Crkva na Sunday (Church on Sunday)~Manastir Lešje

A while back, we visited one of the coolest Monasteries EVER! Lesje is the eighth wonder of the world. I am in love with that place. No, really, I am.

An Orthodox Monastery with a great reverence for the Creator. You can feel it. This place is so beautiful and ethereal, if there were a church in The Lord of the Rings, this would be it!

If you are planning to visit south-eastern Serbia, this place should be on your radar.  You won’t regret it.

Like every monastery, it has gardens and massive green houses for growing food. Lesje also has a wonderful fish hatchery! They raise their own trout! The fresh flowing water add a feeling of calm. Watching the fish swim about is also cathartic!

This place is a visual poem,a work of art. Lesje is place set apart from the world. Please enjoy the rest of the pics that prove how extraordinary it is.

The entrance to the sanctuary John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

I would love to hear these bells chime!

There are some really amazing monasteries and ancient churches here in Serbia. You could learn so much from visiting them! No doubt, you will leave refreshed, ready for your next adventure. Dobar Dan y’all!

Thankful in Serbia

Lately, I have been thinking of how Serbia is changing me. I hope in a good way.

I am Thankful to have found a husband who wanted to move to a country where buying land and working it is much easier than my home land.

I am Thankful to have made some awesome friends here.

I will be Thankful when I have time and energy next fall to really study the language. I regret that I am not fluent in Serbian.

I am Thankful to my warm and loving Serbian family. I am blessed to have them.

I am Thankful for the wonderful friends I have here. I wish I had more time to spend with them.

I am Thankful for the friends I have at home. They are a great support.

I am Thankful and overjoyed to be making expat friends online. I feel a lot let lonely having friends in the same time zone.

I am Thankful for the new Chinese girl I met the last week. Finally, there is another expat for me to talk to. I hope that I am helpful to her.

I am Thankful that she likes my little one and the little one likes her as well.

I am Thankful for the little girl  who teaches me how to be patient and kind.

I am Thankful that I have been able to spend so much time with my little Munchkin. Watching her grow is really amazing.

I am Thankful I have a husband who understands how hard it is to live outside his home country. It is truly challenging at times.

I am Thankful for those challenges. They make me stronger.  Hopefully I will also be come wiser and kinder as a result.

I am Thankful I live in a beautiful little town.

I am Thankful I get to work outside. The great wide open is really inspiring.

 

I am really Thankful my iPhone has a notepad for me to record ideas and thought out in the great wide open.

I am even more Thankful for the camera it has so I can share photos of the places that inspire me.

I am Thankful to God for giving me these great opportunities, challenges, and blessings. God is good.

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!

Upside Down in Serbia

I was a gymnast a very long time ago. I decided to work on my core and get some “different” pics of Serbia simultaneously!

The first day pruning I got this one in a field on the way home. The downward slope was a challenge.

On the second day, we were having our coffee break whilst the dog ran about sniffing out food and begging for some.

I was determined to get another upside down shot. I was a bit to hasty. Should have given some thought to my top falling with gravity… oh well.  Here’s to sloppy belly shots!

The ground was super hard here. The coat I was wearing wasn’t enough of a pillow.

The last one was the biggest test of skill.  I was in a plowed part of the field again on a slope. 

This was the last day, again we were on coffee break. It had been sprinkling off and on and we were glad to complete the task.

I admit I am quite slow at clipping the fruit bearing trees. But, by the last day I got a bit better and next time I will do it even better.

As my arms and core get tighter and stronger the “upside down” will be improved as well!

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!

Recovering Energy

Sunday was the Big day, 1400 sour cherry trees planted. Gathering all the seedlings from the garden was done the day before. The big day we started out at 6 AM with three tractors pulling two wagons, and one large corkscrew digger thing to dig the holes.

Seedlings were stacked in the wagons and the crew took seats and rode the bumpy wagon to the fields. There was another lady, her and I trimmed the roots to prime them for the new soil and fertilizer. We joined the men when that job was done.  Planting was really hard work, making sure they were in straight rows takes time and patience.

On the way down the hill to the last field there was a little excitement as the tractor began to slide down the hill in an expedited fashion. Control was gained rapidly and the roller coaster butterflies were squelched as quickly as they began.

The last field was the smallest and went super fast even though we had lost two workers. They had asked if I wanted to leave as I was a female (I guess?). But, this is my field too, I will work it! So I stayed and was happy to see the job done.

After the long day, there was a very large feast prepared by Mama and Aunty Slavica! It was awesome, and loud and so smokey. The best part for most was the roasted pig!

