The good

Two more cats!

What a wonderful and happy day it is today!! Matilda (the stray cat that roams around my mom and dad’s yard for a few good months now) came this morning at their doorstep with a most precious gift – her kitten!!

I literally cried with joy when my mom called this morning! A few days ago we were sure that Matilda is pregnant again and that she abandoned her cubs or that her babies got killed. How wrong we were!

As mentioned in the previous posts, we are not sure where she gave birth or to how many kittens, but we know for a fact that she got a rough time and a ugly bite from one of the other stray male cats.

Now we can declare that Matilda is officially part of the family, because today she was brave enough to truly trust us ; she marched right into the house, with her baby tailing after her, as soon as the door was open!

We welcome them with our arms open , and since she is a mommy and she is so protective of her kitten, Matilda and the little one were put in a separate room just to make sure that Arielle won’t cause any drama .

The good

Rain drops

Soft and dense rain embracing the nature for the last two days. The sound of rain soothes me and it is one of my most favorite sounds. Honestly, it feels more like autumn than summer.

This weekend I had time to sort out all of my photography and noticed how many I have made and how few I have posted on my Instagram! Now it’s time to sort out all the photos that I have made with my phone…

Cooking · The good

Happy Summer!

How’s everyone celebrating summer so far? Here some days are sunny, some are rainy. The weather is warm but not near to what we normally have here. Temperatures are not high and there’s plenty of humidity in the air. Some parts of the country are facing floods, not even close to what they’ve predicted for the year-drought.

We won’t be having any summer holidays this year and we won’t be getting any days off either. Husband is quite busy with his carpentry workshop and we are currently implementing part of the business plans that we’ve been working on for a while.

As for me, currently helping him to go in the direction that we both agree on with his part of the business. I’ve stopped my workshop for now, at least won’t be shipping internationally until this virus madness ends. The post office is way too slow and is causing unnecessary drama that is being added to our problems .

Meanwhile, there’s plenty of work to do! One reason why I love summer is because of all the herbs that need to be collected! So happy I was able to make lots of spruce buds syrup! Al ready sitting for two weeks now.

I also picked up plenty of Thymus Serpyllum to dry for tea.

This year I was also able to focus more on Dandelion. First time trying to make coffee from dandelion roots! Loved the smell and taste of the coffee so I collected MORE roots!

The process is quite easy: wash them, cut them in small pieces, roast them in a pan in the oven. The taste of the coffee it all depends on how much you roast the roots. Let them cool and put them in your coffee grinder. You can make the coffee with your espresso machine, I personally prefer to make it the traditional way- in a pot on the stove.

Then I also home made tomato sauce . I like to froze it in cubes, wrap each cube individually and store them in the freezer.

And because it is summer I’m oriented on greens and simple light foods. I don’t know why I’m losing appetite in summers, or better said – I eat less food and drink lots of water ,tea and fruit juices.

So yesterday I made this yummy tart with herbs from the garden : green onion, green garlic, orach and forest mushrooms.

In between

Introducing the cats

A while back I was posting about the stray cat that eventually got ,sort of , adopted by my parents. (Matilda’s story right –Here– ).

Matilda got really docile and allows us to pet her. She still comes every day for food and she spends part of her time in our garden or sleeping on the chair that is at the front door. She refuses to get inside the house, not that Arielle would ever accept that , but overall she got familiar with the place and considers it as her own territory. Also she gave birth but we don’t know where. She didn’t choose the barn where my dad prepared a place for her, or the place that my mom made . At this point we aren’t even sure if her kittens are still alive. Matilda comes and goes.

A couple of days ago she got into a big fight with 3 other stray cats and one of them managed to bite her pretty bad. Mom wasn’t able to catch her and take her to the vet , she is yet too wild and will scratch and bite if you try to pick her up. Mom wants to take her to the vet to spay her…but this task remains impossible at the moment. We are not giving up on the idea ! The good part is that mom picked up some medicine for Matilda’s wound and allows my mom to take care of it.

