Archive for April 2013

Veggie garden 27th April

Quick update on the veggie garden.

The flowers are appearing in the blackberry and the redcurrant. The tayberry, both raspberries and the blueberry are doing great. My stepmom gave me some more strawberry plants as half of the ones she gave me last year were dead. The 10 that survived are doing good sofar.

The dill has been plowed under by a cat (not ours), so I’ve sown more. Stupid cat!
The chervil is looking good, I’ve planted that outside last week. The thyme, marjoram, basil, chives and parsley are inside looking very cosy. I haven’t seen any leaf celery yet.

The tomatoes are growing like mad. I think they’re ready to go in the garden, but they need to spend a bit more time inside as they can’t handle the cold at night. The cucumber plants are looking good too.

I’ve gotten leaf chicory and endive seeds from my stepmom, so I’ve been sowing them too. I’ve read a bit about growing chicory, but really have no idea. We’ll see what happens.

Next time there will be more photos.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

I’ve wrote about kaatsen before. Kaatsen is our national (Frisian) sport. The biggest event on the Kaats calender is the PC (Permanente Commissie, which means standing committee). It is held in Franeker, or Frjentsjer in Frisian.


(text is in Frisian, sorry)

Photos are not my own, but are from Sicco2007.
For more information on Keatsen, please visit PC Franeker or Wikipedia.

For more entries, please click here.

Veggie Garden 18th April

Last friday I’ve managed to get the first plants into the garden. The week before I’ve been weeding and shovelling and watering.

The seeds I’ve been sowing have been growing pretty well. There were a few things that didn’t catch on (lettuce, bell peppers, parsley, chives), so I bought new seeds and started sowing those again. They’re now looking pretty good.

The veggie patch has come along pretty well too. The giant hole in the middle has been pretty much leveled. The hydrangeas are in as a border. I’ve changed my mind about the border between the grass and the veggie patch. I wasn’t sure what to do and will hold off on buying anything until we’ve decided what to do with it.
The berry bushes I got from my stepmom are in the ground and are beginning to sprout pretty nice. We’ve got yellow raspberry, red raspberry, red currant, blackberry and 2 tayberries. I’ve also managed to rescue 10 of the 20 (frozen) strawberries, so I’m hoping they’ll do well. There’s 2 I’m still not sure of, but stepmom has promised me new ones in exchange for a tayberry.
I also planted the snowball onions, the beets and the chinese beans. Oh, and the garlic. I’m really hoping they’ll grow nicely. The rhubarb is also in, but looks pretty dead to me.

I repotted the pumpkin, the cucumbers and the tomatoes, as they were in pots too small for the size of sprouts. And I gave some tomato plants to my neighbours. Their almost 4-year-old daughter didn’t quite understand how those tiny plants could create tomatoes, but she liked the idea.
I think my neighbour hasn’t got any idea how to care for tomato plants, so I’ll tell her what to do as we go along.

Here are some photo’s of how the garden looks right now.

Never forget there’s a person inside that body

As a nurse it’s easy to forget the person behind the face you’re dealing with. You see your residents every day and they all have one or more issues which prevent them from caring for themselves. It’s easy to forget who they once were, to see them as just a face, a body. But there’s a person behind the exterior. A person that dealt with school, health, work, family, friends. Even if they don’t deal with that now.

The man who regularly screams for help when he hears kids playing in the street. He has lost his daughter. She drowned when she was 5. He stood on the water’s edge and couldn’t help as he can’t swim himself. No-one else was close enough to help out.

The woman who’s sitting in her wheelchair, looking out of the window all day. She doesn’t say a word. She lost two of her sons in a car crash. The same car crash which left her husband paralysed and left her with severe headaches.

the woman who clutches the babydoll and won’t let go of it, not even for food or drinks. She fell pregnant when she was 16 and had to give birth in a home. Far away from her boyfriend and her (unsupportive) family. Her child was taken away to be adopted, even though she desperately wanted to keep him. She never told anyone this story.

The man who walks into the hallway in his underwear. He once was a school director. He helped out a lot of kids in trouble. He always wanted to become a teacher and he managed to follow his dream, even though his parents had no money.

The man who lies in bed the whole time and screams loudly at night. He was a pediatrician. Many of you who care for him now, he helped when you were little.

The woman who always cries and tells you “I don’t want to live anymore.” She was the head nurse in the hospital nearby. She helped out many people in their hour of need. Now she needs your help.

It’s so easy to forget that all these people have had a whole life before they came to live in a nursing home. Looking at the pictures in their rooms, talking to them makes me realise who they once were. Now they’re just a shadow of themselves, but we should always treat them with respect.

