Extra extra, read all about it!

Amazons take over Adriaan’s house in Srednja vas and start producing Walnut Brandy!

Wow, what a weekend. Again! Having had some very interesting real estate work on Friday (selling a flat on prime location in Ljubljana city centre makes for meeting a whole new set of people) and finishing a translation job late in the evening, it wasn’t all that easy to get up early Saturday morning, but the chore to run was a fun one. Meeting central heating system experts in Bohinj to inspect the house and come up with a plan. I learned so much! Had no idea about the heating systems in private homes being run over the internet or phone line. So you’re in Sicily for New Year’s and just before returning home you go online, set the house temperature and upon your return home, you hardly know you’re back in an Alpine country? Cool. I mean… hot!

It rained cats and dogs all Saturday, which was kind of disappointing, but did allow me to get to know Uncle Frank (actually his name is Franc, pronounced FranTS) much better. I invited him over for a cup of tea, then took him to the big supermarket that had just opened in Bohinjska Bistrica, where we had a cup of coffee. Actually, coffee and spritzer. Franc did, anyway. We were joined by a friend of his who happens to be very active in the local volunteer firefighter brigade. We talked and talked some more. These men have such abundant knowledge of so many different issues. Walking encyclopaedias just waiting for someone to let them share the stories.

Back at the house Franc cooked for the both of us. He made a delicious meatloaf of sorts. He soaks groats over night, then mixes them in with a mixture of ground beef and pork along with a touch of salt, lots of garlic, quite a bit of fresh parsley, some onions, a whisked egg shapes a loaf and puts it in the oven for about 45 minutes. Again, we had a long talk.

Late in the evening, Mattie and Joan finally arrived. It was lovely to see them both again! We visited with Franc and you guessed right, we talked forever. Franc taught us about various medicinal herbs, made coffee and served walnut brandy. The arnica ointment he had made soon was put to good use on a bruise.

My suggestion to climb Komna the next day was greeted with laughter as apparently it came as not much of a surprise. When I told them I usually start out around 6 am, the element of surprise kicked right back in, though. We compromised on 8 am.

Flowers Flowers

The morning was beautiful. After a nice slow breakfast we started out at about 8.30. The first half an hour was not very promising and I was a bit afraid we wouldn’t make it to the top. But easy does it and slowly, but surely, we made progress. There were so many people walking up that path it was amazing. The now familiar path offered those same beautiful views and again, all of us were amazed at the beauty and variety of the flora. It changes with elevation with ever new flowers catching your eye and new fragrances permeating the fresh air. Aaaaahhhhh…

Flowers Turška lilija (Lilium martagon)

We reached the top in three hours. I will post photos when Joan downloads them from the camera. Had a nice lunch at the Komna cabin. I don’t think the girls has either “jota” or “mineštra” before and the “golaž” was different from what they expected. I looove jota!

Celolistni srobot (Clematis integrifolia)

Tree stump

Slightly disappointed that we found no arnicas or St. John’s wort for Franc, we returned to the valley much faster than climbing the mountain. Made it back to the house around 4 pm. Joan and Mattie did some gardening. Then we all had a cup of tea together at which point Franc decided he’d teach Joan how to make walnut brandy. Oh, I made Joan stretch so as to prevent sore muscles next day and Franc wisely remained silent, but a look at his ever-smiling face was worth a thousand words. Perhaps he thought we all really needed that brandy, eh? 🙂

Joan and Mattie
Joan and Mattie gardening

Uncle Franc

But first, there was another enjoyable chore to run. We drove off to a lovely place 12 km away with a house for sale that Joan might be interested in:

Pretty House with Potential

The area was lovely. Complete peace and quiet, back to nature sort of environment. The owner’s daughter who was showing us around ran the same charity race as I did – see those T-shirts do serve a purpose 🙂

Upon return to the house, Uncle Franc had us chopping green walnuts in no time.

Franc and Mattie


Chopping walnuts

Uncle Franc

Joan and Mattie
Chopped green walnuts

After the approximately 35 walnuts were chopped, we put them in a contained and added almost two litres of brandy made by the local fruit growers. We wrapped it tightly and placed in a sunny spot where the mixture (stirred occasionally) will wait and mature for three weeks before other ingredients will be added. These include sugar dissolved in water and sage. Then with a bit of magic, the end product will be wonderfully fragrant and rather strong liquor.

Phew was that a long day or what! We deserved a nice dinner and ended up strolling over to Pri Hrvatu where Joan treated us to a delicious meal and great red wine Cabernet Sauvignon barrique over which we made plans on bottling our own walnut brandy. We have already come up with names and labels. If you’re interested, get in line quickly as this “Vrhunski Orehovec – prva letina” (top quality walnut brandy – first edition) produced by “A & A” (Arh & Amazons) will come in truly limited quantities 🙂

I drove off home to Ljubljana. I hear the ladies woke up feeling good and not broken up from the mountain walk at all (I’ll bet it was the stretching, Franc’s eyes rolling or not!). I hope they come back soon so the Amazons can go back in action!

PS: remember, clicking the images will show you larger versions, but the quality is poor as they were taken with my old cell phone. Will publish Joan’s pics when they come.