Yesterday morning, after charging the car overnight, we got is started and when on a small treasure hunt (we spoke to a person, who sent us to another person who sent us to another person) to a neighboring village to purchase up a small electric stove (from a villager who brings small batches of them from Bucharest) which is going to make our life much better.
We then stopped at one of the village bars where we had a conversation with the owners (who we know). We talked about this and that … sustainability, land, water. There is a once-fertile area in the south of Romania that has been gradually transformed into a desert. It is now covered with 3 meters of snow … housed are buried in snow (I can’t help but see that nature will always come around like a bumerang). We have a relatively comfortable winter (except for the freezing temperatures).
We talked about land. They admitted there is a soil-fertility problem but there’s nothing to do about it. We disgareed and explained that our approach is going to be based on the understanding that soil-fertility comes before everything else. They still don’t think it’s possible.
We got around to water because we asked their permission to fill a few large water bottles with water from the main water supply (comes from the city of Cluj). There is a freely accessible faucet nearby but it is now frozen solid. Romanians who have running water (many villagers don’t – they carry water in buckets from a well) are extremely wasteful with it. They still think it’s an endless resources that can be exploited carelessly. Yet everyone knows that water tables are dropping. A large area on the way to our property was once a lake. Wells are drying up … and yet no one admits that there may be a problem.
We then headed out to visit neighbors. On the way we saw a woman pulling (uphill – from her house towards the road) a small cart with two large aluminum containers (usually used for delivering milk) on it. She has a small flock of goats. We stopped to say hello and to ask about goat milk. There isn’t any now … there will be some around April/May. The containers were empty – she was carrying them to a public well (at least another 200 meters from where we were) because the two wells on her property were dry. Yeah … there’s no water problem.
We continued to oue neighbors and had a wonderful discussion about an initiative we call Cutia Taranului (Romanian for Peasant Box). We hope that by this spring their produce will be sold directly to families in the city instead of through the abusive and inefficient city-markets. This is an experiment with one peasant family which we hope will be adopted by many others. More to come on that soon 🙂