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Sunday
May182014

The new back door.

When we bought the house, there were two things that I hated immediately: The white plastic window handles and the back door. I think I actually never took a picture of it but trust me it was hideous. It was made of white plastic outside with styrofoam inside and it even had a little flower-adorned frosted window! So classy! Also it was basically non functioning. You had to force it open and slam it shut. 

Further proof of how terrible it was: Our cleaning lady, who never even once commented on any of our renovations so far, layed eyes on our new back door and praised the lord.

So, yeah. Almost three years later, we have a new back door. Hallelujah indeed. We went with a custom-made door because a) we had very specific ideas of how it should look like and b) it wasn´t actually more expensive than a standard door from the hardware store. We ordered it from a carpenter in a nearby village who was great to work with. We wanted a solid wood door combined with lots of clear glass to let in as much light as possible. Mission accomplished! I know the kitty door looks a bit odd, but I have decided it is whimsical and charming. Right? 

There´s so much light in the rear hallway now but also there is this view! Not so bad. Privacy isn´t really an issue here since you´d have to stand smack in the middle of our garden to see anything through that door. 

I think I never showed you our staircase so here it is in its spindly glory. It´s original to the house and I love it. Most of the old staircases have been ripped out in our neighbor´s houses so I appreciate that ours is still there. I wallpapered the accent wall when we first moved in.. still like it but it isn´t in great shape anymore. But I guess it will hold up a few more years. 

View from upstairs. Light! Yay! Also how cute is my little old very blue bench? I got it from Ebay for next to nothing and painted it in F&B Cooks Blue. 

View from outside. One of the best investments we ever made. 

Now, can we talk about our deck for a second? I am unsure whether or not I should paint the cladding/railing/stairs. A part of me likes the weathered wood and another part of me really wants to paint the whole affair in a dark blueish gray. Wouldn´t that look amazing? Thoughts? 

Thursday
May152014

The pride of our hearts.

I discovered the most beautiful garden book the other week: Virginia Woolf´s Garden by Caroline Zoob/pictures by Caroline Arber. I was on the hunt for a mother´s day gift and sometimes Amazon recommendations really rock. I bought one copy for my mom and then, because the book looked so insanely beautiful even in the preview pictures, I bought another one for me. It didn´t disappoint in real life. The photography is really, really beautiful and the book is so well written. 

Pictures by Caroline Arber, taken from here.

Virginia Woolf and her husband bought Monk´s House in Sussex in 1919. It was going to be their country retreat and while the cottage was very basic, there also was a huge garden which they were both very excited about. Virginia wrote in a letter to a friend: "This is going to be the pride of our hearts; I warn you." I always get a little sappy when I read this quote because I can relate to it so much. 

From what I can gather from the book, Virginia wasn´t the most avid gardener (so the title of the book is actually a bit misleading), but her husband Leonard quickly became an expert and completely transformed the space. 

The book is really interesting because on one hand, it tells the story of Monk´s House and its garden and tries to give insights of how both house and garden might have looked like in Virginia and Leonard´s times. On the other hand, it gives an overview of the garden how it looks today - including advice on how to achieve something similar. Which is great, because I love the look. It is very close to my vision for our garden (on a much smaller scale).

What I also love is that the book shows the inside of the house. I truly believe that most people who have a beautiful garden also have a beautiful home so I seriously think there should be more books out there which feature both. I want to see house and garden! Anyway I love the cottage and find it very charming that Virginia apparently painted everything green. Also I am now obsessed with the Bloomsbury group. I already ordered another book about Charleston House, where Virginia´s artist sister lived. 

On a last note, this is how the perfect vegetable garden looks like. And now, go and buy that book, you won´t regret it.

Monday
May122014

Lately in the garden.

Lately in the garden (and beyond), we had crazy weather with lots of rain and clouds and sun and rainbows.

Lately in the garden, I planted geranium in my painted little pots in front of the barn windows...

... and welcomed our spring delivery of perennials. It never gets old to unpack loads of plants. What a joy.

Lately in the garden, there are a lot of things flowering: The quince...

...our old lilac in the vegetable garden...

...our newly planted white Hungarian lilac variety in the walled garden...

...the very first poppy...

... aquilegia (my favorite!)...

...and yes, these too. Even weeds can be pretty.

And today in the garden, there was such nice evening light. 

Monday
May052014

Bake bread and celebrate.

Last Saturday, the villagers gathered around one of the old bakehouses to bake bread and celebrate... nothing in particular. Everybody brought something - bread, cake, herbed butter, lard, sausages... it was quite the feast. There was homemade herbed butter in that beautiful blue pot but it was gone by the time I took the picture, obviously.

There are a few still intact old bakehouses in the village - sadly, the one that belonged to our house is gone. But this is "the one" since it is the biggest and in good shape. It´s also the only listed building in the village. I forgot to take a picture of the bakehouse from the outside - it is a small brick hut, not very impressive by itself. If you´re interested you can catch a glimpse of it in this old post. Anyway here´s the inside. It is really quite an interesting system and you can bake a *lot* of bread in that massive oven. 

Setting things up. Even ketchup bottles look good under an old apple tree.

I prepared these sourdough rye rolls at home and then we baked them in the brick oven. These are "Vinschgauer" -  a South Tyrolean specialty but quite common in Southern Germany where I am from. They were delicous and quite the hit with our neighbors! Proud.

A beautiful cake (part cheese, part cherry) made by one of our neighbors. Sadly this one went flying later when we tried to pull it ouf of the oven. But it did look really good. Let´s see it as a sacrifice to the summer gods or something. 

Tarte flambée made by another neighbor. Yum!  

Stockbrot. I didn´t find a translation for this. It´s a basic bread dough which you wrap around a stick and...

... then you do this. It´s fun for the kids mostly. Does this exist elsewhere? 

This has nothing to do with bread but I always wanted to take a picture of the old yellow Trabant that belongs to one of our neighbors. Since it sat on the curb the whole time it was now or never. This car is the cutest thing. Bread baking people and old yellow cars! Ah, we live in the best village.

Friday
May022014

Taking Notes on Facebook.

Hi! Happy May! Just a quick note to let you know that this little blog now has a Facebook page. I´ll be posting notifications whenever there´s a new post and also plan on sharing some inspirational links from time to time. Come over and say hello!