Saturday, March 31, 2012

And We Had a Handful

Literally, we had five sets of visitors to our Open Huis today. As we expected no one, five was outstanding. In fact, we had more lookers in two hours than we have had in two years. No joke!

By 11:30 am we had resolved ourselves to reading a book or browsing Pinterest. You know who read the book.

Then a very enthusiastic couple showed up who just had to see the real apartment, since they had questions about the internet photos.

Then while we were eating a quick lunch, a lady who was coming back for the second time (1st time must have been last summer!) came with her daughter to see if the balcony view was to her liking.

Then another interested couple showed up at the door. While they were imagining how to reconstruct the spare bedroom for their children, a single gentleman asked if I could show him around. He would not leave his name, since he said he did not want to be pestered by real estate agents.

Then the last looker came with a friend, but the lady has to sell her own house. She was interested.

So that was our Open House.Whew! Now to find everything that we hid and enjoy our last four days here.

Who knows? Maybe there was a buyer in the handful.

On Your Mark

11:00 am and waiting.

Almost all of the Dutch homeowners who are trying to sell their homes are sitting waiting for the first " kijkers" (lookers). Just like us. We have put stickers on the car window and parked it on the street by the front gate. I tied balloons on the front gate and on the doorknobs of the doors leading to the apartment.

So if someone wants to find us, they will.

Nederlanders are waiting. It only takes one person to be interested in buying a house. Bring him/her on!

Friday, March 30, 2012


Dutch hospitality moves past Southern hospitality.

While here in Europe, my Dutch hub and I have been heartily welcomed by family, neighbors, and his former schoolmates. In the last few weeks we have had delicious coffee and special treats with family, neighbors, and Hub's former high school classmates. Some of those same friends and family have treated us to delicious meals and great conversations. And we still have more visits in our last week here. Thank you to all of you who made us feel so at home! Maybe someday we can welcome you to our home.

But the main thing on our minds is the Open House on Saturday. We still need to vacuum and swish through the bathroom, but we will be ready at 11 on Saturday morning. Today our new bed will be delivered, so we will need to pile that on top of the flattened existing guest bed and make it look "made up." But that should work.

So wish us luck and visitors curious and interested in purchasing the apartment. After two years on the market and only a handful of lookers, we are ready for this apartment to be someone else's home.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hail Beat

Not long ago we discovered Speculoos.

Our son who lives in the US likes Dutch pepernoten. They are available only around Sinterklaas/Christmas time, and we were looking for a substitute to get for him. We discovered spreadable Speculoos by Lotus.

Actually his best bud (American) loves the stuff, but we were still looking for something yummy for our son. Yesterday we found The Original Speculoos Hagel. It is a nieuw product from Lotus, and we will let jr. try it for taste. Americans are used to spreading bread with PB&J, but I don't know that this "hail beat/hagel slag" or sprinkles will make it in the US.

Our son will probably just eat it out of the box, since I don't remember ever seeing him butter bread and then sprinkle on any kind of hagel. He ate chocolate hagel when I made it for him when he was a tot. Maybe he took it to school for lunch, but I don't remember anymore. Maybe he does.

And yes, stroopwafels are also on the way. Taking last requests. Mom, what about you? An email with requests is a good idea.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Het Goed and Kringloop Winkel

It is no secret that I am frugal (cheap!) and like old things. Liking old things is something my late mother-in-law and I had in common. I am not sure she was as frugal as I am, but the Dutch as a nation are rumored to be frugal. How else do you think that the saying"Dutch Treat" became popular? It certainly wasn't that the Dutch were going to treat ( or rather pay) for the entire bill!

But I digress. Both Oma and I loved to check out second-hand shops. In fact we visited Het Goed in Deventer several times together. We always found something interesting and usually old. I do not have my "junk" partner anymore, but my hub fills in pretty well. Guess it is in his blood. Yeah, cheap and son of Oma. Today he initiated our visits to Het Goed and also the Kringloop Winkel in Twello. Today I found some Delft blue souvenirs, inexpensive Delft blue cabinet vases, real KLM blue and white miniature Dutch houses (still full of Jenever), and foot pieces for my cake pedestal creations. So you could say I had a good, cheap afternoon with my hub. Now who could ask for more?

After our shopping trip, we met Christopher for the first time. He is my hub's newest great-nephew. What an energetic and bouncing baby boy of four months! He is ready to run, so he practiced on our laps. Bet we all have little blue footprints on our upper legs. I think he will run a marathon someday. What a cutie and a flirt!

