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From the valley of Váh nad Považskou Bystricou to the west I reach the valley ending at the foot of the mountains. In the valley, deeply cut into the Javornik Mountains, the village of Papradno is situated. On a hill above it a throne farm, where these days the bells of sheep and lamb are heard.
Salašu with nine sheep "command" the batter Peter Gazdík. The native of Great Krtíš strayed to Western Slovakia as part of the Wallachian tourism, as laughing about the work of the shepherds. The sheep came naturally as a boy, and this work was done by his father and dad, and as he grew up in such an environment, he naturally got to him. When asked whether his son would follow the traditions of his family, he responded with an eyebrow: "Agricultural work is still fun, but what will it attract when it arrives, I do not know. He has a lot of time to make serious decisions. "
Once in the winter, comfort
People have the idea that the footwear in the winter does not have a lot of work to make a choice somewhere in the hot furnace. Modern winter farming is also in winter during the sheep work over the head. "It was so. Bača on Mitra (October 26) drove the sheep to a village where their hosts dismantled, so the grazing season ended for him. The work began only on Good Friday, when the boy walked through the hosts and picked the lamb into the breed and prepared a herd for a pause. As big as we have here, there are still many robots. We have to keep the sheep to winter, shred, defecate, then begin mowing that lasts for eight to ten weeks. When the young are young, it is in the sheep robot from morning to morning, "he brought us out of the error of the bat. Every three hours you have to go look at the sheep, weigh the sheep with the lamb in the crate. Care is taken to care for lambs, to prepare them for the transition from milk to plant food, to learn how to eat both the fodder and the fodder. It is also important to treat the nails so that the animals have nice hooves and do not cry. Finally, the preparation for milking and the "divorce" of the sheep comes in turn. "Winter is not at all idyllic at all," Gazdík said.
Bacha is not a loner
He also refuted another rumor that it was a loner profession. "It was always a collective work. Valas grazed the sheep, sucked them twice a day, and drank the milk. In addition, he cooperated with the hosts' reeve. It was necessary to adhere to the rules in the distribution of milk and cheese to the individual hosts, when and how much to solve, to manage the work of the gelding. Today, for the 900 sheep in winter we need just three, in the summer, when they are on a parachute, three doja and two grazes. We process the milk here on the farm, we eat it mechanically, and we need clean water for hygiene. In addition, everything is also sold, dairy products, meat and live sheep. Many take lambs to sap the gardens. The kitchen needs lamb, bryndza. Even young people get used to the lamb, "he was screaming. In the past, the pigs were kept in the hosts, the meat was processed, something was being considered, the beef and barnacle supplemented, they lived in the hard work on the rollers and in the woods. After the onset of socialism, the farmers who took the land and livestock were employed in factories. Then the prejudices against baranine came into being, and people did not want to eat it.
When and where does it leave?
Ovciculture keeps tradition, the only modernization is machine milking, otherwise everything is going as it did in the past. Hand milking is a rarity, old guys are dead and young people do not know it, or they do not want to do it. The hygiene standards for milk processing have always been high, as it is a food that is still alive and still working.
It's a hard work that takes all day. In addition, it is done on Sunday, Monday, Friday, holiday, so still. Not everyone can still be in the robot. The speech, of course, has also come to rest. When do shepherds go for a holiday? "In autumn when they stop milk, roughly from mid-October to mid-January. My favorite destination is the house in Stráňavy, where we live with our family. What's going on for the cottage for the whole year is not going to get rid of it, get it right, I'm doing it on holiday, "the bachelor explained.
The question was whether he could imagine another job. "This work fills me, I could not be locked in a factory. What would I do? I would not care if I could proudly announce that I had mounted a tube on the car. I know, it's a little exaggerated, but I admire other values. I need or above, free space. Besides, it's nice to have a taste of what I was rearing. I would not enjoy another. "
Sheep's milk is the original
For a moment, he considered the answer to the question of what the sheep was strange, what distinguished it from other human beasts. "I think the composition of sheep's milk. Kravsky contains casein, which is a lot of people allergic, and therefore can not digest milk. One associate said it essentially goes through the digestive tract and leaves it faster or more slowly. Sheep milk does not contain such an allergen and is suitable for everyone. The proportion of digestible proteins, calcium and vitamins is different from cows' milk, so Slovaks are increasingly searching for sheep's cheese or chenille, "said Peter Gazdík with pleasure.
