Bluebirds on the ground. A post by Laura in Romania.

Many of you are friends and followers of Laura through the comments each week.   If you haven't already it would be good to read her original "on the ground report" which is here.    It is best you read this to understand but I will introduce you to her by telling you she lives in Romania and at the end of her street is a bridge.   The other side of the bridge is Ukraine.  So the grain trucks bringing grain out to Europe go right past Laura's bedroom!  

So here is Laura's update which I asked her to do since things have escalated so intensely.

In advance I want to thank Laura because I know to write this report she found it very emotional.  I think as we write things down sometimes that is hard as we see our reality in a different way.  I know that is true for me.  

Over to Laura...

I am living on the border with war and on the edge of democracy

”The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent and the stakes too high – to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future”.  President John F Kennedy 

I have hesitated much about writing this report on the ground from my part of the world, mainly because I was afraid not to write everything on dark colours. Not all is black and, if you ignore the news and people, our spring/summer weeks are just wonderful, filled with flowers, perfumes, mountains and rivers, birds, baby animals, laughs, anniversaries and love – textbook wonderful world! But then I see the reality and the possibility of war and I watch my husband and son talking about cars and, I admit, some days I feel real panic about the future.

Two years on from the start of the war, it is now clear that Russia will not stop in Ukraine just as Russia did not stop ten years ago in Crimea. Russia continues its destabilizing tactics — in Moldova, Georgia, the South Caucasus, the Western Balkans and even further afield on the African continent.  

Russia is a serious military threat to our European continent and to global security. If we do not get the EU’s response right, and do not give Ukraine enough support to stop Russia, we are next. All over Europe there are talks about war, as you know some governments are warning their people to prepare but the political leadership in my country is focusing only on the election year, and as a consequence, many people ignore/don*t believe/don*t want to accept the news, the danger and the reality around and ahead of us. We must therefore be defence-ready and shift to a “war economy” mode. It is time to take responsibility for our own security as we can no longer count on others or be at the mercy of election cycles.

As Humanity focuses on local and regional conflicts. Russia*s aggression against Ukraine, Israel in Gaza and Iran regionally contaminating the East, China putting enormous pressure on Taiwan and the Philippines, people all around the world is vulnerable. Besides the conflicts, there are record breaking heat conditions, draughts, wild fires and floods, so who knows what the future could bring?

I am living on the border with war and on the edge of democracy. In the mountains of northern Romania, more and more young Ukrainians are risking their lives to escape the new mobilization rules in their country. Every day border guards encounter between 50 and 60 male fugitives. This year twenty-three of these defectors died during the crossing, freezing to death in the mountains or drowning in the Tisza River, which separates the two countries, but still, many of them say "they would rather die here than in battle". So horrible the reality can be! And many of them are just boys in their 20*s, not even proper grown-ups…

How we prepare for what is coming:

If you pay attention to many reliable sources, compare and filter the news, you can understand there would probably be an attack on the infrastructures, and probably next winter will come with heating and electricity problems. And that means also that many people will try to flee from war zones and will pass again through our country. 

Prepping and survival are not foreign skill to us as a family. We have lived with basic survival skills for a very long time during communism, when we have lived without all day electricity, hot running water and modern convenience. And only 2 hours a day of TV broadcast, half of that time was fake news about how good the communists were and how much they have done! 

We know how to, have the tools and can do:

  • cook outside on wood or coal; We organized a nice place in the orchard with concrete blocks and bricks, where we can cook with pots or barbecue in any season.

  • butcher/preserve/smoke meat as our grandparents and their ancestors did for hundreds of years. My husband repaired his father*s old smoker, as big as a wardrobe, where you make fire at the bottom. The preparation method is a traditional one, the raw meat is kept for around 48 hours in a brine or salt, then in the smokehouse at the temperature of the beech and cherry wood for 7-8 hours. Repeat if needed for several days. This way, any meat / ham / sausage can last about 6 months without refrigerator (Think of Little House on the Prairie). 

  • Sew, mend, knit, crochet clothes. As you know, I am a good knitter, self taught crocheter and learn as much as I can how to sew clothes with patterns, I save any clothes and scraps of yarn and fabric, which then I reuse while mending clothes or creating new dresses, blankets or little gifts. I will never be a minimalist, I am afraid…..

  • Do repairs, plumbing, taking care of things. If you take care of things they will last more, so it is an investment in the future. My husband is an excellent plumber and driver and he is using both his skills to earn money. 

