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!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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!

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

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!

Walking on a dirt road

I walked home from working with the hubby on clearing a field. There was nothing left for me to do. He and papa had to finish the rest with the tractor. Joyfully, I was able to walk home in silence. I found myself surrounded by so much beauty that I had to stop and take some pics.

A field of sour cherries not long for the picking.

so much color framed with mountains and fruit baring fields.

Wheat and barley fields sway in the wind like waves in the ocean.

 

The dusty path brought my uncle and cousin by. Just another pleasant surprise.

Almost home enjoying the shade in the forest.

Check out the Woodpeckers nesting tree!

A nice long walk is always a good mental break. This fence marks the beginning of the village. And the end of my quiet walk home. Back to the munchkin.

Here is a song for the road… Though I am not a country music girl. this song minus the dumb wrap seems just about perfect.

 

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!

Happy Mother’s Day MOM! I love you

A pic of your last baby girl from your first

Today, back home it is Mother’s day. This post is written for my awesome Mommy. I love you and I wish I could celebrate with you.

This week has been super busy with lots of trips to the village. It really reminds me of childhood in Hannahville, PA. The iris, tulips, trees, and more are all a bloom.

The fields are being worked for the harvest come fall. the tillers are ripping up lots of weeds and we are removing the rest.

blooming wall of rock

I went out yesterday to take a pic of all the flowers blooming about the rock wall and discovered this.

Mating Snails!

There were three sets of mating snails at the base of the wall not 2 feet apart. Kinda kinky, huh? Nature is surprising and intriguing all the time. just like when I was a kid.

Yesterday the hubby and I got to work in the field together trimming pesky seedlings planted by fallen cherries. Milan helped me to learn how to drive the tractor. Not a difficult task, but something that will take a few more lessons to learn. with the strange gear shift and all the brakes… well all two. 😉 still.

The long shadows of the end of the day make me tall. Something only a set of heels does otherwise.

Working in the fields is a pleasure for me. Mama got to take care of the little tyke while I explored the great outdoors with the hubby. so many treasures. New flowers and plants I have never seen before! some familiar ones too.

I found this lovely nest nestled in the ground among the weeds.

Tiny speckled eggs, that will soon hatch tiny baby birdies.

The days work also brought the joy of finding a little shack at the edge of a stream below the fields. The shade of the trees and the air coming of the  stream creates a natural air conditioning system so welcoming after working in the sun filled fields.  Mosquitoes are the only downfall of this respite.

Close to the shed there is also a necessary room, that sets atop the creek.

and not far away is a little bridge that traverses the creek to other fields that lay nearby.

The bridge was used later to get to the tractor in a neighboring field. There was one more field to fertilize on the way home.

Then we went home to our little baby and Baba.

Our little rockstar was all tuckered out after the long day.

We send you lot of warm wishes and hugs and kisses on this special day.
XOXO

Dobar Dan