Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Life, The Best Classroom.

Time makes no difference in life's lessons.

" I cannot live without books. "
Thomas Jefferson ( 1743-1826 )
" The sound of a kiss is not as loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a deal longer. "
Oliver Wendell Holmes ( 1841-1935 )
" The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it. "
Woodrow Wilson ( 1856-1924 )
" Simplify, simplify. "
Henry David Thoreau ( 1817-1862 )
" How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese? "
Charles de Gaulle ( 1890-1970 )
" My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. "
Claude Monet ( 1840-1926 )
" The deterioration of a government begins almost always by the decay of its principles. "
Montesquieu ( 1689-1755 )
" To love to read is to exchange hours of ennui for hours of delight. "
Montesquieu ( 1689-1755 )
" Not to be loved is a misfortune, but it is an insult to be loved no longer. "
Montesquieu ( 1689-1755 )


Monday, 29 April 2019

When Life Gives You Bodums...

Retro chic...

A few years ago we were given one of those fancy coffee making machines. The one that you put coffee beans into and the machine grinds and brews them for a perfect cup. Many a year the two of us have been sipping nice strong coffee in the mornings, alas, made one after the other and with enough noise to wake up the neighbourhood. When family or friends stay with us we only have our first cup at the decent hour of six o'clock.

A guest had left a Bodum coffee maker in one of mum's and as she doesn't need or use it, she passed it onto me. It has been faithfully gathering dust on our shelf while it was awaiting a chance to be used. That chance was slim to none as Bob is enamoured with his coffee machine. The odd occasions when we have family to stay, or we have a big family breakfast, I haul out another ancient but perfectly sufficient beans to cup converter. A filter coffee machine, magically able to make coffee for all simultaneously!

Last week, I took it upon my self to clean Bob's machine. I took out all the bits and eh, bobs, washed them and put them back together again. Or at least tried to. Oh dear, something was clearly wrong and after twenty minutes of ardently trying I threw in the towel and called for backup. Bob came to have a go and after a while was heard to mutter ( apart from expletives ) that I had had it in for this machine for some time and perhaps I had helped it along. As if I would have done more than thought that!

Happy visions of making coffee the old fashioned way floated in my mind but after a few hours to cool down ( Bob that is ), the machine decided to grace us with its presence for another while. At least my husband was happy again but I had already strayed to a cup of coffee made with the bodum.

We only have coffee beans but we do have a smoothie maker. I put a few beans in it and gave them a whirl. Yeah, it worked and they morphed into delicious smelling ground coffee. Easy indeed and fresher too.

Only a moment ago I made myself a cup of brewed coffee in my Bodum, complete with frothy soy milk. What a treat and what a nice afternoon pick me up. It has taught me to think a bit further than merely running to the nearest shop to buy stuff as most of the time there is an easier solution and in this case, a better tasting one as well.


Sunday, 28 April 2019

Sunday Special.

A delightful balance between predictability and unexpected surprises.

I heard them before I saw them. Their quick sprint up the vineyard was spectacular yet silly. There was no way I was going to catch up with them!
A purple diva atop the Eisenberg almost resembles a purple Darth Vadar. These beautiful wildflowers are insignifically situated on the verge hidden by tall grass yet, they are a sight for sore eyes and a meditation for one's soul.

" Hey, did you get my good side? "
Another marvel of nature. Just look at how intricate the whole ensemble of one flower is. Organized tiers leading to an apex of beads. To think that this marvel started off as a single seed, knowing exactly how to grow the various bits to make up the whole flower. Amazingly divine.
This morning I took special note of the various wild beauties littering the paths of Eisenberg. It seems a shame to mow down rural meadows where a kaleidoscope of colourful flowers provide food for the local buzz...Our insane need to be conformist and neat should be rethought. Let's live a little bit on the wild side.


Saturday, 27 April 2019

Life's Moments.

Little bits of wisdom gained.

Oh, who hasn't had them? Those moments where everything seems to have lost its shine, moods are moody to say the least and thoughts are annoyingly clouded by the ' glass half empty ' lens and words are weighed minutely on the scale of outrage. Luckily these moments are fleeting and can be blown away by the tiniest of things, deeds or words.

