Sunday, December 26, 2010

Making soap

A few days ago, we turned our shop into our workshop.. we were making soap...
You can see, everything is ready now, the frames are lined with paper, and the soap turning pot is ready...
We heat the biological olive- and avocado oil to 27C, the mixture of hydrolate or flowerwater with the caustic soda is cooled to 27C as well, and then both are mixed...
Here, the soap mixture is turning. The oil and the hydrolate have a temperature of 27 degrees C, and now the mixture has to homogenize.... It needs continuous attention.... We make each batch of soap separately, one mixture will fill one frame...
The mixture is turning.... we are waiting for it to 'trace', then we add the essential oils... to trace it can take anything from 20 to 40 minutes for each batch, since we make soap with the 'cold production procedure', which will preserve the vitamins of the organic oils as well as the qualities of the hydrolate and the essential oils..

When it has homogenized, the raw soap is poured into the paper-lined frame..
The pot is emptied completely, scraped of any soap..
And then, the raw soap is spread evenly in the frame..
And then, the frame is covered, as you can see below. Each frame holds about 8 kilos of soap..which will cut into 50 bars.
Now covered with the wooden lids, the frames are then covered with a woolen blanket... By now, it was night, and late..
The day after, we did cut the soap into bars... We finished cutting just around 6 o'clock on christmas eve...
..and now the bars are stashed for drying.. will have to cure for about 2-3 weeks, before they are ready for use...
And we were ready to have a shower, and leave for a Christmas concert down in Plakias...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow in Kallikratis..

So, the wonder has occurred, and it snowed here in Kallikratis!! For two days the world was white, the roads blocked.. we were snowed in!!
Extremely beautiful... except, that we had planned a big party for those days, and had invited plenty of people to celebrate with us.. and only very very few could come, the ones which managed to find snow-chains in Chania! Something like finding bikinis in the Antarktis....

First time, the cat has seen snow... sliding...
Beautiful though...
Our entrance way....

Two days the miracle lasted....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas market in Chania

Here some pictures from the Christmas market in Chania.. We shared a stall with Gill , the Lavender lady in Crete, and also had some aromalamps made by Vangelio, the lady you can see above... who makes most beautiful pottery, employing ancient Minoan techniques in her art, and works every piece unique and enthralling...
Here you can see some of her hanging aromalamps in the foreground, and us behind, Babis appreciating the design of our display.. it serves quite some purposes... as it looks like...
More conventional we are here...

Our stall was framed by lots of fresh herbs..myrtle, laurel leaves, rosemary, cypress, sage...

And here you see Gill, the lavender lady in the stall...

The pictures are made by Gill and Derek...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Walking in Crete, Luca Gianotti

Hello..
The day before yesterday, in the evening, we got a mail from Luca Gianotti. He introduced himself as a walker, and asked if he could come by Kallikratis and see us tthe next day. Ofcourse, we invited him to come by.

He arrived yesterday in the late afternoon here. Luca, with his friend Stelios Georgidakis, have the project to walk the entire length of Crete, from East to West, a trip of 500km.
From Kato Zakros, crossing in the middle of Crete, walking on 3 mountain ranges (Oros Dikti, Oros Idi e Lefka Ori) , till the last part, the most famous, near the sea, with overwelming gorges, to the Monastery of Christoskalitissa. Today is his 19th day on the walk, he has covered more than 250km. His intention is, to revive the old E4 walking paths, to check their conditions and record GPS trails of the paths, which he then will publish free for any walker to use.

We were talking about his walk and experiences, about Crete and nature, about many things while cleaning wild vegetables. He had met our friend Giannis Giannoutsos in Kouses, the guy with the incredible herb shop, and Giannis had told him about us. Later, also Katherina and Antonis from Chania came, and we had dinner, and a great evening together. Luca has a wonderful approach, he calls it slow walking, which sounds most beautiful in Italian 'Movimento lento'.. walk, but do not run, have time to be present in the moment, time to meet people and nature in the now.. still, he covers about 20km daily..

He publishes a blog about his walk, which he updates daily, and which makes a wonderful read, both in Italian and English. The Italian version is daily updated, the English version is always a day or two behind.. have a look, its absolutely worth it, for all Crete lovers and for walkers.. The Italian version is at http://camminacreta.wordpress.com/ and there is a link to the English version on the site...

During the night, it started to pour down and this morning it was still pouring down with rain.. so we had a cozy extended breakfast everyone, waiting for the rain to pause.. as Luca said, that he doesn't mind rain on his walk, but he never starts out when its raining.. Today, he will walk to Askifou, where he will meet up with Stelios Georgidakis again to continue together..

