Re-Making an Herbal Spiral @ 60 degrees North

In about 2010 I started to take away the grass lawn at our home in Leksand.
As Permaculture teaches…” a lawn is a desert to insects, butterflies, and bees.”

Re-Making of Our Herbal Spiral

The video starts with a hardly recognizable Herbal Spiral. Thai basil and other herbs had overgrown it. The basil and plants there was a haven for the bees, so I replanted them in the backyard on a chop and drop pile (pictures below) that I started in 2006 when I move into the house.
The new spiral took 560 liters of organic soil mix and 80 liters of organic cow manure.
The soil was topped with 40 liters of wood chips as mulch.
On top of the spiral is a sage plant that was on the original Herbal Spiral. Then two Rosemary and two Thyme. The Rosemary and Thyme were purchased at a local plant nursery, and we have many other herbs in the greenhouse waiting to be planted on it soon.

Earthway Experience Permaculture & Eco Retreat Center have many projects and would appreciate your support.
Please visit our Patreon Page
and show your support in “Living the Earthway”

Be It By Fire or Be It By Ice – The Warriors are Fighting Amongst Themselves and Forgetting the Real “Battle”.

In the early 1990s, I started becoming increasingly aware of the destruction of our natural environment. During this time I was attending week-long courses at Tom Brown Jrs – The Tracker School.
He warned us then…” that as the battle to save our natural environment raged over the horizon the warriors on route would become distracted and start to battle amongst themselves.”

We have the planet being destroyed by human greed and neglect, rivers and oceans so polluted the fish and plant life are dying at a rate never seen before. First I became aware of Peak Oil. The concept of peak oil is often credited to geologist M. King Hubbert whose 1956 paper first presented a formal theory. He was literally laughed out of his profession until the first oil crisis happened in the 1970s. Permaculture was developed by Bill Mollison and Davis Holmgren because of these same events.

Al Gore then hit the scene with the movie “The Inconvenient Truth.” The Global Warming debate started. Many of us eco-warriors got on that bandwagon. I feel because we knew something must be done to stop the destruction of our environment.

Several years ago I started to pay attention to the “opposite side”, The Mini Ice Age or Grand Solar Minimum team. The data they show is compelling and seems correct. Glaciers in Greenland are showing a surprising regrowth (to scientists) as shown in the following article – Fastest-Thinning Greenland Glacier Threw NASA Scientists for a Loop. It’s Actually Growing.
Data from the Danish Meteorological Institute shows 2018 sea ice thickness at highest levels since 2004.
In 2009 the Inconvenient Truth foretold of an ice-free Arctic in just 5 – 7 years. Sea Ice levels are Still Going Strong says Onar Am via Liberty Nation.

What bothers me is the negative emotional appeal both side use, the mudslinging and the name calling. What side is correct? Does it matter? I think both sides agree that humans will have a very difficult time in the future whichever scenario comes to be.
Be It By Fire or Be It By Ice – The Warriors are Fighting Amongst Themselves and Forgetting the Real “Battle”.

Let us bury the hatchet as the Great Peacemaker of the Haudenosaunee, commonly called the Iroquois Confederacy, tells us to do. Is it too late, can we make a change, only time will tell and I am asking those around me on both sides of the fence to come together, shake hands, bury the hatchet and let us walk arm in arm.

Earthway Experience Permaculture & Eco Retreat Center have many projects and would appreciate your support.
Please visit our Patreon Page
and show your support in “Living the Earthway”

Support the Earthway – Become a Patreon

As you can see by reading The Earthway Blog posts over the past two years, we are growing and progressing at an amazing pace.

Today as I wrote this, May 19, we have new additions to Earthway Experience – Somartin, we just purchased four pigs.

We honestly can use your support in the following project and programs @ Earthway Experience including:

1. Green Nature Therapy Program where participants come closer to Nature in the Green Hills of Somartin.
2. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Ecopsychology by Dissertation (Ph.D.) for Kevin to facilitate Green Nature Therapy Programs and other future Programs at Earthway Experience Permaculture & Eco Retreat Center.
3. Animals are an integral part of Permaculture and of the Green Nature Therapy Program. In addition to the chickens and pigs we have, we will be adding a cow and many dozens of sheep.
4. Our first food forest garden was planted this year and we will be needing to exp[ant them exponentially.
5. We would like to build a large Solar Green House for your round growing in Transylvania.
6. The roofs of four building need an overhaul and new roofing tiles.
7. We would like to purchase the house nearby and its attached piece of land. In the house, guest speakers or special guests can stay. On the small piece of land adjacent to it, we would like to build a communal living house, with private, semi-private and group sleeping rooms. Attached to the sleeping area will be a large gathering room and group earing area.

