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Turning the pages, România

It is as if I’m writing a book called “The Tales of my Journey” Yet at the same time I’m reading it, Excited and amazed of the story and where it is leading me. I bet that the great writers of our time have some kind of guideline or idea of where they want to go with their story, but while on it give the story a turn they didn’t intent to give it at first. I feel somewhat like this at the moment, For I intended to stay in Romania for a Year or so, Full circle you know. Yet my time here is coming to an end, I’ll be on my way again soon. But before I’ll start with reflecting Romanian happenings, First A nutshell of Valea Ierii Mountain shizz

The illucabin is basically almost done, There is still some minor detailing work to be done, some fine tuning of the stove and it could probably use some shelves or maybe a little cabinet. But besides that things are looking great. Not to much cracks in the plaster, a lovely view, a properly closing door, Mushrooms growing on the roof and an amazing linseeded oak terrace. Man, standing on that terrace looking into the valley, seeing the clouds scratching the mountain tops… There are no words to describe that feeling. All I can do is suggest you to Consider Visiting this amazing place and stay a few nights in the cabin once it’s done. but for now, Here is the Sneak-Preview.

I see, I see, What you don't see

I see, I see, What you don’t see

A lot has progressed in the Pyracabin too, Even though we really like how the Oak bed turned out to be, it took quite some time to make the joints. Besides we didn’t want to have two similar beds in both cabins, Thus we made a Roundwood bed instead. The mattress (even though not in the pictures) is the same as the Oak bed. Hemp fabric with Reeds on the inside. Who wants Nasa foam if you can have a Reed mattress? With the terrace in place, the door made and all windows installed the cabin is actually pretty comfy at night. It needs more detailed work though, the stove is not even close to ready yet and well, not to mention some cleaning. At the moment it is kind of being used as a tool shed/warehouse :))

Meanwhile working with the roundwood and after hearing quite the complains over the past summer from Victor his sister and girlfriend that there is not enough place for pans and plates in the kitchen:)). We made a little Cabin Kitchen Cabinet Upgrade, Not only to make the girls happy but also because it was a rainy day and we had the logs ready to use anyway. It was a simple but nice project. I have to admit, it did solve a lot of stacking problems and the occasional collapses of said stacks. Some extra space for dishes seems to be quite useful to.

As of my return from Roșia Montană we have been working on the Sauna. Well, maybe not exactly on the sauna. We started digging the water reservoir and the trench towards it. Oh man what a job. The main reason why I left Rosia the day I did was because Jon was visiting RO for a few days! If I knew we were digging I would have known better. Luckily Jon likes to dig, you could say he is quite the dirt digger. So with our Professional digger present in Valea Ierii we stared diggin. The reservoir being approximately 1.70mX1.50m and about 1.60 deep wasn’t that much of a problem. We had some reinforcements, with the four of us it took us about a day. Digging up Quartz, Iron, Copper and of course lots of Gold. We almost considered starting our own mining company. Gheghe, Just kiddin! The trench though, ioiii, Approximately 50 meters long, and it needed to be 1 meter deep.

It started of slow, we didn’t have the right technique yet really. The weather wasn’t in our favor either, You might think, Half way through September its getting colder. Well I don’t know if you have global warming in your area. but we’re at 1000m altitude and it was still 30 degrees and beyond. After a few days of digging we got about 15 meters done and the future water reservoir filled about half way with our ass sweat! We got the hang of it though and we progressed much faster, sadly the reinforcements left, so did Jon for he had to engage on a Scouting mission. It was just me and Victor for a while. Some more volunteer reinforcements arrived for about a week to aid us with the digging, but Eventually we asked some neighbors to help in return for Tuica. Long story short, We have been digging for almost 3 weeks but now we finally reached the Sauna. with about 1/3 of the trench filled back up again.

I am now relieved of my diggin duties, A few more days in Cluj and off I go. Onward to the United Kingdom this time. I’m looking quite forward to my Hitch, For it will be from the far East of Europe to the far West of Europe. I found a project there where I can stay for the winter months. Building Wooden Carriages for horses! But alright, Lets first finish the Romanian chapter eh?

Before I headed to Romania my brain was full of stereotypical fears. Fear for getting eaten by a bear camping outside, Fear of being robbed by Gypsies, Fear of getting bit by a Vampire, Fear of getting abducted while hitch-hiking. Romania is a Dangerous country they said. Well, if there is one thing I learned on my journey its this: Don’t listen to anybody nor Media and what they tell you about places. Only take advice from the people that actually been there recently. For Romania, or maybe I should rather say Transylvania? Touched my heart.

I never really been to much around mountains, my dad took me on winter sport when I was younger. But you can not compare that with the experience of hitch-hiking by yourself, all the way to these mountains far away from the cities. and live on top of them for an extended period of time. Normally when I would look at a mountain, I would think: Damn, this terrain is impossible! how can people live here? Now I realize: I, as a Consciousness in a Physical Humanoid Body that allows me to Interact and Perceive Reality as is, Am well capable of climbing said mountains, Or walk from one valley to another. Saywhat? 2 years ago if you would ask me, Wanna take a hike? we’ll cross about 3 mountain and it will take about 7 hours, I wouldn’t even move a finger. Probably look at you if you are some kind of Superman. Then move my head to the screen and continue wasting my time in the digital world.

