yesterday was a car-maintenance-and-some-city-stuff day … all went fairly well (though tomorrow we have to visit the mechanic again to complete some thing tht had to wait for parts (they don’t keep many parts on hand).

today started out completely clouded and gray and uninviting to the outside … so it started with some writing.

then the sun came out and drew me out too … I spent most of the day completing the structure of the mobile chicken shelter … very happy with the results.

yesterday evening the neighbors lent us a brooding hen, at night Andreea candled some of our eggs to choose the good ones … and we have one brooder at work sitting on 17 eggs … then today our neighbors called again and offered another brooder … and she is already in place sitting on 3 eggs to which more will be added tomorrow … we are still hoping at least one of our hens will get the idea and become broody πŸ™‚

two fighter jets flew overhead today … I was used to hearing and seeing them in Israel … definitely not used to them here … as I looked up at them I thought how vulnerable self-sustaining life is in the face of mass-destruction!


another loooooong day … started earlier in the morning to get a head start on the heat … made good progress in shoveling composted manure onto the raised beds.

paused when heat and tiredness kicked in …Β did some website work in-cool-doors … rested …Β  went to the workshop and started cutting up the lumber for the mobile chicken coop … and then joined Andreea (who earlier also attended a[nother] funeral) back at the raised beds … managed to get 3 out of the 5 covered with manure and as I write these words Andreea is finishing (mulching) covering them with hay (not the best mulch material, but its what we have) … so that when the rains arrive moisture will go in but not out πŸ™‚

wood is burning in the boiler (can’t wait to get started on the solar hot water experiment) … soon showers … and another day gone by πŸ™‚


strange day … startd with a visit to the market … which totally drained me … I’m not sure I started off with much energy but I am pretty sure not much was left after the market .. which, byt the way, is getting livelier as spring moves into summer … the crowds may have something to do with my energy … no stiu

then we got home and I wanted to rest a bit … BUT … 37 uprooted trees were waiting in their holes in the field waiting to be planted and it was hot and time was not on their (or our) side … so a nice breakfast (duck eggs!) and then out to the field. Using a bulldozer to dig out planting holes was very efficient and easy … however getting all the dirt back in was not. The holes were detinitely an overkill … we didn’t close them up completely … we put in just enough dirt to replant the trees … which now benefit from a small ditch to collect water for them (rains are expected during the weekend). It was hard work but we managed to get it done. Very satisfying to see a long line of planted trees marking our property line πŸ™‚

THEN a quick shower followed by much coveted rest. Then we went to visit Ildi and Levente and meet with Levente’s uncles who are joining Cutia Taranului making another 10 boxes available in Cluj. Finally we made our home … and though we missed the post-death-pre-funeral meal we stopped to say hello and offer our respects … they were happy we came and we found in ourselves (because we simply couldn’t get out of it) in a small post-[post-death-pre-funeral-meal]-meal … that was interrupted by a visit from the vet who, at our request, came over to give our dogs shots against ticks & fleas.

AND … now we are home, making tea and about to let this day come to a soft end πŸ™‚


wow what a day … sooooo many things happened all at once … is was a tractor day … Florin our fantastic tractor bulldozer guy was here for a day πŸ™‚

the main project was covering the raised beds with earth … where did we get the earth you ask?Β  from our small new lake of course πŸ™‚ more words and images to come on this ongoing project … when that was done we had him move over one of our piles of hay and a pile of fertilizer we had sitting next to the barn (from last year when our neighbors cows were housed in it) … both to be used on the raised beds.

in the background both our neigbors were busy hand-plowing / tractor plowing, seeding their fields in straight lines … there was a huge contrast between their tried-and-true traditional methods and our mostly-uknown-somewhat-rebellious methods … if our efforts work (as I expect they will) this time next year we will be drinking coffee (or conducting some other strange experiment) while they will be doing the same hard (for them and for the land) work … as they have been doing for years …I’m very curious πŸ™‚

as he was finishing this part of the work the mayor appeared to ask if he could steal him for half an hour (which turned out to be almost 3 hours) … and got a quick tour of some of our experiments πŸ™‚ we also had a chance to show him Cutia Taranului so that hopefully he too can spread the word.

