Monday, 10 September 2012


Mondays are the days when the village gets back to all of the essential tasks after the Sunday day of rest.
It's September, and although the temperature is 32 deg C today, the essential task today is to bring the firewood in to be ready for the cold of winter.
There is no mains gas in the village so all of us rely on wood burning stoves to keep warm.
Some have only a simple stove and combined oven (called a Soba locally).
Others have a stove providing heat for a radiator central heating system (called a Cazan locally)
Either way, it takes a lot of wood to keep warm for the whole of the winter.
It's difficult to believe during today's blue skies and hot sunshine that in a couple of months we will be enduring cold down to -20 deg C.
The fires are needed then and they need to burn for 24 hours a day.
So, the tractors are trundling past all day long carrying loads of wood and chainsaws are buzzing everywhere getting the wood prepared for storage.
This year though there is some grumbling in the village. Each villager is allotted a number of trees from the local forest. All trees to be felled are marked with a number corresponding to whichever villager has a right to that tree, and then he goes to cut them down and bring them home into storage. The trees that have been selected this year though are small and thin. None of the older bigger trees have been chosen. Thin wood doesn't burn as well or as efficiently as properly cut thicker wood, so having enough to be able to keep warm over the whole winter is proving to be a real worry.
Anyone who understands these things will also know that the wood that is coming in this year is actually for next year, but last year there were problems too. A number of trees were stolen from the forest which led to a shortage and meant that fresh wood had to be burnt to supplement the seasoned wood. It is likely to be even worse this year, so some of the wood on these trailers going past today will have to be burnt this winter.
Keeping the fires going 24 hours a day during winter is also a trial, because it means only ever sleeping for 3 or 4 hours at a time to be able to keep the fires built. 
Really looking forward to it!!!
As there is little else that can be done over winter, apart from chopping logs and keeping warm, it is actually quite easy to sleep/fire/sleep/fire/sleep/fire way of life throughout the day, pausing only to eat or maybe to drink some warming tuica! 

Anyway, enough of the coming winter, it is still so warm.
The children are playing noisily in the street outside, the older people are sitting on their benches in the shade chatting, the ramblers are passing through the village to continue their treks through the forest, and the occasional quad bike goes past roaring in anticipation of the fun that is to come when they reach their forest tracks.

Monday is a day when the whole village buzzes with activity, and it only stops as the sun goes down. It started at dawn for many, so it is a long hard day. This evening though they will all be in the village bar discussing their day again, and anticipating more tomorrow and always with a smile.


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