There is more on our list but I feel you are understanding our request for your help.

Our Patreon Page is – Earthway Experience is creating a Permaculture & Eco Retreat Center.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

Earthway Experience is Seeking Volunteers

As we at Earthway Experience continue to grow, we are finding that we have less time to accomplish these ever-expanding tasks. We would like to keep a high quality to all we do here at Earthway Experience Permaculture.

With this in mind, we are seeking a volunteer as a webmaster, with at least intermediate and hopefully more advanced skills in WordPress. Maintaining and perhaps upgrading www.earthwayexperience.com as well as photography.kevinjarvis.com.

I have been working with HTML since Netscape Navigator Gold (the first WYSIWYG / Web Design Browser) was still in beta in the early 1990s. As a technical person can see, this site is using WordPress. I am learning more and more about WordPress but as stated above, it is taking time away from my studies and writing and most of all, time away from caring for the gardens.

If you have the necessary skills and a little free time please contact me at kevin@earthwayexperience.com

As we continue to expand we will be updating this page. If there is some area you would like to help and it is not listed, we welcome you contacting us.
Thank You in Advance
Kevin

Earthway Experience Permaculture & Eco Retreat Center have many projects including soap making and other DIY videos and would appreciate your support.
Please visit our Patreon Page
and show your support in “Living the Earthway”

Moving Ahead – Earthway Experience First Employee!!!

Nicusor planting our first Somartin garden

Last September, we were visiting Somartin and doing lots of work there (see post – Somartin Permaculture Update – September 2018). One day we passed the church just up the hill from our Permaculture Center.  We got out to speak with one of the workers there, just by random and it was Nicusor. We asked him if he would like to come and look at our place, the barn in particular. The back side of the barn is, well as large as a barn. The barn was build in the 1930s and time has taken its toll. The outside protective layer on the backside has long fallen out and the cob (mud mix) that is holding the bricks together is missing to about 1/3 the depth of the bricks. Over the course of our 3-week visit, we started negotiating with Nicusor.

 

Natural Stone Tiles in Bathroom
Natural Stone Tiles in Bathroom done by Nicusor

 

We hired him for several individual projects, the first being to tile the bathroom floor and finish the bathroom walls in the Somartin house. He has since resurfaced/smoothed the concrete floors to ready them for putting wood flooring down. He is still in the process of fixing an interior wall in the horse stall part of the barn. Moisture for the animals has over time has allowed some of the wall to collapse. In April of this year, 2019, we flew Nicusor to our house in Leksand, Sweden, to tile a shower in our sauna room. Negotiations began in earnest to hire him full time.

 

Nicusor tiling our Leksand home sauna shower and floor
Nicusor tiling our Leksand home sauna shower and floor

 

Ten days after he finished the job and returned home, I flew to Somartin to again work on the house and land there. Nicusor and I measured old barn doors and the height of the barn among other chores. The next day we drove to Sibiu to a large home building supply company. We had pre-ordered seven pallets of bricks and there we picked out the wood and other supplies that would be delivered the next day.

 

Seven Pallets of Bricks being Unloaded
Seven Pallets of Bricks being Unloaded

 

One day while Nicusor and I were planting the garden I went into the house for a few moments. From the street out front I heard what was a sales truck driving by. Sometimes in the villages of Transylvania people would drive and with a PA system announce what they had to sell. I saw as the truck slowly drove by that they were selling chickens. Chickens and pigs and food for them were on our list. I grabbed Nicusor and out we went to buy our new chickens

 

 

We have many other projects planned and underway at Earthway Experience Permaculture & Eco Retreat Center.
We would greatly appreciate if you would share and like our site.
If you are interested in supporting us, you can find out more at our Patreon page.
Your support is much appreciated!

 

Earthway Experience
“Living the Earthway

Green Nature Therapy Update

Cooperative of the Craftsmen

About a year ago, I had the idea to add an exciting new program to our Permaculture and Eco Retreat Center in Somartin. During my searches on the web, I found some information about Ecopsychology. I started looking for a degree related to this in counseling or some related field in Psychology, either Masters or Ph.D. level. None of them I found were what suited the program, Green Nature Therapy that I wanted to implement.

