Moonshine Transylvania Style – Survival In Romania Part VII

The long arm above the barn well  the well we use for the animals has a counterweight of bricks and old metal on one end to make it easy to draw up water with a bucket to be poured into the drain to run under the ground down to the cow tank. The ground has a strong slope here, so we just reach into the well a bit, upend the bucket so it pours into a drain at the back running down to the tank. It works a treat, although it is a lot of work. We did this for years, and then last year decided to splurge and there is now running water in the barn and to the tank with new plumbing and a small pump. Nothing wrong with labour saving.

The tripod is there to swing the cement rings, one by one, into the well. There are two men down in there to shepherd thering into place around them. Then one will get out, and the other will dig in a circle around underneath the ring to let it down even further. Generally they start dropping rings in when the hole is about 6 rings deep. The man down in there has a ladder with him and serious rope under his arms so if the sides cave in, he can be winched up through whatever dirt has collapsed on him. Its dangerous and hard work but this is how its done. The last ring to go in will have the full weight of the 8 above it to push it into place. Digging out below the bottom ring is talented work, and the gypsies who do it are in good demand. Three seasons a year that is. They go hungry a lot during the winter. No gardens. Chickens only animals. No planning ahead. AT ALL!!!

The Carpathian Mountains are honeycombed with springs and small rivers. The little man in the grey jacket is a water witch. He works for our village and the whole area around us. He won’t take money for finding water… but he will take ‘maintenance’, consisting of say, a basket of mixed meat and veg and a litre or two of palinka for finding water. Amazing how it works. He’s NEVER wrong. He wandered around the back garden for about an hour twitching, and finally said “Here. About 4 metres down, the well needs digging out to about 8 metres to be pure.” He was absolutely right.

My husband perched on the well lid (it’s in two pieces so we can fold open half to get to the bucket and drain. My daughter is fussing with the cows. The dog is one of two who run loose when we’re outside, and also during the night. A few years back, two gypsy lads managed to break into our back shed. The dogs heard it happen, and kicked up an Almighty storm out back. We went out to find that they had the lads stranded INSIDE the shed. Seems the boys managed to get in, but the dogs wouldn’t let them out. My husband got a couple of neighbors to come round, and they hauled both lads home… roughly. Very roughly. Gave them to their families and suggested next time the lads would be taken to hospital. Terribly embarrassing for the boys – they were caught. Easy for the family… no fines on the parents for their children’s’ bad behavior. Nice for the dogs – double portions of breakfast. And finally VERY nice for us to know the Rotties really do their job. The dogs should have been left to carry on… the lads came back months later and the same thing happened… except we phoned the police that time.

People’s property was confiscated by the state to start the Collective Farm movement. In 1989, when communism fell, SOME people were given land back. Often not the original parcels, often not as good. Because of this, small farms are now scattered all over the area. A field here, a smaller piece there. all involving people’s need to spend time on the road to get to the property and fields. Communism was pure and simple hell, and its legacy remains in a thousand different ways. Its my understanding not one Jewish person was given back land. I may be wrong on that, but don’t think so. Shameful.