Friday, June 27, 2008

Life is a flower garden.....

Welcome back to the village of Vollehove. This is a public garden in the middle of the village called Marxveld. It is named from one of the two houses located at the entrance to the gardens ~ Marxveld and Eckelenboom.

This garden is separated into various gardens ~ the Middle Ages, Barok, Renaissance and Landscape gardens. This mulberry tree was planted somewhere between 1750 and 1800. Isn't that incredible!

This church is located in the corner of the gardens. With its views to the various gardens, I thought I would leave you this weekend with a number of fun garden quotes. They might even inspire you in your own gardening.

We are off to work more on the new terrace we are creating up at Cranberry Cottage. Will you be out working in your garden this weekend? Have a wonderful weekend not matter what you do!

"What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it."

~Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, 1871

"Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration."

~Lou Erickson

"I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day."

~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

"Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed."

~Walt Whitman

"I never had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and a large Garden."

~Abraham Cowley, The Garden, 1666

"God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done."

~Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Windows into village life.....

Welkom in Vollehove!

I had mentioned that we planned on visiting a village when we had our longer stay last weekend at Cranberry Cottage. I thought it would be fun to take you along on a walk through this pretty and historical village. I want to share a window literally into what I find so beautiful in Holland...these wonderful villages...

This is a window to the Sint Nicolaaskerk which has its roots back as far as 1100 when a chapel stood in its place. The church in its current form dates back to the 15th century.

Those who visit my often know I love all things wrought iron. I just love these gates.

The former city hall building is 'attached' to the church and now houses a restaurant.

It was here that I realized that this village had one of the things that I think gives Holland its great charm. The buildings are beautiful and the doors and windows are like eyes to show you its history. Isn't this door amazing?

The old city hall was built in 1621 and this entrance is now used to create a nice atmosphere where it used to welcome those coming to conduct town business. When you enlarge this photo, you can see the incredible old wooden beams.

This window gives us a glimpse into the year 1627.

This is the building which is now called the Latin School. It is unsure why it is called this as the real Latin School was located a street away. It is believed that young gentlemen stayed here while attending the French boarding school in the village.

Doors of these old houses have a certain charm but often are made to look even better with simple accessories.

Sometimes you come across a window with a whole other meaning like this little niche and the Holy Child statue. This is at the Holy Ghost Chapel which was part of the Heilige Geestgasthuis which was a hospital that dates back to 1370. The chapel is all that remains today.

These typical Dutch homes are just so inviting. I love the large windows and the brick work. I would love to own a home like one of these. A girl can dream, right?

Sometimes you come across a window into a past with only shadows to show. This is the 16th century ruins of castle Toutenberg and being the summer residence of the Bishop of Utrecht.

These windows guard over a beautiful park which I will share with you the next time. I hope our walk was not too long or made you too tired but perhaps allowed you to look into this enchanting village...

The Lockless Door by Robert Frost

It went many years,
But at last came a knock,
And I though of the door
With no lock to lock.

I blew out the light,
I tip-toed the floor,
And raised both hands
In prayer to the door.

But the knock came again.
My window was wide;
I climbed on the sill
And descended outside.

Back over the sill
I bade a 'Come in'
To whatever the knock
At the door may have been.

So at a knock
I emptied my cage
To hide in the world
And alter with age.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The start of summer..... a challenge for me. This is my least favorite season. I don't enjoy hot weather and find myself hiding away indoors to stay cool. Even as a child, I complained about summertime and being bored. I would rather have been in school. So far the weather is just right so I am enjoying the start of summer. I am hoping the summer will continue as it has started.

Summer at Cranberry Cottage is a little easier to take than in the city. It is a cooling effect to be by the woods.

As I mentioned, I wanted to bring a look of the colors of the season to the cottage and made slipcovers for my pillows on the couch. I wanted to have the pillow with the ties standing upwards but we discovered within minutes that our cat Dagi thought this was a fun toy to play with so I turned them sideways. This couch is an olive green although it looks a bit grey in this photo. I will take the slipcovers off once again to reveal my beloved tapestry pillows when summer ends.

I have found this blog to be helpful for me to appreciate each season for what it is, what it brings, and what it gives. I hope to spend more time this summer enjoying the bounty of the season. We have vowed to picnic more this year enjoying the Dutch countryside. What about you? Do you have any special plans or vows for this summer? How does summer rate among your favorite seasons?

"There's a time each year
That we always hold dear,
Good old summer time;
With the birds and the trees'es
And sweet scented breezes,
Good old summer time,
When you day's work is over
Then you are in clover,
And life is one beautiful rhyme,
No trouble annoying,
Each one is enjoying,
The good old summer time."

