Cabbage Patch Kids

It’s harvest time! This week we were getting down and dirty in the garden. The only things that were naughty were the phallic looking or overly suggestive carrots. Shocking really how pornographic they can be.  Sorry no pics… I was afraid I may be reported for vegetable porn.

First, we conquered the cabbage patch. Profitable work, and fun ta boot! The hubby picked and peeled the balls of leaves. Cleaning off the layers of snail eaten bits and then passed me the heads to stack in the wheel barrel.

We filled three or four barrels. I toyed with calling this post “catching cabbage”. Rain has soaked the cabbage heads and made them heavy. As I caught them, they smacked hard against my fingers and palms and a spray of water would fly past.

After so much rain we were lucky to have a good harvest, but still we lost some of them to rotten soaking messes that stank of gooey, slimy leaves. Yum!

The next day it was celery root, beets, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. To be sure, my hands are dry and rough after digging in the clay for soil that is is our garden. It sucks the moisture right out of the fingers. I will digging dirt out from under my nails for some time.

The smell of  the pigs premium export filled our nostrils. We listened to them serenade us with their grunts and squeals from inside the adjacent pen inside the barn. It’s amazing how the smell of pigs and cows are the same the world over.That scent takes me back to childhood. It is strange, how it makes me feel at home.

Serbs always ask me how I like going to work in the village. I guess they assume it is foreign to me. But it is the place I feel most at home. My days of walking the streets of NYC have not spoiled me for life on the farm. I love the country life.

Our village kitty especially brings me joy. Lenka the kitten was our shadow, meowing time to time for attention and cuddles. At 3 months, she is already earning her keep catching mice! What a great little cat!

 

This is the kind of sweet sweaty labor that makes coming home at the end of the day, and taking a shower feel so good.

Dobar Dan Y’all!

Meanwhile back on the farm…. Pt 1

We are back to work… well, we were for 3 days.

Now, a bit of a break and time for coffee with friends!

Grand Reklama 😉

Almost a month straight of rain has soaked the ground.

Weeds grew like wildfire over the land.

I had to clear weeds from the baby trees by hand or hoe, and the hubby ran the plow and the tiller over the rest of the fields.

When we were sore and tired, things looked a lot neater, and the trees will have less competition for nutrients.

One of our fields slopes down to a small creek that became more like a river after all the clouds burst like water balloons. God’s water balloon battle left the lowest trees with their feet soaking for a few days.  But all is well, unless we get too much rain again.

Mother’s day was another work day, but it was also a great family day. Baba made an awesome breakfast pizza. I love Baba’s cooking!

Munchkin stayed with Baba and Deda for a two nights, and didn’t want to come home! What a nice break for the Mommy and Daddy! 🙂

Dobar Dan Y’all!

Life lessons learned on the farm

I mentioned in my last post we have a new (used) toy on the farm, our Italian tiller. I will call this “toy”  Pecky because it expands and retracts like a pecker. And because there is a rooster on the sticker.

 

Pecky the tiller is a dynamo, it chews up  the ground like cookie monster does cookies. The tilling arm extends until the sensor pushes it back from a tree like we would step to the side to avoid a pole in our path. This machines work hard so we don’t have to hoe the field all up to stop the weeds. Like the rest of us it isn’t perfect. If the machine is tilling without guidance from a human, it can easily chew up baby trees because the sensor is only going to notice the big ones.

Like most farm machines, it is big, and heavy. It has to be. This makes it hard for little people like me to control it. You need a strong arm. Mine is not that strong.

Another downfall of the machine is the jostled while not in use, or it isn’t on level ground, the tilling teeth will slowly extend. *Spoiler alert* Our fields aren’t all that flat, so my job was very difficult.

I learned this all the hard way on the first day. I was the one sitting on the back of the tractor holding our little work horse rooster by the reins.

This is where the lessons began, but they didn’t end there.

As I was struggling with Pecky, I began to explain the problems I was having to the Muz. I guess he thought I was just being lazy or I just didn’t know what I was talking about, because he didn’t believe me.

How could his wonderful new toy be extending on its own, Of course it wouldn’t. I had to be the operator. His mule like wit made me want to quit, but this is my land too. Quitting isn’t much of an option for me. I like to see a job completed.

