A Walk, Some Talk and Chocolate Eggs

Hello! And how are you all doing? Gliding along tranquilly, like this swan? Paddling frantically to stay afloat? Or something in between? For me, it’s something in between at the moment – rather busy, but there is still time to write a blog post. And we’ve also been for a relaxing walk on Sunday.

This time in the wetlands of Weerribben-Wieden National Park. On the whole, the area is more suitable for canoeing or cycling, but there are a few lovely walking routes.

Later in the year, there will be orchids, butterflies, waterlilies and dragonflies to admire. Now, it is mainly the landscape itself that draws the eye…

… although the lily leaves are starting to surface.

It’s also a great place for bird watching. My camera isn’t really suitable for bird pics, but I did get a nice one of a group of greylag geese with goslings. Can you see the fluffy little things?

While we’re strolling along, there is something I need to get off my chest. I hope last week’s post wasn’t painful for any of you. I realize that some of you may have longed for children or grandchildren, but didn’t get them and will never have them. Please know that I never take these things for granted. I’ll write about our grandson and the things I make for him from time to time, because he is part of my life now. But I promise not to bombard you with baby stuff, and to continue writing about walks and cycle tours, nature and gardens, all kinds of other things that may be of interest, and last but not least knitting.

Speaking of knitting, there isn’t a lot to show you right now. Just the start of my pink Morbihan. It colour-coordinates nicely with the book I’m reading.

Disappearing into a fantasy world for a while now and then helps me cope with the real one better. I love Juliet Marillier’s books because of the interesting characters and plots, the fascinating worlds the author creates, and the fact that these novels are nice and fat and often part of a series good for many hours of reading. (Veel van haar boeken zijn ook in het NL vertaald; zie hier.)

My week has been extra busy because I have been helping out at our daughter’s place after the maternity nurse left – a real privilege.

The new parents had an unwelcome visitor during this special time – Covid-19. They’ve been so careful to avoid infection, and then, on the morning of the delivery our SIL tested positive, and several days later our DD did, too. He probably caught it at work. Fortunately he was allowed to be present at the birth, fortunately they both had hardly any symptoms, and fortunately we have all had our jabs and boosters.

But in spite of all that, for some people the virus still isn’t cat’s piss, to use an elegant Dutch expression. So the professionals around them wore protective clothing from head to toe. And we need to keep a safe distance and wear face masks. To be on the safe side, I take a test before meeting other people. So far, I’ve tested negative – that’s positive.

Now, time for some chocolate eggs. What flavour would you like? I can recommend the dark chocolate ones with advocaat (my favourites with Dutch egg liqueur), but there is also toffee coffee, chai crisp, chocolate mousse, butterscotch, caramel…

Whether you’re celebrating Easter or not, I wish you a lovely weekend!

The Stork has Landed

Hello!

Good news! The stork has landed and brought our daughter and her husband a sweet little baby boy.

First and foremost, I’m immensely grateful that, apart from a few start-up problems, mother and baby are doing well. I’m also flooded with tenderness for this tiny human being, very happy for his mum and dad, looking forward to getting to know my grandson, worried about his future, hopeful that he’ll have a good life and determined to be the best grandmother I can.

Where do the storks get the babies from, I wonder. Fish them up?

Thanks to a reintroduction program, these graceful birds have become a common sight around here. And sometimes even a nuisance. It isn’t because they deliver too many babies, certainly not in our family. It’s to do with the places they choose to build their nests.

Last week I was at the library when suddenly the lights went out, together with the computer terminals, the electric doors and, as it turned out, electricity in the entire town and surrounding villages. After rummaging around in the dark for a while the librarian found the key to the emergency exit (!?!) and we were able to get out (phew!). What had caused this power cut? Storks building a nest on a power pylon and setting it on fire!

Photo: Steenwijker Courant

We’ve already had the privilege of paying the new earthling a brief visit, bearing gifts for his first 10 days (they didn’t all fit into this basket).

The first one will have been unwrapped by now, so I think I can safely show it here – a nice and warm coat knit with much love for our grandson…

… with buttons with the best ever message for a baby coat: Welkom kleine ukkepuk (welcome little one). (Excellent pattern here.)

