Search This Blog

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Snow storm in April


Hello everybody.

As the title clearly states, we have woken up today, to see the snow falling down. Yes, a thick, heavy, wet snow is dropping from the sky and putting everything at.. a risk? a standstill? a silent pause?!

With that in mind, I have found
a suitable poem to mark this day.
.
.
.
.



What happens when we get a snow storm in April?! 
Actually, this is not something we haven't seen before. Rare as it may be, but there has been snow in April, years ago - when I was a kid. It scares us, of course it does - there's just too much to be lost, and this may be the end for some of our plants. 
What to do?
Nothing, really.
Fighting nature is not our way of life. We adjust our lives to nature's ways. If there's a snow, we wait for it to pass, and move on. (what is "moving on"?). Primarily, that will be estimating the damage in our gardens, in our flower beds and at our yards.
..


So?!


.
.
.


Now we wait.

Marija

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Of course there is an Easter Bunny.


Hello everybody.

How are you all feeling today?
This year we are all united (at least in this thing!): all around globe, we're celebrating Easter at the same date. Some years, like this one, dates match, and then there is no issue of: "oh, thanks, but you see.. over here we're not yet celebrating, our calendar, you see.." :)
NOTE here: for those of you who are not in any way celebrating, let's just say this: the Bunny will hop around world on Sunday, bringing eggs and cooked ham to everybody, and the Bunny does not care about who said what about religion, politics or ethnic background - because.. he's a BUNNY that brings food and joy.. not much room for philosophy there.

.
.
.

Yes, there IS a Bunny,
and he does bring eggs and (cooked ham) every year
no matter how grown-up you are,
if you make a grass nest for him to put it all in.
..at least he does at my home :)

.
.
.
.








See?!
There is the Bunny,
we have no doubt about that.

About those cooked ham I keep mentioning: over here, on Easter Sunday morning (with not much judgement if you're not really a Christian at all) we're having ham and eggs. Traditional dry cure hams get cooked on Saturday, and are served with horseradish, alongside colored eggs. For our people, that is a quintessentially Easter thing.  
...
This comes to you on a Good Thursday, as we star our preparations of Bunny's arrival.
Marija

Monday, 10 April 2017

Mr. Frank Henderson had a lovely home.


Hello everybody

When I was a child, there used to be a saying among the older folks, It goes like this: if you want never ever to be bored again, in your life - get a house. 
In these past few days, as spring is starting to force everything to grow, jobs seem to multiply by the minute in the day. Where ever you look, there is a potential task on our "to do" list. Someone will think it's about time to tell me a thing or two about "that's what you get, when you have a household that size". Because, the bigger the house, the bigger the tasks.

Imagine the magnitude of tasks
on the "to do" list of the house like this one:

.
.
.




It takes an army of people to run a house like this. Something as majestic and grand as Mr. Henderson's "Villa Marina" needs to employ.. oh, I suppose at least twenty (just for the outdoor jobs), plus the Gate Keeper. 
Who?
The "Gate Keeper". His job was to guard the main entrance to the estate and often lived in a small house attached to the gate. An estate as elaborate as this one surely had to have one such man, way at the bottom of the servant's hierarchy. 
...
Well, I have none of those - I am even my own gate keeper - so, all the jobs have to be done in my own pace. One step at the time. :)
Marija

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Midweek magazines: Permanent garden beds


Hello everybody.

A quote, to begin with: "Oh, gardening is such hard work!"

My friends: this is what I feel like some days.

I have a dream (and a Resolution number one, remember those?!). Back in time, I was sitting in front of the computer screen and made my list of things to motivate me. As it just happens, writing that "I will make a garden" seems to be the easiest part of the process.
Next part was getting the plans in action - and first on the agenda (since, there is not much to do in the actual garden, while it's frozen solid) was to think of WHAT it should look like when it's finished, one day - whenever it may be.

This is the most loose image of what I'd like my garden to be,
actually, this image shows the shape of the PATH 
that I would like to have - (one day)


Since it's Wednesday today, let us take a closer look at one of the articles that I have saved some time ago. It's from the Mother Earth News magazine, and it is correlated with my previous words.

Let's take a look:

.
.
.





There will be a LOT more of hard work before my garden resembles anything like the sweet image I'm dreaming of.
So, time is my ally. :)
.....
What are you all up to?
Marija 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

"Gardening? What are we to do?!" - I'll tell you.


Hello everybody.

