Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strawberrie are ripe!

Here is what happens when you put an empty plate in front of (hungry) Emilie and ask her to put some strawberries on it for her dinner - our own strawberries, picked this afternoon.

Swiss wildflowers

A few posts might be jumping back to our trip to Europe. So, here are some swiss wildflowers:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Flowers by our house

The last photo above shows some tulips flowering now in the middle of summer, that I planted in the fall. Amazingly, they survived winter, didn't get eaten by voles, AND managed to grow flowers (they were quite shaded by grass and fireweed when we came back from our European trip). A bunch of other bulbs I planted apparently became food for the voles, since I could not even find the bulbs in the soil when I dug through it earlier this summer when there was no sign of life in that area of the garden. So, hurray that something survived!

What we eat

What we eat: spatzle fried with some bacon, potato, and something green. Spaetzle is effectively fresh pasta, passed through a sieve into boiling water, and after draining generally fried up.

And the green stuff is this: lamb's quarter, a common weed. Someone I know told me yesterday you can "cook it like spinach", so I of course googled things first, but it's true... so Martin, we might be eating more weeds when you get home... just a forewarning.

PS: And no, it's not a quarter of a lamb that we will be eating.
PPS: And we might also eat some chicken fried steak, which, from my googling, is NOT chicken.

Washing the nose (and eyes and ears and cheeks)

Emilie learned the words that describe various face features in daycare before we left for our trip to Europe. So throughout the trip, she had fun washing all of our faces with a wet wipe, while identifying the "nose" (generally the first in the sequence), eyes, ears, cheeks, mouth...

And she continued that in Alaska... so she "washed" Cooper's nose, ears,...

and then she let Cooper go, came to me, wipe in hand, and wanted to wash me with that exact same wipe. Ah, the innocence of childhood. And no, I did not allow myself to be washed all over my face with the same wipe that was swiped over Cooper's nose and mouth :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Some more pictures from Switzerland

Some pictures from Switzerland...

They started cutting the grass to make hay around the village where Martin grew up (if he grew up ever) this week - I was told they start around solstice. Here are some of the meadows within the village last week, with beautiful flowers.

and the vegetation is nearly as tall as Emilie (who is on the main access trail to the house behind her - there is no road to the house, no sidewalk):

Aldo, carrying a big load of fresh grass for the cows:

and at the end, a smaller load:

Emilie and Sonja help their cousin Sophie and aunt Cornelia push their cousin David:

Hand in hand:

Someone in the village, moving the goats to a different pasture:

Views around the village:

Emilie, curious to see her baby cousin David:

Night visitor

Yesterday during the night, around 4am, as I was letting the dogs out, there was this strange skreetch outside. Periodic enough that I went back into the house to try to grab a tape recorder, and not finding that, the video camera. The noise outside continued. Cooper seemed unimpressed. Saphira, on the other hand, really wanted to be outside. As did Emilie (on a portion of the video I cut off, she can be heard in the background). I did end up seeing something the size of our dogs through the corner of my eye before it disappeared behind a small ridge running down our hillside, so it was a four-legged creature, not a bird.

(view of the forest from our balcony, 4am, with a screetch audible from the trees)

My coworker Matt said it was likely a lynx, and these recordings from U of Michigan sound similar. So, in addition to moose, we now had a lynx visitor. Cool!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A trip along Drieri

We've been in Switzerland since Wednesday night, first visiting the kids' aunt and uncle and cousins, and now grandparents.

A hike two days ago from the village to a lake went along one of the many waterways dug into the steep hillsides. The waterways bring water to the fields of grass that are cut twice or three times a summer and made into hay. The one we followed is named Drieri, after the number three, since it can take three "waters" - it's bigger than the other waterways. It leads a couple miles away.

Along Drieri above the village, Sonja is in front of her aunts and uncles and cousings, with a bouquet of flowers she picked along the way. Glacier in the background... Martin's favorite, since he saw it daily when he was growing up.

Along Drieri in the forest, on the way back:

Back from the trip, descending into the village again:

Czech Republic

We visited my relatives in the Czech Republic for several days. It was great to see everyone, including my grandfather and aunt and uncles and cousins and their kids.

Martin with Sonja, getting a push from my uncle, on the super-big swing my uncle installed in his back yard. Sonja giving Emilie a ride on a tricycle (first they needed help, then they got used to doing it themselves). My uncle and cousin after tilling (?) the potatoes.

A few pics from the town of Jindrichuv Hradec (Heinrich's Castle, or on old maps Neuburg). I went to town to buy a few things while Martin minded the kids while they slept, before we headed on our long drive to Switzerland.