Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mundenhof our Local Animal Farm

You expected animals, right? This is inside the roof of the Chinese pagoda at the Mundenhof, I love the colours!
Monday we went to the Mundenhof, you know we like it there. Packed up sandwiches and drinks because being Monday and early in the day we weren’t sure the concession stands would be open, and Bruce doesn’t much like the food they serve anyway. Had our meal under trees that were shedding leaves, once again, a tapa would have been handy. I rode down and back beside Bruce on Pepe Le Pew, what I’ve named his big bike. Very nice going early on a hot day, the pathway there is shaded then. Animals were quite active being morning, usually we go early afternoon and they are sleepy by then. We also usually go on Sundays and it's crowded, today there were groups of school children but fewer families with grumpy kids, much better for us!

I don't think I've ever seen a peacock sitting before...
This little monkey did this trick several times and would stagger around a bit until it came off. Why?
They are running from the maintenance crew, or just for fun.
Baby goats, always have to get a picture of them.
All for now, Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Day Tripping

Later on Mother’s Day we were hit with a rather major thunder, lightning, wind, hail and rain storm, all at once, the Gods really threw a whammy to us! Lasted for only about a half hour but furious. I saw poor people were racing their bicycles home getting soaked in the process. What a mess on the patio, all the dirt from everywhere got blown up against the window sills, cleaning to be done.

We made borscht soup yesterday, with the amount of vegetable required for it, it means lots of slicing (with a mandolin) and dicing (with knife). Carrot, parsnip, beets, celery, leeks, onion, beef and chicken broth as a base, good way to get Bruce to eat vegetables. Kitchen was a mess but we have a dishwasher, that isn’t me at a sink, so cleaned up fairly well, except chasing bits of vegetable that fell off the counter. 

Saw two dogs playing together out the bathroom window, they were at it for a long time. One Dachshund and a mixed breed dog who was white, long haired and had a brown patch on one ear and a brown ring around his tail. I can tell you this detail because I watched them exuberantly chasing each other, biting each other on the mouth and generally having a jolly good time playing together. Tried for a picture, too far away even with zoom, but one owner took lots of pictures or perhaps videos of them. To see the happiness and energy was really great! The dachshund actually tried to ride the white dog's back like a horse, he/she laid over to be more available to the smaller dog, well I won’t go on but it was a good laugh to watch.

Out with Christoph to a favourite Thai restaurant (Chada Thai) which has us driving through some really pretty neighbourhoods, with old classy buildings and the rhodo’s are out in full so a nice colourful drive. For lunch we were able to sit outside this time, just needed a tapa to cover our drinks and food due to horse chestnut blooms falling, not a bad thing really. Food and service are good and it is truly Thai food, not a facsimile of it. Then we went up the mountain in town to Dattler cafe for a coffee and ice cream for Christoph, he does like ice cream.

I got a haircut by a woman with a sense of humour, no English but we understood each other. While I was there Bruce was waiting and he bought me a beautiful bouquet of roses! What a lovely surprise! They are, as you see in the photo very colourful. 

So I did what my florist friend Jenn taught me to do and cut the stems under warm water, stripped the bottom foliage off and into the vase.

Pepe has ordered our blinds for the four window/doors in the flat in Sevilla. He visited the factory and saw them weaving or sewing the blinds, these are artisan works but because the material they use, a natural fibre called Esparto aren’t expensive, they are reasonable in price. Again, I like buying from a small organization that takes pride in their work. Pepe saw that at the factory and he liked the shop owner (Luis) and listened to his recommendations. The blinds are needed to keep the sun from the doors which we had fixed this year and want to maintain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esparto Many people have gone with wood slat blinds and I’m sure they work also but because our flat is very traditional we wanted to keep, well, with tradition and this type of blind is. Another complete difference between the flat here in Freiburg and the one in Sevilla, here the blinds are operated with a remote control, and are metal. 

Out into the countryside with Christoph on Ascension day we went to a restaurant on the Rhine, www.klaesles-gastronomie.de popular spot for biking people to stop off at, in fact we’ve seen our neighbours there before. These people are not biking to work, they are taking the lanes etc, and doing kilometres of trails so wearing biking gear more suitable to sweat reduction read spandex. 

Food was decent, view fantastic and then we crossed the border to France to Neuf Breisach for coffee to a small cafe where Christoph knows the owner fairly well. 

We’ve been there a couple of times before, always good. Neuf Breisach is an armoury town, anyway, small French village on the border. Honestly I went into a tail spin about ordering coffee and couldn’t remember the French for coffee with milk, had cafe con leche (spanish), had caffe mit milch (german) until Bruce said cafe au lait, right, haha that’s it.