As I was researching our last post on May 5th – Green Nature Healing – It’s Not Easy Being Green – Living the Earthway “Transylvania Style” I found a program from Project NatureConnect. It is for a Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Ecopsychology by Dissertation (Ph.D.). This program was exactly what I was looking for! Immediately I completed the application that included two (2) 400-word essays, paid for the first course and awaited a reply. The next few days were spent pouring over both of the programs sites Project NatureConnect and their other more comprehensive site, Ecopsychology in Action – Educating, Counseling and Healing with Nature. Two books used in the introduction course were found, downloaded, printed and the reading and studying began. During this time I received my acceptance letter via email. As recommended in the acceptance letter, I called program supervisor and program designer Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D., Ed.D. After our conversation, he emailed me the third book to use in the course and reaffirmed that the course would begin on June 1.

Project NatureConnect Introduction

Over the past ten years, I have been writing thoughts and ideas, that I wanted to share with the world but did not know how or where or even when I would do so. After reading through the Program’s dissertation ideas, I knew where I could use them! New ideas flowed, and together, I now have a long head start on my dissertation. The course is 18 months and a good part of the course is spent validating your lives experience for credit towards your degree. After certain courses are completed, one then co-facilitates and teaching others.

If you are interested in a Certification, Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. program I highly recommend Project NatureConnect.

We at Earthway Experience Permaculture & Eco Retreat Center appreciate if you would share and like our site. If you are interested in supporting us, you can find out more at our Patreon page.
Your support is much appreciated!

Earthway Experience
“Living the Earthway

Green Nature Healing – It’s Not Easy Being Green – Living the Earthway “Transylvania Style”

The two houses of Earthway Experience

In the fall of 2017 Adina and I purchased a Saxon house and barn with 3000m2 (0.74 acres) and the following year we were able to purchase the house and land next door doubling our land area to 6000m2 (1.78 acres). You can read about this beginning of our transition to Șomartin – Transylvania – Romania in our blog bost THE WINDS OF CHANGE ARE DEFINITELY BLOWING…AGAIN . In the two years since we acquired this wonderful place, we have been slowly but surely making this special place ours. If you haven’t read our prior posts, they explain what we have done and you may be interested in reading those then return here. In this blog post I’d like to explain more about our longer term plans.

Neighbors Barn and our new Garden in Somartin

Our original plans in Sweden were to have a Eco Retreat Center and bring people from around the world to live, learn and laugh along the shore of Lake Siljan – Dalarna – Sweden. While we never had any paying guests we did host numerous dozens of volunteers who helped develop the property from 2008 until – 2017 when we sold the property to purchase this land in Transylvania. One of the main “problems” was lack of good space for people to live, no barn and short growing season. A problem in Permaculture is defined as a roadblock in your idea that is eventually circumvented with a new idea, Plan A moves into Plan B. Here in Somartin we were offered many solution to obstacles we that we were facing in Sweden. It is hard to put a number on these in order of importance, so I give you a list and say each was important and together they offered us a whole new world of possibilities:
1 – A large house, with full basement and full attic.
2 – A guest house with large bake oven and attic.
3 – A large brick and oak beam barn with 4 rooms below and full length upstairs (2 stories or levels)
4 – While the land area is smaller it does include numerous mature fruit trees, grape vines, plants and herbs and the Transylvanian soil is literally some of the best in the world.
5 – Location. Location. Location. Leksand – Somartin is 1774 km/1102 mi straight line distance or 1102 km / 1000 mi further south.

All of these synergistically add up to what is undeniably a new home that will provide not only for our family and our neighbors in the village but to those who will also come into direct or indirect contact with Earthway Experience Permaculture and Eco Retreat Center.

Our new chickens getting used to their new home

Now that you have a better overview of Șomartin I would like to paint a picture of sorts, to bring you on a short journey into the future. Imagine not only 4-5 volunteers helping, learning and experiencing Șomartin (we had up to 25 volunteers over the course of one summer in Sweden) but in addition to volunteer opportunities, we will open our doors to individuals, families and corporate and private groups. Green Nature therapy benefits both our health and well-being, it is about the psychological benefits of being in nature and natural surroundings. It is a combination of the ideas of ecopsychology and psychotherapy. In small to medium groups in the beautiful natural settings of Șomartin we will experience outdoor physical activities and participate in social interactions. The health benefits can include the release of negative thoughts, a lessening of ADHD symptoms, and alleviation from stress, worry, and unhappiness. Green Nature therapy has been successful in helping those with PTSD as well. Activities specific to the Șomartin – Transylvania location are numerous and unquestionably beneficial to our very being.

