Jack in my coffee

We are enjoying a rain event here in our charming little historic city, several days of, at times really intense drops from the sky. Don’t mind it much – reduces the workout of bucketfuls I must carry up the hill in the garden, and really highlights the earthy colours of the stones in the cobbled street in front of our house. Today looks like nonstop all day, so I’ll work on indoors stuff.

Unfortunately, besides a honey-do list, inside work today includes carrying water damaged goods fifty meters down the shiny earth-coloured stone cobbled alley to the disposal dumpsters, as the basement water “system” seems to have failed us. Not a totally bad deal, as the basement has accumulated stuff that has needed to be dealt with for more than a year, so the slight floor water coverage has prioritized my attention toward basement items organization and disposition. I don’t mind it much, when Jack Daniels blesses my coffee.

Our motto with restoration of this cute little 450-yr-old home has been to do it right. This is the last place we plan to call home, so let’s do the right thing for the long term. We’ve had much work done on our precious home by a well-regarded local contractor, because I was not ready for do-it-myself sans vehicle in this foreign stone/mortar construction environment, to correct previous unimaginable bullshit (like a second-floor toilet drain line that ran down a wall then out to nothing! somewhere under the street), and so that work is done once and done right, tho at a higher cost compared to other local contractors. We picked the best contractor, willing to pay the price.

This morning’s discovery of basement floor water triggered a call to our favorite contractor, who invited us to just free-up the float thingy on the sump pump, just like in a toilet tank to flush – it’s probably stuck from non-use, so is not moving to turn on the pump to purge the water. Yah, months ago, we paid for digging of a sump thru rock, and install of a pump which would, for eternity, exterminate the occurrence of basement floor water.

OK, remove the stuck, never-opened tight-fitting basement floor sump cover to reveal one meter’s depth of water. Reach my full arm length around in the water to free up the float, but don’t feel it. OK, with help of my sweetie, we bail the bastard pit to within a couple centimeters of empty, only to discover there is no pump in the pit. So my sweetie calls back our favourite contractor foreman, to share our discovery.

His response – “well you did move to the Czech Republic after all, didn’t you”….. And he cited a fairytale, in which village folks seeked something elusive – ‘hey, did you see it?…….no, did you?…..’

Huh?

 

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getting lost

I get lost in Cesky Krumlov every day, multiple times per day.  It can happen anywhere here – in the house, walking in the city or thru the castle courtyards, in the garden, in the grocery store, on a bus, doing yoga..  It’s not a retirement thing, or memory loss, or an aging thing.  I don’t really suck at map reading and navigating, tho my lack of Czech language skills can contribute.

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Years ago, during a visit to Cesky Krumlov, I realized, and expressed to my sweetie that – there is no place I would rather be, there is no one I would rather be with, and there is nothing I would rather be doing.  At the time, we weren’t doing anything particularly romantic – it was just us together, walking in Cesky Krumlov, and I felt the need to express in words what I had just come to realize, because I thought it was cool both to feel this way and to share it..

Getting lost is quite wonderful.  A few nites ago, we watched a Tedx Talk on YouTube, psychologist Polly Young-Eisendrath, on the topic of self importance (as result of me searching for talks on happiness).  In her talk, she defined happiness as that state of being in which you do not want to be in another state – you are not restless nor distracted, you are completely engaged & involved in your direct experience.  My ‘getting lost’ is what Polly defines as happiness..

A list of things to do at the garden is not a guarantee that I’m working on something on the list.  Often, instead I’ll be working on something that needed to get done, that didn’t get thought of when the list got made – like me raking the long dead grass off the hill during January, for the compost pile.  Worked my ass off, collected yards of the precious dry stuff – won’t have time for that task come spring.  And I got lost doing it.  Occasionally I had to sharpen the trusty ol’ scythe and whack some grass to facilitate raking, and I got lost doing that too.. Or when I enjoyed a half hour rest, watching the chickadee feeding frenzy on a newly hung suet ball, occasionally looking straight up into the tangled willow branches.  Then at dusk, when I turned the key to lock the fence gate, I got lost in the journey home, in the distant evening postcard image of our city, in the shadows created by the lights and structures, in having a castle courtyard all to myself, and in the cool arching cobblestone patterns.  And when I arrive home, greeted by my smiling loving sweetie, I next get lost in our almost-finished kitchen, listening to 1970’s music and creatively combining ingredients for a healthy dinner.

