Another long day gone bye … great stuff today too.

Our neighbors are separating (we think they were a great couple), she is staying here (which makes us happy) and he is going back to his home-village. We purchased from them one of their hay piles .. and this morning he brought it over to our place. We had a coffee together and said goodbye … we were sad to see him go.

I finished assembling and applying a first coat of finish to the kitchen sink cabinet. Tomorrow another coat pf finish then some fine sanding and polishing and another piece of furniture goes to work for us 🙂 I also assembled a tricky part of the base of the shower stall … a skeleton which creates the drainage for the stall … worked out great too.

Andreea was back at the rocket stove continuing our food preservation work … this time she roasted 10kg eggplant and 5kg peppers … both as a preparation for two different kinds of Zakuska.

At the end of the day we used the running rocket to heat bath water … I pushed lots of wood in to see how fast it can heat water and we had steam coming out of ~15 liters of water in 20 minutes. Hot water was great … though it is getting cool in the evenings (and it was freakin cold in the morning).

Food is warming … nice to be at the end of another fruitful day.

Roadtrip to Piatra Neamt & Bacau

On the day we moved out of the city we set out on a Roadtrip through Piatra Neamt (Andrreea’s home town) to Bacau where Andreea’s aunt prepared many village goods for us. I’ll get to the visit itself in a follow-up post, for now I’ll leave you to enjoy some of images of a beautiful green Romania:

Super long and fruitful today for us … we are beat but extremely satisfied:

  • In the morning we drove to pick up fresh milk and carry over large quantities of freshly picked vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants and peppers) from our neighbors.
  • Then it was humanure-hacienda time for me … we had a full load (4 buckets) to unload 🙂
  • Andreea processed the 20kg of tomatoes into 10 liters of tomato sauce (some of which she also cooked into soup we really shout sit down and eat). The Squeezo was fantastic … we have pictures of the process and will publish it in detail soon. 1o sealed bottles are now wrapped in blankets next to the wall … slowly cooling. We plan to do ~60kg more of tomatoes … and to think that next year we will do this with self grown tomatoes.
  • I almost completed unloading the car from all the stuff we brought back from the city.
  • I decided to assemble first and then finish the kitchen sink cabinet. Went very well … great fun seeing the pieces (started from yucky junk wood) come together … and the sink fit like a charm! Tomorrow a bit more assembly and then finishing (which was the plan for today)

It now seems that Loui (the puppy) doesn’t like being left alone at all … and repeatedly takes a walk down the path to the neighbors’ gate (~200 meters) and whines until they let him in. He’s figured out it works and that he likes it … so there!

Hate the city … I feel like led weights are tied to my legs when I walk in the city … so much superficiality, so much lack of focus (people literally walk lousy), so crowded, so noisy… arghh …

… we did manage to make an efficient day of it – came back with a car loaded (again) with cardboard boxes (intended for sheet mulching), a second batch of jars for winter food preservations, went to apply for a car-tax refund in the county offices, purchased food supplies, finishing materials for additional kitchen furniture AND came home with our Squeezo which made it all the way from the USA … more on that story soon.

We got home and the cherry on top for the busy day was a missing puppy – no where to be seen. Apparently he didn’t like that we left for the day so he strolled over to our neighbors, whined until they opened the gate for him (he’s been there before numerous times with us) … and spent the afternoon there … which is where Andreea found him.

Need to recuperate … looking forward to a soft day tomorrow … easy work with finishing the kitchen sink cabinet … we purchased the water-based material I much prefer to work with … which means I may be able to get all the finishing done by Monday!

It’s 5:30am and sleep has left me … actually it left quite a while ago … it’s just that now I have surrendered to it being gone 🙂

Day before yesterday:

  •  Started off as a great router-work day. I managed to do some half-decent routing work on the posts of our soon-t0-be kitchen sink cabinet. I was very happy with the results.
  • We then went out for a quick visit to the village, when we got back it was really hot out … so that pretty much ended our work day.
  • The gypsy didn’t arrive for work … apparently it was a(nother) holiday. However half way into the day he did arrive with a friend in a car with a small trailer to pick up the junk metal parts he had collected on our property … which he sells to a junk-metal recycler/dealer dude. My first thought was to send him away until he finishes his work … but then realized that we were getting free garbage cleanup so we let him load most of the stuff and carry it away for us.
  • Had a mushy rest of the day … developed a slight headache.