when Florin finally returned we fed him (poor guy was starving) and got back to work:

  1. scratching weeds and some top-soil (leaving bare surface) of an area of a field near the raised beds … that is for an experiment that Andreea has in mind … I don’t know enough about it yet πŸ™‚
  2. closing some of the open ditches from last years water infrastructure installation
  3. digging a new ditch and hole for our grey water treatment,
  4. uprooting lots (~50) young ash trees all around the house.
  5. discovering and uprooting large surfaces of concrete that we discovered just under the surface of the ground.
  6. carrying the uprooted out to the field
  7. digging 40+ holes for the trees in what will be an initial wind-break and property line.

so lots of stuff … very satisfying, rewarding and much happiness … and though the tractor did most of the work we are dead tired … it’s been a long day … the wood-boiler is fired up … looking forward to a warm shower.

tomorrow we plan to visit the market in the morning … then we’ve been invited to another customary post-death-pre-funeral meal at a neighbor whos mother passed away tonight … and sometime very soon we need to go back out and plant all the uprooted trees lying in open holes in the fields … rains are expected during the weekend … perfectly times to saturate the beds, water the trees … all around greatness πŸ™‚


After yesterday’s sudden storm we had a beautiful and warm day … all day long. I am in a happy-tired place πŸ™‚ I completed assembly of two of the new top-bar hives and while I moved on to the 3rd one Andreea applied two coats of boiled linseed oil to the outside of the first two boxes. We set the boxes outside next to the two temporary (standard) hives:

If for no other reason (and there are quite a few) then just for their visual appearance … these hives fit so nicely into their surroundings … compared to the clumsy box-hives. Anyways … what really counts is how the bees will make the transition and how they feel in their new homes. Maybe tomorrow we will also attempt to transfer the bees from one of the temporary hives into their new permanent home πŸ™‚

I am almost finished with the third-box … but can’t quite complete it because the wide-hole drill bit is … umm … destroyed … so that will have to either (a) wait for out next city visit or (b) be done in some improvised way that I don’t know of yet or (c) be done using a larger diameter (then prescribed) drill resulting in larger entrances.

… anyways about to have a dinner with our first home-grown freshly picked salad leaves πŸ™‚


strange day of soft doings … really warm weather … we hired a local to clean out the front yard (may take 2 weeks) … took some photographs of/at Ildi and Levent, I saw bees in hives incuding eggs and a queen … and … well … feeling calm and tired – strange mix πŸ™‚


Another sunny and even warmer day … bare arms were spotted in the fields πŸ™‚

I started with (finally) installing a light at the entry to the house. I couldn’t detect a current in the existing -lamp wires and we prefer to avoid playing with any existing wires so it doesn’t crumble and fail the entire house. So I installed new cable running through a broken part of a window into the bedroom – and to turn on the light we need to plug the cable in. Clumsy … bet there is light πŸ™‚

As I was doing this I saw that our neigbhors were pruning their trees and they had piled together a bunch of cut branches and were preparing to torch them. I sent Andreea to them and she stopped them and we got two nice piles of tree trimmings. We carried to our property the trimming that had already been cut and they were kind enough to carry the additional trimmings close and onto our property. They couldn’t understand (a) why we were collecting their garbage and (b) how come we really weren’t turning the land in our fields. Hint – the two are connected – raised beds πŸ™‚ We’ve already started piling up bits of trees for our first raised bed … and they made a nice donation to that effortΒ  … more to come on that soon.

Then we got on with our main project for today – getting started with the temporary green-house for getting our seeds started early. We hacked together a slightly raised frame (all scrap wood) in the field next to the well (so watering should be easy). Andreea filled it with cuttings (see above mentioned neighbors pile) so there to we would enjoy some water retention capabilities (and be less dependent on watering).

In the cuttings we found two that looked like willows – so we planted them too … potentially two new trees πŸ™‚

And to bring the work-day to its end I hauled up 4 wheelbarrows of horse-manure – also a gift from our neighbors (who’s son hauled up the 5th and last batch). That was a difficult (uphill) task … pooped (some pun intended) me out πŸ™‚

Next up is putting in arches from willow cuttings, filling it with dirt mixed together with the horse-manure, buying a plastic cover and setting up a fence around it to keep the chickens out (hopefully in a few months the chickens will be fenced in … making gardening life easier for us).