By day seven, you're hooked. :)
(what is this? it's a continuing sentence from my previous post)
After the first few days of adjustment to all the hurts and pains of our winter-body while it's learning to cope (with bending, kneeling, dragging heavy load and so on) all is well. It will take another week to stop feeling like it's THE Apocalypse whenever it rains. :)

Let me give you some pointers:


First job to tackle if not done earlier (NOW is the last moment) is to give your roses spring hair-cut. If you have done a strong cut in late autumn, then this might not be necessary. Still, give those beauties a good check-up. All broken branches, and dried-up pieces should be safely removed by cutting with sharp pruning shears. You have a pair shears?
OK; to tell you the truth, some of the tools I consider an essential part of my kit might come pricey for someone who hasn't got anything to start with. I say: using old tools is not shameful. Any tool is good, as long as it's safe to use and in good shape.

Then: RAIN STARTS.
What to do?!

When it rains, our Gnomes are having a face-lift. :)

Some years ago, while I still lived across the street (with dad & mom) I adorned my mom's garden with a whole jolly family of these garden keepers. Even though I move them into the shed every winter, the seasons had their influence on mom's Gnomes. This winter I moved them with me, just to give them a little bit of fresh paint, and to return them o their own gardens.

And, here's what we can all do on March:


OK, then: 

.
.
.
.

let's put on some overalls,
roll up the sleeves and.. 
hope it does not rain. :)
Marija

Friday, 17 March 2017

...come MARCH(ing) in. :)


Hello everybody.

With just few days before Spring officially takes over, I'm ready to admit a few things about my life, style, and activities. Nothing drastic (definitively nothing that can be counted as criminal!), nothing shocking and nothing paranormal (well, this is up for a debate)  :)

Winter days are behind us. When I write about "winter" I mean the snow, the chill, extremely low temperatures, drippy noses and general laziness that defines it - in this town of ours. Also, when I write about winter, there is no place for romanticizing it's true nature. 

Winter, in dream-like vintage fashion 
would probably look something like these two gorgeous ladies pictured below
(furry pleasure, court shoes and delicate coats)


.
.
.
.
.

In reality, winter days are not permitting any mistakes
such as exposing your bare skin to the elements (unless you plan on getting severe frost bites)
so: this is what I looked like most of the days:


This winter has cost us a lot (of everything). It has lasted very long, the days were harsh and cold. heating got pricey (but, this is not the place for me to write about the current financial situation), orchards had massive losses - we're in the process of removing them, and a whole lot of the plans got postponed.
That is life, at it's most natural form.
We can not control the weather (I will not have any of the "press the button, move the satellite, release the weather-changing beams" kind of talks over here, OK?). We can adjust our plans to nature's conditions. Not something most of us like, but waiting is the only thing we can do - because, nothing will grow from the rock-hard & completely frozen ground, right? You can't mix cement while it's snowing, right? No respectful gardener would recommend any activities until the risk from frosts is gone, right?

What are we to do?
Sit back.
Stare at old gardening magazines, and wait.
For THIS:


Now that the Sun has gotten a whee bit stronger, I can feel the tingling in my fingers (mind me, the sensation might be similar to the first stage of a coronary trauma, but is much, much less life threatening). My nose gets up in the sky more often, and like many generations before me, I have learned to smell it's coming. We've learned when to say "It's time"

I got outside!

Overwhelmed at first day, just spinning around with a coffee mug in my hand - going up and down my yard and my garden. Staring at thing like it's the first time we meet, touching branches for their elasticity, pushing my heel into ground, frowning my nose - then rushing inside with the feeling of this all being too much.
Second day, stepping outside angry with myself for being lazy the previous time. Tacking with some most important tasks. Over-working myself. Getting inside with serious back pain, and realizing I've been too hard on myself today - or, was it that I've been to much of a "lazy rag-doll" during winter?!
Moaning, I take the third day as a day off. For about some 15 minutes. I mean: I'm tired, my back hurt, I've been exhausted from my office hours,.. etc. Then, I put on overalls (this is new: I've got them as a present & I wear them with no shame, since they are now part of who I am) and get out again; knowing that it's making me happy.


