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Thursday, 8 January 2009

The colours of Fournes: Tutti frutti

(This is part of my monthly series of colour and texture studies based on the village of Fournes, an orange and olive producing area in Hania. The idea is based on an inspiration from the work by Calliope in her Spectral Studies series.)

Winter is a strange time in the village. The trees and plant life all look lush and green, full of life; Fournes is an olive and orange producing area, hence the abundance of evergreens. The weather has considerably cooled down since the summer. When there is rain, it gives the place a washed out look, much more pleasant than its dry dusty appearance in the summer months.

lefka ori covered in snow fournes hania chania
The day after Christmas - a bright sunny morning, a day of rest, led us out for a stroll in the village.

To see any signs of bright colour beyond the green sea, you have to look hard. Apart from the obvious colours of the fruits in question - green and black olives and bright orange citrus - it was a bit of a trial finding much else. Specks of yellow can be found on closer inspection - but it may be a case of abstract art...

bed of clover fournes hania chania fire
The clover flower creates a bed of yellow in the fields at this time of year. Burning the trimmed branches created a golden fire.
yellow oranges fournes hania chania
The Valencia oranges are now taking on their colour, turning from dark green to light yellow, to orange.
grapefruit fournes hania chania
The grapefruit tree is a welcome alternative to orange, but this citrus fruit never really caught on in Crete. It's often grown for export.
yellowing leaves of papyrus plant fournes mandarin tree fournes hania chania
A yellow hose sits under a mandarin tree in a private garden.
yellowing leaves of fig tree fournes hania chania
The leaves of summertime flowers and trees are yellowing, falling off the fig tree.
koumara fruit fournes hania chania
The koumara fruit (arbute tree) is very unusual: it tastes like woody strawberry (it's also known as the strawberry tree) and its fruit is turned into wine and liquer; yellow fruits are not yet ready for eating. Sprigs of this tree are often used as Christmas decorations.
dandelions fournes hania chania yellow house fournes hania chania
Amongst the dandelions and yellow-green sun-kissed fruit of the olive trees stands a lone yellow house.
yellowish olives fournes hania chania
Grapefruit and koumara berries...

grapefruit hania chania arbute berries strawberry tree hania chania
...mandarins and navel oranges (Valencia oranges ripen late spring)
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mandarins hania chania navel oranges fournes hania chania
lemons lemon tree
Did I forget the lemons? We're still buying them (or picking my uncles') until ours are yellow enough to pick.

The colour of the village is a verdant green, with spots of colour hidden among the foliage, in the form of the emerging fruit from the trees. Life continues, even in the freezing air and the dormant earth.

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