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Monday
May112015

The deck 2015.

So... I got new chairs for our deck. The ikea chairs we had here before were fine (you can see them here), but they were always a makeshift-solution because I really wanted something more comfortable and fitting for the space. Somewhen last winter I saw this picture in a magazine (I don´t know the source anymore, don´t hate me): 

Sorry the picture quality is terrible but you get the idea. I really liked this whole set-up and especially the chairs. But when I looked around I realized chairs like these are quite expensive... and we didn´t exactly have a budget for them. Still, I kept looking and what do you know, in early April I found "my" chairs on Ebay on sale. I had an Ebay voucher as well so... new chairs! Happy happy! 

I think they work very nicely here. And they are very comfortable! Also please note my cute little lavender trees on the table! I didn´t really need lavender trees but I literally stumbled over them at our local garden center and well. The husband jokes that he won´t let me drive into town anymore because every time I do, I come back with a plant. Or two. Or three. Guilty as charged! 

This year, I decided to have a few plants on the windowsill. I´ve dismissed this idea as too cutesy in the past, but I needed to have something there so that Kasimir - the neighbor´s cat who lives on our deck - won´t sit there anymore. It drives me crazy to have this cat staring into our kitchen/library and the windows are always dirty. Plants bought, problem solved. Well almost. He now sits on the table and stares longingly through the window. Silly cat. 

On the other side of the deck is a new old table that I had for ages but never used anywhere. I painted it a bright blue and love it here. So here you are, the deck 2015! I am still so glad to have this space. We´re out here all the time. 

Tuesday
May052015

A sneaky weed, pink tulips and other stories.

I promised a garden update but there isn´t really much to see yet. Well the tulips are out. That´s something, right? Funny story about that bed you see on the foreground: It looked so grown-in already and somehow I suspected that something wasn´t quite right. Then today in the morning I noticed yellow flowers emerging. A quick google search later it was clear that the entire bed had been taken over by a weed that leaf-wise could totally have passed as a geranium. Uuugh. So when my husband got up he found his wife in the garden, frantically ripping out said weed in her pajamas. I lead a glamorous life. The bed, of course, is in a total shambles. 

Here´s a wider view of the walled garden. We´re getting there, but I feel like it´s taking so much longer this year. For some reason it seems to have been a hard winter for my perennials even if the temperatures have been so mild. Also I really need to get my act together regarding the spring flowers in the central beds. Why and when I have planted those neon pink tulips (and a single white one?) escapes me. The plan is to dig out everything once they´re done flowering and plant a new generation of tulips in the fall.

Oh and for those who are curious about our passageway renovations, here is a glimpse. We´re nearly done. 

Moving on... remember how I planted 100 tulips in this bed last year and then the voles ate all the bulbs? Well it turns out they didn´t really eat all of them; they left 20 tulips for me to enjoy. Very generous. But well, it still looks pretty I guess. 

I planted this bed outside of the walled garden last spring and I have high hopes for it this year. Those white pillows are moss phlox. Looks so nice, smells so good. 

One last picture of the narcissi around the fire pit before they are gone. Ludwig sends regards. 

Mandatory shot of our old apple tree in bloom. You know it´s spring for real when the apple trees bloom. Happy happy.

Monday
Apr272015

A few outtakes. 

I took a lot of pictures for the Design*Sponge sneak peek and there are a few outtakes that I´d like to share. Looking at those pictures I am a little disappointed how little I have achieved in the house this winter. I had quite a few plans and all I managed to do is paint the living room. The cold-from-hell that lasted two months killed all my energy. 

In the dining room, I originally wanted to get rid of the paper flowers on the wall. I tried a few alternatives but I didn´t really like any of them so I made new paper flowers and that was that. I like them and they work in this room, so they´ll stay until I can think of something better. Another thing on my list was to rethink the lighting both in the dining and the living room. After much back and forth we decided that we didn´t really like the pendants in both rooms. We got an unobtrusive ceiling lamp for the dining room and in the living room we nixed the overhead lighting all together. We never used it in here anyway.

It´s amazing how much removing the pendants changed those spaces, especially the living room. It seems much more spacious and somehow more cohesive now. And I really, really like the new wall color. 

