More trees a go go!

After the rave reception and generous feedback  from Mrs Trellis of last nights post I decided to press home my advantage and so…

These photos are from the last  few days but  they were taken on my little old phone camera rather than the Ipad, you might notice a difference. The phone acts as a nice portable punk rock machine all day as I scythe and dig my way around the estate whereas the Ipad tends to just run out of battery as soon as I take it outside my room!

This was taken a few days ago when I’d managed to persuade my reluctant body to get out and up before the sun became too strong (c.9am). It show’s the early morning mist coming off our neighbours dewy damp fields as the first rays of sun hits them. It also shows the newly ‘n nicely tidied and bramble cleared fence that runs along the road boundary.
Grass path clearing aka dandelion destruction in progress. Sweaty work even at 8 am, I was down to my sleeveless t-shirt.
This leafy specimen is a Prunus Padus, known as Bird Cherry, Hackberry, Hagberry, or Mayday Tree, a flowering plant in the rose family Rosaceae. It is a species of cherry, a deciduous small tree if I’m lucky it might grow up to up to 16m tall!
A red Mulberry tree which the Croatians call a Grab tree!! I just had to grab one of those!
This big leafed beauty is a Tilia Tomentosa, known as silver linden in the US and silver lime in the UK, is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae, native to southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia, from Romania and the Balkans east to western Turkey, occurring at moderate altitudes. Locally known as a Srebrna Lipa.
Sanja’ s Ginko will have a fence constructed around it this evening before the local Bambi get a chance to feast on it.
Not sure if I bought a red Robin tree or bush but at only £3 it was not a big risk investment and if it survives it’ll be a nice bit of colour next to Sanja’s favourite bench.
If this beauty survives the Croatian climate it should end up as a bright russet red spot on the Google earth picture of Barabrith taken from space! A Japanese Maple or Japanski Javor.

and late yesterday evening…

The little Ginko tree gets its deer protection, fingers crossed the rest don’t need this too!!

Jon’ny Appleseed at last.

I don’t credit my schooling with much other than instilling me with the urge to rebel but I do have memories of hearing a rather mythical story of a guy called Johnny who went across America planting apple trees. He probably was slaughtering the natives and spreading smallpox too but at the tender age of 7 or 8 I was not yet aware of such realities behind our comforting school assemble stories. So to cut to the chase, I’ve harboured a desire to plant trees since then. Years as a delivery driver in and around London have given me a deep sense of guilty complicity in the polluting of the environment too. So now its time to make amends and plant them trees! Only took me 46 years to get around to it and I’ll probably be permanently horizontal before most of these trees reach their prime but hey ho lets go….

Wednesday found me taking an increasingly rare trip outside of Kordun , all the way to Zagreb! I came back with the car full of booklets about the Zapatistas and a selection of sixteen interesting – hopefully in the future – young trees. Sanja ordered a Ginko and a “fake banana tree” which turns out to be a Paw Paw or Indian Banana (Asimina triloba). Needless to say her choices were the most expensive by far but as Thernadier says “what can you do?”
Waiting in the barn for their day of departure to their final destination my selection of little trees speculate on where they will end up and whom will be next to whom for the rest of their lives!
The Likvidamabar cost about a tenner which is a fortune in my books, but if it grows to look anything like the beauty on the nursery website Ill be very happy.
As you can see this beautiful Gorski Javor (Accer Pseudoplatanus) – Yeah I bought it just cos the latin name, cool or what! – is surrounded by long grasses and weeds. I plan to keep those at a safe scythe swing distance from all my trees so one can inspect them without fear of disappearing down a dog hole or tripping over a snake. When the trees are big enough I will place benches under the ones with the best canopies, but that might be some time off.
This is a Brekinja (Sorbus Torminalis) known to the English as a Chequer(s) tree, or the rather weird – and attractive to me – name of the Wild Service-tree!!!
This beauty is a Sugar Maple tree or Šečerni Javor in Croatian. Just imagine one day we might have our own alternative to sugar supply!!!
Time to pack it in for the day, me thinx. The last tree to go in the ground was the Jarebika (Sorbus Aucuparia) which looks good as a silhouette dunnit?

