January 26, 2013

snowy whirlwinds on Mount Biokovo

First of all, this is not one of my pictures.
I found it "somewhere" when looking for recent information about the conditions on Biokovo.
Great shot however, and if it's yours, my compliments and I'll gladly pay you with a good meal, so just let me know.

At the moment weather conditions on Biokovo are harsh and dangerous.
Strong stormy winds, combined with deep snow (up to two meters and even more), the situation on the top at Sv. Jure couldn't be less inviting to human beings.
And even for the wolves living on and around Biokovo, running from Bosnia's winter conditions, have a hard time finding a decent steak :-).

However very much a fan of such conditions on Biokovo with thick snow and enough traces to have a look at, I prefer to wait a bit, till the wind has gone, and still thán it's not "a walk in the park".

This makes Biokovo a highly interesting peace of rough nature, as the conditions there are truly different from season to season.
Winter on this mountain ís wínter, summer there is really summer, spring and autumn are equally special, each of those seasons extremely expressive in it's kind.
And with extremely I mean EXTREMELY, as winter season there is colder than cold, summers hotter than hot.
Even more special, Biokovo has both an adriatic ánd a continental climate zone, which makes it even more special in it's variety of fauna and specially flora.

But that variety of climate zones and micro climates is typical for this part of Croatia, as each valley has a different climate, due to more shade or direct sunlight, mountain rigs and secluded valleys, and the way winds are moving through this area.

And even when nót going to Biokovo, looking how clouds move over, up ánd down various mountains here (like Mosor and Omiska Dinara) is fantastic to observe.

Currently even Mosor is snow covered on it's high slopes, however there it does not stay long, as when the sun shows up again it's bye bye to that white hat.

So if you think Dalmatia is only interesting in summer,
you couldn't be more wrong !
A visit in spring is more than advisable for nature lovers, and should you be around, as soon as the wind slows down, it's a fantastic scene, even for cross country skiing !!!

If interested, look here for actual weather conditions on Biokovo.

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January 20, 2013

who are you ?

Hello reader of this weblog called "svinisce.blogspot.com".
For quite a while now I am entering pictures and stories to this blog, just for the fun of it, and with no other reason than sharing small talk about our hidden valley in Dalmatia/Dalmacija/Dalmatië and it's surroundings.

Still much to share, so don't be afraid, I'll keep posting as long as there are things to share, and that is a lot !
Suppose not everything is drawing your attention, not all is worth reading and sometimes you may even think "stop that shit, I need information about holiday options".

If that's the case, look at www.malimlin.com as there a good friend of me is making whatever offer you are searching for to have a fantastic vacation in Dalmacija.
Me however, "I am just a piano player", retired, and with no other goal than to entertain you (and myself).

Why ?
Because this ís a marvelous country, and the possibilities to have a wonderful time are unlimited !
Nature, sea, beaches, old cities, history, good food, a stunningly beautiful river called Cetina, and at least two impressive mountains nearby, called Mosor and Biokovo (and a lot more less important but challenging ridges with various names, all worth a hike).

Illyrians, Romans, Ottomans, Bodomils, French (under Napoleon), Austrians (the Hapsburg imperium), all came and went, all leaving traces in the land.
Some of it hardly recognizable  some very obvious (Solin, Split, Trogir, Dubrovnik), all of it worth a day or so, as the Adriatic may be fantastic, you haven't seen nothing if you haven't seen it all !

Now I would like to ask "who are you, visiting this weblog" ?
Was it coincidence, or a specific interest, or even family ties to this part of Croatia ?
Not wanting to open my blog to comments, for once say:
if you have any response, question, comment, mail me at pimdevosXgmail.com.
(In which X of course is @).

Next time another picture/story will be added, for now it's thanks for reading my blog, and have a nice day !

Today's weather over here is cloudy, drizzling rain, about 13 degrees Celsius and about three meters of snow on the very top of Biokovo.
(Check Biokovo weather at: www.freemeteo.com/default.asp?pid=15&gid=3204115&la=11

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January 18, 2013

every day a great day, with such a panorama

Waking up this morning, this was our panorama.
On the high slopes of Mosor Mountains, it snows, so it's cold up there !
Snow came down between 1000 and 1400 meters (the very top there), and stayed most of the day.

Biokovo Mountains is a different story.
There the highest peak is at about 1800 meters (called Sv. Jure), and there it was snowing heavily, close to two meters thick, and that's a lot !

Those guys on Biokovo who work in shifts taking care of all communications here, where supposed to change with their colleagues, but it seems they have to wait a bit till heavy machines clear the road up the mountain.
I would say: helicopter !!!!, a lot quicker, cheaper and a whole lot easier.

