With my actions and behaviour I am increasing awareness of how important it is to preserve the soil from chemicals, and how important is the biodiversity. As well as how important it is to preserve the architecture in the local style. And how important art is in our lives. I support Association Kokopelli, the French organization that is fighting to preserve biodiversity on this world. They have over 1200 types of the ancient seeds!
As I am a painter I feel the importance to enrich the people with art, too. I bought the house in 2004. I am not originally from this area. I had my first “Opened Studio” in 2005 and many locals came. None with empty hands, and they asked me more about art than it ever happened at any exhibition I had so far! This year I also organized the first Artist in Residency program in Slovenia. At least 30% it is volunteer work for me. I also have a website for promotion of tourism. It is 95% a volunteer work for me. And it is also for the local people to understand, how beautiful the area is and how special they are, to raise awareness.
I also organise that my B&B guests can go grape harvesting to local farmers. It is a volunteer job, but the guests will be part of the farmer’s family for the day. That means as well eating lunch or/and dinner with the farmer’s family at the same table!
I use as much rain water for watering my garden as I can. I use saving light bulbs. I have an ancient water cistern that collects rain water. The villa was self sufficient for the water until 1960s! I use this water today for the garden. I recycle all that I can, paper, glass, wood… I only drink water in glass bottles that I recycle. I recycle a lot of glass jars and wine bottles, I reuse both. Paper sometimes, and some I keep for my fire place, to start the fire in the winter. I make my own fertilizer and insecticide from nettles (nettle slurry) for my garden. I use my grandmother’s recipe.
I buy all local as much as I can get from the community. I do offer local produce to guests, what ever it is in the season and what ever I’m able to get; eggs, cheese, peaches, other fruits, honey; from Branik and neighbour villages. Same for the staff and contractors.
I tell guests about restaurants and farmhouses, and what they offer. Often, I write them down a menu in Slovenian on a little piece of paper, that they take with them to the restaurant and give to the restaurant owner, who can not speak a foreign language. So, the guests can order the best things in the right quantity, and I make it the way, that they taste as many different things as possible, all in small doses. I also tell them if something is going on as an antique or farmer’s market, an Osmica local feast (and explain them what it is and the history of it). Or if there are other village feasts going on in some other village as well as concerts, theatre plays, art exhibitions… I as well tell them where they can buy local wine and cheese ect.
Many times it is just about knocking on someone’s door in the village. It is very special for my guests to be able to enter into people’s houses just like this. Village people produce small quantities for themselves and here and there they have a bit more that they can sell. A very special liquor they make by their old family recipe, wine, perhaps some little cheese, honey, marmalades. For me it is important that my guests and the village people interact. The village people realize, what wonderful products they make, how much they are appreciated. It builds self confidence and is rewarding for them, as well as bringing them a little income.
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