Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Latest Look at my Veggie Plot

"A garden is evidence of faith. It links us with all the misty figures of the past who also planted and were nourished by the fruits of their planting." -Gladys Taber

What a joy it was to visit my vegetable garden allotment after over a week of rain. Everything has blossomed and flourished. I harvested two heads of lettuce, and tomorrow will go back for some of those gorgeous purple kohlrabi that you see in the middle. My only qualm is that it all ripens at the same time, which means either getting creative with recipes or giving some of the produce away; I'll be doing a little of both. 
In the top photo you can see that I have planted flowers interspersed with the vegetables, because I didn't want any bald patches of earth, and also, blossoms attract helpful winged things for pollination. In the last photo you see nasturtiums intertwining with a pumpkin plant; cool! That's exactly what I wanted!
The ground is really muddy and some of the pepper and tomato plants suffered from so much water, but I think only two plants of mine are looking beat. Other than that, I spied a few tiny beginnings of yellow zucchini, and also small golden pumpkin babies the size of walnuts. It's all very exciting.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wild Fruits

"Whatever I do is done out of sheer joy; I drop my fruits like a ripe tree. What the general reader or the critic makes of them is not my concern." -Henry Miller

The generosity and bounty of Mother Nature astounds me every day. Especially when there are delicious edibles in reach. Yesterday morning while walking the dog Ramon and I literally ate our way along the path, beginning with wild raspberries and ending with wild sour cherries. At the top you see the wild apples we found, rosy and freckled, dripping with rain, heavy on their branches. I'm guessing they will be fully ripe in September, and believe me, I will be there with a basket harvesting them, and turning them into pies and sauce. When you are a small individual like me, it is always wise to have a larger individual, like my dear husband, to reach for the higher , more obscure fruits. Yesterday, as I wandered to a cherry tree farther down, Ramon called over, "Hey, stick with me, I'll get you the ones from high up!" And I smiled and thought, Yeah, stick with him, you're a team, and not just with fruit picking. 
The blackberries are still hard, tiny fists among white and pink papery flowers, but there are thousands and counting. What a blessing to have these fields and thickets right close by. I am left wondering, what can I possibly give in return?
On another note, I should mention that the afternoon walk turned into quite an adventure. It was sticky hot, with black clouds, but we thought the worst that could happen was a drizzle. After walking up the hill with the pretty villas and gardens and then turning back around at the church, the sky broke open with a thunder crack and all of a sudden it was pouring buckets! We started walking quickly, which then turned into a mad dash, and we ended up squealing and laughing all the way home, soaked with rain from top to bottom. I can't tell you how invigorating and absolutely fantastic it was! We felt like children again, and were still laughing as we struggled out of our wet clothing and hung them to dry. So now we know, getting caught in a rainstorm is a pretty wonderful thing.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Weekend Cottage?

I wanted to share a couple of photos of the little cottage we often pass by on our walks (click on a picture to enlarge and get a detailed look). The grass has grown tall and it appears empty inside, so my mind has been a whirl, imagining painting it white and planting hydrangeas all around it. It has a tiny path leading a creek in the back, and is located on the quiet border of the forest. Right next door is the local bee keeper who makes organic honey, and accross the street there are only trees, no houses. Ramon and I started fantasizing, thinking about renting an apartment and buying this little cottage as a weekend and vacation getaway. I imagined putting in a tiny kitchen, a lots of beds so guests can come too. Everything would be white with only splashes of color. We could have BBQs, and friends and family from out of town could stay there when they visited. Since I am pretty sure it's empty, I'm going to try and find out who owns it and see what they are asking. Who knows, maybe this dream will come true?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Love Is Alive

"Love is alive at our breakfast table every day of the week...love is alive and it grows every day and night, even in our sleep...love is alive and it's made a happy woman out of me." -The Judds

Having a dog means having love in your life every single day. It means having a pure and innocent being who adores you, and follows you wherever you may go. 
My little brother took these photos of Kiki and I on our trip to the Bavarian countryside. I brought along Kiki's favorite stuffy, the tiger my mother brought her for Christmas last year. Here we are, wrestling around with it on the kitchen floor of the vacation cottage. 
I love Kiki so much and feel blessed to have her friendship and companionship. I am grateful every day that she came to live with us. It may seem strange to someone who has never had a dog, but it's the truth: she is a special member of our family.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Garden of Content

