Drive by Shooting

A nice spring drive….

Lots of tractors were on the road and in the fields.

Babas were everywhere, like this one on the side of the road with a full wheel barrow. Nothing shocks me here!

One more Baba, all of them in the socially acceptable Baba uniform. skirt, kerchief, sweater, Vest, dark stockings, and opanci (plastic flat ballet flats). Serbian Fashion for all the Babas!

One more for the road… A Deda and his tractor.

What a great day to be outside!

Sometimes when I see these beautiful houses, it isn’t hard to imagine Heidi from the classic old story living in them.

Happy Saturday everyone!! Thanks for stopping by.

Dobar Dan

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Spring Forward into Life

Last weekend the time changed in Europe. That fact is irrelevant to this blurb. Almost.

Trouble on two continents, family issues, and work that had to be done worked in tandem with germs from the little miss. A cold stopped me in my tracks. One whole day, I was down for the count. A day later, I was not fully recovered. but mentally, I was renewed.

The physical rest gave my mind the break it needed! Now, I am back in Black and White!! and Technicolor! Alive again after a long cold winter of cabin fever.

Joyful Yellow Flowers!! Happy Spring!

I am about ready to get back to work on Baba and Deda’s house renovations. Spring house cleaning has begun!! Putting winter away and bringing out new seasons things! Just like the Trees! Hip Hip Horrah!

The celebration of spring has begun in Serbia and all over the northern sphere!! There is a new energy! Longer days and a new mindset! My brain, like the trees is blooming with new ideas!  Get out and enjoy the green sprouting from the formerly drab brown ground and feast your eyes on the fresh sprigs!   It will make you feel alive!

Pops of color are everywhere. Even the street cracks are bursting with dandelions that are growing under water spouts.

The idea of renewal is one that suits the story of Uskurs or Easter. Easter weekend has hit the Western world, We have a week yet for it to hit the Eastern Orthodox part of the world. Preparations are in progress. I think nature does the best part of the prep work!

Christ is Risen!!

Happy Easter to my friends and family!

Music to my Ears

This picture could have some many captions. These are the ones that come to mind and seem relevant to me right now.

A perfect mix of sounds, water lapping on the beach and piano music.

It ain’t over til the fat lady sings.

Fluid music

watery sounds

Beauty in ruins

Keep making music, even if the tide is coming in.

A lonely piano rests under the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC.

This little American chick will be singing in a  full on Serbian choir tomorrow. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and intimidated.

The whole reason I joined the choir was to help me learn Serbian. It is kind of fitting my first performance will be for the celebration of Saint Sava. The patron saint of schools and education. Wish me luck! Hymna Sv. Sava, here I come!

And feel free to ad your own captions for the pic in the comments!

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!

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!

Vasher meets American Gothic

The re~repost of an oldie but goodie from 2011 when I was on Blogspot.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Vasher meets American Gothic

My next blog will be about the Vasher that descended on my little town on March 27. But first I must share with you this sight.When I first entered the throngs of people who attended the street fair, I saw this couple who’s striking resemblance to a classic American painting was undeniable. Well, at least to me. The American Gothic is a painting came to life with an older Serbian couple. The husband carrying, the traditional, Serbian, wooden  pitchfork.

The pitch fork is better pictured  here…

Can you see the resemblance?

Grant Wood/Associated Press/Art Institute of Chicago

I think it is the look of  hardworking folks who know what a hard days labor in the field means.  Tired and unsmiling, going about with things that must be done.

Farm life of the 1930’s in the US is not unlike the modern-day life of Serbian villagers. When I show my Grandpa Jones pictures of my Serbian village, he sees things he hasn’t seen since childhood.  Surely it brings back memories of yesteryear. I don’t think the good old days were as good as remembered. Work on the farm is backbreaking labor. Life without microwaves, washers and dryers is not as cool as we may believe. Serbia does have these things available. But, many people don’t have them like we do in the US.

I find that I am torn between the antiquities of South Eastern Serbia and the modernity of the US.  There are so many pros and cons to both worlds.
But the things I love about Serbia are below.

The shepherds tending their sheep,

the line dried, home-made socks,

The wonderful home-made bread and other goodies,

and shared meals,

And pitchforks in use, creating the kind of haystack any “little boy blue”  could fall asleep under.

Hope you had a nice break from your day with some pics of not so modern Serbia.

Dobar Dan Y’all!

Tolstoy Ties

During our road trip to Krusevac we make a quick stop to a gorgeous monastery. Sveti Roman is nestled in a clove of hills and has the most refreshing spring  just outside the gates. Down in the gully where the spring becomes a stream, it is cooler. The fallen leaves everywhere create the distinct smell of fall.

A quick walk up the hill and through the beautiful gate…

This is the final resting place of Count Nikolaj Nikolajevic Rajevski.

He was one of the many Russians who left his homeland to come and aid the Serbs in their fight against Turkish occupation in Serbia  in solidarity of Slavic brotherhood and Orthodoxy. . He was also allegedly  the basis for Ana Karenina’s lover, Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky .

I cannot think of a more beautiful or peaceful place to rest. The monastery grounds are immaculately kept.

The mosaic walkway is done completely in stone washed soft and round by water, collected over time and placed just so to created the most amazing designs.

Learning about the History here is NEVER short of amazing. I hope you enjoy hearing about it too.

Dobar dan (Good Day) Y’all!

Photography Friday Road Trip~Крушевац

Every road trip needs some good music!. I love this song.

A few weeks ago we went to the medieval capital of Serbia, Krusevac. This long-standing city is home to about 60,000 people. I was really impressed with it.

