Saturday, 30 June 2018

To Prune Or Not To Prune...

My husband, the pruner in chief.

It used to be that I had a crush on a crooner ( old blue eyes of course ) and now I have a crush on my husband the head pruner. Oh, how he loves to prune.

Since he's been working full-time in a renowned vineyard he has imbibed the art of pruning. He makes fast yet accurate decisions regarding any and all vines which is jolly important as it is one of the main secrets of a great wine.

These last few years we've acquired the genteel habit of vegetable gardening. Tomatoes,beans, potatoes, chillies and a jungle of zucchinis have been our main produce and even if I say so myself, they've turned out well if not often prolific. For former townies that is a fantastic achievement.

Bob settled a bunch of tomato plants into one side of our kitchen garden and even went the extra mile to put up metal poles and strung string around them so that the growing plants had a place of reference. In fact, it looks nice and abundant as they have grown to their heart's content. Well, that might be the problem as only a handful of tiny tomatoes are dangling among this jungle.

Bob has started pruning the tomatoes and at first I had to giggle thinking of it but now it makes sense. Just like grapes, tomatoes need enough nourishment from their branch which naturally isn't the case if too many little branches veer off the main one.

Yes, this afternoon we've started to prune and I wish I could describe to you the divine scent that came off the stalks as they were chipped off. Tomato plants have a sweet and tangy scent all of their own and if the scent is anything to go by, then the tomatoes should be out of this world.

A pitchfork taking a breather next to the edge of our kitchen garden...tomatoes are making themselves prominent.
Bob still has to get stuck in there.


Friday, 29 June 2018

The Fridge That Keeps On Giving.

Nothing better than an ice lolly on a hot summer's day.

Bob and I are like a pair of kids on Christmas day. Our fridge-freezer has us enthused most of the time. Filling each and every nook of it akin to what we did with our last little fridge, seems nigh on impossible.

The vegetables keep so much longer now that they have a decent place to rest awaiting meal times! Everything lasts longer and honestly, our fridge looks nicely splattered with the colours of all manner of vegetables with the odd can of beer and bottle of wine lurking about.

The bottom half or Siberia as I like to refer to it, has seen many a lodger. Bread stored as toast-able pieces frozen in time as well as broccoli, peas and bananas which have taken over that frozen neighbourhood and filled out any empty spaces.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across the empty shapes at a check-out. Instantly recognized and purchased because of very fond memories starting in childhood. Ice lolly containers which one can fill with any juice or yoghurt and freeze it to morph into a frozen bite to restore sanity on those extremely hot summer days. So easy, so divine and so affordable.

Both of us were sweltering on another hot afternoon ( despite having had a stormy morning's respite ) and remembered a batch of ice lollies in our freezer. The hardest part is getting them to melt out of their container with the stick still in it, but after that's done a few blissful moments of icy contentment ensue. A pear juice ice lolly is memorable for its refreshing coldness and rather short life span... ambrosia on a sweltering afternoon and thank goodness I made another batch of four.

The four ice lollies...pointe like ballerinas before the curtains come down...


Thursday, 28 June 2018

Everyone Loves A Winner And Boos A Loser.

Is this what we've come to?

Yes, we all expected Germany to go through to the next round, yes we all thought that South Korea would be a walk-over and no, we did not expect in a million years to see Germany exit. But, let's move on.

One could almost detect the thunder of the millions of complainers ( my husband being one ) giving their piece of advice on ball handling, player placement, ball not hitting the back of the net and of course the coach. How fickle when one considers that these same folks would have waxed lyrics upon the team winning...

No, it isn't nice to have lost the game but how they handle themselves in defeat defines true champions. So far I've not watched any response from the team apart from an interview the coach gave after the match, but that was a win for sure. He congratulated their opponents on a superb game and most importantly he owned up to the loss. Bravo.

As I've mentioned before, our society is so obsessed with winning that good sportsmanship and character have been squeezed out of the equation by the greed and need of winning. Winning and being successful has had its importance magnified by social media and sadly also created a platform for meting out verbal abuse and punishment for not winning.

Children are avid fans of soccer and will have been crushed by Germany's defeat, but let's show them by our actions and reactions that it is okay to lose sometimes. Show them that what you do and how you behave after you or someone else loses defines your character and ability to navigate the world at large. A place where not everyone wins all of the time...


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

When Biggi Met Bambi.

Seeing the head adornment, I hasten to add that it wasn't Bambi but Bambo.