A drying fire in the new Bake Oven

Ecopsychology studies the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles. The field seeks to develop and understand ways of expanding the emotional connection between individuals and the natural world, thereby assisting individuals to develop a sustainable lifestyles and remedying alienation from nature. [Wikipedia]

The village of Somartin has a Saxon name of Martinsville and is centrally located between Brasov in the West, Sibiu in the East and Târgu Mureș in the north. The village has approximately 270 residents and there are several non natives like ourselves moving to the area in the hopes of a more simple lifestyle and to help improve living conditions for all in the area. The area boasts wild boar, bears, wolves, lynx, red deer, eagles, owls, as well as numerous small species of mammals and birds. Here we get up in the morning to care for the chickens and pigs and to gather fresh herbs and berries for breakfast. Days are spent doing chores relative to the seasons, planting in the spring, caretaking in the summer and harvest in the Autumn. But in keeping with permaculture ideals we do not want to become serfs to the land but to enjoy the bounty nature give us and to give back to nature. A circle of giving and receiving. Nature surrounds us in Somartin and we are there to fully experience of this beautiful location. Hiking and herb gathering in the nearby Carpathians in summer and skiing and enjoying the quiet solitude of winter.

Sibiu Judetul (County/Kommun)

Transylvania is a historical region which is located in central Romania. Bound on the east and south by its natural borders, the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended westward to the Apuseni Mountains. The region of Transylvania is known for the scenery of its Carpathian landscape and its rich history. It also contains major cities such as Cluj-Napoca, Brașov, Sibiu, Târgu Mureș, and Bistrița. The Western world commonly associates Transylvania with vampires, because of the influence of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and its many film adaptations. [Wikipedia]

Upper Story of Barn to Insulate and make Rooms

We have the opportunity to purchase an additional piece of land adjacent to our property where we could build a sort of hostel / hotel / communal eating area. Here guest have a comfortable modern in transylvania style accommodations. Group meals build a comradery and a sense of belonging. Private , semi private and group sleeping areas will be available. The bake oven I mentioned earlier (pictured above) was in earlier times used by many of the local villagers. Over time it became damaged and defective and fell into disuse. It is our wish to bring fellow residents of Șomartin together in our project and have our neighbors use the bake oven. The man who rebuilt the over told us it could bake about 15 very large loaves of bread. From our research of bake ovens (we built a small one at the Permaculture Center in Sweden) it is best to use the oven two times a week. As I mentioned above, there are other in the village building new ventures and one will be a hotel. Imagine if they can offer guests bread bake fresh and form just blocks away. Imagine our guest will not only get fresh bread but fresh produce, eggs, cheese, meat and more!

Garlic planted last fall

We will be making more videos, not only on the progress of our Permaculture Retreat Center but also more self reliance subjects. A pair of our soap making videos made several years ago has received over 85,000 views. A new 3 part soap making series already has 2 parts to watch on YouTube The 3rd part will be up soon Our channel address is www.YouTube.com/user/earthwayexperience.

If you would like to help make this vision a reality we would greatly appreciate your help. To this end we have started a Patreon Fundraiser – www.patreon.com/earthwayexperience.

The Cooperative of the Craftsmen

If you like this Article please share and we hope you will check out our other writings at The Earthway Blog as well as our extensive Permaculture and DIY YouTube video library.

Earthway Experience Permaculture & Eco Retreat Center have many projects including soap making and other DIY videos and would appreciate your support.
Please visit our Patreon Page
and show your support in “Living the Earthway”

Somartin Permaculture Update September 2018


September 30, 2018 Kevin Jarvis

We did LOTS of things in our three weeks visiting Somartin Earthway Experience….

One of the first things we did upon arrival was to hire two local villagers to dig out the ditch in front of the house(s) …almost 100 meters were eventually done!!! The neighbor up the street had started on his property and we finished digging out the rest the street. Now the water flows freely all the way down the street. In some places the dirt was over 40 cm/ 2 feet thick!!!!

Harvesting apples from our orchard to make Apple Brandy.

We had started cutting them up but we had over 500kg!!!!!

We realized it may take us the whole time of our visit there to cut them up by hand with knives…

The apples are an old Saxon type. They look mottled or a bit moldy from the outside but looks are deceiving. They are delicious and beautiful on the inside and actually quite beautiful on the outside at closer look!!!!

