November 30, 2015

the christmas cookies...

i have been preparing last week. the wish to bake christmas cookies, has been in everyones head, some even voiced it out loud. not to my surprise, the boys were keen on getting to work on sunday afternoon. i had the dough prepared for four kinds of cookies and so we went to work.

the aprons tied around our waist and clean hands was a must. i was impressed how well they know to get set up and started. it is not chaotic anymore and the different tasks are quickly piked up by each of them. the music was on, our favorite cookie baking "band" piffaro.
the candle is lit and lot's of adventsspirit and joy floating in our kitchen. even joel was coming over, as he is working on putting together a list of tunes and songs for a gig he is playing with a friend who plays the guitar. it's the adventsbus the two of them will be making music on december 9th 17:00/17:45/18:30.

so for now, we have gewürz-igeli (spicy balls with almonds), sandele (with sandel wood pouwder, a cool color....), and what you don't see, the basler brunsli a chocolate cookie, and orangen-schnittli (a three layer cookie with ground almond and orange zest.

there are now two more doughs ready to be made into cookies, the anis-chräbeli (anis-bred though different shape) and gingerbread, which will be rolled and filled with almond paste.

i love the advents season and all the work, scents and tradition it brings along. the first candle of advent has been lit yesterday, the candle of hope and that i do. i pray for and hold onto, as i think of the people fleeing their home countries and being on the road or on the sea with only the hope. my prayers are especially with those. and some moments are strange, as i have all i need and even plenty more, how can i share, pass on to those people? there is the obvious, at least my money i can share easy, there are lot's of charities out there who do much needed work.

and then there is a new refugee center being opened soon in our neighborhood, with 80-100 young men given shelter, food and assistance to file their paper work. we will see, it's getting real now and i do hope we don't just talk but also do what needs to be done.

November 27, 2015


it is as november has to be, gray and cold. not really winter yet, but not autumn anymore. lots of gray, lots of still and i even enjoy it. as our autumn has been warm and bright with sunshine. full of activity and even a vacation to tuscany, i really do appreciate the gray and somewhat lonely moments of this past week, i even hope for more of it.
soups are stewing on my stove, candles are lit and a bit more time to knit is on my hand. the woolen shawls and sweaters, hats and mittens are out and already being worn. and then when i was out running this morning, i discovered those bare bushes with the wonderfully white glowing fruit-balls. i had to bring some home and put them on our kitchen table. that's how my november days feel like.

no more words this is enough, i think, i am loving november!

November 25, 2015

the highly addictive work

there has been wool in our lifes!
my mother got the wool from two big sheep of a friend of hers, fleece from this summer. and just a day before we visited last, she washed and sorted those two fleece and they were lade out for drying, on a big bed sheet. we worked through them a few times a day. it is wonderful work, my hands loved it and the kids went to work too. i have to say my parents, together with a friend, did a superb job in washing and sorting.

there is a bit of a jump now, as i took a big bag of the raw uncombed wool home. knowing, that my sister in law has a drum carder, i stopped by her house this afternoon and she let me borrow the "wundermaschine", yes it is a wonder tool the "hero" from woolmakers.
we could not wait longer, but had to put the carder to work right after dinner. i started out on my own, but it didn't take long for naomi to join me. such wonderful work, feeding the fleece into the hero and having the roving come from the big drum. it's addictive, i will go back to do some more carding as soon as i'm done reporting to you...

not knowing yet, what will happen to the roving, but loving to keep work through the first big ball of fleece is what i will keep doing tonight!
see you then...

November 24, 2015

moments of still and craftiness

we are on a roll of all kinds of crafts. naomi found a pound of clay and then we started trying out to make some easy "tags" to go onto the gifts we are planning to make and wrap and decorate.
it has been very rewarding to work together and make things. not a lot of boundaries, just ideas and a look around some pinterest boards as well as this link...
that last link looks very cool and i'm tempted to spend next thursday afternoon taking out the clay again and get to work. we will see if i'm up to it, as i promised to myself, that i will be creative and give myself space to work, but not giving in to stress. not even if i feel like i really, really want to do it, but just can't find the quiet and still for that needed moment.
maybe it's the easy way out, but for now i do need this easy way out. there is a lot going on in our house, without me adding any more fuss or confusion to it!

so, let's stay focused and get the little moments, the few minutes of still, of quiet and celebrate those. those little bright glimpses of the advents time just around the corner.