As I cornered the curve I spotted something out of the ordinary. At first I couldn't work out what it was but then I realized who that alert face belonged to.
His eyes never left my face but he sat still enough for me to record our encounter.
What a stunning stag who I hope will make it through the hunters' maze and through the season.
A blanket of differing fields. Mostly wheat but still a bit of variety. Walking past it feels like brushing over a velvety carpet.
The chapel that was, surrounded by a ring of trees some of which remind me of an African prairie...


Tuesday, 26 June 2018

We Should Call It A Wrap On Wrapping.

Everything is over cossetted.

Yesterday was plastic-rubbish collection day and I can't get over how much we accumulate in a month. Whatever one buys is cling wrapped, enclosed in a carton and again for good measure wrapped in clear plastic again. Pure madness and so unnecessary.

Most of us wouldn't mind if we bought goods even food items with less covering. Some stuff might get dented or not look so attractively made up but at least we'd be helping the planet a bit more.

Paper is just as bad. Cardboard boxes galore, newspapers dropped in the postbox and prolific advertising to lure us into buying more stuff and of course wrapping.

Consciously trying to avoid packaging isn't that easy. I've seen shoppers strip after paying for their good. Strip the goods that is. Yes, many leave superfluous cardboard covers, plastic wraps and containers they don't need at the supermarket. Great idea considering the half our garage has changed into a hangout for glass, paper, plastics, cans and her majesty's number 2's ( encased neatly in a bag of course ).

One begins to wonder if there are lobbyists for the plastics and paper industry who make sure that laws are put in place to double wrap produce, foods and almost anything. Our new fridge was mollycoddled inside a wealth of styrofoam and if I had been more alert I could have given it back to the delivery man.

Well, let me try again this month to whittle our rubbish down to the bare minimum...or at least reduce it a bit.


Monday, 25 June 2018

Who's Afraid Of A Tiny Mouse?

It transpires that it might be me!

One of our ' sheds ' along the side of our house is an old earth cellar, the fridge of yesteryear. As it is at least fifty meters from our front door I have decided to release it from its larder duties and rather changed it into a holding place for wine. A wine cellar of sorts complete with cobwebs, broken windows and heavy old wooden door. A place we've to get stuck in once our decorating ennui decides to return. At the moment we've created a shabby chic place to hold a few wine bottles, beer cans and old jams that all carry the spiders' stamp of approval.

Yes, it is surprisingly cool in it thus the idea about my wines. Yesterday afternoon I realized that I needed to fetch a bottle of red and set off into the twilight. There is no electricity in there and as the windows are mostly covered in mud it was a navigation more from memory than from sight.

I pushed open the cellar door and had my left foot ready to take the step down into it, when I saw a small shape running away after being startled by me. Good grief, talk about who was more startled never mind the courage it took for me to actually fetch this bottle of red. Cobwebs dangling from a dark ceiling, concrete floor almost hidden in the dark and fury little creatures having the run of it.

Secretly I was pleased that I only drink wine which flows from a bottle as a box wine would have ensured a happy set of mice having a drunken get together in our wine cellar.

Clutching my bottle close to me I found myself running back into the house taking furtive glances at the floor beneath and around my feet. I couldn't wait to tell Bob as he might do the gentleman deed of fetching the next bottle, but when he asked;

" Are you sure it wasn't a rat? "
I knew for sure that Bob won't undertake the next trip to our bottle store...


Sunday, 24 June 2018

An Emotional Cliffhanger.

Football with a new twist.

There are some things that we rely on to stay the same. World champions should with only a smidgen of resistance and fight advance past the first level of the tournament. The closer they get to the finals then of course the matches should be harder, more exciting and obviously low on goals! We expect it to be a natural order just like winter is accompanied by snow, December has Christmas and our birthdays contain copious slices of cake.

Last night's match between Germany and Sweden had many a fan on the edge of his seat, clutching his chest and either screaming in frustration or crying in defeat until those last few minutes of the game. Those minutes where sanity and reason was restored.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't want any team to merely skip through matches without any effort because of their name or cadre but in our climate of topsy-turvy of just about anything
( recent presidential and head of state elections to name an example ), the game of football has morphed even more into a sanctuary from our current ills. A place to rest our wary souls despite engaging in a vocal exchange with a flat screen hoping that the errant referee will take note and change his tune.

Perhaps in a strange way, football has taken on the mood of our world. So far I've seen a lot of blood spilled on the pitch, many a player engaged in a headlock more at home in the game of rugby and some spectators exhibiting behaviour that isn't us, despite so many politician trying to rile us masses into action. Might as well call politicians the new puppeteers.