Besides the landscape, The people here in general are so friendly and welcoming! The places I stayed at in Cluj, whether it were friends I made myself, or friends and family related to Victor always welcomed me with open arms. Don’t think you can just enter their houses like that, sit down and have a chat. Noooooo, You enter their house, then you get shit loads of food thrown in your face, depending on who your visiting you get either Tuica or some delicious home made cakes with that. Then when you have to leave again after a few days, you get a month supply of Home made Jams and Zacusca added to your bag. Even though you still have about 4 jars unopened from the last time. Did I already tell you the food here is amazing? I Probably did. Which is also this amazing thing about Eastern European Countries. If your pantry doesn’t look like this by now, You are either doing something wrong, or living in the wrong country! I can keep on brabbling about all the amazing stuff here, but that wont even get close to the real experience, Just get your ass of your chair, and volunteer in Romania for a summer. then you will understand!

Zacusca, Jams, Zacusca, Oils/Spices, Tomato Juice, Zacusca, Pickled Veggies,

Zacusca, Jams, Zacusca, Oils/Spices, Tomato Juice, Zacusca, Pickled Veggies,

So in the end, I did not get eaten by a bear. Even though I actively searched for one in Brasov and some bears were spotted in the area around the mountains where we took the hikes. I did not get robbed by Gypsies, instead I hitch-hiked one and went to his home for lunch. I did not get bit by a Vampire, I did develop great feelings for this Vampire Girl, though I was not able to convince her to Turn me and Roam the Planet together for eternity. I did not get abducted while hitch-hiking, I did hitch-hike this masonry dude, he was one of the people that laid the pavement in Dracula’s Castle. how fkn awesome is that. Besides all of the above, It seems that the most dangerous thing in Romania is probably the Tuica! and the dancing forest fairy’s

I met great people in the past months. Not only in Cluj, but also volunteers from all over the world at Valea Ierii and quite a bunch in Rosia. Some of them to become even closer friends in the years to come, some of them never to be seen again. Life can be perceived as somewhat unfair (which is certain cases is very true), but life is balanced, Where new great friendships are made, Old great friendships are broken. Possibly never to be restored again. Only time will tell which people are worthy or value to be part of your journey, Some just decide to leave it for whatever reasons they may have, Others just pass through for a short period of time, a few will stick with you till the very end. Another thing I have learned living this lifestyle: Everything happens the way it is suppose to happen, Whether you like it or not, you are to accept it as is. If you did not like the outcome your actions and decisions, don’t let your mind get stuck on it, Rather try a different approach on the next chance you get. Its difficult, I know. As long as you are aware of it and keep trying, you’ll get there sooner or later!

Multam România, Fie ca drumurile noastre sa se reintalneasca
Si multam Victor, pentru tot!

On top of Danger Mountain with Victor. The day we fought Dragons, Elves and all forces of Nature

On top of Danger Mountain with Victor. The day we fought Dragons, Elves and all forces of Nature

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Tiny Strawbale Project

In June we spent 2 weeks at a different project. A tiny strawbale house far away from the city, supermarkets, internet and crowded places. A little village somewhere in sălaj county Transylvania. A little village where the locals live like back in the days, where everybody grows their own food, has their own cow, chickens, pigs and sheep who roam freely mostly, where they distill their own alcohol and wine, make their own cheece, yogurts and juices. wake up at sunrise and sleep at sunset, roam the mountain and forest for mushrooms, berries and fruits. A place where if you want to make a phone call you have to climb the highest hill first for there is no reception otherwise.

It all started a few years ago when Victor had the possibility to get access to a small plot of land for free, under the condition that he would build a natural home on it. With the help of a Fundraiser and lots of interested volunteers they started building. Initially it was a place to practice different techniques like earthbag foundations, strawbale walls, cordwood walls, plastering with clay and lime etc. These days after lots of experiments the tiny strawbale house is almost finished and ready for use! Some videa have been made of the early process which you can find Here and Here!

We arrived on a Tuesday, basically that day we set up our tents and hammocks, checked out the status of the house and discussed what work had to be done in the next two weeks and organized a bit. Afterwards we visited our neighbor who gave Victor the plot. Because there are basically no facilities present our neighbor offered to cook lunch and dinner for us. We also had a Team Upgrade! Bahara from Canada and Stephen from da Zef side joined us for the duration of the strawbale project. The first few days we focused on plastering the inside and the back of the house, there were some cracks present which we had to fill, then we applied another layer as preparation for the final layer. The back of the house doesn’t have much roof extending over it, therefor we filled the bigger cracks and made preparations for applying shingles.

The days passed like crazy, We woke up at 08:30, this was the time your tent starts to feel like a greenhouse and we would head to the neighbors to enjoy breakfast. The neighbors have an Ox and we brought Serials (No not kellogs!!). Oh man!!! Ox milk!!!! that shit is so delicious, every morning we were able to enjoy fresh Ox milk, pour them over your Serials, add a spoon of Jam or some fresh honey. mix it up and awwwwyeah! Best Serials Evah! afterwards we would work on the strawbale house for a few hours and head back to our neighbors around 14:00 when the belly starts to rumble, to enjoy lunch. This is where shit got real. For lunch would be soup, occasionally one or two shots of țuică before consuming the soup. Because this is Romania, so you better take that țuică or you gonna get a hayfork up your ass. Especially in the country side where the traditions are still followed on a daily basis. Anyway the soups were awesome! I’m not even sure what kind of soups we ate, I remember there was a Potato soup that was so damn good! also some cabbage soup and vegetable soup. Next to the soup we would eat a green onion straight from the garden and a few slices of bread. sometimes we got some slănina which is basically salty pork fat from their own pigs. Sadly I don’t like that stuff to much so I tried to avoid it as much as possible. We worked for the rest of the day until 19:00. For dinner we ate Pastas, Rices, Polenta, weirs stuff made from eggs and lots of other amazing food, sometimes for desert Ox yogurt with cherries.