I totally wanted to get a pic with this guy, I mean the statue. But I am only knee high and he is the grasshopper.  Jumping up onto his lap like he was Santa was out of the question! 😦 But had I gotten up there, I would have had to ask if it was a sword in his lap or was he just happy to see me!  🙂

Krusevac has been in place since at least 1371, when Emperor Lazar was living. While living, Lazar was something like a Duke or Lord.  He was responsible for gathering the troops to fight the battle against the Turks who later beheaded him. After his death, he was raised to Emperor out of respect. His wife, Milica, went on to be the ruler! Hello forward thinking back in the old days. Now, not so much.

This town has its own chic feel and flavor. And so much history smack dab next to modern life!

Before a walk about town we opted for a quick alfresco lunch.

I got the Pizza and he got the schnitzel with mash potato, a roll and cabbage salad. In all my time here, I have never seen schnitzel with noodles. Kind of a bummer. Maybe I need to go to Austria? On a side note, the hills are alive here, but with the sound of kolo music! If you don’t get any of these references you must watch “The Sound of Music” once more!

I was pleased to see that lots of old couples walked happily arm in arm in this gorgeous grad. I don’t think I have seen that anywhere else in Serbia so far.

The most astonishing to me in this Balkan city was the dress of the women. Normally, in Eastern European countries, the women are always and I mean always sporting 4 inch+ heels. In this city, women dressed stylishly, and sensibly. Heels were low or non-existent! Holy Cow! I think they must have been breaking some unwritten Eastern European code! Can I get an Amen?

There is a park where the ruins of the old fort stands. Most of it was destroyed during the war with the Turks. Now children play ball with their grandparents watching over them, and others taking a stroll or sit on benches and enjoy that peace that now resides. An old Museum sets just to the side presiding over the history and ghosts.

Imagine you’re the kid who lives in the Green house. You ask your friends to come play in the fort in your backyard! Forget cowboys and Indians! Lets play Serbs and Turks!!

You know the people who built these homes in the wake of ruins must have found some cool stuff in their back yard while digging to create their new homes!! Talk about cool building stories!

That lucky kid’s back yard! Seriously, How freaking COOL!

Within the fort stood the most beautiful old Church.

This impressive structure was a sight to behold.

The amount of detail begs you to look at it for ages to take it all in.

The Celtic style knots that circled the doors and windows were fabulous.The magnificent double headed eagle graced the top and bottom of the window above.

The grounds all around are an ancient battle field. At one entrance there was a painting of Kosavka Devojka. She is the Serbian version of Molly Pitcher during the American Revolution.

Kosavka walked around the battlefield of Krusevac when the Serbs were fighting the Turks in 1389 during the Battle of Kosovo.

This is a print of a famous rendition showing Kosavka watering a fallen soldier. Compare this beauty with the typical image of Molly Pitcher with a cannon.

Molly is just a few thousand miles east and a few hundred years later…

Battle of Kosovo 1389

Battle of Monmouth 1778

Two peas in a pod.

Even thousands of miles away from home you can find similarities in just about everything if you look hard enough!

Krusevac is a great city, lots to see, and some great shops too! If you are in this neck of the woods, you should check it out.

Let them eat Cake

This is really a yummy apple bread, but in Serbia, Bread isn’t sweet and this IS!

I realized a lot of expats like myself are at a loss when baking abroad, I was! It is always a good bit of trial and error. Even when you use someone’s tried and true recipes, if the ingredients aren’t the same. The end product most certainly will not be either.

I have found that using recipes that I have never tasted before are better for me. I have no expectations. For instance. I could make something that I know and love, only to be disappointed with the outcome of perfectly good tasting cake. But when it doesn’t taste like what I am used to. 😦 I am not happy.

Now, I go to allrecipes.com and find a recipe that uses products I have access to here in Serbia. Or sometimes I use Pinterest. This recipe was on Pinterest, via Eva Bakes blog. She makes it with an extra topping, you can check it all out here. The topping is extra work and lots of extra calories. No thanks! this is yummy enough! I use an extra cup or two of apples. But that is all I have done to modify the recipe.

With out further rambling, here is the recipe that I get loads of compliments on! It makes two 8 inch round cakes.

Apple Bread (Cake)

Preheat your oven to 350 F or 175 C

Lightly grease two 8″ cake pans

~5 or 6 cups Apples I used the ones from our apple grove. I don’t know the name. I peel, core, and chop them. I do this before preheating, greasing pans and such. Or I used some from the freezer. We had a lot of apples!!

~4 eggs no particular size. Whatever the chickens lay, I use!

~1 cup vegetable oil

~2 tsp vanilla

~2 tsp baking soda

~2 tsp salt

~2 tsp cinnamon

~3 cups flour

~2 cups sugar

1 or 2 cups walnuts optional. That would be even more yummy. I must try that next time!! I love a little g

Beat eggs till fluffy, add oil, baking soda, salt, cinnamon,and vanilla.  Beat thoroughly. In increments add the flour and sugar… Stirring adding stirring etc.

Add the apple pieces last and mix thoroughly. Then pour half the batter in one pan, half in the other. and bake for one hour. Probably one at a time, depending on the size of your oven.

Remove it from the oven when it feels firm to touch. It is best to let it cool a few minutes. Don’t wait too long or someone else will eat it all! This screams Autumn! sweet, moist, Nom Nom Nom!!

This is the wonderfully organic and yummy blessing of living here in Serbia!!

Enjoy!!

Dobar dan Y’all!