After we were done hiking and picking up spruce buds we went back at my parents for lunch. Since it was a sunny day we decided to take our orange boy with us so he can enjoy some sunshine too. I knew that the first meeting between Arielle and James will be interesting , but for sure I did not expected what followed !

Of course, Arielle wasn’t pleased to meet her new little brother ! Lots of hissing, cat arguments and PLENTY of drama!

I know it’s all about territory and what not, but slowly the hissing stoped and our boy got adventurous and started to explore the surrounding, under Arielle’s careful observation. I sure didn’t expected to see James being so fascinated by the outdoors, all the sounds, wind, sun , grass and flowers, considering that 6 months ago he was also picked up from the streets!

And of course, James tried to stay away from Arielle’s gaze as much as possible. We also didn’t allowed any physical contact between them .

At one point he was sunbathing right in front of Arielle ,but James was so focused on her (and Arielle on him, and the rest of us on them both) that he didn’t noticed Matilda. We didn’t noticed Matilda bolting in out of nowhere. She approached James from behind and tried to headbutt him. Rub her head on his. It all happened so fast!

James was caught off guard, jumped and hissed back at her. And from there all hell broke loose. Matilda is one feisty cat! The good thing was that both my husband and dad jumped in and managed to break the cat fight. We weren’t expecting Matilda to show up, and we definitely didn’t expected such reactions from neither of them! I mean, both James and Matilda are extremely friendly with other animals. More friendly than Arielle. Matilda first befriended our two dogs , before allowing us to pet her or come anywhere near Arielle. But I do believe that her outburst and violent reaction to James’ hissing was because of her last altercation with the other stray cats. My heart breaks for this little girl, to be honest .

The good news is that none of the cats were hurt. I managed to lift up James by the collar and my folks were fast to jump in and grab the other cat. I had to take James inside the house in order for him to calm down , just enough so we could put him in the cage and drive him back home.

The sad part is that at one point I was hoping to find fosters or people willing to adopt the kittens, catch Matilda, spay her and bring her over to our apartment so James wouldn’t feel so lonely anymore. Bad idea for now, but I’m not giving up on her!

The good

Mushrooms and spruce buds

The place that feels like HOME!

Hello, June!! You quickly came but it’s nice having you! Nice having a bit of sunshine after two rainy weeks . Nice being in the forest again!

When I hike I don’t always hike with something in mind. But the nature always gives something to me so I don’t leave empty handed. The forest always offers small treats to whomever visits; for some people these small treats are ignored or insignificant, but for me these are small precious treasures.

Pleurotus or Oyster Mushroom

So today I was treated with a hand full of Oyster mushrooms,and two more types of eatable shrooms that I sadly don’t know the name of in English.

What I really came for today was spruce buds for tea and syrup, and it turned out to be a productive day. I usually make a big quantity of syrup that will last for an entire year and I make for both my parents and in-laws too. So this is just part one from the spruce buds operation . Tomorrow is another day dedicated to this natural healing gem Hoping to collect more tomorrow.

Cooking

Country style chicken soup with sorrel

I’ve been quite busy gathering herbs, making tinctures, teas and salves. Gardening and preparing the first vegetables for winter also eats up a lot of my time. I wanted to go up in the mountains again this weekend, but it’s pouring outside! I wanted to see what herbs I can gather, so far I’m all stocked up on sorrel, wild garlic, dandelion and nettles.

And since I have so much sorrel, making one of my grandma’s favorite chicken soups was mandatory!

This soup is perfect for rainy, gloomy days.

So first thing’s first – a chicken was sacrificed for this soup. Other ingredients from the garden: carrots (2), onion (1 ), garlic (2-3 cloves), parsnip (1), root celery (half from a small one). And of course the star of this dish : a hand full of fresh picked sorrel.

For those who don’t know this magnificent herb , sorrel is packed with lots of vitamins and minerals and it is a strong antioxidant . It helps with blood pressure, bad cholesterol and detoxification of the entire body.

Cooking

Lamb stew with chanterelles mushrooms

Today I made lamb stew with chanterelles mushrooms that I’ve picked up from the forest last autumn. The lamb was bought from a local farmer, everything else is from the garden. I also made lamb broth/soup but that’s for another post, maybe.