I worked on noticing one issue after another and tried to tell the Muz, but he wasn’t hearing it. I started to hate the machine by the end of that day.

The next day we were at it again and again he didn’t believe me. At the end of the day he wanted to go to a field of seedlings, and take the sensor off. That means it would be all my arm strength in pulling the tiller to keep the baby seedlings safe as Pecky rolled by with an insatiable appetite.

My arms were both sore and tired. I knew that I wasn’t capable of keeping our new baby trees from the spiraling teeth, so I refused to do it. He would have to drive the tractor and pull the rope himself.

After one row he stopped, he wanted to know if I was really going to make him plow an acre of our seedling sour cherries himself. I prayed for wisdom and the right words as I walked down the field to speak with him. Speaking simply and calmly, I told him, I wasn’t strong enough, I just couldn’t do it.

He pressed on and tilled up the field as I walked around removing large stones from the field that would harm Pecky’s teeth.

I was relieved to go home at the end of the day, and an even better surprise awaited me. We would have no baby sitter the next day as Baba had to go out of town. I was relieved that the Muz and Papa had to be the tilling team.  I knew by the end of the next day, the Muz would see I was right. Thankfully he did. He admitted it immediately upon his return home the following evening.

Even after he worked out some of the bugs he would still complain about how sore his arm and hand were from pulling on Pecky’s cord to make it retract all day. All I could say was, “I told you!”

I am not writing this for him to read and see the” I told you so” thing. I am writing this for me.

Experiences like these are good for all of us. They are painful to go through. But I learned several lessons. Some were reruns or reminders of truths previously learned.

Relationship lessons

1. Sometimes no matter how much you explain something, a person must learn by experiencing it themselves.

2. We need to be patient with our loved ones.

3. Quitting may not be a bad thing sometimes.

4. Trust yourself. Only you know how strong you are. Don’t let others tell you that you are strong enough when you know you aren’t. And don’t let them stop you when you are!

5. Tomorrow is a new day, with more to learn.

6. Perspective is everything. Sometimes getting a new one is the only option.

Pecky lessons

1. Don’t be too cocky, no one is perfect.

2.  If we get too shaken up sometimes we bare our teeth.

3. Gravity can get to us all. We just need to know we can pull ourselves back up, even if it takes a little time and lots of effort.

4. Be sensitive to the big ones and the little ones.

5. Get rid of the weeds in your life. Weeds consume the life-giving water and nutrients.  Without them you to grow stronger and bare more fruit.

 

 

 

Life Update~ Progress on the land

Lots of progress in the land.

New tiller for the back of the tractor.

Land cleared…by hand.. The hubbies and mine. We are tired!

 

There is about of meter cleared out from the trees for a long stretch. Prickery trees and vines make the work very hard. but very satisfying.

Cherry Trees are blossoming

This is one of the wild cherry trees beside our fields.

You can see a blossoming sour cherries in a field below. Up close the blossoms look like big puffs of cotton.

Bees are buzzing.

New seedlings planted last fall are doing well!

Our muscles are sore, But the progress is great.

We have had some wonderful spring thunder showers.

Munchkin was fascinated by the big thundering booms.

 

The rain and mud that follows is giving us some much-needed rest! Yippee!

Time for some play.

Celebrating in the park with Munchkin is fun.

One of her favorite things to do it blowing on Dandelions that have turned white. She doesn’t mind sharing that with her kitty friends.

Dobar Dan Y’all!

Munchkin Monday~ Counting and Colors

Munchkin is talking and singing and learning. She watches and copies. Her English is surpassing the Serbian at the moment, but that is because I am her main teacher.

Twinkle Twinkle (little Star is the only real song she sings, and those are the only words to the song she says as well. It is just “Twinkle twinkle” over and over. and I could listen to it forever.

 

Colors have been concurred, though purple remains to be a challenge. It is just another pink to her.  Is that normal?

I love that she points and says, “Lellow car, red car!” She is so excited to learn and colors are fun.

Baba and Daddy are working on her Serbian and she is learning that a little more slowly, she understands but is more likely to be verbal in English. Accept for the words, what’s that? or rather, “Staj je to?” She says it all the time and sometimes just to hear herself talk.

Because of her love of spiders, and the numerous times she has watched “Itsy bitsy Spider” videos on her kindle app and on Youtube, she now has an obsession with water spouts. They seem to be placed every few meters on the downtown streets. She notices all of them!

