I was delighted to meet Laurie a few months ago (through Etsy), who told mentioned her "small peasant kitchen" in the cottage her family was restoring in Hungary. She sent me a link to her website, which included several posts about the farm/homestead that her husband's family owns, and the adjacent land that Laurie and her husband Lali purchased last summer.
"One of our favorite places to be in Hungary is the Tanya in Szatymaz - near Szeged (the city where Lali's parents and sisters live). A Tanya is a small Hungarian farm/homestead, which Lali's family has always called this little weekend home in a tongue in cheek way. Many Hungarians have a small house with land in the country, in addition to an apartment they may rent in the town where they work. They can relax on the weekends and get away from it all, and grow veggies and fruit for the table. The Tanya is also close to the train and bus stop, so you don't even really need a car to get to/from the city. The beautiful plants are all a testament to the hard work Lali's parents! We gorged on red and black currants, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, sour and sweet cherries, fresh tomatoes and peppers, broccoli, zucchini, carrots...I can go on - I love this place so much."
Laurie and her husband purchased the land adjacent to the family Tanya. Laurie writes "I think we can start a commune with all the small buildings!... The main house should be restored by... summer , and will be our home base when in Hungary. The walls are mud brick with stucco over it and a tile roof which is conspicuously missing at present."
One of the old outbuildings on Laurie and Lali's property was turned into a Kemence house - an old style mud plaster wood burning oven that is also sometimes used to warm a house. Their Kemence was built by an elderly artisan, who had learned the trade from his father.
"The first room has the opening to the oven - you first let the wood burn down to coals, and then push them to the back and put your bread in. There is a heavy metal door that fits tightly over the smaller hole inside the oven to seal the heat while you're baking. There is a ledge that will be covered with wood all around the side of the oven, where one can sit and warm up on a cool day. This room also has a small table and chairs. The oven gives off a nice, warm, radiant heat."
A local kitty adopted Laurie's family while they were there last summer.
This sounds like a wonderful way to live - family, friends, history, and the beautiful bounty that mother nature has to offer, if only we are willing to nurture it a little.
For more pics and history of the Tanya, visit Laurie's blog Tulipan Farm ("tulipan is 'tulip' in Hungarian, a symbol of love, friendship, and Hungary itself"). I can't wait to see pictures of the finished home later this summer. Thanks so much to Laurie for letting me share the story of her special place!