Say hello to Bruno! He joined our family three weeks ago and there´s so much I want to tell you... but where to begin? Let´s start with the facts: Bruno was rescued from a Spanish kill shelter.* We don´t know exactly how old he is - the vets guess around 5-6 years - nor which breed he is. The original ad said "Setter mix" but I very much doubt that there´s any Setter in him; we think he´s probably a Flat Coated Retriever or Hovawart mix. 

It is apparently very hard to find new homes for large black dogs which meant that Bruno had to live in a dog pension in Spain for 7 months* before we came along and he could travel to Germany. My heart is breaking a little whenever I think about it. However it probably was meant to be. We´ve talked about getting a second dog for ages, even browsed some local shelter websites, but never found the right match. Then an Instagram contact posted about this particular rescue organization and I had a look at their website and there was Bruno and I texted my husband the link saying "Bruno?" and he texted back "Sure! How do we do this?" and 10 days later Bruno joined us.

What else do we know from his past? Not much. Bruno definitely never has lived in a house before. At one point someone has taught him how to "shake paw" and he (sometimes) comes when you whistle. Judging from his behaviour I´m pretty sure he was beaten (not abused, "just" hit for punishment). He loves driving in a car. He is not familiar with any animals (sheep, cows, horses - all new to him). He has very good teeth. He can only "move" his right ear. He´s a big big cuddler. He makes soft grunting noises when he is happy and strange clicking noises when he is not happy/angry/upset. 

I will be the first one to admit that the first few weeks have not been easy. I thought I had somewhat realistic expectations but I was wrong. When Bruno arrived he was a complete mess. The biggest problem is that he has terrible separation anxiety which is something many rescues suffer from. At first I couldn´t even go to the loo without him freaking out. He was incredibly restless for the first week and also kept chasing the cats (thankfully not in a "I want to kill them" way, just in a tail-wagging playful way). The first few days he wasn´t housebroken. It was all very difficult and I might have cried a few times. When we thought things were getting better he hurt his leg and was on bedrest for the entire second week. That was a major set-back. This is a dog with a lot of energy and he was basically bouncing off the walls during that week. 

Week three was when things were improving quickly. After he got the "all clear" from our vet he finally could get the exercise he needed and play with Ludwig in the garden. It has made all the difference! He seems truly happy with his new life now. He loves to run in the garden, he loves all the attention he gets from us, he loves his long walks and last but not least he loves his big brother Ludwig! And vice versa.

Which is obviously a relief! Ludwig has always been friendly but timid with other dogs. He was bullied by his siblings when he was little and that kind of stuck with him. He needed to "learn" how to play with another dog but by now things are going well in general. They are both very jealous of each other (in particular with regards to food) which sometimes leads to fights but I feel like we are getting there. They are different and very much alike at the same time if that makes sense. Our elegant, timid, goofy Ludwig and playful, wild and funny Bruno. They will be the best friends, I am sure. 

As for the cats, we´re making good progress too. He fully accepts our oldest Marlene and I think it will be only a matter of time until he comes around with the others. So that, combined with the fact that this beautiful lovable black terror has already stolen our hearts, made us confirm that we will adopt Bruno last week (until now he has technically been our foster dog). 

"Mom he took the only decent stick in the garden and now look at him can you believe how silly he is? Help me!"

Welcome to the family Bruno! We love you so much already. 

*I have edited some paragraphs upon further research. It turns out Bruno was a street dog after all. He was found wandering alone and sick in the Spanish Countryside in May 2017 and was taken to the Perrera (kill shelter) in Valencia. He stayed there for about a month before this organization rescued him. In November 2017 this German organization agreed to take him. You can help dogs like Bruno by becoming a teamer. It´s only 1 Euro per month!


So... hello.

Hello. It´s been a while! I was going to post pictures from our wonderful christmas trip to the North Sea, but I forgot to charge my camera and so there were no pictures to post. Shortly afterwards all but one of my chickens got killed by a fox (or whatever) and honestly I couldn´t bear to even open this blog because hello there, dead chickens (I still get terribly sad when I look at their pictures. My lovely chooks, all gone). Anyway. Life goes on. We got a tribe of new chickens in the meantime, but more on that another time. I came here to say hello and post a few pictures from our winter break in the Czech mountains which was very very short because I managed to get the stomach flu and we ended up going home two days early. Which was a shame because we stayed in the most beautiful cabin ever, above, which you can rent here

It´s funny because on the way from Germany you drive through Poland and the Czech Republic for quite a bit and it´s, well, for the most part not exceptionally pretty (trying to not offend anyone here) and then you get to the mountains and it´s all like out a fairy tale. 