It will come in handy in a month that is like spring one day…

…and like winter the next.

I feel a bit bad about the stork story above, because it isn’t doing our daughter justice. Supported by the baby’s father, she has done all the hard work. But I think they know how proud I am of them and will be able to appreciate a bit of folklore.

Well, that was my news for this week. Thanks for reading and lots of love!

Baby Things, Worries and Hope

Hello!

March is giving us many gloriously sunshiny days this year. The weather seems very much at odds with the world news. But the sun will shine, regardless of what we’re up to down here on Planet Earth.

I’ve used some of these sunny days to wash baby things. I’ve given most of our daughter’s clothes and other stuff away, but kept some, too. After nearly three decades in the attic they’d become rather musty. Now, after a wash and a day in the sun and the wind, all sweet-smelling and neatly folded, they are ready and waiting for her baby.

I’ve been busy knitting, as well. When I first thought of publishing some of my designs on Ravelry, I had a conversation with myself that went something like this:

‘But if I become a Ravelry designer, does that mean that I can never knit from a pattern anymore? In that case, I’d rather not.’ ‘Don’t be silly. Of course you can continue knitting from patterns!’ ‘Oh, that’s a relief! Because, you know, there are so many beautiful designs around. And it’s just so nice when someone else does all the thinking, swatching and maths for you.’

At the moment, I’m knitting from this booklet – Bloom at Rowan:

It contains 11 designs by Erika Knight – baby things, garments for mums-to-be, a crochet blanket and a simple shawl. I’m knitting a cardigan called Little Lamb, and have even chosen the same yarn and colour used in the pattern.

Terribly uncreative, but so very nice and relaxing. I’m going to knit the matching hat (with ears!) and bootees as well.

Meanwhile I’m also working on a baby design of my own. Here is a peek. More about it when it’s finished (which may take a while.)

While I’m knitting for our first grandchild, I’m beset with worries. No need to spell them out, I think.

A group of Ukrainian refugees is now staying in a holiday accommodation near us. (Interestingly, the same accommodation housed a group of Russian refugees from 1945-1947.) There is a special fund to provide them with everything they need, and we are asked to contribute by buying some of these ‘drops’:

A donation often feels like a drop in the ocean, but in this case I know it really helps. I hope these people will feel safe and welcome here. More information about this small initiative here.

Speaking of hope – I’m reading this:

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams. (NL titel: Het boek van hoop: levenslessen voor een mooiere toekomst)

I haven’t finished reading it, so can’t write review, but here are a few quotes:

  • ‘Hope is often misunderstood. People tend to think that it is simply passive wishful thinking: I hope something will happen but I’m not going to do anything about it. This is indeed the opposite of real hope, which requires action and engagement.’
  • ‘Hope is contagious. Your actions will inspire others.’
  • ‘…millions of drops actually make the ocean.’

Hope to see you again next week!

What Can We Do?

Hello!

I really wanted to write a warm and fuzzy post about knitting, but with everything that’s going on I can’t. My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine, I’m holding my breath and my mind is working overtime. Some of the things that popped up in my mind were images from an earlier visit to the Dutch Open Air Museum. What have they got to do with anything? Please bear with me.

The photo above shows the interior of a 1950s/1960s post office in the museum. Stepping inside, I’m a child again, queueing for I-don’t-know-what with Mum, looking up in awe at the high, high ceiling.

Oh, how I’d love to work here later, using those wonderful stamps all day – pomPOM, pomPOM!

It was an unexpected wave of nostalgia – I had all but forgotten about this childhood ambition.

The Open Air Museum is an amazing place. The old houses and other buildings are lovely.

And it’s very interesting to look at household utensils and tools from different periods.

But it’s the things from more recent times that really evoke strong feelings of nostalgia for me, like the living-room from the 1970s. The photo isn’t great because it was taken through a window, but it gives an impression: A woman in a maxi dress, that special seventies design style, and everything in brown and orange.