How to treat people

Courtesy of Imgur

This post was written for the Weekly Writing Challenge.

Every Season Is Different

Today’s Daily Prompt:

For many of us, winter is blooming into spring, or fall hardening into winter. Which season do you most look forward to?

Every season is different. And beautiful.

Winter is a dead season. Nothing is growing, nothing seems to be able to survive. And yet it’s so full of life. When the temperature hit -15 C only a few weeks ago our garden was bursting with life. Sparrows sat on the fence, fighting over who could get a bit of food. Blue tits, great tits and robins flew off and on for peanuts. A great spotted woodpecker tried to make a hole in the fence. A Eurasian Jay came to visit for bread.
Winter makes me feel down. The darkness, the lack of sunshine makes me long for the summer. But when the sun is shining, the temperatures are quite low and ice is covering the canals I couldn’t be more happy. I love skating.

CobwebBridge

Spring is the time where everything starts to get green again. The days are getting longer, the temperatures should be/is rising and things start to grow again. This is when my blood starts to rush a bit more. I’m planting all kinds of seeds, hoping for them to produce some crops in the summer. I’m making plans for the garden in hopes that this year I’m really going to do it.

Tulips

Summer is what I love. The warmth of the sun on my skin. Heading out without a jacket. The shorts, the shirts, the skirts.
But at the same time I dislike the sun. Due to my illness I’m having a hard time driving in the sun. I can only drive with sunglasses on. This means I have to be carefull when I leave the house. Do I have them in the car? In my purse? Or did I leave them on the table? I can’t leave without my sunglasses, ever.
The extreme heat we sometimes get makes me sleep bad. I lie awake for hours, tossing and turning, longing for the winter cold. The mosquitos that somehow manage to get into the bedroom are driving me crazy and I get up many times to zap them with the electric fly swatter.
But the same heat that makes me lie awake for so long is bringing thunder and rain. Cool, soothing rain. Lovely thunderclouds that seem to be traveling in the wrong direction. Majestic black skies.

Thunder sky

Autumn is when I have to prepare the garden for winter again. Leaves start to fall. And not like the picture we think of when we hear the word autumn. No. They simply turn brown and fall off. No gorgeous reds and yellows. Browns and blacks is what they turn to. I have to harvest the last crops just before the frost hits. Most of the years it means it’s 25/30 C one week and -5 C the next. No smooth transition, just BAM! Winter. So much rain, so much wind.

Each of the seasons has its charms. Each of the seasons has its disadvantages. What do you like most?

Sowing, lots of it!

This afternoon has mainly consisted of finding my seedling pots. I thought I packed everything when we moved, but apparently I didn’t.
After a lot of searching I finally found half of the pots I thought I had. Half of it in the attic, the rest in the utility room… I am so disorganised…

Sowing, sowing, sowing

And this is the end result. I’ve used a little greenhouse (on the right) for giant pumpkins and the cucumbers. The little white plastic container is holding carrots. The first wooden bin contains chinese beans, the second 5 sorts of lettuce. On the ground is a box containing peppers, tomatoes, dill and chervil. The little pots in the middle hold garlic cloves. (yes, I’ve thrown out the 9 year old seeds). I think I have enough to feed a small army, so we (and possibly my elderly neighbour) should be alright.
I refrained from sowing the radish as I know it will sprout within hours and the garden simply isn’t ready yet. I’ll sow them in the soil when I’ve got the garden ready.
Typing all this has made me realise I’ve somehow lost the package with beet seeds… See how disorganised I can be? Must find it and sow that too.

Anyway. The plan for the garden is this:

  1. Get the veggie patch leveled and fill in the holes left by the tree stumps last year.
  2. get the 2 rows of tiles out. They are in the middle of the lawned area. Why, we have no idea. They look like a driveway, but there’s no access at the back…
  3. Create a border to keep the grass out of the veggie patch and the soil in.
  4. Plant the hydrandeas as a border between the neighbour’s garden and ours. They’re not big now, but they’ll get big, hopefully.
  5. plant out the seedlings.
  6. harvest what I’ve sowed!

Sounds good to me. Let’s see how long this whole plan will take us.

Fryslân, my homeland

Friese vlag

I live in Fryslân, a province in the north of The Netherlands.
We have our own language, our own sports, our own history, our own heroes, our own identity.
This Frisian identity is very important to us. Many of us don’t feel like we’re dutch. I certainly am not seeing myself as dutch. I’m Frisian.