That´s me wearing a lot of clothes. It was very cold.

See? Fairy tale. 

And this is what happens when you finally remember that the manual mode of your camera exists. Pretty cool pictures of my dog (and husband) enjoying the snow! Speaking of Ludwig, as of Saturday he is going to be a big brother! Yes we are bringing another dog to the family - a 6 year old Setter mix recently rescued from a kill shelter in Spain. We will foster him for the first weeks but the plan is to keep him if everyone is getting along. Fingers crossed! We´re excited! And terrified! Mostly excited though!
Speak soon.


On my camera, the before christmas edition.

So here are a few random pictures from the past weeks that I wanted to share. Above is my very simple little advent "wreath", consisting of beeswax candles and moss I collected in the woods. I love it, I think it´s my favorite yet? Otherwise we are sort of skipping Christmas this year - on Wednesday we are going to run away to the North Sea where we´ll be staying over my birthday (on winter solstice) and Christmas too. Which means I haven´t even bothered to decorate the house this year nor did I do any christmas baking. It feels a bit strange but also really liberating?  

Anyway I did a little photo shooting with the chooks a few weeks ago and I love the pictures, especially the one of Luzia below. Luzia is a cheeky little thing and always hungry - she follows me like a dog when I am in the garden because I might have a treat for her (I usually do, so...).

Still very much in love with the extravagant bouquets from my flower subscription. Lutz says hello.

Last weekend we had our first snow! Most of it was gone by Sunday evening when I took these pictures (look, another picture of my "elusive" husband - he does exist!).

Then last week it got stormy which always results in good colors. 

Weird bonus picture that I for some reason like very much. 
Merry Christmas to all of you! See you on the other side with lots of pictures from our trip.  


Winter flowers. 

The garden is so bare and brownish right now, but amazingly there are still a few blooms that are hanging on for dear life. Somehow a single flower in an otherwise bare winter garden is such a beautiful thing, so I decided to take some picture today in the afternoon when suddenly the sun came out and the light was beautiful. Above are hollyhocks that decided to flower a second time. In November. Yup. 

This is Alcea "Parkrondell". I had a few of these in my garden but they´ve mostly disappeared by now. Such beautiful plants, I need to get a few more in spring. 

A rose bud at the end of November just is something special. 

Not technically flowers, but I love the foliage of my rambler rose, especially in combination with my newly (ish) painted gate. 

These are asters that have gone to seed. They look like snowflakes, yes? Winter flowers in the truest sense. 

Bonus picture(s) of my chooks (and Ludwig, can you spot him?). I find chickens are incredibly photogenic creatures. 
Also, this has nothing to do with anything, but I´m listening to Joni Mitchell´s "Both Sides Now" on repeat - it´s such a perfect November album. Enjoy what´s left of the this dark month!


The winter list.

Does anyone else do winter lists? Is this a thing? Anyway a winter list is a compilation of things I want to/need to do during the dark season, like renovation/house projects but also fun activities like ice skating or finally taking another pottery course. It´s actually part of a survival strategy for winter that is supposed to keep me from plopping myself onto the sofa after work and slowly but surely sinking into a seasonal depression. Anway on this year´s winter list is getting myself a flower subscription to make those dreary months a little more cheerful. My first bouqet arrived on Friday and it makes me so happy whenever I look at it. If all bouquets are this dreamy this is well invested money indeed. (My subscription is from here. No, this is not a sponsored post). 

We are pretty much done with the garden work. Today we lifted the dahlias and I need to do another round of cutting down the perennials in the walled garden next weekend. Oh and plant the bag of bulbs I bought a few weeks ago. And then, done. It feels pretty good I have to say. I love gardening but I need a break. 

In case you wondered how my new chooks Frida and Marie were doing, they are just fine! They are growing so much and I expect a first egg from Marie any day now. However it´s the first time I got baby chooks so late in the year, so I actually have no idea when they will start laying. I just know that right now we´re getting one egg a day from this lazy bunch and frankly that´s a bit underwhelming. 

This weeks bread: Pumpin (above) and beet sourdough - both from this brilliant book. We´re a bit addicted to the pumpkin bread around here which is kind of a good thing because I still have so many pumpkins in my barn waiting to be used up! There shall be lots more pumpkin bread in our near future.
Have a happy week!