After he had gone though, it again started to rain, and never stopped.. and foggy clouds filled the mountains.. we worried about him.. however, by evening he had arrived safely, but surely completely soaked, in Askifou..

May you have dry weather on your path, Luca..


Monday, November 8, 2010



Hello there.. the last weeks we have been collecting Chastetree fruits/seeds- Vitex agnus castus- down by the beach.. the weather has been fine, not too hot, but still warm enough for a swim in between work.. Luckily, we found, that this collection of the seeds, which is so important to so many people, went well also this year.
Other herbs had suffered greatly this year.. The drought during the spring, the weather changes had been a real challenge for the herbs, and therefore also for us collecting them. So many herbs flowered weeks earlier, weeks later than we ever have seen here.. and when they did, they did it in a kind of panic.. herbs, as any life on earth, wants to reproduce. All the showy flowers, all the scent which a plant produces, is made for reproduction, for attracting pollinators.. all that work and energy is spent to produce seeds, to produce life after life, life after death...

But nevertheless, plants are great adapters, change of weather, change of season, they will adapt to it-its just us humans who have difficulties to adapt..

Anyway.. we found the fruits or seeds of Chastetree just fine, managed to collect them so that we can offer their essential oil and their tincture, so precious to women, also this year.. see here http://quickbooker.org/kunden/wildherbsofcrete_com/pages/portraits-of-our-essential-oils-from-wild-herbs-of-crete/vitex-agnus-castus.php for more info..


Here we have a sunset, a spectacular one, just after a day of collection of the chastetree fruits the other day..

AND THEN, maybe you followed the water issue we have here in Kallikratis, the fight we put up, the trials we made.. the drilling for water we did with the help of so many friends.. maybe you have signed our petition...

Yesterday we had municipality elections here, as everywhere in Crete and Greece. Our candidate here in Sfakia, a guy independent of any political party, Pavlos Polakis, won the elections with 63%. My words may seems dry, but the joy and happiness we felt cannot be expressed, cannot be told in words...
He was one of the first to sign our petition, he made WATER for Kallikratis a priority in his program.. and there is no doubt, that he will proceed, now that he is elected mayor as of yesterday...

So, here a few and not very good pictures from yesterday night.. We were too excited to take good ones.. Once we understood, that our favorite will win the elections, everybody went to his house.. the women of the village came with food, and a spontaneous party happened...

From all the area people came, such feelings of hope and happiness has not been seen in Sfakia for years.. Neighbors had brought tables, chairs and hundreds of people came by..
A pity, that we didn't take more pictures.. You can just spot Pavlos Polakis to the left, in the white shirt, and Babis' head (white as well, his head that is) opposite to the left, both from behind..,.



Here Pavlos Polakis is greeting the villagers of Argoules just after his return home.. He's the guy in the white shirt..

So, nothing has been in vain, and we will have water here in Kallikratis next year.. and not only that, we will have a mayor and a communal assembly, that will change this area for the good. Goodbye corruption, good morning to sustainable development, to ecology, to sustainable solutions for nature, animals and people..

In 2011 Sfakia in Southern Crete, will be a different place for inhabitants and visitors alike... Just come and see!!!

Below, I try to show you a video of the sea, since after all this excitement, we somehow need the calm but nevertheless moving, message only the sea can give.. I hope it gets through to you...


video

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

So, here is an article about the water problem from todays local paper, Haniotika Nea:
You could translate it with Google translate..
And yesterday, they showed the issue in the local TV news..

http://www.haniotika-nea.gr/52190-%20Χωρίς%20νερό%20ο%20Καλλικράτης%20.html

We have collected some 500 signatures by now, 300 local ones and some 200 from the online petition. When we have reached a more impressive score, we will proceed sending our demand for a final solution to the water supply in Kallikratis on to every relevant authority..

And now, for us its back to work!! We have to prepare for a market in Athens, which will be held from 31. September to 3rd October, so we have to get busy bottling oils, cleaning herbs, making soap and shampoo...

Monday, September 13, 2010

And finally we are getting attention!

Hello there

Well, so far we have collected some 250 local signatures and 169 from locals, friends and supporters from all over via the online petition.. we will keep on collecting signatures, if you have not signed yet, you can do so and support our cause at www.thepetitionsite.com/1/water-for-kallikratis-a-village-in-sfakia-crete-greece  and forward the link to your friends.. we need all the support we can get for this cause, to get water to our village, a basic human need!!!

And finally we will get some public attention. The demand for a sustainable and immediate solution to the water problem in Kallikratis has reached the interest of the media. Tomorrow reporters, journalists from the local and national press, as well as a TV team will arrive here in the village.