We are working on numbers now and if she is not yet grasping the concept she is getting that there is a rhythm in counting. I am noticing numbers everywhere and now and eager to show her and get her excited about them.

 

I think about it even when we are in the garden or the barn. Yesterday I saw this thin piece of wood and could help but make a clock for her to see the numbers while she was outside playing. Grandpa added the DOXA. I think it is a Serbian brand clock.

Everyday bring new and exciting adventures. She is more and more aware of her surroundings and I must take what she says to be true more than before. If she says “spider” there probably is one.

Last night as we were driving home she said, “Daddy Whoa!” when we passed a car. The bright lights and fast pace shocked here. It was so funny to see that she notices now. Her exclamations are hilarious. “Uh oh, oh dear, oh no” are quite common.

“Ne”  and “NO NO NO” are the words she will use to stop you if want to interfere in a task that she knows is a no no. And Bezi! is my favorite. She says that when she wants you to go away.

She knows when she is doing things she need to keep quiet about, when you discover her deeds, she will speak with authority and determination.

I found her yesterday in the pigs water dish, elbow deep.. It was just sitting out there soaking in the sun. being cleaned for the next round of pigs we raise. Millie of course can’t resist a “cuddle” (her word for puddle). She was splashing and enjoying til mommy the killjoy came along!

When I inquired what she was doing, she said, “Mommy NO!” I knew I had to stop the fun without even seeing the water dish from behind the make shift recycled skid fence.

 

The first Vasher of the season was this past week. Munchkin had her first Merry go round ride after a good bounce on the trampoline. She wanted me to join her, and I wanted to too. Sadly, it was not allowed. 😦 

The Merry Go Round was her favorite. When I took her off the ride to head home, she was fine at first and then the crying started. It didn’t end all the way home! What fun pushing a stroller through  hoards of people who keep turning to see why your little one is crying. Glad that is over!

Teaching her has been going really slow lately, because we have been in the field more than anything else.  It is serious labor, but exciting to see the progress a few people can make in the land. Hard work really pays off in the long run. That is really an all around truth.

 

Back to the grind…

Dobar Dan Y’all!

 

 

We are tired.

Spring is in full swing and we are working our arses off! My musles protest and there isn’t enough time at night to sleep. Or rather, my body is not letting me enjoy my sleep. I keep waking up to early. 😦

We have lots to show for the aching backs and farmer tans we have acquired. We harvested over 700 seedlings planted by stray fallen cherries last fall. I bent up two shovels in the process. The hubby says I must be more careful. I think we should have stronger shovels.

The next day we planted all 700+ seedlings and now we will work to make them grow into strong little trees we will replant on out land next year. It probably seems crazy to go and put some serious work into digging up stray seedlings. But when they sell for more than $2.00 a pop and you need over a 1000. Digging them up literally saves over $2000  and takes two or three days. That seems like pretty good use of our time. 😉

Munchkin is working hard on language acquisition and confusing Baba with the mixed Serbian and English. This is gonna be a fun ride.Listening to her sing “twinkle twinkle”  and just repeat those two words while standing on the porch looking up at the sky. Then in her sweet little dual language baby talk she says, “Zvezda Moon!” Zvezda means star in Serbian.

Munchkin wants to learn how to play jump rope really bad.

 

New words surprise me all the time. The shock and pride never end.

I wish I had more energy, but I am just spent on account of all that manual labor. A picture packed post is the result. Enjoy.

 

Dobar dan!

Drive by shooting (Fast Photography)

This week has been a whirlwind of farm work, a trip to a neighboring village and coming home to catch up online before going to bed. Yesterday I was so tired I slept through the first alarm. That NEVER happens. So I know the work is kicking my butt. That is good!

I am much happier when I am working, and working outdoors is so healthy for you body and soul. It is kind of rejuvenating after too many months cooped up!

In honor of this being the LORD’s Day, I am sharing some raw poorly taken pics of a church.

The side view mirror, proof of the “drive by”

I would love to go and check out this relatively new church in Balenovac, but every time we pass it we are on our way to another village for important (but not that important) business. This time it was picking up sour cherry seedlings. Side note… Balenovac means bales of money. This town is for the ballers!

