Snow is here

Although we had a little bit of snow at the end of October, now snow really came to Kuterevo. Before coming here, I (Marco) heard a lot about how cold the winter is in Kuterevo. During all my life I have been living in the hot city of Murcia, southeast of Spain, and I had only seen the snow in postcards and on the internet. Also, as you know, I like meteorology, and low temperatures and snow are for me an awaited event. Finally a couple of weeks ago, after checking the weather forecast every day, I could see my dream made reality: Snow is here! Snow started to fall on 30th of November and it keeps up more or less on the ground until now. But the maximum of snow was last weekend when we had half a meter, and after that, at the beginning of this week, we had about -15 ºC.

kuterevo

But, how is the daily life in these conditions? Snow creates a beautiful landscape and also funny moments. For example snow fights while you are trying to go to the compost toilet, even if you don´t want to, and of course making snow men. However, it is also hard work and uncomfortable moments. You have to clean the snow early in the morning and try to take breakfast with your frozen hands. When it is very cold we don´t have drinkable water and we need to carry water in bottles from our neighbors. I especially love the moment of going to the toilet. You really enjoy that moment, you can feel how the fresh air goes from down in your back to your legs. In that way you really appreciate having a toilet inside your house. Also you need to be careful on the way to the toilet, because while you are walking on the icy path, you can slide and fall down. We don´t recommend using coklije, even though it is a traditional kind of shoes and really warm, but when walking in the frozen snow, sooner or later you will fall.

marcowendy

And, how are the bears living the beginning of the winter? They are now going to their winter dream. We started to give them the straw for preparing their beds before the snow came. Although they reduce their activity during winter, they don´t sleep all the day and when they wake up they sometimes walk a little around the den. They don´t eat during their hibernation, so we need to stop giving them food. Before that we gave them a lot of food full of energy like nuts, corn and fruits, because they need to get fat to survive all the winter.At first we stopped feeding the adult bears. Four out of six have already been sleeping for a while (but have woken up again now), like Vlado Mir and Hu Bear. A week ago we stopped feeding Mladi Dol and Mlada Gora, but they are still awake. We still feed Marko Kralj every day and he is enjoying the snow playing with his friend, a dog called Doci.

bena

Marco

Gardening times

Spring is coming and with it, the time to start gardening again. We start to prepare everything and to decide what kind of vegetables, fruits, herbs and other we want for our gardens. We also revised our compost and need to think about which will be the best way to distribute everything. For this, we have chosen to follow the principles of the permaculture.

Why permaculture? Because is based on the ethical principles (care for the earth, care for people and fair share) taking into account the rules of the nature for making their own designs with less effort, which achieves the maximum effect.

Permaculture is a concept created by Bill Morrison and David Holmgren and means permanent agriculture, and by the time, this concept developed to permanent culture, which covers all aspects of life. Nowadays, it also takes into account the personal, economical, social and political reorganization.

Permaculturists are inspired by observing nature and thus they rely upon natural patterns. As in many other great cultures, permaculture can be seen trough 5 elements (wáter, soil, energy, air and people), which overlap with each other and create a web of life which is nicely presented by the holistic, permaculture flower.

Following this principles and because we want to reuse everything, we continuous with the compost and the warms help this to make hummus, perfect for our garden. Following the principles of permaculture, we don’t use any chemicals trying to help the planet and avoid the climate change, the loss of biodiversity or other problems like intensive chemical agriculture.

      

As well you can use the compost from the dry toilets, but we prefer use this for plan trees and no the aliments. As well, the animals are an important part of this system. They provide us shit (manure), that we use for fertilizing the soil, then they help cleaning the land and as well are a source of products (like eggs, milk, etc).

Permaculture can be implemented in every country and every place. Actually 120 countries are practicing that and is possible follow the principles as well in the city, all is just creativity. It is possible to plant on balconies, roofs, sharing plot of land with neighbors, buying local, recycling, participating in consume cooperatives…

There are many available resources on internet about permaculture and we invited you to check the next links if you are more interesting about that 🙂

http://permaculture.org.au/

http://permaculture.wikia.com/wiki/Permaculture_Wiki

Institute for permaculture http://permakultura.org/

www.permaculture-media-download.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxJDCy9BjFQ&feature=related

And as well with some pictures about the permaculture course that Bruno and Ivan give to us:

            

And finally, we want to let you know that in Crotia, permaculture movement is rapidly growing. Institute for permaculture was founded last year, while there are several interested permaculture places which can be visited:

EIA http://www.eia.hr/

Recycled Estate http://www.zmag.hr/

Latinovac http://www.latinovac.org/

Zoe

Postaja life in Winter

The winter in kuterevo, every volunteer was afraid about this topic! Lika is known as a cold region, and the condition are difficult. But nowadays we’ve crossed most of the period of winter and we are still alive J, how and what did we do during all this period?

First, the beginning of January was really soft, all the snow which fell in December went away and every day was sunny. Then we begin again to work outside, we could continue to work in our botanic garden with collecting plants in the wild!

 

 

 

 

 

But then, every thing changed in February! The fearsome -20°C during the night arrived we couldn’t have water anymore, and the snow was falling every day so we had to change our main activities. Our every day tasks are principally concentrated around warming up Postalja and taking care about animals. As well some of us it was spending time with locals to learn traditional handcrafts: Daniel has been learning how to make chairs, Max how to make several wooden crafts and Zoe how to make “coklje” (kind of slippers).

 

 

 

 

 

In this same time, Amélie have been spending all her day in Ivan’s home to collect and order papers about his life and about the refuge. The idea is to find out all what’s happen this 10 last years in the refuge to document it in one final work!

Futhermore to this, we had enough time spending inside to prepare several interesting projects:

  •  Millo has worked on outdoors workshop about nature for schools which are going to be driven in spring and summer. He will try to spread knowledge about birds, trees, plants, amphibians, insects and environment in general.
  • Daniel and Millo have been preparing a project of saving amphibians populations again car’s crashing. Some first action will happen in March with a team of Croatians volunteers from the high school of Otočac.
  • Zoe and Amélie have been managing the future volunteers groups who will arrive this summer, something sure is that we are going to be a lot!
  • Max has been managing, every Sunday, German classes with young people from Kuterevo, from every ages (10 to 22). More and more people are interesting in!

 

 

 

 

 

And even after working time, we’ve participated in a lot of event (Carnival of Rijeka, 11th of February, Concert in Picasso, Kuterevo meeting in Zagreb …) and every evenings in Postalja was full of activities: we had time to learn playing guitar, playing accordion, juggling, to improve our Croatian, to study bears, birds, trees …

 

 

 

 

 

So finally, even if the weather in Kuterevo was unfriendly, we didn’t have the time to get bored, this winter was more than busy!

Millo