Sign your name across my… beach

Reason #99: if you’re ego trippin’ you can carve your name into a rock (but please don’t)

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Brač stone is relatively soft, so it’s great for sculpting and carving. I’d rather you didn’t practice this skill on my beach, but if you’re a cocky adolescent desperate to impress a girl (or a boy), I guess you can’t really help it.

Lame, Božidar. Really lame, dude.

And not particularly skillful either.

Poskok wannabe

Reason #97: carve out a wooden snake if you can’t find the real deal

(Mama, ne čitaj dalje. Slika zmije! Nije prava, ali sliči.)

Poskok is the most poisonous snake in Europe and we got them on Brač. But more on the real deal in another post.

This post is dedicated to its impostor, a wannabe Poskok carved out of a piece of wood found on Vidova gora.

The fact that it’s fake won’t help my mom who’s terrified of anything that even resembles a snake. Let’s hope she reads the warning before she looks further.

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The artist is Jurica aka “Lola”, a fellow hiker in the “Profunda” hiking club. It took him about 10 minutes, as something to do on a marenda (brunch/lunch) break.

Natural stone mosaic patio

Reason #87: find pieces of rock in the woods and build a patio

Step 1: go out and find flat pieces of rock such as these: IMG-20140316-01281 Step 2: make friends with a couple of great Bračani guys such as these, to help you carry the rocks, joke and have fun with the whole thing: IMG-20140316-01280 Step 3: have a car such as this one that you don’t mind messing up, then load the rocks into it: IMG-20140316-01279 Step 4: find a skilled Bračanin such as this one, who knows what he’s doing and enjoys what he does: IMG-20140316-01282 Step 5: take coffee breaks such as these, to enjoy the whole thing properly: IMG-20140316-01284 DIY geeks, you may want to see a short little video showing finishing touches on the mosaic:

Olives and olive trees

Reason #72: olive trees are all around you

It’s estimated that there are more than 500 000 olive trees on Brač. That sounds grossly overestimated, but no matter what the actual number is, the impression you get when you’re here on the island is that they’re everywhere. No matter which way you turn, you will bump into an olive tree.

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Photo by Anton Whittle. Thanks, buddy!

Masline
Photo: Masline by Vankufer

You could argue that olive trees are ugly, but I find them fascinatingly beautiful. Each tree is unique and full of character.

Some olive groves on Brač are hundreds of years old. The handy thing about old olive trees is that you can cut them down and let new ones grow out of them.

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A baby tree growing out of the old tree.

Even though olive trees are incredibly resilient, they still need some water and grooming in order to produce good olives. That means that in particularly dry years, or if you completely neglect them, the trees will survive, but there won’t be a lot of olive oil for your salads and grilled fish. And nobody wants that, no, no.

That’s why in early spring everyone goes to their olive groves to groom them.

You’re supposed to saw off some of the big branches and cut off lots of small ones. The aim is to control the shape of the tree for easy picking, and reduce the number of branches so that the remaining ones give you a good yield.

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To get rid of the piles and piles of branches you’re left with, most people burn them. This has to be done very, very, very carefully and in controlled conditions, so as not to cause the fire to spread. Always far from any trees, with buckets of water standing by. And no wind.

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Watch out for these buggers, though.  They can cause bad skin reactions. They’re normally around pine trees, but this one got lost and ended up on this olive tree. I didn’t touch him, luckily.

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Pine Processionary (borov prelac in Croatian) and we’ve seen them here before.

If all goes well, these olive trees will bear fruit and we’ll pick and press the olives in November. More on that in… well, November.

One of the most famous klapa groups in Dalmatia, named after olives – Maslina. Here they are singing about… well, olives :)

Planting your own multi-vitamin (raštika)

Reason #68: it’s easy to plant collard greens and they’re super nutritious

Collard greens, or raštika and kupus, as it’s known here, is all the rage among health freaks out there. And it just happens to be the most basic veg over here, next to blitva.

So, I decided to plant some of my own. With the help of my aunt Nada, who’s  basically my Mr. Miyagi for all the Brački skillz.

IMG-20140226-01076First you get some seedlings from teta Antica (above).

IMG-20140226-01077Then you take a motika, eng. hoe (the tool, not the other kind), and you dig a deep, narrow hole.

Plant the seedlings and water them. Make sure the soil doesn’t go dry until they take.

IMG-20140226-01078I will report back on them over the summer.