Snow conditions like this are not uncommon on Biokovo, which makes it very attractive to go there those days.
Just have to wait a bit, for less "polar"conditions, but for sure gonna go there soon, as these are the cherries on the cake that make living here so very (damned) special.

As in about half an hour it's "let's go", a road trip to Makarska, up the mountain road into the National Park Biokovo, and with some luck we just might see (traces of) wolves.
Or boars, bears, chamois.........
And after that magnificent walk in the deep snow of winter wonder land, a hot espresso and some delicious cake at the sunny boulevard of Makarska's seaside will complete another afternoon in paradise.

With of course a good meal in the evening, perhaps even some roast lamb from the grill in our garden house (with some good local red wine).

Life sucks..........but not for us !!!
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January 17, 2013

no thanks, ne hvala !!!

Today in Holland (and elsewhere ?) lots of vegetables are grown like this.
Mind you, floating on plastic islands in large water basins, with computerized systems to feed the plants.
Factory food, huge amounts of green stuff, they call vegetables.

To me this is a horror scenario, but I live in a small Dalmatian valley, where people still grow their own food, so I guess I am lucky.
DOMACI is the word, HOME MADE the translation of it.

Let me put it this way, as grapes and olives give a perfect example:
Each and every piece of land has it's specific character, less sand, more stones, clay, less sun (not here), more sun (sure !!!), natural water, minerals, even the manure (goats shit) is pure natural.

For wines and olive oil it's obvious, each of them has it's specific taste, and we are gladly paying the price it deserves.
Now think of salad, tomatoes, and a lot more vegetables and melons that grow on natural soil.
Don't you think those are like good wines and olive oils, with a honest, nutritious taste, even with a specific taste due to the patch of land they grow on.

I dó, I knów now we are polluting ourselves, or at least missing the good properties of those vegetables grown outside, harvested from good soil, with here and there a lesser leaf, perhaps even a small hole or a brown spot made by a hungry insect.
But at least it has taste, it has nutritious values, it's góód food !

And however the masses need to be fed, I am not blind for that argument, vegetables growing on waterbeds, computer fed, that cán not be the answer you asked for.
Food means FOOD, taste, minerals, fibers, vitamins, NOT this green stuffing grown on waterbeds.
Waterbeds are for good sex or pleasant sleep after good sex.

In a couple of weeks I will be preparing our land again for a long season of fun, making my hands dirty, looking how our food is growing under the Croatian sun.
Tasty, nutritious, honest, DOMACI food.

Priatno, enjoy your meal, hopefully like we do.

Eat what the seasons offer, don't ask for strawberries in winter 
(unless you live in Australia :-).

January 16, 2013

the greenhouse effect

Maybe not thé most perfect greenhouse you ever saw, but having it both invented and built myself I am proud of it ánd it works !

Size L300xW250xH200cm. (my length plus 20) I created this from steel bars covered with water hose (called Okiten over here) against oxidation problems, covered with UV-resistant transparent strong professional plastic.
The strips of grey tape will soon be exchanged by a more permanent solution, I simply had to build it following the principle of trial and error.

Not afraid to fail in an experiment, some adjustments still are on the "drawing board" (one of the many tiny peaces of paper I fill with my ideas), but it works !!!!!

Had to create a place where my lemons could survive common cold winter storms, having no space inside, and survive they dó, including the greenhouse itself of course.

Left and right on the ground I created planting beds, in the back I built a working table to put seeds and cuttings in small containers, on the right I recently welded a rack for my strawberry baskets, hanging them high above the ground.

It may not be thé solution to stop the worldwide greenhouse effect, creating a rise of the oceans, melting glaciers, destroying eco systems, to me it's simply great fun to see it wórks !

And work it does, that I already know, as my own garlic starts to grow, my celery makes new leafs, and when the sun heats up the interior, I might see some early strawberries too.
When winter season turns to early spring I will be ready to plant a variety of vegetables and herbs, as the young plants will be ready to grow outside after a protected life inside.

To those who are interested, in front are growing some of my Brussels sprouts, and slowly I expand my agricultural to a level in which I can provide ourselves with fresh "domaci" food, all of it organic.

Once more:
Not a "green fanatic", I just like to do the things I do the way I do them.
It's all a hobby, but at the same time it helps, however tiny the effect may be, it does help !

Or to say it in Dutch for once:

"alle beetjes helpen" zei de muis
  en beet de kater in z'n kruis.

