Eco Can was a lovely boy living in an organic farm called Omercan which is situated nearby of Çanakkale.
A part of his history from the website of Omercan written by Emine Caykara.
Illustrations: Kajal Küçükheyecan
Translation: Işılar Kür
Smart Mr. Caterpillar
Have you ever seen lots and lots of tomatoes growing in a field, and watched them turn from green to bright red? Have you ever bent down picked one and savored its delicious, fresh taste? Mmmm, how I’d love one right now! I’m sure you’ve never smelt the wonderful fragrance of its velvety leaves. Well any way, let’s not dwell on it, there are no tomatoes now, we have to do without them for a while, miss them, I mean, the kind of tomatoes that are healthy and good for us will not be produced to protect both our own health and the health of the soil in which they are grown. You know what? Believe it or not, at this moment, I am standing in a cabbage field. This field is where I live, that is, this field is a part of the land where my home is. Wiggly wig..wiggly wig..Bam bam bam.. I am so happy Oh look, a caterpillar just winked at me. – You are very smart Mr. Caterpillar, I know, you are nibbling away on cabbages so that you you’ll never have a heart attack, you’ll stay young and dynamic, O.K, I understand, but how about leaving some for us too? The caterpillar lifted its small head just a little bit and looked for a moment at Eco Can. It was obvious whatever he said just went into one ear and out the other. It had grabbed the cabbage with all of its eight feet and was busy eating away. – Just a minute sir, I’m sure you’re gobbling this up even though you?re perfectly full, I wouldn’t be surprised if your ringleted body bursts out with a loud bang one of these days. Believe me, I’m really going to be happy to hear that loud bang. Yes, I know, my dad told me; after you burst, you’re going to lock yourself in a sack and start to transform and at that stage, unlike the greedy creature that you are now, you won’t be eating anything at all. Isn’t that amazing! Then your sack is going to dry up, crack and you’re going to shed it off and emerge with a brand new skin and start a new life. Yeeees, you’re going to be a butterfly. So I leave you to your cabbage leaves, because I love butterflies. I and my magic wand pay our respect to you.
How would you feel if you lived on the skirts of Kaz Mountains, among the most wondrous plants and insects, in a place so rare, so vast that sometimes you could lose your way? Would inhaling that pure and clean air make you shutter with fear? Or would you gaze around in fascination trying not to miss anything? Let me tell you right away, I did the latter, I tried as hard as I could not to miss anything.
Wiggly wig.. wiggly wig.. Bam bam bam..
By the way, my name is Eco Can. Let me tell you a few things about myself. I live in a place called İntepe near Çanakkale, on a farm left to us by my grandfather. Everybody here calls my mother Şeker Hanim. My father’s name is Hayret Bey, which in Turkish means Wonder. I think his parents named him that when they looked into his big, bright eyes and actually, he looks at everything with never ending wonder and the more he wonders, the bigger his eyes get, sometimes it’s almost scary. As I said, this is a farm. On this farm, my mom and dad, and a lot of other kind women and men start working early in the morning and work throughout the day; they don’t stop until the evening. What do they do all day? Some of them just pick herbs, some pick potatoes, and some get busy making tomato paste for us to eat in winter, you know, the tomato paste mothers put in the meals they cook to make them even more delicious. Everybody on the farm enjoys what they do so much that they don’t notice how time flies. Some toil over dry weeds, oh yes, nothing is wasted here, not even weeds? because everybody and everything in this universe have a place, everything has a value. Let me get back to weeds.. All the weeds and dried leaves are collected in one place and then, believe it or not, they are fed into a great big machine and grinded. I’ll tell you about this process later on.
I believe that everybody who lives on this farm is very happy, just like me. You know why? Because they are all busy producing healthy food products for us, and they all know that they are doing an important job.
According to Mr. Owl, the environment was so polluted that he had to fly long distances to come to our farm for a breath of fresh air and made his nest right here. He says that we humans have disrupted the balance of nature and the earth, air and the water supplies that we have polluted is now poisoning both humans and animals alike. He also pointed out that now; harmful chemicals were used on the foodstuffs that are essential for us to live and thrive, in order to produce more. Unfortunately that’s not all, it seems they even play with plats’ genetic codes to produce new plats that seem like the natural ones but in fact are just weird.
It had been raining for days, but today the weather is a little warmer, even the sun shows its face and smiles once in a while.
Well, let’s not change the subject. What my father and mother and the others are doing here is called Organic agriculture. They have vowed not to use any of the harmful chemical additives, so they are using organic farming methods and by doing so, restoring the soils disrupted balance. According to Mr. Owl and my mom and dad, although this organic agriculture is quite difficult and requires a lot of patience, it is essential for our health to eat organic food. I, for example, cannot eat any other kind since I tasted this natural food.
Wiggly wig.. wiggly wig.. Bam bam bam.. Now, I’m going meet Tutu, the girl who lives on the farm next to ours, in the forest. Her real name is Tuturuk, but I call her Tutu. Tuturuk is has such a good heart, she loves to stroll in the forest, just like me. Next week I’ll tell you about the things her black hearted father does. Let me just say this much; he is the man who keeps on snorting, crooking his mouth left and right and yelling at Tutu.
