Thursday, 30 April 2015

Gosh, April Is Almost Over And May Is Here!

Nature accompanies the changing seasons with aplomb.

A mauve cloak in its proper setting...the greens lend it more hue.
The barn doors seem to form the best background for most of nature's stars. A simple twig of a branch, yet rather amazingly nice...
This street sign in the middle of our vineyards always makes me smile...and of course look over my shoulder for a moose sighting!
The hidden sheep...those little dears that went for a walk the other day...
" I hope she didn't see me! "

" Is she still looking at us? "
Another road through the forest and to think that only a month or so ago, there were no leaves to be seen. In fact one could see a deer a mile away!
All roads lead to us! When Bob and I walked home another route altogether, I took this photo to perhaps send to a friend who is a mountain bike enthusiast...maybe he will see it here.
To end off, a typical Kellerstöckl seen in our area. Vineyards all around and a gentle curve in the road...the road of life!


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Helmut Schmidt, What A Legend.

A living history book.

Last night I stumbled across an interview with Helmut Schmidt ( chancellor of Germany 1974-1982 ) and after a few moments I was hooked. Having been absent from Europe for thirty years, I couldn't tell you if and what his policies and views were, but hearing him answer the interviewer was amazing.

First off, it isn't every day you see an interview with an 96 year old man. A man who was powerful, and ironically a man who ( I imagine ) every smoker in Germany has put on a pedestal. One of the things he is famous for, is his chain smoking and even during the interview he lit up one after the 96!

In today's anti-smoking environment, you can get a feeling for how important Helmut Schmidt is as he must be the only one allowed to smoke on air.

He doesn't look 96 and his mind is still as sharp as ten daggers. In fact, he has that air that only powerful men sport. He took a second or two to give his answer and at times he reminded me of a caged tiger. Some of the questions thrown at him were banal and stupid ( my humble opinion ) and to his credit, he didn't lash out in response. But it looked like a close call at times.

His views on current affairs are spot on and he must be an extremely well read man and that is inspiring to me. He has just published another book and I can't wait to get hold of a copy. He was a politician at the heart of the creation of the European Union.

As he was puffing out numerous nebulous smoke signals, I was wondering whether the interviewer would make a comment. Oh, yes, she couldn't help herself and had to add her two cents worth...rather tacky and stupid because why on earth would he stop smoking now at the age of 96?


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bob Mows The Lawns And Has The Most Amazing Fun.

Living in the country always guarantees lovely surprises.

I knew I should have gone with Bob yesterday, when he set off to mow a few lawns. That inner voice told me that excitement was ahead ( not only Bob in shorts ) but alas I refused to listen and rather heeded the siren call of a housewife and cleaned the bathroom! Never again, I tell you...

Bob came home after lunch and told me what I had missed. He had been mowing the grass along one of the Kellerstöckl and when he looked up to wipe his brow, he thought he was hallucinating. There, cool as cucumbers were two sheep meandering down the tarred road. Side by side and almost like normal tourists.

As luck would have it, my Mum was in the vineyards and Bob got her attention to show her these delightful newcomers. My Mum, quick as anything put two and two together and phoned a neighbouring sheep farmer. It turned out that these sheep had been sold to one of our villagers and of course Mum knew him too.

After a few comical minutes phoning about, the new owner showed up to lead home the stray sheep. Imagine the excitement of cars careering down our roads, in search of a few errant sheep. Oh darn, I wish I could have been part and helped lead one of the sheep back.

But these new shepherds still have a bit to learn about the ingenuity of sheep! Bob, had gone to a different Kellerstöckl to mow that lawn, and was privy to the next installment of this sheep saga. Oh yes, one sheep had done a runner and had energized almost everyone to scramble all over the forest, looking for it.

Once all the hide & seekers have been found, a new paddock will see them grazing and looking mighty pretty. These sheep, as far as I can gather are the new producers of goat cheese for one of the local eateries.

