I know what we did this summer.

I thought I´d do a recap of what we accomplished this summer in the walled garden and beyond (for you and for me, so that I have this documented somewhere!).

Here are a few lovely before shots:

Back in early spring when the husband first started to dug out the flower beds.

And this one is from spring - April? The rear of our house in all the former grey, patchy glory - soon to be painted with the help of that scaffolding.

On to the progress pictures: From back in March when I started paving the patio by the wall. I still can´t quite believe I did this with my own hands.

Progress #2: It´s May. Rear of the house is painted. Also, the flower beds are planted and the barn doors and windows are painted. Aaand we just started to build the deck. Goodness what an ordeal that was.

And now for the after pictures (my favorite part):

Our flower beds, my pride and joy. White painted door to the garden. Smurf blue barn door. A glimpse of the patio...

... but here´s a close-up. The husband built the massive table with the scrap wood we had left from building the deck. There´s a little bed in front of the wall where I planted hollyhocks and a white rambler rose who seems to love it there. 

Gate to the garden, painted white. We originally planned to have the fir tree replaced by something smaller and leafier, but that just didn´t happen and it is kind of growing on me anyway.

And the deck with the still missing railing. Also I have some plans to beautify the wood frame next year, and eventually replace the hideous plastic door.

Also, what we did in other parts of the garden:

- Started to clear the neglected jungle by cutting down several old hazelnut, plum and elderberry trees (ongoing)
- Cleared away the piles of rubble which the previous owners so nicely left (this is also still ongoing)
- Started to plant a vegetable garden
- Planted a berry field
- Planted an orchard (actually still a to-do, but we bought the trees last weekend)
- Re-planted the front garden and made a gravel path to the house

 I think we did well. Can´t wait for next summer! But now, on to winter and back to the interior of the house. Shold be fun, yes?



It was the German Unity Day yesterday. I am very grateful for a reunited Germany that brought freedom to so many people and that makes it possible for us to live in Brandenburg, the mostly rural area surrounding Berlin.

I took the pictures you see in this post in Dahme/Mark, a little town nearby our village. Isn´t it so pretty?

The sad thing is, many Berliners wouldn´t know. If you´re lucky, they have visited the Potsdam area, and maybe at one point they´ve taken a boat tour in Spreewald, but that´s about it really. Everything else is pretty much no-man´s land.

However, everyone seems to have a clear opinion about Brandenburg. I hear colleagues talking about how they had to drive through "those depressing Brandenburg villages" to get to an appointment. I recently read on a blog that you can only live in Brandenburg "if you have antidepressants injected intravenously" (or something like that, I can´t be bothered to go back and check). At a recent job interview I was asked whether I "have to live there"?! As in, can´t you afford living in Berlin? Why would anyone want to live in Brandenburg really?

I´ve mostly ignored comments like that, but recently I started to lose my cool and just want to punch people in the face. Yes of course, there are depressing places in Brandenburg. People are poor and can´t afford to fix up their houses, so sometimes villages still have the typical Eastern German greyness to them. Plus, Brandenburg is suffering from rural exodus, so houses, streets, whole villages are being abondened. But there also true gems to be found. Historically intact villages like out of a fairy tale, pretty colorful towns, vast fields and forests, lakes, wonderful people.

Go and see for yourself. I promise it won´t hurt.


Last bits of summer.

I had a delicious, sun filled week off. We managed to cross a few things off our meter long to-do list, but there was also enough relax time in the sun to make it feel like a real holiday. So here´s what we did in pictures: Collected walnuts and the last of this year´s apples, planted a huge berry field (so excited about this!) and dug up several pieces of an old iron fence. I plan to use it somehow, somewhere in our garden.

I know some of you will be sad about this, but our old kitchen stove is now finally gone. It has been deconstructed very carefully and will be re-built in the house of one of our neighbours. Frankly, I´m glad it´s gone - it was just a dust trap (complete with an old rat´s nest inside. Yikes). However, I salvaged the pretty blue tiles and will use them in our new kitchen (once we can afford a new kitchen, that is).

Watched the birds gathering to fly south. I love the noise they´re making. And I can´t wait to see them coming back next spring.

Last but not least: We now have a proper step to our entry door, and a gravel path leading to our house. Here´s a before. We built the step with field stones and I think it turned out pretty well.

Happy October!



Sorry for the radio silence. I am having a few busy weeks at work and I am totally ready for a week off at the end of this month. So here are a few snapshots from the past weeks. Above, lots of planting happening in the walled garden.

Lutz has been helping out in the kitchen. (That´s flour on his nose.)

Bringing in the apples. They are wonderful, very tasty and I think they´ll be holding up well over the winter.

 Mid September garden. Love the colors.

Have a happy week!



Remember my little miracle that happend back in spring? So this weekend, it was finally time to harvest the elderberries. I didn´t even take it all and look how huge this box is (also, note my fancy storage system).

Also, plums. So many plums. I counted and we have eleven plum trees in our garden. That happens when a garden is left unattended over 30+ years. There are a few unhealthy and old trees though which we´ll cut down this winter.

If you are from Bavaria like I am, you do this with plums: yeast cake. It´s divine and for me, the essence of summer. I made two sheets and put most of it in the freezer. I bet it tastes good in winter, too.

Also, I made plum butter for the first time. It turned out delicious. And there are eleven jars of elderberry jam. It´s such a hassle to make but so so good. (Also this stuff would make a great natural dye. My hands and nails are still black. Yikes.)

Next up, apples!