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Maybe I’d blog more if I got lost less….

I realize that what makes me lost and happy ain’t for everyone.  I know that I am blessed and I am thankful for being able to enjoy all this.  May you find that which makes you get lost, and realize it as it occurs.

On Driving…

One of our ‘simpler life’ tactics here is to not own a car, for now.

Forty years of freedom, having a car to jump in, any time, strap in on the comfy chair, turn the key, turn on heat or cold, turn on the music, and step on the pedal. Such a convenience.

Car payments, insurance, new tires, dents, dings, oil changes, rust, mud, snow, parallel parking, idiots. Such a pain in the ass.

With all we have going on right now, though, about every five weeks, we have justification to maximally utilize a rental vehicle. Like the big ass cargo van for fetching kitchen cabinets from Prague, which just barely makes the sharp 90 degree turns up the hill leaving our place. Or this week’s Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday rental of a cute little red stick shift underpowered Skoda, for another episode of ‘adventures with Brad & Jana’, where we cram too much to accomplish into too little time and too much stuff into our cute little rental car. But I digress.

The Czech countryside roads are charming, narrow, shoulderless and winding, connecting quaint villages with colorful buildings of interesting shapes; the highways are multi-lane and designed for safe and efficient and timely movement of large quantities of goods and folks. The road signs are different than in the states, and drivers are expected to know some general rules of the road, particularly the (non-posted) driving speed limits associated with the type of road and or the location, like 50 km/hr in town. Many of the country roads with no shoulders have very large wooden trees growing right next to the road, which for safety purposes have white painted rings around them; roads which are dotted with various shrines marking the locations at which folks traveling these charming winding roads in vehicles or on bicycles have ended their lives. Many of the country road trees are apple trees, providing healthy food for the journey I guess.

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Anyway, for us, driving is an occasional necessary evil, to accomplish tasks not reasonably performed via other means. And I’m a pretty good, respectful driver. The best rule they have here is zero tolerance for alcohol – zip, nada, lose your license for a bunch of months if you are pulled over by the policie and alcohol is detected on your breath. The next best rule is that you gotta be eighteen years old before becoming eligible to get behind the wheel. Maybe third is that folks here seem to be well-schooled on signaling their every turn intention, quite ahead of time.

Regarding road signs and getting pulled over. A sign that is a 2-foot diameter red outer ring with a white inner circle means don’t even think about going there. It was during our first cargo van ‘adventures with Brad and Jana’, back in August, within 15 minutes of renting, whilst my navigator’s attention was directed to her battery-dying device to access the bitch in the box, on a stretch of under-construction Ceske Budejovice city street, that the policie officer politely informed me that it was gonna cost me 200 koruna (ten bucks, but varies between 200 to 3000 koruna, based on violator behavior) because I had passed at least two of the ‘don’t go there’ signs to get to this point. Note that the officer and his partner were set up at this spot, with ticket book in hand, flagging over car after fool car, to collect the fee. It seems to me that the chances here, for a driver to come face to face with a cop who might detect that you had a beer (pivo) are greater than in the states.

Two more great reasons that I do not enjoy driving here. First is this intense neck stress pain associated with driving while holding the farthest reaches of a steering wheel., which I seem to find myself doing every so often. And then there’s the other guys on a mission whose accomplishment I impede – dickheads who perform with equal likelihood both on the winding peaceful country roads and in the left lane of a highway. Tho there are speed limits, the left-laners have the ability it seems to appear out of nowhere and to thrive on the aerodynamic advantage of positioning his front bumper within a foot of my rear bumper, or if they’re really have a lot of momentum, they flash their warning brights from a long distance that gets short in seconds. So this also causes moments of panic and stress to safely return to the right lane in a cute red under-powered Czech car or a visibility-obstructed large van.

 

dust happy

We have achieved a new state of being.  Perhaps ‘dust drunk’ would better describe this state and feeling, employing alliteration, and my addition of Jack to my coffee on this Halloween morning, and the sort of helpless silliness of making the best of our current state and seeing the potential of our future state.  But hey, mine is retired and in need of good stuff to do and this is new & exciting.

