July 30, 2011

gone for a few day

we are going up into the mountains of switzerland for the next couple days. no posting no nothing, except enjoying the time with friends surrounded by the wonderful peaks of the praettigau in the canton of graubuenden. we are so much looking forward to this little vacation, though joel keeps on working in the big city. he has to make up for his long vacation which he already enjoyed with elias in boston...
i will be back in a week, enjoy the summer as much as we do!

July 29, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

July 28, 2011

sarah, plain and tall

it has been a cool and somewhat gloomy morning. not very inviting to go outside and so it came about...
naomi started yesterday reading "sara, plain and tall", though exclaiming that she really didn't remember anything she read.
this has to change as it is such a wonderful story. and now i find myself reading the little book out loud to both girls. a perfect moment and wonderful start into a day for which we had very different plans. and that's ok.
it is ok to slow down it is even good to slow down and do less. i learn to let go of my big plans and read or run or paint or bake with my kids instead of hustling and bustling on my own.
dear c would you be able to send the three consecutive books by mclachlyn along with elias?

July 27, 2011

to the use of klaraepfel

it is a very old kind of apple the "klarapfel", either someone likes it or then not as it is very sour. the first apple of the year and i do remember my grandma telling me how wonderful it was to get the first apples in the summer. a very tart apple ideal for applesauce or backing. they don't keep well, the most 2 weeks refrigerated. and it must be harvested when the fruit is still white, as soon as it turns yellow the apple tastes mealy.

this old apple originated in lettland, and was introduced into europe via france. it is not anymore a popular apple, but still laden with memories, as older folks remember having had a "klarapfel"-tree in their yard and quickly getting a fruit from their neighbors tree on their way to school. this was all before the big storage houses were in place and apples are being stored all year round, and ready to be eaten at any given season.

i was asked by a friend, if i would like a big basket of "klaraepfel", to make apple or what ever i wanted. of course i answered. last week i got the call to come and pick them up. the plan was to go tomorrow, but my friend was quicker and already yesterday stopped by to bring me those promised apples. thank you r

the apples look very pale and yes they are sour. though while getting them ready for cooking we still ate a lot

after a few days of rain, we embraced the sunshine and worked in the garden

the chicken got their share and loved it

after cooking and mushing the apples, i added some honey and a cinnamon stick. a bit more cooking and then ready to put it into jars. of course we have already tried the yummy sauce and we look forward to cold winter days when we will be eating rice porridge and apple sauce. (one of the kids favorite dishes)

July 26, 2011

drying green beans

visiting my parents is usually including some kind of cooking, baking or as yesterday preserving...
the mounds of green beans and a little bit of yellow ones have already been prepared by my mom.

so we just had to let them boil for a moment, dry on a tea towel and then put them nicely on the drying racks.

of course freezing would have been a bit quicker, but my mom as her freezer full (as my brother has just a bit ago slaughtered a pig) and we all love dried beans a lot.
the beans will be dry within a day or two, stored in simple cotton fabric bags, and hung somewhere in the attic in the dark they will be ready come winter. yummy

there is more preserving coming tomorrow, we are working hard on the first harvest of fresh apples...

July 25, 2011

the workers were busy last week

on last friday's {this moment} i did share a little peak into amos and naomi's "huettenbau" week.

over 80 kids and many adult leaders and teen helpers met each day of last week. monday until wednesday the huts were built, "pfahlbauer" (huts on stilts) was the motto and everyone was super enthusiastic about the work. thursday until sunday the kids were overnighting in their huts. each and every minute was loved, with bruises and splinters but very happy and new found friends are the two of them home again. a big thank you to all orange and green t-shirt wearers, you were wonderful volunteers leading and guiding the kids through this week.

a quick rest for the saw, this was very rare in the first two days

big dreams
all those volunteer daddies and mamies building with a dozen kids assigned to their hut (age 7-12)

it was amazing how quickly the second and third floors were nailed down

and of course stairs, ladders and railings. hammering was music in every ones ears

the second half of the week was iffy with the weather, lots of quick rains and mostly cool, never the less lots of fun. and of course at the entrance of each hut was a raincoat rack "designed" and constructed

seven huts, lots and lots of stairs and verandas and pathways up in the air.

our tour guide, very proudly on top of of the entrance to "his" hut

(photos have been taken in the course of last week, by joel and me)

