Monday, January 06, 2014


I was reading why people don't keep new year's resolutions. I'm guilty... Every year I say I will exercise more and lean German... Still can't speak German and I am not in shape.

It seems we are trying to set huge goals but instead we should focus on how to get there. It looks like the key is to translate the goal into a specific behavior. For instance, I want to exercise more, then my resolution is: I am walking to the park every evening to feed the hens there. Walking to feed the chickens = exercise. And I am learning 5 new German words every day. Let's see how it will turn out.
 German words for today:
das Abstand
das Gebet

Friday, January 03, 2014


Bendito quem inventou o belo truque do calendário, pois o bom da segunda-feira, do dia 1º do mês e de cada ano novo é que nos dão a impressão de que a vida não continua, mas apenas recomeça...

Blessed is he who invented the neat trick calender, because what is good about Monday, the first of the month and the new year is that it feels like life doesn't keep going but just restart.

Words from Mario Quintana, a Brazilian poet. Wise words.

Indeed, we get a chance to do things anew, when a new year starts. I know, it is just a trick, but psychologically it works, at least we have good intentions! Let's exercise more, learn something new and try to be a better person. New year resolutions...

Happy new year!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Waking up after a long sleep

Wow, I haven't written in a while. I lost my motivation to keep the blog... Many things happened meanwhile. Got a full time job, developed colitis, moved to Brazil. But I think keeping a blog is nice, helps to share things with friends and family far away and keeps track of my daily and mundane activities. Sometimes I go back to the old posts and enjoy reviving the old times. No, I am not a nostalgic person, but it is always fun to see how things change over time. Or how things keeps the same...

I am still quilting!!
This is a quilt I made with nine patches my dear friend Lori gave. I thought my favorite color was green, but now I know it is orange. Orange is happy and after living in the Gator and Volunteer territory, one learn how to appreciate orange. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Tomato galore

My tomato plants are looking very good and healthy and if things keep going like that we will have lots of tomato. This year I did a few things different from last year. This is the beauty of garden, you always learn from your experience. Instead of buying seeds of hybrid tomatoes, I bought heirloom varieties. They are supposed to taste much better than the commercial ones, plus they are fun! They come in different shapes and colors and they have funny names. My favorite is 'mortgage lifter'. Back in the 30's, Mr. Byles, from West Virginia crossed several tomatoes and sold the plants for 1 dollar each. He made enough money to pay his mortgage!

Last year I didn't stake the tomatoes properly and by end of June, everything was a mess. So, this year I got several tomato cages in yard sales for about 50 cents each (one got to love yard sales!) and I got lots of bamboo stakes from the yard of my friend Crystal. This year, all the tomato plants have support and I enjoy going around removing the buds and tying them to the bamboo.

Yellow pear


Mortgage lifter

I planted long green beans against the trellis. Last year I had cucumber there and the trellis is an easy way to keep plants that need support. They need a bit help in the beginning but then they find their way up.

I have been letting the girls out of the chicken coop when I am in the garden. They love to go out to explore and scratch the ground to find yummy treats. They stay around me and when I need to go inside, I just walk behind them and they get back to their house. P.G. now doesn't bother them and they don't seem to be afraid of the dog. I am sure they are more scared of little boys...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Visiting friends and a nice concert

My husband is a big Peter Gabriel fan. We have a kid and a dog named after him, it is not surprise. Apparently taste for music is genetic, as my son also likes Peter Gabriel's music. When he was younger, he used to play a gloomy sound called 'Darkness' very loud and dance like crazy around the house. My husband said he would take him to see Peter Gabriel next time he is on tour. Last week Jens paid his promise. We drove to New York to see the 'Scratch my back' concert. On our way, we stopped at friends' houses and we had a wonderful time.

The boys can't wait to see him.

Yorktown. It was such a pleasure to talk to Constable Heartless. He told us all about being a pirate. Gabriel was trilled to hold a real granada!

We remember the fringe tree just like that on the back of Fifield Hall.

No, this is not the return of Devo. Open house at Jefferson Laboratory.

Natural History Museum in New York.

Peter Gabriel sang 'Darkness' and Gabriel sang along, but no dancing like crazy this time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Busy as a bee

Spring is a busy time for us gardeners. There are so many things to do and after all the winter days spent inside, there are lots of energy and will to go drive us outside and dig, prune, till, plant and pull weeds until we get sore.

I am so happy so many plants I was not expected to survive the particularly cold winter are showing up. And also some plants I grew from seeds last year are now looking good. The clematis I thought was dead is covered with flowers. The saponaria had a very slow start, but look at the purple flowers! It really pays to be patient when gardening.

I planted most of my tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. The red onions and elephant garlic are looking very good. We have been eating lots of spinach and collards and now the lettuce is in season. I will need to plant lots of lettuce, Gabriel eats 2 bows of lettuce salad every day. Yesterday he said he prefers romaine lettuce over bibb.

The girls are in their new house. My husband did a great job building the coop and the girls are growing and they seem very happy (except when the kids decide to 'play' with them).
My jack in the pulpit is blooming!
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The girls

Females used to be minority in my house: a boy son, a boy dog and my husband. I used to be the only female. Not anymore.

Now, besides me, there are 4 other girls!
We got them on Monday and they seem very happy here. They eat, poop and peep a lot!
The boys are excited! We will have fresh eggs in 6 months...
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The best bread ever

Finally I learned how to bake a delicious rustic and crunchy bread.
My husband got to know a woman when he took Gabriel to gymnastic class. She heard them talking in German and she introduced herself. She is from Mexico but her husband is German and we got to be good friends. One night we went to her house and she served us this wonderful bread and I had to ask the recipe. It is so simple and it has an unbelievable crust. I guess I am retiring the bread machine for a while.

5 cup flour (3 white, 1 rye, 1 whole)
1 cup water
1 bottle of beer (yes, beer)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast

Microwave the liquid for 2 minutes and mix all. Let it raise for 6-24 hours.
Spray a bit of water on top of the dough and bake at 410F in a preheated Dutch oven with lid for 25 minutes and then 25 more minutes without lid.

Believe me, it is the best bread ever!
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Monday, March 22, 2010

A day in the garden is always a good day

Saturday was the beginning of spring and nature really reminded us of the equinox bringing a beautiful, sunny and warm day.

The boys were gone all day, first to German school then to volleyball and I took advantage of the solitude and worked in the garden until I couldn't walk anymore. Literally! My legs, arms and back were sore, but I was very content. As you imagine, I got a lot done.

I moved all the seedlings to the greenhouse, transplanted a few tomatoes that were too big for the pot and sowed some flowers. I think I have plenty of tomatoes for me and my friends.

It is so amazing how things start growing so fast. Everything turns green and busy making new leaves and flowers.

I got this pulmonaria last year on sale. It was in bad shape but now it is ready to bloom.

I love spring bulbs but several times I had forgotten where I planted them. Later in the summer I find this nice spot and try to plant something there until I got reminded something is already there when I slice a few bulbs with the shovel. And these poor hyacinths were under rocks, thankfully I saw a green leaf poking between rocks in time and removed the rocks.

The vegetable garden is ready. I already planted leeks and lettuce and we have been eating spinach, mache and collard green, the though plants that survived the cold winter.

And I already mowed the lawn. Jens knows I don't like to mow and he asked me if I was not sad winter is over and mowing season started. Of course not! I rather mow the lawn every day than be cold and miserable!

Daffodils! Finally!

The border is taking shape. Little by little the soil is improving with lots of manure. It is not easy to tame the clay. I had to build a second wall to stop the runoff. Let's see what will come back.

Today is cold but it looks like it will not last long. It is a welcome break after the busy weekend.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It is getting exciting

The plants are waking up after a especially cold winter.

More crocus

Lenten rose
I had a lot accomplished this week: weeded the beds (not all though!), cut and chopped a dead tree, spread horse manure, sowed pea, lettuce and spinach, moved a pile of leaves my neighbor gave me to the compost pile, cleaned the house, deck and the back gutter. I want to get bamboo today, let's see if the weather contributes.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Fresh eggs

Yesterday we went to Oak Ridge to buy fresh eggs. I found out about it on Craigs List and I call to see if they had 5 dozes (not all for me, I want to buy for my neighbors too). She was out of eggs but she would have more the next day. We couldn't get freshier eggs. The owner of the chickens (and pigs, duck, cats, dogs and goats) is a very nice lady. Even though is was bitterly cold, patiently talked and showed us all her animals.
The handsome man of the yard.

The pygmy goats were so cute.
This is Snow White. She was very friendly and her babies were of course very very cute.
And here are the fresh eggs. Different shades of beige and the cute blue ones. Soon we will have our own eggs too. We are getting 4 chicks!! Gabriel is so exited and he already named them: Elaine, Morgan Le Fay, Le Chuck and Guybrush. And the chicken coop will be called Monkey Island. I guess he is bringing his video game world outside. And this is good!
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