For weeks and weeks after moving here, there was no reason for me to exit bed before 8.  But since the scaffolding has been up, for a few weeks, my ass has been arising and welcoming the workers every morning to our front door at 07:00, with a hearty “doe-bree-den”, to which I usually get a couple “doe-bray’s” from the crews, which have been performing amazing restoration to our home’s exterior.  Every morning after being welcomed, the workers collect their simple instruments of artistry, which fit neatly into a twenty-five-litre (six-gallon-ish) bucket from just inside the basement door, and they feed the water hose and electrical extension cord out the front basement window, for their daily needs.  So the majority of the magic, to this point, has been occurring outside.  Until yesterday.

Yesterday, with the exterior smoothing mostly completed and that material needing a day to dry before it could be painted, we arranged for three electricians to visit to execute inside wiring in accordance with (1) replacement of the old aluminum wires which are prone to fail, and (2) our desired convenient locations for outlets and switches and lights.  Wiring here is performed by gouging out the walls to expose/create wall and ceiling trenches maybe 4 inches deep, in which to run wires from point A to B, then wires are run from A to B, and held in place in trenches temporarily by big angled nails then permanently secured in place with regularly-placed gobs of thick fast-curing goo.  After the goo hardens and the dust settles, the trenches are filled – first with a thick bed of coarse mortar, then with a smoothing mortar coat to blend into the surrounding surface and texture.

Anyway, within the daylight hours, these guys accomplished major stuff – running fresh copper wires to every outlet and switch and light fixture location we had specified.  The lead electrician had originally cautioned us that this work would create a lot of dust, so we should consider scheduling this work in stages, but we chose in true American mindset – screw that, let the pussies worry about dust, we’re making one big mess once.  And we spent much the rest of the daylight hours secured in our upstairs, Jana working remotely, managing US IT projects and me researching endless amounts of bullshit online, even surviving one one-hour planned power outage.

When we emerged from our isolation, we experienced many thoughts and emotions, trying to appreciate that we got what we had asked for whilst not being too overwhelmed by the light coating of whitish greyish powder, which delicately and thoroughly was applied to almost everything everywhere within our dwelling.  Sure, we were warned, not their fault, we got what we asked for – however neither of us, individually or as a couple, however, had first-hand experienced a valid benchmark.

For now the plan is that I will mortar the wire gouges.  Our contractor foreman visited this morning to check our status, and he kindly called for 4 bags of the major-fill mortar powder to be delivered – and after review of the tools I was about to employ, he fetched for me one square headed trowel and one sponged wooden float, and explained the intricacies of the task – so technically I got no excuses for not performing the work..

That is, except I first gotta get that 150-pound (70kg) apron-fronted 36-inch-wide double-basin bad boy squeezed into a 30-inch wide IKEA sink cabinet, because the dishwasher and stove will be delivered on Monday.

Here’s a couple pictures of the work in progress.  Taking them felt like documenting the crime scene.

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status change

Yesterday, Thursday 9 October, we got up early, opened the front door at 07:00, gave the exterior restoration duet their hose and extension cord and a spare key, and we hurried to the bus station, to catch the 07:30 bus ($2 apiece) to Ceske Budejovice, which is not only the home of Budweiser beer but also home of the regional ‘foreigner police’.  From the main terminal, take either the number 3 or 11 local bus from across the street, in front of the train station ($1 apiece), to the IGGY shopping mall, and the foreigner police building is right next to the casino.  Kinda cool, on the local bus return ride, we were checked by a plain clothes fare-checker, since local buses like the subways & trams, operate more on an honor system where you as rider are responsible for having a valid ticket or permit – so the dude flipped his badge and we showed our tickets pretty invisibly to the rest of the riders.

Tho I was a couple (excusable) days late in submitting my request for extended residency in August after we arrived (who knew they’d be closed at 2 on Thursdays and all day Fridays?), the plain clothes foreigner police duet that visited our home several weeks ago did provide a favorable report of their findings of our living situation, resulting in the department’s approval of my request, and issuance of my own new personal passport-lookin document that I must now carry with me at all times.  Would be easier if they’d simplify this down to drivers license-like, but we happy, and I’m legal for 5 years, as opposed to the standard visitor 90 days limit.