Besides all this greatness, what I really enjoyed and which is pretty common throughout Romanian villages is that everybody has their own cow. In the morning there is this one guy who takes all the cows and brings them out of the village to the pasture where he watches over them. There the cows can chill out and eat grass for the rest of the day in complete freedom. In the evening the guy would guide the cows back to the village. The cows know where there home is, so the owners open up the gate, cow walks in and goes back to her stall to get ready to be milked. Or sometimes your just walking the street, and then all of the sudden this little kid comes passing by, driving these horses pulling a wooden cart with hay or other random stuff.

That first Friday we went to the gypsy lake in the afternoon, well lake? It was more like a artificially dug hole in the ground with some water, next to it is a gypsy village, so basically they use the lake to wash their clothes and their self etc therefor the name. But it was nice considering the super hot temperatures! that night was a complete different story, the local distillery started making some țuică. Because we were foreign to the village we got invited to be honored guests and experience the process, have a taste etc. Oh man that night! not only was it very interesting to see with your own eyes how Vodka and țuică is made but having a taste of this stuff when its freshly made is quite amazing. We had a great sober instructive night! The next day some friends and family from Cluj joined us, we plastered like crazy but were also very lazy. Sunday as usual we were not allowed to work, so instead we took a hike through the woods and picked some mushrooms for dinner.

After the weekend we got back in rhythm and got the productivity to maximum.  We started debarking some logs to finish the cordwood wall and made the door frame. On the south side of the house we initially planned to make a wall of glass, due to the circumstances and no ability to make the whole wall of glass we decided to close up half of it. Besides that Victor didn’t try the Straw/Clay method yet, with my straw/clay experience from Lithuania I explained and showed them whats the deal! while at it we tried to make a “perfect” circle with bottles, something I need to practice more! afterwards a sudden urge to decorate the inside made us make the Seed of Life in the middle of it. “lovely man, oh so lovely Victor Quoted”
Meanwhile building the straw/clay wall with the help of Jon an Brahaha for the mixing, Victor and Zef side Steph worked on building the extension at the entrance, Basically they had to dig three holes in the ground for poles, add a at right angle rule, to eventually add three more rules in an angle for the rain. everything turned out to be fine! We made the straw/clay wall, Decorated it, Closed the other part of the wall with glass, Made the door frame and the extension and add the final layer of plaster almost everywhere!

We also got asked to help stack some hay. Hay is a valuable resource here for it is used to feed a lot of animals and considering cows and horses eat quite some hay throughout the year you need to have sufficient amounts of it. After they cut the hay with the scythe they let it dry in the sun for about a week. turning it around every day. Once it dried they stack it on one big pile. Traditionally the woman stays on top of the haystack, while the dudes gather and pass the hay to her. They add a layer of hay, the woman pushes it down, they you remove all access and loose hay from the sides and bring it up again. This pattern repeats until all the hay is properly stacked. Below you can see me professionally passing some hay to the woman on top of the stack. They use home made steam bent hayforks which are perfect for the job. In the end they twist some hay from the bottom of the pile in a rope, then they add this on top of the pole to lock the hay in place basically. its magic man. When everything is done, the woman on top of the 8 meter high haystack just jumps down without any problems and does a funny dance to complete the process.

Even though the project is close to finished, The cob floor still has to be made. There is still some work to be done on the outside and the Extension at the entrance, also the door before it is completely finished. But all in all, it were 2 great weeks! with lots of fun. lots of delicious food, and lots of țuică, but mostly lots of instructive experiences and another project almost finished! and all this made possible due to great teamwork and help from (almost) every corner of the world!

Strawbale Project Team!

Strawbale Project Team!

On the way back to Cluj we took a little hike and checked out a nearby Waterfall. the hike was very relaxing, with a trail next to a river. going all the way up until you reach the waterfall. there we chilled for a bit and just listened to the sounds of falling water. I cant remember I had ever seen a waterfall up close like this. it made quite the impression on me. Besides that, I love the sounds of flowing or falling water! its very relaxing!

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Mâine du Pâine la Câine

On Wednesday evening I arrived at the project, approximately a 1 hour drive from Cluj deep into the mountains! My arrival was great, Walking to the bus in Cluj I saw this backpacker dude. When I got into the bus he also entered a few minutes later. We didn’t really speak but I figured he would probably go where I was going. Which was the case. We both got out on the same station where Victor was waiting to pick us up! The dude was from USA, named Jon and doing as I am, traveling and volunteering at natural building places. At the time a German couple was also Volunteering (but only until the next Tuesday) that evening we all got to know each other and got a little tour of the area.

Basically we are living on the mountain slope, below in the valley is a village called Valea Ierii. the village and people living around here are Orthodox, this means we are not allowed to work on Sundays or Religious holidays for if we do so the people come running at us with their Scythes and Hayforks, The Thursday and Friday were Religious holidays. So we decided to take a approximately 8 hour hike on Thursday to get to know the mountains around here. Pictures of this hike can be found Here! On the way home that evening we picked nettles and Victor made us a delicious nettle soup with an baked egg and Polenta.

