It’s white and cold – still February

This was today. This is winter in the village. Saturday – I woke up late (10am, shameful) to find more snow falling. Forecast is dire. Fridge close to empty, gas bottle getting light. If I don’t go down to Zarnesti NOW, I might be stuck for weeks. So…

Car under tarpaulin so that’s okay – no shovelling of snow off the vehicle. But the battery is dead as the proverbial dodo. Trudge up to the neighbour and beg for help. He’s happy, as ever, and cracks open the crocodile clips and the power pack with the longest cable imaginable – about half a mile of it, seemingly. Bonnet up, clips clipped to battery, men retire to shed, I sit in chilly car while juice flows to battery. Now then I try the ignition and slowly, slowly, there are signs of life. After 20 minutes, the ignition roars. I hoot for neighbours and they come back, unclip clips and carry on with their day. I owe them beer and more.

Off to Zarnesti. Gas bottle swapped (69 lei today), Husqvarna chainsaw chain not to be had anywhere, not even for ready money. Off to Lidl to stock up on cat food and me food, for a siege. Snow bucketing down, blotting out all but nearby buildings. Magura hills invisible under snowful low cloud. Shoppers scurrying in and out, wrapped in fleeces, hats, scarves, boots. Intent on doing only the necessary before retreating to warm homes.

Me too. Scurry to car, load up and flee. Not really cold, just -2.5C, so nothing is freezing yet. The car pootles unconcernedly into the national park and up the hairpin road, snow settling fast but not yet icing over. Even the north-facing track, with new snow on the old iced ruts, is no problem for my heroic little car.

Do I drive down to the house with my heavy shopping and the full gas bottle – and risk being snowed in for two weeks? Or drag the gas bottle down, then make two more journeys for the shopping? Lazy. Drive down, unload, and spread the tarpaulin.

Shopping in, then have to go out and get wood from shed to light fire. Feed cats, who missed lunch.

All urgent wintery chores done, it’s 3.30pm. On with my postponed working day….

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In limbo, longing for Spring

We’re not there yet… March is a limbo month: the winter snows have gone but the new grass and the colours of Spring are still waiting below ground, waiting waiting for the sun to warm the earth and give the signal to begin the growing season. But soon, soon!

Lost puppy finds a happy ending

 

You may have seen the story – a few posts back – about a lost puppy who turned up at my gate, starving and abandoned, on 5th November.

I tried to ignore him, but he wouldn’t go away even if I yelled at him to shove off. After a few days, he was obviously starving, and determined to stay around. So I fed him outside the gate, and he ate enormously, pathetically grateful, crawling to my feet, rolling over, showing his belly in submission, desperate for acceptance.

I surrendered. It had started snowing; he was shoulder deep in frozen flakes, weighed down by frozen balls of snow on his face and legs, and I couldn’t cope with the thought of falling over his starved and frozen body. I decided to…. Read the rest of the story

UFOs over the village

Magura is a brilliant place for cloud-watchers. Any other members of the Cloud Appreciation Society in Romania? This is the place for you. Last night’s sunset gave us a double hit, one puffball looming over Pestera, and a pod of spaceships hanging over Piatra Craiului. Stunning. [For other cloud pics, see earlier post.]

Pestera, Magura, Bran, Transylvania, clouds, Cloud Appreciation Society, lenticular clouds

A giant pink powderpuff looms over Pestera

Clouds, lenticular cloud, Magura Transylvania, Romania, sunset,

Lenticular clouds are quite common over the ridge

Cherry-picking in a thunderstorm

My brave chum Sergiu up an aluminium ladder at the top of my sour-cherry tree, just beneath some power lines… Picking the heavy crop of fruit (visine) for jam and cherry brandy. Not-my-dog Papi is guarding the ladder against the chickens, while Gabriela and I watch from a safe distance. The thunder was cracking overhead, although the lightning didn’t seem to get closer than Moieciu. But you never know with mountain storms, and I was waiting for Sergiu to fly off the ladder, his hair smoking…

Visine, visinata, thunderstorm, furtuna, fulger

Sergiu braving the lightning to pick cherries

Spring? Hurrah!

Amazing what 24 hours can deliver… First thing this morning, this was the sight from my window. Note the snow all over the main ridge, dusting the trees. But also note the sunshine, blue sky and green grass.

First thing

First thing

Three hours later, the snow on the trees had melted, leaving only the rock abve 2,000 metres covered in snow. Spring is here – official. There will be plenty of rain ahead, but maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally seen the last of the white stuff.

Midday, and spring is here

Midday, and spring is here

Spring? Bah!

22nd April. Should be green and balmy, blossom bursting, bees a-buzz, lambs leaping, ad inf. Is it?

Is it diddley.

Here was the weather on my birthday, two days ago. The morning’s offering of snow having melted, this was the next white dump on its way.

IMG_4219 white0ut

And here we are this morning, back to winter clothes. Bees and birds are back by their firesides, blossom is struggling to get back into its shell, lambs are shuddering with cold and the cats are snoring by the blazing fire in my study.

IMG_4221

Spring – WHERE ARE YOU?