Back to Basic – Part II

My summer holiday last year was a trip to Croatia staying with my lovely friend Tanja. I didn’t stay at a seaside resort or a buzzing tourist spot such as Djurbrovic or Zebrab but a little village called Augostanovec – yes you heard it here first! This wasn’t just a holiday, it was a opportunity to connect with nature. Following on from my blog Back to Basic – part I, this trip has certainly increase my desire to become more self-sufficient.

During my time in Augostanovec I had the opportunity to experience the wonderful delights of the village. I was invited into the home of Ljilja and Miljenko who showed me how to make Punjena paprika  (stuff peppers) a traditional summer Croatian dish whilst at the same time slowly supplying me with homemade beverages such as Travarica a traditional Croatian drink, drunk in the morning for medicinal  purposes…yeah right! Cherry brandy a beautiful sweet liquor type drink made from the leaves of sour cherries, sugar and wine, oh and of course homemade white wine – well it would have been rude not too! What a fantastic why to spend a day well what I can By the way the stuff peppers were amazing.

One beautiful morning Tanja and I took a bike ride to buy some fresh eggs from the lady up the hill who incidentally made the most amazing homemade smoked cheese. We stopped off on the way to buy some honey ‘Med’ in Croatian from the ‘honeyman’ who kindly invited us to pick some fruit off his fruit trees, gosh I was in heaven and beaming from ear to ear. Living this way certainly brings a sense of community with the sharing of local produce with friends and family.

Nearly everyone in the village had some kind of small holding with an array of live stock.  Free range  chickens where everywhere to be seen and when I mean free-range I certainly do.  You could find chickens happily amberling by or wondering along the river bank with no care in the world. I even got to hold a one week old chick. This just anchored my desire to have my own chickens.

This trip got me really thinking – I kept asking myself on many occasions – How could I start to create this way of living in my home town in the UK? It didn’t have to be all of it but just enough to appreciate on a day to day level the simple way of living and to become a bit more self sufficient and less dependent on the supermarkets.

Once can not underestimate the taste of unprocessed, fresh organic seasonal produce. Food is more than just a source of fuel for our body, its about connecting with our food on a more cellular level. Knowing where our food is from, how it is grown brings a sense of wholeness and connectivity with nature. Knowing that our food was produced with love, care and attention, not only feeds ones body but nourishes the soul.

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