Saturday, October 7, 2017

8/14 Zolines Eve

8/13 footnote
Forgot to add that we went to Zemyna’s kankles concert in the temple; the acoustics are wonderful and she played many selections from her CD [which I have in stock.] Another thing I forgot was how horrid the mosquitos were. The weather was lovely; 70-80 degrees, rare rain, but vicious mosquitos 24/7.

Today we worked on projects. Left Max to hammer away with the smith and hang out with all his new friends. I spent the day catching up with a lot of my friends. Around 2 pm, Inija informed us that the ‘Foreigners’ were in charge of preparing Dinner for everyone that evening.
Zdenak on drum in the temple

Zdenak [my Czech friend] was livid. Why had no one told us sooner? He could have made Czech food, but with less than 4 hours to prepare it, it wasn’t going to happen. [It takes at least an hour to go shopping, and at least an hour to boil a cauldron of water.]
I gathered all eight of us together, and raided the cupboards at Inija’s. I sent the guys off to build up the fire and fill the cauldron and boil the water.
Foreigners hard at work
My instructions for the cauldron were almost medieval: Take 50 pounds of pasta + 5 pounds of chopped up carrots and add to a huge cauldron of boiling water.
Zdenak had said he’d take me to the restaurant in Sariai about 3 km away for ceburekai. And he was in such a temper over dinner, I thought the excursion would do us both good. The lady who makes them is very talented. They are basically a thin, crispy fried dough stuffed with meat or cheese or both. They cost 1.3 euros and are so good. We ran into some others from camp enjoying cold beers, and had one with them while we waited for our order. We each had one on-site, while the cook made me three more cheese ones for later to go.

When we went to check on the foreigners around an hour later, I had them dump out a third of the water or it would have taken hours to boil. I had set all the women various chopping tasks; one did the carrots, one chopped and fried up three different onion sides; one with mushrooms, one sauteed, and one caramelized. They were all delicious.

We had good bread and butter,  two bowls of grated cheeses, sour cream, and a lot of spices and condiments to add to your taste. We actually had all of it ready to serve just before 6 pm. Inija was astonished. She said it was the first time ever that dinner had been served on time.
Several of the ‘foreigners’ complimented me on my organizational skills. Almost everything was eaten. There were only about two pounds of the carrot/pasta mix left over.

No time to rest on our laurels. Tonight was the Talent Show in the ‘Conference Center‘ [an old barn]. I’d signed up for #4. It was quite sophisticated for its rustic setting. Spotlights were muted with baskets which soften the glow on stage. There were even footlights [held up by hand].
Note the basket lamp in front of the wheel

The first act had shared the stage with me before: A man who played the didgeridoo. There were about 10 performers. The photos of me were taken by others, including Max,

but I managed to take one of Lithuania’s newest TV star, Vetra, the youngest
Vetra on the left
daughter of Inija and Jonas Trinkunas, who appears on “The Vikings” with two of her BFF’s.

The highlight of the evening for me was my Belgian friend and his daughter [I let them camp  and park - they drive to summer camp from Belgium - on my property every year. He read an apology  [this kind:
a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.:
"a specious apology for capitalism".
synonyms: defense of, explanation of, justification of, vindication of, apologia for]

explaining why Lithuania ‘pledges allegiance’ under [the] Sun, instead of under God. Very enlightening, and I could write an entire essay on his explication. Brief version: there are many gods and religions in Lithuania, but there is only one Sun, and so, the Lithuanian government kept 'under Sun'. [Note: Lithuanian does not use articles; a, an, or the, but they are implied.]

It was also the night before Zolines [second harvest festival dedicated to Zemyna the Earth Mother and her grain, specifically, rye.] That meant there would be a ‘pirtis’ [a wet sauna for ritual and personal purification]. I’d seen smoke from the chimney while we were cooking. I’d explained what it was to Max and we grabbed towels and headed over. The guys were dumping hot coals on the grass near the creek that feeds onto the lake. The pirtis wasn’t quite ready. I left Max with the men to learn its mysteries and went back to my place and was just falling asleep when Max returned around midnight. He was so excited; he told me he’d taken a pirtis four times! It was now cooled down enough for the women, but it was too late and too dark for me.

When I first came to our village last century, and we would fire up the pirtis house, the men went in first to fill the iron hot water tank and build up the fire till it was very hot and steamy inside. When they were done they would all jump in the creek, and return to the main house for food. The women and children were next, and I started out on the floor with the kids. There was no plumbing in the village at that time, so this was how we were all able to bathe and have hot water for dishes and laundry; it’s a very efficient system. The next day, the old folks came in to bathe. I guess I’m one of the old folks now; I went over around 6 am when I arose and had the place to myself. Washed my hair, washed myself, soaked my feet in birch leaves and herbs. Did NOT throw myself in the creek, but felt wonderfully prepared for the rest of the day and all the packing and cleaning yet to do.

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