500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Novy Mlyn and our ABC’s (Katie & Rich)

December3

Apples! The amazing discovery by Nic and Katie of how amazing thinly sliced apples soaked in honey is on porridge ..and how un-amazing it is if you soak cubes of apple and pear in honey…
Baking, Beans, Bike Rides, Burrrito eating contests and…..BUNBURY (Nic and Mikes‘s new little puppy named after our lovely, sophisticated and exciting home town)!
Chopping wood. Excellent form of anger release. Composting toilet. Poo with a view. Satisfying. Constipation. Cheese Cheese Cheese Cheese Cheese
Digging holes. Composting toilet holes. Who would have knew this was rich’s dream job? professional poo digger.
Eating amazing foods. Curries, Roast dinners, Vegetarian delights and excellent beer and mulled wine. going to be hard to go back to a backpackers diet of crackers and tuna..
Forrest. Some of the most stunning scenic walks we have been on. Nic and Mike are one lucky couple.
Gigantic knitting needles. The talented knitter Nic and her epic needles that knitted the first ever once you start you can’t stop jumper.
Haircuts. Richard received a beautifully crafted Mohawk..with mike’s very short clippers. Henrik’s bullet wound! Shot by a rock in a poo hole!
Indoor soccer matches. Gave an insight into how unfit a few workaways were. Irish Football game – tragedy!
Jams. Henrik on lead guitar, Noel on the ear piercing tin whistle, Richard on deep smooth vocals and Katie with earplugs. Special note to Henrik for his talented guitar playing.
Kitty cats. With both of us not having the strongest of love towards cats we have made a complete turn around. Pavaoc, George and little Zizka made us fall in kitty love. Going to miss the morning cuddles from Zizka and the face plants from George.(don’t worry George..things will be ok without your balls)
Lifting bucket after bucket of rubble from the dining room. Tyre flooring experiment is now near completion. just waiting on that wood! Hopefully it will be a huge success!
Mushrooms. Eating mushrooms, picking mushrooms, cooking mushrooms and Noel drinking mushrooms. think we may have become part mushroom? Middlesborough = SHITE! HAHA
Nights out in Tabor. Epic. How could we not forget the Hoegarden beer, great feed at two cats and foosball tournaments and 12 hour sessions…
Oooooooooooooooo!! The discovery of a real breakfast in Tabor!! This had to be the happiest day of Mike and Nic’s life (ok maybe a slight exaggeration but still, you can’t go past a great cooked breakfast after a few too many beers at the Lev)
Porridge. sweet beautiful amazing porridge. thinking of marrying it rather than marrying Richard. And can’t forget Ping pong. Had our first ever game of epic ping pong. with everyone in the pub…going to bring this game to the Olympics. Pumpkin Pie! James thanksgiving treat. Poker – thanks again James….for your money!
Questionable motives behind Richard’s online dating service for Noel.
Restoration. The marathon restoration of the bookshelf. so satisfying to see it blissfully clean and varnished. Raw meat should also be mentioned here….Rich = thumbs up, Katie = undecided.
Sawing through massive logs gave us both massive guns and a massive need for tea breaks. Stalkers…Clay ones.
Tea glorious tea. Maybe the result of late night toilet runs but tea is VERY important in a days work needed at regular 2 hour intervals (or half hour ones).
Undulating hills on cute little bikes make the bikes seem less cute and more demon like…but so rewarding when reaching the destinations of Cernovice and Czech Castles.
Violent – Noels chopping technique! Actually just Noel in general.
Workawayers..Claire, Henrik, Noel and James. Our stay would not of been the same without the American arsonist, Smooth Swede, Impotent Irishman and the anti-dish American. Wedding of the century – Henrik and Lenke (BFG!).
Xrated on-line dating profiles of Henrik and Noel.
YES!Yes yes yes…the discovery of a hangover cure drink in Tabor. still yet to decide if it actually works or not..
Zizka adorable. We will very much miss Nic and Mike who made our stay so pleasant and rewarding. Thanks so much guys, we will send you a bucket load of cheese from England or maybe we will start a good cheese factory in Tabor.. Summer will most certainly bring upon a return visit to the beautiful Novy Mlyn as I don‘t think we can stay away for too long!