Quizzy as I am, I will make sure my walk this morning leads me passed the sheep-paddock! When I did the to-be-expected cooing yesterday:

" Oh how cute, I want sheep for our yard too! "
the master of the house informed me that our fences would be a walk in the park for ingenious sheep.

Farm animals must be the coolest thing ever and in our future I see a few horses, cows, sheep and perhaps a pig or two. Oh yes Bob, our hitherto tranquil mornings will then be taken up by mucking out stables and feeding the crew.

Life in our village is tops!


Monday, 27 April 2015

The Green Grass Of Eisenberg.

With a few colourful supporting acts in between...

The world right now is full of disasters and it is so overwhelming to witness it all. ..." there but for the grace of God go I"... could apply to all of us. This morning I thought that some images of a simple back garden scene would be okay.
Bob had gone to run around the soccer pitch for his fire brigade training, when I hung up the washing and saw this little bit of nature, a bit that seems to have all the elements to give it hue.
This green weedy thorny fellow seems to be barring entrance to all and sundry. Entrance to Bob's future bar. It almost seems as if the weedy fellow has thrown himself against the wooden barn doors.
Blades of green grass thrown ( grown ) together in a hopscotch manner are in the end as artistically beautiful as if it had been arranged by an artist. The succulent green grass bending in the wind is rather delightful to behold. The hidden purple wildflower adds mystique.
The only two things that kept me from laying down on this green mattress, where the thriving ecosystem of ants and of course the hot sun beaming down its luster.
Finally, I have to show you how wonderfully vibrant Bob's window boxes are. The daisies love their elevated position on our window sill. One could almost say that they enjoy lording it over their little cousins on the lawn...


Sunday, 26 April 2015

A Sunday Filled To Brim With Fun Activities.

Wine tasting might be among them...

Sunday brings with it that wonderful feeling of being on holiday albeit for only a short time. Sleeping in is the norm, a leisurely breakfast is a must and reading a Sunday Paper a bonus.
( Gosh, do you know that the New York Times Sunday edition is so full of things that you could read it all Sunday? )

In that lovely state between waking up and still being in la la land, I had the fabulous idea of having breakfast at Aloisia's but Bob put damper on this idea. Oh yes, he has a 10 am practice with his fire brigade. Really, Herr Kommandant, on a Sunday? least part of our village will get fit with all this extra running practice.

Breakfast at home it is and to be honest we have all the ingredients needed for a great one. Leisurely it won't, at least for Bob. At lunch time I will have to do the arduous task of tasting white wine. Oh golly gosh, hardship indeed.

My mum asked me to taste her white wine and as long as it is nicely chilled I will do as my mum asks!!!

Talking about chilled white wine, the other day we were out at a Buschenschank and dare I say that the white wine was far from chilled! Not nice and it does affect the taste of it, for me at least... The wine must be so chilled that the outside of the wine glass is cloaked in dew.

Can I mention that in Summer I put my red wine into the fridge? Room temperature is fine in Winter but when it is 35 degrees outside, the red must be chilled. In South Africa, most of us did put ice cubes into our full wine glasses and even restaurants put a bowl of ice cubes on the table.

The trick of course is to either drink your wine quickly before the ice cube melts or to freeze mineral water. When it melts into your wine, it won't disturb the taste much.

Sunday afternoons in our house are spent very leisurely. Of course now that the weather is inundating us with delightful sunshine, sitting outside and listening to birds chirping, dogs barking and catching the odd bit of conversation of villagers walking passed is rather nice and relaxing.

A typical Sunday where we graze & laze all day tends to ground us and make us realize how nice it is to spend time with family and at home...


Saturday, 25 April 2015

An Apple A Day, A Blackbird Or Two And A Cute Kitten...

The year of abundance has entered our garden!

