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Tuesday
May222018

Aquilegia and other blooms.

Every single year I have to google how to spell aquilegia. Oh well. Here they are, in that corner of the walled garden that no doubt will soon be destroyed by construction debris (more on that in a minute), so I thought I should take a few pictures. And while I was at it, I took a few more pictures of other parts of the garden that are pretty right now. 

So the bricks you are seeing in that picture belong to our barn, and said barn will undergo major construction work this summer, basically: The roof will come off, a good part of the timbering will be replaced, the roof will go up again. Or that is the plan. We are doing most of it ourselves to save money and I think all this will be interesting.  

But then again it´s not the worst timing since the walled garden is looking so sad these days anyway. When I did my "redo" of the beds I couldn´t bear to touch the Iris, they are my favorites and I have been so looking foward to see them bloom this year (last year we were on holiday at this time of year). Sadly while they are beautiful it does look odd since they are the only mature plants in the beds right now. 

More aquilegia, and the paeonies (I have to google these too) are about to bloom.

This is baptisia australis, a plant that I bought years ago on a garden fair. It took years to develop but look how nice it is right now! 

Still love this long border, it´s looking really nice already and will be even nicer in the weeks and months to come. 

Salvia. Always love salvia. 

I recently bought this table and four chairs for that lovely space under the trees (thank you tax return). Last summer we had a seating area here as well but nobody ever sat there since the chairs/table were so shabby. Sometimes proper garden furniture does make sense. 

More aquilegia, here in the veggie garden, they are slowly but surely taking over the strawberry patch but I don´t mind one bit. 

We brought the old windows back for the "glasshouse" that my husband built a few years ago (and never finished it, but NO OFFENSE) and I love how they look. The same husband built me a pair of sturdy trellises for my runner beans which you can also see here, so he is maybe forgiven for never finishing other things. 

Blooming chives in the veggie garden. Confession, I only grow chives to see them bloom. It´s a good enough reason, right? 

Bonus picture of my Bruno bear with his little ball that he loves so much that he is schlepping it around all day every day. 

That is all! Construction starts today, the scaffolding is going up. Wish us luck! 

Tuesday
May012018

Yay, May.

Excuse the silly title. But really - yay, May! It was a long, cold winter. I´m glad it´s over. We´ve reached the low point somewhen at the end of March when we had a power outage all night, while it had a balmy -17 degrees outside. And then we went from deep winter to summer in about three days. Anyway. I´m sorry I´ve been gone for so long. Thank you to those of you who have reached out. We are all good, animals and humans alike. Winter is finally over. Yay, May.

I´ve taken pictures of the garden for a while now, with the intention of posting them here. But then I never got around to doing it, so this post is a picture dump. One million garden pictures in one, two, three...

That was about a week ago when the apple, cherry and plum trees were all in full bloom at once. I don´t think this has ever happened before while we lived here. Probably caused by the summer-y temperatures...

I´m so bad with spring bulbs*, I´m always so garden-tired in late autumn when they should get planted. But a few have found their way in my garden. *The bed the white tulips being an exception.  

We got a new hammock. I love it. We had the old one for about five years and it had become very shabby in a not-good way.

This is in the walled garden. You´ll probably only get to see detail shots from this area this year. Last week I took two days off and basically destroyed the walled garden. It had become terribly overgrown with asters and bishopsweed. It needed a complete redo. I´ve made a master plan with a new color scheme and ordered new perennials and I think it will look very pretty eventually, but most likely not this year. We´ll see.

Ludwig and Bruno are doing fine. Having two dogs is fun, but exhausting! We had planned to go on a road trip to Croatia at the end of May, but we´ve cancelled everything because I just feel like this isn´t the right thing to do now with Bruno. He needs to settle in just a little more before we can go on big adventures. I feel like this dog had enough adventures for a while. I don´t know. Or maybe I worry too much? Anyway we´ll go on a four day trip to Munich and we´ll see how that goes. Baby steps.

The "tree" beds have developed nicely. Very happy with how they look.

We got new chickens! And a rooster! And a new fence so that Bruno can´t eat the new chickens/rooster. The rooster is named Willi. He is beautiful and huge. The new hens are... well not the same as the old gang. I still miss them. Lore in particular. I´m sorry, new-hens-who-haven´t-even-been-named-yet. You are beautiful. 

You can see the new fence in the pictures above. It´s the same model as the one we already have on the one side of our land, just a little lower. We had planned and budgeted this for this year before we even thought of getting a second dog, but it´s a happy coincidence since that whole "Bruno is chasing the chickens again" shenanigans was getting a litte old. Also on the upper picture you can see our blooming quince tree!

Things are progressing in the veggie garden, but it´s still early days. Also, the lilac is blooming. Everything is blooming! Crazy.

Congratulations if you made it to the end! Happy May!

Sunday
Feb182018

Bruno.

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!

Thursday
Jan252018

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.

Sunday
Dec172017

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.