  • Cook meals from scratch and foraging/fishing. I am lucky to have a family that is not fussy or with special health problems, we never have leftovers, we have food !!! All three of us (I have taught my son, too) can cook with what we have, not waste food, have on hands what we like best and create familiar meals that everybody around the table likes. It takes a bit of organisation and thinking ahead. I walk with open eyes and always come back with something to eat, either for us or for the chickens. As a child we always went out foraging for plants, mushrooms or fruits. The berries and fresh nettles in the Spring were my favourites. Better then spinach. My husband*s hobby is fishing and me and my cats love fish, a win-win situation.


  • The basement/cellar is a very important part of our preparation. It is a sheltering-in-place under the house. It has a good concrete protection on three areas: foundation, walls exposed to the ground, and ceiling, and my husband put inside the cellar a good old manual water pump which brings up fresh spring water. Also, here I have the shelves with preserved jars, full of jams, pickles, compote, cans, different root vegetables in the sand box and the home made grapes red wine. We have electricity and enough space to put up a place to sleep, to store important documents, family treasure and cash for a few days in case of anything happens.

  • But still have to remember skills as they are to be learned. We must prepare for war, and I do lists after lists of necessities for home or bug out bags, prepare food and water at home, but evacuate anyway ?? It is emotionally draining.

What is helping me:

I prepared backpacks with food, water, some medicine, documents, pet food and his document, cash and some clothes. Also lists of things to take down in the basement if needed (candles, matches, puzzles, yarn and crochet, pet toy and toilet paper, you know you will forget the exact most desirable thing when you are shacking all over).

I had conversation with my boys to decide what to do in case of emergency, when will be panic and probably no callings available. I made sure everyone knows where to meet up if… I am terrified about having to evacuate or what we will do if russians are having military training near our border.

I am physically fit. I do walks or jogging every week, I know hard times require hard work and, God willing, my health will be good. It is very important to be able to move or do anything if something hits, being war or any other disaster. If you can, work out as much as possible. 

What I am doing financially:

  • We very slowly build up an emergency fund, 
  • Have more than 50% of our liquid money in foreign currency, and in small bills. 
  • Invest money in canned food and necessities because sometimes these worth more than gold and pile up some things to barter or gift. 
  • Don't trust government. They won't tell you that there is war coming. Nobody wants country's economy to collapse. So you need to think for yourself and your loved ones.
  • We still have to work on the car. Some repairs still needed in order to function properly, then fill it with full gas. And additional gas. We have to add an emergency kit for the car, first aid box, blankets, bug out bags, too. 
  • We still have to work on the heating system, to be able to use wood instead of gas. This is what summer is for. 
  • We still have to prepare international passports for us and our pet.

I hope and pray war will end. I hope, because Romania is a NATO and EU member, Russia would not be that dumb and directly start a war with the entirety of Europe and the US, but that is almost directly linked to who will win the American elections. I hope the Global Peace Summit hold on 15th of June in Switzerland will mean something. I pray that our children will be protected.

We all live in the hope of a safer and happier world. And, as Mrs. President said, ”We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future”

With much love and consideration,

Laura_s_world from Romania

Thank you dear Laura.  You are both doing a wonderful job.  I have taken your observations to heart and mind.   I observe many countries moving chess pieces and advising citizens to stock up and instruct them on war times all while, as you say, we are entertained with news of drivel and celebrities and not important things.

I want us to support our sister Laura and I want to avoid political opinions.   We probably all have a view from our own country, of Russia, of Ukraine, of NATO and politicians generally!   This post is not about these things.  It is about.... do you know what time it is?    Looking well to the ways of our households changes from summer to winter,  we have different jobs to do.   We are meant to be watchful and discerning,  wise and industrious.  As there are good times and bad times, peace times and war times,  times even of sickness and health...  we need to be doing all we can towards any of them as nothing stays the same.   

There are people dumb enough to think their country would not be affected by a wider war in Europe or the Middle East for that matter.   I always say I could sell cheap tickets to a nice cruise on the Black Sea and people would buy them.    I hope you will be inspired by Laura's bravery and efforts.  There are many things I picked up from her report.

Thank you so much Laura.  We are praying for your family and we love you! xxxx


  1. Dear Annabel and Laura, Thank you for the news of your life Laura.
    Most of us live so far away from the action that it does not effect us, my Grandparents did flee to the US to be out of a war zone.