The garden behind our barn is prolifically scattered with fruit trees. Apple, plum, pear and the same again a few times. Each apple tree has a different variety. Very nice indeed. Oh, and all organic...
Hard to believe that these stunning looking blossoms do turn into apples. An alchemy of sorts! If only you could hear the buzzing in our garden. Bees are having the time of their lives
Intricate in its detail but overall so abundant. This particular apple tree has been named the tree of abundance by us. Luckily for us, this year it is over-blossoming indeed. Yipee.
The apple tree next to the abundance one, seems also not too shabby!
Bob had mowed our back garden and these blackbirds were going crazy with ecstasy. Hopping here and there with gay abandon, picking what I would imagine to be a half of a worm.
This little fellow also partakes in Tigger's meal times. Both of us have seen this bird ( or one of its bretheren ) hop to our cats bowl and pick at the food. Really!
I couldn't resist: Bob and I met this little kitten on our morning walk through Deutsch Schützen. We can't wait until we have a kitten as well....


Friday, 24 April 2015

An Ordinary Thursday's Shopping Trip Turns Into A Heartwarming Day.

A nod here and a wave there...

One only gets to realize it, once you move to a new place or new country. A new life means being incognito for a while at least and like anything else in life, you only realize what you are missing when you don't have it! Oh, very philosophical indeed...

We take it for granted that on the way to a shop, work or school someone will greet you, wave or stop you for a chat. Yet, this only happens when you've grown roots in the community. Having roots is naturally easy when you've lived there from year dot, but when you move there in year dot plus 40, nothing is certain.

Bob and I did our weekly shop in Güssing yesterday because on the way, there is an old age home and I wanted to pop in for a few minutes to say Hello to a former ' Eisenberger '( she was so happy to be thought of, that I think I got more out of this visit ). Bob was extraordinarily patient and waited in the fact I could have chatted for longer as Bob had dozed off in the warm sunshine...

At about lunchtime we got into Güssing central ( don't be fooled, it is just bigger than a village yet very scenic and pretty complete with a medieval castle ). As we were waiting to cross the road traffic was abundant, for Güssing that is, and we both waited patiently next to the road.

A vaguely familiar looking car stopped in the road and also stopped traffic behind and we thought, wow what a friendly motorist...well, it turns out that it was the mum of one of our English tots and she had recognized Bob and I straight away. Of course she couldn't stop and chat but a friendly and vigorous wave from her and her son, made all the difference to Bob and I.

Feeling good, I ducked into the pharmacy and Bob paced outside, waiting for me.

Do you also have to bribe your husband to patiently wait for you? Somehow, men don't understand how we love to read each and every word on each and every package handled by us in a cosmetics section...and come to think of it, even in the supermarket!

Eventually I finished my shop ( luckily for me, Bob doesn't always wear his watch!!! ) and was surprised to see Bob smiling. It turned out, that while he was waiting for me on the pavement outside the pharmacy, a bus drove passed and the bus driver opened the window and shouted:

" Hello Bob! "
Our neighbour had recognized Bob. Recognized him and had taken the effort to give a greeting. Those seemingly insignificant moments are really what make life so enjoyable and special.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

This Is A Forest Picture Show, Plain & Simple!

A green room right on our doorstep and if green is not your colour, please don't look!

Green, no make that emerald green as far as the eyes can see. Once you step into this paradise, even the air is so pure that breathing is a surprisingly fresh affair.
Bob has the eyes of an eagle. While I was busy imbibing the greenery and all that goes with it, he had spotted a buck in the road. Sorry, that this buck is a bit blurry but it takes a bit for me to haul out the camera and focus...
Just over a month ago, these branches were as bare as could be; making a walk in the forest a see-through affair. Spotting buck was easy. Now, we only get alerted by the braying of them ( it sounds like a dog barking ) or an obvious one jumping. These green leaves are the earth's air conditioning, aren't they?
A feather could have knocked me down yesterday morning when Le Bob ( a.k.a. Schatzi who thinks taking one photo is plenty ) said:
" I think you should turn around and take some photos of where we entered the forest. Show your readers our backyard! "

The wedding lane, don't you think? This would be an ideal lane to parade through as newly weds. The trees are standing guard and almost saluting. Too beautiful especially with the blue sky framing it.