The third week of April

Yeah couldn’t think of a clever title for this post. “Alone” was a possibility but it sounds too miserable and that I’m not. I am however now on my own here. M & S have moved out and Sanja’s 3 months EU entry allowance sadly ran out last weekend. It is a weird feeling being out here in the middle of nowhere with so much land to do stuff with, so many jobs to do and ideas to try out. It’s a great sense of freedom, but it’d be nice to have someone to play pool with! I now spend a couple of hours a day,  more at the weekend, teaching English conversation online. This I hope will keep me financially afloat until maybe one day the B&B can start up again.

This evenings view from the road outside looking through one of the trees that borders the upper field.
Yesterday was the first day of scything for me this year. Knowing I have set myself a considerable task – to control the grass and weeds with just the scythe – I decided to take it easy on day one. A back muscle I had forgotten about soon made itself known! Dont even think of asking which bit has been cut, ok?
If there is a prize for growing dandelions, I may be in with a chance of it.
However when there are so many, well.
Now you see them….
and now you dont!
After having to cycle 5km to collect my post from Krnjak last week because as the postman apologetically explained the little metal box on the gate was neither big enough nor waterproof, I decided it was time to make a new one. This is the first step in construction.
Built from left over bits of roofing wood, it begins to take shape (aka to look like a monstrosity!).
The finished post box – waterproof and spacious unlike the old one! – is up and running and the Postie said he liked it (yes he speaks a bit of English!)
The sun illuminates the missing bit of woodland from our estate and leaves the leaves looking vivid on an otherwise grey afernoon.
I decided to see what the concrete grass will look like with grass in it instead of weeds and stones. So a bt of cleaning and sowing grass seed in little squares later …….. now just gotta wait and see!
This evenings last bit of outdoor work was clearing the brambles from the outer side of the front fence.
Sanja  sitting on her bench by the brook last weekend.
Sanja has been banished back to Belgrade, not by me but by the evil forces of nation states, border controls and the like.. So here is the last picture we’ll see of her at Barabrith till July.     That stuff all around her with the cute looking blossom is the pain in the arse prickly bushes I’d be gladly rid of!




Snow suprise here!

We were warned there might be a blizzard “on Tuesday” but it was rather too late to change some of my gardening endeavours.

The big pear tree right outside my door was all covered in pretty white blossom yesterday. Today that blossom is itself covered in a thick layer of snow.
As we head out on a little walk in the snow we are of course submitted to the inevitable chorus of “hellos” from the neighbours dogs. Sanja engaged in a limited conversation with them.
Sanja is  however quickly making friends amongst the other inhabitants of our small community.
I love the spots of snow flakes as they pass across our faces.
Is it little red riding hood? Is it a forest syndicalist sprite? Whichever, what a performer!
The furthermost north eastern fence post of Barabrith capped with snow, behind it the bamboo struggles to cope with the weight of the snow. Just in front of the bamboo is where I planted some new flower bulbs yesterday! ho hum!
Thisis one of the four sprigs of privet that I have patiently grown on my windowsill over the last year after taking cuttings from a hedge in Zagreb. Then I carefully plant them out in the garden the day before it decides to snow severely, DOH! Well I guess I they survive this they will probably live long and prosper! Maybe one day I’ll be able to do my own topiary!

April fools

I’ve been busy teaching the world to speak proper English and nursing Sanja back to health so this post covers the last week or more, sparsely!

The weather is changing everyday, but there have been several days now when it was warm enough even for the likes of Sanja to want to eat out in the gazebo again!
Sanja had a tumble, (see the knee!) when attacked by a neighbours dog cycling down our hill (Sanja was cycling not the dog). She has made the most of her enforced rehabilitation, resting on the sofa, lounging out on the sun , being read Outlander to night and day and unable to help with almost any of the household chores. Poor Sanja. The cap is an IWW one which in this case stands for Idle Wanton Wench.
Sanja captures one of the local peasants hard at work in his garden planting onions.
With Sanja out of action due to the dog induced bike accident I felt the need to satisfy my primal urges in some other way. And so I turned once more to shelf construction. I have for sometime realised that I am in need for just a few more CD shelf spaces and so thats what I created. Now I gotta rearrange all the buggers!
Before her fall Sanja helped me move the unsightly pile of excess building sand that has been sitting for sometime outside my door. It is now sitting comfortably in the barn awaiting the next concrete building project! Spot the pear blossom.
When the “plumbers’ dug up the water pipe and refilled it I never thought it would be so difficult to get the ground level again. Or rather smooth as it is on a nice slope or at least it was a nice slope until the lumpy and bumpy pipeline ditch was dug through it! I have been trying to level it off with my boots and a spade, but if anyone has a garden roller handy?
Last spring I stuck a few daffodil bulbs in the embankment along our front fence. They came out! The look a bit lonely though so I’ve bought a bunch of other bulbs that will join them later thus week, after the predicted snow on Tuesday!
Found these two beauties in the barn amongst all the spare roof tiles. Gotta choose which roof apex to stick them up on or some other more imaginative thing to do with them!