Chris's big brother Sebastiaan aged 3 years speaks English, so he and I played a game of kickball. I don't really remember the actual rules, but he kicked the old soccer ball and ran around a small pile of dirt ( he called it mud). Then it was my turn. Don't laugh! I did my best. We enjoyed our visit with Chris and Seb.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Window Washing, Walking, and Wasted

Saturday is Open House day for the apartment. Of course I need to vacuum and dust, but today I did something very Dutch. I washed the balcony windows and cleaned up the sitting area on the balcony. Most Dutch ladies use buckets of water and squeegees, but I tried out Glassex and it worked. No soppy mess for me. Now to put a tablecloth on the little table, cushions on the chairs,and plants in the empty pots on Saturday.

After I finished windows, we walked to the bank, to have passport photos made, and back by Action (the Dutch version of Dollar General). Then we drove to get our groceries at Lidl. They have the best Greek yoghurt and Creme Brûlée! Why can't Walmart carry that really good stuff?

We ate Babi Pangang again tonight (and more tomorrow night!) and then crashed in our straight backed chairs with Ikea footstools. I am still not used to sitting like this while watching television.

I am still completely hooked on Pinterest. Even my Master Gardening project is one of my boards called Mastering Gardening. If you are interested in checking out my boards and pins, go to .

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Summer Temps Again Today

Summer temperatures in Europe are more like spring or fall temps in my part of the US. But today we had warm, sunny weather again . Until around lunch time it was foggy and quite cool outside, but when we did our late afternoon walk today the weather was outstanding. Hope it stays like this for a few days. The only problem is that our bedroom heats up with the bright sunshine. Hope it cools off fast, too.

Besides visiting a few high school buddies of my hub this week, we are planning for an open house on Saturday. This apartment has been on the market for two years now, so it is time for a sale. This morning I chopped up the only plant still in the apartment. I started that plant from a small shoot about 10 years ago. The original plant was from my mother-in-law's house in Olst, and we had that old plant for almost 20 years, too. Don't ask me what kind of plant it was. Just a climber with large green leaves and long roots/feelers. Now it is finally in the trash bin, and my sister-in-law does not have to come here to water it anymore.

While we were getting rid of the real live plant, we dumped the plastic ferns that had been decorating the top of the kitchen cabinets. No way was I going to dust them, and now the kitchen looks cleaner. Now to do something with the two fake plants by the front door entrance!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Robbery in Germany

Several weeks ago when our Dutch visitor asked if she needed money for the toilet at a gas station in Mississippi, I laughed and said, "Of course not." But today in Germany when my hub and I stopped to tank up our car and empty our tanks, we were robbed! It costed 50 Euro cents for each of us to use the toilet. In US dollar terms that is about $.70 per person!

The second time we stopped for a rest, I found a porto-potty for truck drivers which was free, had TP, and was as clean as most paid toilets. I may be cheap, but I am not stupid.

We made it home in about 6 hours from our vacation spot in eastern Germany. On the trip back I saw at least 5 deer along the Autobahn. Glad they were all on the other side of a fence. And I am glad we didn't have much traffic and only a few idiots driving 140 miles per hour on the far left lane.

The weather is actually sunny and almost warm here in The Netherlands. Let's hope it lasts a few more days!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Americans Haven't Found This Place Yet

Today we drove to Peenemunde, Germany. This military test site was one of the most modern technological facilities in the world between 1936 and 1945. The first launch of a missile into space took place here in October 1942. And it wasn't the Americans or the Russians who launched this missile. It was the Germans/Nazis!

Ever heard of Werner Von Braun? Well he had very little difficulties getting a visum for the US after he was caught by the Americans after Peenemunde was discovered. The Yanks knew that he could benefit our technological knowledge, since he had been involved in the V1 and V2 missile projects from Peenemunde.

I am still amazed that there was only one book in English in the souvenir shop, and all of the visitors to the museum were Germans, most our age or a little older. I know this is German history, but I really expected to see some curious Americans there checking out the V1 and V2 missiles and launch platforms. Maybe it is too early in the season? Maybe this is still a big secret. Anyway, it was very interesting to see.