A couple of our neighbours keep horses and go for out rides in the forest. On horseback it must elevate the feeling of peacefulness even more...Our forest, a nice and necessary place of nature.


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

An Average Yet Stunning Day In Burgenland.

A Tulip does have power.

For the last few days I have been driving passed this red beacon. It is so hypnotic swaying in the wind on the corner of Reiger's Winery, that I parked the car and took a few photos. To get a better angle, I was crouching down on the pavement with my eh, backside towards traffic...I just hope motorists saw my camera, otherwise they might have thought I was a bit strange!
Oh, I cannot get enough of these. Illuminous indeed with a perfect emerald green tapestry.
On Monday, Bob and I walked via Höll into Deutsch Schützen as Bob needed to get eye drops from the pharmacy. Our new motto is: why drive if we can walk there! Of course it isn't a hardship when we see such lovely images. This is the lane leading up to the Chapel. The hill closest to us is the Eisenberg.
Yesterday we took a leisurely turn around the pond behind our house. We don't normally walk this way but were astounded at the beauty of it. A gently rolling hill surrounded by luscious meadows and orchards.
A bath with a difference. Bob thinks that it is for the buck to have water. I tend to think that someone likes to lounge and ponder life amid a buzzing orchard.
The pond in question. On the top left of the picture you can see a bit of our house. The white house!
Bob was digging in our garden and discovered this old bottle. Intact too, which is surprising as he was using a hardy spade. A treasure trove of old metals and bottles.
To end off, red tulips that are planted inside the war memorial in Eisenberg. They are a pleasure to behold.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

If Al Gore Had Been Elected, What Would Our Planet Look Like Today?

Could this be the REAL Inconvenient truth?

Some might not remember Al Gore and his run for the US Presidency, yet it was not that long ago.
In the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, and if it weren't for a recount of votes in Florida, Al Gore could have become the leader of America 15 years ago. Looking back, that was the most crucial time indeed. A time where a change in status quo was needed.

Mr Gore would have been first and foremost for our planet and its survival. He would have made different decisions and even if unpopular at the time, it would have become norm and acceptable.

This new era of Greed 2.0 might have been avoided, one hopes! What do I mean by this: This new way of life where only bigger and better is the thing to have, has implications. Firstly there is a constant need to make more money. Invest more money. And if there is money around to invest, stuff gets made / done / destroyed in the process.

Do you think the almost depression of 2007-2012 could have been avoided under Al Gore's rule?

The world is constantly building more structures while a lot of older ones stay unoccupied. How much more can our Planet still absorb and take? Just about anything that gets made today, hurts the ozone layer. That pesky little phrase that most of us have been ignoring or lamenting as a lie. Much easier to pretend to be ostriches, isn't it?

We have all been seeing the effect of our collective greed. Nature is saying, enough already. No more. How many more natural disasters and calamities must nature send us before we take real notice?

My generation might still be able to run in meadows, drink water from a stream or eat real homegrown vegetables, when we are in our old age. but I think that a lot of you with young children do worry about their future.

  • Deep down in your heart you do wonder, whether they will have a long and prosperous life living in a real natural world?
  • Do you think that their children ( your grandchildren to be ) will ever feel the joy of lounging in a meadow during summer?
  • Will your offspring ever be able to go walking through forests, swim in the sea, cycle outside or pick a real apple from an apple tree?
  • Is there going to be enough water for them?
  • Will they have enough food?

It has been mentioned, that 2015 is the last turning point for us. Collectively we need to change right now, or all those fears buried deep in our hearts, will become a realistic reality...


Books by Al Gore:The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change
The Assault on Reason
Jeffrey D.Sachs:Age of Sustainable Development

Monday, 20 April 2015

Dandelions And An Almost Hidden Cat.

