A week at the Gilicze Farm at Téglás

Printer-friendly versionSend to friend

Prior to my report of experiences and lining up the most important pieces of my remarks  Gilicze, I would like to say thank you to the familiy's members I got to know, Zsolti, Uncle Feri and Aunt Jutka, who received us with impeccable love with my friend Gábor Király.

In my opinion, such an act means a big sacrifice and huge undertaking for everyone, especially at a “tanya” [typical Hungarian homestead and farm mostly at scarcely populated areas of the Great Hungarian Plain].

For a part of the readers, it may not be understandable why I write that it is a bigger issue to be guests for someone at a tanya than generally, so i will give a little explanatory information, which is also the first piece of my remarks. At a tanya, uninvited or not expected guests are treated as enemies. This specifically means that if an alien dog or even a magpie happens to wander here, then the gun is immediately turning up, or that if an unknown car passes the “dűlőút” (meaning: dirt road serving especially local transport), it is looked at thoroughly and tanya-dwellers are trying to decide what bad are its passengers up to. At first, I am surprised by this relationship to aliens as someone who is living in a safe suburb belonging to Budapest, but soon I realised that they have good reason to relate to aliens with conditions – and knowingly harmful animals, because a dog can be after a chicken it can easily catch, and unfortunately some of our fellow people (fortunately, only a little number of them) who desire someone else's straw bale. The example of the straw bale is really specific, since – as Gábor mentioned earlier – we have been piling up a stack at Zsolti's neighbor, Robi, for which we first collected the bales after harvest from the rye and wheatfields, well when we were heading to these fields, it was mentioned that perhaps the straw baled for a good deal of money a few days earlier will not be there.By the way, straw. Maybe the difference between straw and hay is also not clear for all readers. I hope it is for me, and I can broaden the range of knowledge of those readers who are in similar situation about this topic as I was earlier. So I managed to know that straw is the stem of the different cereals that is left at the fields after harvest, then gets baled and put under animals such as cattle. I would like to mention that there are furnaces especially made for straw bales of which I was very surprised, since I would not had thought that straw has a heating value that makes it worth  heating with exclusively. And hay is the fodder harvested for animals, and its cultivation has no other purpose than providing forage, not as in the case of straw.I would like to mention Robi here too. I assume a great responsibility to write about him. First, maybe the less significant aspect of his biographical feature of Robi from the perspective of my report is that he had been employed as a “meadow guard”. What is a meadow guard exactly? This is something that should be elaborated in a few words, because I am not sure that the group of those who are interested know clearly  a meadow guard is. He has, or should have, a significant role in the above mentioned “Security at the tanya – with a weapon or as a guest?” topic. The meadow guard is the one who keeps order at the tanya world, his role is similar to a sheriff. These officials are those with the help of whom, if necessary, Zsolti and his family could perhaps even leave the tanya for itself. Gábor also already reported on that in detail. It was unbelievable to think about that there is that building with the yard and the many false acacias and all this hasn't had a moment without seeing every act of humans for decades. Well, the number of these guards had been reduced by so much that it is absolutely impossible for them to do the security control of the area. Robi served at Téglás, where he later bought his farm and where Zsolti and his family are conducting farming. He got closer to the are during these years, which resulted in that a year ago, he continued his life here. He and her partner are fresh immigrants to the tanya world. So people exist who undertake to start life at a tanya, leaving their former way of life. Of course, there is a lot to learn for them about what kind of measures are needed during everyday life at a tanya. But Zsolti and his family are helping a lot in this learning process to Robi, who are of course not starting to farm at a land of 80 hectares but rather working to start their touristic entrepreneurship. Jumping back to the start of this entry, I have to thank Gábor that he wrote with impeccably crafted sentences about the tanya world, its traditional way of farming – that is also typical of Zsolti and his family –, and about the structure of the Gilicze tanya that was our home for a week too, so threfore, I will omit these information and because I could have only provided inferior description.
Here, I would like to continue with my second defining impression that what kind of preconceptions Zsolti and his family – according to my feelings – had about us, kids of Pest. For me, as I envisaged earlier, there was no “culture shock” arriving at the tanya and during the period spent there, maybe our guests expected this from the other direction, the easy-going youth of Pest without any agrarian knowledge. I hope that by the end of the week, we managed to persuade them a bit that we too got to know at an early stage what a sunflower looks like, the characteristics of a living chicken and we can recognise a wheat field if we are passing it, and that in agriculture, work that is not hard, long and physically demanding is rare, but similar can be found even in Budapest, moreover, I can say that I had to do work like this God knows how many times.According to my opinion, the characteristic of people living at a tanya that is most respectable is that they are doing their everyday work with extraordinary diligence. They do everything necessary at the first possible moment, and there are a lots of these. Therefore it was such an antagonistic feeling that there is always work to do, so it must be done, possibly immediately and quickly, but life seems very slow and it shows permanence, for example with the daily routine concerning animals. It is calm, leisurely for example when they spend long time with telling stories and besides that or maxbe in contrary to that I was also feeling impatience sometimes from them that I must attribute to that they are the sole determiners of the schedule of their work and they are not used to take other people's rhythm into consideration, that can also be the reason why they are not eager to employ workforce other than theirs to do the task of the tanya. (I must add that their financial situation would also make employing the necessary number of workers impossible.)I think that the myriad of discussions are among the most enjoyable experiences provided by members of the Gilicze family, among which there were some introducing deep topics, and at another times, colored by funny stories and usually about agricultural-professional knowledge. It was interesting to me that silent moments could have been only during work, but we have been talking during every moment spent together. Of course, we were highly curious about each other, but I thought to discover that people at a tanya spend a lot of time alone, therefore they use every opportunity to talk.Maybe the most important topic of our many discussions was about buying land, which I thought I must mention here by all means. The machinery of Zsolti can do almost every kind of agricultural work, furthermore, they would be able to cultivate another fields with them. They have consciously built up the machinery park to be able to do work needing machines themselves after further land buying. But they cannot buy lands, because no one sells, although there are fields nearby that could be bought – for example, fields owned by the state. So, Zsolti and his family would like to farm on other fields, but they have no opportunities to do so, the reasons for which are being out of their control, therefore they hope that the current leadership of the country will help the chances of young farmers getting lands.
An even more serious and timely topic for a long time is the electricity service at the tanya. They badly need to be plugged into the electric grid. It would also be important not to pay tens of millions of forints for that, because unfortunately they cannot produce such an amount of money. But it would be an unbelievable reduction of costs for them, since the aggregator needs a lot of fuel. Electricity is needed. Not only because it is necessary for e.g. pumping water or welding, but because in my opinion, it is unacceptable in our times to be available to make a lightbulb work if someone needs to do so.But the most impressing feature of our guests' life for me was the one concerning food and eating, that they consume impeccable, healthy meat, vegetables, fruits, milk, eggs, from their own, well-known lands, animal stock. Besides this, it could be a comforting feeling that besides the everyday hardships, food needing a lot of work is available to them every day and they are not vulnerable about their feeding.I would like to summarise an outstanding week of the summer with this, since I thought that it is more important to write down the following than giving a report on what we have done in detail. I would not like to specifically enumerate my experiences, because unfortunately I would be unable to transfer the whole set of experiences as I would like to do. I again say thank you to every member of the Gilicze family for their hospitality, for that they shared a lot of knowledge with us, for the excellent foods and all in all, for the week spent at the farm.

Dénes Papp