July 22, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

July 21, 2011

watching the transformation

we did feed the caterpillar and loved it and watched it grow and enjoyed it a lot, summer has been spilling over in our house!

it was wonderful to see the chrysalis. being patient with just being.

i did take a photo yesterday, feeling that it might be the last of this stage. we did observe how the coloure in the of the chrysalis changed and just this morning the kids took an other look and decided that they could definitely see the colours of the wings, it was beautiful

an hour later we discovered the wonderful old world swallowtail

i was and still am at awe, gazing at this perfect creature

July 20, 2011

naomi's ins skirt

there is something about starting a new project, especially about sewing cloths for my kids...
a few months ago i got hold of nancy j.s. lnagdon's and sabine pollehn's book, "sewing clothes kids love". i had to get used to the super colourful and fancy decorated style, but naomi right away totally loved it.
i quickly got hold of some fabric out of my stash good folks by anna maria horner, this two different colour ways should match and make the over skirt, for the under skirt it's something very plain, but still flowery.

the yoke is just a plain green, i'm still not too up for too loud fabric combinations...

though i have to say as soon as i started to cut the pieces i was falling in love with the combination and an other funny thing happened to me...

i had to bake an apple tart. don't ask me when it started to spin in my head, but it just felt like the thing to do. i grabbed the little bowl of red currents and put them onto the tart too, some colour and tartness to the very sweet apples seemed right.
as soon as i took the tart out of the oven, i knew what has happened, the tart was the perfect print match with the good folks print i picked for the skirt...

the was getting a hold of the fabric scraps and started to do gymnastics, she was very happy and really never once minded while i was using the big scissors as usually she would be head over heels wanting to cut too. i enjoyed a happy morning, sewing will start soon...

July 19, 2011

mani matter at the landesmuseum

i wanted to go and see the mani matter exhibit at the landesmuseum in zurich...
it was just an attempt, as thea and i would have had to wait for 2h to enter the special exhibit. we decided not to wait and instead see the regular parts of the museum as well as the wwf special exhibit. it was nice, as there were a number of birds on exhibit, of course i know WWF and i'm glad they exist but the biography of this organization is illustrated in a wonderful way, easily accessible and was well worth seeing.

Alexis Schwarzenbach WWF Eine Biografie

i decided not to bring the camera along, as i wanted to "travel light" with thea in tow...
there would have been some fun pictures, as the two of us took a stroll along the limmat, had lunch on a quiet spot and wandered over to the train station at stadelhofen. once more in zurich and i do really like this city, i'm sure i will be returning, be it for the chagall windows at fraumuenster or also just to sit up there on the lindenhof to enjoy the view over the city.
back at home for an afternoon nap...

July 18, 2011

red current muffins

i love those little sour berries, and so do all the kids around me. the sweet muffin dough makes a perfect "back drop" for those little berries.

my neighbor invited me to come over and pick the berries from her two bushes. of course this you don't have to ask e twice! thea and i went over and got two bowls of the wonderful red fruit.
the first one is now made into juice, for the moment in the freezer, awaiting its final destination of being cooked into jelly, at a slower time of year.
some berries of course got eaten right away, thea loves them straight from the bush the best.
and then there is the muffin/cake which i love! here is the sheet cake which i made last year.
so yesterday was time for muffins...

i usually substitute some of the egg with rolled flax seed (shown here golden flax). about a big table spoon steeped in boiling water and then added as you do the eggs.

and here the recipe:

200 g soft butter
3 eggs
1 tbls flax seed steeped in boiling water
200 g sugar, i prefer brown sugar
1 pinch of salt, mix until the dough is light and fluffy

1/2 lemon juice and grated peel, add

200 g flour
1 tsp backing powder, whisk in just until smooth

2 cups red currents fresh from the bush, washed and taken from the stems, add and mix under the dough

fill the greased muffin tins (or use paper liners)
bake in preheated oven at 250F for ~25 min

July 15, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

July 14, 2011


there is a problem in our house...
joel is gone, playing tunes somewhere in the catskills and i'm left alone with a broken server in the house. via phone we were able to track the problem partially, and then joel had to start cooking coffee and make breakfast for the boys. he is camping and i'm feeling a bit lost with not knowing how to fix the problem, wish it wouldn't be a computer problem. i will likely not be posting for a few more days, until we will be able to tackle the issues.