Also very interesting was the miles long row of market stalls as we entered Poland from the eastern border of Germany. You can buy cigarettes, cheap clothes, cheese, and sausage. We by-passed all that and headed straight to the Polish pottery shop. Many years ago some student in The Netherlands gave me a set of four Polish mugs as an end of the year gift. Today I bought an unusual pitcher and a small blue and white creamer for my collection. They do not necessarily match what I already have, but they are what I wanted.

When we returned to our home base this afternoon, we ate a snack and went out to shop. Hub bought a model boat that he had seen while window shopping last night, and I found 12 white pasta bowls by Villeroy and Bosch on sale! Then we found a sturdy lettuce spinner/centrifuge, and I picked up a couple of clothes bargains.

After a dinner of pork and turkey at a "steak" restaurant, we are both worn out and ready to call it a day. Now for one more cup of tea, and that's it for my blog today.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Finally Internet!

You do not realize how much you depend on an Internet connection until you do not have it. Thank goodness for mobile phones(and remembering to charge it!). And thanks to Tourist Information centers that book your hotel rooms for you. We have used two different ones since we had no Internet.

Tonight we are staying at a remodeled hotel in Stralsund, Germany. Stralsund is on an island in the Ost Sea. Actually that is the Baltic Sea and not the North Sea, like I thought. We drove over to Rugen (also on an island) this afternoon and were amazed at the number of holiday or vacation accommodations for all ages. The beach was beautiful, and it was obvious that many Sr. Citizens were enjoying the warmer spring sunshine. Our gray heads were not unusual on this island.

Tonight we ate at a very modern restaurant located in a very old city square here in Stralsund. After being damaged /destroyed by the Allied Forces in 1944, the city is finally working on repairing and rebuilding the city center. Thank goodness united Germany is working to restore cities like this one.

Tonight I ate fried pork liver, onions, apples, and mashed potatoes, and Hub had a noodle dish with slices of beef. No room for dessert. German meals are always filling.

We will be here another night, so that means I will be able to blog again tomorrow night. We are going near the Polish border tomorrow. Stay tuned. By the way, the street market in Wismar wasn't noisy or very interesting. Maybe shopping here will be better tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

And No Internet in Wismar Hotel

We visited the miniature train wunderland in Hamburg today. It was all and more that you see on US television specials about this detailed train spectacle. I was more facinated with the tiny people than with some of the trains. The creators rarely left out any details. They know America to a "t". What a great way to spend your afternoon watching model trains, cars, trucks, and thousands of tiny, tiny plastic people! Every adult was a child again.

The countryside of old East Germany is lush and magnificent. It is amazing to see the big tractors plowing the massive rolling fields. My hub says that since the big freedom in 1989 it seems that this part of Germany has not divided up into small farms. The fields of winter grass and something else ???? seem to go on forever. Amazing!

When we checked in at our hotel this afternoon, the young lady at the desk informed us that there was no Internet connection in the hotel. She gave us directions to an Internet Cafe (does not exist anymore!), and a guy at a telephone store gave us a second address ( that one was also nonexistent). So here we are trying to get our new router to work ( which it does), but the hotel's Internet is down. BooHoo.

Anyway, we had a great meal tonight. It was stuffed pork rib with raisin and prune stuffing, red cabbage and apples, and potatoes. Hub had fries, and I had boiled potatoes. After eating all that and drinking our huge drinks, we had no room for dessert. Climbing up and down and up and down the stairs to our room, we should be ready for breakfast tomorrow!

We had to park our car at a special parking lot, since tomorrow is market day here on the city square. I am looking forward to seeing that, but am sure we will hear it before we see it. The market stall keepers can be busy setting up their stands at 6 in the morn.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No WiFi at McDonalds!

McDonalds advertizes that they have Free WiFi, but that isn't the complete truth. We found out tonight outside of Hamburg, Germany that we needed a German telephone number in order to get some free WiFi access. Not good when you are trying to check your email or search for a hotel room. Anyway, we will survive. We still have our Dutch mobile phone.

This afternoon after stopping at a couple of fully booked hotels, we checked out a place advertized in "Left and Right along the Autobahn." When our TomTom sent us down a road to seemingly nowhere, we turned around and drove back to the main autobahn. Realizing that maybe the road to nowhere might actually lead to somewhere, we went back there. And, yes, it lead us to our suite at a real farm. Outside you can smell the local pigs, but inside we have all the luxuries of a family suite including a kingsize bed with real down duvets and pillows. There is a foyer, living and dining area with a tv, chairs, and dining table, and a fully equipped kitchen with all appliances except a dishwasher. In fact it is actually bigger and better than some apartments I have seen in the US. I took a couple of photos of our lodging place so that you can see what it is like.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we are heading to the super model train exposition in Hamburg. I know that at least one niece will be jealous that we saw it before she did. More about the trains after we see them.