    How draining it can be on you to think of the possibilities that are so real there. I am so happy that you are preparing the best that you can under your circumstances. I believe you are very brave.

    Being brought up by Grandparents that went through wars and depression and parents that also did I was taught to always prepare like you. To learn all the skills possible to survive. To teach our youth the same. To always keep things in good repair, as at some point an item we may need will not be available. We are already experiencing shortages on so many fronts and my country isn't at war as of yet.

    My prayers are with you Laura and your family, may the lord keep you safe.

    1. Thank you, Rosanne, prayers are always welcome!

  2. Dear Annabel and Laura - thank you for such a thought provoking and interesting post. In Canada we do get quite a bit of European news and I also try to make a habit of checking out overseas news channels - just to get a different perspective. We hear a lot about Ukraine here as Canada has close ties and has taken in many refugees. But living so close to the border certainly gives you a very different perspective.

    I think that you and your family have done an amazing job of preparing as best you can - you are well ahead of the game! I know that other countries seem to only now be issuing tips for preparedness - but we have always had a list = perhaps because we are such a big country and weather always plays such a big role in our lives.

    Winter is always something that needs to be planned for and I always do a big pantry restock around October - but more and more Summer is a big deal. I don't think that most people realize how much of a swing in temperatures that we experience. This week we are already being warned that temps will hit over 30C each day and feel more like 40C with the humidity. The city opens cooling centres for the homeless and those without A/C and all apt. buildings are now required to offer a cool space or to post where the nearest one can be accessed. People are encouraged to go to malls, libraries and other public spaces that will have A/C. Our buses and subways are also air=conditioned. However, this is only good as long as the power grid holds. Just this past two weeks the city of Calgary experienced a catastrophic watermain break on the main line and water use has had to be severely restricted while it is fixed. As infrastructure in many cities gets older, this sort of thing can be expected to happen more and more. I stock water but lately I've been picking up another bottle or two whenever I go to the grocery store. You just never know what might occur these days and I do think that is expedient to be somewhat self-reliant. A number of govt. say three days - we are told - three weeks. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

    I hope that things remain relatively calm and that you are able to enjoy your Summer and your lovely garden. All the best.

    1. Thank you, Margie. Being prepared is good for any circumstances. Gives you a peace of mind to know you are able to take care of your family

  3. Very sobering. My parents lived through WW2 in England, mum in the country, dad in a city, blitzed air raids etc. after the hard times of the 1930’s (not as bad there as in US) . Mum was a hoarder. In-laws also lived through those time, but in Australia, and MIL taught me so much about scratch cooking and prepping in a regulated way. Through this I have always had a stockpile, my husband and I lived in the country for a while, away from the big 2 supermarkets so I also learned to store basics and plan. I thought I was pretty prepared, but that is more for sheltering in place than evacuating as we live in the city, little chance of floods or fires, and not even in an area likely to experience war. I am thankful, but also reading this makes me aware of extras I can do to be more prepared. Thank you Annabel and Laura.

    1. Thank you, Joy. I have learned very much from Annabel and from all of you, reading the comments section. And also I did remember facts and situations of how my mother and grandmother was taking care of life, when I was a child. They were Great Strong Women!

  4. Thank you so much for this on the ground and help filled report. May the Father protect your family and guide you with wisdom and knowledge through the Holy Spirit.
    I admire your strength, Laura. Your family has planned well and are aware. Thank you for reminding us in the US to be much more diligent and ready. The world has shifted greatly in the last few years. Sadly, not for the better.

  5. Dear Annabel and Laura,

    What a sobering post. I can’t even comment as yet, I need to think on all the things you wrote about, and will need to read this several times to let it all soak in. Thank you for taking the time to write and inform us of these events. Your preparedness tips are very valuable.

    From Cheryl

    1. Thank you, Cheryl. I did not want to make it a sobering post, I am almost sorry to make it so political for this wonderful blog but this is my reality for now and I am more scared of what the future holds. Thank you

  6. Thank you Laura for your insight, and your honesty. I look to your insight weekly. I share your concerns and worries.
    Sending you much love. Patricia

    1. Thank you, Patricia, for reading my words.

  7. Bless you Laura, prayers you and your family will stay safe and your preparing will stay that and not be needed. My dear isn't the war that is coming, but the despair of those who ignore the signs. Australia is remote, but we can so easily be invaded, personally I believe it has started, slowly, stealthily, much like Hitler invaded. Our enemies seem to be our friends weakening our self reliance and self sufficiency. As I say often, don't stop preparing.