Our treasure Tigger has morphed into a real sponge for our moodiness. How could I not discard any loitering unhappiness when the moment I open the door to step outside she comes running in that awkward gait of hers, beaming from ear to ear? She has shaken off any last remnants of shyness and lives her days trying to get close to us.

Her new abode de rest is right outside our front door and when we are out, she reclines a bit further down our driveway with a view of the gate. Doesn't want to miss out on seeing us return. In fact, we often have to stop the car, get out and shoo her to the side lest she thinks that the car won't hurt her. Yes, both her eyesight and hearing is slipping but then again, when she spots us, her legs kick into a faster gear.

Animals have a unique ability to make us forget troubles, problems and situations even if for just a few minutes. Animals have the most special characters and idiosyncrasies that attest to their intelligence. Tigger has now realized that we are there for her and has placed her little heart and life in our hands...

Don't worry, our princess Mausi is still top-dog in our house and has enough personality to wrap both of us around her little paw although the last few days she has been giving a running commentary, complaint and orders to Bob non-stop which I can only equate to young kids irritating their parents by asking ' Why? ' all day long. Oh yes, the patience of even this saint is tried...


Friday, 26 April 2019

Burgenland's Architectural Gems.

The soothing qualities of barns.

For some reason I adore seeing whitewashed walls, especially on old farm buildings. Doesn't matter how old the buildings are, they look fabulous clad in a white frock. Now they might only hint at having been used for husbandry by the curvy ceiling of the former cowsheds being coordinated with modern chic, but the overall farm flair is there.
It dawned on me the other day. Remember when we had Biology at school and the teacher taught us all about the chlorophyll in grass? How good and necessary it was, well now I have cut out the middle man and eat the greens first hand. Why extract the diluted goodness of greens from a charred steak, sausage or burger?
It almost looks painted, doesn't it? A barn on the outskirts of Deutsch Schützen adjusting itself to any artistic background.
The old and rusty handrail at one of the crossings within the vineyards is striking in contrast to the vast rapeseed field in front of it.
Another barn with new sliding doors made of pine coloured wood. I like that and could easily envisage it for our barn in the back garden.
Thankfully we don't have any high rises in our villages thus keeping them sort of authentic, interesting and desirable places to live in.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

A Healthy Start.

Hopefully another convert.

I admit that I am overly enthused about health and how to get it but that isn't such a bad thing, is it? In any case, my wonderful husband mostly bears the brunt of my healthy madness but as someone asked him the other day : " Gosh what is your secret to looking so young? ", I am sure he'll put up with more of my many ideas and suggestions.

We had family to stay last week and I purposefully kept quiet on our way of eating apart from eating that way. Our nephew, almost twelve, is a typical kid, one who picks at food and isn't overly fond of the healthy variety. Well, day two had me offer him a breakfast smoothie, which he was willing to try. Oh yes, I sneaked in healthy ingredients under the taste disguise of banana and blueberries.

He liked it. He finished it and over the course of their stay with us, he asked me to make him one every day. Yeah! Towards the end I even put in a dash of dried kale ( I do the same with Bob's ), linseed and chia seeds. All the stuff kids normally won't touch. Well, disguised in a banana smoothie, they tasted just fine.

Anyway, about a week after they had gone back home, my sister in law contacted me to ask how to make this infamous breakfast smoothie. Turns out that our nephew had asked her:

" Mum, I really liked that smoothie Auntie Birgit made. Can you ask her how to make it? "
Wow, I can't tell you how fabulous that made me feel. Another convert to healthy eating. Bob's chuffed too and we both hope that the healthy winning streak will continue...


Wednesday, 24 April 2019

The Rapeseed Fields Are Casting A Cheerful Cloak Over The Area.

Yellow as far as the eyes can see...

This morning was a tad bit overcast after yesterday's rain but actually that made the morning more attractive. Moisture disappearing elegantly into the sky.
A bit further along the sun had come out a tiny bit more, enough to give some oompf to these divine fields.
A sight that gladdens any heart and makes any walk worthwhile.
Don't they look like a cheerleader's pom-poms? Magical with the dew drops gliding down the leafy slides.
One can't forget the star of the current show...lilacs beautiful enough to paint...