Also I am still in love with that rocker that I got for next to nothing on Ebay. 

We really need to get that grey chair in the dining room re-upholstered. Shame on you, kitties. 

A few people have asked how I like the newish kitchen shelves. The answer is, I don´t know. They´re fine. I am not super happy with them but making changes here again has a very low priority, even if I have a few ideas. I´ve come to love the mirror though! I know it´s too small for this space but I think it´s really pretty and it adds a surprising amount of light to the space.

Apart from the shelves, I really like this kitchen. It works well and it looks good. I wouldn´t do anything differently, at least not with the same budget. The entire kitchen cost 4,000 Euro incl. appliances which is tough to beat I think. Of course if we´d win the lottery I could think of a few things... but that goes for the entire house. In fact I have a long list with "things I´d do in the house if I´d win the lottery". Totally normal, right? RIGHT? 

Just yesterday I read in an interiors magazine that north-facing rooms should never ever painted cool and dark colors. Well let´s just say that I disagree and the library is the living proof. I love this room. 

That´s it! Back next week with a garden update. It finally rained today, praise the lord. I was seriously getting worried. Have a happy week! 

Tuesday
Apr212015

A garden update.

Our cherry tree is blooming! It´s super old and super tall and not very healthy. Every year I think this is it, next year we´ll have to take it down, but nope. Very pleased. It´s really weird though with the old trees in our garden. They´ve done just fine during 50 years of neglect but now that we´re here and trying our best to revive the garden, it seems that one after the other exhales deeply and just gives up. 

We have the strangest weather these days. It´s sunny during the day and moderately warm but still really cold at night. And so much wind! Everything is super dry because it hasn´t rained in like forever. We have proper sandstorms in the village what with all the bare fields surrounding us. It´s no fun. Nothing will grow if this continues. And Ludwig doesn´t like the wind either. 

I´ve been watering the veggie garden like crazy so that all the seeds will germinate. Watering the garden! In April! Huh. Thankfully the patch that I´ve planted back in March (garlic, onions, carrots and parsnips) is already looking quite good. 

New things in the garden: I treated myself to a fancy new watering can (which makes me so happy! It´s the little things) and the cold frame is *almost* done. Of course it would have been nice to have this ready a month ago, but well. Better late than never, right? 

A flowering currant on the border to our neighbor. So pretty. 

The walled garden is still catching up. Compared to last year, we´re a good few weeks behind. At least the pulmonaria is flowering! Now come on spring, you can do better than this! 

Sunday
Apr192015

Meet the new chickens.

When we first got chickens, a neighbor provided us with three hens and a rooster. They were a gift and it was a very kind gesture, so I could hardly complain about the fact that they were all black. It´s kind of ridiculous anyway but I had always imagined a flock of different breeds and colors. Two years later there were only two hens left (one hen got killed by a hawk recently and the rooster... well let´s just say he´s no longer with us, and that´s a good thing). So I figured it was time to make that dream of a multi-colored flock a reality. I was going to buy two hens only but on a whim I pointed towards the cage with the white Sussex hens and that´s how Mia, above, came to live with us. Surprise! 

So, three new hens. Here´s Mia again with her pal Greta. 

And here´s Florentine who is so shy that I couldn´t get a decent picture of her (here´s a better one). She is a beauty! And yes of course I had to get a grey chicken. 

They´ve been with us for almost two weeks now and frankly, it´s not going too well. They old hens hate the newbies, particularly Mia. I´ve read somewhere that white hens get bulllied more often and boy is it ever true. Poor Mia. It´s especially upsetting because Mia is the sweetest little thing. She is hand-tame and cuddly and oh my heart. Let´s hope things will settle over time and we´ll soon have five hens happily living together. 

The other difficult thing was that they were clearly not used to range free outdoors. It took them two days to walk on grass! They obviously thought that green stuff was terrifying. Ha. At least that´s history. They seem to truly enjoy their new freedom now. 

Bonus picture! It finally felt like spring again today. It´s been really cold over the past few days and I was getting grumpier by the second. I just want to say good-bye to my winter coats, is that too much to ask? Well today a woolen jumper was enough to keep me warm. I´ll call that progress.
Have a happy week!