"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Friday, August 28, 2009

Signs of an early fall...

I love seeing those first signs of autumn's arrival. I noticed it this past weekend when we got out of the car at Cranberry Cottage. You could smell the change in the air in the woods.

Some signs are obvious like the ghords are for sale once again. I could not resist already getting some for my garden...

Then Sunday morning we walked in the woods. We have never gone on the 'Gnome path' meant for children but did so since it was so early and there was no one there.

And look what we found...

Simply toadstools? Or gnomes homes? Oh yes! Gnomes really do exist...

I am not sure the gnome family will enjoy having this visitor though. *grins*

The misty look of dew laden spider webs is so pretty as autumn appraoches. Enlarge the photo and see if you can see the spider webs.

Enjoy your weekend and perhaps look for signs around you that autumn is coming.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A weekend's hard work.....

...is well rewarded when a new project is well needed. And this one definitely was!

Our old gates, which were built by the previous owner of the cottage, were falling apart. The gate on the wooded side of the garden was so rotted through that you could not even open it any longer.

We priced gates. They were expensive and not even ones that we liked. We could have really nice oak or chestnut gates made but that really cost and arm and a leg. I think we still needed our arms and legs so we talked about making them ourselves. My husband is not into this kind of work so he was convincing himself he could not do it while I was convincing him otherwise. *grins*

He took Friday off work and we left for Cranberry Cottage early. After unpacking our things, we took a drive to a local sawmill and looked for wood. We showed the man there what our idea was. I had made a rough drawing of the gate as I wanted it to look. He helped us pick out the wood and sawed the lengths for us.

He even sold the bolts we needed so we were set to come home and start putting them together. I think Jos did a fabulous job.

We have to still put in some new posts here at the front gate but I am thrilled with our new look! He even put my "I'm In The Garden" on the new gate.

And the back gate is also in place and much more sturdy than the old ones. They fit in with the idea of this little house on the edge of the woods.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just because it is beautiful.....

That is often my philosophy about buying things for my garden. Being beautiful is its function. I also love anything that is wrought iron. When we walked into a garden center last year, I saw this hanging way in the distance and just fell in love with it. When I said something to Jos, I was totally shocked that he walked to it and pulled it off the wall only to ask if I wanted it. He liked it too.

We had it hanging on a large wall by our terrace here in the city garden. After Jos put the little restored iron table by the front door, I thought it would be nice to change around our hanging items and use this beautiful decoration beside the front door. Many people are noticing it for the first time. Now that is due to two things, first it is now much more prominent and Jos refinished it now for me in the same black paint. I love how it has turned out. He did a wonderful job on it like the table.

This year, I bought this garden ornament when I went to a garden center run by a major garden designer. We go for inspiration to use in our gardens. They are very nice and come into the show gardens to ask if you would like a cup of cappuccino or tea. They serve it in the gardens. Most of the things there are so expensive but this was so nice and affordable. It was however not fun to carry to the car. *grins*

As the song says...'my front door is open' so won't you come by and have a cup of ice tea?

"All gardeners live in beautiful places
because they make them so."

~ Joseph Joubert

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday washday

Today was washday here in our home. I enjoy doing laundry. Did I hear some of you shriek? I like knowing I can place the freshly cleaned clothes, neatly folded back in a drawer. Or having a fluffy towel to hang on the rack in the bathroom. Or smelling a piece of clothing that is fresh and clean. For this reason, I enjoy having a nice laundry room to go into for my day's work.

Recently, I found a lady selling primitive blocks and signs via eBay who is located in England. I love these blocks but found them too expensive to order in America because of postage costs. I was thrilled to find this sweet set of blocks for my laundry room shelves. It gives a vintage feel which works perfectly with my jars, old irons and clothes pegs.

I have been ironing also today. And yes...I enjoy this chore too. Perhaps a very good thing with all my husband's shirts for work. *grins*

My ironing board was less than exciting lately so when I found this cover in a discount store for just a couple of euros, I grabbed it up. It was the last one and for good reason as look how adorable it is. I think if you are going to do something regularly, be sure to enjoy it as much as you can by creating a pleasant space for yourself.

'We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.'

~ E.B. White

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Simple gifts...

While I was sitting out by our buddleia (butterfly bush) at Cranberry Cottage stitching, I noticed this feather laying in the grass. I was so excited to find that our friend, the Great Spotted woodpecker, had left me a simple gift. Isn't it beautiful!?!

The woodpeckers come to our peanut feeder which we leave up year round for them. In the mornings, we are greeted with the shrill, single chirp of this beautiful bird. We love to sit and watch them at the feeder but have never been able to get a good photo as they are very shy. If they see movement from our large picture windows, they fly off so I have borrowed a photo from an online encyclopedia just in case you have not been fortunate enough to have seen one of these birds.