Nový Mlýn Apples in Honey & Incidental Mead

November30

By the beginning of October it was not possible to dry apples in the sun any longer and I didn’t want to buy a small and power-hungry fruit drying machine. We have made cherry compote, but I’m keen to avoid using sugar as the main preservative here because it has to travel so far (food miles) and is not good for our teeth or waistlines. Therefore, the majority of the cherry compote is, rather tellingly, still in the cupboard.
I’ve been doing some research about alternatives and have come across some great information about honey. My interest was sparked by a radio article about honey from the Pyramids still being edible after thousands of years in storage. Eating locally produced honey is said to help build up a resistance to hay fever, and it was used as a preservative since Roman times, long before sugar was available so far from the equator. I tend to use honey to sweeten my current favourite Dilmah Green Tea with Moroccan Mint, as well as breakfast porridge, therefore it made sense to also use it to store apples that could not be dried.
Apples sliced with the kitchen mandolin and layered into the honey worked very well – they have kept their colour (unlike the vodka apples from 2007 which went brown very quickly). The only problem is that we keep eating them… meaning that I can’t judge how long they will keep. They are delicious on porridge (made with water) with a dash of cream – a good, hearty winter breakfast.
The apples and pears that we cut into cubes behaved rather differently – they started to ferment in a very short time, and the liquid bubbled out of the storage jars, slowly spreading a sticky goo around the kitchen. I eventually gave up on these, instead I drained the fruit and put it in with a batch of mulled wine – the result – apple or pear poached in mulled wine has made a very tasty desert to share with guests. The liquid continues to ferment – I’m adding it to tea, but it is beginning to loose it’s sweetness so I’m curious to see how this incidental mead will turn out.
I look forward to experimenting with cherries in honey in 2010.

Baker’s boy hat knitting pattern

November22

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Quick gloves knitting pattern – mobile phone perfect

November12

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There has been a sudden drop in temperature. I needed gloves which were quick to make, warm and practical. The solution was to knit a glove that is made in one piece with no sewing required; and for speed, knitted horizontally instead of vertically in a chunky wool.

Because of the cold, I don’t personally like fingerless gloves or mittens, which have to be removed every time you need to do anything with your hands. These are a good compromise. Read the rest of this entry »

Surviving mushroom season

November2

We came, we saw, we copied. In this case, the great national pastime of the Czech Republic, mushroom collecting, indulged in by 80% of the population here. We’d been watching people walking past the house with overflowing baskets for some 3 months before we decided to give it a go ourselves. As with the apples, we nearly missed the boat.

Now the temperatures have dropped and the season has finished, I’m really missing it. It was lovely to take 1/2 hour or so every day to meander through the forest together & I now feel like I know my locale that bit better. I wonder if the start of the hunting season is also a push factor to the conclusion of mushroom picking here – as some varieties still grow now… if you’re wondering around in the forest, there’s a risk of being mistaken for something else (two easy ways to die through misidentification in mushroom picking). Read the rest of this entry »

Altitude & temperature calculations

November2

I’ve been working on our project plan today, and thinking about heating. One very useful website I found today is called Gaisma, the data from which I should be able to use to calculate what will be the most effective way of heating our home.

Nový Mlýn is at an altitude of 540 metres above sea level. It is this factor which is the main influence on our climate. We’re about 90 metres higher than our nearest town, Tábor, but close in altitude to a neighbouring town Pelhřimov. The average temperatures are likely to be above 10 degrees c for six months of the year (that includes night time temperatures).

Our approach to heating is decidedly ‘suck it and see’. This winter we will use the traditional heating method for this area – i.e. wood burning stoves, and see how successful this is. Will we manage to keep warm? How much wood will we need? Will the daily work of setting fires become a grind? There’s one way to find out.

We’ve moved our bedroom so it’s above the dining room & kitchen, which we keep warm during the day. The bedroom is now adjoining the room upstairs with the super efficient barrel shaped stove. So far, so good, but the temperature outside is a mere 0, and it has much further to go.

Why do something when we’re not sure?

November1