Sunday, February 16, 2014

Morning light

It's just the two of us. Mr and mrs, a couple of dogs and a few cats. That's it. Striving each day to make things work out here and to better and enrich our lives. Somedays, like today for example, are tough mentally and physically. Pulling down parts of outbuildings which are redundant, preparing for the arrival of builders this week (for the last time we hope), and endless other tasks without offering a minutes rest. But there is no one else here to do it but us, with dogs and cats for company. Just us, to accomplice something positive here everyday. Soon our place will be open again for the arrival of guests and days like today will just melt into like any other when there isn't anyone else here. The pinkish sunrise may get forgotten and remembering all the things we did this day will probably do so too. But we would like to think that serving good memories for others when they come to stay will make all the hard work appreciated.

Monday, February 10, 2014

No smoking please!

Another week of outside jobs as the winter shows no signs of arriving. First up was the demolition of the 'smoke house', a curious little house like structure which is commonplace in the Slovak countryside. Used for smoking and preserving hung slabs of meat and sausages during the butchery season, our chargrilled example was beginning to look like an eyesore from the front door. It was also in the way of the proposed extension of the woodshed and soon to become outdoor kitchen/eating space (we haven't thought of a name for this exciting new addition to the Havran Cottage catalogue, only 'the shed' or 'the kitchen shed' so far..)
As we had shown no sign of killing many pigs round here it wasn't likely to be getting used either. Out with the crowbar and hammer and so the endless task of taking out nails. Typical Slovak construction always uses far more nails than is needed and much longer ones than what I had encountered anywhere else. The result being a day spent rather than an hour. But we prevailed finding rusty iron artifacts and a few old teeth along the way. Now we have clear view of the garden and a vision of what will come next with the woodshed. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Cider making outside as it snows. After a few days a liquid with a whiffy smell. Probably the wrong time of year to be doing this, but then what else to do with more than a dozen crates of apples.
Every day, morning, noon and night, a check on the action as it quietly froths in a huge glass jar. A couple more days and maybe it will be time to decant to demijohns in the cellar. And then the waiting game begins.
Cider is supposedly easy to make, and yet even after a few attempts in the past and success in creating wine out of marrow two years ago, I haven't created anything other than vinegar out of apples. On this attempt, well the conditions are really too cold to be considering to do this, the apples are over ripe possibly, and a few bruised ones may have been processed through the chopping. So a morning's labour may have been wasted or maybe not. Only time will tell, I'll give it another year before I try again.