 

So what have we actually been doing here in the past 2 weeks?

Well we started with working on the cabins, there was a lot of plastering to be done both inside and outside. There are two cabins, The Illuminati cabin and the Pyramid cabin. The Illucabin structure is made of wood, on the outside are shingles, to isolate the walls are filled with birch bark, on the inside is clay plaster, the roof is a green roof. The Pyramid cabin is made out of logs, the gaps of the logs are filled with clay/lime plaster and the roof made out of shingles isolated with Straw and plastered inside. We will build a small rocket stove in both cabins and of course some beds when we finish outside and inside!

The first weekend after our arrival Victor invited some friends to hang out. Basically we were working, and the visitors were just chilling at our cabins, having fun, and making us delicious food. For hard working people will work harder with their belly full of  the most delicious of delicious foods! like seriously! the food here is delicious, mainly because most if it is home made or grown, and when I say home made I really mean home made, the Țuică, Wine, Beer, Sugar, Syrup, Vegetables, Milk, the Jams, Zacuscă. everything is either from a parents garden, local farmer or market and we try to avoid supermarket as much as we can! In the two weeks I have been in Romania, I have eaten more Mushrooms and Cheese and vegetables then I ever did in my life! also I have not been eating meat except for the first of may!

On the first of May is da labor day, In Romania it is tradition to have a BBQ and eat mici (which is basically a sausage of mixed meats with some spices). Our neighbors are quite poor people if you judge them by the amount of money they posses, if you judge them by their experience on how to live without money and friendly/openness they are richer then the 1%. So we brought some mici, some beer. and celebrated first of may together!

Mici with Mustard, Bread and Salad. + best people in the world = A good time!

Mici with Mustard, Bread and Salad. + best people in the world = A good time!

Our neighbors Ferarri!

Healll yeahh!

Healll yeahh!

We have been chopping and stacking  firewood and taking hikes once a week. But to continue our work we had to get some more locally chopped Oak wood. the local lumber/sawmill dude lives down the slope of the mountain, but was friendly enough to come all the way up where our Cabins were to bring the wood by horse and carriage!

The progression of the terraces we made of the Oak will be shared soon! but! you can enjoy this little sneak preview if you like!

The cabins were actually living in are lower on the mountain slope, Basically its a wooden house with a living room, small kitchen, and on the second floor 3 bedrooms. we cook on fire! but we do have a boiler for the shower (what a luxury!) Every morning we climb the mountain up and up to the Cabins were working on. This is one part of the road were walking! Its the best walk to work ever!

Walking Towards da Cabins

Walking Towards da Cabins

So yeah, to put everything in a nutshell. This place is amazing! The food is the best I ever ate! the work is very cool and enjoyable! Working on the cabins every day you look over the mountain tops and down into the village. The horses, cows and dogs of the neighbors are walking everywhere for they are not in cages or stuck on chains. it is silent, except for a bird or the cows and pigs from the village who’s roar is heard on top of the mountain even. the air is pure and smells good! the apple and cherry trees are blooming! Dandelions growing!

for your amusement some more pictures!

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Winter is Coming.

Slowly the weather is turning, last week was actually doable, but the week before. Osnap. it started freezing at night like crazy. Every morning there were big layers of ice in our buckets and wheelbarrows, getting thicker and thicker. When you feel like adding some more clay, you suddenly realize that all the clay is frozen and almost unable to use. It was an exciting period. For i was spending the time here alone. Basz had to go back to NL for a while.

In school they teach you to calculate, teach you to write and read. try to teach you rights and principles obviously only useful for living in the System. But they don’t really teach you how to grow food, And especially not how to keep warm in cold weather except for maybe the occasional. “put the thermostat on 20°” So for me this was an exciting time. For i had to figure out how i’m gonna be able to keep this house around the 20° while its freezing outside, this is something i know how to do in Theory. But obviously Theory is something different then actually doing it. Indeed we have a Rocket mass heater, and a nice cozy fireplace but my lack in experience was to great. I generally woke up around 10°, yup. thats dang cold. So then I would fire up the rocket stove for the rest of the day, but nope. I was doing something wrong and couldn’t get the house above 15°. Luckily i have sweaters, and my Desk where i spend most of my evenings is almost in front of the fireplace. You guessed correct, after dinner i would light the Fireplace until i went to sleep to keep me warm. only to wake up in 10° the next morning to try solving this mystery once again. I can remember very well, this one evening after cooking some Delicious Macaroni for me, myself and I realized the living room was actually 17.4° What a great feeling. I beat the 15° (“Euphoric state of mind Busting dance moves all through the living room on my extremely awesome Beat-full musix FYI: Brock Berrigan“). Luckily after 6 days, it stopped freezing. and weather turned back to “”normal”" between 4 and 7° outside. I gave up on heating the house though i kinda got used to the colder temperatures in the living room, and felt like wasting shit loads of wood. In the end, after dinner I would spend my time close to the Fireplace anyway and wouldn’t be aware of the 13° living room temperature.

I think the point i’m trying to make is, That for the first time leaving da “City Slickers Life” and spending 2 weeks alone here @IzReal, I started to realize what things have to be done daily to keep general things comfortable in this kind of lifestyle. obviously temperature of the house is one of them, No thermostat you can turn up or down whenever you feel like it. If its cold you gotta chop sum wood and burn dat shit. Chopping wood daily was actually something i really enjoyed. I would do this most of the time when the sun went down. so i could Enjoy chopping wood, While watching the amazing painting the sky drew for me with its beautiful colorful sunset.

