I have been emailing a chronicle about my life in the Czech Republic, to my family and friends for the past eight years.  My mailing list has become so large that my internet provider is having trouble dealing with it.  My sister has persuaded me to put my recollections in a blog so that I can easily connect with everyone that might be interested.   At the moment I am trying to continue to write current events and fill in the past events as I have time.  It all seems rather crazy.  If you would like to get emails notification of my post, please subscribe to my blog. 

Who am I?

That is a difficult question to sum up in a few lines. I am an American woman living in the Czech Republic with my Italian husband and Anglo-Italian son. My husband is my best friend and companion. Being a mother has been the best chapter in my book of life. My family is the center of my universe.

I am a wife and mother.

We live in a run-down farmhouse in a small village near Chrudim. When my husband and I saw the house we thought we could rebuild it into our dream house and live happily ever after. The renovation work has stretched on for eight years. We haven’t reached the half-way point yet. The work continues, we have hired some help, but most of the work we have done ourselves. Each winter we suspend the work and then pick it up again in spring. I enjoy working with my hands. I think I am a decent craftswoman, not a professional but I like imperfection. I would rather a wall be a little rough than straight and smooth. Our old farmhouse was built by hand by the people who would live in it, not by professionals. There is not one straight wall in the whole house. It has character and charm, I like it that way.

I am a renovator of an old house and a DIY’er.

I love hand tools; sanders, planers, saws, hammers, shovels, hoes and rake, etc. I have a collection of hand tools, given to me by my father, some of the tools belonged to his father and my great-grandfather. These tools are my most precious possession. When I use my shovel in the spring, to turn the soil, the handle is smooth to the touch. Worn smooth from use by my father and my grandfather, who used the same shovel to turned the soil in their garden, in spring. Most of the tools that I use today to build my house are the same tools that my father used to build his house. When I touch my tools, I touch the spirit of my father, who is no longer with me on earth.

I am a keeper of tools.

I love good food. I have always loved cooking. My mother taught me to cook when I was quite young. I enjoyed helping her in the kitchen. My mother is a great cook. I know that everybody says that their mother is the best cook in the world, but my mother really is a great cook, and so was her mother. Cooking is a tradition among the women in my family. My sister and her daughter love cooking, as well. We all love talking about food, eating great food, and sharing recipes. I have always collected recipes. I was organizing my recipe box the other day and came across my very first recipe, written in block letters by a young girl. I was only eight or nine, at the time. I was sent to my neighbor, by my mother, to borrow a cup of sugar. My neighbor, Bessie, had just finished making a banana pudding. The house was filled with the scent of bananas, vanilla and baked meringue. She scooped out a spoon of pudding and set it down in front of me to try. It was the best banana pudding that I had ever tasted, so I asked her how to make it. She handed me an index card and a pencil and patiently recited the recipe. I slowly wrote in my childish hand forgetting all about my mother who was waiting for sugar. I still make the same banana pudding today. Since then, if I eat something that is really special, I ask for the recipe. My friends, acquaintances and some great restaurant chefs have all shared their recipes with me. I am grateful to all of them.

I am a cook and a collector of recipes

I try to live a lifestyle in tune with the symbiotic nature of life and the Earth. I prefer to use natural principles of gardening and husbandry to produce food for my family or buy from others of like mind. I seek to replace what I take away, to restore what has been destroyed and to leave more for the next generation. I enjoy gardening. I collect and save seeds. I eat in season. I preserve food for winter. I make jams and jellies, wine and cheese. I cure prosciutto, salami and make beef jerky. I keep chickens. I think a fruit tree is a better choice than an ornamental tree for a garden. I think strawberries make beautiful ground cover for flowerbeds, and black or red currants make lovely hedges. Grapevines grown on a pergola over a patio make a nice shady place to eat in the summer. Borders of edible flowers are beautiful and nutritious. Herbs look great planted among roses. I really don’t mind dandelions in my lawn, the greens are tasty in the spring and the flowers are edible as well as make an interesting wine. I enjoy foraging for wild food. I believe that if you live in harmony with nature, nature will supply you with everything you need to live.

I am an organic gardener, a forager and a tree hugger

Professionally, I am a teacher. I teach English as a foreign language. Actually, I would describe myself as a professional student. Everyday I learn something from my students. It is debatable whether I teach them or they teach me. I love to learn and I love sharing what I have learned with others. So that brings me back to being a teacher. That sums up why I blog. I would like to share my experience with others. I love sharing.

I am a student, a teacher and a blogger

Self Portrait