November 23, 2015


we have been meeting with a few women from the neighborhood to bake christmas cookies for the bake sale on the coming wednesday. seven kinds we were able to make, anis, brunsli, spitzbuben, mailänderli, sugarcookies, sandele and spicy balls. all went well and we had a good time working together. as it usually is, a hand full of women working together in the kitchen, makes a whole lot of work getting done. so it also happened with the workings of those christmas cookies.
i'm very happy and we will be able to contribute our work and the money it makes for a project in southern sudan, literacy and peace education, farming projects for families. and then there is also the latrine project which is part of it. i'm very happy that we can support this project and it makes it even more meaningful, when i think of our neighbor ladies helping with the cookie baking, as most of them are immigrants and with this, they can be part of a big help project, which they so much want to, but very frequently end up to be put at the receiving end in our first world country in the midst of europe.

lets be neighbors and help each other, in so many different ways. teaching german, watching each others kids, mending pants, cooking meals for me.... that one is a wonderful help and a delicious one on top of it. our whole family loves turkish meals, or for that matter albanian dinners!

it is a blessing to live with neighbors from all kinds of countries and traditions.

November 18, 2015

bread on the table

feeding the big family and who ever else is sitting around our dinner table, got me back to baking bread. it is cooler now and kneading the bread dough is a good workout to make me feel warm. not just physically warm but also emotionally turning toward my people. the folks sitting down with me and my family to eat. it is a wonderful thing to be able to feed people and feed them well. simple and delicious it mostly is. soups have popped up on our table lately and lots of different kinds of breads.
for one reason or the other, i'm not able to bake the same kind of bread twice. it is what it is, mostly loved, sometimes a pinch too much salt, other times slightly blackened on one end. but it has been eaten every single time i served the loafs and that is what counts.

i also fetch bread from the äss-bar in the city, when ever i'm in town. there is still so much good in a one day old loaf of bread. and of course that's adding a big variety to our dinner tables, dinkel, rye, oat, sour-dough and many more....

sometimes i try out new recipes, the book from peter reihhart artisan breads every day is a good source too and of course my mom and my sister in law have been baking bread for a long while too.

November 17, 2015

what we love to do

it has been for a long time now, that i knit and joel plays the flute. and sometimes we even get the chance to do it at the same time in the same space.
we have been doing so here and there,
and so we did in the past days, it is wonderful to knit on a shawl (maybe for me, maybe i find some one to pass it on to) and the mohair is such a wonderful material to knit, it's going to be a cicely and i found the pattern in the taproot issue #15. i have been knitting super bulky wool lately and so i love the change to a more regular kind of wool, with just a US #8.

i also have started baking bread again, about twice a week and the first batch of christmas cookies is ready to be packed into 60 little bags for sale at the our churches advents-sale event. i'm really excited, as a friend also helped baking and delivered a few boxes of very yummy looking cookies and so we will be able to have 7 kinds of cookies in those bagies. i will tell you more after the sale and if you want to come and get some wonderful cookies, on wednesday the 25th at KGH Seen.....

November 16, 2015

the calendar writes :: november

mid november it is and it's warm as in early october if not to think of september...
it has been way too warm the past two weeks. flowers still in bloom and i just ate an other two figs from our tree. the leafs have fallen, as it has been very dry all of autumn. nature is suffering and i try to keep up with watering around the house, remember it's november!

and then the evenings have come in earlier after the time change and tea times have become more common in late afternoons. also over the weekend at my parents, sitting, knitting, chatting and enjoying the comfort of a cup of hot tea.
thea's birthday was celebrated more than once and she loved it. very aware to be a seven year old, wonderful to observe and see how much she enjoys all the attention she could get. everyone had to wish her well and do so clearly, not just "me too"... she didn't let anyone come near her, until he or she wished her well for her birthday. i was not anymore aware, that seven year olds love that special birthday and live it so fully!
it's wonderful and teaches me once ore, that i should also enjoy those days, the "me birthday!" or then call for a loud "bicycle-pump!"

November 13, 2015

candle dipping last night

 by joel

like other years too, we went candle dipping in the community room across the street. this time we all went together, all the people from our little community. it turned out to be enjoyed by all. i'm sure there were a few people, which had not been making candles since their school years, and our kids do it and love it each year. they get very creative and dip intentionally.

for me it's usually, this year too, bees wax which i very much appreciate, not just it's smell, but also the color and the fact, that it is a gift from nature to me.

and then there is the aspect of contemplation, dipping and seeing the candle grow. adding color after color (or even just plain bees wax), the candle gains in it's circumference. and it chances it's looks quiet a bit each time you dip in a new color of wax. i like to just go as i want to and feel like. some folks are strategist and plan the dipping and adding of this or that color. of repeating the pattern to dip. it is wonderful and anyone can do it, there is no special skill required, but one has to do it, dip in wax. cool down in the cold water and dry with a cotton rag. the candle is not growing out of thin air it is growing and getting a character by the way i want it to be. so much is like our daily doings, the rhythms of a day, a week, a month or even years. adding color and adding structure. repeating what is good for me for my sole, be eat the act of eating together in community with people and knowing that it is a privilege to be together and, adding the joy of love to and from one another. all given by our creator, our father God.