 We talked to our neighbor and he told us to bring them over as he had a machine to grind them up. Ben, Adina and I brought the apples over to his house, helped grind them and we left them to ferment. Behind us is Dorin’s 120 liter still. It is in the traditional Transylvanian style. He will distill the “must” just before Christmas.

Hanging outside with a friend Horace – notice the “jungle of weeds…they are soon gone…keep watching 🙂

Cristie cutting firewood with the new chain saw.

Slate for the bathroom floor. We even plan on taking away the tile from the entry way and putting this slate in there as well. Much more resistant and will be very beautiful too!
Next step though….in a process with MANY steps 🙂

Nicusor, a local man we have hired to do work around the place.
Started by filling in all the holes in the floor and eventually he will put down the slate “tiles” in the bathroom.
Here he is in one of the very early steps of finishing the bathroom.

A shepherd from the village was cutting grass on our property. 

The barn is on the adjoining property.  In wintertime, he brings the sheep to the back of the barn and feeds them outside.

What beautiful light in the barn!!!!!

We bought 1000kg / 2200lbs of plums to make Plum Brandy !!!! 🙂

Some relatives will be watching it for us over the winter and will get it distilled for us in the spring!!!! Yum Yum!!!!

We lived in the guest bedroom and will do that until the inside of the house is finished. We think we will work on the roof and put new tiles in the next step of the process though……

Before and after with some new curtains in the guest bedroom.

We were invited to a gypsy horse-trading in a neighboring village. Our neighbors Nelo and Marius (who dug our the ditch for us) asked for a ride to a neighbor village. Nelo loves horses and wanted to look at one to buy.

 Ben inside a horse stall.

 After the trading Nelo (in pink) offered us a beer and a bag of black olives to say thanks for the drive there and back. Marius is our neighbor across the street in a white shirt and mustache. Our friend Ben Smits from Melbourne Australia was visiting and able to join us.

Lots of new firewood and view outside the “garage”.

We hired two very talented excavators – Alin and Cristi from a nearby village. Their machine is seen working by the “ruin”.

Ben working with iron spike and hand made “Gypsy” broom to clean out the newly exposed cobblestones.
Talking about archeology!!!!

 Beautiful Stones and Pattern…
Thanks for letting us see them, Benny!!!!!

A few inside shots to show “before” flooring. We don’t know when it will be installed…

  ​

Bathroom with the door removed as we will be putting in a traditional Saxon Door. Next step is a waterproofing sealer over the cement and then the slate tiles!!!

Planting garlic in our new growing area…from seed as well as some of our largest cloves from Sweden

An old “ruin” that was fully uncovered by the digging. In the winter we were able to access it but the weeds and bushes had overgrown it this summer and now we can see it!!!!! Here we eventually plan on covering it with a roof and having a barbeque area…perhaps a restaurant…….
There are perhaps two rooms on the other side. We all ran out of time and Cristi and Alin will come back in the spring when we return to help with more excavation.

The courtyard is HUGE!!!!!

LOTS left to fully expose the cobblestones as Ben did around the well.
But how beautiful and practical it will become!!!!
Thanks again, Benny!!!!! We will save the rest for next visit 😉

Saxon stone bench out in front of the house for relaxing and watching the world go by!!!! 🙂

The septic/holding tank was installed in this area just prior to our arrival. We planted lots of wildflower seeds in the disturbed soil.

Newly and fully exposed cobblestone ditch working as it should. There were many small butterflies flying and enjoying the water there for the first time in many many years!!!! 

Now with the courtyard cobblestones exposed and draining properly and the front ditch open, the house will sit high and dry for many many years to come.
 

Thank you Alin and Cristie (excavators) for all your wonderful help!!!!!

If you are interested in visiting Earthway Somartin please contact us for details at – info@earthwayexperience.com

Earthway Experience Permaculture & Eco Retreat Center have many projects including soap making and other DIY videos and would appreciate your support.
Please visit our Patreon Page
and show your support in “Living the Earthway”

Traditional Heating (with a modern twist) of a Saxon House in Transylvania Romania with Earthway Experience.

April 24, 2018 – Kevin Jarvis

The Barn is on the left.
To the right is the building with the bake oven and a room that was originally a dentists office. 
The house is to right.