Everybody is excited, the villagers will all gather together here, supporters from surrounding villages will come as well.. So we are all looking forward to tomorrow... 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The online petition is up!!

Hello again, we managed to create an online petition, demanding the an immediate and serious solution to the water problem in our village.
You can have a look at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/water-for-kallikratis-a-village-in-sfakia-crete-greece/
Here you can sign the petition...
Thank you for your support!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The stone is rolling...

Hello there,
Yesterday we formulated and printed out petition lists, demanding an immediate and final solution for the water problem in Kallikratis. Last night, we collected the first 40 signatures from the local villagers, and in Frangokastello 3 people got lists and will collect signatures as well. We will then contact the media, and get the demand to the relevant local, regional, national and even international authorities. Everyone here is positive and sure, that everyone here in Kallikratis, in the related villages of Patsianos, Asfendou, Frangokastello, Kapsodassos, Vouvas and Argoules will sign the petition.
Additionally, we will try to set up a supporters online petitionlist as well, so that friends and visitors to the Sfakia region can sign as well.
So, once again, we are in action and have the hope, that finally something will be done for this village.
Another positive thing is, that the water issue has united the villagers beyond political or family bonds, which in the past have made any common action very difficult...

Thats the news so far...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today is the new beginning...

So friends, here we are, all of us who contributed to a historical action for water here in Kallikratis, an action the like of which has not ever been seen before..

We were all willing to take the risk, we risked everything we had, a total of 6500 euro.... we were all enthusiastic about the project, became a team, we wrote history, we inspired and awed everyone who heard about it.. from allover we are, we all know Kallikratis, we all have spend time here, we were all willing to give it a try. We did not loose, we won, we won in showing, that together we can do things, nobody could do by himself. And its not just talk we contributed, we all contributed funds, and action, work, enthusiasm, hope and love, the excitement and the whole spectrum of emotions during the actual drilling days, ... we actively did something and did it together!! Thanks for all the support, it has been overwhelming...

Giannis and Anna Bitsakis, Chania, Crete
Lampis Xilouris, Herakleion, Crete
Arnold, Evelyn, Jaqueline, Holland
Jill and Derek Pearce, Kavros, Crete
Giorgos Markoulakis, Gerani, Crete
Giannis Tsagarakis and Maria Tolidou, Chania, Crete
Giangos Chairetis, Anogia, Crete
Nikos Psilos, Chania, Crete
Willy and Johnny de Zeeuw, Holland
Thomas and Martha Brandt, Christiania, Denmark
Manfred Hoffmann and Moni, Dresden, Germany
Ina Hviding, Norway
Giorgos Vougioukalos, Argyroupoli, Crete
Eleni Tsalikidou, Argyroupoli, Crete
Panagiotis Angelakis, Zoniana, Crete
Joscha Lücke, Berlin, Germany
Mitsos Karnagio, Chania, Crete
David Troutman, Chania, Crete
Kiria Stella Psaroudakis, Chania, Crete
Antonis Dagas, Chania, Crete
Henk Ploeger, Holland
Isolde Eleni Bichsel, Chania, Crete
Giorgos Tsoupakis, Frangokastello, Crete
Mitscha Rütsch, Bornholm, Denmark
Janne Gjerken, Norway
Jörg and Sandra Flaschka, Jena, Germany
ST and Regina, Berlin, Germany
Triandafyllia (Filio) Syka, Modi, Crete
Sheena Inoue, Bornholm, Denmark
Eva and Evtychia Christodoulaki, Modi, Crete
Giannis Ravdoskopos, Moudros, Crete
Maria (Mario) Matamadiotou, Plaka, Crete
Lill Heldre Gulli, Norway
Kristine Heldre, Norway
Heleen Kennedy, Scotland
Ria Vermeulen, Holland
Thomas Venakis, Zouridi, Crete
Dimitra and Mimis, Chania, Crete and Scopelos
Argiri Agavanaki, Athens
Giorgis Katsoulos, Frangokastello
Babis Psaroudakis and Janina Sørensen, Kallikratis, Crete

Additionally, Zacharis and Irini Daskalakis from Siva ecological wine production, Heraklion, as well as Nikos Psilos from Chania, each contributed 20 liters of the excellent Daskalakis ecological wine for the drilling days, local friends from around donated meat and goatcheese. Giannis came with vegetables from his garden, from Argiroupoli potatoes and a rabbit arrived. Spiros, one of the village guys spent a whole day carrying water for the drilling, four times one straight after the other, he went down to Frangokastello to fetch a cubic of water, each took a journey of one and a half hours. Thanks!!!!!!!