Apart from the unexpected ninety odd minutes it was a thrilling to watch, nobody took any loo brakes and the cliffhanger of being only moments away from seeing the German team exit with heads hanging in shame and misery was enough to keep us tuned in for the next matches. The fact that all ended well, has me in high hopes that this political carnage being enacted in front of the world's eyes will also end well.


Saturday, 23 June 2018

Birds And Roses.

Great entertainment.

Their song precedes them everywhere. A sweet lyrical whistling of sorts.
On my way to emptying the lawnmower bag on the compost heap out back, I came across this view and had to run back to get my camera.
....Batman returns?.... sitting on this bench outside a house yesterday I kept on hearing tiny feet run up and down the gutters whilst having a whale of a conversation reaching almost bickering point.
A book club of sorts? I could have sworn they were discussing the in's and out's of catching the perfect worm.
Bye bye roses...see you again next year. The red petals are the most vibrant of all and make even a broken barn look fabulous.


Friday, 22 June 2018

When The Butcher Comes Calling...

A Friday afternoon whiled away on a bench outside a countryside house.

It was a cold and wet morning which improved slightly to a bluish type of sky albeit with rather low temperatures ( 19 degrees ) which as funny as it sounds was extremely welcome to me. This last week has been unbearably hot, humid and unrelenting which makes our house not much better than a hot house.

We were sitting on a bench instead of inside as it was pleasantly breezy and a neighbour was busy toiling in his huge vegetable garden. Nothing more relaxing than watching somebody do gardening. The mind wonders via fictitious promises to do the same at home and barely has enough left to follow or lead a conversation but as we both enjoyed watching this labour of love, we had enough to talk about trying to decipher the individual lines of greens.

After a while this hobby gardener joined us for a chat and before we knew it, our conversation had touched all four corners of the world. All of a sudden we heard a distant but long drawn out hoot being let off and all three of us knew;

" Ah, the butcher is here. "
Yes, village life includes a refrigerated butcher's truck driving through the various suburbs of Deutsch Schützen and Eisenberg as I found out on my way home. Nearly drove into him on a tight corner. Coupled with the baker's van doing early morning runs twice a week, they manage to pied piper rather a lot of villagers out of their houses. Oh, I almost forgot Bo Frost...a clue cleverly wrapped up in the name. Frozen goodies and not all of the healthy type either. Ice creams, tv dinners and pre-cooked Schnitzels have been known to change hands.

In fact, the other day someone mumbled about Bo Frost delivering many items to a neighbour and that it wasn't any wonder that they were a touch unhealthy. Oh yes, the joys of living in a small village. News is garnered after sleuthing by either seeing an unfamiliar car parked overnight, a Bo Frost dropping of deliveries or shutters closed earlier than normal...


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Summer Holidays Have Finally Started.

The kids are in for a long summer...

Actually I think they only start tomorrow but we all remember how the last week before the big summer holidays should have been included in the holidays instead of making us put on the uniform for those last few days in order to watch movies, go on excursions or read at our leisure in a hot classroom...

Most of the kids will take the opportunity to sleep till noon, game all night and generally laze and graze about, but there a few who still do cool offline stuff. Going fishing down at our local pond has taken over a few of the local boys' life and at times when I head out for my walk they are already casting their lines and quietly contemplating the future joy of catching a carp, while secretly hoping that it'll be the biggest catch of the day. A parent's dream to see their offspring spend the day outside, being sporty and staying offline.

Ours is a village where the kids can use their bicycle to get around and apart from giving mum's taxi a well deserved rest, it is a brilliant bit of exercise for otherwise computer bound kids.

Burgenland's libraries have also taken a wonderful initiative in order to get the kids reading during these coming two months. Most of the major libraries have issued special library passes to all pupils which entitles them to read as many books as they want and can during the holidays, with a special reward at the end. Whoever reads the most books gets a prize. Brilliant, isn't it?

Here's to a great summer holiday for all the school kids and of course their parents, who depending on how many kids they have, have retaken the various school subjects once, twice or three times...


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A Blonde At A Self Service Petrol Station.

Worthy of the fabled candid camera...

At times I wonder at my sanity to choose one of the hottest days to do the weekly shop. Whichever direction I ventured forth, a drive of thirty minutes each way is a given. Today of all days it was over thirty degrees!

Güssing was my chosen destination in part because the shops I need to go to are within a five hundred meter radius and also it is on the way to Schützen where I popped in to quickly say my goodbyes to family travelling back home.

