Friday, April 27, 2007

Another special birthday remembrance

Today is another special lady in
my life's birthday. My grandmother was born today in 1902. She was a very magical person in my life! I believe she was the epitimy of what a grandmother is. She lit up when you visited her and made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. She was always giving; from candy to a kiss and what matters more to a child than that?

She used to tell my little brother and I "Go get a piece of candy from the candy jar" right after we would come in her door. This was a pretty glass candy jar and we broke the lid once. The plastic version above is the one she had replaced it with. It is the one thing I got from her home when she passed away. My aunt asked at the time why I would want that old plastic candy dish. My reply is the same today: It is very special. It is full of memories.

The framed stitched piece is one I made for her back when I was only about 17 or 18. It is a Precious Moments chart which says "Grandma ~ You're a precious gem that God has made to shine for him". She was just that and boy did she shine for us.

My grandmother was always sitting and crocheting. The afghan you see is one she made especially for me. She made one for each of us ~ my sister and two brothers. I also treasure this!

My grandmother used to spend time at our house and we would almost trip over each other trying to get there to help her out. She always had to walk with a cane and later with a walker. Someone like this is a person you cannot help but want to do things for to give back to them.

She always said "Your day is your day" and very much at peace with God. Because of that I am content to know she is smiling down from heaven today.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Remember my sister.....

"A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost."

~ Marion C. Garretty ~

Today is my sister's birthday. She would have been 48 years old but passed away almost 12 years ago. She is forever in my heart and I honor her memory today!

Painting by Henri Francois Riesener 'Madame Riesener and Her Sister, Madame Longroy'

Monday, April 23, 2007

Life's little surprises

Many times life brings us beautiful surprises. We simply have to look for them. Years ago when we moved to this house, I brought with us this camilla planted in a pot. I realized it was not doing well and even though it was the wrong color for the new garden we planted which was all blue and white flowers, I placed it in a far corner. I did not think it would live as it was really tucked away. I was out helping my husband with the garden one evening last week and found this pretty bloom hiding away. This camilla not only has survived where is was placed, it also had at least four blooms. With the renovations we are doing in the garden, the camilla is no longer so shoved away as it was. I may even move it out more into the garden. It showed me that it wants to thrive.

This is a good lesson to learn on a spring day. We have been hunting a new house for well over three years. Our efforts up to now have not been rewarded. We just never seem to find that 'right' property. I can take a lesson from this camilla blossom and bloom where I am planted for now. My time will come to be moved to a better place.

The Flower

Once in a golden hour

I cast to earth a seed.

Up there came a flower,

The people said, a weed.

To and fro they went

Thro' my garden bower,

And muttering discontent

Cursed me and my flower.

Then it grew so tall

It wore a crown of light,

But thieves from o'er the wall

Stole the seed by night.

Sow'd it far and wide

By every town and tower,

Till all the people cried,

"Splendid is the flower!"

Read my little fable:

He that runs may read.

Most can raise the flowers now,

For all have got the seed.

And some are pretty enough,

And some are poor indeed;

And now again the people

Call it but a weed.

~~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson ~~

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thoughts on William Wordsworth

This is a pot planted up with the prettiest of purple tulips. I find this photo does not do them justice. Each fall I try to plant up a couple of my empty terracotta pots with bulbs and put them in the shed to keep cool and dark but protected. Then as February comes around we see the tiny shoots coming up and, if the weather permits, they are then moved outside into the sunshine to encourage those shoots to grow. It is fun to do this each year. It also connects the autumn and spring seasons together in a special way. Maybe next autumn, you too can plan to give yourself a bit of Dutch color by planting up some bulbs in this way?

I want to share a poem with you that I found moving as we see the weather changes around the world. My mother is getting the weather ~cold, wind and rain ~ we normally have at this time of year in Holland. We, on the other hand have her normal warmth and sunshine with dry weather. Was William Wordsworth ahead of his time when he wrote "Lines Written in Early Spring"? Judge for yourself and if you would like leave me a comment about your own thoughts on this.....

"I heard a thousand blended notes,

While in a grove I sate reclined,

In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts

Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link

The human soul that through me ran;

And much it grieved my heart to think

What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,

The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;

And 'tis my faith that every flower

Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,

Their thoughts I cannot measure: --

But the least motion which they made,

It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,

To catch the breezy air;

And I must think, do all I can,

That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,

If such be Nature's holy plan,

Have I not reason to lament

What man has made of man?"

Monday, April 16, 2007

More photos of the cottage's garden

We worked on planting up more of the extended flower bed this past week up at our weekend cottage. The weather was more like summer than spring with temperatures reaching up to 80F. We had a glorious weekend as few people were at their cottages and it was a symphony of birds. We noticed one of the blackbirds pairs was busily gathering moss from our grass for their nest. Soon we will be seeing all the birds bringing their young to the feeders.

