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Tuesday
Jun022015

Front of the house, revisited.

The front of our house: Cause of many headaches. Last week I painted our wooden "barn" door/gate/whatever you want to call it. Here´s a post from two years back which gives you a little background. The gate was natural wood before and while I liked the look, it started to age rapidly and not in a nice way, so paint it was. Trust me, in the past two years, I have spent way too much time thinking about what color that freaking gate should be. I finally settled on a light ivory color that I thought would match the sandstone of the window arches well. Painting this huge door took me two days. And then I stepped back and had major regrets. The paint turned out way lighter than I thought and it makes the gate really stand out. However, one rule in this house is that no matter how much you dislike a DIY job at first, you got to live with it for a while and see whether it maybe grows on you. 

Well, it did grow on me. The color is definitely a bit too light but the gate needs a third coat anyway so I´ll go a touch darker this time. I don´t like the color ivory in general but I think it just makes sense here. One day we´ll be able to have the gable rebuilt and painted, and it will be the same color as the gate. I think one of the reasons why the paint job makes the gate stand out so much is that is hasn´t really a counterpart. Painting the gable the same color will fix that. 

Many people on Instagram have suggested painting the gate the same color as the entry door. And I totally see where you are coming from, but I don´t think it is an option for me. The door is a very bright blue in the sun. Painting the large gate and the gable the same color would make the house look completely crazy, in my opinion. I like that the house is a little quirky, but I´d rather not add any more quirkiness, if you know what I mean. I am even considering painting the door the same ivory color to calm the colors down even more. 

Originally, I think the gable/gate/entry door were painted a dark brown. I have an old picture of the house and a bit of the paint is left on the (rotten) gable. It is a truly horrible look. I am usually all for restoring original paint schemes, but no way in this case. 

So looks like the shiny new ivory gate is here to stay. Or not. I´ll make up my mind eventually. There´s still so much to do here - new roof, new gable and I´d like to have the brick professionally cleaned at one point. It will be a work in progress for many years to come. Patience, patience.  

Thursday
May282015

The veggie garden in May.

Sorry if I am repeating myself, but this weather we´re having is miserable. It hasn´t rained properly since oh I don´t know when and it is way too cold for this time of year. I need to water the garden twice per day, each time until our well runs dry, and it still isn´t enough. I am super worried not only about our garden but also about the nature surrounding us. Are these the results of the climate change? Is this crazy weather the new normal? Oh my. Anyway, having said that, on to the veggie garden. 

Obviously with this weather all the plants are still tiny, but I am happy that they have survived the night frosts we´ve been having. 

The tomatoes have suffered the most, I think, but they´re hanging in there. Depending on the forecast I´ve been wrapping them in fleece to protect them from the worst cold. Do you know how long it takes to wrap 50 tomatoes in fleece? A looong time. 

The carrot/parsnip/garlic/onion bed is coming along nicely.

A tiny red cabbage. So pretty, right? Those colors.

In our first autumn here we planted several wild roses along the border of our land (which ends at the veggie garden). They are blooming for the first time this year and the smell is heavenly.

My declared goal for this year´s veggie garden is to incorporate more flowers. I hope we can admire the results soon in the beds but here´s a solution I came up with for the awkward space between our potatoe field and the fence to our neighbor. I originally wanted to buy some nice zink planters or something but that wasn´t in the budget. We did however have plenty of those old wine crates so I tried to turn them into planters. We´ll see how it goes! I´ve planted camomile and dahlias in them. 

That´s it for now. Mia and Greta say hello! 

Monday
May252015

Different, but still good.

The walled garden is teaching me a lesson these days. It´s all about accepting the things I cannot change. I do not know what happened this winter, but a lot of plants have died (like my lupins, which are dearly missed) and others just won´t grow. About half of my lavender bushes have given up the ghost. One bed is infested with mint and I can´t seem to get rid of it (listen to me: thou shall not plant mint in flower beds, it´s invasive). In one bed, the asters are sick, some sort of fungus - I´ll have to rip them out completely which will leave a huge gap. My lovely white rambler rose that grows along the wall has contracted the mildew. It´s like the seven plagues. And there´s not much I can do. 

But. Fact is, the garden looks very different from what it looked last May. But it doesn´t look bad. For example, the aquilegia are delightful this year, and I love the soft pink they add to the color palette. It could be worse. 

This bed, for example, is looking just lovely. Pictures don´t do it justice. It´s the one bed I was really discontent with last year and I´ve invested quite some time last autumn to fix it up. Looks like it payed off! Also, look at that allium! Love.

This year, saponaria officinalis has sneaked into my beds. I know it´s a weed, and an invasive one, but I just can´t kill it. I think it looks so pretty, so it will stay for now. I have a feeling I´ll regret this, but oh well. 

I repainted the deck yesterday. Still so very happy with the color. 

Aquilegia are my favorite flowers, I think. I am so happy that they finally have established themselves in my garden. When we moved into the house almost four years ago, my mom sent me some rare aquilegia seeds. All of those plants stem from this little package. Thank you mom, look at them now!  

Still my happy place, regardless of all problems and faults. 

Another post on the veggie garden coming up later this week! I know some of you are eagerly awaiting an update. 

Monday
May182015

At the garden festival.

Last Sunday, we went to a garden festival. I had looked foward to it for weeks - after all, events like these are rare around here - but alas, we weren´t off to a great start. When we got there, we were guided to a parking lot that was half an hour away from the actual festival grounds. Parking cost three Euro. When we finally made it to the entrance, we were charged an entry fee of six Euro each. Insane. I mean, I am happy to support any cultural events in our region, but in that case, you´re not getting anything back for your money. You pay so that you can buy plants. Anyway we got in and then we were hungry so we shared a tiny piece of Flammkuchen (7 Euro) which is when we realized that we had forgotten to bring enough cash. We had 30 Euro left between the two of us. So much for buying all of the plants! I may have been very grumpy. 

But it got better. The festival was actually pretty small (considering we had just paid SIX EURO) but there were quite a few nice vendors. I really want a Lutyens bench for my 40th birthday which is coming up next year. I just thought I´d put it out there. Are you reading this, birthday fairies? 

I can´t decide whether this is a spectacular or very odd color. 

There was a woman who was selling homemade jams. Admittedly it all looked and tasted very nice (quince jelly, ah! How I hope our quince tree will bear fruit this year!). She charged 4,50 Euro per jar. I totally should do this, too. 

One vendor sold hydrangeas only. Nice.

And then there was a vendor who sold all sorts of rare perennials and we left all our money there. Among others, I bought this. 

Look, there even was music. Entertainment! That´s where all the money went. 

And then we were tired and hungry and went home. 

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.