"..not only in size" I say - getting back into gardening is like a boomerang effect. Just like yo-yo dieting, something I am personally very much out of; since I've been there, and I've done that.. and the yo-yo is back on it original place. Right where I started - right where I feel best at. Shoot me if I know why I started getting smaller in the first place - not that it got me any happier. 
Only hungry.
When hungry - I eat. Then: move on. (quite the simple philosophy, but it takes so long to accept it's profound impact on our lives). Move on - to what?
To another day.
To day number four. As it just happens, that was an requisite day: great sun, clear air, lot of things got done. Empowerment was the feeling on my mind as the day went to it's rest.
On day five it rained! Oh! Horror! Eyebrows got raised, nerves got itchy, fists went into the air and some R-rated language was used while addressing to Mrs. Rain, who decided to.. well: rain on my parade. Muddy boots, moaning wind, some kind of Edgar Alan Poe's scenery started evolving in my mind, as this rain was an apocalyptic event.
Truth to be told, that mood stops as soon as the wind does. While it rains, I take on sewing, because one always has something to do with her needle & thread (or is it just me, that even as a grown-up tend to get clothes torn up?).
This is a cycle of life. The course changes.

Then what?
.
.
.



Then sun comes back up and I continue meddling with the dirt, or scraping old paint from six gigantic windows, or digging in posts to hold the fence, or.. we can think of something, as long as it's turning into something meaningful.
...
Are there going to by ANY vintage-related posts?!
Of course there are - as long as that is on my mind and in my life at the time. But, it will not be forced upon any of us. Just like many other themes and events going on in our lives.
Right?

*inhale & exhale*
This went well. :)
Marija

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Waiting for snow-drops


Hello everybody.

It's February.
This is a first post after some time. In case some of you might have wondered about what has happened to me, is everything all right on this side of the screen (or why there are even no Love Stories on Sundays), I owe an answer.

Life, lately: 

Office hours, sub-zero temperatures,
problematic house items & appliances, and
waiting for snow drops to appear.

For days on end, we are having less than enjoyable weather over here. It has been over a month since the temperature hasn't risen over zero degrees Celsius. By now, we are all "under the weather".
Despite all our efforts to keep them safe, most of the decorative outdoor potted plants have suffered; we usually over-winter them in a safe shed, or in an empty room, but the actions were not good enough and I noticed the water froze over in the room - that said, I am to conclude that the roots of about one hundred plants have frozen, too. A massive loss.
(that is one of the things you must face when living in a temperamental aka "continental" climate)
Plants froze-over, and so did some of our pipes. In my home, I have had (so to say) a mild case of freezing, where only a part of the vent has given me problems, and I haven't had a running water that morning - but, after a little bit of TLC (using a hair-drier to heat the vent, and then wrapping everything in sweaters) was enough. Due to that morning freeze, my water meter's glass has broken - an expense unforeseen, but not a huge financial impact.
Heating-vise, this long period of less-then-pleasant temperatures has made it's impact on some of my systems. For one, my furnace has (yet again?!) decided to break up with me, and gave me the "smoke signal", taken quite literally. After having the wash every single item in the room two days in the row (yes, I even scrubbed walls & had to make a two hours long drafts on a sub-zero weather) I have decided to let go the wood-burning system.
Fortunately, I have two more. One of them is somewhat expensive, but clean and reliable  the air-inverter, feeding on electricity, keeping the house air warm and humid. Need I say that the outside unit has a freeze-over cycle?! So, every now and then (yesterday was one of those days) I shut it down, then take the front part off of it, and give it a hot "shower" to melt the accumulated ice from withing the thing. I use the same time to clean the filters.
The last heat source is a simple, and old-school gas burning furnace that I have (wisely!) acquired while ago. This absurdness in adjusting oneself to Nature's ways has taught me a large lesson in life: sometimes, having more options is the difference between getting seriously bitten by cold and keeping yourself safe - while awaiting for spring.

I am not the only one who's waiting for Spring. :)

Now that that I have burdened you with all the joys of winter, rest assured: I have planned for the worse (and always hope for the best). Though this winter is an exceptionally long and cold, our summer labor has payed up in many ways: no one is cold or hungry.
Definitely NOT hungry.
There is a reason I have been posting all the gardening leaflets each month back in 2015 (starting January) and all the food preparation posts (like the one with jam recipes). Those are the thing we do here, every single year. That is our cycle of life. We spend the winter waiting for the summer, so that we can spend our days of summer prepping for winter (yes, every year). Some might think that gets tiring and dull, but to be honest: every year is different, and the food sources available to us last year just might not be so bountiful this year (especially THIS year, after all this frost biting us longer than usual).
This is the choice we've all made when we decided to stay in a rural area. I doubt I'd know how to divide my year any other way. :)

Please, do not write to the address given above, 
Chili in no longer receiving mail. :)