Language:
The languages most spoken in our province are Frisian and dutch. Frisian is spoken in the whole of the Waddenzee region. We like to think the English language has been derived from Frisian, but it’s probably the other way around. There are many words that look and sound a lot like English, but it’s the same for Dutch and German.
There are three dutch universities where you can take Frysk as a major (or minor).
Most of the town names are either in Frisian or in Frisian and dutch. We, of course, prefer the Frisian names.

plaknammeboerd_0

Sports:
There are a few sports that  are evident to the Frisian identity.

Keatsen is a traditional Frisian sport, related to American handball and fives, that is most commonly practiced by people from the northern Dutch province of Friesland (Fryslân). It is believed to be one of the oldest ballgames and was an unofficial demonstration sport at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. The score is similar to tennis. The first team scoring six games wins the match.

Fierljeppen is a traditional sport of the Frisians and of the Dutch. Ljeppen is West Frisian for “to leap”. It is a fine example of the close relationship between the Frisian and English languages.
The sport involves a long pole and a body of water. The pole is between 8 and 13 m long and has a flat round plate at the bottom to prevent it from sinking into the muddy river or canal bottom. A jump consists of a sprint to the pole (polsstok), jumping and grabbing it, then climbing to the top of the pole while trying to control its forward and lateral movements over a body of water, and finishing by landing on a sand bed opposite to the starting point.

Skûtsjesilen is the Frisian sailing competition with skûtsjes, in particular the competitions organized by the SKS, and the IFKS. Matches with skûtsjes have been organized since the nineteenth century. Then being sailed as the farmers had no cargo and the skippers could earn a cash prize. Often the innkeepers who wrote out a match, for example if there was a fair, so after the awards ceremony could be held in the cafe.

Schaatsen has been a national sport since the dawn of time. Especially the Elfstedentocht is very important to our province. The Elfstedentocht (West Frisian: Âlvestêdetocht, English: Eleven cities tour), at almost 200 kilometres (120 mi), is a speed skating match and a leisure skating tour. It is touching every city (by history) of the province. It is held, in practice in January or February and not more than once in a winter, when the natural ice along the entire course is at least 15 centimetres (6 in) thick; sometimes on consecutive years, other times with gaps that may exceed 20 years. When the ice is suitable the tour is announced, and starts within 48 hours.

History:
Our culture slowly began to emerge around 400-200 BC. The Roman occupation of Frisia began in 12 BC with the campaign of Nero Claudius Drusus in Germania. The early eighth-century AD is known for the Frisian king Redbad and the missionary Saint Boniface.

At the start of the Middle Ages, Frisia stretched from what is now the Belgian border to the River Weser in Germany. After incorporation into the Frankish empire, Friesland was divided into three parts. The westernmost part developed at the start of the second millennium into the County of Holland.

Frisia

Heroes:
Grutte Pier Pier Gerlofs Donia (c.1480 – 1520) was a Frisian warrior, pirate, and rebel. He is best known by his West Frisian nickname Grutte Pier (“Big Pier”; in the pre-1980 West Frisian spelling written as Greate Pier), or by the Dutch translation Grote Pier which referred to his legendary size and strength.
Approximately 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) to the north-east of Donia’s village of Kimswerd, in the city of Franeker, the Black Band, a Landsknecht regiment in the service of George, Duke of Saxony was quartered. The regiment was charged with suppressing the civil war between the Vetkopers, who opposed Burgundian and subsequently Habsburg rule, and the Schieringers. The Black Band were notorious as a violent military force; when their pay was insufficient or lacking, they would extract payments from local villagersand on 29 January 1515, the Black Band plundered Donia’s village, then allegedly raped and killed his wife, Rintze Syrtsema, and burnt to the ground both the village church and Donia’s estate. Seeking revenge, Pier started a guerrilla war campaign against the Habsburgs and allied himself with Charles of Egmond, Duke of Guelders (1492–1538). The legendary status of Grote Pier as a hero or a villain has endured over the centuries with his exploits retold in book, poetry, song and more recently television.
Today, a great sword that is said to have belonged to Pier is on display at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden. It measures 2.15 metres (7 ft) in length and weighs about 6.6 kilograms (14.6 lb). Some sources put his height at 7 ft. Pier was alleged to be so strong that he could bend coins using just his thumb, index and middle finger. A huge helmet said to be Grutte Pier’s is kept in the town hall of Sneek.

ZWaardGP

This post has been written for the Weekly Writing Challenge. I couldn’t simply find one icon that would represent my homeland, so instead I chose to take fryslân as the icon.

Sowing seeds, week 1

As promised, an update on my previous post about the 9 year old seeds.

Seeds week 1

As you can see, not much has changed. I’ve watered them regularly, but it doesn’t look as if anything is going to happen. I’ll leave them for another week. If nothing has come up by then I’ll throw them out.