That was the week that was

I have now settled at my winter weight of around 85Kg, helped by generous portions of delicious food and copious amounts of alcohol; well maybe not copious; but more than enough! I no longer need to wear a belt when wearing several pairs of trousers (not all at once) and when I do it looks like the next option is a new belt or a hole punch:)

Mind, it doesn’t surprise me as the only exercise I’ve had lately is walking the dogs down to the forest to keep an eye of the latest beaver activity.  The beavers are having a great battle with the locals, after there first dam was broken up they decided to fell a tree across the track; I have an image of the beaver resistance fighters ready to take the last chunk out of the tree as the vehicle approaches 🙂 This happened about 10 days ago and I’ve followed the progress, as the farmer has moved the tree and cut it into manageable lengths; no doubt to pick up and use as firewood in the future; the beavers had an other idea and dragged the new, handy sized, pieces to use on the rebuilding of the dam; stripping the bark for food in the process.

We did manage a couple of days back at the ranch, checking everything was ok and clearing a patch of land of brambles; warm work even with the temperature close to zero. But yet again as the night time temperature inched towards -8°c it became uncomfortable to stay for two long and we retreated back to heating central.

And if you happen to be wondering how the humanure pile is handling the cold weather; well it seems to be ok, despite not making any deposits for quite a while the pile has reduced in size, with a noticeable indent in the middle, so I’m confidant that the little microbes are still working hard to break down those nasty pathogens; either that or rats have moved in and are eating their way through it!

One of our biggest problems is water whilst we wait for the new borehole pump to be fitted. Our 1000 Litre tanks that capture water from various roofs are either frozen solid or empty to prevent them from freezing solid. We did have a contingency plan of four 25 litre containers, but these soon froze solid, even in the stable, and it amazes me how long it takes for them to thaw out, even when we have the wood burner going. I can now understand how the old ice houses used to work with a big block of ice, it’s a very slow melt.

We do have the old well, but this has all but dried up in the worst drought since records began and we are lucky to get a couple of litres in the bucket as a time, good for a brew, not for a bath!

So back to the cake capital of Poland (Rzemien) more food, more drink, more visiting friends back for the season after working away across Europe; all of us calendar watching for the return to work, some on a tighter schedule than others.

It’s an easy life whilst you have some money saved, but we have started to consider looking for work as the cold prevents us from doing much on the house; it would be a better way to spend our time, rather than watching money trickle away as we laze about. Holland looks good at this time of year, lots of plants need propagating and potting  for the garden centres back in the UK.

But that’s enough talk about having to work for a living, we’ve much more important jobs to do, like baking a beetroot chocolate cake, recipe to follow 🙂

Low pressure

It’s nothing to do with the weather, although we did wake up to snow; which is fitting for the time of year. Low pressure as in no pressure, that’s the general feeling I get about Christmas in Poland.

The children have already received there presents back on December the 6th, St Nicolas’s names day and that’s that, no scrambling around trying to buy gifts to please a myriad of people that you might only see once a year, or even you nearest and dearest; it’s just not expected, so nobody does it or worries about it.

Christmas is simply about the family getting together, your immediate family on Christmas Eve, expanding to a wider group on Christmas day; visiting Aunties, Uncles, Grandparents and the like. And whilst the Eve still seems to be influenced by religion, in the type of food served and the lack of alcohol, the Day becomes more of celebration and drinking and dancing are more likely to be on the cards! (I’ll let you know if this came to pass on Wednesday)

Even the build-up is subdued. Try as they might, the advertising people just don’t seem to get through to the average person; even the might of Tesco can’t change the habits of a nation no matter how early they stock their shelves and change the music to a festive loop. Christmas remains Christmas the way it has always been.

Walk down the street and you will be lucky to see a single house with more than a string of lights on display and even then the decorations are only likely to have gone up in the last few days; we have only just finished decorating our own tree. It reminds me of when I was young and we played the game of ‘spot the Christmas trees’ on the drive to see a distant relative, I’m sure they were there, but only a few people in a more reserved 1970’s Britain would ever think of displaying the tree in the widow for all to see; of course that’s what made the game more challenging.  Hard to imagine now as the festive competition rages and heats up the air!

So will this be a better Christmas without all the modern day hype and bling? Oh yes, no doubt about it, I feel better already, calm, relaxed and happy, and it hasn’t even started yet!

But before I head downstairs to feast on carp and pierogi, , I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and New Year. readers, followers; thank you for your encouragement, and friends and family; who I hope will become readers and followers if your not already. Have a good one, I know I will 🙂

Christmas Tree 2012
The tree was free from a friend (thank you), the stand was made by Gosias Dad this morning (I heard the grinder and saw the flash of the welder) the decorations were rescued from a UK garden centre (they buy new every year!)