With the windows open, radio blaring Burgenlandish elevator music ( love it ) and the surrounding hills and meadows glowing in their best colours it was a reflective journey akin to soul candy...

The petrol gauge was toying with its red zone which caused me to stop at the petrol station next to the traffic circle. Remember, back in South Africa I had never once put my own petrol into a car as there were always attendants to do it. As easy as it is for those who've done it from word go, the more nerve-wracking it is for me, as most of the time Bob oversees the feeding of our chariot.

This petrol station is on the small side and I managed to drive up to the only free spot to the right hand side of the pump. Close enough for the oft times stubborn hose. I got out of the car, opened the cap with the key all the while aware of many an eye on my actions. Did I mention that next to this petrol station is the new Güssing barracks and at any time of the day young men in and out of uniform are walking about!

So far so good, I had a smile on my face for being so apt at this whole petrol ( in fact, we use diesel but the phrase going to put in petrol has stuck in the vocabulary ) affair. With everything aligned to start the pumping, I went to the actual pump, triple checked that I took the correct diesel one, got the hose and was instantly cut down a peg or two...the hose wouldn't reach and not by a long shot. Were these hoses always so short? It could have been ambient background noise yet I could have sworn that I heard a few smirks and laughs.

Nonchalantly, I returned the hose to the cradle, picked up the petrol cap, locked it back in place, got into the car and with a pretend sangfroid reversed a few meters in order to edge the chariot forward again on the left side of the petrol pump...oh well at least I can blame it on my newly done highlights and laugh it off...

Of course the cherry on the top was when I went into the little shop to pay. The gal behind the counter raised an inquiring eyebrow and had me say:

" Hi, the grey car with thirty euros worth of petrol. "
Her facial expression changed from bored to concerned instantly...
" Oh dear, you do know that you've just filled up with diesel? "


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A Few Proverbs.

A few words can give one pause for thought.

  • The most beautiful fig may contain a worm....Zulu proverb
  • Whoever gossips to you, will gossip about you....Spanish proverb
  • Don't sail out farther than you can row back...Danish proverb
  • Good advice is often annoying, bad advice never is...French proverb
  • A fault confessed is half redressed...Zulu proverb
  • In a battle between elephants, the ants get squashed...Thai proverb
  • Truth is more valuable if it takes you a few years to find it...French proverb
  • It's not enough to learn how to ride, you need to also learn how to fall...Mexican proverb
  • Cheese, wine and friends must be old to be good...Cuban proverb
  • A watched pot never boils...English proverb
  • The fool speaks, the wise man listens...Ethiopian proverb
  • Peace is costly but it's worth the expense...Kenyan proverb
  • If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness...Nigarian proverb


Monday, 18 June 2018

A Rude Awakening In Russia.

A few David & Goliath stories had so far.

Honestly, I don't think many people expected the World Champions to lose their opening match but ironically, that made it more interesting to watch. In fact I was glued to the screen in order not to miss the goal which turned out to be an illusion yesterday. Never mind, that only spurs them on and gives an extra pep to the series. All I can say is that I should have put my money on Mexico because surely someone made a lot of dosh last night.

There were a few upheavals already and wasn't it fabulous to watch the Icelanders do so well? This change of events has made it more worthwhile to watch the individual matches. Nothing more boring than predictability.

Russia is such a vast country and I look forward to travelling through it from the comfort of my sofa. You know, this tournament has come at the right time as it has booted the incessant American politics out of our living rooms. Good grief, there's only so much one can watch but having said that, one can't switch off either. Like driving past an accident, one doesn't want to look but can't help it.

Many soccer tourists will get to see little pockets of the real Russia, taste the local delicacies and get a taste of traditions and customs. The food alone must be fantastic. As all that glitters is not gold so all that we are shown about Russia on TV is not the real Russia. Yet, we fall for it every time. Show me a country that doesn't have any problems...

I heard today that a lot of soccer hooligans are attending the games, which makes me wonder if the relevant authorities have let them travel in order for them to spend the winter in perhaps eh, Siberia? Of course they will be on their best behaviour...!


Sunday, 17 June 2018

The Grass Is Greener ...

Nature was full of beans.