Whizzing past the many fields in route to Baba’s house we see loads of village folk out planting, throwing fertilizer and such.  The fields are filled with reddened faces and necks as the last week has been absolutely gorgeous.

We planted another 200+ sour cherry flavored sticks with roots in the past few days. No wonder we are so tired! Flies have plagued us and bit up my muz pretty bad. Papa and I kept on the long sleeves and have avoided the brunt of the ravenous little piranha like flies. Later at night, as I was closing my eyes to sleep, I saw the bothersome pest  up in my face as I drifted off to sleep.

Still, I can’t complain. The fresh air and gorgeous view is better than any office job.

This is certainly not an office approved activity.

If I had a normal 9-5, the possibility of seeing a flock of ducks fly over a large pool of water is pretty slim.

Other things not on the agenda of a “day job”:

Watching  butterflies flitting around the face of our dog buck as he runs to catch up with the tractor after exploring something nose first.

Walking on a dirt road.

Learning how not to plow a field. Apparently, some people think it is o.k. to plow into the dirt road to expand their fields… Bad idea! lol P.S. it wasn’t me.

Getting a history lesson on location is out of the question for a normal J.O.B. I get these sometimes when I sit on the back of the tractor with Papa. Just after we past the pool of water above there is an old abandoned brick shack. When I asked what it was and got an interesting lesson. It was an old WWI magazine. This was the site of a hidden stock of ammunition! He continued to tell me about how many men from each village left to fight. And then about the progression of communism. Even with the language barrier being like a barbed wire fence. Lot of data gets through. 😉

All in all, working on the farm and taking pics along the way seems like a nice way to live. At least for now. 😉

Dobar dan!

Alfresco Toilet

Image

While working in one of our fields with the cherries, I have seen this precariously positioned potty lots of times. Today a breeze blew the door ajar and I couldn’t resist a look inside.

Single seater 😉 too bad for those of you who like company in the loo.

The whiff of pig sty aroma welcomed me as I got close enough to snap a shot of the contents. Ironic since it is resting above the creek. But the stench stays as the brook bubbles below.

This relic of old times is sporting the recycling idea that is now thought of as new. But everywhere where I look around Serbia, things are recycled. Not the plastic or garbage mind you… but things are recycled heavily here. Seriously, did you see the classy hub cap decor? The placement is just in front of the natural air conditioning unit. 😉

Now, for the record, I opt for the bushes when nature calls. But if you imagine yourself a gentleman farmer, this is the loo for you!

This is part of an elaborate break station for a neighbor of ours. The out house is just a few meters from this little ramshackle shade station.

In the heat of the summer, this is a cool place to rest during a long day working in the field.

It is also a Mosquito motel at dusk. The stream running by caters to the blood sucker nursery. It also hosts “Jesus” bugs. You know, those bugs that skate atop the streams. Yep, never heard then called that before today. I guess that is what they call them round these here parts. The name suits them too. I mean, I knew exactly what the Muz was talking about when he said there were “Jesus” bugs in the stream!

Random Antique potty blog done!

Dobar Dan Y’all

Pruning Trees

It is no secret we are farmers. Today was spent pruning our sour cherries. It was a gorgeous day. A few bees were about looking for flowers. Hopefully too many nice days won’t bring an early bloom that freezes the cherries. yep, getting ahead of myself with worry.

Thanks to the hubby photographer for getting proof of my efforts.

The Muz was nice enough to retrain me in pruning. He even called in reinforcements. Uncle Milosh came to give us a little lesson. He is a PRO!

I could understand enough Serbian to get the gist.

He was pruning a field above us and he came down later at the end of the day to ride back with us.

We stopped back at his place to have a coffee and see the Grandparents. For the first several minutes I spent time with a fungus covered stick cleaning the mud from my boots. Kisses all around from Baba and Deda and interrogation. Why haven’t you been to see us and where is the Munchkin?

Eventually, I just found a seat and my Turkish coffee and cuddled with Mikajlo the cat. I listened to the family chatting and took a few more pics.

When we arrived back at the village house Mama greeted us with a feast. We are pretty used to that. She is a super star chef!

 The table was all decked out. A bouquet of the early spring flowers even sat at the side. Visi Baba.

We will be back in the field tomorrow. Followed  by more of Baba’s Yummy goodness!

Dobar dan Y’all!