National Geographic : 1948 Jul
Peasants of Anatolia Start t'htograliller Maynard Owen Williams It Takes Three Men and a Boy to Bulldoze a Sturdy Ox into Wearing Shoes Oxen still draw most of the plows that break Anatolian soil. In recent years Government-owned tractors have toured rural districts. With them go agricultural experts to demonstrate improved methods of plowing, planting, and stock raising (page 64). Only when he sees heavier sheaves, bigger yields, and sturdier stock will the conservative peasant adopt new ways. Only after his defeat did the king of Lydia realize that the great kingdom meant by the oracle was his own. Philosophical Peasants Fight Drought The peasant must make the best of his surroundings to wrest the maximum profit from his soil. Often climate varies widely within short distances. In summer the high border mountains virtually shut off sea breezes from central Anatolia, so that rain clouds cannot reach it and deliver their moisture. This section, therefore, must rely upon dry farming for its crops. Handicapped by drought, the peasant from the region of Erbaa expresses his feelings in the proverb, "He whose head is boiling in August has a boiling pot in winter." The Burdur farmer puts it, "He who looks for shade in August rubs his belly in winter"; and the dweller in Sinop says, "He who sweats in summer with heat does not freeze in winter with cold." A few rainy spring days in the dry farming area ensure the harvest that is the daily bread of the Turkish population. Therefore the peasant in Kirsehir, in central Anatolia, de clares, "If March and April weep, the peasant laughs." Konya farmers say, "April rain is a golden carriage with silver wheels." The Difference That Rain Makes If spring rain fails, the harvest is poor; sometimes a total failure causes famine. The peasant of Ermenek has a proverb: "The falling out of the year may be brought in by April; the falling out of April (in rain) cannot be brought in by the whole year." Near Sivas there is a saying: "If it rains between March and May, praise the kile (dry measure); if it does not rain, put the kile on your head."