Or for example thinking ahead a vew days, because if the clay is frozen due to not storing it inside, you cant use it or continue your work the next day whether you like this or not. Same for the water well, water comes through the hose, so if you forget to hang it low in the well it would freez. happens a vew times…. Cooking was not really a problem, normally you have to think about other peoples belly’s, and have some dinner done at an appropriate time. but these 2 weeks alone were amazing. I just started whenever i felt a little munchies and made what i was in the mood for. Then i would make enough food for 2 people. so basically i ate the same stuff for 2 days. then cook again for 2 days and so on.

What i also came to realize in these 2 weeks of solo time at da IzReal is this simple things as loneliness//boredom. I remember when i told some friends about my plan to Hitchhike through Europe searching for Ecological/sustainability projects by myself they though i was crazy. Not only because of the supposed “dangers” hitchhiking would bring me, but also because of Loneliness and my lack of good social skillz. The big difference is. when you hitchhike, you meet new people, lots of them every day. You talk to them, you give them your story, in return they give you theirs. some are interesting some are not so much. Some invite you to join them for a vew days,(like the 2 Belgian dudes i spend a vew days with in Berlin) Some you will never see again. When you are alone on the road, you have to talk to people whether you like this or not. and by doing so all these awesome things happen, simply because you surrender your self to them so you allow them to happen. This is why i didn’t feel lonely or bored at all while hitchhiking.

But then you spend some time all by yourself, on a 5hectare land, kinda isolated from lots of people and cities. and basically don’t really talk to anyone in real. For i had everything i need and no reason to leave this place (which i actually really enjoyed) I just noticed that at the Fridays and Saturdays, I actually felt weird for a while, i’m not sure if it was just Boredom, or Loneliness. i just had this craving to do something, go somewhere. meet people. Socialize. Hang out with some peepz i know in V-City. Yet i didn’t feel like randomly driving to Vilnius for an hour, go to a bar and socialize… This probably because Ausra has left the country, and i cant call her anymore to crash at her Couch so easily:( So instead i skyped with my brothers and played Dotehz. forgetting all about this weird feeling:)))

Of course some work has been done also. The front portal thingy is closed now, not finished for sure but definitely on its way. Here some Before and,,, Well not exactly after, more like an in between. pictures

and the entrance on the pantry side has been made. Massive heavy door dang.

A random Autum Sunrise for you enjoyment below here. and 2 pictures of some really interesting trees i made when i made a little walk through the woods and surroundings before the leaves were all gone.

Also
Did you know that in Lithuania it is tradition to honor your ancestors every first weekend of November? They do this by visiting there graves and light candles on them. i got recomended to check out a cemetery at night, so i did. and it amazed me. i have never seen something like this before. Lithuanian graves are very well taken care of and seeing so much candles really made a big impression.

Basz haz returned today, so things instantly turned crazy again, also soon were gonna have some new visitors. A dude from Italy, and some people from England, who will hang around for a while and help around.

Molis ir šiaudai, Tai ko jums Reikia!

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Recent Developments

Winter is coming, Slowly but surely, all of the sudden the 35 degrees was gone and we had a period of rain and winds. nights are getting colder and instead of a subtle light from the horizon its already dark at 9 these days. luckily for us there has been some nice sunny weather the past week and so we were able to finish some work we were not able to do in the rainz.

lets start with the most amazing project lately, Our pizza oven. We started on it a vew weeks back, but it had to go on hold for a while. its nearly finished now though. and although we still need to give it a test run. its pretty amazing, i will be making a How To: Pizza oven post sooner or later. for now you will have to do with this

Pizza oven Pan placement

As most of you know we cook on wood, to keep the pizza oven running and keep us warm all winter we have been chopping wood like crazy. well maybe not like crazy but whenever we feel like it. though we have lots of wood, and we want to get it all chopped and stacked before snow hits,

Meanwhile the road to our house was getting pretty bumpy, big holes and ditches everywhere. it was getting very hard to drive it normally, especially when the rain hit you couldn’t tell if it was a deep or undeep ditch. which made driving pretty exciting. but luckily our friend came to fix da sandyness and made all fancy new roads for us :) they usually fix the roads like 3 or 4 times a year. but this year they only came once… this was the second time and it was badly needed. he really saved the day eh!

due to all the rainzies recently we done some work on the inside of the house. one of which was a fireplace, not only is a fireplace very cozy and awesome. it will help us survive the winter for the fireplace gives of so much nice warmth when burning and easily heats up all the living room. Ever since we made the fireplace we light it up every night. gotta love da Fireplace!

Under construction close to finish but working!

our future kitchen and rocket mass heater bench have been getting some nice upgrades also, the first wall finishes in the future kitchen have been applied. we have been working on the World Tree Window, But most of all some amazing decorations on the rocket mass heater Bench! its really starting to show of how beautiful everything will look like once its done. cant say everybody hasz dem decorations on dem benches eh!

and ofcourse due to the better weather last week some work has been done on the outside of the house, we filled the front porch with straw/clay. which is now ready to get a clay/lime layer. when raymundas was still present @ Izreal ft Esci we worked on the walls in the pantry. but we didnt fill them all to the top. so we have been filling them up to the top so we can also add some Clay/lime layer when done. when this has been done we can start building our boiler for we would like to take a shower inside instead of oustide this winter. but for that to become reality we have to finish the pantry, build the boiler. and build the shower before winter/in winter. Gonna be exciting!!

