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2 posts from April 2012

Homes we saw in Bosnia were heated by burning in a wood stove


Home heating woodpile at one of my daughter's neighbors.

Driving by homes in Bosnia kind of reminds you of driving through northern Michigan where many homes depend on burning cut wood for some or all of their heat.  

 Home after home had their own generously endowed woodpile where people of all ages could be seen with an arm full of logs to stoke their furnaces.  Heat from the fire then goes through duct work and to a system of cast iron radiators which are reasonably warm as long as the fire doesn't cool down.

Our daughter and son-in-law's flat on the side of a steep hill leading to serious mountains has registers which were warm during the day and when the fire weakened during the night their home got cool.

During a coffeeshop conversation, one of the Livno residents said that the country freely cuts down the trees and uses them to burn.  But, it is doing

The wood furnace that heats my daughter's family home.

nothing to replant and replace those trees.  


Sounds like a tailor-made situation for the Michigan State University Department of Forestry that has led the way in helping our state and others keep a continuing supply of trees for all kinds of uses.

Have countries that rely on wood for home heating ever run out of wood?  What happens then?  There seemed to be a lack of concern about that in various conversations.  

Bosnia government seems to be suffering from an inertia that comes from being split among various ethnic groups to administer and lead.

Some thoughts as I start blogging about our trip to Bosnia, Croatia and Hungary


  • Adamxavier
  • Citymarket
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  • Adamxavier
  • Easter hunt finish
  • Funnel cake
  • Furnace
  • Kitchen  buda
  • Kiwi
  • Mosque
  • Sarajevo holiday inn
  • Snack
  • Tvwithxavier
  • Valiapianos
  • Walking across danube
  • Xavier and me
  • Whistleblower


We are home from our trip to Bosnia in Eastern Europe to visit our daughter and her family, incuding our almost two-year-old grandson.  It was an amazing adventure that took us to the Bosnian country-side deep in the mountains and to Sarajevo, to Croatia and to Hungary and Budapest where we stayed for several days.

My head feels like it's ready to explode in a good way with all the things we saw and the experiences we had.  

It's one thing to visit with your married kids in an American city, but a different and nuanced experience to visit in an Eastern European country and culture that had been under the thumb of communism and ten experienced a rugged war where people are still trying to reach a sense of normalcy and hope.  My head this morning doesn't have this all organized in a nice thoughtful essay.

I feel more like Hunter Thompson, the father of gonzo journalism, pouring forth a stream of consiousness about his various experiences.  Here goes in a bulleted sort of fashion and there will be plenty more to come as I sort through my notes:

  • We were in a small cafe in Livno enjoying some ice cream when a group of Turkish soldiers came in for lunch at one of about four tables there.  They were part of the UN force that's trying to help Bosnia recover from a war that left serious fractures in the economy and the culture.  In the close quarters, our grandson who has a mile-wide smile and curly blonde hair hollered "Ciao" to one of the generals who then offered his uniform patch to him.  It was that little smile that crossed cultural chasms and helped the world seem more friendly.  
  • On Palm Sunday morning, my son-in-law and I went to the Stop Cafe in Livno where the guys get together for Turkish coffee, homemade honey brandy and local beer.  The bartender's name is Nikolai who is incredibly friendly to an American who's filled with all kinds of questions in a place that's saturated with cigarette smoke.  The conversations there were filled with real life intermingled with talk about cars and trucks.  Lots of people drive Skodas there.  Ever hear of it?
  • I've heard of people realing driving fast on the Autobahn, but now I've experienced it.  Wow!  It didn't seem like we were going in the neighborhood of 100 mph, but we were.  It should be noted that the roadway was much better than anything we have in Michigan.  However, the toll for using it seemed pretty high.
  • Everybody seems to heat their homes with wood burning furances.  Outside everybody's house is a stockpile of wood and you see men and women, kids and adults, young and old going to the woodpile.  We were warm while we were there.
  • My son-in-law Adam is really a quality guy.  He and I had lots of chances to talk and compare notes on a wide variety of topics.  I've seen his heart and I've watched him interact with the people he works with.  He really loves my daughter.  He's a great dad and he loves Jesus Christ.  I know that early in their relationship, I played the role of the "father-of-the-bride" who was wary of the guy marrying his super-pumpkin.  I'm really proud to have him as a member of the family.  His mom and dad should be really proud.
  • What a woman!  I am really proud of my daughter and the person she is.  She's still the same beautiful, wonderful super-pumpkin, but all grown-up who has excelled in her various roles.  She and Adam have turned their everyday life in a challenging country into a daily victory.  Their love for God and for each other is reflected in the face of their son, our grandson.

I have much more.  This is a start.  I will share about our visit and overnight in Sarajevo and our lunch in an outdoor cafe where I ate cevapci with my grandson on my lap with the trains, trams and buses going by next to us and with hundreds of pigeons flying overhead.  More to come.