Border flags

We had a popcorn and movie night. We haven’t found popping corn either here or in Sevilla, they do have the microwave version but we had both read it’s not good for you, although that was dinner many nights when I was single. He sourced real popping corn from a website last fall and it’s been waiting for us, nice change!

Saturday we meet with Christoph and go to Gasthaus Blume in Opfingen, the one we tried with Angela and Ryan, we got there early enough to get a table outside, and it did fill up rapidly. The difference with this place is they serve German tapas! We ordered three, waitress said they are small, we thought what Germans think is small isn’t always to us. We did order two more though, tasty, unusual parings of meat and vegetable, nicely presented and cost about double what a Spanish tapa would, but justifiably so I think. They only do the tapas on weekends and while everyone around us didn’t have them, I think they are onto something. We’ve had a meal there before and Christoph said it was one of the best schnitzels he’d had, that is saying something! 

From there we went to Landener, winery which we visit every year and I’ve written about before. This year they, and everyone else, got hit hard with a late frost and lost about 30% of certain crops. Luckily the year prior had been a good one which provided them with some buffer, but that’s a lot to lose! Just get started tasting and Christoph tried to book the car for longer and it didn’t work. So we had to leave in a rush, but not before snatching up three boxes of wine (6 to a box). We will likely go back this year, as said before I really like this family and the wine they produce. I like to take time there, not so much for the tasting, although I want to do that too, they make subtly different wines every year. I like to just soak up the atmosphere of the workings of a well run family business, they have a shady spot outside to sit and we see the locals working the fields in their many different sized tractors. Guess I still have a bit of farming in my heart.

All for now, Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Visit with Friends and Wandering

We went to Zoo Burkart to get food for Lexi. As always we saw many rabbits, one was laying face down in a hollow, all you could see of it was it’s tail and hind legs, looked funny. I heard crowing and thought what? but they had chickens in the store. Lots of different types of chicks too. Little yellow ones, saw one teetering on it’s feet, sleeping standing up. There were hens with feathers on their feet, chicks same. I could have stayed and watched them all for a long time, so entertaining. 

Ryan, Angela and Louis
Ryan and Angela came to visit us and arrived about 7 pm Saturday. We’d bought Indian food, a favourite of theirs and ours but had to re-heat it a couple of times so perhaps it wasn’t at it’s best by the time they could make it here, anyway, a treat to have.

Next day we debated about where to go, weather raining and while not cold, rather windy. I looked up a place in Opfingen, neighbouring town, which is now serving German tapas! Small dishes of German food, open for lunch only Saturday and Sunday so we headed there, but full, guess that idea of German tapas has taken off for them. Oh well, we had talked about having Greek food in Bad Krozingen so went there instead. We came back to the flat to have mimosas and catch up.

Monday and they have plans for their brewery project, https://twitter.com/hopsmashco and have to work a few hours so we meet in the morning in Rieselfeld for coffee and bretzels.

Bruce had bought beef to put in the dryer until I looked at the price of it and said maybe it would make better use of the expensive stuff to just grill it and eat it, so that was dinner for Tuesday night with small potatoes and green asparagus. 

We went to the Munster Markt and wandered getting vegetable for Bruce to make borscht. Spoke to Ellen, the English lady with the olive wood products, bought a couple of wooden spoons from her, lovely! Ryan and Angela joined us at Milano, Italian, we chowed down and then they were off to check out more craft beer before coming back here for dinner. This project of theirs is serious, they are working to collaborate their business interests with the uniqueness of these beers and in the process are making friends (as they do wherever they are). Angela explained sometimes people are a bit wary of being contacted through social media, the proprietors thinking all they are there for is free beer, which they are not, but get sometimes anyway. I see it as a win-win, cross promotion of business is always a good thing. 

It was really great to be back at the Munster Markt, the colours and smells are wonderful. Since we already had lunch and dinner plans I didn’t get a wurst sandwich, but the smell of them and frying onions drives me bananas every time! One lady was selling irises, probably my favourite flower, and there were lots of spring blooms on offer. There is one flower stall that is really large, should have taken a picture, maybe next time because it is a wall and floor of colour!

I woke up Wednesday morning and decided to feed Ryan and Angela breakfast, of simply bacon and scrambled eggs which we had in the fridge and coffee of course. I was glad to have thought of it, I’m not really much of a hostess since we don’t do it often, but giving them food in their stomachs for a three hour drive to Frankfurt seemed to be a good thing to do. Bruce said a couple of times how well it went, cooked well and appreciated by them. At least they have a sunny but cool day for the drive. Louis came in too and it was great to see that little gent. 