Front porch Pantry Progression

Although nights are already starting to get very cold. I really love the sky here. there are no streetlights here, so when you go outside its pitchblack everywhere. this makes stargazing perfect. and Dang. you can see so much stars here, its crazy. falling stars are also pretty easy to spot here almost anytime with a bit of patience, and its even possible to see a part of the Milkyway if its a clear night. i was told that in winter it will be dark here around 4/5 o clock. i can hardly imagine this. but we will see, gonna be short days then. gues we should get some construction lamps gheghe.

This summer has gone by so fast, its already September, soon there will be snow, soon i will freeze to death, soon i will experience Lithuanian winter. Aww yeah!! (no srsly, im already cold now sometimes. how will manage -30 degrees) ah well, thats why i decided to stay for winter. to see whatsup! winter will probably rush by as fast as this summer did and then ill be on da road again, towards destination unknown.

Autumn Sunset

Autumn Sunset

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Assisting @ Šironija

This weekend (16/17th of August) We went to help an acquaintance of Basz with his Straw house, The Dude (Which is the son of the old mayor of Moletai) decided to build his own house on the land of their family for his wife and future kids most likely, to live there happily ever after. We visited a while ago, when he started on the frame of his house which was rather interesting. back then it looked like this.

I come from a rather complicated family situation, i gues the most simple way to describe it is something like, don’t expect both sides of my family on the same table for Christmas dinner, for this will be an awkward situation. For me seeing a family like this, as in: Parents, kids, Grand kids, Grand parents, Cousins, Uncles and Everybody living together in there own house on the same plot of land as one happy family is a somewhat new experience for me.

So you can probably imagine that when we went here, I was amazed by the fact that this dude just picks a hill somewhere in their garden, chops down some trees, makes some beams out of it and starts to build his house :)) Anywayz for we are also building a Straw/Clay house And he doesn’t have so much experience with it, We joined, Cuz Basz is the Straw/Clay Guru A La Lietuva and always ready to help! also this would be my first project working with Lithuanian locals and a nice way to learn more about Straw/Clay

When we arrived on Saturday I was amazed by the progression he made. the house was Certainly getting more shape and starting to show its future awesomeness.

First things first, we were with a pretty nice group op people. Around 8 to 10. To keep things going and let everything go smooth, we first got our selfs an old bathtub to mix the clay in, managed to let some people get sand, some others some clay and prepared the straw bales for claying. it was rather amusing to see how things went here, i’m used to organized work and when you stand still you get a “whip up your ass” you know. but here people were very relaxed just chilling, talking a bit, having long discussions who would get clay and sand and so on. I gues there was nothing wrong with it, I was rather amused. it was just different. Also the fact that some of them were walking bare feet and children playing around the work in progress was rather amusing for me. Anyways, after checking things out for a while we just started doing what has to be done.

When everybody got a little idea of what was going on. things started to go pretty well. clay was always ready, we were claying the walls, filling the gaps, we worked for a vew hours straight and progressed nicely until lunch.

Lunch was very nice. They baked fresh bread, which we ate with some Pea and Bean paste on it, and next to that some Sliced tomatoes freshly harvested from the garden. For drink we had home made Apple juice which was also made from the apples around their land.

After our delicious PeaBeanPaste bread with tomatoes and some Obuolių sultys, we chilled for a bit and had a chat about the progression of the house. To put it in a Nutshell, The way things were going now were not that well. The base clay layer we were putting on the Straw bales wasn’t sticking well enough and the bales were rather loose, Basically if the base layer isn’t perfect and you will put more layers on it N eventually the lime layer. There will be a high chance of them letting go or cracking, meaning moist inside your straw bale. Where moist goes Fungus goes and a composting straw bale wall is not something you want when you are living inside it. We came to the conclusion to remove the Straw bales, And make Straw Clay walls instead of Straw Bale walls (you feel me?) Of course at first this was a mayor setback, For almost all the Straw bales were already in place and about 1/4th of the bales were already covered in the first clay layer (which wasn’t properly done)

Luckily our lunch wasn’t done yet, and after realizing we had to do thing completely differently for the house to be able to survive at least a vew generations instead of just 5 years. There was freshly made Šaltibarščiai with Boiled Zucchini with some more Obuolių sultys (dang I love Lithuanians and their food man, its so delicious and you know, almost all the Lithuanians I met use there own grown foodzies instead of buying everything, Make their own juice, Jams, Everything!!! Man Patinka!)

And so with our Full stomachs and a new plan we changed our setup for mass producing Straw/Clay Mix and learned them how to make Straw/Clay walls like a boss! We spend the rest of the day doing so, We returned the next day. (Indeed, usually Sunday is our free day but we are such good people you know, we sacrifice our free Sunday to help a Brolis in need) to give them a bit of a Kick-Start. It was also nice to see that The Dude got more confidence after a night of sleep, now he saw how easy it is to make Straw/Clay walls and how fast it can go if you have good preparations.

It was a good weekend, It was good for me to see a different Straw/Clay house for i was able to see a different technique, but also because now i learned allot of things about how you should. and how you should not build your Straw/Clay house, and what you should think about building your Straw/Clay house. It was very amusing to see how a group of Lithuanians organize and work together, for this is completely different them what i am used to, And of course my favorite part of the day was lunch for every time i have lunch with a Lithuanian they surprise me again with the amazingness of there food creating skillz! Very inspirational!

