves, fishing boats, first birdsong. It is amazing being part of the quietness, feeling the momentary changes, sensing subtleties beyond words.  Then the sun rises, a wonder full moment …fills me with joy. I’ve noticed how different the sunrise is these November days..  so I took photos the last 7 mornings outside our house.

The last few mornings the moon has been clear and bright over us

Raw chocolate… good or bad?

I am not a lover of chocolate these days, I find it too sweet so I have taken to making my own chocolates with raw cacao and no sugar.

I use all organic ingredients, raw cacao powder, coconut oil, goji berries, almonds, dried sour cherries, grated lemon peel.  I soak almonds, sour cherries and goji berries and cut roughly, combine ingredients and roll into balls and put in freezer. Measurements, well.. a bit of each, they are different each time. They can be eaten a few minutes out of the freezer and are crunchy but not frozen. Pete likes a bit more sweetness than me so I put in raisins for him.

In writing this post I have researched about raw cacao which contains lots of beneficial antioxidants and minerals but also has a lot of naturally occurring chemicals which may be detrimental to our health. Some say it is a superfood but it also contains theobromine which is an addictive stimulant. I certainly feel the addictive whizz when I eat ordinary chocolate or raw cacao and don’t like the sensation I get of wanting more, but I thought that was more to do with sugar in it as I am very sensitive to sweet things.

 

It was hard to get to the source of any research and find good information, but I came across a few interesting articles.

This one gives informative balanced views on the health aspects http://www.highonhealth.org/is-cacao-good-or-bad/   

 

This articles has videos by Fred Bisci who has 60 years of experience as a clinical nutritionist and Dr. Brian Clement of the Hippocrates Health Institute who talks about risks of eating cacao   http://thegardendiet.com/cacao.html

Dr. Charles Partito gives his view http://jinjeetalifero.com/?p=420

An article by Paul Nison ‘Raw toxic chocolate’  http://www.living-foods.com/articles/toxiccacao.html 

 

This is written by a raw chocolate maker http://www.sacredchocolate.com/does-my-chocolate-contain-insects-and-rodent-hair/

 

Also I came across the FDA regulations for the % of allowable amounts of rodent filth and insect fragments allowed in chocolate http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074443.htm

 

I remember 20 years ago my homeopath telling me about the cockroaches in chocolate which can trigger allergic reactions.

If you want to know what the defect action levels are for other foods then this is the link to the FDA list. I am glad we grow our own herbs at Gargarou. I haven’t found the EU regulations which must be published somewhere.http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/SanitationTransportation/ucm056174.htm

It’s been interesting researching raw chocolate and noticing how the news distorts information on the internet and people copy it without thinking what it means.  Looking at cocoa beans and the FDA defect action level being ‘Average of 10 mg or more mammalian excreta per pound’.  How 10 mg in the pound sounds a lot and by mixing the unit of measures we imagine it big, like 10 rat droppings to a pound but in fact it’s just a trace. Pete has worked out its 0.000022 pounds…… so he’s not too concerned……. although he hasn’t eaten chocolate for a few days.   Me neither, my raw chocolates are still in the freezer and actually I feel I won’t be eating chocolate raw or otherwise much more.  How things can change from the beginning of a blog post to the end!

October sun and flowers on deserted beaches

Wonderful warm and sunny days here on the Peloponnese, we are having a glorious October with temperatures 23 and above. Plants are growing and flowering, feels like a second Spring and Autumn is also here with fig leaves falling, still fresh figs for breakfast, vines changing colour and olives ready to harvest. We had a day out yesterday to our favourite beach at Methoni  by the castle and had a picnic on the huge rocks that fill the beach, no one there except us

On the way back we walked along Lampes beach, a beautiful sandy beach with sand dunes looking across to islands, a few people enjoying the sun and swimming.

Both beaches are still natural beaches with wild flowers growing on the dunes and in between the rocks.