Houses of war, houses of vegetables

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7 thoughts on “Houses of war, houses of vegetables

  1. Wow,is it truly like that. I feel fortunate that we have 2 and1/2 acres,but no tractor and small,very small garden. I love your comics I have learned so much. Thanks

  2. I really love seeing those slightly worn, older houses with the long, narrow backyards. It’s such a common but endearingly quaint sight.

    • It seems like, for at least a couple generations of Slovaks, your housing situation defines where you stand in so many other cultural matters, and represents your historical path. My Babka’s parents were forced out of their old farmhouse (neighborhood 2) and into the bytovky towers (neighborhood 1), but Babka and mostly found their way back into the old gardening lifestyle through the later Soviet subdevelopment (neighborhood 3).
      Many seniors still live the old way, in the long cabins without running water, cooking on the ceramic stoves and sleeping in the kitchen all winter. Even younger generations, who must go to Bratislava (or farther) to find work, still have that contact with the old ways. I wonder how long society can maintain such vital contact…

      • Yeah, I wonder how long some of these older customs will last. In Podrecany, where my in-laws live, I suspect most people have modernized their long, older homes, but almost everyone has large gardens in the back, which they can subsist on for much of the year. Plus, my in-laws routinely buy fresh eggs from the people with the chickens two doors down. They also go mushroom hunting when porcinis are in season, and gather various kinds of wild herbs and plants, like nettle and whatnot, which they use for cooking and making tea. They really know how to live off the land, and I always love learning from them (although, sadly, criminally low wages and insulting retirement pensions make living off the land kind of a necessity). Couple that with the age-old tradition of the zabijacka, and I’m convinced these people could survive just fine in the event of some horrible economic crisis, while younger people in the cities (who no longer have those links with the countryside) would just curl up and die.

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