A candle's but a little thing
It starts with just a bit of string
Yet dipped and dipped with patient hand
It gathers wax upon the stand
Until, complete and snowy white
It gives at last a lovely light.
Life seems so like that bit of string
Each deed we do, a simple thing
Yet day by day if on life's strand
We work with patient heart and hand
It gathers joy, makes dark days bright
And gives at last a lovely light.

Author Unknown

November 12, 2015

the 7th

thea turned seven today!
and i remember her birth very vividly, it was at home, with the whole community waiting for "the child" to be born. and nobody expected, the least me, for her to be born at home in a jiffy. it was all so quick, i remember going to the store for a regular shopping trip in the late afternoon. coming home and cooking split pea soup (amos' favorite), taking a bath, sipping tea and before i could think, there she was. all happily and healthy.

and so we still enjoy her each day. there are harder moments, like the fact, that she is not a morning person and lets us know of this fact frequently. though a sunny spirit overall and full of energy and creativity and joy.
we had a full day, starting the celebration with family breakfast. taking a big bag of apples along to school for all her friends and teacher. (this one was interesting, as usually the kids bring a cake or chocolate muffins, you get the hang.... :) but we decided, that her best friend really likes apples and so it is fine, even if not all the kids will take one (brought home just a hand full). for lunch the grandparents came over and after school two of our friends stopped by (thank you c and r). of course the candles had to be lit at every celebration moment. and she was blessed with many well wishes and creative gifts. best of all her brother gave her some little type of dart with capsules to bust and make noise..... that one had to be seen by each and every guest, of course mama is just smiling and keeping her mouth shot.

November 11, 2015

leafs and cheese

leaf raking in the garden.... it was a bit hard to get her out and to work in the garden, but she did finally go and absolutely enjoyed her work. our neighbor also showed up and lent her a hand. we have wonderful neighbors and the kids like them too, as they like the kids. so helping each other has been a given, they mostly mowed our little lawn when theirs has been cut and we put the big pool up in their yard for all of us to share in the fun of swimming.
there are still a few zinnia in bloom and i love them, such bright and clear colors, next to all the brown and dark yellow of the fallen leafs.

and then, a couple days ago, the alp-cheese arrived in the mail. i ordered  it in september, directly from the farmer up there in the mountains of uri, the place is called alplen. we have not been there, but that might be going there next summer, just so for a hike to explore where our cheese has been produced! it's a wonderfully delicious alp cheese, we can tell, the cows have enjoyed a pasture with lots of herbs and strong grasses.... :)

November 10, 2015

:: räbelichti ::

as so many years now, we carved beets and enjoyed the process of digging out the inner parts of those beets. i have been snacking on the shavings, thea and naomi really loved eating a lot of those kind of sweet shavings...
we carved them with little ornaments, i chose stars and thea wanted a big assortment of shapes. then at 6pm we met at the kids school and went for a lantern walk with all the kinder-gardeners and 1st graders. the local brass band accompanied us for a longish walk around the block. it was nice and i had a wonderful chat with a neighbor which i not see too much. the girls enjoyed it and their teachers did a wonderful job in keeping every one excited and singing...
"räbeliechtli, räbeliechtli wo gosch hii..."

November 9, 2015

in the woods

going out into the woods has become a regular, though not frequent event, with our friends. we wanted to go next weekend, but could just not wait any longer and already went out there together yesterday. it was the perfect afternoon for short sleeves and an ax. running and playing in the fallen leafs was one of the favorite past times, even for our teenagers!
and i was so happy, observing, that it really doesn't matter what age one is, the autumn woods are perfect for all of us!

 we carried along lots of yummy foods, even a bottle of wine (from my parents vineyard)...
marinated pork, little and bigger sausages, bread and pita, apples and of course potatoes. the once who complained to loudest about not wanting to eat roasted potatoes, even liked them, topped with sour creme.
dessert was made and served in the dark. lots of marshmallows roasted and devoured as smores!
well, it was an other very good weekend with lots of time spent out of doors. which i didn't expect for november. once more, i really really do count my blessings and am glad.

November 6, 2015

the pink in all of them

it was one more perfect early november day, or shall i say warm autumn day, as november is usually a bit cooler as today was.
thea had violin lesson and we headed out without coats, just a little shawl around the neck did it. she even felt hot!, still sandals on her feet, though i was wearing closed shoes. the afternoon sun is still strong and the light perfectly warm and so gentle. we had great fun to play with our own shadows mid afternoon and carrying a bouquet to my friends house, as she celebrated her birthday.

when i flipped through my photos of today, i noticed the pink link in all of them, funny, it didn't oqure to me at the time i held the camera in my hand...