In November 2017 we purchased a Saxon House in Somartin. The village has roots back to the 1200s. It is located in the Transylvania region of Romania. Saxon houses have 80 cm thick walls of stone and brick. One main reason is for insulation for warm summers and cold winters. The other more historical reason is that the villages used to be raided by foreign invading forces and brick and stone do not burn.

We were both very excited and we were very lucky to find a house like this one. There is a large barn and on the first level is a stall for 6 horses next to that room is a storage room and lastly a big room for pigs and a cow. The upper floor was used for grain and hay storage.  For people who used to read every edition of Mother Earth News and Backwoods Living and now being permaculturists, it is like having a wonderful blank slate to color and design as we like. Heating system, water system, sewer system and of course the Gardens!

The main floor of the house has three large rooms (street side) a large entry area, food storage room and large bathroom (garden side). The entrance to the basement, which can be seen to the left of the main entrance, has three large rooms like the main floor.

The previous owner had been fixing up the house for almost 12 years prior to us buying from him. His new wife did not want to live in Somartin so her loss has turned into our gain. Even though there was much work done, we still have much to do. The heating system was the first thing we needed to do as well as bring in water, the house had never had plumbing up to this point in time!!! Then, of course, we need to take the water away – grey and black water, so that needed to be addressed as well. 

Before we got going we had to see if the system the prior owner had installed was going to work. The plumber did a pressure test of the old system and the pipes did not hold any pressure, the pipes were plastic and had started to break down! So all the existing flooring in the house and tile work in the bathroom had to be torn out!!!! Even the radiators had to be replaced as the ones he had bought were old and full of rust!!!

As far as the heating system it really was a no brainer for us on what we wanted and that was Masonry Stoves (Terracotta in Romanian). It was just a matter of finding a good company that makes them and of course what model or style of the individual stoves. There are several companies selling Terracotta in Romania and all but one were made in China. It took about 1 minute to understand that the only choice was to get stoves from Terracotta Medias http://www.teracota.ro. The company has been in business hand making Terracotta in Transylvania for 111 years. Below is an article recently published about the company and their wonderful Terracottas.

THE LAST HANDCRAFTED STOVES FACTORY IN ROMANIA! 
CONTINUES A TRADITION OF 111 YEARS.

It’s hard to believe that in these times, when we’re so dependent on social networks or modern gadgets, people get to long for the simple things they’ve grown up with. So, more and more people prefer to decorate their homes with traditional objects that remind of the times when things were skillfully and painstakingly, not as when everything is industrial, by sophisticated machinery.

Such a place that survived the test of time is the terracotta factory in Medias, the last painted handmade factory in Romania. It has a tradition of 111 years and has gone through many stages over time, resisting the political and economic changes that marked our society in the last century. But the love for tradition and for beauty has remained constant.

Here, in the last Medias factory whose chimneys still smoke, as the employees often joke, alluding to the bankruptcy of the industry in the area, things go back to 1906, when Greff Iulius began to invest in the production of terracotta tiles.

Somehow, time seems to have stood in the dusty halls, for although people have come and gone over the years, the craft of terracotta is still practiced with the same rigor as in the past. Even the recipe has remained unchanged. Cahlele are made of a mixture of cauline clay from Medgidia, white caustic clay Vascău, caulin plk from Ukraine and refractory clays from Şuncuiuş – Bihor. Then quartz sand is added, followed by burning at temperatures of 950-1000 degrees C.

This mix of materials makes the stove warm up quickly and the temperature is kept well for hours after the fire is extinguished. 

The terracotta plate is traditionally obtained by pressing the clay cake into a soft wood mold decorated with decorative motifs. The same technique is currently used at Teracota Mediaş, the negative mold being now manually carved in plaster by the sculptor Iulia Costescu, graduated from Unarte Bucureşti.

After going through several shareholders, including the Romanian State, the factory is again in the management of a Saxon, Uwe Draser, the one who bought it and saved it from bankruptcy. Of course, he has a team of people who help him bring this place loaded with history on the waterline. We are talking primarily by Radu George, the plant manager, and a few months, the team is completed by Alexu Toader from Hello Menthol, the  charge of reviving the brand.

“I still can not believe that in Romania, that in the world, there is still a place where people are stubborn to work at the infinitely slower pace in which they have been working more than 100 years ago. The same materials, the same techniques, the same kind of way to do things. I think Teracota Mediaş preserves best the Transylvanian spirit of slow and well done work. I hope that the market and contemporary life will actually understand what these people are doing on earth and how long it lasts, “says Alexu.