Even though, you might notice, that only two village people from Frangokastello, have actually contributed funds to the drilling, the support of the local village has been enormous, once the drilling started. They had said, they would contribute if the water would be found, they wouldn't share the risk.

But they were all excited when it actually happened, they all came by, wished us luck, they all had hopes, and now they are inspired, talking, sharing in what can be done from now on.. Its like we have shaken them into action as well....


Yesterday, 30th of August

Yesterday then, in the morning, we ordered the water to fill up the deposits..

Babis and Johnny went to collect manure from a neighbor, Andreas the goatherd, shovelled it into sacks to use in our garden.. Johnny joked 'well, when they ask me in Holland why I suddenly went down to Crete for 4 days, I'll say: 'I had to shovel shit'...

Above, you see Johnny with Andreas and Dimitris, our neighbors here in the summer.. everyone came by, and we talked about where to go from here, what kind of possibilities we'd have now to get water for the village..

There will be local elections in November.. how can we use our action trying to drill for water, in a bigger scale.. we, together with more than 50 people, have done our best.. now it must be up to the local authorities to finally find a solution for this village.. we all agreed, that this our action, is not the end, but just the beginning...


Then it was time for Willy and Johnny to leave back to Holland, here we are down in Argyroupoli at Giorgos' place for a final drink and to see them off... great friends, which showed up so unexpectedly..

We spent the rest of the evening and half of the night at Giorgos' taverna.. We have already made history, everybody knew the story, is amazed by all of us, that 50 people from allover contributed, that we made it happen, that we tried, that we, all of us, took action, set an example...

Everyone agreed, that it was not a failure, but a great success.. maybe, we didn't get water in a day or two, but we will get it, this is just the beginning, this is a stone which started rolling and cannot be stopped anymore, and we will get water here to the village. It just will take a little longer, but we have done it, all of us, we all have started it...

Suddenly, everything went positive again, ideas came in.. there will be local elections in November, we need publicity, we could make petition lists, collect hundreds of peoples support and signatures, demanding water for Kallikratis, we have the support of the villages around as well, that was most clear. Suggestions and support came from this villagers in Argyroupoli, for organizing an event in Kallikratis, inviting the media, politicians, musicians etc.. well, its getting bigger, it will go on, the stone is rolling...

This was just the beginning, we agreed....

The day after.. 29th of August

We slept late.. Christos the driller came in the early afternoon to pick up his second truck.. He came with chocolates for everyone.. 

Quiet it was, people had left, we spend the day with Willy and Johnny cleaning the house, the kitchen, repairing the gate which the truck had damaged trying to get in. Then went to dinner in Argyroupoli, at our friend Giorgos' place.. and slowly started to have ideas as to where to go from here, how to go on working for Water in Kallikratis..

First decision though was, to fill up our deposits a bit, by ordering a truck of water in the morning.. 200 euro for 10 cubic meters, so that we could take a shower, clean around and water our garden a bit.. Willy and Johnny offered the cost, and Willy joked 'well, everyone has been supporting meters of drilling, but we get water!!!' By now, our spirits had lifted..

The next day, 28th of August

In the morning of the 28th, Nikos and Babis looked at the drilling spot, and found a different kind of stone, which came up during the last meters of yesterdays drilling, and we speculated, if this could mean, that we maybe reach water.. like a last bit of hope.. Willy and Johnny offered another 20 meters of drilling..

Well, Christos the driller though, when he came said, that this new stone does not mean anything.. but we could try to raise the drill and put it down again without water and soap, raise it again and see if there is ANY humidity... if there would be, we could give it a try for more meters. But the drill was totally dry, not any sign of humidity. So, here we stopped..

And then, the rest of the day went with pulling the drilling bits up, one by one, unscrewing them from the next bit, and lay them nicely to charge them onto the truck, as you can see in the picture above.. 

And then, in the early evening hours, the noise finally stopped, the drilling bits were charged, the truck maneuvered out of our gate and parked..


The drilling site after the truck was moved.. the pear tree has suffered some... And this is it,

Our famous hole.. 155 meters down...


Finally, we didn't go dancing, but we managed to get down to the sea for a much needed swim just before sunset, wash off days of dust, tension and emotion. That was magical, this swim in the sunset... then we had dinner at Vatalos in Frangokastello, where Spiros offered us a fabulous dinner...



The end of the drilling story

Well, folks and friends, sorry for a few days of silence.. it was just overwhelming everything..we went through a lot of emotions.. but now we have recovered, and are seeing a new beginning in this adventure.. but about that later, first we want to share what happened these last days..

