Winter 2012 Has Arrived

Until yesterday I still thought the snow blanket may be temporary. This morning I am convinced its here to stay 🙂

I’ve switched to winter mode. It’s 10am and I am just getting out of bed after tea and some reading and writing. Time to go outside and feed the animals. Then back inside for breakfast, to fire up the rocket stove for an hour or two to keep the room warm for the day and to continue reading, writing, resting … being winter 🙂





Who is Romanian?

I am not sure I agree completely with the thesis in Sam’s recent post (I would need to invest more time then I care to right now to reflect on it). I also don’t know who is currently the minority and who the majority but I know who I want the majority to be:

Because believe me, there are lots of good people here, from all nationalities and ethnicities and speaking all languages because I know them and I meet more every single week. We’re only in the minority because someone played a cruel trick on Romania long ago and convinced most of the population to include useless fools as being part of what makes up “we” when in reality they are the minority and so they are not us, they do not speak for us, they do not represent us and in no way have they ever demonstrated that they deserve to be included in our group.

Sorin Apostu and his ilk might speak Romanian, might have been born in Romania, might carry a Romanian passport but he isn’t one of us. And that’s why I don’t just say it but know that I am more Romanian than he is, because we, the positive, good, honest, moral people, we are Romania and he and all the corrupt, evil assholes can go fuck off. We are the ones who make this country a good place to live and so it is ours, not his. I don’t care what his papers say – he hasn’t earned the right to call himself a Romanian.

Honestly, I think this is true of many places in the world … I just happen to be more sensitive and affilated with Romania now then with other places 🙂

Joy & Jam


Twice a week we purchase fresh milk from a family in a neighboring village. It can be a pleasant walk if weather is nice, but I usually drive there. This brings with it an odd joy. I say odd because (1) I don’t experience much happiness (not because it isn’t there but rather something about me) and (2) for the ife of me I cannot understand why this, of all things, does, actually make me happy. I usually forget to bring my camera with me, but this morning, as I was stepping out, I remembered to take it.

The dogs usually come running after the car. Indy is always there and goes the longest distance. Rex will usually come along for the run but won’t go as far as Indy. Ricky will sometimes come out and if she goes far enough I stop and take her into the car so that she doesn’t get into trouble with other dogs on the way (she is a small dog). This morning all three joined me.

This is Ricky running alongside the car on the way there (just before I stopped and took her into the car):

This is Rex heading in the same direction:

This is Indy on the way back. This is my precious moment of joy. I just love watching her run trying to lead the way and then diving into the corn field. The images don’t quite work … she was ahead of me and I was trying to catchup with her to shoot her through the window … so I was driving faster then I should on an downhill dirt path through a field looking in the wrong direction 🙂

I never grow bored of watching Indy race me home through a field of corn. It keeps making me … inexplicably happy 🙂


This morning came with an extra bonus. The older generation of the family we get our milk from were busy making prune jam and I got to witness some cool village-tech – and thanks to the dogs I had my camera with me. They have this super contraption setup where an electric engine is used to drive a mixing paddle in a giant metal pot sitting on a fire in which they are cooking their prune jam (from prunes harvested from the yard directly behind them).

Last week Levente came by and I helped him fix a similar wooden mixing paddle that broke off at the end. The paddle itself is + shaped and is contoured to fit snugly to the bottom of the pot. Levente’s version was a manually operated one with a lever that swings from side to side. We are still amateurs and use a big wooden spoon 🙂



Walking Away From the King

I’ve donated to a Kickstarter  project called Money & Life. You can read more about why I donated to it on my personal blog. I am continuing to take in any existing video content I can find and I arrived at this too-short video … which touches precisely on the movitation for Cutia Taranului. I invite you to watch it and head over to the Kickstarter project page and make a donation. I really want to see this film and I want it to be available for many others to see.


This is the video that introduces the project:

You don’t discipline a fearful dog

Yesterday started out as a regular day. We did a neighbor round in the morning – starting with fresh milk, then some vegetables from Ildi and a short visit with Maria. By the time we got home it was too hot to work outside so I continued working on the Cutia Taranului information system.

I do need to mention that we have a fourth dog … our neighbors wanted to get rid of him (irresponsibly … as dogs are usually treated here in villages) … so we decided to take him in. This happened the day before yesterday. He is a beautiful dog and very responsive … but he needs to get used to the new place (he got away twice and ended back at his previous home) and to us. He was tied up his whole life and continues to be tied up here … though we do take him for short walks … and he will eventually be free like our other dogs. His name is Rex.

So back to yesterday … in the early afternoon Andreea went outside for a “stale bread round” … treating all the animals … flock and dogs. Her last stop was Rex. She went to him and as we treat our other dogs assertively requested that he sit and be calm before receiving the bread. However she did it with a hand gesture … The dog panicked and attacked and bit her … right through to the bone. Indy came to Andreea’s rescue (she was already nearby … as she always is when food is involved) and attacked Rex … he then diverted his attention from Andreea to Indy.

Andreea called out to me panicked … I ran out and found her barely standing and her left arm punctured in numerous places … with at least one gushing blood. She moved inside and we wrapped a towel to stop the bleeding … which fortunately worked. But then shock kicked in … she was experiencing both excruciating pain and fear. Then her hand began to go numb … which reduced the pain but increased the fear. I improvised something to stabilize her arm and we decided to finally pay a visit to the emergency room in Cluj.

Given what Andreea knows and what we’ve heard about Romanian hospitals the experience was surprsingly smooth and pleasant. The bite indeed went all the way to the bone and tore through a ligament … but the damage did not warrant any intervenion. It should heal on its own. Within just over an hour we left the hospital with Andreea’s arm bandaged.

We made a few additional stops. The first was in a pharmacy right across the street from the hospital to fill an antibiotics prescription. Second was in a natural products shop to pick up a few tinctures Andree wanted to apply herself. Third was to purchase some bread … since Andreea isn’t going to be baking any in the coming days. Last to pick up some wood-finishing materials we forgot to pick during the previous visit.

When we got home I sent Andreea inside and unloaded the car. During the last round I took too many things in my arms and dropped at the doorstep one of the wood-finishing material cans. It opened quite easily (as it never does when I want it too) and spilled … almost completely. I cursed … then took a breath … and then brough a piece of sponge and spread the finishing material on the doorstep itself (which was wood we put in but never got around to finishing) and on the bug-screen external door I recently added.

It was one of those days.

In the night the rains finally came … plentiful rains … I awoke to a cloudy and wet day. The rain felt like some kind of reset button … both for the thirsty plants and for emotional-me. Andreea will wake up soon and hopefully be feeling better too.