In addition, in the mountains there is not much growing, so the meadows are sipped, from which we have milk, meat, and some breeds are known for quality wool. Once they have been protectors against the burning of mountain meadows, they now, on the contrary, support this activity. When the sticks were caught, they did not grow high grass and bushes, for almost every hill was a chalet. Many are now covered with scrubs and forests, Slovakia is getting rid of weeds. The old grasses are laid on themselves like on the roof, and all the rainwater flows over them.
The guard dog will always meet
Pastors in Slovakia often encounter beast attacks on the herd. "We are not here for the time, but when I was at Zbojska's hut, they went to improve our bear and wolf diet. For example, in 2013, the wolves in front of the barracks wrecked us with 14 sheep when they returned from the dead, "he remembered an unpleasant experience.
Near us the young chefs enjoyed the ribs, the bones snapped and the dog did not even notice us. "I bought this puppy son, such a dog will always meet us. Guard dogs are considered at the colibe during the day, but in the evening they go to the sheep and do not let anyone else. They know each other and others have nothing to do, "he added. Pastors would welcome a legally established guard dog category such as Romania or Bulgaria. Shepherd dogs only prevent the basket from a non-visited visit and they do not care either before the double or the four-legged. To rejoin them for fighting breeds is not a step forward.
We also looked at premises where sheep are staying. The two-week lambs separated from the males and closed them in a smaller enclosure where they had hay and granules to get used to other meals. After a while, they release their mothers to drink milk, and then a cacophony of sounds, where the mothers crying out their children cry out with a brutish voice, mixes a thin bleach of the nightmare. It all flies for fifteen minutes and it is a signal that they found each other.
It is a good feeling that this hard craft has not yet died and preserves the tradition of sheep breeding in Slovakia.
For a while, we stop at Anne Beníková, thanks to which the farm has become well known abroad and abroad. How was the idea of setting up such a business at all? "I come from Papradno from the rosary family and consider this job as my profession. Since the establishment of the Slovak Republic, large agricultural cooperatives have collapsed and this happened in our country. The better parts were privatized, the farm in Papradne was not interested. I started doing business as a self-employed farmer, I did not do anything, I built it myself, without euro-funds. Since 1994 it has been in the leased premises that I have gradually bought. It was tough, I stayed alone with the kids, but it gradually broke. First, it was a guesthouse in the village, then I was approached by cattle breeding and the last project was sheep, restaurant and accommodation, "she explained the history of the successful business Anna Beníková.
The horses also hold a horse, there is a horse-riding area, where hippotherapy is also available. Traditional Slovak meals from sheep's and lamb's own breads vary from chicken.
Salaš as a lure
During the year various events took place at the farm, at Christmas time they had a big bet, the Bačovská cesta, a little squirrel is going on, many summer camp tours are coming in, and they sell their products from animal production in the area. Many visitors will also like the chance to step out of the farm and see their own eyes, how they treat cows, sheep, horses, and a charming somarik.
All of this is the result of a 20-year work, which was also appreciated by the winners of the Most Beautiful Competition, when in 2016 in the category of farm to 500 ha won Anna Beníková's farm. She became the Woman of the Week Country of the year 2013 in the women's business category. This competition was organized by the Slovak Parliamentary Parliament.
In the field of tourism, the pike in Papradne is of great importance for the entire valley. It offers a wide range of sightseeing tours, where you can enjoy the eyes and the taste buds, relax in the beautiful countryside of Javornik and at the same time it is easily accessible for cyclists, motorized and hiking tourists.
text: Leo Kužela
photo by Michal Janek