This No Nukes poster was the most unexpected item to push my nostalgia button. It whooshed me right back to the huge peace protests of the early 1980s. We were dreaming of a peaceful world without nuclear weapons.

And look at where we are now, in 2022. I feel shocked and abhorred by what is happening in Ukraine, and the return of nuclear threat.

I heard a Ukrainian woman living in the Netherlands say on the news, ‘We don’t need your concern, we need your help.’ I never got to work in a post office, but I didn’t become a world leader either. What can we, ordinary citizens, do?

The Open Air Museum houses a small exhibition about knitting for the war effort in 1914. Nobody in their right mind would feel nostalgic about WWI, but at least knitters could make a real difference. The newspaper article below calls on the women and girls of the town of Zeist to knit socks for soldiers, preferably dark grey.

From what I’ve read, I know that these socks and other knitted items were not just a great comfort, but a real help too. Woollen socks could even help prevent a serious condition like trench foot.

In the US literally millions of items were knit and shipped to Europe under the auspices of the Red Cross (interesting article here).

Now, again, the Red Cross is asking us to help – this time not by knitting, but by donating to them or other reliable organizations giving medical and humanitarian aid. More information can be found on the websites of the Dutch Red Cross, the international Red Cross or the Dutch Cooperating Aid Organizations at Giro 555.

Let’s do(nate) what we can. And let’s not forget to breathe and to appreciate the good things in life.

Take care, dear friends.

Snowdrops, Storms and Cables

Hello!

It’s snowdrop season! A garden I sometimes pass, is carpeted with them.

We have only small clumps here and there.

Maybe they’ll grow out to a carpet, too, over the years. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? For now, I’m very happy with the ones we have dotted through the garden. I just love their beautiful little bells.

But it’s not just snowdrop season. It is also aconite season.

And iris season. We have yellow and blue miniature irises. The yellow ones are a little later, but the blue ones are in full bloom already. They are especially beautiful looked at from above.

Apart from the snowdrops, everything is earlier than normal this year. We haven’t had any real winter at all, and it feels strange to see so many flowers in the garden already. Compared to the 1950s spring arrives three weeks earlier now, according to Nature Today.

It’s crocus season, too. This is a photo I took last week:

And this is what they look like after triplet storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin raged across the country.

Especially Eunice was fierce, but we do not live close to the coast and it wasn’t as bad here as in the north and west, where it killed four people. Although the solar panels on our roof rattled dangerously, they stayed put. The strong gusts tore tiles from other people’s roofs, though, and toppled quite a few trees.

Some weeks the words flow easily from my keyboard, other weeks they do not. This is a week in the latter category. The seasickness-without-having-been-on-a-boat has gone, but my head is still tired and achy, like having a hangover-without-having-had-any-alcohol. It is also filled with worries about the storm hitting Eastern Europe.

How can I write about snowdrops and knitting at a time like this? But then again, maybe these humble little, peaceful things are more important than ever. So here is a report on my progress on the knitting front.

Remember the cardigan I’m designing and knitting for our daughter? (I wrote about it here.) After some initial swatching and brainstorming, I swatched some more and this is the winning swatch:

I scribbled down notes during the process.

The back was simply knit in stocking stitch. I added a cable to the front, next to the button band, but underestimated how much narrower the cable would be compared to the same number of stitches in stocking stitch. I should have made a larger swatch. Almost at the armhole, I realized that the front would be too narrow and the button bands wouldn’t overlap.

So I ripped the whole thing out, cast on a few more stitches and started again.

This is my favourite type of cable needle. Its V-shape holds the stitches really well, and it is easy to manipulate.

I’m halfway through the second front now, and have good hopes to have the entire cardigan finished by next week. Or am I being too optimistic? Anyhow, I hope to see you again next week. Bye!

Little Red Riding Hood or Grandmother

Hello!

As soon as I saw these sheep, huddled together in a field, I realized that something was wrong. They looked distressed. Looking into the distance, I saw the reason why. Oh no! A dead sheep, and the owner and somebody else looking upset, searching for something. Tracks? Other evidence of the culprit?