 

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Esci in da Hizzle

Last Friday, da first of August Me n Crayray headed to da Airport to pick up our Brha from another Mha. Escii! To put it in a nutshell, before I started traveling Me ray n Esci have been chilling allot, basically any weekend. Gettin Blazed, Playing sum Games. Adventuring. but most of all canceling on everything else due to being Way to Blazed.

His reason to come visit us was simple, In the Netherlands there is this Festival called Lowlands. Crayray decided to go there. so Esci figured to pick him up “in a way” also he was curious what we were doing here exactly.

We also had more visitors that weekend. Kazimieras and Rasa, A dude and a lady I met in Vilnius on the day after GMD Kaz has some friends who are basically doing the same as we are, They bought some land. and are beginning to build there own houses on it from Straw N Clay and do things differently, so I invited him to join us sometime so he could learn some stuff about the Straw N Clay Shizzle.

Actually made this pic da week before, when my elder visited,

Actually made this pic da week before, when my elder visited,

The weekend was crazy. Friday we chilled like Mad, First we had dinner at the Pirate in Moletai, Who makes his own liquor and gives us free shots. Esci likes Vodka eh, So basically when Esci is in da Hizzle There is Vodka in da Hizzle. So you get the point. after dinner we had some more funz back home, it was a crazy night. the next morning it was time for some work and even though the funz we had last night we woke up around the clock of 10. N started to work on the Front porch, To explain this a bit: Most of the house is already in clay But the entrance in the front was still from the original wooden structure. Our mission today was to get rid of all the wood and make it ready to put some Straw N Clay walls in it.

Meanwhile getting rid of the old wooden boards and trying to expose the frame, We found an Ancient Facebook Hidden behind between the walls and some wall post most, likely love letters in Lithuanian.

Ancient LT Facebook A Town Esci

Vew hours later our Lithuanian Visitors woke up. I showed them how to make Straw N Clay walls, because on the South side of the house there were still a vew meters of wall to be finished. Kaz really wanted to do this and see how it was done. So basically Kaz n Rasa with some assistance of Ray went to finish some Clay walls. while I worked some more on the front Entrance, andEsci anywhere he liked.

The weekend was apparently the hottest weekend ever in Lithuania, so you can imagine. around the clock of 13:00/14:00 it got way to hot. and we ended up inside, talking and chillin for a while. We did indeed do some more work later that day but overall the productivity that day was rather low :))). Crayray made Delicious Pasta that night, After dinner we ended up chillin outside, when it got darker we stared a nice Campfire so Again, We drank allot, Chilled allot. Had some interesting conversation. But most of all Enjoyed our time!

Sunday was a special day, Not only was it the hottest day in Lithuania in like Forever?.. Hitting 36degrees and no wind. But it was also Basz his Birthday, Not that he celebrates it but ah well. Kaz and Rasa had to go back to Vilnius in the morning, Me Crayray n Esci did some more work on the Straw N Clay walls and Front porch. But as expected on the hottest day Evah in Lithuania, We soon ended up trying to find a comfortable place to Not burn alive in the basement/shadow/anywhere.

Esci makes Music, And for his new amazing Song he wanted to make a video-clip-ish. So on Tuesday we made some Epic shots for him being As Gangster as possible, Think of Esci with some Vodka, and Riding da Quad. Smoking sum Cuz Thats the way he rolls yo. Of course we needed some Donut Shots with da Quad to make the clip perfect. This is how that worked out!

But don’t worry before all the madness happened and doing some pro movie shoots, We did actually finish the things we had to finish :)

Wednesday morning at 05:00 we left IzReal and I brought Crayray N Esci to the airport. For Lowlands is Coming, And they are gonna go Rampage over there. It was fun to have Crayray over At IzReal for a while and of course it was good to see Esci again. but for them its time to pick up there lives in da Netherlands. While I will stay here doing my thang.

The Almerian family arrived back in LT that same Wednesday an will be here for about one more week, then they will also head back to The Netherlands for the winter. Which means that soon it will be just me and Basz to finish the house before winter and make a stand against the Forces of Nature.

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Just another Crazy DayZ

Before I start with all da madness, lets just go back a little and let me show you what we haz been doin eh!

Although most of the straw/clay walls have been made and the house is closed, there are still a vew to be done at the Front and Back Entrance. Before the weekend me n Crayray started doing some Straw/Clay wall building, to explain the process a little: You dig up some clay and add lots of water to make it Smearablez, Then you mix it with the Straw, Once that is done you push it in between 2 wooden plates and the wall beams until its full. Wait just 15 min for it to dry a bit. then you can go up and up and up. Its not hard at all!

Meanwhile working on da house, Jamesz has been protecting us from all the Intruders, This Terminator killer cat has been catching Mouse, Birds N Mole Rat daily lately and protecting us from harm.

So today Basz hasz been doing some professional shizznit on da  Western part of the house, almost finished Osnap! Just not yet!, Meanwhile i have been doing some preparations and Windowork on the South side of da house, in preparation for Basz so he can continue with his Lime layer.

Meanwhile doing all this work, Basz his Father came with some heavy machinery from Obuolių Sala to dig some holes for sand and bring it from the back of the property to the front. to spare us some time. Things were all going well. Lots of sun and lovely weather, Then around dinnertime when He wanted to leave and bring dem Machinery back to Obuolių Sala some crazy shizzle ma nizzle happend.

