Vici Pole, Czech Republic

June 14th, 2016 in Yesterday

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I am visiting my close friends Jirka and Katka Matula in the Czech Republic. I met Jirka when he was an exchange student at Cascade High School in Leavenworth in 2000. He lived next door to me. He is now married and has wonderful children, Jakub and Kristyna, named after me!

We think we know “old” but we really have no concept. Here in the Czech Republic they know about old. Whenever I visit I make a point of staying with Jirka’s parents who live in their family cottage in the little village of Vici Pole about 70 miles northeast of Prague which is over 300 years old. The earliest recorded date for the Matula family is January 2, 1679, but they came from Moravia much earlier than that, although there are no recorded dates. It is a special experience staying in a place that is seeped in this ancient history, haling from the times of serfs and nobles.

The cottage is comfortable, many parts are updated, but all has been done in beautiful wood taking into account the original design of the place. The red tile roof and dark brown logs from the surrounding forest chinked with white mortar between is in harmony with the original structure. The mortar is made from reeds from a nearby pond, hay and lime from the area. The house has a huge old barn attached, which used to hold hay, tools and farming implements. Jiri { Jirkaś father } still planes wood from the forest for construction of fences, gates and furniture he builds.

Large tub on top for heating water

Large tub on top for heating water

Wood Burning Hot Water Heater

Pine cones for kindling and a bucket of wood to start the fire.

Bags of kindling from orchard pruning. Nothing wasted.

Bags of kindling from orchard pruning. Nothing wasted.

There is a beautiful ceramic stove which Jaroslava uses for cooking. It is wood fired and a major source for heat and hot water for the cottage. A  wood fired hot water heater  is attached to the bathtub for hot baths and an additional source for hot water for cleaning. There are 2 burner propane stove in the kitchen also. When I first visited in 2001 there was no washing machine. Clothes were washed in the tub and hung to dry near the wood fire. There is now a washing machine, but really no need for a dryer.

The family grows most of the food they eat, primarily potatoes, but also apples, cherries, plums, walnuts, tomatoes, beans, corn, lettuce, carrots, onion and garlic. Gooseberries, strawberries, currants grow also. This makes them self sufficient. They also used to raise chickens, geese and goats. They now buy eggs from their neighbors. There is a cold cellar to keep food over long periods of time, so they always have potatoes, apples, garlic and onions.

Winter in Vici Pole

A beautiful snowfall


Ahoy! Christine

First Course

Leek Soup as a first course for lunch, the main meal of the day