Dear Lords and Ladies,
the wait is over. Here you see it finally in front of you, the new newsletter XXIV about our community project at the medieval fortified church and in the enchanting village of the hundred hills. And as usual, a lot has happened since the last Movile update, and we don't want to keep it from you any longer!
It seemed as if spring had lost its way this year before reaching Transylvania on the southern side of the Carpathian Mountains, and so the snow was still meters high when the first activities were lined up in March: The first Bazna pigs were ready for slaughter. As agreed with the villagers, we were entitled to a quarter of each animal, which meant we were busy early this year. So, we took advantage of one of the few snow breaks in March to help slaughter and cut up the pigs. Since the meat of this traditional pig breed is of special quality, we sought the best possible expertise for further processing and asked our friend Padre - the attentive reader already knows the experienced master hunter from previous adventures from our newsletters - for help. Under the expert's strict eye and following an old recipe, we processed some of the bacon and meat into Transylvanian smoked sausages ("Cârnați") in the city of Sibiu, world-famous for its salami, which were hung in the drafty attic for another three weeks to air-dry. The offal was cured in hundred bunches to make traditional "Cartaboș", the remaining bacon was cured and the remaining meat was divided into portions. After busy days and one or two quality samples, everything finally went together into our new freezer in the teachers' house. But the effort was worth it and we are very happy that this year we can offer our guests and helpers high quality meat from local livestock!
When the Corona travel restrictions for Romania were finally lifted in May, nine association members answered the sweet call of the hundred hills and set off with motivation on the long journey. After a warm reunion with many Movilians, we also got straight to work, because the list of tasks was long!
Besides bricks for the upcoming masonry projects, we brought wood for our new farm gate, the pigsty and the sun deck. The solid oak components of the gate frame were assembled and painted a brilliant Movile blue, the wall of the gateway was cut to fit, the wood for the planking was cut to size and stored to dry until final assembly. We hope that our new courtyard gate can soon be moved to its designated place and radiate its beauty and elegance throughout the village. In order to improve the quality of stay at the end of the working day at our permanent construction site teacher's house, we decided to build a simple wooden terrace at the back on the space between the house and the garden. The west-facing terrace was used right from the first closing time for the joint dinner and the first Cârnați tasting and was named “The sun deck” due to the impressive sunset.
The next day Aunt Erika asked us for help, because she wanted to tear down an old pergola together with the old vines of the "Hundertbüchler Traube". Without further ado we decided to rebuild it around our new sun deck and also to replant the vines in our garden. At the same time, the fruit trees from our small nursery were singled out and transplanted along the garden, which is slowly becoming lusher. As further garden projects, the outdoor area for the pigsty was tackled and, in addition, an enchanted place of relaxation was created along the back creek. In addition, the back basement room was completely cleaned out and cleared of several hundred pounds of debris, soil and sheep manure to get the moisture out of the old masonry. Hidden in all the detritus, we also unearthed some treasures from long forgotten times! Besides hand-forged iron nails, door fittings and hinges, we could hardly believe our eyes when an old ornament scroll came to light. A quick check on the almost faded remains of the wall plaster showed: It was the ornament roll of the teacher's house used for decoration a long time ago! All the finds were cleaned and will of course be used, where possible, for further restoration work on the house.
And as it goes in Transylvania, it did not take long for the news of the activities on the one hand and the particularly delicious Bazna sausages from Hundertbücheln on the other hand to reach our friend Julius from nearby Probstdorf, whereupon he set off and paid a visit to the lords and ladies of the Churchfortress. The first campfire of the year was lit and the blazing the next projects were plotted.
Already in early spring, more than thirty acacia posts had been cut in the community forest and had been waiting to be put to their intended use ever since. Supported by two horse-drawn carts, the life-wise Movilian Nicolița and a vial or two of ripened grape juice, we thus set to work the following Sunday, ramming them into the ground along the romantic hiking trail between Stejarișu and Hundertbücheln. Two broken hammer handles, a breeding bull willing to mate and a lunch later, this work was also completed and since then the posts marked with a blue triangle on a white triangle guide the hikers of the multi-day hiking trail between the nationally known villages of Biertan and Viscri to our hidden Movile. Thanks to our enterprising friend Julius, our visitors can order locally produced products directly from the families in advance via the new website www.agramonia.com, and they can also book a horse-drawn carriage ride or other activities. Gradually, the offer on this platform will be expanded and provide the people in the villages of the region an additional income opportunity.