"It depends on how much love we give out, as to what tune we hear, for if we love well, we live well and happily, stepping briskly to an inspiring tune." -Emily Ridgway

I ordered this wonderful old book from abebooks and the description noted that there was a handwritten dedication on the first page. I was just as excited to receive the book itself as I was to read what some person unknown to me had written for a loved one almost 100 years ago. Holding the same book in their hands as me. 
The inscription reads like this:

Ethel Moss
With love & every good wish
From G. Ellis
April 19, 1916

Be True

Thou must be true thyself
If thou the truth wouldst teach
Thy soul must overflow if thou
Another's heart wouldst reach
It needs the overflow of heart
To give the lips full speech.
Think truly and thy thoughts
Shall the world's famine feed
Speak truly and each word of thine
Shall be a fruitful seed
Live truly and thy life shall be
A great and noble deed.

Doesn't it make you wonder who G. Ellis was? And who Ethel Moss was, as well? Do you also wonder what the occassion was, and what their relationship was? We'll never know. All we know is that after many years, this copy was placed in my hands, and I shall pass it down one day, too.
The other day on a walk in the fields something caught my eye. Could it be? Two five-leaf clovers, growing right beside one another. I picked them and pressed them between book pages. Now they are safe in my Emily Ridgway book, a small treasure which may hold meaning; after all, people have speculated for a long time that I will one day bare twins. So what do you think, are the twin five-leaf clovers a sign?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Walking in the Rain

"I was in love with the whole world and all that lived in its rainy arms." -Louise Erdrich

What an amazing, quiet, wet walk this morning. There was mist swathing everything. Water dripping from flowers, wheat, and branches. I found the first ripe raspberry of the year and managed to take a photo of it before it landed in my mouth. 
This weather is what plants love; soaking in, nourishing, refreshing. It does the same to my soul as it does to the soil!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rainy Day Baking

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I don't care what anyone else says about it, I love rain! It's like an invitation to take things slow, draw inward, do quiet things, contemplate, and bake.
I made a delicious, moist, spicy applesauce cake, topped with cream cheese frosting, and it's perfect for this weather. Just finished a slice with a cup of warm, milky Caro. The whole village is seeped in mist, its curling around roof tops and tree tops, and the rain falls consistantly, sometimes gently, sometimes pounding down on the windows, making a pleasant rhythm. The only other sounds are the pitter-patter of doggy paws, the tip-tapping of my fingers on the keyboard, and the occasional whistling of the tea kettle when I'm making a fresh cup of comfort.
At some point today I am going to have to get out in the rain and walk to and from the supermarket. Those are the moments when I could do with a pause in rain fall, though it does get you feeling connected to the elements. And, as my mother in law says every time its raining and someone doesn't want to get wet, "We're not made of sugar!"

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Piece of Autumn in June

"When the days begin to shorten, soon after solstice on June 21st, a tree reconsiders its leaves." -A Natural History of the Senses (taken from Susan Branch's book 'Summer')

The weather has suddenly turned and we woke to a cold, misty morning. I put on a few layers and hooked the dogs to their leashes, kissed hubby goodbye and set out into the wet fields, where there was a fine sprinkling of rain coming down. I found a few golden leaves in the grass, and the wheat fields were beautiful against the pewter sky. The dogs were especially quiet, picking carefully through the tall grass, seeming to feel the melancholy of the morning. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and it felt like nature was giving me a small preview of the beauty to come. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's Always Better When We're Together

"A good marriage is at least 80 percent good luck in finding the right person at the right time. The rest is trust" -Nanette Newman

It's Sunday, last day of the WE-kend. We started the morning with 'our song,' Jack Johnson's Better When We're Together. It could have been written just for us!
We took a long walk with the dogs, and discovered a field bordered on three sides with wild cherry and apple trees. The apples are ofcourse still green and hard, but the cherries, oh man, the cherries! Mostly there are the tiny, tart variety called weichseln, but we also found one tree that had these golden and pink blushing cherries which are soft and juicy. There is a nest of yellow jackets right below it, so you have to be extra careful and not linger around too long. We went back to those trees in the afternoon with a basket to do some gathering. It amazes me every time I find something delicious and edible, growing free and fresh in mother nature's domain. This planet we live on is nothing short of miraculous!
As the WE-kend comes to a close, I think about our little family: Ramon, Kiki the dog, and myself...I think about how it will grow in the future, how some things will change, but some things will stay the same. One thing I know is that I will always be able to trust my husband, and depend on him to make good decisions; support the family as best he can, and to communicate honestly with me. The fact that I am the other half of this marriage astounds and humbles me. I feel so blessed, and thank all the powers that be which conspired to making it a reality!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


"Home is the place where it feels right to walk around without shoes."

