Today an envelop arrived with us from Neofit Rilski with some red and white
Martinichki (Martenitsa) Celebrations bracelets. It felt really nice to be included and a nice reminder that the storks are coming soon to mark the arrival of spring. Hopefully we will be in Neofit to see them arrive.
The red and white woven threads symbolize the wish for good health. They are the heralds of the coming of spring in Bulgaria and life in general.
Martenitsa (Bulgarian: мартеница, pronounced [ˈmartɛnit͡sa]; plural мартеници martenitsi) is a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn and worn from March 1 until around the end of March (or the first time an individual sees a stork, swallow, or budding tree). The name of the holiday is Baba Marta. “Baba” (баба) is the Bulgarian word for “grandmother” and Mart (март) is the Bulgarian word for the month of March. Baba Marta is a Bulgarian tradition related to welcoming the upcoming spring. The month of March, according to Bulgarian folklore, marks the beginning of springtime. Therefore, the first day of March is a traditional holiday associated with sending off winter and welcoming spring.
A friend suggested we should grow our own fire wood and after some research we decided to try and grow some Hawthorne. A fast growing tree which burns very hot. I tried growing them from seed by using Masanobu Fukuokas seed ball technique. We will see if the experiment works – I am a lazy gardener and this might just be the way forward for me.
While sitting outside in the sun with my hands covered in mud rolling little clay balls my neighbour dropped in. We don’t share a common language but the look on his face said it all. What the hell are you doing … I left it at that.
We have many fruit trees lining the edges of our land which is not fenced off. The neighbours use our land to feed their animals, which on the one hand is nice as we don’t have to cut the grass but on the other hand they tend to leave excrement everywhere. Before putting up a new fence or planting bushes around the edges we thought it would be wise to establish the exact boundary lines.
It turns out that what we perceived to be the edge is no longer our edge. The previous, communist regime started an ambitious rezoning plan in the village and took land of many properties to widen roads and build new infrastructure projects. The land was taken but the work never happened.
Our actual boundary line runs approximately 2 meters in parallel to the old one cutting a strip of our land. Unfortunately its exactly the strip which houses most of the fruit trees. – Time to plant new ones.
Visiting a friends house to check up on something I wondered why none of the keys fit the front lock … until I discovered the trick. Just take off the fitting !!!
It was a real pleasure to meet Neno Belchev and Pavlina Mladenova who are behind the Varna International short film festival called Videoholica. The Festival takes place across numerous location in Varna. The picture is of the opening night in the courtyard of the archeological museum.
Hopefully we can have a screening in the Village at one point in the future as well.
The Martinichki celebrations are in the beginning of March. Red and white bracelets are worn as a good luck charm for a succesfull time ahead. The are taken off when the storks arrive – a symbol of the arrival of spring. The braisletts are then fixed to trees and bushes.
Marin helped cutting our grass and dumped it all on the far side of the land where it had dried in several decrete piles. I asked him to take it away and finish the job expecting he comes on moves it. A short while later the land was on fire. A very direct solution.
The village has an active gift economy. In passing I offered my neighbor one of the beers I had bought in the shops. He was sitting on the bench outside his house enjoying the evening sun and it felt like the perfect beer moment.
5 minutes later his grandson knocked on my door giving us an old beer bottle filled with fresh sheeps milk. These kind of exchanges happen on a daily basis. Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, eggs, all fresh and seasonal produce that is growing in the gardens is being swapped and traded.
Ivan came to visit us briefly and for the first time in ten (or more years)he stepped food on the land again. His friends used to live here and he has font memories drinking and talking together. He remembered the many vines that grew on the land. “all this was full of vines”. Its all gone now and only a few fruit trees are left.
Dara sitting on Ivan’s new toilet. The old one caved in on itself and disappeared into the ground. Luckily no one was using it at the time. The story was told with a lot of laughter.