II. Eco Can
When Eco Can came to this farm for years ago, he was actually quite small. Yes, but even then he was a remarkable child, interesting and different. Whenever he went to the park with his mother, for example, all the other kids would turn to look at him, although he didn’t know why they did that, he would be pleased. I guess the color of his hair had something to do with this, but also his eyes, so intense and curious, always alert so as to never miss anything, his kind heart and his friendliness, made him the center of attraction.
Anyway, four years ago, his mother and father, after days and days of intense deliberation, decided to come to this farm his grandfather had left them, and settle here. Eco Can hadn’t really understood what they were discussing, but before he knew it, they had packed all their belongings onto a big truck moved to Çanakkale. And on that day his life changed completely. Here he is now at this glorious place on the skirts of Kaz Mountains surrounded by pine forests, pure fresh air, colorful plants and wise and funny animals. The sky here radiant, every time you look up it is as if a large, loving bosom is giving you a huge hug. With every passing day, Eco Can loved this place more and more, he was fascinated by the sound of the wind, songs of the birds, colors of the plants, in short, he fell in love with everything around him. This was a magical place. He spent his time watching nature and trying to understand everything that was going on around the farm. His mom Şeker Hanim and dad Hayret Bey were already very busy plowing and planting and trying to grow the healthiest plants ever.
Eco Can soon became accustomed to living on this farm, along with the plants that were born here and thrived here, and waking up with the sun. He started listening to the very special sounds of this place and learned to listen to the silence too, and he also gobbled up the variety of delicious flavors his mom and dad were growing here? His mother had always been meticulous about healthy nourishment and had a positive outlook, and always saw the good side of everything. They started a happy life here, on the farm.
But first must tell you about Eco Can’s friends.
Eco Can met Mr. Owl who, looked at the world with wide, headlight like eyes and who had the purest green feathers that made you want to touch and stroke them, on a warm summer night. As he was strolling around the farm, he had wondered into the forest and seen him sitting in a hollow of a tree, a sweet bundle of feathers looking at him with his large eyes wide open! Oh he was so cute, Eco Can loved him at first sight. After that first night, Eco Can kept looking for that tree hollow, most of the time he went out of his way just to look for him and soon they became friends. Mr. Owl must have enjoyed Eco Can?s interest in him, for one day he said:
‘I know that you like me, I can read it in your eyes, although they’re not as big as mine, I notice that you open them wide with wonder and admiration every time you see me. I have very sensitive eyes and ears, you know. From now on, we’re going to be friends, come, and smile at me! Oh by the way, I am an owl.’
‘I’m so happy to meet you, my name is Eco Can, may I call you Mr. Owl..’ said Eco Can with sparkling joy in his voice. But before he finished what he was saying Mr. Owl cut him short:
‘It’s alright by me, I like you. Let me warn you though, I am always on my guard during the day, you know, to protect myself, but at night I become lively. When something upsets me I can be pretty harsh, but you don’t need to be afraid of me.
Mr. Owl became Eco Can’s first friend on the farm. He was so happy that without even thinking about it, he started to sing: Wiggly wig!..wiggly wig!..Bam bam bam..
Mr. Owl opened his big eyes even wider than before (at least that’s what Can thought), stretched his wings and flapped them with such force, that it was really a sight to see.
As for Eco Can’s encounter with Miss Kikirik..
It was another warm summer day, Eco Can was walking, his stick in hand among the pure tomato seedling which Şeker Hanim was so painstakingly growing, when he saw that one of the small tomatoes was just ripe enough for his taste, he picked it and brushed off some soil with his hand popped it in his mouth.. as he was savoring the flavor slowly, he saw a small creature making its way, going in and out of the fine soil. He looked carefully, bent down all the way. The little thing was moving determinedly, huffing and puffing through the soil. Eco Can touched it gently with his stick:
‘Hey, take it easy, don’t shove me around, I have no bones and I can’t even see you, so be careful! And as you see, I’m very busy right now.’
‘Wow, that’s interesting’ he said to himself, ‘this is an arrogant little creature, soft and soggy too.’ Then he whispered softly, ‘Please tell me your name, I want to be your friend.’
Glad to meet you, I really I am, but please let me get on with work!
‘Work? What work? And what?s your name?’
‘I am a worm, I spend most of my time under the earth, I air the soil by swallowing it and I eat the organic matter in the soil. I am a very useful and busy animal. I am really lucky to be living on a farm like this; your mom and dad have created such a wonderful place that the soil here is pure and clean. Soon this place will be swarming with animals, so I better get back to work before they arrive.’
That’s how the two first met. Before the worm left, it asked him Eco Can name, and told him that if he treated it right, they could be friends. Then, it went on its way going in and out of the ground. Eco Can didn’t say anything out loud, but silently decided its name would be Miss Kikirik..
So you see, Eco Can had lots of reasons to love the farm..
His father quickly repaired the house that had been built years ago, painted the kitchen cupboards and, at his wife’s request, added some new shelves. Then he went down to Çanakkale and bought a bookcase, filled it with books and started spending most of his time reading. They prepared the room with a view of the nearby forest for Eco Can. Life on this farm was truly, absolutely wonderful.