Newsletter XXIII

Dear Lords and Ladies, supporters, friends of Movile, Transylvanian enthusiasts and noble donors,

we hope that this Newsletter XXIII reaches you in good health. Despite the ongoing worldwide pandemic, we have continued to work diligently on our project this year. Two of our club members moved to Movile and Harbach Valley just before the pandemic started. This was a big advantage and our ideas and projects could continue to be pursued with great enthusiasm despite the very limited travel possibilities.

Products from Movile

In the summer – on the contrary to our plans - unfortunately only a few guests were able to enjoy the flavors of our lovingly arranged diverse vegetable and herb garden directly on site.  Unaware of the dire situation they all became ripe: onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, carrots, beans, marigolds, corncobs and so much more. So, in order to be able to enjoy all the wonderful products from our garden at a later date, we set about weaving elaborate onion plaits, using our drying frames in shifts and delving even deeper into the secrets of preserving. We sincerely hope that next year you will have the opportunity again to enjoy and savor the produce directly in our garden.

Of doors and gates

As announced in our last newsletter, work on the doors and gates of the teachers' house was also unstoppable on the agenda in late summer. During the preparation we noticed that in Transylvania more and more traditional wooden doors and gates are disappearing from the facades of farmhouses and are being replaced by industrially produced steel doors. This changes the appearance of the houses and the villages considerably. Therefore, there are initiatives in Cluj and Timisoara, for example, which financially support the restoration of old (wooden) doors and gates. Friends of ours are now doing this in Medias, too. You can get a small impression of their work and the beauty of doors and gates here:

Gate project no. 1 - The woodwork

The work on the wooden frame of the two-part gate started in early August. Under the guidance of Alex Herberth, an experienced carpenter from Cincu, Vicky, Marie and Aaron cut the friezes (outer frame parts), planed them (several days by hand!), carved 24 wooden nails with millimeter precision, worked out mortises and tenon holes with a chisel and, kept all the tools sharp. Almost all work was done by hand and most importantly, with traditional tools. We had the opportunity to learn what and how to use a rebate plane, plaster plane, scraper and cheek plane, caliper, chisel, clapper and much more. With the finished woodwork we went to Micha in the smithy to make straps, post shoes and gate fittings. Finally, everything was put together once for testing and voilá, it fits!

The result is definitely impressive and we are sure that we have created a role model example. During the frame construction in Cincu some villagers came by and were enthusiastic about the work. We would especially like to thank Vicky, without whose enthusiasm, motivation and strong upper arms nothing would have happened during the gate construction, and Aaron and Marie for their brisk cooperation!

Door – Intermezzo

In the meantime, Ines, Matze, Anatol, and Felix have also arrived from Germany, and immediately and cheerfully swung their brushes and impregnated the new frame with oil. At the same time, they worked the old frame of the front door. So, fortunately besides the gate, our house also got a new entrance door this season. The entrance door was manufactured and mounted by Thorsten Hültsch from Sighisoara. Now, in addition to the white windows of the house, the door also shines in a new splendor and gives the house a respectable appearance again.

Gate Project No.2 - The masonry and stone work

After a short break, work on the archway continued. Unfortunately, the two columns supporting the ledge were crooked and had to be straightened for the new gate. The foundation stone, on which the gate's fittings will later rest, was also broken. After consulting numerous experts with many different opinions, we decided to take on the recommendation to upgrade the existing stone in the wall. We removed the broken support corner, and added new foundation stone of approx. 30X40x80cm. Stonemason Ionuț Dobra helped to chisel the stone and insert it with millimeter precision on the appropriate support spot.

Afterwards we had to replace the supporting beams (many thanks for the help of Henner, Bretzel, Katja and Gabi) and to build a new cornice / roof over the gate. Luckily, we also had the support and motivation of Anja and Seba from Apold as well as Rainer, Sonja and Marja, with whose help we managed the whole thing within two days! Mixing mortar (out of marsh lime, sand and water) by hand, dragging bricks, straightening, cutting off edges, placing roof tiles and watching how the hands slowly dissolve through the lime despite gloves, also brought us a little closer to the joys of bricklaying.

And so, everything is now ready for the final work, which will take place in the course of autumn/winter. The gate will then be inserted and the filling (whose design is still under discussion) will be worked in. As you can see, many different people from the Harbach Valley and the surrounding area came together to work on this project. The mutual support and community are worth its weight in gold, and are for us at least as important as the accomplished work itself.

Movile Box

Many Movilians are dependent on subsistence farming. This means that they do not go to work for 40 or more hours a week and buy the products of daily life in the supermarket, but they work when the opportunity permits them. As there are little income opportunities in the village and the region, they work in intervals of several months in Western Europe as underpaid asparagus cutters, in slaughterhouses, packaging plants, care for the elderly, and so on. In the remaining time they produce food for their own use, especially animal products and traditionally preserved food from the garden or from the market. If you have ever tasted such local produce, you will know it is in flavor and quality incomparably better than the mass-produced supermarket goods. There are many kitchen gardens, where delicious vegetables and fruit of all colors and shapes are grown. On the other hand, there is also a number of animals distributed in the farms, the village green or on the common pasture, e.g. chickens, geese, pigs, sheep, rabbits, ducks, goats, cows and horses.

The readers of our newsletters know unfortunately that such traditional way of life and local production is increasingly forced to be abandoned. Anyone who works in the agriculture in another country cannot afford to cultivate fields or keep animals themselves. In our village we notice this development most clearly in the rapidly shrinking herd of village cows and the transformation of the formerly diverse fields and meadows into pure corn fields by foreign agricultural investors. This year, the measures taken to contain the Corona pandemic have meant that for many people even the source of income from underpaid work abroad has been lost without replacement, despite the numerous and questionable exceptions for seasonal workers in agriculture and slaughterhouses.

We are advocating to break the vicious circle described above and help interested people to develop their own local sources of income and to establish their own production. We are aware that this cannot be done quickly, e.g. by investing in large, conventional production facilities that can compete with world market prices. Rather, the traditional production methods, which fortunately have not yet been forgotten, should be taken up and gradually developed in cooperation with the village population. We have therefore decided to support the idea of the "Movile-Box", which was launched this year in the spirit of solidarity agriculture, in order to take the first step towards promoting local production.

In the "Movile-Box 2020" eight to ten delicious local food specialties, natural cosmetic products, lively stories and other surprises from Moville are placed on a fragrant bed of meadow flowers and packed in box. The box is suitable as a gift for others or one self. At the same time, it will support the establishment of a long-term local production and the inhabitants of our village in current difficult times. If interested you can get more information about the project and order the Movile-Box for only 35 € at the following address: Of course, the Movile box is also an ideal Christmas present for all Transylvanian lovers, adventurers and bon vivants. The earlier the order is received, the more likely it is that it will be delivered in time for the holidays - only while stocks last! Depending on demand, the supply will be expanded in the coming years, new products will be tried out and the cooperation with other villagers will be expanded.

Winter Meeting

As usual, we will end the activities of our association this year with our legendary Churchfortress winter meeting - only to start directly afterwards into the next association year. Of course, we have to keep our distance in the face of the worldwide pandemic, so the lords and ladies of Churchfortress Castle will make themselves comfortable at home this time and use all the technical possibilities to meet virtually. We will reflect on the past year, conjure up the great Movile spirit and make new plans for our upcoming, sixth year. Stay curious about what we are up to this time, and we will keep you informed.

Greetings from Newsletter Editors

Jonas, Katra & Yot