Only DNA-testing can tell whether this sheep was killed by a wolf or a dog, but chances are that it was a wolf. We hear about sheep being killed by wolves around here on a weekly basis now.

For the people who lived here long before us, those who built the impressive megalithic burial monuments called hunebedden, wolves must have been a fact of life to be reckoned with.

But for us, in the 21st century it’s a phenomenon we’re not familiar with. There haven’t been any wolves here for at least 120 years. And now, all of a sudden the wolf is back! Arriving here from Eastern Europe via Germany, the wolf is supposed to eat roedeer, rabbits and other furry creatures. But it isn’t playing by the rules, because why waste energy chasing a meal that runs away fast when there is so much juicy mutton to be had with far less effort?

I’m talking of ‘it’ and ‘the wolf’, but it is uncertain how many there really are in this area. There is at least one, probably a couple, and maybe even a third. This newcomer is certainly causing a lively discussion. Some people are thrilled, while others are of the opinion that there is no place for wolves in this small, densely populated country.

I have mixed feelings. On the one hand I think, who are we to decide who or what is to live in this corner of the world? We are happy that the raven is back. We are happy that the otter is back. And we are happy that the badger is back. There are badger trails everywhere nowadays – zooming in, you should be able to see their paw prints.

Shouldn’t we be happy about the wolf being back as well?

On the other hand, when I hear of a wolf jogging past a playground full of playing children in broad daylight in the village where a friend of mine with school-going children lives, well, I don’t know…. How dangerous are they?

It is hard to imagine these otherwise peaceful surroundings being populated by packs of wolves in the future. Will guests of this Bed & Breakfast hear them howling at night in a few years’ time?

I’m fairly certain that the Highlands belonging to the B&B owners will be able to defend themselves with their fierce horns.

But how about me? I have no idea what to do if I were to come face-to-face with a wolf. Take photographs? Hide behind a tree? Call in my own personal superhero, ‘HELP! DO something, shoo it away!’?

Or strike up a conversation like Little Red Riding Hood?

Inside, I still feel like Little Red Riding Hood, but to all intents and purposes I’m becoming more like her grandmother by the day. In fact, I am becoming a grandmother this spring. And I may even need hearing aids before long.

Ménière’s disease is affecting my hearing. Although I’m still managing in everyday life, I can’t hear the little birds high up in the trees anymore. Fortunately I do not have the dizzy spells that go with it very often, but I’ve recently had one.

It wasn’t so bad this time that I’m in bed. And it’s never bad enough for me to be wearing a frilly cap.

It does mean that I need to take some rest and limit my screen time. So if you’ve posted a gorgeous FO on Ravelry or published a great blogpost and haven’t heard from me, please know that it isn’t because I’m not interested.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time quietly knitting, but had to rip out almost as much as I knit because my brain wasn’t functioning properly. Awooo! No, I wasn’t really howling like wolf. I thought, oh, well, we all have times like these and hope to show you some progress next week.

Stay safe! xxx

Lazy Kate

Hello!

Before I embark on the story of Lazy Kate, I’d like to share some news with you. As some of you have already guessed from a few subtle clues in my previous post, I’m going to be a grandmother! It takes some getting used to the idea (how did I suddenly get so old?), but I’m thrilled to bits! And very, very happy for the mum-and-dad-to-be.

I’ve hesitated about talking about it here, as I don’t believe in sharing everything online. But I’d have to lead a strange kind of double life to not talk about it here. (Don’t worry, I won’t talk about it all the time.) It just feels good to know that you know, and not to have to be secretive about it anymore.

I also don’t feel very comfortable sharing pictures of loved ones online, but I think it’s okay to show our daughter’s feet here, together with those of the other great love of her life beside her husband.

And I think the girl with the big, hairy white feet doesn’t mind if I share a picture here. She loves going for a walk in the woods, rustling through the autumn leaves just as much as we do.

Neither this sweet-tempered pony nor our daugher is called Kate, and neither of them is lazy. So, who is Lazy Kate?

