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Blog On The Way Weather Reports

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Blog On The Way

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 🙂

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Blog On The Way

Crafts

This is one direction I’d love to see develop in Romania and become a key local and national resource:

Via Grant Blakeman

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Blog On The Way

Joy & Jam

Joy

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 🙂

Jam

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 🙂

 

 

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Blog Cutia Taranului Inspiration On The Way

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:

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Blog On The Way

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.

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Blog On The Way Pondering

Food Rules

As a followup to Food is not Cheap post I came across this interview with Michael Pollan (from 2010) who, if nothing else. has more credentials and has written a book about the subject:

Michael Pollan
www.thedailyshow.com
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Blog On The Way

Rich

Today I took a break from physically demanding work and stuck with physical work … in the shade … in the workshop.

I finally cut the first board that will be at the top of our bed headboard. It is the top board – and rounded … a huge radius … but I got a decent enough result 🙂

Then I moved back to working on more frames for the solar dehydrators. I liked going back to this task because it brought with repetition that carried over from the first, more erratic batch.

Now … we have swallows all over the place … they even tried to build a nest inside the house.

One of the swallow nests sits right above my mitre saw. So I found myself cutting away while a mother bird kept flying in with what looked like spiders to feed 4 apparently hungry chicks … funny looking chicks with flat heads and … mohawks.

Due to the repetitive tasks I had I was able to move into ” the zone” …  thoughts flowing rapidly and creatively all over the place. My thoughts went back to the Cutia Taranului information system and some ideas that came from it … without going into boring details I’ll refer to it is AppYours.

Then my perspective shot way out … and I saw myself … woodworking under flying swallows thinking about information systems … it doesn’t get any … richer then that 🙂

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Blog On The Way

Laptop Chick Warmer

On to less serious matters … the weather has taken a sudden change … from a hot summer day it went to cloudy and humid … and now stormy … winds and rain. In the midst of this all … a small 3 day old chick was left behind outside … found cold and shivering … so Andreea brought him indoors and asked me to keep him warming. One option was to use both hands (which makes typing kind of difficult) … so I came with this solution. One hand for the chick … held up next to the heat exhaust … and voila … hot chick and another hand free to type:

 

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Blog Growing Food Mulch On The Way

Hay Delay

For the past week or so we’ve been wanting to hire someone to cut, turn and bale hay from ~3 hectares of our pasture (you need good weather conditions – a few days with no  rain so that the hay can be cut, dried and collected without getting wet). Initially we put it off because we weren’t convinced if and how much hay we needed (we were using it mostly as mulch … and we prefer not to anymore … so looking for better, accessible mulch materials). Recently we were putting it off because we don’t have enough cash money on hand to pay for it (a visit to the city is planned).

We’ve been approached numerous times by two sheep-herd owners (and a neighbor with cows) to let them pasture their herds on our land. We’ve refused because (a) we wanted to let the pasture rest; (b) we were planning to cut hay from it; and (c) we had plans to begin improving and converting parts of it.

Today we went to the village to pick up a few things from the market and to have a coffee. We met with one of the herd-owners and he asked us again for permission to pasture his herd on our land. We thought about it and decided to let him. The pasture has been rested and if not cut will become overgrown. Our efforts at improving and converting parts of it are on the way but moving slowly … so we won’t be getting to much of it at first. So, at first we said to him that we will cut hay from a part of it and then let his herd in.

But then I stopped Andreea as she as speaking and asked her to try and make a different trade. We asked him if he can bring us baled straw which, for our uses, is much better then hay in which case we won’t cut hay and he can bring his herd in right away. The look on his face was priceless … he was shocked and confused … he couldn’t figure out if we were joking or serious. However, once he got past the initial shock he easily agreed. He has 0.8 hectares of straw he can bale and deliver to us and everyone is happy (in addition, starting in August, we will be getting sheep cheese products).

Hay here is considered precious as animal feed that is both grazed and cut and stored numerous times a year for the winter months … straw isn’t (animals don’t eat straw). Therefor there aren’t many local uses for straw and it isn’t considered valuable. Once again our values seem to point in a different direction 🙂

So everyone got a great deal. We don’t need to spend any money on cutting the hay and we don’t need to spend any money on getting straw as mulching materials. He gets more pasture for his herd. It feels soooooo good to come across such win-win exchanges where money is simply taken out of the equation.

This is also a great example of a hidden purpose behind delays. We come across this a lot … sometimes over much longer periods of time. Delays are there for a purpose … you have to have patience and to let things be because only time can reveal their purpose 🙂