zondag 7 november 2010

Evening dream

Weather changes are subtle. These november days are especially mild. Sitting outside for lunch and working in the sun is especially enjoyable. The changing of season results in a redbrown blend settling over the countryside.
The higher peaks in the distance are probably part of Velika Kapela mountain-range 50 kilometers away. This is the kind of view I envisioned in the past, dreaming of a life in the countryside. I am looking forward to completing our building and finally reading a book enjoying this view. And dream about all adventures still waiting. While enjoying what is now.

Meeting a fire salamander

Walking along our newly cleaned old road many beautiful things are to be seen. Lighting can create special effects in the evening because of the location. The trees hang at a friendly slanted angle over the path. Giving it an ancient atmosphere. The path has been there a long time. There are some small pools along the side of the higher area that is our terrain. The water seeps out of the lower sides creating nice places for just these creatures. Just amazing! I never saw one like this before. It appears that the spots are individually spread. So every individual can be recognised.
More surprising is the poisonous nature of this beauty. Directly behind the eye there are glands that jet out alkaloïds samandarine (C19H31NO), samandaridine (C21H31NO) en samanderon (C22H31NO2) among other niceties. The glands are located all over the body. Touching therefore is not wise. To make the picture I handled it softly. Some mistake! Muscle contractions and hallucinations are among possible effects if poison gets in via the mouth. Next time I will even put on glasses because it can jet it's defence over a meter. Severe pain comes from a drop in the eye... Enjoy and take care meeting these fellow beings!!!

Autarky out of neccessesity

It used to be the pump of a refrigarator. It creates air pressure up to 8 bar. Enough to pump up tractor tires, my digging machine's tires, and everything that needs to be pumped up. Every part of a machine that is still usefull gets converted into something usefull. Croats here are masters of improvisation in many fields. They avoid to pay for services of someone else if they can create their own solutions. A way of life one can see is practically everywhere. Only if they really can't do it themselves they go to someone else. They know how to slaughter and process their animals, build houses, barns, till their land, find food in the forest and even medicinal plants. They have a lot of selfreliance and with it a lot of peace of mind. There is not so much they cannot do themselves.

Grand parents on Mreznicki Brig

Bridge over the Mreznica. 'Mreznicki Brig'. A location with beautifull swimming pools in summer, restaurant, tennis court, and extended camping. We went to have a look to see if there was any activity so late in the season. Also to have a meal with family. The water that flows through these areas leaves a layer of chalk on everything. Also grass stems get calcite layered on them so long they vanish in stone. It is comparable with tufa you find in mountainous areas in Switserland too. There are all kinds of organic materials enclosed in the stone. The result is a kind of stone filled with little cavities, imprints of leaves, branches etc.
This trip from Vojnic goes through Barilovic. The grand parents I think were charmed by the area. So are we.

The wonder of creation

Branko again. Looking at first results. Acacia trees stripped of bark. Acacia is especially good for structures.
As a preparation for a bigger construction we choose to build a composting toilet. The drawing on the side is Nol's rendering of a house. We were starting to make a little house that would end up square. We decided to go for a more pyramid like line. In doing so, letting loose of all the squareness of regulatory forms. In order to be legal one must use prescribed materials and processes. Anyhow, the drawing of Nol is normative. The result will be more a sculpture like facility in which one can wonder about creation. While shitting.

Cat inspection team member

32 cubic meters of wood has arrived. Dried in a drying chamber to 12% water content. There is every form of wood we need for finishing the house from top to bottom. The place where it is stacked, is a location we like to be empty because it is in front of the kitchen. It reminds us that we are still living in a building location.
The cats like all change to their environment and inspect every new change with carefull attention. Here Pippy is indicating there is something wrong with the location of a particular piece.
Now the wood is dried to the core according to a computer program. They had been in a drying chamber, of which relevance I wasn't aware before. It appears that wood shrinks 8% through drying. Over a length of 12 meters..... What that does to your construction I left to imagination. I followed the advice of the architect to take the much more expensive dry wood. The cats agree.

woensdag 3 november 2010

Eko Selo, an answer to war

An inspiring trip to Eko Selo we took together with founder Zjeljko, Branko and me. Branko you'll see on our terrain working together with me starting wooden constructions. Zjeljko tells me that he started Eko Selo because the war touched on something in him. He told that the pilliging, the killing and rest of the horror made him choose a distant location to invest money he had earned in Germany. He soon ran out of money. His idea was much bigger than his budget. Everything he did, he did with his two hands with an incredible result. Not to forget he has an industrious wife and daughter. Many days up to 10 busloads of children would come. He would explain to them why he had chosen to live in this natural spot. They would sit with gleaming eyes and aborb his way of life word for word. In other instances he would come storming in on his horse. A true cowboy.