Well, actually this isn’t about who but about what – it is about a lazy kate (with indefinite article and without capitals). For the non-spinners among you: A lazy kate is a thing that holds yarn bobbins and comes in useful when plying several threads together after having spun them. It comes in different shapes and can be a separate box or rack that is placed beside the spinning wheel or it can be integrated.

This is my spinning wheel – a 21-year-old Louët S10.

I looked up the receipt and saw that I bought it in March 2000 for 515,00 guilders. Guilders, not euros! Goodness, a different era. It is still functioning just as smoothly as when it was new.

It has an integrated lazy kate – the rack with the two filled bobbins beside the treadle in the picture above. This is what it looks like without the bobbins.

With two bobbins I can make a 2-ply yarn, but the problem is that I now want to make a 3-ply yarn. I could hold the third bobbin on my lap, or place it in a basket or box beside the spinning wheel, but it would be much better to have an additional lazy kate.

So I decided to order one, and as the Louët spinning wheel factory is just around the corner from the stables where our daughter’s pony lives, I thought I might as well collect it instead of having it delivered. Do come along!

At the entrance there is a spinning wheel very much like mine, only more colourful.

Louët doesn’t have a factory shop, and it isn’t possible to visit the factory itself right now, but we are allowed to take a look around in their upstairs showroom. My spinning wheel is their very first model.

Since then it has evolved and several other models have been added. From what I understand, it is now even possible to have a spinning wheel put together to your own specifications, with single or double treadle, Scotch or Irish tension, etcetera.

The factory also produces all kinds of tools for fibre preparation, like combs, small and large hand carders, and drum carders.

On a shelf there is a niddy noddy, used for making skeins, and some fun hand spun yarns.

What I didn’t know, is that they also make weaving looms. Here is the very smallest and simplest one.

And here is one of the larger and more elaborate looms.

I don’t know anything about weaving, but just looking at the fabrics in progress on the looms is enjoyable, too.

Well, it’s time to collect my lazy kate and the block needed to attach it to my spinning wheel. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little virtual outing. I’ll tell you more about the yarn I’m spinning when there is more to show.

If you’d like more in-depth information about these spinning wheels or looms, please visit the Louët website. And if you’d like some chat about I-don’t-know-what-exactly-yet, please visit me again next week 😉. Bye!

A Week in November

Hello again!

Publishing a knitting pattern is a small/totally insignificant step for mankind, but a big step for me. It makes me feel vulnerable to be so visible, and I’m very grateful for all of your kind words here and elsewhere. Thanks!

This week, no matter how hard I try, I feel unable to put together a coherent story. So here are a few unrelated items from this past November week.

Market

On Saturday I visited a small market in a neighbouring village. It was all about sustainable and hand made products, and there were some six or seven stalls in all.

It was organized by a local shop selling organic clothes for adults, children and babies.

It was a joy to look at the lovely colours, fabrics and yarns used. The prices were staggering, but I think that they reflect what we should really be paying if clothes are to be produced with respect for the environment and the people making them.

There was also a rack of second-hand clothes, or pre-loved as some would call them.

I don’t think it was the purpose of the market, but I felt really inspired to make even more myself than I already do. I’ll always be knitting, of course, but I’m also thinking of taking up sewing again.

Even more than the wares on display, I enjoyed the lovely arrangements with hydrangea flowers everywhere around. Like this cheerful combination with red enamelware…

… and this beautiful wreath in faded shades.

I also stood gazing out towards the neighbours’ beautifully restored farm buildings.

Ah, lovely! Still, in spite of all that gazing around, I didn’t go home empty-handed. As well as some paper for folding stars, these two wooden roe deer came home with me.

On my needles

I’m knitting another Story Lines shawl. This time in a combination of two Rowan yarns: their all-time favourite Kidsilk Haze and their new Felted Tweed Colour. I’m not entirely sure about it – the yarns work well together, I think, but did I choose the right colours?

Sunday morning walk

As we usually do, we went for a walk on Sunday morning.

The sky was overcast, but now and then the sun came out, bathing everything in very bright light.

We saw a group of roe deer in a field. The horses in the meadow next to it were watching them too.

