Knjazevac Museums~ Zavičajni muzej Knjaževac

The yellow building with the statue on top is the largest museum in town. It houses a continuous collection as well as short term exhibits.

Zavicajni means homeland. This museum is all about the homeland. Local artifacts and exhibitions of local art and history are displayed.

The entrance of the museum. The grand old home was built by a man who owned a long ago coal mine in my  hubby’s village Vina. Now, it is well-kept and a glorious reminder of antique architecture.

A work of art by a local artist, Dragoslav Živković, and the reconstruction of homes created by the orignal inhabitants of the region  ages ago. The cavemen type of people even left their mark in local caves with drawings! Cool, huh?

Just a few weeks ago, I went to check out the new fruit exhibits, and the very exciting ancient Roman artifacts found just a few miles down the road!

An aerial photograph of the excavation. It is a massive site.

Ravna, a village 6 or 7 miles from Knjazevac is the home of the most recent archeological dig in our region.

Painstaking work  by international groups of archeologists have unearthed some amazing finds. Including glass goblets! How freaking awesome is that!?

glass goblets and a glass vase

I got to talk to the Senior Curator of the museum, Milena. Her English is spectacular. We had a great chat. The most spectacular part of the visit was being shocked with meeting another American. I have NEVER run into a foreigner in my little town. Coming in contact with one of my own peeps was a complete shock.

He was a Dept. of State guy doing some public relations stuff, repairing relations with Serbia. His advice to me was to basically be friendly and help mend the tear between Serbia and the United States.
Some days, I think I am days I think I am very diplomatic… other times, not so much.

Please come visit our beautiful town and museums. We have lots to offer! Just like the rest of Serbia!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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