Acorns Serb Style

Not long ago, I was in the field working on cherries. The nature loving tree hugger that I am was thrilled to find a new (to me) kind of acorn.

Check these out. I love the fuzzy hats! They are so fun!

Instantly, I was reminded of the big furry hats traditional Serbian kolo dancers wear in one of the dances I saw. I love the traditional costumes. They are gorgeous.

Life does imitate nature.

I love Serbia.

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!

Farmer Problems, love stories and other village tales

Now that I am working on the farm here (in Serbia), I see that problems facing farmers in this neck of the woods are quite often different from the ones at home. The history of the land changes how things are done. The land is cut up into tiny sections or plots to farm, unlike back in the US where the fields being farmed are most often acres and acres for one farmer.

When a person decides to farm instead of moving to the city to get a job (like everyone else) a delicate process begins, finding land that is flat enough and close enough to other plots. All this at a good price. This can be tricky, and more complicated when people know you have worked in the U.S. and have an American wife!  Yep, the price goes up for us… but we are savvy and patient, we don’t buy over priced land.

This how it works for us: Mama makes calls to family member and friends begin to see if anyone has land they want to sell. When she does manage to acquire some, Then the game of “Connect the Plots” gets more interesting. And maybe you get lucky with some that are almost side by side.

This is where we are now. A few of the plots are quite close together, one is only separated by a long strip that is literally only two or three meters wide and a football field long.

Enter a love story half a century old. A woman long ago scorned and her thwarted desire breaks the connection. Quite literally, she was arranged to be married to the hubby’s father. He married someone else, my awesome Mother-in-law and they had my adorable hubby.

Rabbit trail…….Arranged marriages were quite common here not all that long ago. The hubby’s grandparents had an arranged marriage. Two prominent village families combined their land and their children. Talk about family business!

Back to the blog in progress~The sour old bitty won’t let it go, even though the land it just sitting there, and hasn’t been worked for YEARS. Still, she won’t let it go even for monetary gain! Her loss.

This is not the only love story of old that marks the village. Once I came downstairs to Mama having coffee with two of the neighbor women. I am not sure how they came to be sitting next to each other, but I noticed they only spoke to Mama and not each other. A strange tension was tangible.

After they left, Mama had a giggle about how they didn’t like each other. Back in the day, when they were both young girls, they had liked the same boy. One married the now long dead fellow and had a family. The other lived with her mother the rest of her life. These women were practically next door neighbors for eighty years!!!, and they refuse to speak to each other. 😦 Sad.

 

Choosing to be happy and letting things go is such a healthier lifestyle. Imagine the laughs they could have together if they only let the dead guy go and focused on life and friendship!

I can see how these things fester. We take a couple of dirt roads to get to our fields, this spring while one farmer was plowing his field, he decided to widen it a bit. The rest of the farmers using the gritty dirt road were a bit put off by his adding a few feet to his field by plowing into the well-traveled earth.  That kind of thing sticks in your craw. And when Papa drives the tractor on that strip, he steers the wheels over that bit of plowed patch so that the road again will be widened and the greedy goose won’t prosper from common property.

This is not the only episode of over plowing this season that has been an issue. One of our new fields (that abuts the sour old bitty’s unworked patch on the left) was measured, marked and planted. The knowledge of how much space we would need for the tractor to get around the trees guided our work. Two very large stones were placed at the edge our field and his to be out-of-the-way of the plows. The farmer, then plowed a full meter into our field. It isn’t like it will ruin our crops, our trees are another meter over so no harm done to them. But he won’t be reaping anything from our fields to be sure!

Distrust is something that seems to be ingrained in the heads of people here and it is no wonder. The hubby and I were interested in some land not far from one of our families biggest field’s. The very old village drunk was keen for some more beer and was eager to sell us land he was far to old to work.

We made arrangements to see the plot and picked up the antique gent for a look at the piece that was his. His rickety frame wobbled out to meet us on the road and we helped him climb slowly into the wagon.

To make a long story short, it turned out to be a nice piece of flat land with complications staggering. The son didn’t want us to buy it. From what I heard, he was a drunk too, and he didn’t want to work the land he wanted to sell it to spend the money on adult beverages. That apple didn’t fall far from the tree! He threatened my husband, but the hubby isn’t easily intimidated. 😉

When the paperwork was to be done and all was on its way to being signed in the city office, hubby got a look at the plot of land on a computer. It was not the same one he was shown.

Dah    Dah     Duh!     What a twist to this tale! After seeing the land, working out a price, repelling threats, and paying fees for paper work, we find out we almost bought and worked a completely different piece of land!

It pays to do things the right way and make sure things are handled properly!