In addition to the restoration of the architectural heritage and the development of the landscape, a brief look at our association statutes shows that we have also made it our mission to enrich the cultural life of the village. In the course of a supra-regional initiative by our friends in Hozman to promote the equality of women in society, we organized two workshop days especially for the women and girls of the village and invited all interested parties to the community hall. Under the guidance of experts, we explained how to use computers, for example, to create a resume for job applications, discussed the possibilities of making other products in the village, and strengthened cohesion among the women and girls. We also invited a traveling theater to Movile and spent days advertising among the children for the upcoming shadow theater. And we were amazed when more than 50 children up to the age of about 70 came to join us in the exciting and funny adventures of a mysterious prince in search of his heart. The great success of this project was illustrated by the wish of many guests to organize another event of this kind this year.
Unfortunately, we also had to cope with some setbacks this year. Although we were able to collect enough money in our winter crowdfunding campaign to finance two dairy cows to support the ever-shrinking village herd. But the aforementioned snow masses in early spring caused part of the intended barn to collapse. With the help of some energetic villagers, the first problem was solved and the barn was rebuilt. The second problem, however, proved to be much more difficult! After the village shepherd died last year, a new one was feverishly sought. After several weeks and misunderstandings, it looked at the beginning of June as if a suitable candidate had finally been found. But unfortunately, the new shepherd seemed to care more intensively about alcohol than about the animals entrusted to him, and so the future of the village cow herd unfortunately remains uncertain. We sincerely hope that a suitable shepherd will be found soon and that the centuries-old tradition of communal farming can be continued.
Also, with our second project to support the small-scale way of life, it looked at first as if we were going to have a big strike against us. As hoped, word of our Bazna project spread quickly through the village and we were contacted by a number of Movilians who wanted to help preserve this traditional Transylvanian breed of pig. However, due to the swine fever that is also rampant in Romania, the transport of pigs was banned and it was not possible for us to bring more piglets from the place of origin Baaßen / Bazna to Hundertbücheln. But as it happens in Transylvania, we learned that one of the remaining sows in the village was pregnant and shortly afterwards would give birth to eight healthy and squeaky-clean piglets. Thus, the transport problem had unexpectedly disappeared into thin air and at the same time there was the first successful offspring directly in the village.
Like last year, we are now looking for supporters who want to take over sponsorships of 250 € each for one of the piglets, so that they can find a new home in the neighborhood and the added value is directly in the village. In addition to the purchase of the piglets, which we only want to place in pairs, the sponsorship will also support the owners with a large bag of pig feed per month and each sponsor can taste for themselves the outstanding quality of the meat during a visit to Hundertbücheln. If you can imagine to support through such a sponsorship both the preservation of this old and endangered breed of livestock on the one hand and the small-scale way of life on the other hand, you can simply write us an email and receive further information about the developments of our Bazna project.
Another remarkable event occurred on a sad occasion. At the age of 99, Mrs. Barner, who grew up in Hundertbücheln, passed away this year, and as requested, the urn was brought to the village for burial. Of course, we were happy to help with the preparations, cleaning the church, rehearsing songs, ringing the bells, and welcoming the new town pastor from Agnita. And although it was a sad occasion, we were nevertheless honored that numerous guests came to the funeral, who commemorated the deceased together, regardless of ethnic boundaries.
Finally, we would like to give you a short preview of some further planned projects of our association. After almost a year of planning, we are expecting a large group of the European Heritage Volunteers at the end of August, who want to help us with the restoration of the church castle. The EHV are international students of restoration, architecture, monument conservation and heritage who have made it their goal to help with the preservation and development of European cultural monuments. This year we want to lay the foundation for a long-term cooperation with the umbrella organization and, together with regional experts in restoration, spend two weeks restoring parts of the ring wall as well as the stairway to the church in the gate tower. Already now we want to thank once more our friends of the Stiftung Kirchenburgen and the HOG Hundertbücheln, who help us very much to make this project possible! Also, for this project our non-profit association is dependent on donations to buy materials, to pay the experts and to pay the catering for the volunteers. If you wish to support this exciting project, you can donate to the following bank account: Churchfortress e.V., IBAN: DE07 4306 0967 8234 2302 00, BIC: GENODEM1GLS.
And the best news comes as always at the end! After the Movilebox was very well received last year and we got such great feedback from you, we want to give all friends of Hundertbücheln the opportunity to order an exclusive selection of the most delicious, helpful and beautiful products of our magical village of a hundred hills home in time for Christmas this winter. Also, in this project we are fully committed to cooperation and want to work with our friend Julius to already produce a large part of the products according to the official regulations for small producers and thus create another income opportunity for some of the people in the village.
See you soon in Magicmovile!