According to their available classifications, my new status is Temporary Resident, but I refer to it instead as “Permanent Tourist”.  A permanent tourist always has his camera along, and takes (and retakes on another day) fotos of the beautiful and charming scenes which are part of daily life in this enchanted city…

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Doesn’t matter how many times I walk thru the castle garden on the way to our wellness program garden, ya know, it is just so cool, I can’t help but stop and shoot a picture, to share with my working sweetie, or to compare to a previous foto.  Like these.

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This week I tried a couple evening shots, on the way back from gardening work.  Not great but can’t help myself..

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The sights here continue to amaze me…so it’s my pleasure to be a Permanent Tourist!

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My favorite Czech word, I think…  Pronounced as “dock” sorta, but the d is kinda like t.  Anyway, this cute little word means ‘there / done / take that!’  I use it every chance I get – when the retired guy does something significant – made coffee, washed the last dish, folded the last piece of laundry, stacked the last piece of wood, picked the final stinging bastard nettle, shoveled my last shovelful, figured out the last coin to give the dude at the checkout, took that last swallow of good Czech dark beer, wiped my ass – a nice all-purpose expression – when she hears me say “tak”, my woman knows I am adding value by checking another thing offa my lista.  If you come here, use this word – folks will think you’re a local.

Today, upon completion of wiping off the sloppy paint job from our historic ceiling wood in the kitchen – tak – mine is off to the garden.  Up the hill, thru the castle courtyards, thru the castle garden, then the meadow, across the bridge, turn right up the hill towards our gate, and I cross paths with Tippy.

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Tippy owns a hostel not in the historic center, but on the river and in a charming area – we cross paths once a week, usually when she is coming from or going for a jog thru the forest on the road that passes the garden..  Tippy is also a musician and singer, we can catch her performing a couple times a month for sure.  Real sweet, friendly and nice character, a true Krumlovian..

Looking ahead to achieving real Krumlovcian status, for me it’s gonna definitely be OVAB – Organic Vegan American Brad – and they’ll ask me – what’s the ph of your soil? or the relative humidity in your greenhouse? or how’d that Designed Experiment for reducing slugs on kale leaves turn out?  Maybe I’ll show off my IKEA shoulder bag full of foraged stinging nettle snips..  They’ll know me by the bibs and the wild hair.

Yah, stopped haircuts for a while, since we moved.  Jana wants to see what my afro looks like, I get a lot of head rubbing by my woman – looks like hell but I appreciate the attention.  When I look in the mirror, I am reminded of mom licking her fingers and trying to get my cowlick to stay down so my hair looked nice for Sunday School.. Maybe she’d sneak a little piece of her gum on it..

So, yah, another day in paradise – not warm paradise, more of a crisp fall paradise today.  Monday & Sunday, I harvested a bunch of tops of fresh growth nettle – snipped em off into my big IKEA bag – then at home, removed the individual leaves and blanched em.  Used too much salt the first round, won’t use any from now on.  Know this stuff is loaded with vitamins & nutrients – and it’s FREE and it grows like crazy in our garden – that which is being harvested is regrowth from my first scything..  Put those bastard stinging leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes, and voila – you can handle it and eat it and use it in that awesome garbanzo spinach soup, in place of the spinach.

Today’s garden bounty was a hooded sweatshirt pouch and a half of hazelnuts in the shell.  I’ve been torturing our biggest of 3 hazelnut tree/bushes, and he pruned branches have the highest percent of pest-free fruit.  The nuts on the ground mostly have a tiny black spot on them, which means there’s a nasty worm inside..  Hazelnut tree wood regenerates and can be harvested every 7 years, or so I’ve read and am testing – am removing the large diameter branches (more than 4 inches) so the next generation can grow straight and not rubbing..   Anyway, nice to bring some bounty home from the garden, whether it’s foraged or grown..

And I rewarded myself with a Primator 24!

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Wednesday…

After a day at the garden, I sleep real well, and I work at the garden every day.  We’ve been staying up til at least ten, and sans job, there is no pressure to get up early.  Unless of course we are awaken by a ringing doorbell.

