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Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - Nicho's Albanians clear the way to the humanure pits

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 24 July 2021

I have long gazed at olive terraces on the other side of the valley and elsewhere in Greece and wondered, with some envy, at how flat and clean they look when compared to my frigina strewn land. But this year, my business partner in olive harvesting, Nicho the Communist, engaged some Albanians to clear our terraces out and the result is a wonder to behold. The first photo is the view from directly behind the house. 

The second is as you wander on after about 100 yards. You then turn left to head to the terrace below where I located the humanure pits, where we put any organic waste and what has been deposited in the eco-loos. In theory, in three years, what will emerge will be black earth, to put around the olive trees and improve their yield. In practice, I am not here enough to fill the pits up quickly enough.

Sadly, the Albanians did not burn off what they cut down and thus piles of dry brush, itself now a fire hazard, lie around the property. But next spring, after the olive harvest, they will be burned during the burning season. And one of those piles covers the oldest and fullest of the humanure pits. I rather fear what may be nestling in the piles so leave them undisturbed.

When walking around the 16,000 square metres of land here at the hovel, when outside the zone protected by snake repellent canisters, I always wear long trousers, thick walking boots and tread heavily. I always will. But for the first time ever, the land is clear and I almost feel snake-safe when strolling along to empty the eco-loo pails.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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