I’m not good when it comes to write down recipes. When I cook I usually add ingredients…by eye. I only measure the exact quantities when it comes to baking. But then again this is not a cooking blog. I just wanted to share this with everyone out there.

Roughly I used 1 yellow onion, 4 green onions, 4 medium carrots, 2 medium potatoes, root celery (about half of it from a medium sized one), one big parsnip, 4 garlic cloves. Chop everything in chunky pieces. You will also need about 300gr lamb meat, cut in cubes. About 100-150g chanterelles mushrooms. You will also need 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, one bay leaf, rosemary, dill, 1 cup of wine, 2-3 cups of water and 70g tomato sauce.

The good

A new addition to the family?

Arielle is not pleased with this new company !

This homeless kitten is visiting my parents for the last two months or so. She comes every morning and meows in the garden, she knows that my mom arrives with food when she calls.

Our Siamese doesn’t like it one bit! 😹

We believe that the cat is already pregnant, so this means more kittens! My dad made a special place for her into the barn, from hay and wool , a place for her to sleep and just in case she will give birth. My mom named her Matilda and my folks are willing to adopt her, but the cat is pretty wild and still doesn’t trust nobody.

Arielle seems to be very jealous, still they made contact today and rubbed noses for the first time, without Arielle clawing Matilda’s eyes out!

Arielle’s face says it all!

I can’t wait to see how she’ll react when she’ll meet our ginger boy for the first time tomorrow!

The good · Cooking

Home made bread

I did it!! Last night I tried to make and bake my very first loafs of bread! I have plenty of flour and 1 kg of fresh yeast , so I had to build up the courage and give it a try.

The bread was baked in the oven and the dough came out perfectly. Do excuse the dark photos. It was the best I could do at 2 am.

Basic bread recipe, nothing fancy. 1 kg all purpose flour, 4 spoonful olive oil, 2 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 20g fresh yeast, about 400-450 ml lukewarm water. This is the recipe that my grandma used to make. Wait until the bread is cooled and store it into plastic bags. This way the bread will remain soft and fresh. Sometimes my grandma woupd add 500g white flour and 500g rye flour.

I was so happy with the dough that I forgot all about the egg yolk for the surface of the bread. I had it ready on the table.

One thing is for sure – I am never gonna buy bread from the supermarket ever again! And I’m so eager to experiment with different recipes and flavors! At least I know that my oven can bake bread! My mom’s oven wasn’t suitable for this kind of task. Reason why back when I was at my parents we used to make bread with our bread machine. My mom doesn’t use it anymore so I decided to ask nicely if she is willing to give it to me. And she did , bless her heart!

This machine is at least 15 years old but in perfect condition. I’m missing the recipe book, so I’ll have to experiment a bit until I get it right.

I want to keep this machine as an option for when I don’t have time to hand make the dough and wait until it’s baked.

So far this experiment was a success.

In between

Thankful for my dad

Today I’m more thankful than ever. Yesterday morning a terrible accident happened at my dad’s working place. He was working with 2 other people, regreening a formal coal mine. They were preparing to demolish a 164 feet pillar, pillar that was supposed to be taken down with dynamite today…sadly the pillar unexpectedly collapsed. From the 3 workers only one managed to run into the right direction, the other two were caught under the remains.

The drivers who were working on the dump truck and excavator jumped off their machines but weren’t so lucky…they would had had better chances to survive if they remained inside the cars. Their cabins were almost intact. The one who managed to run into the right direction was my father. I cannot even begin to tell how many thanks I give to God !

My dad had a few scratches but had serious breakdown from the shock. Even so he refused to go home and helped the rescue team. A rescue team made out of 40 people dug for the rest of the day, the entire night and until today around noon. They found the two corpses…

My heart breaks for the two men…one was 41 years old, the other one was 31 years old. You know why this tragedy brings shivers on my spine? Because the 31 year old was my husband’s good friend and it was his first day at work. A week ago my father suggested to my husband if he wants to work on the dump truck and he refused. I could have lost my father too. I could have lost both my father and husband!

I pray that their souls rest peacefully .