We’ve been squeezing our general contractor (GC) to get plumbing work (tub set, valves installed) done in the bathroom (so I can tile), electrical work done throughout the house, and our exterior restored – so several trades involved, all as arranged by our GC.  Yesterday, Wednesday, two electricians rang our doorbell at 08:00, just as we were about to wake up – yah..  So in the fog, we toured them around the house, reviewing the scope of the work – this is not their first time here, so it was a refresh.  Turns out our GC was in contact with them but didn’t let us know about the appointment..  Anyway, these electricians were dressed in matching suits – dark grey with orange highlights, and they look like 70’s rock band members..  And they don’t speak English and I don’t speak Czech – but I am the designated early morning greeter of doorbell ringers, so I ventured down and opened the door and wished them good morning and gave em some English as I summoned my sweetie to come figure out which 70’s band these guys were members of.  Turns out they were electricians, and their matching outfits – even including the friggin shoes – causes me to hypothesize that every trade here has its particular color-coded outfits.  Interestingly these visiting trade folks always arrive in duets, I mean pairs.  Showed em around, expected they’d at a minimum install washer & dryer outlets and hang a few chandeliers (first priority tasks explained to GC), then they left as quick as they arrived, with agreement that we’d get together again soon.

Having opened boxes and improved the categorization of garage stuff the day before, I embarked on similar activities at home, needing to expose chandeliers and hoping to discover where Jack was hiding.  Speaking of the packers, those guys were experts in deception – in what they wrote on boxes – they said to make sure there’s no issues with importing our stuff, but it also challenges us to find the hidden, mal-described stuff.  This treasure hunt could have been avoided by having box deliverers unpack everything but I opted for us to be responsible for that pleasure..  So this opening of taped and creatively-labeled boxes is a bit like re-gifting to ourselves.  In the kitchen, in the bottom layer of a tall box labeled Glassware/Décor/Vase Boxes, Jack was discovered wrapped in three layers of kraft paper with seal unbroken…..so I made sure he was OK, and he was pretty OK..

Hire electricians to install outlets & switches and hang light fixtures?  Ya know, I’m just not comfortable working with this whole stone/brick/mortar/plaster construction technique.  Don’t want fancy light fixtures that I hung falling from our ceilings.  So am opting to pay the pros to do stuff while I watch.  On the other hand, we want this stuff done once and right, so we support the local workforce.

Just before noon, I was in front of our home, disassembling a chandelier crate so as to improve its sustainable disposition, and another pair of dudes approached me – one quite unshaven big biker dude looking guy and a smaller less dangerous looking chap.  Big guy started talking Czech, asking me questions – at first I thought this could be the second wave of plain clothes foreigner police following up on my residency application – til I heard the word ‘Kohout’ – ah, he’s from our GC’s company – looks like he might be a collection agent – so I summon my sweetie from her office to see if we owe the contractor any money, only to learn that the big dude is in charge of our exterior work and the little dude provides scaffolding.  So we walk around, talk about the job, they take some measurements.  And the big dude notices my forearm Krumlov tattoo, so he reveals his Jimi Hendrix forearm tattoo – so I had another one of those precious moments – the American showing off his tattoo of a Czech image to a Czech, whilst the Czech shows off his tattoo of an American icon to the American.

Rockers gone, Jack discovered, Jana workday started (3pm local), I head to garden.  Since garage is less cluttered, I opted this time to take the bike.  Walk ten minutes to garage, hop on bike and begin the journey – up to go down, but mostly up.  Holy shit, bicycling is a major advance in transportation method.  And holy shit, pedaling uphill in my lowest gear can take me quite quickly to the point of exhaustion – requiring dismount, breath-catching and bike walking til I am suitably recovered to pedal again.  Had to walk the bike twice on my trip up Krasne Udoli  (beautiful valley) street, and those stops and walks will serve as benchmarks to measure future performances against.

At dusk, I coast and brake down Krasne Udoli, then ride the same roads back to the garage, where I dismount and park and store my precious steed…  Since one of the routes home from the garage, takes me past the Eggenberg Brewery, I choose that route and stop in and grab a cold one for the walk.  Open container is legal, and the gal doesn’t ask for any ID.