Tuesday, 23 April 2019

A Walk On The Wild Side.

A forest excursion on Easter Monday.

It was mum's idea and a good one. A walk through the forest ending up with lunch in one of Czaterberg's Buschenschanks. The weather was better than expected and apart from t-shirts we only took one thin jersey. Bob was euphoric as he wore a pair of shorts. Yes, summer is upon our doorstep.

We set off mid-morning and had a nice walk amid the forest behind our house and found our destination fifty minutes later. Easy peasy and we were rewarded with a great lunch sitting outside in the Easter sunshine. My folks, a friend and the two of us. My folks of course were clever as they had the car there to take them back home but we youngens in high spirits after a couple of glasses wine decline their offer to drive us home. No, we wanted to walk back...the same way we had come.

About twenty minutes after my folks left we three set off back home. Soon after that Bob had the brilliant idea to do a short cut. A short cut he had never been on and a short cut in the local forest. Well, they do say all roads lead to Rome and I had it in my mind that all unknown walks in a forest go around in circles.

Bob, old tech style used the sun for orientation and kept on mentioning for us to walk in such a way that the sunshine touched the right side of our face and as he usually is spot on with directions, I tamely followed. Well, let's just say that we all walked off our lunch and impending supper as it took us close to two hours to get home. After a while all paths look familiar even though they were not.

All is well that ends well and of course we got home safe and sound albeit extremely tired. Just like swimming on a full stomach is eschewed, so should walking with it be. As we turned into our driveway ( almost dropping to our knees to kiss it ) we happened across our new neighbours. A young couple who asked us where we had gone to as they had seen us leave earlier on and also why there were three not four people coming back! Oh well, the neighbourhood watch is alive and well...

Our tour guide is dressed casually for summer!!!
One of the few proper paths we found. A lot of uphill indeed which possibly meant that we did walk in circles. The two of them almost left me in the dust...
Apart from anything else it was a treat to walk among the splendour of trees, ferns and the sheer specter of tall trees clad in greens...what a lovely adventure we had this afternoon.


Monday, 22 April 2019

My First Attempt At Making Cashew Nut Cheese.

Another layer added to our vegan lifestyle.

This is step two as alas I forgot to chronicle step one. I soaked a cup full of raw cashew nuts in water overnight, drained them and put them into a blender. To this I added the juice of one lemon, one tablespoon of olive oil, quarter teaspoon of salt and half a cup of water. Blended the whole lot until smooth and put the mixture into a cheese cloths of sorts, as you can see.
I left the budding cheese overnight in its cloth, with a strainer underneath to collect the excess fluid. When Bob and I opened this cloth, we found this semi shaped ball. A bit soft still, but not bad for the first attempt.
Bob had the great idea to sprinkle some chives from our garden over it and that is what we did. Gosh, we were excited like two young kids at Christmas. By that stage we hadn't tasted it.
That first sliver of it was magnificent and didn't taste of cashews at all. In fact it tasted very similar to French soft cheese. A bit more salt would have been nice but one can always add that. All in all we were happy with it and still have a wee bit left... what a great way to eat nuts.


Sunday, 21 April 2019

Sights And Sounds Abound In Eisenberg.

Look what an early morning can bring...

Wherever I go there are nature's little hints of summer on the horizon. Trees of all sizes and varieties are changing their bare winter coat for fetching spring ones.
Bob and I were trotting up this gentle hill and were rewarded with stumbling upon a flock of sheep lazily following our progress. Too cute.
The good life of reclining on nature's sofa with food at one's fingertips...
Bob's boss has labelled most of his vines around the vineyard and doesn't it look grande?
For some reason the chapel in the background is highlighted by a halo of sunshine. Coincidence or not? Regardless, the view is divine.
Wild nature, brilliant nature and surely, a place to be. Imagine walking barefoot through the lush tall blades of grass or sitting under this tree reading a book or just taking a break to contemplate the beauty of life....


Saturday, 20 April 2019

Easter Saturday, Sunny And Nice.

A wonderful long weekend.

Does it also happen to you, that feeling of not knowing what day it is? Friday, Saturday or Sunday? Today has felt like Sunday and isn't it nice to know that there is still a Sunday to come!