Towards the end of our walk there was a faint rainbow in the sky.

Struggling to stay positive from time to time, I drink in any symbol, sign or ray of hope, no matter how faint.

Visitors

The sparrowhawk visiting our garden last year is back (or at least I think it is the same one). We haven’t seen him for a long time, but there he suddenly was – now in his full adult colours. Just look at those fierce eyes!

And we’ve had another visitor, too, new to our garden – a red squirrel. Here it is, snacking on a hazel nut:

Over the past couple of weeks it’s become a frequent visitor, busily running to and fro burying nuts everywhere.

Up early

I often wake up very early and have given up trying to go back to sleep. Instead I tiptoe down the stairs and spend a quiet hour (or two, or sometimes three) before breakfast drinking many cups of tea, knitting and reading by lamplight.

My big linen stitch wrap is almost finished. All I need to do is knit on I-cord along both long edges and finish the fringe. I want to finish a few other items before the end of the year, but my hands are also itching to start all kinds of new things, big and small.

Well, that’s all for today. Enjoy your weekend and see you again next week! xxx

No Plan but a List

Hello, I’m back (although I haven’t really been away). I hope you’ve had a good summer and feel ready to get back to normal life, in as far as it can be called normal at the moment.

Beforehand, I imagined myself during my Summer Break like the sculpture above, only slightly more curvy and with a pair of knitting needles in my hands. No plan, just lazing about.

Except… I’m not the lazing-about-type (I must have been an ant in a previous life or something). I soon realized that staying at home with a husband working through the summer, there was the danger of my two precious weeks becoming two very ordinary weeks. I still didn’t feel like making a plan, but I needed something to give me some sort of direction. So, I got out a notebook and made a list.

A list of things that make a summer holiday into a summer holiday for me. It included:

  • Travel
  • No alarm clock
  • Simple, orderly environment (tent or cottage)
  • Read a foreign magazine
  • No newspaper, no tv
  • Grocery shopping in an unfamiliar shop (I love those huge French Hypermarchés, and the aisles with dozens of different types of muesli and honey in German supermarkets)
  • Spend as much time outdoors as possible
  • Lots of exercise (cycling, walking)
  • Lots and lots and lots of time for crafting and reading
  • Simple food, try a few new things
  • Sightseeing, visit a town, city, museum
  • Some pocket money to spend on frivolous things
  • Send postcards
  • Eat or drink something somewhere
  • Several new books to read
  • Take photographs
  • Keep a diary

Most of the items seemed doable, although some would require a little imagination. I didn’t want it to be a to-do-list with items to check off, just something I could use as a kind of compass. I didn’t do everything on it. One of the things I did do, was take photographs. Loads of them.

Photographs of landscapes…

… lovely houses…

… flowering heather…

… and many, many more.

I didn’t go grocery shopping in one of those big French or German supermarkets, but I did visit a health food shop close by that I’d never been to. They had a display of deliciously fresh looking vegetable plants outside…

… and some lovely honey and other nice things inside.

I did send a few postcards, but I didn’t keep to the ‘no newspaper, no tv’ item on my list. I felt the need to stay informed, and especially the publication of the IPCC climate report felt too important to not read about.

So scary! But the hopeful thing about it is that it seems to have conveyed a sense of urgency. I often struggle with the bad news from around the world. How can I enjoy a Summer Break and blog about small pleasures when so much is going wrong?

This is one of the books I have been reading during my Summer Break:

It is set in an imaginary place in Ireland (travel!), far removed from the real world. In it I found a nugget of wisdom that applies to our everyday world as well: ‘… even in times of death, destruction and ignorance, there are still good people who can make a difference.’ (p. 90)

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Trying to be a good person making a difference. And to be able to do that, we need a break from time to time. Knitting isn’t going to save the world, but at least it isn’t making things worse either. So, I’ve sat knitting and reading on our veranda, behind the flowering dill, quite a bit.

And although the weather was unreliable, I’ve also been walking for hours and cycling for miles and miles.