    1. Thank you for the prayers. As for preparedness, it takes an unimaginable pragmatism for our mentality, where right angles are rarely 90 degrees. We need to be aware

  8. Dear Annabel and Laura,

    Here in the UK we hear about what is happening in Ukraine, but not about the knock-on effect to surrounding countries. It is very sobering to think of the uncertainty and fear facing so many people in Europe who remember what it is like to live under oppressive regimes and worry for the future. Thank you for having the courage to tell us what the news broadcasts don't mention. You sound very well prepared, Laura and I hope that you never have to fall back onto relying on those preparations. Take care. X

  9. Dear Laura, thank you for your report! Your pictures are lovely, and your roses and mountain and river views are so beautiful. Love the picture of you and your sweet dog. I know it is hard to understand that war is raging just across the bridge in Ukraine. Democracy is under attack, and I'm not sure the outcomes of elections in the U.S. and EU will be good for democracy. I pray for peace, but I think that you and all free peoples are wise to prepare for war.
    Thanks again for your report. Prayers for safety and peace.

    1. Thank you, dear Kathy. It is so nice here, I wish all of you could come and visit the magical places in Maramures. Then you turn and hear a person speaking Ukrainian and reality hits you. Take care

  10. Laura,
    Thank you for your report. I admire greatly all of your preparations! You have everything covered so well when it comes to preparing and your and your husband's skill sets are amazing!
    The world is getting to be a bit scary with everything going on and I know I take comfort in preparing, but I don't have the conflict right in my back yard like you, but you are a wonderful example of wisdom that I hope others will follow. I anticipate that at some point we will see some kind of conflict here in the states because things are starting to really boil over and I will endeavor to do the best I can as well in preparing.

    1. Thank you, Vicky. All the world is a scary place, as you said, so taking care of our household and family is more important than ever.

  11. Thank Laura and Annabel for this very thought provoking article. Here in midway USA people
    Are feeling the economic squeeze of inflation. And nit just groceries my husband went to the hardware store for a few items to fix lawn mower and garden gate. - he was shocked at those prices. Most people just seem to keep their heads down and keep working, fortunately everyone seems to still have jobs but staying close to home. Your insights are very good reminders on what we all should be doing
    Laura your photos provide us with a lol of A very beautiful country. I will continue to pray for

  12. Thankyou Annabel for posting Laura's report. Dear Laura, Thankyou very much for your detailed letter. You are doing so well under such pressures. Your knitting is exquisite - just amazing. You and your family are very inspirational to me. Love Clare

    1. Thank you, Clare. As always, you make me feel loved here

  13. Dear Laura
    Your knitting and crochet are amazing and your climbing rose is so glorious. I hope despite the black clouds of conflict so close by, you can still find some calm moments in your gardens and creative crafts. We don’t know what the future holds but we always have the present moment.
    Take care. You and your family are in our thoughts.

    1. Thank you. I choose to see the beauty of the moment around me - always good for mental health

  14. Thank you, Laura. You bless us all by sharing your wise ways. Also I admire how you choose joy.
    You and your family are in my prayers.
    Leslie in Ohio

  15. Laura, thank you for many reminders of things we can do to be prepared.

    1. I thank you all, Terry, I have taken courage from all of you, when needed

  16. Dear Laura, thank you for this wonderful post. You are an incredible writer. My concern is that for so many (including me!), we have only known good times. And people continue to operate like we are still in those times. Your garden is beautiful and you and your family are smart and wise. There’s so many plates in the air, anything can happen. Thank you for inspiring me and encouraging me to do more. Lots of love, Bridget

    1. Thank you, Bridget, for your words. Growing up I have known hunger, I have known fear of speaking up or telling political jokes, I have known darkness (both figurative and literally) and I know I am the only one to rely on. Thank you for telling me I am a good writer, when in highschool I dreamed about being a writer, but then life happened. Thank you and Annabel for allowing me to write here

    2. You are very talented. Please keep sharing your words, they mean so much and help us all. Lots of love, Bridget

  17. Dear Laura,

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. You live in such a beautiful place, and keeping sight of the beauty and goodness in the face of darkness is an excellent reminder for me. You and your family are amazing and an inspiring example to us all. Praying for you.


  18. Dear Kathy, thank you very much. I am praying for you, too. Take care, we are all here for you. Sending love from far away♥️


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