Saturday morning in one of the vineyards mowing the grass. Our local church is deceptively hidden in plain sight behind the swaying blade of grass.
Mere grass but the vibrancy of greens and the happiness of different flowers in between makes this a nice image.
Sadly, these mauve beauties are classified as weeds and at some stage or other will face the chop of a blade.
A bit down the road the next flowery diva sets itself in scene. An old revue star comes to mind.
The distinctive yellow flower of a pumpkin plant. Can't wait to eat the grown plant.
It almost looks like legumes in the background. Would't that be nice if we could just pick them from the side of the road.


Saturday, 16 June 2018

Our New Alarm Clock...So Last Season.

An idle purchase it turned out to be.

A few weeks ago our trusty old alarm clock diddled us with the time shown. Too fast, too slow and odd moments of annoying beeps in between. I suppose we shouldn't complain as it had been with us for years and kept us abreast of all our appointments for the last decade or so. A well traveled clock after all but it needed to take it easy and slow down.

Bob implored me to get a new one although with a plea to get one of the same ilk. Nothing fancy nor futuristic. We got an ordinary alarm clock and this last week or so it has been very helpful in getting us out of bed at half past three in the morning in order for Bob to get ready for work. Before you utter an aghast, remember that we are of a generation which doesn't wake up twenty minutes before leaving home. No, we love to take life easy with some nice coffee, news and a game of candy crush.

Last night in anticipation for a nice sleep in on Saturday morning, we switched off the alarm and stayed up late to watch that cracker of a match between Portugal and Spain. Eventually we dropped into bed and were asleep before our heads hit the pillow. Miss Mausi fell into a pleasant snooze between us.

Gosh, I was dreaming and enjoying my slumber when all of a sudden I heard a tiny murmur followed by a cat jumping on my stomach. Ignoring her didn't work as she kept on chatting away in her own feline patois and just for good measure followed it up jumping all over Bob and then me again.

There is no snooze button on a cat and the only way to quieten her was to get up. I stumbled around the dark rooms eventually finding a clock to check the time. Goodness me, it was half past three on the dot. Our little princess has taken it upon herself to make sure we are not late for work, weekend or not.

As it was such a cute thing to happen ( yes, we are those kind of cat parents ) we didn't tell her off for being a bad kitten but picked her up for a nice long cuddle. Each and every day Bob and I are amazed at how intelligent cats are...


Friday, 15 June 2018

Strong Morning Colours.

Waking up the senses...

Just a wooden table and benches along the path of our vineyards, yet it is so much more. A place to rest, a place to eat and most definitely a place to dream.
Those rows of vines seem to morph atop of the roof. Perspective determines perception.
The graceful silver growing out of a rock face...the sun was on the way to reaching its early morning perch which doesn't yet lift the grey into silver.
The wheat, although still velvety in texture has taken a pounding by Tuesday's hail storm. Sadly some vineyards have been affected too.
The long stretch between Deutsch Schützen and Eisenberg offers no protection from strong gusts of wind. Summer or winter. The birch trees are bending to the will of the wind while emitting a rustling sound.
It seems that all curvy paths lead to Eisenberg...


Thursday, 14 June 2018

World Cup Again.

A month of soccer awaits.

Does that also happen to you, this sudden reminder of time gone by? Four, eight or twelve years...whatever happened to them? The 2010 world cup was monumental for Bob and I as it was our first visit to our future home. A yardstick of time.

Even the build up to the South African world cup has stuck with me. The incessant planning and building of venues, hotels and stadiums along with all the money it would take to finance. Well, here we are two world cups later and it wouldn't surprise me if the cost of the South African world cup is still being paid and felt.

Those eight years between these events have been filled full with wonderful new firsts and experiences for Bob and I. Life changing stuff which we accepted with open arms.

As I type, Bob is glued to the first match of the series and at least we don't have much of a time difference. The Brazil word cup had strange viewing times for us and many a sleepless night was had trying to follow the matches.

Sport, especially soccer brings people together and leaves prejudice at the stadium entrance. For the next thirty days or so, we'll be able to forgo the daily mix of political satire while pitching our support on our favourite team ( country really, isn't it? ) and bite our nails to the quick following their advance through the stages.

Some of us will side with teams that don't make it very far but that's okay too, because we still get to feel part of tournament and let's not forget that in order for there to be a winning team, a lot of losing ones have to step up as worth opponents to overcome.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

A Storm Is Brewing.

Eisenberg despite it looks great.

Vines are ubiquitous to Eisenberg and viewing the gathering storm through the prism of it is magnetic.
Believe it or not, but Bob and I were mowing lawns and luckily outran any drops of rain.
An apricot waiting to be eaten which of course I didn't do as it belongs to someone else.
After two days of heavy storms including a horrible hail storm yesterday afternoon, nobody is keen to have yet another one. After about an hour the sky cleared again without any mishaps.
Living up there must range from exciting to scary as one is that much closer to the weather's idiosyncrasies.


