Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Morning coffee on the terrace   4 comments

Not a breath of a breeze, no leaves twitch, the sounds of cockerels, chickens, a cow lowing in a byre, pigeons. The evidence of life is all around me, birds singing, the sound of car tyres on patchy asphalt but all the evidence can only be heard, nothing I see is moving, from my spot on the terrace it is surreal, not one movement can be seen yet all the sounds prove that it is occurring somewhere close by. The cries of a goat herder urging her flock along the path to fresh browsing.

The early sun casts shadows on the opposite side of the valley revealing the contours that will be hidden in an hour to be revealed again by the late afternoon sun striking from a different angle. Noises of people starting work, leaving houses, doors shutting, things being dragged or dropped, voices calling to each other.

A bird breaks the stillness, a gently descending glide across my field of vision, followed seconds later by another, a tiny toy truck invisibly pushed by a child’s hand crawls along the road across the valley, a delivery to the concrete plant.

The dogs have had breakfast.

Wolfie strides onto the terrace, head down moving purposefully. He stops, raises his head to peruse the scene then, tucking one leg under he sits then lies, lets out a long sighing breath and is still. He’ll be there for the next hour.

Molly dozes but listens for any sound, she will be the first to react if something alerts her, she is the pack’s alarm.

Whisky is watching me, watching my movements.

Minnie rests under a bench, awake now, everything is again still.

My cup now cries for a refill, the scratching of my pencil on the paper ceases and I rise and turn toward the kitchen, the moment is lost for now, perhaps to be re-enacted tomorrow?

Posted August 7, 2017 by cukurbagli in Animals, Environs of the village, Turkey

Bulbul Coriander   4 comments

Standing at the kitchen sink this morning doing a bit of washing up and I spotted this pair of birds that are new visitors to my garden. In the twelve years I’ve lived here I haven’t ever seen any of these before. They are called White Spectacled Bulbul or Yellow Vented Bulbul for obvious reasons. That water they are bathing in pretty cold this morning but the sun is quite warm for them.




I’ll bet they don’t have any trouble following each other.


I like making curry but one of the spices used in some of my recipes is Coriander leaves. Well I had a hard enough time finding any Coriander until somebody told me about the spice shop in town, only been there a couple of years, why haven’t I noticed it before you may ask, I asked the same thing myself. Anyway I was only able to get ground Coriander and seeds so I planted some, didn’t really think they’d be viable but nearly all of them germinated. Very pleased with that, three pots of them are in the sun on my kitchen window sill now.


By the way, I also found out recently that in America Coriander is known as Cilantro, a good discovery because I’ve never known that and I have a few recipes calling for Cilantro. It’s also known as Chinese Parsley, something else I didn’t know, of all the things I didn’t know I didn’t know that the most. Thanks Bob.

Posted December 10, 2016 by cukurbagli in Animals, Food, Gardening, Turkey

UK visit   6 comments

I mentioned in my previous post that I’d had a quick trip to UK, the main purpose was to tidy up loose ends and bring back a few personal things that I wanted to keep. A lot of my clockmaking tools and DIY tools were stored in a garage and very fortunately for me a clockmaker friend of mine bought the whole lot. I had already arranged to sell my clock book library to a book dealer in Oxfordshire so in one fell swoop most of my tidying up was completed. When went through everything else I found there were lots of things I wanted to bring back, far too many too bring in fact so I had to spend a heartbreaking afternoon putting many items in a rubbish skip. Nothing that I threw away had much monetary value but a lot had sentimental value. Well it had to be done and now I’m back here in Turkey I am happy to have the few things I did manage to bring with me.

The most important for me to bring was this clock. It is a 30 hour longcase clock (grandfather clock).


The case I sold and just brought the movement which is now mounted on a wall in my house and is working well although the strike mechanism is missing a couple of parts that have disappeared somewhere. I found the antique movement in a car boot sale back in 2002 and made a dial for it then got a friend to make me a nice oak case which I was very upset to have to sell. I’m going to get some cedar to make a case here. Why cedar? It’s freely available here, relatively cheap and easy to work with and doesn’t suffer too much from shrinkage when it dries out, it’s nice looking too.

The other important item that I brought was a guitar, a twelve string copy of a Gibson ES 335 thinline archtop semi-acoustic electric guitar but this one is made by Aria. Frankly it’s not a very well made copy but when I’ve finished the repairs and modifications it will be a lot better.

AriaThe repair involved fixing a crack in the pocket where the neck screws in. The Gibson model has a set neck i.e. it is built in rather than being held in place by big screws and the block that the pocket is machined into should have been made to run the full length of the body to give it sufficient strength. In this one the neck was not sufficiently stable to take the strain of twelve strings and the block had cracked. Anyway I have managed to fix that and with only six strings it keeps its tune and sounds very nice. Twelve strings cause it to drop out of tune before you even get halfway through the intro of a song! I’ve simply taken the extra six strings off for now but I will order proper six string hardware for it.

There are a few other little things that I managed to tuck into the corners of my case that are not worthy of a mention individually so I’ll lump them together and call them personal memorabilia, just things that I’m happy to have with me again.

There were a few pleasant surprises in U.K. too. The roads were in a much better state than I had been led to believe by the newspapers, all that whingeing and moaning about the potholes and lack of maintenance but without exception the roads I drove upon were in an excellent state of repair. Another surprise was the standard of lane discipline and observance of speed limits. Admittedly there are more speed cameras around now than when I left eleven years ago but after driving in Turkey for ten years I found I was the one who needed to get my act together.