It’s raining this morning.  So I’ve taken some time to write.  Usually I’m so damn busy enjoying this life in this awesome place with this beautiful person, that I don’t allow posting time..  Here’s a picture of what was on the hot plate yesterday – a foraged harvest of elderberries, yellow Mirabelle plums and purple plums, cooked down then honey added, to make quite a healthy sweet and tart syrup for oatmeal and other uses..   Pretty neat…

Ciao, Brad

 

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Fungus Amongus

Every day, at the garden, I notice at least one person, usually pretty old, smiling and making the journey down the gravel road from the woods towards town, with a load of mushrooms.  Preferred traditional carrying accessory is a wicker basket (for air flow, preferably made by the hunter), tho grocery bags and little plastic pails also work.  A proud experienced successful hunter will, of course put the biggest and best shrooms on top, for lookers or competitors to see.

For my birthday, I requested my sweetie to join me on a mushroom hunt, to the forest we could see in the distance during our walk to the garden.  Jana learned from her uncles which species are safe to collect and good to eat, so that’s what we look for; there are other edibles but also some dangerous ones, so we stick with what we know…

Thanks to Jana’s ‘map my walk’ app, we know that our fungus collecting adventure covered 6.6 miles, during 4 hours, and burnt 3432 calories…  We live in a low spot, so every walk is uphill, which I trust the app takes into account.

Shrooming is competitive here, we figure that Sunday isn’t a prime finding day, that the real enthusiasts got the best ones in the mornings during the week.  But holy shit, we found a sweet spot, filled our bags half full and pulled ourselves away, leaving many more than we wanted to deal with right now.  Half our bounty are sliced thin and laid out to dry, the other half are in a delicious soup.

We’re nearing the end of the shroom season, for the species we collect..  But the weather and conditions here are pretty perfect.  This past couple weeks we’ve had rainy mornings and steamy afternoons, perfect fungus weather.  Next season, we’ll be more competitive and better prepared to process and store large quantities.

As far as I know, these ain’t edibles, but were abundant and huge…  Jana said she’s never seen so many mushrooms as we did today….  me too 🙂

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A happy shroomer, with her trusty knife, useful for both cutting the stem and for peeling the slimy skin off the klouzeks…

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Don’t pick the green ones, they’re deadly..

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During the walk home, we helped ourselves to a couple dozen of these yellow plums, they’ll be great in smoothies…

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Here’s the drying slices…

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Of course, the return trip took us thru the castle garden…..which is always worth a couple pictures..

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We were shrooming somewhere out yonder….

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Another day in paradise!

The Wellness Program

The daily walk to the garden is part of the Wellness Program, for both of us.  For Jana, the walk is a break from her home office routine, and we get a chance to sit and talk and relax when she arrives..  My favorite distraction..  For me, the walk takes me to a day of good stuff – digging, cutting, scything, pruning, sawing, raking and planning.  Projects on the horizon, short term, are construction of two different levels of flat paved sitting areas to fit the outdoor furniture we brought along, and steps to get to them, and of course, a couple levels of double-dug vegetable garden plots, and a greenhouse of sorts for winter leafy greens, and stone terracing walls between levels.  The design of all this is dynamic, and Jana has given me full authority to do what feels right…

Speaking of leafy greens, ya couldn’t find kale if yer life depended on it….at least where we have looked in Prague & in Krumlov.  So we’re excited to get on with our own… And our first round of sprouting kale seeds just poked thru soil in the starter frame, so we’ll start dealing with rabbits and snails and slugs and a whole new level of challenges once seedlings are set in the ground.  It seems the Krumlov farmers markets no longer occur, and the assortment of organic veggies is real limited – another opportunity for a yet unrealized market..

Anyway, my Wellness Program includes a brisk uphill walk, carrying a backpack loaded with camera, two warm Eggenberg beers, a liter of tap water and yesterday’s compostables.  Half the time, I pass thru the castle garden, with rows of manicured rose bushes and perfect hedges and awesome water fountains, other times I take one of two routes – the fastest just alongside the outside of the castle garden wall, the other thru the town square then meandering up the Krasne Udoli (beautiful valley) road.  All the trips take me past amazing views, this is such a picturesque town..  Upon arrival at garden, I set the beers in the spring-fed creek to cool, put on my work boots, acknowledge the neighbor if he’s there (and he’s usually there) and proceed to do whatever work moves me til I can’t move, then take a break in a strategic spot where I enjoy the view and consider my options and plan my next task, and repeat and repeat.  Tho the neighbor claims to not see for shit, he usually interrupts my tasks to check the sharpness of my scythe blade or correct my technique or to share some advising words.  When he speaks Czech to me, I speak English to him, so we are technically exchanging words, but when we perform charades, the exchange becomes more effective and fun..  After what seems like 3 hours, or when Jana arrives, I’ll enjoy one beer; the other is for the walk home..