Today was a special day. The sun came out, there was no wind (the two previous days were very windy and we didn’t feel welcome outside to work), snow has almost disappeared (except for a few patches here and there) … and we had a lovely day of work. At first we both dressed in our thermal layers but we both quickly came back inside to take them off. It was really warm.

Our project for the day was organizing the half of the barn in which the flock lives. We are getting plenty of eggs and even the ducks have begun laying. Brooding season is just around the corner and we prepared nesting and brooding boxes (which we can completely isolate when necessary) for the flock to get used to. We converted two old crates that were lying around into “duplex nests”. I got the tops detached and built separators in each box while Andreea cleaned them out and painted with with lime. We also built an improvised space that can be closed off for two more nests for the ducks. So we are pretty much good to go. We have started setting aside eggs … so … now we wait πŸ™‚

And …. drum roll … we spoke to the internet guy again … and he apologized, said he had no more excuses and will come next week to get everything going. That would be soooo great πŸ™‚


We have been going through another period of freezing temperatures in the night, some days warm up others do not.

In the last few days I have renewed my effort to restore our running water. It was quite an obstacle course. First getting the pump working indicated a pressure problem which led me to check the pipe going into the well only to find it was ruptured due to freezing. So we had to go to the city to get a new pipe, got the wrong size (long story – take nothing for granted is all I would say at this point … got pissed off. Tried to make use of the wrong sized pipe. Failed. We drove to the city again (this time also to check up on an opportunity to buy a second hand polytunnel – which turned out to be not that good of a deal) … got new pipe.

Today I got back to work. Almost everything had frozen again … and after a long day of work I am happy to say that it looks like we have running water again. I honestly do not know if it will survive a freezing night … but at this point all I can do is hope for the best. Everything is better protected but still not fool-proof. Tomorrow I will take care of the plumbing leading water out the house and maybe we’ll be able goΒ  shower at home again πŸ™‚


We’ve been silent because 1) not too much has been happening and 2) Andreea was ill after which 3) I was shortly ill. We’re both much better now … though both bodies are still slowly recuperating.

We had a really nice today – March 1st is considered the official beginning of spring in Romania … and it really came off as such. After two freezing days, today was sunny and relatively warm. It’s a new sensational experience for me – white still being the dominant color in our south-facing hill across from the house … yet warm. The mud is a giveaway – white is slowly giving way to brown. I am not yet at peace with mud … especially ours which is clay-rich … so really slimy and extra muddy. It’s amazing (for me) to see puddles on exposed earth – indicating that the soil is saturated with water.

We went out to the village center for a small celebretory cake and coffee. We got before the guy who brings our milk (he usually leaves it there and we pick it up later in the day) and so we met with him too, paid him for the February milk and collected the fresh bottle. We spoke to my parents to let them know we are both well, picked up a couple of things in the hardware store, postoffice … and headed home. Andreea took in some sun while I changed to work clothes and got to work.

Yesteday Levente was here and helped me work on getting our water flow restored. I won’t bore you with the details … we made great progress (though still no running water) … and we had to protect everything from freezing again (as we may still get frosts during the night). That included covering the well itself with a temporary plastic cover – the well acts as a cold sink … and the pipe running down into the water can freeze. So today I headed into the workshop and got to work on a proper well-cover. I had a great time … hacked together a cover that is partly anchored and partly opening. Got it done and assembled and all went well. It was a f first “all nail” project … except for drilling the concrete (I really hate working with concrete) of the well-casing.

Meanwhile Andreea got to work on our deteriorating kitchen space and cleaned stuff up there. We are now indoors, the rocket is warming up the room, water is heating for a “Romanian village bath” … and evening is upon us.

It’s nice to be gradually coming out of winter hibernation. This will be out first spring here (we first saw the place in winter and moved here in the following summer). We’ve got a current list of projects to get started on … and as weather permits we are heading into another round of creation πŸ™‚