I was very pleased to meet up with my two brothers and spend a little time with them, we haven’t seen each other since I moved to Turkey eleven years ago, nice to see you guys, you’re looking happy and well.

Very sadly a week after I got back my little cat Stanley was hit by a car and killed. I was heartbroken, still am, he was a super little cat and had been with me since he ventured up here as a kitten ten years ago. He used to come into the house in the middle of the night and sleep on my bed.

Stan1So sorry Stan, RIP my little friend.

Posted June 7, 2015 by cukurbagli in Animals, Technology, Tourism

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You can tell when summer comes to the village. Apart from the more regular appearance of the sun the Yörük goat herders head off, with all their goats and possessions, to their summer grounds (yayla) up in the hills where there is water and good grazing. The Çukurbağ Yaylası is about seventy kilometres from the main Çukurbağ village here and it usually takes them about three days to get there. They walk with their goats while their shanty tents and possessions go by tractor or truck. This year the ones who stay for the winter just up the road from my place here left a few days ago so yesterday when we walked the dogs we went to have a look at their empty camp site. A shrill mewing sound alerted the dogs and there, hidden amongst a pile of old boxes and clothes were a couple of tiny kittens.

Kittens 2

They weren’t going to survive long there so they are the new residents here. After a day of eating, drinking and sleeping they are now gambolling around the place quite happily. Stanley is taking a dim view of the new arrivals though, he is nine years old this year and has grown used to being the only cat. I don’t think he is too pleased about the arrival of a couple of babies and has hissed at them a couple of times. Well it was the same when he came, then the boss was another big ginger tom called Roy and he didn’t like the baby Stanley at all to begin with, I dare say Stan will get used to these little ones soon.

I noticed a Dragonfly sitting on a stick yesterday so here is a picture of it, not as colourful as some I have seen but still interesting.


Posted June 10, 2014 by cukurbagli in Animals

Another Stray   1 comment

Long-time readers of my blog will know that all my animals, (or should I say the animals that deign to live with me) are strays, or street animals as they say here. The two bigger dogs that used to live here, Wilf and Alf, were babies that I took in after a street dog delivered 12 puppies in the cloakroom of a friend of mine, Minnie joined us one day a couple of years later when they and I were out walking, then of course there is Aslan who regards my place as a hotel/hospital and comes for food and medical care but gets some gratuitous love too. Molly came after surviving an idiotic tail docking attempt by a fool in Kalkan and Stanley the cat beat them all to it by turning up in the bushes outside my house only a couple of months after I had moved in back in 2005. Well a week or so ago another dog decided I looked like a soft touch and joined in when the dogs and I were walking back from Ağullu, this time though it was a much more serious proposition because of the size of the dog.

A Turkish Mastiff breed called a Kangal is a very large dog bred to protect livestock (goats and sheep) from predatory animals such as wolves, bear and jackals. It originates from the Kangal district of the Sivas province in the central eastern part of Anatolia. Although referred to widely as sheepdogs the Kangals’ job is not to herd sheep but to act as a guardian.

Please let me introduce Pasha.

Pasha walkies

He is a beautiful big boy. I’ve found out that he is about 18 months old and spent most of that time in the local prison yard where the inmates called him Beton (Concrete in English), I guess they wanted him to be a hard man but he is one of the softest dogs I have met. Kangals have a reputation for loyalty and an innate protective nature and he seems to be displaying these qualities already. To have him living here is a delightful surprise and I will do my best to deserve his loyalty.

Here’s another photograph of him with Molly.

Pasha & Molly

Talking of strays I came across another one a couple of days ago, not as big as Pasha but just as delightful. A baby tortoise, in it’s second year I think, judging by the ridges on the plates of it’s shell.

Here is a photograph of Pasha giving it a sniff, would you believe Pasha jumped back scared of it when it moved!

Baby Tortoise Scares Pasha




Posted May 14, 2014 by cukurbagli in Animals, Uncategorized

Farouk   1 comment

Last week my neighbour’s boy Hassan asked me about taking his uncle’s dog to the vet to get her neutered so I spoke to a friend who helps to run the local dog shelter about when to take her. Well I ended up taking her yesterday, what a lovely dog she is. She is a typical Anatolian sheep/goat herder’s dog, a mastiff, descended from the Kangals of the Sivas region here in Turkey. She is so tolerant and soft in her character and it’s hard to imagine her fighting off wolves or foxes. Hassan and I took her to the local shelter for 10.30 and picked her up again at 2. Her operation was only just finishing when we got there, it had been complicated by a large ovarian cyst that also had to be removed. Last night I left her to sleep in the back of my pick-up and this morning she seems quite happy but isn’t interested in going anywhere yet so I’ll let her sleep and see what happens later. It’s not as if I can just pick her up and take her back home, she’s way to big for that and anyway it would be uncomfortable for her. Here she is, Hassan says her name is Farouk, not sure about the spelling. She has a really gentle way about her and her coat feels like silk around her neck and shoulders.


I would keep her if she was a stray.

Kaş Animal Friends

Kaş Animal Friends Charity


Posted November 29, 2013 by cukurbagli in Animals, Neighbours

Fiona   Leave a comment

A little update on Fiona, she has gone back to her owners because she has eaten all of my weeds and started on my baby vines and other plants. My Bay trees, an Olive tree and a Mulberry tree came in for particular attention and I had to take her back before she decimated everything else. Sad to see her go but she has more appropriate things to eat now.

Posted July 5, 2013 by cukurbagli in Animals, Gardening