The last two days….

Yesterday was Sanja’s birthday so we gorged on food and the Soprano’s and rounded the day off with Hannah Gadsby! The day before began with a coating of snow all over the place but it soon melted away. The temperature has however dropped.

The mornng after we planted the first crop of the year…… it snowed! Still it melted away within a few hours so maybe our baby onions will survive!
Bright blue sky and snow on the big apple tree.
Heading off on a little walk in the woods above our “village” I was struck by how few bad selfies I’ve subjected you to of late. Not long after Sanja saw some wild dear on the spot so I guess I’m not as frightening as I thought/look!
With most of the snow gone from the trees it was a suprise to see this lot holding out, resting on a small but thick canopy of leaves, despite the sun.
Sanja chooses the path we take through the woods.
With the agility of a mountain goat and the energy of a teenager on steroids Sanja climbs up for a better view!

Then yesterday we headed off south in to our woods….

Snow drops or Grandma’s tears as they call them around here are abundant in the woods now
A rotting log with some colourful fungi brings a touch of colour variation to the forest floor.
Some rather delicate blueish/purple flowers popping their heads out through the woods floor covering of dry brown leaves.
Bit like a mini orchid these ones!
“If you go down in the woods today you,re in for a big surprise” comes to mind!
Undoubtedly the most common flower in the woods at the moment are these pale yellow things!
Undoubtedly the prettiest flower in the woods yesterday was the birthday girl herself!
Bushwhacked after our trek through the woods birthday girl stretches out on the lower bench.
Yesterday – IWD – we were the Red jacket Brigade!

Netfix comes to town!

We wondered who had taken over our fave local tourist spot for most of 2019 and now we know! The Petrova Gora monument building is now world famous as it features in the Netflix series Tribes of Europa. The historical parallels are ironic if not amusing!

Reading this introduction to the Tribes of Europa series, you have to wonder if the premise for this apocalyptic sci fi adventure story is not in someway inspired by the story of Yugoslavia where much of it was shot!
Ah now there’s a shot of Petrova Gora that I can only dream of taking, unless I get a drone for my birthday!! The star of the show is just visible in the “window” of the top of the left section in the middles of the building!
The Petrova Gora war memorial is invaded by an army again!
When the film crew took over the building they cleaned it up and then redecorated it. All the graphitti, stickers etc were removed from the walls and floors up to the 5th floor above which they didn’t film any higher I guess. They repainted everything with a green mould effect to look like a couple of decades of neglect had set in, which it already had at Petrova Gora!
This room is on the ground floor of the building and the bizarre looking table feature was created by and taken away by the film unit. The lower walls of the “windows” were however built by them with polystyrene covered with hardboard and decorated with “decay” effects. Those new walls are still in situ.
This door is my fave bit of the programmes “left behinds” I have taken gloomy photos of it in the past and put them up on this blog but here it is in all its TV, electrified glory. The amusing thing is that it goes nowhere in reality but with TV trickery we are led to believe that it leads to a whole other room, a big one with a cage in the middle.
Here is the basement again but this time done up as a prison to house the everso dangerous “Crow” captive. This is in fact the same room as the one above., preumably they shot these scenes first then destroyed the “cage” and made it the HQ of the Crimson crew!
This shot of the basement is taken from the stairs leading down to it which are always pitch black when we visit and forget to bring torches. The broken columns in the centre wereleft behind by the film crew and indeed are just visible in the gloom from the outer door that is to the right of this picture at the back of the truck.