A gardener's restraint, brings a whole lot of natural awesomeness.

There is a bank in the garden where the dandelions are heads above their fellow dandelions living on the straight and narrow of our garden. Bob's been itching to mow their abode, but I've persuaded him to wait a few more days. Urban jungle isn't all bad!
To the left of these dandelions is their fan base of green blades, waving in the wind. Absolutely fabulous.
Another dose of herbs...oh yes, dandelion tea is very good for one. It doesn't taste bad either. Dandelions are also the landing place of many bees and yet another reason to delay the mower.
The famous wagon wheel does look better with the green support.
Do you think we feed her too much? The camera does add 10 pounds, doesn't it?
Madam is not amused! She has perfected that bored look of a model. Yet, she loves the long grass and flowers all around her and when she thinks we're not looking, she wallows in this long grass.
Too be honest, our little feral Tigger is a good sport and lets me take endless amounts of photos. There she is posing in her go-to place of safety. Her inner sanctuary which ironically leads to the pigsty.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Men And Their Love Of Bars.

Not behind bars, but in them...

Every now and again the mood strikes Bob. The mood to visit his local bar. Well it isn't the type of bar you picture ( like Rover's Return or Cheers ) but a place where they sport an over-sized TV so large that you'll develop a squint ( might I mention that the younger contingent have organized a PlayStation there ), a snooker table and of course the manna for all cold Puntigamer.

Some of the local gals do go there, but it is trés noisy and smoky and unless you're in your 20's those attributes aren't a draw card for gals. Bob usually ventures out alone and why not. We ladies lunch or do coffee's ( some almost daily ) and men do the Bar-visits.

Whereas we exchange interesting details about our lives over a cup of coffee and a black forest cake ( depending on the level of detail, we might go for the stronger Chardonnay! ) men hang out in bars. Their local bar and as corny as it sounds, a place where everyone knows their name!

There isn't a place on earth like it for men. A beer in hand, a game of soccer on the telly and fellow men to share it with. No irritating questions such as:

" Honey, why is that man standing in front of the net? "
A local bar, when not full of us ladies, is also a place where our men can relax, scratch where they shouldn't and eat the ubiquitous peanuts on offer. Somehow, I tend to think that the main attraction might be that it is also a place where our men can exchange irritating details of their lives / wives. I can almost picture a group of guys playing a game of Who can trump this :
" Oh, I can trump that. Can you believe it, she asked me to pick up my dirty socks! How dare she..."
" Oh, that is nothing. Mine had the nerve to ask me to wash the dishes! "
The nice bit for us poor ladies is of course that often the recipients of these awful marriage details, mostly forget all after a few more Puntigamers...Shoo, lucky save!

Bob's local is only about 300 meters down the road and he can walk there and hopefully back. Unlike his local in South Africa, I don't have to stress that anything happened to him if he is not home on time. When he is late toddling in, I just hope he'll remember all those interesting detail of Who can trump this in the morning.


Saturday, 18 April 2015

Oh My Daisy!

For the love of daisies.

Bob put his foot down and was adamant about the daisies. He just loves daisies and even though the wild sort are a dime to a dozen in our backyard, the daisies that Bob wanted were slightly different and for our window boxes.

You know, wherever you travel in our part of Burgenland, during Summer the windows come alive with colour and abundance. Almost every window in every village boasts a display of flowers in the aptly named window boxes. Last year the trend was a sort of peony with the only difference being the colour of them.

One thing Bob is not fond of, is uniformity ( Bob, back in the day ahem those early 1990's, was wearing a long sleeve t-shirt under a short sleeve one. Now that look is copied world wide it seems ). Anyway, in Oberwart there are a few Garden Centers and on Thursday we did our weekly shop, and also stocked up at this emporium. Oh yes, you could call it a Mega Garden shop and when you meander through the well laid out lanes, it is hard not to put plants and flowers into your trolley.

