Monday, March 19, 2007

A week in my life: March 11-17

It was a good one, despite me being sick the whole time. It started out with a leisurely Sunday afternoon walk through the Karst landscape in the company of a visiting friend and Lyra, who knew exactly what to do when we came across a kal:

A kal, for those who may not be able to read the Slovene Wikipedia article linked to, is a small Karst pond, a depression in the landscape that fills up with rainwater (and may dry up during a severe drought). In the past they were used as a source of drinking water for human households (before being superseded by wells, which offered a cleaner and more constant source of water for human consumption) and for watering the livestock which were driven to pasture every day:

(The pond pictured above is now a road; for more photos and information about Karst ponds go here and here.)

Typically, every Karst village has a man-made kal; a couple of weeks ago, during a village party held in part by the Kopriva kal, a local woman now in her sixties recalled going there to wash clothes in her childhood.

This particular kal, which Lyra so happily made use of,

is a natural pond, located beside a piece of land (one of about thirty) that belonged to my ex-husband and has now passed to our daughter. It's about half an hour's walk from the village along a track just wide enough for a tractor. About 18 years ago we spent several days cutting wood on that land; as we worked, Miloš mentioned drinking from the pond in his childhood, when he and his mother and grandmother would be out there mowing in the hot summer weather (by hand, using scythes--before the land became overgrown by brush and trees).

On the way back, we stopped to play some tug of war:

The weather was stupendous all week long. My health was notably less than stupendous. I had a nasty head cold, characterized by a very sore throat, long and frequent fits of explosive incontinence-inducing sneezing, and nonstop production of vast loads of thick yellowy snot. Lovely. Tea helped. And being outside—it was actually easier working outside than in, though my physcial stamina and consequently labor productivity were low.

On Monday I finished raking the old dead grass and cleaning up the brush around the property, transplanted strawberries, and sawed, split and stacked some wood cut from my pasture in January and hauled home a few weeks ago. Tuesday (having canceled my Ara EFL classes since I couldn't talk) I dug up the garden bed by the garage, scattered manure pellets, planted black currant and white currant bushes (no red to be had, will add later), and installed tomato poles--at the edge of my yard as a slalom obstacle for now, since tomato-planting won't occur till later in the year. Wednesday I dug up the garden beds by the cottage and the flower bed in front of the house, planted a few flowers, and sowed lettuce and radicchio. Thursday I again tackled the pile of wood, sawing the ca. one-meter-long pieces into shorter lengths with the chainsaw (2-3 cuts), splitting the thicker ones, and stacking the cut and split pieces in the shed under the garage, before heading up to Ljubljana for agility lessons. Where I nearly expired, since I couldn't breathe, run, or call out commands to the dogs for shit.

On Friday I took the day off. I had day care for the dogs, drove to Nova Gorica, took the train up through the lower Soča Valley and Baška Grapa to Bohinjska Bistrica (map here), where I luxuriated in the pool and especially saunas at Vodni park Bohinj. Outstanding. I was practically alone in the saunas (just two other people) and the Turkish (steam) sauna in particular was just what my respiratory system needed. For the first time in a week I could use my partially unclogged nostrils for taking in air. Stopped off in Most na Soči on the way back for a scrumptious dinner with a friend, got home about 10 p.m., exchanged greetings with the dogs, fell into bed.

On Saturday we went to an agility competition in Prestranek. No need for an extremely early start, since it's only about 40 minutes' drive and now that we're in dvojka (level 2), we start later. Oli came along and behaved very well. And we got a delivery of seven dog frisbees and got to try them out. AND...we were second in the competition! We had a clean first run (agility)--she did the teeter without much hesitation or prematurely jumping off and she entered and proceeded through the slalom from our "bad" side without mistakes, a performance good enough for second place after the first run. I got disoriented in mid-course during the second run (jumping), momentarily lost sight of the next obstacle, had a terrible line, and she ran by a jump while I was trying to recover, picking up five faults. After that mistake I wasn't expecting to place but other competitors also made mistakes, and we somehow managed to retain second place overall. A nice end to the week, and a good start to the 2007 season.

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Blogger Lilit said...

Monika owns her own pond? I'm jealous :)

7:21 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Jean said...

No, no, the pond is actually outside the boundaries of her property. But anyway it seems to be a "public good"--in the US there would be barbed wire fences and "Keep out! No trespassing! Violators will be prosecuted!" signs all over the rural landscape. Pockmarked by bullet holes just to drive the point home.

Next time you and the Grinch come by I can take you to this pond if you like--I'm sure it supposrts a lot more flora and fauna than the concrete kal near the village (though I did spot a lonely goldfish in there last time).

Were/are you involved in the 1001 kal project?

7:32 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Lilit said...

We hate goldfish. They eat everything (flora and fauna, no matter) and make the water turn green.

Yes, we can sure make a walk by next time. But until then, you should be able to see firebelly toads (I think that's what they're called) and newts at this time in the natural pond, if you look closely and manage to get there before Lyra splashes the mud around and scares the little critters in hiding :)

No, I'm not and was not involved in the 1001 kal, though I'm familiar with the project. I did visit some ponds here in Istria and on Kras, too, during some bio summer camps. But the 1001 kal is a very official project, conducted by the Zavod za varstvo narave from Nova Gorica, so I have no part in it.

6:10 PM, April 04, 2007  

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