Gravitiez be a biotch

Gravitiez be a biotch

Tun Tun Tunnnn.

Me n Crayray were working on da house, we saw him drive through the holes and stuff. and at first we were laughing cuz the Tractor and things were Bouncing like crazy. Then suddenly it started tilting……

We managed to get the cart on its wheels again. but for the excavator we needed another tractor to do the job. so while they went to Obuolių sala to pick it up(Tractors don’t drive so fast) we bought some beers to sooth the pain. With the other Tractor the job was done easily and we managed to get the Excavator on its feet again. after checking all dem stuff and fixing a few thangs everything worked fine again. no people were hurt. no machinery got broken (except for some dents)

To celebrate this, we tried to some Acrobatics, N I made some Šaltibarščiai. Also I would like to Introduce you to a new member of the IzReal Family, MR Rocketstove.

Feed me Wood N Ill Heat Yo Foodz

Feed me Wood N Ill Heat Yo Foodz

So yeah, Just another DayZ @ IzReal

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Whatz happenin lately

Its mid July these days n things here at da Izreal are going pretty amazing. Not only are the plants growing and blooming, and are eating from the garden regularly, N we have been working on the house like mad!!

We had a period of rain, lots O rain. but the last week it has been 30+ degrees again, I still have to get used to this a bit. doing this physical work in those kind of degrees without much wind can make me feel like a dolphin, dem shiny skin all day! but I try my best to wake up early, so we can chill when the Sun is highest. and continue work when it gets cooler again.

Anywayz. lets start with the foodzies growing around our yard. I’m not a pro gardener. so I probably skipped or didn’t recognize lots of them. For example: we had a Lithuanian visitor this weekend, he is really into diz shizz. so when he was walking around he started eating so much plants. apparently we have allot of spices and edible plants that he did recognize.

July Gardenz1 July Gardenz2

So this is what da garden looks like these days, some veggiesz have grown amazingly, others not at all. others have been eaten by Natural pirates. Basically Basz planted allot of seeds end of April. then like mid May we suddenly had 1 or 2 nights of Frost….. this fkd up lots of the Seedlings. so then we had to replant most of them. Luckily everything went alright and so we haz diz nao

Spiralz

What happened with the Spices Spiral is still a Mystery. cuz I don’t think there are much spices in it that are supposed to be there gheghe. This probably also due to the vew nights of frost we had late this year which ended up destroying all dem seedlings. ah well. it looks hilarious though. who knows what we can find later this year.

The apples and Plums are doing pretty well though, we have shit loads of Apple trees. I didn’t even count them, but like 10 Apples at least, A vew Plums, and Even a vew pear trees who probably wont give fruit this year cuz they did so last year. but lotsoapples fo sho1!. the tomatoez inside the Greenhouze are also doing pretty nice! there growing very fast and starting to get biggah n biggah. also the cherry tomatoes and paprika are doing great.

obuolys1 obuolys2 Plum?

The time for me to mess around with wood and Tinker some furniture is over
We have a house to finish before winter, so the past 2 to 3 weeks we have been spending all our time on doing so. Basz haz been working on the base layer of the floor inside, where the Floor heating system will be build upon, And he has been Finishing the walls with Lime shizzle on the main floor walls. I finished most of the Window frames and worked on the Roof Edge with some Crayray assistance. we also have been Claying the the base layer on the second floor. also, Clayafitti

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Project Greenhouse

Last Friday we started on Project Greenhouze, Friday n Saturday we worked on it here n there, we got about this far, Sunday Rain hit us again. so basically we didn’t work on da Greenhouze that day and chilled like a Baws.

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The reason we started on the Greenhouze is because we have lots of Tomato seedlings in eggboxsz, so we had to finish the Greenhouze ASAP to put the Tomatoez in there,
I had in mind: at this pace we could finish the Greenhouze around Tuesday

Around Tuesday we got this far…

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U might be thinking,
couldn’tyou level it a bit? everything looks twisted and crooked!
But don’t worry ya all! We Leveled it using This Device!

So Wednesday morning I add some more legs to support the weight and started on sawing some planks for the Table tops left n right, this took longer then I expected,
(we also went to visit a friend of Basz da afternoon. who wasn’t home at the time…) 
but I was able to finish both sides at the end of the day

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Thursday I Though we would finish the Greenhouze fo sho, Me n Basz worked on the Door and the Window together to finish it Asap, Basz did not sleep so well that night, I was being really annoying and way to happy for a sleepy person. Ten$ion but good Co-Op in the end. no finished Greenhouze though

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When we started on stretching the plastic we realized we did not have enough screws and most important things to get this job done fast and right!

We cleaned the place up a bit, headed to the store to buy the needed things to finish the job and went for some dinner at Obuolių sala

Friday morning we were all ready to finish da Greenhouze Project, with all the preparations set I started on stretching da plastic, It was not so difficult as I expected, later on Basz joined me with the front and back side. this time he had a had slept way better, much funzies were had. No Ten$ion.
This is da Result!

Next year the Greenhouze will be updated, we made the tables because we needed it asap for the tomatoez. but next year basz wants to make a Rocket mass heater inside the Greenhouze, instead of the tables we will make 2 containers (filled with clean soil to reduce weed growth) and added 2 Flue’s one in both container. this way he will be able to heath up the ground of the containers to extend the growing period in the winter

Crraazzzyyyy!