We have made progress on the planting but now want to concentrate on the last section and then move the row of conifers on the back edge which are well over a meter from the border of the garden. This too will give us some precious planting space. It is hard to believe that two years ago this garden consisted of a large field of grass totally invaded with moss on all sides of the tiny house. We graveled the drive and have slowly taken up parts of the grass to create planting beds.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Outdoor reading pleasure and working in the garden

The weekend before Easter, we decided while we were indoors having a cup of morning coffee that we wanted to plant more winter heather. It has such pretty color and last quite a long while in the winter months as it blooms up into April. This meant making space as we want to be able to see the heather well from inside. We are increasing the flower beds bringing them out farther into the grass as seen above. We took them out as far as our crocusses are that are planted in the grass. Now we are talking about changing the back side of the garden that is currently planted up with conifers that are well over a meter inside the actual border of the garden.

With this warm weather everything is really starting to bud and grow! I look forward to each weekend when I can see what is changing in the garden at the weekend cottage. Our grass was so cheerful this spring with all the various daffodils in bloom. I expect they will pretty much be gone now when we arrive. We were not at the cottage over the Easter weekend and I feel I really missed enjoying these pretty flowers that weekend. I don't like missing a single weekend there.

I had bought some magazines and sat in the garden to enjoy them. Both are full of spring splendor and great recipes ~ the British 'Country Living' and German 'Wohnen & Garten' (Home and Garden). Notice the little washtub filled with miniature Tete~A~Tete daffodils? I found this at the garden center when we went to buy the winter heather for a great bargain. And it is here at the house in the city for a cheerful Easter display so another photo to show you the pretty blooms.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

St. Servatius Basilica

This is the basilica of Saint Servatius in the city of Maastricht. The photos are taken from in the cloisters. This amazing church is also a museum. I wanted to share some impressions of the building and its history with you.
Rather than going through the history of this Saint and his church, I will direct you to a website which is really enjoyable to search. It has many great pages of history and photos. It has a fun page of games for children too. Enjoy: .

This is the actual cyrpt of Saint Servatius who died in 384AD where the basilica was built over.

I love this floor as it looks like a patchwork quilt.

Painted ceilings and stained glass windows of the basilica are works of art in themselves.

I've been tagged

A dear friend of mine over at has nominated me for the Thinking Blogger Award! Thanks Lynda.
Now it is my turn pass this award on to 5 blogs that I enjoy! This is not easy to do with all the wonderful blogs I read. I tried to list only 5 but I admit I cannot. I think there are so many great blogs and my day is that much brighter for visiting with these people online each day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Impressions of Maastricht

My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last Wednesday. We spent a few days in the city of Maastricht which is in the south of Holland. I thought I would share a few photos to give you an impression of this city.

Firstly, a remaining piece of the ancient city walls.

This adorable statue was perched on a wall of a side street near the river Maas.
Isn't this such a pretty location for a florist?
The parish church of St. Jan ~ a protestant church right beside the basilica.
The convent under the archway of the basilica.
A beautiful ancient statue still remains in tact in the archway.
The basilica of Saint Servatius which I will show you in more detail from both indoors and out tomorrow.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter time is a time of renewal and I am wishing all of my blogging friends a wonderful Easter Sunday as well as a beautiful and bright spring season. Take this day to reflect on this season and all it brings and celebrate!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Old Dutch village

Welcome to Orvelte in the province of Drenthe. It is a living monumental village where various old trades and crafts are still practiced in season. It is a chance to walk back in time as you wonder the beautiful cobbled and bricked lanes between the preserved farms, houses, cafes and old businesses.

This little lady greeted us with her charming smile at one of the old farms. She has an adorable set of overgrown teeth, don't you think? Click on the photo to enlarge and see her in full detail.
One of the many charming brick houses with a beautiful window.
The farm's old hay barn.
This old toll house was built in 1870 and is in wonderful condition.
It still retains its original list of tolls commanded by all who passed by.
Old Dutch postbox which looks very much like the loved British versions.
This village is open to the public from Good Friday and you are able to go in many buildings and view the craftsmen. It is open to walk around the village all year round of course. We were there the week before opening and it is very pretty to simply walk among these buildings. It is not simpy a museum. People actually live and work here. That makes it even more special knowing this is not set up as a tourist attraction but has been preserved throughout the generations.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Some new friends...

Everywhere you go in the northern Dutch provinces of Friesland and Drenthe, you see fields full of sheep. It is always a pretty sight but at this time of year, even better. What is more fun that to see the lambs either running and jumping as they play together or sleeping peacefully against their mother. These two little ones were huddled together while Mother was close at hand.
She kept a watchful eye but still let me photograph her little beauties!
Thirsty growing lambs show that spring has truely arrived.