I love to watch the birds while I sit to quilt or stitch. They even come to feeders outside while we are out on the patio all but the woodpecker. This beauty would rather dine in quiet splendor.

"HIS bill an auger is,
His head, a cap and frill.
He laboreth at every tree, --
A worm his utmost goal."

The Woodpecker by Emily Dickinson

Be sure to put your speakers on for a fun blast from the past. As many of you know, I try and match my music to my post whenever possible ... so I hope you enjoy this one! We even call our little friend Woody and we have a robin called Robbie who is the boss in the garden. *grins* Robins here in Europe are tiny little birds who stay here year round. They claim a garden as their own.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nature's goodness

I love blueberries! After picking two containers full last weekend, I froze four bags of them but decided I really wanted to keep some fresh in a bowl to munch on. They are like Mother Nature's M&Ms. *grins*

Just looking at them is a delight but I loved being able to put them in my blue bowl. They are almost gone now and partly because I did bake something with them which I will get to in a moment.
It has been a warm week here in Holland and even Dagi has had little desire to do more than sleep. I just folded some clothes and he decided they made the perfect place to rest up against. My sweet little kitty is becoming an old man...

This summer we seem to have to favorite on our menu...salads and pasta dishes. I keep trying out new combinations with various kinds of pasta. I love trying out new combinations. This is cortecce pasta. It is a temporary product at our supermarket. I simply chopped up 4 spring onions and sauteed them in olive oil with sliced mushrooms. I then added half of a head of andive chopped until the andive had wilted. Pour in a little coffee cream or half-and-half. Season with salt, pepper, about four to five chopped sun dried tomatoes and thyme. Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and grilled raw ham that has been broken up over the dish. Every ingredient is very fresh and it makes a simple and tasty dish for a summer's evening.

And for dessert? Well, my blogging friend Karen helped me out with that when she put an old favorite recipe on a recent blog entry. This is Blueberry Tea Cake and I can tell you that it is fabulous. We had it the first night with vanilla ice cream. The streusel topping is so delicious.

My photos have been very bad lately as my camera has a major defect. We just found out that Canon had recalled this camera but we never heard about it until my own camera started to show signs of the problem due to the warm weather. Jos bought me a new camera as it will be a good six weeks before the other is repaired.

Many have been asking how I have been. I am slowly improving as the dosage of my thyroid medicine is increased. I had to go to the hospital for my second biopsy this week. The technician did the ultrasound and went to get the doctor. To my surprise, the doctor that administered the radioactive therapy in March came in the room. He works in this department too he told me. He redid the ultrasound and another doctor also came in to look and he also redid it. They decided that they would wait to do the biopsy. They told me that my gland is very irregular and asymmetrical at the moment. There is still a nodule they are keeping an eye on but they are convinced that the radioactive material should take care of it with time. This kind of treatment takes a good year to show results. The doctor told me he could not see the point of putting me through the discomfort of the biopsy as he believes it will be okay. He does want to repeat it in three months at which time, if it is not improving, the biopsy could then be done. Needless to say, he did not have to convince me and I was ready to jump off the table. Next week, I see my other specialist and hope she will be in agreement since she was the one who wanted the biopsy done.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An ancient church in Friesland

One of my favorite little villages in Friesland is Olderberkoop. It is a charming village with a church in the center of the village green. Normally this church is not open but this past weekend there was a special event in which many churches in Friesland were open. Now I love old buildings, churches and graveyards so we stopped to look around. Won't you join me as I walk around?

This is the Bonifatiuskerk. It was built around 1125AD and is attributed to Saint Boniface who was a missionary in northern Holland.

Inside is lit by real candles.

And one of the doors still has its old iron hinges and lock.

A typical Dutch brass chandelier. These are a work of art in themselves.

The church is tiny but still holds features like this incredible pipe organ and faux marble pillars.

The architecture of the building is beautiful.

There are various bricks used pointing to changes being made to the church in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.

I have loved looking at graves since I was a little girl. My parents used to take me to a historical graveyard in our town to walk around and read the graves. My father would drive slowly while I walked with my little brother reading the names and dates on the tombstones. I still love looking at graves to this day. This flat tombstone was the oldest among the few graves around the church. It was dated 1681.

These tombstones are so beautiful. This grave dates to 1901...

...and these from 1886, 1903 and 1928. The front stone is for a man that passed away in 1886 while his wife lived until 1928. Often, I wonder what things would have been like for a couple like this but looking around the green you see many of the houses that would have also been standing in their time. That is part of the charm of this village...