I didn’t keep a diary, but I’d like to write about a few of the things I’ve seen along the way and thought I’d do that here over the next couple of weeks. It’s far too much for one or two blog posts, so there’ll be a few more than my usual Friday ones. Hope you don’t mind.

What I would have liked to do as well, was visit a few yarn shops in the area, but most of them were having a Summer Break just like me. The only one I visited did have some nice yarns…

… but otherwise was such a mess…

… that I beat a quick retreat and won’t even tell you where it was. But not to worry – there will be a few other crafts-related things to share.

Bye for now, and see you again soon!

(This isn’t my bicycle, but a purely ornamental one in a neighbour’s garden.)

Behind the Pelargoniums

Hello!

In Dutch, we have the expression achter de geraniums zitten (sitting behind the pelargoniums). It’s hard to explain exactly what it means, but on the whole it’s considered a Bad Thing. Not quite as bad as pushing up the daisies…

… but it comes very close. Sitting behind the pelargoniums, you’re a dull old stick-in-the-mud.

I never particularly liked pelargoniums. But since we came to live here, almost 20 years ago, we’ve bought them from our local brass band every year to sponsor their uniforms and instruments.

Ironically, last year – when we spent more time behind the pelargoniums than ever before, figuratively speaking – we had to go without them. Fortunately this year, the brass band players were able to go round the doors selling them again.

I don’t know if I’ll ever love pelargoniums, but I’ve come to like them over the years. They provide some nice splashes of colour around the house.

And how about sitting behind those pelargoniums?

According to our government, it is no longer necessary to do so. I don’t know what it’s like in your part of the world, but here almost all of the covid-measures have suddenly been dropped. As of last Saturday, we don’t have to wear face masks anymore, and almost everything is allowed (with 1.5 metres distance). It’s a BIG step, and I wonder where it is going to take us.

It is not going to take us (my husband and me) anywhere much in the foreseeable future. We don’t have big plans. I mean, it would be a shame if we weren’t here to enjoy our wonderfully fragrant miniature strawberries, wouldn’t it?

And who among our neighbours would be crazy enough to pamper my little woad seedlings the way I do? Yes, the seeds have germinated! Well, most of them anyway.

We will just continue living our lives, and doing the things we normally do this summer. But we are planning to take a day off now and then to venture away from behind our pelargoniums. I hope you’ll virtually join us on some of our outings.

One thing we have planned, is a visit to our niece. She left home last September to go to uni and I am really looking forward to finally see where she has been studying so diligently on her own this past year. Before that trip, I am crocheting her a pair of old-fashioned pot holders from blue and cream cotton.

On the knitting front, I don’t have any big plans either. I’ll focus on small projects from those yarn remnants I talked about last week. There is one big project I want to finish, though – the soft, light and relaxed cardi I started earlier this year. Only, I found out that I’ve made a mistake in one of the front bands. Oops.

I think I know how to fix it, but I need to pluck up the courage for that.

Some crochet is also on my list of things to do this summer. Not a big blanket or anything – I’ll keep it small, too.

For the rest, I’ll keep enjoying the small miracles surrounding us and sharing them with you.

The other day, when I was starting to lower our awning, I heard a dry, crackling sound. Like something dropping down from it. And this is what I found:

An emperor dragonfly. I couldn’t see it breathing, and after observing it for a while concluded that it was dead. A rare opportunity to study it more closely. Such a beautiful creature.

Another thing I found just outside our backdoor this past week is this:

I’ve zoomed in on it; in reality it is only about 3 cm long. At first I thought it was a bit of moss fallen from off the roof, but when I looked more closely, I saw ‘things’ in it and realized it was a pellet. Probably regurgitated by this sparrowhawk.

I may seem like a dull old stick-in-the-mud to others, spending so much time behind the pelargoniums. But life never feels dull to me. To close off, here is one of the young woodpeckers who visit our garden every day.

Wherever you are in the world, and whether you are staying behind the pelargoniums or not, I wish you a safe and enjoyable summer and hope you’ll pay me a visit here from time to time.

PS If you’d like to see a dragonfly breathing (they breathe through the lower part of their body), here is a lovely video I found on YouTube.