Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Wellies on... It's Countryfile Greece

We've been talking about getting chickens for a while. I was thinking maybe two. Stelios was thinking maybe a dozen. I thought we should learn a bit about keeping chickens. Stelios figured it's easy. Three days ago, he was helping out Manolis with some work and he offered him half a dozen chickens in return. Decision made.

And so for the last couple of days, still exhausted after two days of hauling in over a thousand palamithes (small tuna) in the trata nets, Stelios started to build a kotetsi, a chicken house. 

He'd recently spent a couple of days carefully constructing a wooden dog house for Lisa out of reclaimed wood he'd found mostly washed up on beaches, so he could build one like that. She hadn't been in there yet, but we assumed when she was old enough and it was warm enough outside...

There again, we weighed up the likelihood of this dog - who will sneak up on our bed at any opportunity - ever taking to a 'dog house'. There was more likelihood of us sleeping outside in it. Job done - one ready-made chicken house.

Tilos doesn't have any foxes, so there are no ground predators; but the crows and the eagles will go for a chicken, apparently, so the run had to be sealed in well overhead. And, because the chickens would be in the field where we plant all our vegetables and trees, they'd need a strong fence to keep them around their coop. He was just finishing it all off as the sun went down last night.

The chickens aren't new-borns so they would probably be fine overnight, but we were still a little anxious to know they'd survived the night in their new home. It was a cold, windy night (how windy? the Dodecanese Express boat managed to stop at Tilos yesterday, but broke a rope doing so, and everyone on board was sick...) So we all went down to our field en famille first thing this morning. Lisa was jumping up and down with excitement that we were all going off on an excursion together.

The chickens were as right as rain in their new home under the shade of a big old tree. And what a home! He's not just a pretty face, Mr Fisherman-Kantina-Man-Chicken-Farmer. 

We brought Lisa inside while we fed the chickens. As long as dogs learn young, apparently, they won't harm the birds. We needn't have feared: she was more interested in eating their food.

I admired the fig tree and the grape vines with their new leaves, and picked some rocket and onions and carrots from the garden for today's salad, and walked back home in my wellies. Our own fresh eggs soon? Countryfile Greece, indeed.


  1. Hello!

    I love every word you write about Tilos and I like your blog!

    We used to come to Tilos twice a year for quite a number of years, and now reading your blog really inspires us to start it over again.

    Your book, Falling in Honey, is on its way from the on line book store! It will be exciting to read it.

    And your puppy, how cute isn't she!

    Do have a wonderful spring!


    1. Wow, thank you! I don't need to tell you, Tilos is a very special place. And life never stands still here... Lisa is amazingly cute! Happy spring to you too, and thank you so much for your fabulous message. Hope to see you here one day.

    2. Hi Jennifer
      I have just read your wonderful book about your adventures on Tilos and it has totally inspired me.. I too am in a similar situation to yourself before you started a new life for yourself on that beautiful little island.. I am thinking about visiting for a week on my own in the summer.. and although I have a real passion for travel and adventure.. I am still abit nervous about travelling alone.. I don't know why though as I am normally so independent!.. But I truly loved reading your book.. So much so , I am reading it again!.. I wish you nothing but happiness Jennifer and I totally admire you..

      All the best


    3. Susan - the best thing about travelling alone is when you wake up in the morning, open the door to the balcony, check the sky and sea and ask yourself what you want to do today. Take a walk with your camera ready? Have a silent day on the beach? Spend the day under the Omonia trees with a frappe and your book? Or go back to bed for one hour more? And all this without having to think about somebody else's needs and wishes... It couldn't be better :-)

      Tilos is also a very good choice when you travel on your own, it is small, welcoming and seems to attract people who are easy to get to know.

      In Falling in honey, I loved the things Jennifer did on her own because I recognized them so well. Been there, done that - and still doing it :-)

    4. Brilliant - I couldn't have put it better myself!

      Susan, I was thrilled to get your message - if a book can inspire you, then it has done its job as far as I'm concerned! I am sorry if you have been going through something difficult, but at the same time I am excited for you that you are about to set off on your own adventure of some kind - whatever it may be.

      If you make it to Tilos, please get in touch through here if you'd like to meet up. But even if you don't, I know you will find a warm welcome on this island and it will give you time and space to think about what you want.


    5. Thankyou so much for your kind words Jennifer, I do feel like we have so much in common.. I just wish I had more confidence!.. I am currently looking at accommodation on Tilos.. somewhere quiet where I can gather my thoughts and go for nice long walks!..
      I love reading your blog.. I do hope you get to write a sequel to Falling in honey one day ..

      Love Susan.x

    6. I think I will - thanks for saying that. I'm going to write a post about accommodation soon so maybe that will help. If you want somewhere quiet, Eristos area would be ideal.

  2. My wife and I saw a fox three or four years ago when we were walking down the road to Eristos. It came out of the fields, trotted across the road just in front of us, and disappeared into the fields on the other side. Do you think he/she has passed on? Then of course, there are the rats ....
    Good luck with your new little flock. Actually if I were a predator I think I would prefer that plump, tasty- looking pup!

    1. Hmm, are you sure it wasn't the little fox-coloured dog that lives down there?! Or maybe it was on its holidays! There aren't any naturally wild foxes here.

      Thanks for the good wishes. We certainly worried about an eagle going for the puppy when she was tiny, but it would have a hard time with her now - she's big and very feisty!

    2. Oh dear, can I believe in the fox on holiday, please? Being fooled by a fox-coloured dog is just too shameful! I wonder what we had been drinking??

    3. I think I've drunk some of that too from time to time on a lovely sunny day in Tilos...