When it feels like I’m done being productive, I change out of my work stuff, open #2 and head home.  It’s a downhill trip.  Most of the time, I take the fast castle route, outside the castle garden walls (garden closes at 7pm), passing thru the castle courtyards, admiring the views….  These walks ain’t just good for the ticker, they’re good for the soul.

Here’s a couple related pictures…like uphill scything….

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And my Eggie’s cooling…

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My favorite garden neighbor sharing plums, and strawberry growing advice with my favorite person…  Note that there are two wearers of Dickies stonewashed bibs in town, me and the neighbor, same size tho look like he’s needing a bit more room..

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A cool view down the castle garden inside hedge border, whilst exiting the castle garden.

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Friday nite whilst walking home a bit earlier than normal, some folks were launching a balloon…  Note the two closest kids, one with blue hair, the other with pink – no, the circus ain’t in town, just part of the new ‘normal’.

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And finally, a selfie…

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A traffic mirror outside a blind corner outside the castle garden wall..

So far so good…

 

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I must say, this is awesome…  How often can one examine his situation and claim ‘No place I’d rather be, Nobody I’d rather be with, Nothing I’d rather be doing’.  If my sweetie’s with me, all 3 are satisfied, if not only two.

Today marks Jana’s first remote Kohler working day, and my first blogging day.  I’ll get better and fancier, maybe.

Maybe not.

Still a little upside down, getting used to it.  One third of our stuff is in the garage, the 19 square meter space a half mile away, about as close as we could hope to find one.  All our container-shipped stuff arrived as wrapped and as identified by the wrappers – so the descriptions of what’s inside aren’t real accurate nor intuitive nor complete.

When we unloaded the container, at a location on the edge of the city, into ‘shuttle’ loads, we shuttled to 3 different locations – house (domu), garage (garaz) and garden (zahrada).  We chose for the container unloaders to leave everything in the garage wrapped, so we could take care of it as time allowed, not fully realizing the volume of packing materials involved nor how full the garage would become.  So the garage is about two-thirds full, and about one-third unwrapped, and Jack Daniels is neither on a description nor yet discovered, but am pretty sure he’s there.  (Denny paid me a 1.75 of Jack as part of some deal..)  As much as I look forward to getting thru all that stuff, I wouldn’t be totally upset if someone broke in and stole everything.. except for Jack..  But unwrapping and opening and discovering is exciting, like gifts from some ‘happy moving’ party, even when it turns out to be something we hadn’t intended to bring along, like the 120-volt clock radio from our bedroom.

Our farewell parties were special, heartwarming.  So many friends and family, so many kind words and hugs.  Like if you could attend your own funeral, only better.  Some words didn’t come, feelings were strong, hugs and handshakes and tears.  And how cool was it to have my fave cousin Nancy Lou and hubby Kevin stay with us at Lake Horseshoe for our final days…

As I become more disciplined, I will add pictures and stories.  Like about when the unloaders arrived at our house – rang the doorbell 30 minutes earlier than the planned phone call (to say they were in the area), Jana just exiting the shower and I hadn’t washed nor breakfasted nor dressed for anything other than answering the door, but soon found myself in a foreign car, with 3 of 4 non-English speakers, providing navigation to garage and garden but with no means of communicating to Jana where in the hell I was…  Like James Bond or Jason Bourne, the mind plays with the situation.

Thank you Tanya for brainstorming the ‘reality Czech’ title, thank you Honza for setting up the blog account, even if it had to be in Montenegro (dot me).  Thanks Liz, Honza, and Tinkie for being great kids.  Thanks Denny for being the best man, thanks Christian for being a great friend and brewing partner, thanks Mary for an awesome gift.  Thanks sibs for being awesome.

Jedna means one.

Sorry to be so far away.  Cesky Krumlov is not just a cool place to live but also an awesome place to visit.