Bob, declined my suggestion of peonies for the window boxes, and headed for the daisy display. Can you believe it, they even have blue and pink ones! Luckily for me, Bob only wanted the yellow and white ones and with masterly fervour selected an appropriate amount for two window boxes.

We are both not so sure if they will prosper in them, but we will certainly try. On Thursday it was another scorcher of a day that would have made Johannesburg proud. Thirty degrees - hot and dry. As we were heading for the checkout in the Garden centre ( which is jolly hard to get to without being bombarded with divine displays of flower power ), Bob suddenly stopped in his tracks and muttered:

" Oh look, there is the friendly girl who helped us the other day! "
The other day, was actually 30 days ago and I think that friendly was only one of the adjectives that would be appropriate for this young womam. Oh, she was a stunner and as it was hot, she was wearing shorts. Bob, pretended to inspect some more plants, and didn't think I would notice his admiring glances. Aha, now I know why we chose this particular garden center!

It is actually rather funny how men ( Bob ) react when they get caught having a glance...Bob gets all blustery and drops that well used one liner.

" What woman do you mean because I didn't see anyone? "
Little does Bob know, that I just like to tease him and see his stunned reaction that I could have noticed his, oh so obvious moves.
  • Glancing to his left out the car window and almost missing a stop sign.
  • Adjusting the rear view mirror...oh, we hardly ever notice that one, men!!!
  • If on foot, they pretend to tie their shoe laces...Bob's brother has perfected that move.

Oh course, I have to confess that there are certain shops I favour for perhaps a similar reason...oh my, the other day my eye was examined by an oh so dishy new eye-doctor of choice...

Married life, I love it.


As luck would have it, this morning it is overcast, but I still like Bob's choice. Once they have settled in, it will be nice to see.

Friday, 17 April 2015

A Gentle Friday, Is There Anything Nicer...

Another lot of quotes.

" Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. "
Kenneth Grahame ( 1859-1932 ) The wind in the Willows 1908

" With the brush we merely tint, while the imagination alone produces colour. "
Theodore Gericault ( 1791-1824 ) letter c.1821
" They ( the poor ) have to labour in the face of the majestic equality of the law, which forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
Anatole France-pen name of Francois Anatole Thibault ( 1844-1924 ) Le Lys rouge 1894
" You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements. "
Norman Douglas ( 1868-1952 ) South Wind 1917
" The average man is more interested in a woman who is interested in him than he is in a woman - any woman - with beautiful legs. "
Marlene Dietrich ( 1904-1992 )
" Study the past, if you would divine the future. "
Confucius ( 551-479 BC. )
" There are only two families in the world, as an old grandmother of mine used to say: the Haves and the Have-nots. "
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra ( 1547-1616 ) Don Quixote
" We must love one another or die."
W H Auden ( 1907-1973 ) ' September 1, 1939 '


Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Walk In The Park Seems More Like It.

Spring continues on glorious terms.

Bob and I walked through the forest behind our house yesterday morning and gosh, we were rewarded with eight buck...only this one was caught on film.
This should be called Wood Avenue as it is so amazing to see. Shadows, sunshine and tall trees. Bob was in the lead and so far we hadn't needed any breadcrumbs. At the top of Wood Avenue we had to make a choice.
" My old man and the forest. "

We chose right(ly) and as Bob is a superb navigator we didn't need to use breadcrumbs. We did a semi-circular amble in the forest. This glade was a place of beauty, rustles and good air.
A day without a photo of blossoms-no! When we emerged into this bright sunshine, these two trees were attracting my attention on the edge of the forest. Blue, green and white is a perfect combination.
Very soon these blooms will drop and reveal the true nature of each tree. Honestly, at the moment I don't know which tree is what. Apple, cherry, peach, plumb or just plain tree.
It pays to look up! Feels good to see this colour arrangement, doesn't it?