Across from a Corn Field

On the first evening of our trip to Germany we slept in a small hotel across the street from a mowed corn field. The hotel is called something like overlooking the forest, but it should be called overlooking a field of corn. The room was good, the buffet breakfast was what we expected in Germany, many choices and everything fresh!

Last evening we had a great visit and chat with my hub's cousin and German husband. He is the chef in the family and prepared a super delicious dinner of potato soup, spaghetti bolognese, field lettuce salad, and a broiled pineapple and ice cream dessert. Yummy and great fun chatting with them.

Now to check out and drop by for a quick cup of coffee at the cousin's house. Then on our way toward Bremen and Hamburg. (no hamburger jokes, please)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pack up and Go

Today we are going to Germany. Most of the time when we travel, we are up and running around daybreak. Today we are taking our time. Me on the IPad and hub still sleeping. We haven't even packed! Traffic on Monday mornings here is terrible, so we will wait for that to slow down before we join the rat race.

Our first stop will be to visit family in a beautiful German village about three hours drive from here. I will write about that location after the fact. We have a short shopping list for my hub's cousin who like us misses such Dutch specialities as bread, cheese, and drop(licorice). But we are looking forward to visiting with her and her kind German hub and then staying our first night in a German hotel.

So our true vacation is ready to start. Guess I had better get off this thing and get the suitcase packed! If family or friends need us, you know how to reach us.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Politics, Red Pants, and Laughs

Until one o'clock this morning we chatted with our friends from Rotterdam. A was a witness at our wedding almost 30 years ago! J is his lovely partner who makes the foursome complete. She is the one we think we convinced to get an IPad. A may be a lost cause. (Remember the new typewriter in the cellar? Didn't ask if it was electric or manual. Ha Ha) Anyway we had a great time. Hope that the next time we chat it will be on FaceTime or face to face at our home in the US.

To say that the Dutch are interested in American politics is an understatement. For the last few weeks our Dutch visitors in the US and our friends here in NL have quizzed my hub about what is the deal with the Repubbies and Obama in the US. If Hub or I knew the answer, we could become rich, but I was always told not to discuss politics with friends or family. Actually my dad said to avoid discussing politics, sex, and religion. Wise words, Dad!

As for red pants, last evening over dinner we had a discussion about recognizing different nationalities by their clothing choices. My hub who was a tour guide in Europe when I met him back in 1977, is probably better at identifying nationalities than I. Maybe he has seen more than I, but I must say that I can pick out a "non" American in a split second! Check out the shoes! Wooden ones are dead give aways! (Bad joke, I know.) Fake blue jeans, especially the shiny kind, are also signs of deceit. And then there are red jeans, even if they are Tommy Hilfiger! is a really cool website that both Dutch and Americans should enjoy reading.( Both our visitor in the US and our guest last evening wear red pants.) My own dad wore plaid pants, and back in the day that was the sign of an American of a certain age. Mom, did he have white shoes, too? OMGosh! Better leave this subject fast!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Did you wear green today?

Does black, blue, and pink count? My Dutch hub wore the green today on St. Pat's day. Probably not a single drop of Irish blood in his veins, but probably a lot in mine, so I need some good pinching. LOL

We had a great visit with good friends of ours tonight. We tried to eat at a steakhouse in Voorst, but they were booked up until 8:30 pm. So we drove on to Zutphen and ate on the IJssel River. The best thing I ate there was the cheese platter for dessert. There was pinkish/red cheese that was strange looking but yummy. The blue cheese was the best!

We spent the better part of the evening trying to convince our friends that purchasing an IPad is a good idea. Not sure we were too successful, since A is still lucky he has a new typewriter stashed away in his cellar. There is more to that story, but I am ready to call it a day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Before and After a Good Meal

Or maybe I should have said After and Before a good meal. We had Indonesian Rijsttafel tonight at the Garoeda Restaurant in The Hague. You can see my full plate and what I did to it. The 12 dishes of yummy rice toppings were outstanding and very hot with pepper and spices. It was good to eat something that I don't cook and we can't get at home in the US.

After a confusing and a bit hectic train ride to The Hague, we were both ready for a good meal. And here it was! Now we are back at home in the apartment and ready for a quiet weekend before our next excursion.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beware the Ides of March

You can always identify the scholars and the non-scholars by stating the following to them on March 15: Beware the Ides of March.

Somewhere back in 9th grade most Americans should have read and studied Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." That on this date you need to watch out for back (or front) stabbing best friends is the actual warning is only remembered by the real Shakespeare nerds. Guess I am one of those, since I read and taught the old bard's stuff for way too many years. Every time my students and I studied Hamlet, I spent hours preparing the lessons. My hub was always dumbfounded that I had never learned enough to teach the play without more preparation. Guess that was just me.

Anyway, we have to heed the warning today. The real estate agent is coming to discuss this apartment selling thing, and it is time to get the rest in order. So Beware the Ides of March! Wish us luck, or even better, say a prayer!

Last evening we had Cajun food in Nunspeet at restaurant Fat Alice. The mixed grill was not bad with plenty of yummy salad and spicy fried potatoes. Not sure anyone has really heard of a real Fat Alice, but it wasn't a bad place to eat.

We also ordered our new bed ( to be paid on delivery, believe that or not), visited a real knitting shop and bought HUGE knitting needles, and stopped by an Internet yarn shop that just happened to be open when we passed the store. Now to practice my knitting with the HUGE needles!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

French Bread, Prosciutto Ham, Green Olives, and Feta Cheese

After a long afternoon of bed shopping, we ended up in the supermarket Lidl. It is never a good idea to enter a supermarket when you are hungry, but we did.

This Lidl was extraordinary! It was as if we were in a foreign country. Oops! We are the foreigners here.

We bought fresh French bread, a huge piece of unsliced prosciutto ham, green olives and feta salad, and Greek yoghurt. Needless to say I did not cook dinner tonight. The bread was still fresh and crispy, and the ham was ready for the knife. So dinner was served!

Tomorrow night we will be away from home at dinner time. Should we go Dutch or American? That is the question.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lekker Weer!

Nice Weather! The only eye contact in over 30 minutes of walking on the busy street was at the end of the walk with the neighbor lady downstairs. Don't think she knew who I was when I said good morning in Dutch, but she said, "Lekker Weer (translation:Nice Weather)," back to me. Actually it is not nice weather to me. A tad too cool and much too foggy and gloomy. But good sunny weather is predicted for this week, so guess it is Lekker Weer!

As a morning person, I look forward to getting up and out. This morning I made two observations: no eye contact and two identical vases in every living room window. The no eye contact reminded me of The Dog Whisperer. He always says that if you want no trouble from a dog, don't make eye contact. Guess that works here too in such a small country with over 16 million people.

I remember that eye contact got me into trouble in Rotterdam back in 1979. While shopping alone, I passed a gentleman on the street, made eye contact, said hello, and he followed for several blocks. Only after I shouted GO AWAY (in English, of course) did he finally get the idea that I was not interested in him. Whew! I learned back then to keep my eyes diverted. But this morning I just tested the waters of 2012. No eye contact! Some people even jerked their heads away. Interesting.

Then seeing the two identical large vases in every living room window actually became a game. I observed almost no curtains or sheers, but there were always two large (mostly white) identical vases in the windows. Sometimes the vases or pots were filled with flowers, but most of the time they were empty. It was more like they were statues or art objects than real vases. On the rare occasion, there were three vases instead of two, and even rarer there were several small vases. But I was impressed by the frequency of the two large vases in the windows. It seemed as if there was no individuality and every house was to look almost the same. (Order of the Queen! HaHa!)

Always a Topic

When I used to write a weekly letter to my mother-in-law during the last year of her life, I never seemed to be at a loss for a writing topic. What we did in and around our home in the US was new to her, and country life was relatively new for me.

Writing this blog has also been relatively easy, since Memaw has supplied me with recipes and tales of the past. The last couple of days I have slowed down and writer's block took over!

Of course I could write about drying sheets without a dryer or decent clothes drying rack.

Or I could write about ripping out the stinky black bathroom mat here in the apartment ( that was really easy, by the way). Or how we want to rip out the AstroTurf on the moss covered balcony.

Or I could write about swapping garbage disposal duty with our apartment neighbors downstairs so that we fulfill our duty this year.

Or maybe I could write about eating our favorite Chinese dish Babi Pangang for two days.

Or what about already being tired of eating the good Dutch bread that we have dreamed about for the last nine months.

Or then I could write about what needs to be done around here in the apartment before we have an Open House on March 31 for selling this place.

Or what about.........?

Topics enough! Now for a bowl of Greek yoghurt, granola, and honey and then outside for a walk without Flip. It is a new week in Nederland!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Daylight Savings Begins Tomorrow

The US springs ahead of the rest of the world with DST tomorrow. Set your clocks!

Shopping at Ikea

My hub and I have just about had it sleeping on hard trundle beds in the apartment in Nederland. Today we decided to visit Ikea and purchase a mattress pad, ottomans, and duvet covers. Then we can move to the master bedroom, sleep under a king size duvet, and prop up our feet while watching tv (not necessarily in that order).

After taking a scenic drive passed fields of hundreds of wild geese, we finally arrived in Duiven where there is a huge Ikea. The store is experiencing major, major reconstruction and expansion, so even getting into the area was a challenge. In fact we drove around the area 4 or 5 times until we decided to park in a distant parking lot that offered a "pendel"(transportation) service.

We walked to Ikea expecting a cram packed store. The restaurant was packed with families, but shopping was not so crowded. The shelves in the store were half empty, and we even had to change our footstool choice. Then we noticed that the matching chairs ( if we decide to purchase them) were out of stock. So in that case, that means a visit to a different Ikea store in the future.

After making our other purchases, we walked outside to a small van with an attached trailer. A young man loaded up our shopping cart loaded with our goodies onto the trailer, and we hopped into the van and were delivered to our car in the distant parking lot. Now that was service!

The new and improved Ikea will cover 10 acres and will have a Grand Opening on 12/12/12. And all the while there is major construction, the customers are streaming in. What a business!

With both feet up on my new red and berkenwood footstool, now is time for a piece of vlaai and a cup of tea.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Skipped a Day

Yesterday I was just too tired to write. On the way to the airport, we first sat in a traffic jam and then had to make a long detour in order to get where we wanted to go. Luckily we arrived on time to drop off our Dutch friends and travel on to our stay with our son.

Our Flip is doing just great at our son's house. He was very surprised to see us after two weeks.
He greeted me with a pee on my knee. Then the three of us had a good long walk in the neighborhood. He slept long and peacefully (if you call snoring peaceful) by our bed last night. This morning I was amazed when he saw our son dressed for work and stepped into his dog cage without being told. What a good doggy! He is in good hands, and just hope our son will give him back when we return.

Today we begin our journey, so Memaw's recipes will have to wait. Last year while on vacation in Sicily, I kept a food diary. Think I will do that again this time, but now I will publish it here for all to read. Maybe I will include some recipes along the way.

Today I tried buttermilk on my cereal, but that was not a success. Think I will stick with Greek yoghurt and honey on my granola. I also found a wheat bagel and smeared it with pb. Wonder what United will offer?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Soil Ain't Dirt!

I learned tonight at my Master Gardeners class that soil is not equal to dirt. Dirt you get on your shoes and track through the house. Soil you plant your seeds in. Now I know it all.

The first two hours of the class were about good and not so good soil and composting. That was good to know. Then I found out that we should have planted our boxwood plants in little hills instead of just in a hole in the ground. The ones that died probably died from root rot. Hard to believe, since last summer was so dry. Guess I overdid it with watering.

Then we took a 5 minute break, and the chemistry lesson on pH began. That was the end of concentration, even though I heard frequently "this will be on the test." Hope that info is in the book, haha. When he said he had a dip of snuff in his mouth, I stopped listening and thought what his wife must think of that. Yuck! Then when the prof went overtime and kept on talking about the elements in the soil, I got up and left. Why should I stay late when he had been 20 minutes late because he stopped somewhere to make some telephone calls?

So that was my night at MG class. Think I will skip a couple. Now off to get some rest.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Missed the Mosquitoes

I cleaned the raised beds this morning, and the mosquitoes left me alone. But something else found my nose at the moment I had just had enough of the whole ordeal. As my nose started tingling and swelling, I ran (well walked quickly into the house) to get something for the problem. My anti-histamine tablets usually help, so I took one of those. It helped, but I was sleepy the rest of the day.

We have all been fiddling the entire evening with old and new iPads, laptops, and PC's. Can't say we have conquered them, but we have tried.

Tomorrow is another day!

Braving the Mosquitoes

I have never seen the likes of this plague of mosquitoes! I really have to get outside and tend my raised beds, but I will probably have to smear down with Deet. The marigolds need to go in the ground, a few weeds need to go out, and I'd like to make sure my odd potted plants find a cool place for a couple of weeks.

So here goes nothing. I will add to this blog after my adventure.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring Ahead (next week!)

It is time to.... Aw shucks, is it wash time again? We have been enjoying our Dutch guests so much that I have gotten behind in doing the wash, so today is the day.

Thank goodness that someone invented the washing machine. I can't even imagine how my grandmothers used to have to wash their clothes with washboards! Hanging the clothes outside to dry was the easy part, and I would do that more if I had an outside line. We have one in the barn, but I rarely use it. So our little hook on the wall in the wash space gets filled up fast with shirts and delicates on hangers. Don't iron and never plan to. My ironing board gets moved out of its corner by the washing machine probably twice a year. And then only if I really, really HAVE to iron a shirt or a pair of pants. My hub tells the story that when I iron one of his shirts I put a message on it stating that he is to wear it only for special occasions, and it is a shirt that must be ironed. Actually that is not too far from the truth!

As we will be away for a few days, I still need to get into the veggie garden and set out the marigolds. I have been using them to keep out the "beasts" for a couple of years now. Orange peels also seem to help. I tried pinwheels from Walmart one year, but our hurricane winds beat them up too badly. Now our beagle pees on the raised bed boards, and perhaps that helps. Now to find something ingenious for killing the weeds and grass in the flower and veggie beds!

I made dinner for our family and guests last night. Thanks to the recipes from The Pioneer Woman, Sara Moulton, and my mom (Memaw), I was able to pull it off. We had Ree's pot roast with carrots and onions, Sara's cheese polenta cooked in the oven, sweet potato casserole, cauliflower, rice (had leftover white and brown in the freezer), baby lettuce, artichoke hearts, and tomato salad, Sister Somebody dinner rolls, and Memaw's pecan pie for dessert. I think we brought home enough for our meal today.

Just heard the first washing machine buzzer! Until another time. Don't forget to set your clocks, or maybe you are already late! Daylight savings begins on March 11, 2012.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Minnows, Crickets, Worms, and Singing Dog

Sharing our rich cultural American surroundings with our guests has been a "kick."

Today we stopped off at a local store to let our friends see where fishermen buy bait. We woke up the owner and then finally got his attention when I bought a pair of wooden blade covers for hockey skates. Now who owns ice hockey skates around here? And where in the world did the wooden blade covers come from? Whatever! They cost me 3 dollars, so I asked if we could see the crickets.

The old guy struggled out of his chair and took us through a rickety screen door to the crickets and minnows. His stinking cat was guarding the tiny fish, and the crickets were behaving by staying in their box.

Then he told us to wait, and he fetched a box of worms [ from Canada] out of the fridge. My friend wanted to show her gratitude and bought a bag of pretzels and Oreo- type cookies. That paid for a concert from his singing dog. The dog sang a canine melody while the old guy played on his harmonica. Wish you could have heard that noise. Priceless!

After checking out a local Mennonite garden center and an outlet store and buying Dockers pants for my hub for $7.50 a pair, we had the tour through Lowes and Home Depot. Dinner was at a restaurant called The Boiling Point and featured crawfish. I was the only adventurous one to try and successfully consume three pounds of boiled crawfish, a half boiled potato, and a half piece of over boiled corn on the cob. My fingers and nails are in shreds, but I enjoyed every tail.

Hope you enjoyed this tale. Nothing but the truth, so help me!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Back at Home

After a super trip along the River Road, through New Orleans, and then on up through Natchez and Vicksburg, we are at home again.

Our Dutch friends have experienced as much American culture/color as we can squeeze in the days. Today we visited a second hand shop, a casino, and a dollar store. We slipped in a piece of pecan pie with the coffee, a couple of Hershey's kisses, and had local boudin and baked sweet potatoes for supper. Even a visit to our postmistress and the retired high school filled in the in-between minutes. Finally tonight we avoided the swarm of mosquitoes by sitting out on our screened in back porch.

I trust that they have enjoyed their visit as much as we have. Tomorrow we will cover ourselves with OFF and check out our walkpath through our forest.