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Bucking Hay in Flip-flops

Yesterday, today, and every day in the foreseeable future, we will be moving hay here. My arms and neck are currently covered in scratched from prickly oat stalks and I am doing my best to not irritate them. The plus side? I am so distracted caring for my hay wounds that I’ve stopped trying to count the number of mosquito bites on my body.

Hay deliveries come in the back of small pick up trucks, precariously strapped down (and likely equally precariously transported). We pick up hay in remote, strangely located fields (like between hotels), and load bales into the back of Amanda’s van. The bales have been fairly light thus far (maybe 50 lbs?) and I was given some pretty free rein regarding stacking it. Which was nice- no Greek men undoing what i did or yelling at me (which I wouldn’t understand anyone and which would probably either infuriate me or bring me to tears).

I said a very silent but very exalted THANK YOU to all the times I helped my grandpa move hay and think he would have been pleased with my expert Jenga- style hay stacking. I stacked those babies into the rafters (6” off the outside wall, cut side down). Sweat pouring off of me, hay scratching my bare arms and digging its way into my skin and clothing, we raced against time to unload and store each load.

Because today, of course, it has been raining all over Greece and we’ve been watching the skies and feeling the air for looming moisture. Don’t get me wrong, a bit if rain here would be amazing! It would definitely cut down on the dust and take away from all of the dry heat we suffer through/thrive in all day. The issue, however, according to Greek sources, is that there is no such thing as a “bit of rain” during this time of year. When it rains in spring, the skies open up and dump and pour and monsoon and sob and wreck havoc on plants and trees and buildings. Flash floods are anticipated. Crops are lost. Unsuspecting volunteers are sent running around moving good hay before it gets an undeserved bath.

Elia and I had some help from Stathis and one of his friends- who was, of all things, stacking hay in flip flops- but for the most part it was us two ladies sweating it out and earning our lunch (homemade spicy tomato sauce and pasta YUM!).

We are now holed up in our little house, trying not to get blown away to Oz because in addition to the anticipated down pour, we have also been in the middle of a pretty significant wind storm for the past 24 hours and aside from a few convenient lulls (this morning during my run and during the second hay load), Mother Nature has been doing her best to send all of us into hiding for a while.

Life on Skyros is far from boring…

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