Bruce has been having trouble keeping his pants where they should be, they almost fall off and that wouldn’t be a good thing so he bought suspenders! I’ve never been around a guy with suspenders and thought ugh, but they look good on him!

I found a website that lists people who want to do small jobs, i.e. cleaning, caring for people, gardening, etc. and found a woman who is willing to clean. She’s 28 so expect she may be more reliable than someone younger, we’ll see, a prejudice I probably shouldn’t make. The website has many other applicants if she doesn’t work out, but I got a good feeling about her, why, don’t know, just gut I think.

We took the car share ride with Christoph to Gasthaus Zum Lamm in Bahlingen (been there before a few times). It’s a rather pricey, but great, restaurant and hotel in the Kaiserstuhl. The neighbouring hills are beautiful right now with the new green and shadows making a mix of multiple green colour. We drove along the river for a while and the banks are full of tulips and wild flowers. 

Lexi growled! She heard a kid and a man talking on the balcony next door and since we couldn’t see them, she took that as a threat. Almost as good as a guard dog this cat. She snores too, we all do, hers are more delicate but we can still hear them, unusual I think.

View from our balcony!
All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and growling Lexi Cat

Happy Mother's Day! Flowers for you and Yours!

Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!!!

Some flowers for you Mothers, and if you aren't, be nice to yours. I think of my departed Mother and Grandmother often and value the integrity they instilled in me with love.

Mother’s Day is honestly a day we don’t celebrate, after all I’m only mother to a cat and my mother and grandmothers have passed away. I did want to send a message out on the blog though because there are many mothers on the receiving list that are, and are dear to me. After lunch we walked the neighbourhood looking for flowers and certainly were not disappointed! While early days yet, there were a lot to see and photograph, serious editing again, but here are the best of the bunch, pun intended.

All the Best, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat (my furry child)

Monday, May 1, 2017

We went to a Spring Festival

Bruce made pickles, first batch didn’t quite turn out so he’s tried again. Pretty anyway, and these should work better, cucumber, carrot and fresh dill together and separate lime only. 

Went downtown on a Thursday before the long weekend just to get out of the neighbourhood basically. There is a food shop and many ethnic restaurants in a plaza next to the Stadt theatre we like. Did our shop for chicken a la king dinner, yum, and then I had Won Ton soup and Bruce had a lovely lime drink. 

Most of the cows started running for the barn, I happened to look out to see them. Guess it’s feed time and someone yelled Cooee! or whatever the German equivalent is. One doesn’t often see cows run and kick up their heels, but they did. Seems once one runs, the others follow and a couple of them gnashed their heads together, mock fighting, well it’s Spring isn’t it? Could have fooled me, it’s still pretty cold out and damp.

Finally a decent day and the Freiburger  Frühlingsfest (Spring festival) is on at the Mundenhof and Stadtgärtnerei (City garden centre). They run a shuttle bus from the middle tram stop in Reiselfeld so we take it. This is their third year and ours too. First year it was rather small, second really, really large, this year smaller again but more things to do for children. 

Like large plastic balls for the child to enter and get rolled around in by a parent, I’d read about them but never seen them live. Made me almost wish I could try, almost… 

When I talk about show size, it’s about the amount of vendors displaying their wares. This year it was an international fair with products coming from all over the world and less local product, in my humble opinion anyway. 

From Africa, didn't ask which part
We did buy a rhubarb Stefans cheese cake, they are so good! Bruce says he’s surprised rhubarb can be made tasty in anything. I bought a pair of earrings from Mexico. https://www.pakilia.com/en/All-Products/Ohrstecker-Flor-de-p-talos.html these ones! 

It's a snail, no it's a pot, no it's a snail pot

Seriously red!, inside they had yellow, purple, blue...
I’ve never seen so much bougainvillea in one spot before, beautiful! I think that people who buy it must winter it over like we do our citrus trees. 

Just Wow!

Can't see too well here, but water flows down the stones.
It was a pleasure to walk along the greenery and flowers of all sorts, and seeing products from all over the world. I did miss seeing some of the local products which makes me wonder what changed, behind the scenes, I'm always curious as you know.

Now the sun is out I can see incredibly, how many dust bunnies there are everywhere, result of being empty for a month. Can’t vacuum tomorrow, it’s Sunday but did do on Monday, even though a holiday (Labour Day). Unfortunately the cleaner D & E set up for us, lost our info, now has our phone number, but not sure how we can communicate via phone, her German is limited as is ours, she speaks Georgian (have you ever looked at the Georgian alphabet? I hadn’t, it’s beautiful), so while she sounds good, without a translate program… I think we’ll have to go back to the company with the rep who does speak English, does a good job but costs three times as much. 

All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat