We spent 2 weeks volunteering with Giorgos at Paliomylos: http://oldwatermill.wordpress.com/
Day 81 – May 20th – Rovies
First work day – Fiona digs out a bed for some tomato plants. Giorgo, Manu + Gabriela get to work on a new bed, which turns out to be very hard with a big wall buried underneath! In afternoon Fi helps for a few hours transplanting some small plants, then we go to find the beach. It’s rather rocky, there’s a nice pine forest a bit further down. The sea looks like a mirror, not even a sign of waves, very hazy. Some stone skimming, Manu goes for a swim but isn’t very impressed with the underwater life.
Day 82 – May 21st – Rovies
Manu helps in morning, mulching + planting tomato plants in beds, then we walk to the river for a swim to cool off. In afternoon we go with Giorgos down to his parents house, which is right by the beach so we can leave the kayak there. Another very still day, on the way home we see dolphins swim very close by the shore, super sunset.
Day 83 – May 22nd – Rovies
Fi helps in morning – transplanting young plants from the nursery (kids helped), planting out some more tomato plants, sieving compost, etc. Afternoon we go down to try kayak for the first time, but it’s not a great day, quite windy, looks like it might rain. However, we manage to get out, all 4 of us, without difficulty, but we only stay out for 5 minutes due to the wind and waves. First kayak attempt is classed as a success!
Day 84 – May 23rd – Rovies
Manu helps in morning, all morning setting out automatic irrigation system for vege beds down. Fi + kids go to playpark and a few errands to run around Rovies village. Afternoon we go to beach but it’s very windy so back to the playpark, kids are happy though as they want to go on the swings again, apparently hours of swinging in the morning hasn’t bored them yet.
Day 85 – May 24th – Rovies
Fiona helps – mulching tomatoes, more work on irrigation system, planting beans with kids. Afternoon Manu + kids go out in kayak, more sun this time! Manu launches and gets kids into boat by himself, however at landing time it’s quite a lot more wavy, landing a bit more challenging.
Day 86 – May 25th – Around Northern Evia
Day off, we go to waterfall on mountain, nice, but frozen water! Full of butterflies and dragonflies. Manu swims, a picnic lunch, then we drive to beach on Northern side of Evia, stay in the cool shade for a while in the early afternoon, we attempt a swim with Sofia but waves are rough and sea is scummy. Manu swims again, but is disappointed again, Poseidonia beds but lots of scum. Then we drive more North, get lost on little roads along coast, stop for ice cream, stop for tortoise, arrive in Istiea just in time to do some grocery shopping, dinner at souvlaki place, drive back in the dark through mountain road.
Day 87 – May 26th – Rovies
Manu helps: pruning apple trees which takes most of morning while Fiona and kids go to town for internet and playground. We spend most of the rest of the day researching flights + travel options for Cyprus, as a last minute place on a cob workshop being held there has opened up. In the end we decide against it.
Day 88 – May 27th – Rovies
Fiona helps in morning: A bit more planting, making natural pesticide with soap, checking over the corn, making some supports for the tomato plants, and sanding down some big pieces of olive wood for future projects. Afternoon we bike to Rovies, quick icecream stop then we go in the canoe, first nice flat canoeing day. Giulia + Manu do capsize practice!
Day 89 – May 28th – Rovies
Manu + Giorgos collect + transport soil for cob project back to house, do some work spreading olive waste on another garden-to-be, and fix the watering pipes on the gardens.
Day 90 – May 29th – Rovies
Fi helps – sieving soil, making test cob batches + a model of the future bench in preparation for cob work over next few days. Many bags of soil to sieve! Boys collect stones from the river and lay the foundation for the bench. Manu + girls walk down to the river.
Afternoon we cycle to Limni, 11km up and down but we both agree that it wasn’t too hard a cycle. Limni is nice, a little port town enclosed in a small bay. Manu goes for a swim then we go to a restaurant for dinner, usual seaside greek fare, tzatziki, xorta, octopus, gavros, dogfish. All very nice and washed down with plenty of Retsina, means the way back home (up + down hills again) we feel rather heavier. We cycle fast as the sun is setting, but still make it home after dark.
Day 91 – May 30th – Rovies
Cob morning – Some more stone moving to finish the foundation, then we all help to make the first cob mix, then Fi + girls go down to Rovies to get bread + play on the swings (yet again!). First layer of cob on the bench seems to be a success. Afternoon we go down to the beach, a bit of work for Fi and then another trip in the canoe, this time we go towards Rovies but we don’t go very far as it’s quite late.
Day 92 – May 31st – Rovies
Cob morning #2 – plenty more cob batches, we manage to make 2-3 batches and a pretty decent layer of cob on the bench, which is starting to look very bench-like now! Unfortunately the cob from yesterday has cracked quite a lot*
* Giorgos found out later that cracking was caused by drying too fast in the hot weather, solved by covering with a wet blanket and plastic sheet.
Day 93 – June 1st – Rovies
Canoe trip: We lod up our kayak and head south along the coast. We get to Katounia, the end of the road, so launch the kayak from there. It takes us quite a while to load all of our stuff, towels, spare clothes, manu’s leg, water, picnic etc, but eventually we are away. A nice paddle along the coast, under a very high steep cliff then some little beaches. We paddle for about an hour or so, and decide to stop as we hit a patch of strong headwind. Super beach with pines behind, completely inaccessible apart from by sea, nice big shady patch for our lunch. Then we try to have a little rest but kids are not very sleepy yet! We re-load the kayak and decide to try out the canoe-sail as the headwind we fought against to get here is now our tailwind as we go back. A bit of a fight to get the sail installed, but soon we are away, Fi + kids hold onto the sail and Manu steers. A great success as we get back fast and with no paddling! Quick stop in Limni for cake and internet, and on the way home we see a fox and her 2 cubs, right next to the road.