Last year, the tiles made in the Medias factory were exposed in Bucharest and Alba Iulia, and the interest of the people was an unexpected one. And that’s because visitors had the opportunity to discover a small part of the complex and migratory process of producing terracotta. Currently, the factory produces more than 300 models of simple or ornamental cahles, painted by a team of painters.

Through collaboration with sculptors, graduates of Unarte Bucharest, and various painters, the Medias factory has the ability to reproduce any model and to ensure the necessary production patterns in series. Thus, restoration projects are possible, starting with old or advanced degradation.

Not accidentally, the factory is constantly working with restorers, foundations and investors in the cultural heritage. Moreover, there is a large collection of Transylvanian cahles and molds, including rare stoves from the Astra Museum in Sibiu.

More information about the history of Teracota Mediaş can be found on www.teracota.ro and on their Facebook page . I keep you up to date with the news when the dates of the next exhibitions are established. Maybe you can see these wonders alive, and, who knows, you decide to invest in a stove to leave to your offspring.

Published 7 February 2018 – http://www.fabrikadecase.com/ultima-fabrica-de-sobe-manuale-pictate-din-romania-teracota-medias-continua-o-traditie-de-111-ani/

There are soooo many models to choose from at Teracota Medias.  As we were deciding the factory informed us that if we were ordering custom painted tiles it would take some extra time. We finally decided on three Terracottas for the main house and on custom painted and colored tiles.  They have already made models in a standard color.

“Pile of Tiles” After several weeks of waiting our Teracota’s were finally delivered!!!

 Each tile weighs appx 5kg. They are put together with cob and bricks and pieces of broken tile for mass and to make the stove stronger.

Here is a link to an educational and very interesting 4 minute video of the making of tiles at Teracota Medias

Cum se toarna o cahla, live de la "Teracota, mon Amour" cc: Acuarela, Teracota Medias, Cuimbold

Geplaatst door Viscri 32 – White Barn and Blue House op Vrijdag 6 oktober 2017

For the kitchen we decided on a cookstove style. We wanted to be able to set a large pot of stew on the stove on colder days and to be able to do some baking as well. We have been interested in rocket mass heaters ,we plan on building one elsewhere on the property though and the idea of being able to sit upon it and warm up was appealing to us. Like the rocket mass heater, after being warmed up, only a few pieces of firewood are needed daily or less depending on the temperature. Teracota Medias had several cookstove styles but none that fit these needs. They told us to look on the internet and they could build whatever we wanted and that is what we did.

Teracota Medias recommends sobars (craftsperson who “installs” Teracota) and only three who can install the hot water heating system. The man we chose told us he had built the stove we liked in a bakery in Austria! He made some additional changes to this stove, like adding the bake oven and like the other two stoves in the house he made it with larger glass doors. Terracottas usually have small metal doors.

Cooking Terracotta in Kitchen.

Just to the right of the cast iron cooking area is a small bake oven with glass doors. Cleanouts are covered with hand made tiles fitting into holes in the stove.

Bench to come and sit on those chilly winter days!!!!

In our bedroom, we chose one called “Saxon” and it weighs over 750 kg. The sizes of the stoves are matched to each room. This room is about 4 meters x 4 meters.

 First layer of tiles in the bedroom teracota.

What differentiates the two bedroom models is that one is much larger and has a water tank installed above the firebox that is connected to radiators in each room including bathroom and food storage room.  This will allow us to heat the house, mainly, with the one Terracotta! 

In the largest room of the house 6 meters x 4 meters there is, of course, the largest terracotta. It is about 50%  larger than our other masonry heaters.

The kitchen one will be used in fall, winter and early spring when we wish to cook or bake and heat the rooms a bit more. The smaller bedroom one used for when it’s really cold outside.

This water tank sits inside the terracotta over the fire and is connected to insulated copper pipes connected to radiators throughout the house (see below). There is a holding tank for the system in the basement.

Snakework of insulated copper pipes through the house, connected to radiators under each window.

Sign over Bake Oven / Spare Bedroom House

 “Cooperative of the Craftsmen – Dentist Section”

There is a very large bake oven in this building. It had been mistreated and over time had been falling apart. We are planning on having groups and friends and neighbors come over to enjoy our permaculture place and we were really glad to have a bake oven. From the beginning, we had thought it needed only a little bit of work but upon further inspection, we ended up having it rebuilt literally from the ground up.

The bake oven before being rebuilt.