  • Gypsy did not come to work today. Seems like the metals were his primary agenda … anyways …
  • Went out earlier then usual to start working – taking advantage of the cool morning hours. Did some jigsaw cutting and then lots of sanding on all the parts of the kitchen sink cabinet. Then did a quick dry assembly … made some more cuts to the side panels (too wide) … and it’s looking really good. Just when it was assembled on the lawn … it started to rain so that halted the work again.
  • We planned our visit to the city today and went over some more food preservation plans … we need to get both jars and vegetables and get started with that project.
  • In the evening I cut and sanded and finished a few more parts of the shower stall … hopefully I will be able to make some progress with the drain-plate (surface that should drain all the water out of the shower stall) over the weekend.

Andreea and Nora have put together plans for the first Doula course in Romania – they’ve even scheduled the first one for November. Also Andreea’s home-made ointment is continuing to sell from word-t-o-mouth… great stuff 🙂

Today … heading out to Cluj to suckle a bit on the tit of industrialization 🙂

Good progress today. All the pieces for the sink cabinet have been planed and cut to size. Amazing to see the transformation of junk wood into something functional and nice 🙂 The pieces of the base of the shower stall are in finishing … initial layer is drying and looks nice.

Gypsy performance was way down today. It was hot today so he was impatient and looking for excuses to get out of the sun. He tried to convince us that cigarettes and alcohol (in addition to food) are part of a workers benefits package. He also wants to bring his wife along with him to work so that can be twice as inefficient. When he was working he did a good job. A few hours before the end of the day he “remembered he had to be somewhere” and left. We paid him for only part of the day. Hope for better communication and more efficient work tomorrow.

9 more bags of corn and 1 additional bag of green peas are in the  freezer. We are all set with corn – hoping for another round of peas. In the coming days will be adding to the freezer some broccoli and cauliflower (some of which will also be pickled together with some peppers and carrots!).

Today I put the shower-stall project on hold since I couldn’t go much further without doing some finishing and assembling (which I couldn’t do because I didn’t have the finishing materials) so I dove into another woodworking project – also water related – a cabinet which will support our sink. Yes water related projects are a theme since we have running water outside and we want to get it in. So we are collecting all the pieces that are involved in having water indoors (sink, shower, water heater and washing machine) so that we can call in a local professional do to the water installation for us.

I fumbled about a lot as the salvaged wood pile is getting slimmer and good findings are harder to come by. I finally managed to get the first pieces cut and planed and assembled – this is the top frame into which the sink will fit. It was a tricky frame to do since it had to accommodate the size and fittings of the sink. The simple way to do it is to make a counter-top surface and cut out a hole for the sink – but that strikes me as wasteful. In our case the cabinet is the exact width of the sink with a small extension counter to occupy the space we have for it. Designing and building the frame was tedious … but it worked.

I then cut to length all the remaining pieces (it was the end of the day and I was tired) – I now have a ton of planing and sanding to do but we will soon have a sink cabinet … and soon after that running water! so many details in something that was so obvious to me all of my life.

I also drove to the village center to pick up a few things – including some finishing materials for the shower stall … oh and also harvested another batch of corn with our neighbor. Tomorrow we will cook it (rocket stove!!) and freeze it.

Also, working around me was a local villager who we hired to continue the cleaning up of the yard around the house. He made good progress. But, most interesting was learning about him. He is of the gypsy community of the village, around 30 years old, married with three kids – they all live in an improvised house of one 5 by 6 meter room with no running water. They have one electricity outlet that they run from a neighbor (they can’t afford to hook up their impromptu house to electricity) and they use it to operate one light-bulb for the kids to study with. The neighbors rip them off and charge them  half of their electricity bill. Their (heating and cooking) stove broke when their improvised cardboard roof caved in and broke it (we invited him to join us when we build our rocket stove – but he declined saying everybody would laugh at him when they saw the barrel). He seems content with his life. He is consistently (and unimaginatively) to convince up to let him bring his wife to work with him. The gap between our lives and mentality is a huge reflection for me.

There is a very strong (and probably not completely unwarranted) prejudice against gypsies in Romania. Romanian look down at that and are careful around them. Our dogs (I haven’t gotten around to telling about them – there are three!) were very aggressive towards him – more then usual. We had to tie Indy (the pack leader) to let him work. Andreea explained to him that she is a very aggressive and dangerous dog – that he shouldn’t come around without letting us know. She is being protective of our home. It’s a very strong prejudice!