As this post was not strange enough so far, I'll give myself the right to write a little bit more on my life so far, regarding the changes that happened (intentionally).
Over the course of some four years I have undergo a change in body-shape. Right now, after a long time recovering, my shape is back to "pear" (see the image above, Chili pretty much sums it up). Some of the clothing items left my wardrobe, since they no longer fit me, and I can honestly say: they should not ever fit me.
No need to be sad about it, since that gives room for some new clothes - and I, for one, like having a real reason to update, making my visits to the used-clothes shop more often. Shopping for used clothes has it's benefits; one of the major ones is precisely the one I have experienced within last year. Since those pieces are truly cheap they don't make a heavy load on my finances and therefore I do not feel guilty when turning them into rags, scraps, cleaning supply and, ultimately: throwing them all away. (those that still hold form, and look good - I pack and keep, if there comes a day when someone asks for modest-looking dress and a pencil skirt, I'll give it gladly).
It's: out with the old, in with the new (so to say).

We shouldn’t compare ourselves with others, 
nor we should worry about what others think about us 
and then we can truly be happy.
(small singing birds - do help)

Sorry about the blurry backgound in the picture, my photographer caught a strange lady at the door. :)  However, you can still spot the smile, right?
With all the things I've just told you, some of you might wonder how is it that I'm still keeping my smile. To be honest, I practice a mental task every time I wake up - I remind myself mentally of couple of things that I can make better. Also, every time I get to bed I repeat at least three things I am grateful for. Yes, it does work.
It makes the winter-waiting easier to cope with.
.....
I do hope I'll write something you're more used to soon.
(hey, at least we're not in the negative temperatures today - we're just having rain)  :)
HAVE A NICE DAY.
Marija

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Love Story: Ugly Duckling


Heads up, everybody!

There is a SEVERE sub-zero temperature wave happening right now in the large part of Europe. One of the reasons there's a lack of posts this week and this post is late is because of this emergency-state that we are in. Making sure the animals are all right, re-checking every inch of the house, securing the over-wintering flowers.. and my latest: de-frosting the water pipes!

I am in a dire need of a soft story
from the days gone by:







This DOES warm me up.

I hope all of you out there are keeping yourselves warm, and safe. 
We have had years of experience with this kind of weather, and we equip our homes with most of the things that come in the "might come in handy" category. Loaded flashlights and piled-up woods (if the frosts bites-off our electricity), water supply (if, like myself today, you wake up to realize there's no water in the pipes), food provisions (the regular: meat, vegetable, jars of pickles and jam), all the baking supplies (if the bakery fails to produce bread - don't look at me that way, it has happened, and we'd rather have our own way of making food - just, you know, in case)..
We are all OK over here.
How are you doing?!
Marija

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Midweek magazines: When TIME magazine makes cakes


Hello everybody.

With all the winter holidays well behind your backs, most of you are getting back to your regular daily schedules, work spaces and day-to-day tasks. It's back to "usual" - but, not over here.
Since we are tagging along (for exactly two weeks), we are right not in the middle of pre-Christmas baking mania! I wrote about our traditions back in 2015, and I have given you an array of Sweet Recipes HERE, HERE and HERE (as a three-part series!). 
I am the over-taker of the making of sweets for the family feast; but mom still gets to hold the Title of the Official Česnica-maker - since she is the "mother" of the house (not that my brother OR me live in the same house, but hey..) :)

While I was reading some interesting recipes, 
I came across an article from TIME magazine
that just happens to deal with - cakes. :)





There is a sense of peace in watching the cake slowly rise in the oven. I do believe it has therapeutic value worthy of mention. Ever since I was a child, I loved positioning myself in front of the over and gazing through the "window" - to see the master-piece grow. As a child of wast imagination, it amazed me, in the sense of: what magic it must be! The amazement never vanished (even though, now I do KNOW the science behind the cake-in-my-over phenomena) :)
.......
How is this New Year going, so far?
Are you back in the regular-mode?
Marija

Sunday, 1 January 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR.. and a Love Story: My too popular boyfriend


Hello everybody

Happy New Year!

.
.
.

May this year illuminates your path, wherever you might chose to go, 
may your steps be light and your road peaceful,
may you have endless reasons to smile and share the joy with others
and may your dreams come true!

I have the honor to with you all a good morning, the first one in this new year, with a romance boosting love story. This is our tradition, and I do hope we will continue "meeting" here on Sundays, for our weekly dose of Romance-in-pictures.

First one, for this year:







Take rest.
Recharge your selves,
I'm sure we're in for another interesting year, full of events, meeting new folks, growing stringer and sharing our mutual passion for all things vintage!
Marija