~~ Lyrics by Ron Shields, In the Good Old Summertime ~~

Just a note of thanks to you all for the loving support about my tooth. I still have no pain and hope I can put it off until November. I am grateful that it is not hurting! I am also glad to hear I am not alone in being afraid of dentists. It makes me feel less silly to know others are the same. Maybe Dena and I need to hold each others hands and have our teeth pulled together for comfort. *grins*

Edit: I had created a new look for my blog this morning and found out that people were not able to comment for some reason. So two new looks in one day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bringing spring/summer to Cranberry Cottage

Last weekend, I was sitting thinking about how both my house here in the city and Cranberry Cottage have a very autumnal look. I was inspired to do little things to bring a bit of spring or summer to the cottage. The first and easiest thing to do is work on my pillows on the couch. I will show you photos of how it looks after I come back home on Sunday but here is a peek at what I am working on today...

The cushions are green and brown shades tapestry with various woodland animals on them. I brought this one home to use for the sizing of the new covers I am making.

I used fabrics from my quilt stash cupboard so I did not have to spend any money on this quick makeover. First, I sewed a simple pillowcase slip in a pink and cream plaid. This slipcase is longer than the pillow it will cover.

I then sewed a square slipcover in a pretty 1800s reproduction dress flower print in just a half inch larger size as the pillow itself. This makes it easy to slip over the rest. I sewed some thin satin ribbon in browns and pinks to the opening of the slipcase.

Leaving the pink plaid fabric out on the end, I tied the ribbons with little bows and finished a simple summer look for our couch.

This will give you an idea of how these three pillows will look. I will take photos at the cottage. We are leaving this afternoon as soon as Jos gets home from work for a long weekend up north.

We had planned to go to France this week but had to change our plans as I am in the middle of physical therapy for my back problems and having major problems with a tooth. We just found out at the specialist's that this tooth is fractured down in the jaw. It will have to be pulled and a bridge made. This is going to cost buckets of money plus I am really not looking forward to getting it done. I am going to try and put it all off until I can get some insurance next year. I have an appointment for the end of November to have the tooth pulled but the assistant told me to call if it starts to hurt, which it doesn't right now, and she will put me in right away to have it pulled. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can make it until then?

So we are taking a mini vacation up at our cottage which is where we love to be anyway. We plan on visiting a village I read about this week. I will be sure to take lots of photos of the walk to share with all of you...

Have a wonderful week and weekend further and I will see you all again on Sunday!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The beauty of Dutch 'veen'

How can anything so beautiful be referred to as common? And yet this plant is called Common cotton grass. Each year one of the things I enjoy seeing on our drive to Cranberry Cottage is this little plant that sticks up above other grasses to show off its cotton top in a peat bog near the cottage.

Click on the photos to enlarge them and have a really good look at our counrtyside.

We took a drive to buy some potatoes at a farm and drove through a very large protected peat bog which I thought might be great photos to share with you. The north of Holland is known for its bog land or 'veen' which contains very unique wildlife. The cotton grass is just magical to see waving around in the wind between all the water reed.

This particular bog has one road that leads through it for access for nature tourist to experience it. It is a tiny road but we were able to stop and get out to snap a few pictures.

It is so quiet and peaceful here that the sound of bullfrogs croaking out their love calls to their mates is actually loud. It is a comical thing to hear. There were also ducks everywhere and huge dragonflies dancing around each other like they were part of a ballet company.

This just shows another reason why Jos and I love being up north with all its amazing beauty of the countryside. I wish you all a wonderful weekend and maybe you can take time to venture out and see some of the beautiful countryside where you live. The seasons do pass so quickly that it would be a shame to miss any of it!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Baby talk

We made a pleasant discovery this past weekend while sitting in our chairs on what will be our new terrace area. We have a view back at the cottage itself and noticed a pair of blackbirds busy going back and forth at the short row of conifers by the terrace at the back doors. We got up closer and you could hear the hungry cries coming from deep inside...

Looking closely...

There they were in a nest with open mouths waiting for food to help them grow. It was fun to enjoy breakfast Sunday morning on the terrace outside. We could hear the babies cries every couple of minutes as mommy or daddy blackbird returned with some more. It is a simple thing like this that makes both Jos and I feel very contented. I am looking forward to taking a little peek again when we go back up to the cottage on Friday...

On my last trip to Brugge, I had purchased this wooden child's hanger. I thought it was so cute and had been looking for one for an authentic baby shirt I bought in the villages of Bunschoten/Spakenburg. I was pretty sure it would not work for that shirt because of the form but really liked it so decided to buy it anyway. It doesn't work for the shirt but I got out the box of my own baby clothes.

Now my mother will correct me if I am wrong, but this is my first Easter dress. I know she has a photo of me taken in this dress in my baby book. It is a little white dress with a yellow pinafore decorated with flowers. This dress fits perfectly on the hanger and it is fun to use one of the dresses to decorate with as they are otherwise tucked away in the box.

"Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?
The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!"