“Can you imagine, most of my dreams have come true. I’ve got everything I’ve ever wanted”, I thought to my husband the other night.
I’ve said countless times that I want to live in the country, have kids and lots of animals, mainly big dogs and dairy goats. I’ve wanted to drive a Defender since the age of 17 and I remember being hugely moved by the film Welcome to Sarajevo, so much so that I wondered if I’d live there once.
When I decided to move to Slovenia, I wanted to find a big house in the countryside and open it for people for living and working, artists and the sort. Artist residency of a kind.
While I was visiting Ljubljana, in order to organise all necessary things for the move, I met him, the man I was to marry. On our first date, as he showed me pictures of his Sarplaninac dogs living on a mountain in Bosnia, close to Sarajevo, I just gazed at the dogs and gasped. Later into conversation he finished my sentences, in a good way, with the right words. Somehow we found ourselves talking about cars, and there it was, his plan to buy: “Land Rover Defender”.
The residency plans fell through and others came to replace them. But the dream of living in the countryside never ceased. The dogs and the lot, they all stayed on my mind.
And here we are. Five years later, in the countryside, with six dogs and two kids. And the inn, Vukov konak, not an artist residency, but a peculiar place with wonderful, interesting, thought-provoking guests. The two years here on the mountain have been a whirlwind of emotions and happenstances.
But I find that my dreams have all come true.
This country and this type of business demand a lot. Sometimes more than I feel like I can handle. But the times I’ve wanted to leave, I’ve also realised leaving is no more an easy solution. And for months now, I’ve actually felt absolutely happy to be right here!
So what next? Knowing me, one knows there’s always a new dream.
I’m visioning a farm. A bigger piece of land with a house, a bit closer to the inn. (Currently we live on the opposite side of the village from our inn, with approximately 4 kilometers distance.)
We’ve seen a farm for sale, across a forest from Vukov konak, years ago. Back then we were in no plans to move to Bosnia, but I said to my husband: “Maybe we buy this?” I can’t remember the size of the plot or the look of the house anymore, but as soon as the snow melts, we’ll go and see it again.
The idea is to move the donkeys and goats to the farm, a walkway away from our inn. This way the goats wouldn’t bother our lunching guests and steal their foods. Instead the guests could take a short walk through the forest to visit our farmyard, a small adventure.
We are looking to get chickens, perhaps some bunnies and a few more goats. And then some, if you ask me. Our older daughter has a severe love for horses, so we’ll check into that in some years to come.
We would also build a house as a shelter for rescue dogs. The street dog issue in Sarajevo and the whole country is huge, and occasionally we find dropped off dogs at the parking of the inn. (It’s customary here to leave a dog that’s become a nuisance in the countryside or on the mountains, to fend for himself. Over the two years living here, we’ve found new homes for a few street dogs and cats, as well as kept a few to ourselves.)
We now have six dogs, and cannot take more, not for now. However a new critter, Della, came to us some weeks ago. She’s a super dog, loyal and friendly, sweet and cuddly. Loves kids and does fine with other dogs, doesn’t seem to mind the cat either. Yet her owner decided to kick her out – I can’t figure out why – but luckily she found her way to us.
And likelihood is that she’s not the last case.
I hope one day we can afford to buy the land and I can open my own small shelter, that can take up to eight dogs. We’d keep them safe and warm, have them neutered and dewormed etc. and find them forever homes. And once a dog is sent to his new home, a place opens again for another dog to be taken off the streets. It’s only small scale, but
“saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever”
(Quote by Karen Davison.)
As the spring sun is warming our side of the mountain and the snow melts before our eyes, my dreams have few limits. And it feels kinda great!
PS. See some of my dream farm and gardening mood boards on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nepunen
If you’ve lost count, here’s our furry ones as for now:
- Nasko, Lumi, Lotta, Nani, Dona and Rauha the dogs
- Della the want-to-find-own-home dog
- Pekka the cat
- Ansa and Tauno the donkeys
- Ruza the goat mama (most likely expecting new kids soon)