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Open Sesame.

A new found fondness for tahini.

I had read about tahini and its versatility. In sauces, instead of butter, in salad dressings and of course as a component of hummus. A while ago I saw a jar winking at me from a supermarket shelf and into the basket it went. Once I got home I couldn't wait to taste it and have a bit on bread...yikes, it tasted awfully bitter. What were theses enthusiasts talking about?

Into the back of the fridge it went where I had a cunning plan for it. Mum would like it for sure and would give it a temporary home. Next time she came over I hastened to let her taste a bit of this miracle paste but it turns out the apple didn't fall far from the tree because not only didn't she like it, she even told me to bin it. A rare occasion for mum.

No, bin it definitely not so back into the fridge it went until a few days ago when I stumbled over a talk on the power of food. The presenter was going through a list of super healing foods and tahini was in it. Sesame seeds after all. He mentioned how he makes a salad dressing with this paste, lemon juice and vinegar.

I tried it out on my next salad and was over the moon with this flavour combination. Divine. This blend between sweet and sour is perfect even on a plate of cooked pasta or a boiled potato. I love it although so far I've not motivated Bob enough to give it a try. All the more for me...

Changing the way and what we eat is liberating and akin to thinking outside the box. New ideas emerge, new flavours bowl one over and culinary boredom is banished. Planning and cooking meals has morphed into a new hobby.


Monday, 11 June 2018

A Bee Or Not A Bee, That Question Plagues Me.

Nobody likes an intruder.

All I did was go to the post box to check for mail. Shouldn't have bothered as the buzzies took it as an affront and decided to attack me on several sides. Hand for sure, elbow also but the one that flew under the radar of my sunglasses didn't get a sting in. Shew, lucky escape for me considering the effect a little sting had on my hand.

Slow and steady the swelling has taken over and although it isn't sore, being uncomfortable has its moments. So far I've taken a cold shower, gone through several ice packs, smeared honey ( rather ironic ) all over my hand and mostly have taken to reclining on the couch with one hand in the air.

Some blotches have decided to set up camp despite not having had any part of a wasp near it and even knowing they will fade soon, I can't tell you how often I've looked in the bathroom mirror.

Last year or was it the year before, Bob was stung badly above his eye and his whole side of the face was swollen grotesquely. After a day or two he was back to normal so this too shall pass.

All afternoon I've researched on Google which really I shouldn't have as those stupid exceptions and exaggerations have stuck in my mind. Whatever did we do before Google and more importantly, did we get better sooner?

The wasps are everywhere and if I dare say, a touch aggressive. Bob came home earlier and before he opened the gate I stood on the front step telling him about my meeting with our wasps and to warn him. Somehow he thought I was exaggerating about the ninja wasps in our postbox and to prove his point, walked up to it...only to turn tail and emit a few girly screams as a wasp took to chasing after him.

As much as it annoys me to have this allergic reaction ( yesterday I was stung twice and today at least three times so that it is a bit of a toxic overload ) these wasps are merely protecting their nests...


Sunday, 10 June 2018

Suedburgenland, The Envy Of Many Europeans.

Another scorcher of a day.

Mum and I were sorting out the changeovers for the Kellerstöckels ( a.k.a. cleaning ) late morning today when we ran into some of the guests leaving. A late check-out indeed but not a problem really as I got a chance for a bit of an enlightening conversation.

The couple was young, younger than I by a decade perhaps and also extremely trendy or nerdy. Not sure because he wore shorts and socks with sneakers although the socks were pulled up halfway to the knee. Is that fashionable now? Bob often tends to favour secret socks and usually looks tres Miami Vice...

The reason they were later in leaving was due to the late night they had tasting our divine Burgenland wine. A wedding of their friends and I can only imagine that it was an open bar as they still had a tinge of green about the gills but the real tell was his question about where the next lake was.

It was amazing to hear him wax lyricals about our weather. They live in France ( surely that is the original paradise? ) and couldn't get over how stunning our weather was. Hot, summery and even the cherries seemed to have ripened two weeks ahead of schedule.

Innocently I mentioned that summer hadn't officially started yet and that there would be at least four months of stunning summer climes ahead. If he could have, he would have bought a place right then and there...especially since he had tasted our fabulous wines. Aah, the good life.


