The Big Thaw

Well that was what I thought last Sunday when all the snow disappeared in Rzemien, just the odd bit hanging about where the wind had gathered the dusty flakes into a drift; that and the slush left at the side of the road by the snow ploughs was the only evidence left of the last three or four weeks of brilliant white.

So with the temperature rising and set to stay around the zero mark I thought I would take a trip out to the house and check on things, just to make sure that the big bad wolf hadn’t blown the house down.

The drive there was perfect, tarmac all the way, but as I got closer I couldn’t help but notice the snow topped hills and sure enough as I ascended to the 400m plateau the snow line became apparent. I’d guess at about 300m the road still had traces of ice and the surrounding fields were only partially green. I started to wonder what it would be like as I got closer.

But rather than trying to explain, I thought I’d take some photos 🙂

So as the road disappeared I thought it wise to park up at our neighbours farm and walk the rest of the way. Of course this been Poland I was greeted with the offer of a ‘drink’ which I gracefully declined as I had to drive later in the day (explained with the usual two arms outstretched holding the imaginary steering wheel moving from side to side) Still I was invited to take a tour of the out buildings to be shown the generator that they had recently purchased or possibly even constructed, as it resembled an old diesel truck engine mounted on a welded steel frame and some electrical circuitry protected by a series of porcelain fuses. It was even turned over and run for a few minutes just to show me how it worked, which I gave my approval of with the three or four complimentary words that I have in my extensive polish vocabulary, repeated several times in varying order. All very happy with this I was then told about the borehole they had just had dug (we started a trend in the area) and how the old pump they had was not powerful enough to pump the water beyond 30m and they may have to (god forbid) buy a new one; although thinking about the generator, I’d imagine a new pump could be fashioned from an old tractor and a couple of bits of bailing twine! I have to admire the reluctance of people to throw things away here and always coming up with a solution with what is available.

Heading off on foot it soon became apparent that the snow up here was here to stay, the ice had set into the snow and for most of the walk I was on top of it, only occasionally breaking through the crust; very slippery going for me and the dogs. But we soon made it over the hill and the house came into sight, non the worse for the recent cold weather.

Heading down to the barn and stable there was clear evidence of deer and some worryingly large paw prints, but then I remembered that Kazek had been keeping an eye on the place and the prints belonged to him and his mountain dog; phew! Mind you the deer had had a good feed on our young apple apple trees and another mental note was made to make sure I protect the fresh trees we plant this year. Its odd they don’t eat the quince trees, just as well as they make a good fruit for one of the many liqueurs that we made in the autumn. I also noted that the snow and ice had taken its toll on the weaker of the silver birch, bending and even snapping some of them, so natural selection has selected them for felling when the weather warms up. By the way, for all you avid humanure folowers of the composting toilet diary; I took a quick picture of the pile 🙂 The snow on top probably indicates that the anorobic process has stopped for the winter, although with no recent deposits to feed the pile I’m it’s probably to be expected.

Once I’d checked on everything, started a fire, talked to Gosia on Skype, walked the dogs and had some lunch, it started to snow again, so I decided to hedge my bets and head back home; I had a flight to catch on Monday so I didn’t want to get snowed in in Pyrowki 🙂

Posted in Composting Toilet, Humanure, Life in Poland, Nature, Straw Bale House and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

8 Comments

  1. Hi Eddy. This post brings back so many memories of my early years in Romania, including the obligatory offer of a drink. I spent my first three months there almost continuously inebriated as ‘no’ was never accepted until I started to pick up the children, then pointing to the children in the Landrover was enough to have the offered drink drunk by the host. The drink, by the way, was a horribly smelling thing called ‘samahonca’, made by fermenting sugar beet then distilling. You need to hold your nose while drinking but it becomes something else if buried in a pot for a few years. Snow is forecast for our bit of Yorkshire tomorrow.

  2. The house is looking good. I’ll be looking forward to seeing lots of activity a year from now. By all means place a wire cage around the fruit trees to protect them from the deer.
    How do you get Internet up there? Now what’s this about a flight on Monday???

    • We are lucky enough to have free internet provided by the local council, funded courtesy of the EU 🙂
      Flew out to the UK on Monday, no doubt the subject of my next post 🙂

  3. The house is looking really good! Shame about the deer scoffing the trees, just as well you noticed in winter though…. Do you get wolves round there? I would guess if you do the presence of a mountain dog keeps them away.

    • I’ve heard that the wolves are about 100 miles further south east and also in the north; fingers crossed. Wild boar can be a bother, but I’ve only ever seen the damage they do, the dogs certainly give you a sense of security:)

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