Here some pictures from the 27th of August, when we were drilling the last 8 meters down.. Above Nikos in the striped shirt, who had been here since tuesday with Isolde, they have shared every single moment with us, an experience none of us will ever forget...


Isolde, and in the background Willy and Johnny from Holland, which just arrived on this last day of drilling to our complete surprise and joy, and gave us so much courage, love, support, help and energy, which was so needed, as we all were so exhausted...

We are all watching the last meters of drilling...

And Giannis, the dowser... the picture tells all..



That evening was a heavy one... we were not able to post...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The outcome...

So, we drilled to 152 meters, and did not find a drop of water. We spend everything we had, we tried everything. We played a risk, and we lost.. The drilling team just finished pulling up the 150 meters of drill bits, and managed to maneuver the truck out of our gate again..

And like Alexis Zorbas we will go dancing tonight, there is a band playing in Frangokastello.. And then we will organize a party for everybody in the next week..

However, the whole experience was fantastic, the support we had from all our friends made history... so much love, support, so much hope and enthusiasm we all shared.. A huge THANKS and LOVE to everyone who shared in this project, who shared the hope for Water in Kallikratis!!! Thank you all and everyone!!!

We are all exhausted now, 4 days of hope, of noise, of soapy foam around...

More later..

yahoo.gr

Friday, August 27, 2010

OK, now the last drilling bit is going on... there is another 8 meters of hope...

and some pictures..


Willy and Johnny arrived, all the way from Holland, for a few days to be with us these days... here Willy, Nikos and Giannis...


And Johnny, still in his travelling clothes, which he soon changed into working clothes...

And we are charging the 6 drilling pieces onto the truck...


So, now at 17.00, we have another 20 meters to drill.....


What makes life worth living...

Well, Giannis said, that we should go down until 150 meters...
So alltogether, we would need funds for another 50 meters... or 6 drilling bits of 8 meter length.. We can manage another 3 bits, Nikos sponsors one, and then the drilling team itself gives us 2 bits for free.
These days here, they have seen the support we had, so many people involved in this project, and they were impressed, they had never seen anything like it. So now we are set for 150 meters. Tonight we will know the outcome, 150 is our limit, come what comes...

AND then, just when we were charging this 6 pieces of drill unto the truck, the most fantastic surprise arrived: Our beloved friends Willy and Johnny suddenly appeared... they had taken a plane from Holland, to come and support us right now.. moments like these, are what makes life truly wonderful.. truly worth living, friends like this are worth more even than water, they just appeared to share with us..

Life is wonderful
So now, whatever will happen can happen..

and now...

Yesterday we drilled to 105 meters depth... and still no water..
We are running out of money, already we drilled to the double number of meters...
Yesterday evening then, we thought that that was it, at least we tried and we knew that it was a risk to take...
This morning then, Giannis the dowser did another check, and we decided to go further down... we will scratch all our money together, so that we can pay for 4 more drill bits, another 32 meters down...

So now we are waiting for the drilling team...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And still drilling...


We are going on drilling, now we are at 80 meters... but we still hope...


We just had a break, and some food... and now we will continue...We will not give up... but the tension is considerable...

Second day of drilling

So, we started drilling again today... now its solid rock we are drilling through...

The crew arrived around noon and started with changing the drilling head...

Now, at 14.45, we have reached a depth of 62 meters without finding water. So we had a 'crisis' meeting.. what to do now? Its so very difficult to stop trying. Its our only chance. 

So, we'll go on drilling... the crew is now charging new pieces of drill onto the truck.. and we will proceed..

More later, but please cross your fingers everybody and send us positive energy....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The end of the day....

What a day... water and soap was needed for the drilling, you can see how the mixture filled our earth....

Here, Giannis, the dowser watches the drilling....

And its going on...


The drilling needs water, so we had to go down to Frangokastello for more water...

And here a small video...

Now we have drilled 30 meters, tomorrow we will go on....


video

Drilling.. a historical moment

Here the big truck arrives.. Some maneuvering was necessary to place it exactly.. 

Giannis, the dowser verified the exact place for the drilling for the final time...


And then, the drill was raised...

Now, I have made a short video, but I took it the wrong way around, and do not know how to turn it, here it comes anyway though..you will have to bend your heads.. This is such a historical day..and right now the drilling is in process, we are at 21 meters.. its very noisy, and the water and soap needed for the drill is filling the place... Its 15.14 now...

The drills come in pieces of 7.5 meters, so each one does those meters, and then another piece is screwed on... Soon number 4 goes on...

I am preparing food now, but will make more photos and videos later. Its just such an exciting day... what to say more.... There are tears of sheer emotion, laughter...


video