Saturday, 9 June 2018

A Week Of Rain.

The times have shifted.

Summer, storms and rainbows are a given, aren't they? Summer, storms and stars are a bit dubious to say the least. These last few days we've been rudely awakened by a flash of lightning followed moments later by the deafening boom of thunder in the middle of the night.

The days have been hot and extremely humid almost similar to hot Durban summer days. Yikes, sweating being the order of the day. Our grounds are saturated and many villages have had cellars, roads or houses flooded. Even this morning as we drove through Eisenberg we could see the signs and trail of a nightly mini flash flood. Mud caked the edges of streets. Not a lot yet but should those threatening clouds mean business, we could be in for a bit more flooding.

Eisenbergers being the good solid villagers they are, have been busy brushing the mud off the roads. People care. The lawns and vines are shooting up like teenagers on a growth spurt and mushrooms are sprouting all over the forest's edge.

I haven't ventured any further inwards but judging from the amount of cars parked there these last few mornings, every fungus enthusiast is searching his private fiefdom for mushrooms and a chance to test his fungi knowledge. The exact locations of mushroom patches are kept under mental lock and key. Woe to those who pick on someone else's turf...of course you wouldn't catch me picking anything of the fungi Russian Roulette at all.

As for the rain's ability to cause floods, as awful as they are some of the blame should land alongside the water firmly at our feet due to our need of taking over nature by building new instead of remodeling old empty houses and not leaving meadows be. When the rain comes there isn't a place for it to trickle underground as it should instead it is corralled in and on our cemented living areas.

...looks a bit dodgy to me!


Friday, 8 June 2018

A Murder Of Crows Among Other Things.

A Shakespearean morning...

..." When shall we three meet again? Will it be in thunder, lightning or in rain..."
Even though they aren't well liked or perhaps it is more the connotation that precedes them, they are rather photogenic.
Only a coincident that I show a chapel after a murder of crows...doesn't the Deutsch Schützen chapel look divine?
Before I downloaded this shot from my camera I didn't notice the little deer peeping out from the edge of the trees. How cute.
Another stunning morning greeted me today. Deceptive beauty as the rest of today morphed into a cauldron of heat and humidity.


Thursday, 7 June 2018

Divine Solitude In The Morning.

A walk yet so much more.

Bob leaves home just after half past five and as I get up at the same time as him, I manage to mostly finish the superficial household chores ( dishes, laundry & feeding the troops ) while I organize his lunch box. Mere minutes after I wave him off for the day, I am ready to head out for a solitary walk among the vineyards.

This early schedule kicked in on Monday and I am slowly getting the lay of the land at such an early time. The hares are hopping madly, the deer are rustling in the forest ( hopefully it is them! ) and the dew drops have yet to leave their gracious hosts. A sing song of birds accompanies me most of the way as does the odd buzzing fly. Should anyone see a woman walking about waving her arms madly around her head, don't think the worst.

The school bus was motoring in the distance although it did seem a bit empty...summer holidays are only a few weeks away and perhaps some scholars decided to practice sleeping in. I would have and me thinks I did!

Halfway into my walk I discovered that Deutsch Schützen has the advantage when it comes to fresh bread. The baker's van was parked in a driveway and was a hub of activity as women sleepily collected their bread for the week. If I had taken any dosh along I might have sampled their wares.

That extra hour in the morning does make a difference to sights seen, sounds heard, tidbits gleaned and the odd nodding off during the favourite time to head out for a walk.

The bending blades of grass not ready yet to evict the dew...


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Our Vegetable Garden Is Taking Shape.

I shouldn't call it ours as Bob has done all the work...chip off the old block!

What's a garden without herbs? A pot of rosemary is enjoying life here.
Parsley and tomatoes are in focus this season and I can't wait to taste them.
Bob's creativity knows no bounds...he planted a handful of seed potatoes inside an old wine barrel which should make for an interesting taste sensation.
After only a few weeks our first proper veg has appeared. A mini cucumber...
Another happy tomato plant sprouting high.
Let's see how these sweet potatoes take hold...much better to grow them here than to buy those shipped over from America.


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A Few Hours Parked In The Shade.

Community spirit.

Yes, it is a Tuesday or in the parlance of a certain crowd, blood letting day. Since the advent of making an appointment for blood tests as opposed to popping in on the off-chance for ordinary ills and ails, my very early morning collection times are a thing of the past.