I opted out with the munchkin, we went home early. I savored the quiet and fresh air of the condo. It started to rain just after we got home. It was a long steady rain that will soak the cherry trees and melt the fertilizer, feeding the little saplings. 🙂 Yay!

We had about 10 people working hard to achieve the goal. Thank God for great friends! I wasn’t even doing the really hard work and all I did was lay around yesterday. I know the team has to be hurting!

Today, I am a new woman. And I have a break to write while the little one sleeps. 🙂

Preparing for my last class tomorrow and figuring out what to pack for the little one and myself for the next month+ are my next projects.

This little Mama is overjoyed to go home!!! Making plans with friends for reunions is a big priority. I may or may not be containing the drool that pools in my mouth as I think forward to Thanksgiving! YUM! Pecan pie, green bean casserole, and the rest of the fixings are coming to mind. My belly growls even though I just ate.

Bring it all on!

I hear the whimpering munchkin duties calling now. Naptime is over.

Dobar Dan Y’all

Whatever Wednesday~ Right Now

Right now, things are a bit Crazy! For the past two weeks we were preparing to plant several hundred sour cherry seedlings. It was going to be last week. Then when the hubby pulled one up and saw the roots were green, the date was pushed back to possibly this weekend. If the roots are green, the plant is working on something. If they are replanted, it may injure them or kill them. I have learned lots of new stuff in the last week regarding planting. That was one of the many things.

Planting is on hold now because Mama tripped and fell HARD! She broke the top ball par of her upper arm bone or humerus. Not funny at all. She is sporting a shirt style cast missing one arm, with the broken arm pinned to her middle. Poor lady, I can imagine sleep is difficult for her. And covering herself is a serious challenge.

The Munchkin finds the cast interesting.. She knocks on it like a door.  We all had a good laugh over that.

Taking showers in our house is a bit awkward at the moment. It was 4 AM two or three weeks ago, when I was awakened by a loud CRASH and then more crashing. The acoustics in the bathroom enhanced the sound of the tiles falling from the wall into the tub and even woke the neighbors on the other side of the very thick cement wall.

It scared the crap put of me at first and I was afraid someone was breaking in and even had a flash of fear going back to the bomb in our building 5 years ago. But when I got up and saw the tiles I was at least relieved neither of those scenarios were true.

Because we have been so busy with the farm work, we haven’t been able to get the wall fixed.

 

The day the tiles came off the wall was the day we road tripped up to Krusevac for a seminar. I went to make contacts with a fellow expat who has an NVO with a Green emphasis. He invited me to help me with my English teaching project that is working on  a Green agenda. I did some good networking. But now I must wait til I return from the States to make further progress.

Our work in the village has consisted of: Making markers out of corn stocks from our corn field, marking four fields for planting, harvesting carrots and beets. Oh, and dealing with a guy who was steeling wood from our forest. That is a felony here… We have been busy.

Marking the fields was more difficult than I thought. It takes a lot of planning. The tractor must be able to go around the rows of trees, the trees much be planted super straight, and the fields must be plowed before we do the marking and planting to soften the soil to make marking and planting easier.

Then, when we get to the field, the hubby and the Papa bicker over where to start, what is best… and a bunch of stuff I can’t understand. So I walk around taking pics to share with you. But the new motherboard in my computer screwed it up and won’t let me add pics. The hubby’s computer screen went out last night, so no pics. C’est la vie!

In the end the fields got marked with the help of really skinny trees or long poles cut from the forest. They were measured and used as measuring sticks. About four long ropes tied together were used to keep the rows straight. They were pulled tight and then laid down carefully. Marker corn stalks were shoved into the dirt at measured stick length intervals and after a couple of days the fields, with lots of corn stalks sprouting just out of the dirt wait for a team of friends with shovels and about a thousand seedlings to come and make new little orchards.

First all those seedlings will have to be plucked and have the roots trimmed just before they are replanted.

 

Mama was going to care for the Munchkin, I am not sure if I will be able to help now. She would have cooked to feed the mass of field hands… she is good at making bulk amounts of food. Did I mention it is all Serbian food. Of course!! So now, I am not sure what will happen.  or when.

Adding to that, the Munchkin and I will be flying away for a visit to my homeland in about 2 weeks.

My Serbian paper work, that makes me legal to live here without crossing borders every so often and on my way to citizenship was filed in December of last year. It should be filed at the same time. But I will be in the U.S. The money invested to start the process may go down the drain. 😦 Hubby is going to the police station today to see what we can do about that mess. Either way I am legal. I have papers and I will go home.  And being legal here isn’t really a problem since I am married to a Serb and enhanced by our little Half blood princess. 🙂

Needless to say we are a little busy. Off to make more apple bread cake to make life a little sweeter.

Dobar Dan Y’all!