The Bake Oven after being completely rebuilt. It will hold over 15-2kg loaves and 10 or so 5kg loaves of bread. The bricks used to reconstruct it are handmade “gypsy bricks” as well as specially shaped handmade bricks for the floor of the oven.

The chimney in front/over bake oven also make this a smoker. Bricks can be inserted/removed in the face of the bake oven to convert it from smoker to bake oven and back. 

A small drying fire.

Look at the pattern and artistry of the brickwork!!!

 Back side of rebuilt Bake Oven

In the room next to the bake oven is a room that was originally a dentist office. We found an old teracota and we did not know much about it. The sobar told us it is a 100 plus year old teracota originally made in Austrian. It was hardly used and had sat in the barn for a decade or more. He found a firewood and ash door also antique and made in Austria.

It weighs about 750 kg (1650lbs) and cooks us out of the room it gets so warm. 750 kg is a LOT of mass!!! 🙂

It has been quite an adventure so far and we have just started! We look forward to putting in new wood flooring and redoing the bathroom. That and lots of fun work outside in the growing areas. 

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Thank You Antal and Teracota Medias!!!!

 Fruit trees behind the houses

 Our street in Somartin

Our barn, house and spare room “house”.

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The Winds of Change are definitely blowing…Again :-)

March 12, 2018 – Kevin Jarvis

Last fall (2017) Adina and I were ready to make an addition to the permaculture center in Sweden. We drew up plans for a large log building called an Eld Hus. This was to be a type of bunkhouse in old Viking design.
 

But the “winds of change” started blowing and after giving the plans to our log builder friend…We abruptly asked him not to proceed. Later that month we traveled to Adina’s home country of Romania, more specifically to her home region – Transylvania. We had been thinking that in 4-5 years we would move here. So let’s take a look…we thought…people say it takes a long time to find houses in the villages here.

Many of the villages of Transylvania were settled and built by the Saxons. The colonization of Transylvania by Germans commenced under the reign of King Géza II of Hungary (1141–1162). For decades, the main task of these originally medieval German-speaking settlers was to defend the southeastern border of the Kingdom of Hungary against foreign invaders stemming from Central Asia (e.g. Cumans and Tatars).

Beginning in the late 1800s and lasting until the mid-1900s Romania’s culture and arts acknowledged great French influences. Bucharest, the capital of Romania was known in the 1930s as “The Little Paris” or “The Paris of the East” and French was the second language in Romania.

However, Bucharest owes to its German-born king, Carol I, much of the systematization and modernization that occurred during late 1800s early 1900s.

Romania’s significant German (Saxon) heritage is obvious in Southern Transylvania, home to hundreds of well-preserved Saxon towns and villages. Saxons came to Transylvania during the mid-1100s from the Rhine and Moselle Rivers regions. Highly respected for their skill and talent the Saxons succeeded in gaining administrative autonomy, almost unmatched in the entire feudal Europe of absolute monarchies. The result of almost nine centuries of existence of the Saxon (German) community in Southern Transylvania is a cultural and architectural heritage, unique in Europe. Transylvania is home to hundreds of towns and fortified churches built between the 13th and 15th centuries by Saxons. excerpt from http://romaniatourism.com/saxon-heritage.html


 

The first wave of settlement continued well until the end of the 13th century. Although the colonists came mostly from the western Holy Roman Empire (and generally spoke Franconian dialects), they came to be collectively referred to as ‘Saxons’ because of many Germans working for the Hungarian chancellery.
 

The Transylvanian Saxon population has been steadily decreasing since World War II in Romania. Transylvanian Saxons started massively leaving the territory of present-day Romania during and after World War II, relocating initially to Austria, then predominantly to southern Germany (especially in Bavaria).

The process of emigration continued during the Communist rule in Romania as well as into the collapse of the Ceaușescu regime in 1989, when approximately half a million of them fled to unified Germany.
 

Now many villages lay in various stages of abandonment. Many are only partly abandoned and some are almost completely abandoned.
 

We have friends in one of these mostly abandoned villages and from them, we got advice and information on several neighboring villages and on how to proceed in finding and hopefully to eventually buying a house.
 

The neighboring village of Somartin was to become a top candidate in our search and this is where we have bought a house, barn, and land. As a matter of fact, we will be going to Transylvania the end of March (2018) to buy the land and house directly next door!

Many coming blog posts will be about our progress here. One will be about needed volunteers during the coming summers until we move here permanently in about 4 years.

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