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January 14, 2013

I (did) HATE cats

Did I say, I did hate cats, especially when we still had our dog, but that was a dislike I shared with our dog.
The dog passed away after a more than happy life, and as no other dog could even compare to our dog, no animal came to fill the gap.

Until, until we moved to Dalmacija, to our hidden valley, where having cats is as normal as not having snakes, as cats take care of snakes that come a bit to close for comfort.
We didn't even buy or get cats, they just showed up one day.

The black/grey cat for instance, showed up one day, in a terrible state, crying for some food.
From the looks came her name "Sporki".
(She looked like a dirty carpet, translated in Croatian: "Sporki tapet").

Most other cats don't have a name, just "white", "red" or "black" (not on this picture) is ok, as long as they get their daily portion of food.
None of them comes into the house, that's óur territory, they all are free cats, hunting and sleeping when and wherever they like.
We just get their love when they want their meal, and hurry up please !

And much to my surprise I turned from a notorious cat hater into an amused cat lover.
(As long as they stay outside, as inside is and will be my territory, where only dogs are allowed).
Each of them has a specific character and habits, and it's fun to observe them.

Dalmacija does change people !
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January 09, 2013

simple life, good food: DOMACI !!!!

Perhaps the word "DOMACI"does not mean a thing to you, so I guess I must explain that first.
Domaci simply means (traditionally) home made.

Here in our little village (and many villages of Croatia) much of the food still is grown, harvested, prepared ánd eaten in a traditional way.
In other words, people still take pride in making their own.

Wine, olive oil, rakia (pure booze, as a basis for orachovic, travarica and more), all year around home grown vegetables, fruits, potatoes, chickens, eggs ánd.........pigs for a lot of excellent home made meat products in different styles.

Well, let me tell you a bit about those pigs.
After summer has gone people buy one, two or more pigs, depending on the price and the space to keep them.
Long before those pigs arrive figs are harvested and sun dried, and pig food is growing in the gardens.
Those pigs get the very best they can get, all of it organic, in order to put them on a healthy and tasty diet.
The main goal is not to get bigger or fatter pigs, but to get bétter pigs with bétter meat.

All life ends some day, also for happy pigs, as on a cold December day they are butchered, after which the real deal starts, preparing a wide variety of delicacies.
The famous prsut, that delicious salted, smoked, dried, ripened ham for instance, and believe me, you will never ever taste any better than those hams made by local people.
If you have the luck to have good friends in Croatia, ask thém for a slice of their domaci prsut, and you'll never think again the prsut sold in stores is the real stuff.

It would take a while to explain what comes from a good pig, simply everything is used, processed into many delicious sausages, bacon, pancetta, and even the bones are smoked/dried, to provide a basis for delicious food.
AND.....it's all free of chemicals, tenderizers, preservatives and antibiotics.
Which is a good thing to think about when you buy your daily portion of polythene wrapped food.

On the picture my very own ingredients for a great stew, all of it organic, all of it as tasty as hell, nutritious and nót malicious !!!

Food is, and should be, more than filling your tummy.
Domaci is the answer !

Still, I am not a "green fanatic", I drink my coke, I smoke, and on hot summer days the airco does its job, but a lot of things are truly an improvement of our life and a pleasure to learn.
And learn we do, évery day, from all good people around us, and from giving it a try.

So when visiting Dalmatia, try to experience the Zagora (the hinterland), as in those small villages it's still happening, passed on by proud people.

If thinking about a better diet, think about better food first.
And that's not coming from large factories with clever marketeers.

Don't eat LESS, eat BETTER.

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biokovo on a winterday

(Click to enlarge !)
View from Pisak, a sleepy little town not far from Omis.
During the winter season the bura (the dry easterly wind here) can blow you away, while creating a pure and harsh winter wonderland on the high slopes of Biokovo Mountains.

And while palm trees and agaves survive at the coast, up there in the mountains, temperature drops to a bone chilling freezing minus 10 Celsius (and worse).

The town of Makarska is only 30 minutes away, a nice place to drink an espresso under the palm trees at the Adriatic during winter.
For those like me, who like a bit of difference after a lazy sun sprinkled espresso at the beach, it's only another twenty minutes up the mountain road to the very top of Biokovo till the snow makes driving a once in a lifetime experience.

Well dressed, there starts the winter fun  walking into a white world, still looking down at the Adriatic and the islands deep below the mountain.

And for those who like it pure and rough: yes there are wolves over there, but lucky you if you happen to see them.
Traces of those wild animals however are clearly visible, so give it a try (if you dare).

And being the Dutchman I am, during winter entrance to Biokovo is free of charge, another reason to be happy to live here all year round.
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