July 13, 2011

rain, rain we love you

a hot day was yesterday and it got really muggy by dusk, we could smell and feel the rain coming. the forecast had rain- and thunderstorms with "flood watch" for tuesday night. it was hard finding ones' sleep last night and i woke up at 2am to high winds and gushing rain and flashing all around. and somehow it was very calm no thunder was rolling, very strange. not long and the hail came down on the "not anymore sleeping" inhabitants of our little place on earth.
in a flash i ran to close the last windows and cover the chicken coop with a blanket (the see through polycarbonate roof...) the hail corns were not super big, but still coming down hard, the gutters didn't seem to be working at all. though it was spectacular to see the flashes all around us and the chicken didn't seem to mind after all.

the rain calmed down and this morning was a freshly washed outdoors waiting for us to play in.

the leftover water balloons from yesterdays play

and of course reading on the couch was a good alternative to getting wet outside. at least amos thinks so

the plants needed the water and i love to observe the droplets on all those plants. miraculously hanging on to the green

July 12, 2011

strudel for lunch

of course it's summer, it's hot and we love to eat lunch in the shade of the lovely chestnut tree. but what to cook on a warm summers day? a quick look in the fridge...
:: lettuce with carrots
:: eggplant
:: strudel dough
:: sour creme

the freezer...
:: ground beef

the pantry...
:: yeah! there is still one glass of marinated peppers, wonderful

an so we have a savory strudel with marinated red peppers and a summer salad, yummy. and many glasses of water, without ice, as this is a no go in our house. especially for drinks with a meal, we don't use ice. not sure if it is because i grew up without ice and the 12 years in the usa didn't change this habit. or maybe i'm a radical energy safer...
it was not just loved by me, but the kids really liked it too. to me it seems as if i prepare meals with some kind of dough involved it's a runner regardless what's with it. all kinds of savory and sweet pies and tarts are loved in my house.

July 11, 2011

a quick walk before the storm

lets go on a quick walk...
being at my parents in law for lunch, having enjoyed a wonderful meal, doing so on their balcony overseeing the toess, and savoring a glass of very good wine. yes there must be a quick walk before the rain hits!
the wind was already blowing strong, the smell of rain in the air. amos scooted as if it would be for his life and i loved to just breath the laden atmosphere in and take it all and keep it all!

one more loop, as the rain is still holding off. toward the town a quick thought back to our wedding day, in this church was the happy event happening, almost 17 years ago, a good sight and yes i'm missing joel as he is enjoying an extended trip to boston and right now is at the catskill's irish arts week, with elias in tow! most likely making music all week long...

i'm not a big fan of roses in vases, but rose hedges they are grand!

and a few yards closer to home, m & p's garden... yes there are already a few raspberries ripe. of course they tasted wonderful, thank you for sharing with us

a common milkweed along the road, a quick look and sighting of busy bumble bees, absolutely worth stopping and watching before the rain hits hard!
o and by the way, the smell is breathtaking, wonderful and sweet.

then the long expected down poor arrived with full force and the balcony was the best place to enjoy the rain and the company of grandpa and a good swing!

July 8, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

July 7, 2011

summer spilling over

summer is not to be kept out of doors, we take it indoors too and we do this with lots of joy.
our life is full of colour right now, full of bright sunshine and i don't mind it too much to run around the house to our neighbor to use the toilette, as ours are still under construction. though i hope this will be over soon. maybe it makes me a bit more empathetic with our forefathers and mothers having to use the outhouse...
and yes it has been no problem not having the luxury of taking showers... especially the boys were super excited about it. the garden hose has come in handy and of course thea loves "mis hose" (my hose) to get herself and everyone around her wet!

:: summer is beautiful

:: the caterpillar has been with us for the past 2 weeks, it's going to become an old world swallowtail and an other very cool link

:: those are the very carrots we found the caterpillar on, of course on the greens...

:: red leave boston lettuce from the neighbors garden and our carrots for lunch today

:: the first potatoes are being scrubbed, we have enjoyed them for the past couple weeks and thea really really likes scrubbing

:: of course flowers are on our tables in every room to be found, either collected by the kids, picked on their way home from school or cut by myself in the garden

:: yesterday my friend stopped by with a lovely sunflower from her community garden plot, thank you k