When Friday afternoon rolls around, my whole body sighs with relief. It's the beginning of the weekend, or 'WE-kend' as my husband and I call it; a time reserved just for us, for goofing off, taking naps, eating good food, and making eachother laugh. One of our favorite things to do is sink into our plump white couch, throw a blanket over our legs, and watch a movie. Sometimes we even do it in the middle of the day, and we really try to enjoy it every time, because we know that once there's a baby in the house, this kind of indulgence will be gone for quite some time. 
Our WE-kend days are arranged around walks with Kiki. One in the morning, and one in the afternoon. I also have to do the grocery shopping on Saturdays before 3 o'clock, as supermarkets are closed here on Sundays. But once that's over with, we prove that we are experts at relaxing. 
We're a bit like children on the weekend, actually. It's all about fun and getting out of as much responsibility as possible. It's rare that we share our WE-kend with outsiders. Sometimes we'll go to to the movies and sushi with our go-to couple, or invite Ramon's family over for lunch. But that's about the height of socializing. Mostly, we just want to laze around, talking, not talking, giggling, sleeping, and spreading peanut butter on brioch.

Friday, June 19, 2009


"The only unsinkable ship is friendship."

Kiki and her little friend Ena have so much fun together. They have all the same hobbies: digging fervently at mouse holes, rolling in smelly dead things with gusto, snapping at flies, chewing on stuffed animals, chasing butterflies, cuddling, and as you see here, romping around in freshly cut hay. Their friendship is so pure and light hearted. It's a wonderful example.

Cooling Off

"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months..." -Gertrude Jekyll

What a hot morning! We managed to hike up to my beloved oak tree, and then it was back down the field, past the raspberry canes heavy with green fruits, past the wheat field, down to the river where Kiki dove in without a second of hesitation. It is full of broken boughs and sticks, but this doesn't seem to bother her. Meanwhile her tiny friend Ena, who is visiting for a while, whined and cried, trying to climb a tree trunk where a squirrel had just dashed up into the branches. I tried to explain to her that she's a dog, and dogs can't climb trees, but I don't speak fluent dogish, and I think it may have come out more like "keep jumping, you've almost done it!" 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cornbread & Jam

"I am not a glutton; I am an explorer of foods." -Erma Bombeck

It is truly the small things of enjoyment and content which make life beautiful. This small snack, so simple and good, changed my whole mood while I ate it. Grounded and calmed me. Make sure you enjoy something small and simple today.

Kiki Takes a Break

"Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest."
-Ashleigh Brilliant

Here's my sweet Kiki, taking a short rest in the shade of the oak tree. Her favorite resting pillow has proven to be beds of clover. Maybe they are extra cooling?

This Week's Flowers

"Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words." -Lydia M. Child

This gorgeous arrangement is made up of local summer flowers. The photo doesn't quite do it justice, you would need one from every angle to fully apprecite the beauty of these blossoms. My first sunflowers of the year!

Wild Strawberries

"Doubtless God could have made a better berry than the strawberry, but doubtless he never did."
-William Alan Butler

They are like little rubies peeking meekly from underneath emerald leaves, these tiny bits of sweetness that taste like the marriage of the words June and Sunshine. And because they are so small, and you have to squat down to pick them, brushing the leaves aside to find them, they are something so special, so delicate and precious. You eat five and feel like it was a luxurious feast. Wild strawberries are a part of my daily diet now. Kiki lies in the shade and waits while I pick and snack, licking my fingers, my whole mouth filling with juice and seeds. I do always make sure to leave enough for the field mice. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm Back!

"Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be." Marsha Petrie Sue

It's been such a long time since I last wrote, a whole season has come and gone and now it is already Summer! Absolutely gorgeous here, everything green and lush; insects buzzing and birds singing. Here you see the majestic oak I love to visit every day; it's surrounded by blackberry hedges, raspberry canes, and delicious wild strawberries. When we get to this spot, Kiki plops down and rests in it's shade. It's a wonderful tree. 
My veggie plot is coming along well. I have already harvested a fistful of red and white radishes. Lettuce is up next. Slugs ate two of my sunflowers and few of the nasturtiums, but other than that, things are bountiful and thriving. 


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