I am positive there will be more village tales to come, I am always hearing old stories and experiencing new cultural things.
Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to hear if you have had any similar experiences. or interesting cultural stories. Please leave me a comment! 🙂

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!

Serbian Kittehs

During my bike trip to Gornje Zunic I encountered lots of farm kitties! Lots were wondering about and others enjoyed the sun’s rays warming their fur. Cats always make me happy. They are my favorite animals. Next to horses and cows. Farm girl confessions. 🙂

Kitty in the road.

 

He ran away as I approached.

Take some time to enjoy the spring sunshine. Absorb some vitamin D and just enjoy the end of Old man winter!

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

Things Grandmas say in Serbia~ Foreigner Funnies!

This is a reblog of a post from quite a long time ago on my Blogspot site. It still makes me laugh to think about all the Grandma’s or Baba’s talking about their grandkids in such a way. Here is the link to the old blog. I hope it makes you laugh.

This is Baba and her “little ducky”.

Babino patcheh or Grandma’s little penis

I have been going to my husbands village for 2 years now. Every time we go, Baba and Deda  greet us at the door. Deda shakes our hands. Baba pulls us in for hugs and lots of kisses that are closer to the neck than the face, so I always get a strange vampirish vibe from them, even though she barely has teeth. While she is kissing us, she is always muttering sweet nothings of love to us like we are children. It is very sweet and I feel loved.
This time, while I was there, a cousin translated one of the things she says to my husband…. Babino  malo Patcheh. Please forgive the spelling. I knew when she was saying Babino she was calling us her’s. It’s like saying Grandma’s baby or something. What I didn’t get was the second part. Patcheh is the word for baby duck and this is slang for penis. All along she has been calling my husband, “grandma’s little penis”. And, as odd as it sounds, it is a sweet thing to say. I did laugh my dupe off when I heard this!! (Dupe means butt.)
Bringing this up to date…. Fast forward 2 1/2 years.
And now that I have my own little girl, and my husband’s Mom has her own little lovey sayings for her. Babina mala riba… that is Grandma’s little fish. Even though it is completely rude to call women’s parts fish in my part of the world, it is proper and even common to hear little girls and women called fish.  Live and learn, live   and    learn!

Link to the original post:

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2011/03/babino-patcheh-or-grandmas-little-penis.html

Munchkin Tuesday Little Rock

Perfection~ an old Turkish style Serbian house. I am in LOVE!

Sunday we went to a friend’s village for a Slava. (One of those Big Thanksgiving type dinners that are related to a saint.) We went to a village I had only previously driven through before. Gore Kamenica or Upper Little Rock is the name of the town, like Little Rock, Arkansas. It reminds me of the country song, “RockyTop” and it as just as country as the song!

The food was nothing less than spectacular, Fresh from the garden veggies, Home made  cheese from the cow and the sheep’s milk! YUM! Roasted lamb and of course, Rakija!

The Munchkin didn’t allow me to eat much, soon we were off to play with the other kids and eventually took a walk.

Just down the road we ran into some other familiar children and soon out the front door comes a friend of mine. How Fun to run into friends in a town half an hour from home!

Mosquitoes and rain drops drove us back home after seeing some gorgeous fairy-tale village scenes.

Old Serbian Home

Old Serbian Home

This old house was just the tip of the iceberg. So much to great stuff to see. I could walk around these old villages for eternity. Ideally with the good camera and no Munchkin. 😉 Chasing after the Speedy toddler impairs the view. Here are a few more phone pics for the road!

Check out this chicken walk!

 

Doesn’t this look like something you would see in a movie?

End of the blurry pics.
Happy Tuesday! Dobar dan.

 

I have lost my groove

No, not my dancing groove. In fact, I dance now more than I used too. The Munchkin likes no LOVES to dance and so we do, Daily! IT is my blogging groove that is missing. I have been back and forth so much between the village and town, then with the PMS from hell and trying to balance my new summer life… I am all out of sorts.

This is a big holiday weekend back home, the kick off of summer and the big working season at the beach where I used to live for the last 20 years. (Enter Cha-ching cash register sound here!) I think that has a lot to do with my mental state.  I miss my job, friends and my old life in general.

At the same time, the work on the farm here has picked up. I have written about most of the work I have done, NOT MUCH.  I go with the intention of working. Millie throws a fit and all agree I should stay with her. 😦 It is frustrating. I am used to working for the family, providing, now I just babysit. though I guess it isn’t babysitting when it is your own child. But it leaves me feeling useless. unproductive. confined. IT Sucks!

People here in Serbia say it is the best job there is. I think I have even heard that at home too. but I would agree to disagree. I want a job that makes money.