Gosh, I remember a few years ago when the doctor's opened at seven a.m. and nobody had an appointment, it was first come first serve and you can imagine how some of the older crowd made me get up at the crack of dawn in order for them to be first in line. We are talking about half past six and honestly, in the depth of winter it isn't much fun to sit and shiver for a few hours in the car waiting for them to reemerge.

During summers I have a parking spot next to a big bush which provides me with a semblance of shade but more importantly a view of the front steps. My sojourns can be long or short but I don't mind at all as it gives me an opportunity to connect with people. They recognize my car ( or me sitting in it ) and wave driving by, nod whilst pedaling past or even stop when on foot to have a wee chat.

Despite the trusty source of social media seemingly being the font of all knowledge local and afar, nothing beats having one on one conversations and getting to know people and their real life. No glamour shots, no pretense but joyful tidbits about a grandson coming to spend the summer with grandparents ( grannies face lit up with joy ), trips taken or meals made.

Sitting there this morning made me realize yet again how very fortunate and glad I am to be able to make or rather, have a life here.


Monday, 4 June 2018

A Milkshake Is Had.

Thank goodness for our smoothie maker.

Since we've acquired our new fridge we are over the moon with it and the endless possibilities it provides. A freezer filled with frozen berries is magic to say the least. Let's face it, fresh berries are a bit of a gamble as the moment you've grazed through the first layer a hitherto hidden bit of past their due date berries are unveiled. Almost worse than taking a gamble on an Avocado at one euro a piece only to slice it open and encounter the grey threads of over ripeness murkying the fruit.

Not that I am saying that frozen blueberries are any better but they are perfect for making smoothies. When I got home from a lesson just now, I decided to be healthy and have my fruit. Have a cup of blueberries, a few slithers of banana, chia seeds and soya milk whipped up into a delicious double thick purple milkshake. Too divine and so easy really.

Most days when Bob comes home from work I whip him up a smoothie to replenish his energy. Great way to eat enough fruit and a perfect way to underhandedly put ginger, spinach or celery into it. Not his favourites and unless he sees any evidence lying about he can't taste them anyway.

Milkshakes, especially the double thick kind remind me so much of my school days back in South Africa. Most Friday afternoons we would congregate at John Orr's Platter cafe feeling ecstatic ladling the milkshake out the glass ( straws were mere garnish ) and ogling the dishy College boys.

If you were to ask me now what they looked like, I couldn't tell you but back in the day the mere sighting of the College uniform sent most of our hearts aflutter...


Sunday, 3 June 2018

Two Feline Lotharios Caterwauling In Our Yard.

A cats' musical.

Mausi and I were dozing away on the couch yesterday afternoon as one is wont to do on a lazy Saturday, when we were pulled back from the brink of dreamland ( Mausi twitched her paws in a pretend chase of birds and I valiantly fought my eyelids trying to defy gravity ) by the most off key aria ever.

The windows which are triple glazed no less, were closed yet couldn't keep the cat fight at bay. Gosh, Mausi rushed to the window while I ran outside still half asleep thinking someone had been injured or had a glass too many. What met my eyes was theater through and through. There the two tomcats were standing at length opposite each other ready for a duel. The stance could have been right out of a Barbara Cartland novel with only the Seconds missing. Even now I could picture the one slapping a white glove on the other's cheek to induce the duel.

Good grief the grey boy sang like a girl but off pitch while his opponent merely stood there awaiting his cue. No better than his opponent he caterwauled his way through the feline fight song without any finesse or elegance.

" My boys, stop fighting. You know there's enough for both of you. "
only elicited a bored stare from both sides but not a ceasefire. Oh my gosh that sing song babble is enough to drive anyone crazy. The point of it is rather cloaked in mystery as a few minutes later they were side by side at the feeding trough.

Perhaps the point of their play was the audience. Miss Tiggi looked like she was grinning in glee atop her perch while Miss Mausi was all agog on the other side of the sill trying not to miss a note squeezed out of those feline lungs.


Saturday, 2 June 2018

A Laid Back Kind Of Day.

Cherries, a rabbit and a bird...

Cherries are everywhere for the picking yet, at the shops they sell for eight euros a kilo.
If I venture out early enough then a lot of rabbits hop about. This one decided to wait at the edge of the road.
The versatility of cherries...cherry ice cream, cherry strudel, cherry cake, cherry pancakes or plain cherries.
Almost a case of Birdie num num...
The actual Eisenberg looking best in the early morning light.
The oldest tree in Eisenberg perhaps? Living history.
A brilliant pink flower bordering on magnetic lives a simple existence at the edge of a garden.