Bob has been on leave and in the spirit of euphoria he announced last night that he would join me on my morning walk. Of course I took it with a pinch of salt and was expecting a hefty denial this morning but contrary to my expectations, he joined me on my morning walk. How nice it was to walk together into the budding day. Sun, blue sky and hardly any traffic made it a breeze to walk about our divine village.

Easter weekend has seen our village double in size as many a family scion has returned for a good old family get together. Everyone is laid back and some normally stern ones were even seen with big smiles on their faces. Easter or the long weekend can have that affect and thank goodness for it.

Tomorrow morning will see many a well dressed Easter bunny hopping about in gardens leaving chocolate offerings for children of all ages to find. Hopefully the bunnies are more switched on than Bob and I because, there have been occasions where we have hidden chocolate offerings in the garden only to stumble upon them a year later...


Friday, 19 April 2019

Refreshing Wallpaper For Our Mind.

Nature, simply the best.

We have a couple of lilac bushes growing around in our yard and this afternoon I couldn't help but take a few photos for you.
The result of leaving our lawn to grow without interference is a lush selection of grasses and wildflowers where bees and insects can feast to their heart's content.
An apple tree getting ready for the season and looking mighty attractive for passing bees...
A blue sky makes everything shine in beauty and casts out any thoughts of seasonal doubt.
If only you could smell their aroma. It is better than any perfume and accompanied by the buzzing of happy bees it makes a lovely mental screensaver.
A bridal bouquet for sure...


Thursday, 18 April 2019

Some More Thoughts.

Aged wisdom...

" God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. "
Voltaire ( 1694-1778 )
" Those that make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. "
Voltaire ( 1694-1778 )
" It is not known precisely where angels dwell whether in the air, the void, or the planets. It has not been God's pleasure that we should be informed of their abode. "
Voltaire ( 1694-1778 )
" The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson ( 1803-1882 )
" We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves. "
Francois de La Rochefoucauld ( 1613-1680 )
" Just living is not enough...one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. "
Hans Christian Andersen ( 1805-1875 )
" There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come. "
Victor Hugo ( 1802-1885 )
" He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment. "
Meister Eckhart ( 1260-1328 )


Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Zotter's Zoo.

A lovely convergence of farm animals on the meadow behind Zotter's chocolate factory.

A view to the zoo...a valley full of surprises.
The old man at the entrance gave us a cool glance and then proceeded to munch some more grass.
A clutch of chickens awaited us and each had beauty, grace and character.
A Llama was being stroked and fed by many even though there was a sign forbidding the feeding of them.
Oh what rules are broken for photo-ops...Not with us though!
Throughout the zoo were different points of interest and fun. As you can see, most materials used are recycled ones. Brilliant.
A few bloomers...
... " Come on girls, hurry up... "
A family of goats made sure the grass was kept in check. The whole feel of the farm zoo was one of comfort, surprise and awe, awe at what the Zotter family has achieved on his farm.


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Zotter, Our New Discovery.

A day out at one of Austria's foremost chocolate emporium.

One of the taste stations, one of hundreds that we had the fortune to taste. Isn't it fabulous to have so many vegan options. Tasted delicious.
A look behind the magic.
Who wouldn't like to have a taste? After a while we were almost all chocolated out!
Bob and I were so excited to spot the various vegan options and there were many. Well done to Zotter.
The view out of one of the windows of the chocolate emporium was a treat as well. A zoo that we could visit after all the chocolate tastings, a perfect opportunity to walk off all those amazing treats. But, more about the zoo tomorrow...


Monday, 15 April 2019

Images Of Burgenland.

A nice scenic trip.

The yellow Raps fields are out...
A lone tree putting everything into perspective and thus pointing out the sheer beauty of even the simplest of hills.
Bob drove us to the absolutely stunning little village of Stadt Schlaining a more romantic and authentic village will be hard to find.
A powder blue facade which looks amazing and made both Bob and I think about painting our house blue.
A very old aqueduct reminding us that life was here long before we were. A technical marvel considering that there were nary a crane, lorry or hoist to be had.
A blue Monday indeed. Isn't that view nice?