On the other hand, people here ask me when I will put her in Preschool. and I think, “WHAT?!” she is only 15 months old and I don’t have a job. Why on Earth would I let someone else raise her?  What a juxtaposition of thoughts, huh?

Furthermore, Consternation in my marriage is dismaying. We had agreed we would work on the farm. My lack of work there is the problem for both of us really. and my desire not to go to the village is also a problem. But as I wrote above, often I end up staying with the munchkin in the cold village house. unable to help. This means more time with the blessed in-laws who I don’t dislike. It is just exhausting.. more than most in-laws because we don’t speak the same language. Even though I am not technically working, it is stressful and I get so tired. (So, why bother even going to the village?)

Compounding the difficulty of going to (not) work in the village, we don’t return home when the work is done, we STAY for dinner. The food is getting repetitive and not what I want, in spite of my mother in law trying her hardest to please me… It is also what the hubby has been missing for years. HE is in hog heaven, literally as most of the food is PORK!. for me it is just more time stuck in the cold village house. I think to myself, “What did I get myself into. How long can I do this?”

The time in the village is nice (imagine the italics is a sarcasm font). but when we have a day “off” in town. it is a day to work for me. laundry, cleaning, fitting in coffee with friends if I don’t just sit in the apt recuperating from over stimulation. I think it is all getting a bit too much. it is affecting my desire to write sadly. The writing is my life therapy. my link home. and I am slacking.

Am I complaining? or am I just a complaining? lol Maybe I just need a kick in the @$$. Mea culpa.  Adjusting to a new life takes so much time! Damn this Culture shock.

These are my consolation prizes (for my living here and your reading this rant). The vistas on the way to the village are pricele$$.

Now that spring has turned the hills all green and flowery, the entire drive is eye candy.

Lush greens, purples, and reds so vibrant you can taste them.

And fields of poppies that are like a painting providing the calm of opium.  (strictly metaphorically speaking obviously or I wouldn’t have had to write this post!)

Hopefully this will work as an enema to work all the crap out of my brain and get on with my life. Bring on the sunshine!

Happier posts to come soon.
Dobar Dan

That’s What’s Up

I had an unintentional week off from blogging. Since it is cherry season, and the harvest is in about a month we will be busy with that and all the other village work. There will probably be other lapses in writing.

The village has had us most of the last week. Weeding, pruning, planting, and even avoiding snakes! Just a little one, he was less than 3 feet long.

Just a little constrictor

He was sunning himself on the road when the little munchkin and I were returning from the Greats. (The Great Grandparents.) Fortunately, the neighbor lady I was walking home with saw him. I was busy driving a new kiddie contraption that needs a little adjustment. The steering was a little off…. but we avoided the slithering sunbather by a few feet. He or she was so happy to feel the heat, the stones I threw to shew it away were not headed. not a few minutes later, the hubby came alone in the tractor and a stick at his back side made him move reluctantly on to the side of the road.

In my blogging absence I have come across lot of things to share, most of which I cannot recall. But one that does stick out is the load pop I heard yesterday. I was in the apt with Mama and the baby. The loudest bang you can imagine out of now where startled me. Now, normally I am not unnerved by such things. But, since our first trip to Serbia 5 years ago, when a bomb went off in our building at 6AM, I am now a little weary of loud bangs and pops!

Mama said it was a car tire popping because of the heat. Another new thing to learn about in Serbia. Apparently, it is not uncommon for tires on old cars to pop on hot days. Interesting…

We have had a few summer type thunder showers in the past week. The lightening show was fierce on the the earliest. and the sun cam out while it was raining on both. There is a saying here when the sun shines during a rain storm here in Serbia, they say bears are getting married. 🙂  Cute, huh?

On our day in town of “rest” we had coffee with a friend on his rooftop!  The view from the top of the bank at sunset was stunning!

I love sunsets!

Plants and so many chimneys covered the roof for the myriad of wood stoves that heat so many rooms.

This was the coolest chimney I saw.

 

The little monster ran around the roof with joy at finding a new place to explore. Avoiding the many hands of friends, she laughed, giggled and fell a few times too. Eventually all the running and laughing turned to fussing and we had to get back home to put the munchkin down for the night. I love how excited she gets when she is tired and she sees the bed. It is just how I feel sometimes.

Our slava, Sveti Nikola

Today is our families Slava. I am not looking forward to it. It is a fasting slava with fish and beans. I hate the fish, and the beans are made with no oil. so they stop up the plumbing. I am going now to eat some non-fasting food so my body doesn’t lead a revolt later that will put me in agony!

The early morning tradition for the day of slava.

Wish me luck!

I will post about the slava  when I can.

Dobar Dan!