Sanja and I only got as far as episode three and gave up. The story is really cliched and simple, I guess it’s aimed at teenagers. I will watch the rest at some point just to see how much more of the monument is featured, so far it is by far the most exciting part of the show.

A few pix

Been spending quite  a bit of time, on-line, teaching folk how to speak proppa! Also Sanja and I signed up for the full 8 season popular business studies class at the Soprano academy. we normally manage three or four “lessons” an evening. For me it’s  a refresher course but for Sanja it’s her first time in New Jersey! Here are a few pictures of the times we’re not on the sofa or in front of our screens!

Now be honest doesn,t Dennis look positively innocent compared to the menacing minx sitting cross legged?
A pose I suppose! Nothing,s more important than adopting the correct stance when taking ones tea break, dontcha know?
You may well wonder, what on earth is he up to? As I do myself embarrasingly often! however this “project” featured in the previous photo as well is the bastardisation of what is probably a genuine art when practiced by some. I am attempting to build little fences around young saplings using the masses of excess of boring little spruce trees we have. They may not keep the greedy deer at bay but they are fun to construct!
B and B now stands for breakfast on the bench!
I did think of asking you to “Spot the Ball” on this one but perhaps itd be more appropriate to ask for the best “caption” to go with it? No points for the winner, and no points means… no prizes!
This picture is instructive not just because it shows a happy Sanja about to tuck in to her breakfast or because she is proudly modelling her brand new kinky boots! Nope this picture shows how easy it is to screw up an otherwise good picture by “alledged” photogographer getting his stupid shadow in the frame… DOH!
A piece a joy. This was the first time we used the refurbished wooden table that had been left to rot and die. It’s great to be back in the gazebo again too!
Having spent the last two decades rather spoilt for vegan choices and often the first amongst my friends to see and try new products as they came on to the market it is a weird throwback to get all excited again when your local supermarket starts a new vegan line. But in this animal unfriendly culture called Croatia I got quite moist at the news of three frozen vegan pizzas being available from Lidl! They are pretty good too!
Some of us were born with an indian all you can eat buffet silver fork in their mouth. Others have no excuse for looking like that!
Other than under a thick duvet I think this spot is now Sanjas favourite place at Barabrith. She eats every she can on it and spends large chunks of the day reading their too.
Breakfast in the sun on the bench is becoming a regular event for this pair of goons.
Yesterday evening we did the first planting of the season. It might be a bit early but if the gamble pays off we’ll have our onions again soon!

A day in Rijeka

We were invited for lunch ‘chez Kev’ in Rijeka and Kev being a bit of a clever dude when it comes to the vegan cuisine… off we went! I failed to take photos of the food but trust me, it was good!

Our guide and chef sits in the sun on the harbour wall at a safe distance from the sensory overload that is Sanja.
Along the Rijeka harbour wall there were several of these little plaques with quotaions from various seafareres from all over that had passed through the port in the last hundred years or so.
Sanja carefully surveys the Rijeka harbour before taking another snap of the industrial view across the water. Maybe she was fantasising that the big concrete tubes might hold equally big Pringle crisps within!
Take your time and remember this is a safety sign in the Balkans.
A rusty wreck floats slowly past an similarly rusty wreck on the harbour wall taking photos.
Sanja the slob tries to appear cool whilst surveying the view from the end of the slob zone of Rijeka harbour wall.
A pair of rowers pass by the end of the harbour wall and through the reflection of the setting sun.

Flowers and ice in the woods

We went for a walk yesterday….

There are very little signs of the snow and ice that covered the estate last week left. This little patch by the brook in the cool shelter of the trees is the last outpost and very pretty at that!
Our little brook is doing a good job of producing some wonderful ice sculptures.
What can you see in the ice? A shark stalking a rabbit? A smiley ice comet! No prizes for the best “vision” submitted by Feb 25th.
and here?
The first vivid colours of spring to appear in the woods, besides Sanjas jumper.
My little flower walks on down the track past some little yellow flowers.
This is what “our” wooods look like when they have been logged. Needless to say we will not be doing this to our couple of hectares.
Sanja finds it rather too hot having Dennis the Menace hiding down her pants!