Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer in the Netherlands

It's been a terrific summer, with the usual ups and downs.  Always challenges to deal with, and then a nice bit where you can just relax and enjoy.  The stories I've been hearing from back in the U.S. with jobs and homes lost, people really worried about just putting food on the table, bad weather, and general hopelessness - it's been heartbreaking.

My school here went bankrupt, so I get to begin anew in September.  I'm waiting to hear from the placement agency as to when and where that will happen.  We're not unaffected here by the U.S. and global crisis.  But the cows still graze serenely, and the unusually wet season has kept my garden looking beautiful, even without my help.

This is what I started with this season.

Everything started budding, and later bloomed without me doing anything!  I was sick once with something like the flu, and have been dealing with a broken finger, back pain and constant headaches most of the summer.  With health insurance I've been able to go to a physical therapist and the doctor, for which I am so grateful!

My sunflowers started blooming in the rain.  Not a whole lot of sun lately, but they seem not to mind.

It's really pretty! 

Not much motorcycling with all the health problems, but here we are going over the Afsluitdijk

Tjalk - Wikipedia does not have an English entry for this type of boat.

Coming home we met up with a storm front.  Difficult on a motorcycle, and I can say I get less wet in the shower than we were that day on the road.

Sunshine came out briefly when we visited the beach.  It was warm and windy, perfect for all the activities that take advantage of the wind.



We also went to the Alkmaar Kaasmarkt

It didn't rain at the cheese market, but it did look like it was going to.

The weather didn't stop the tourists and shoppers in Alkmaar!

Traditional organ music player at the cheese market.

People were taking pictures of our tandem, so I did as well.  I like to pretend I'm a tourist too.

I got a mushroom growing kit as a present - and grew three crops of delicious mushrooms. 

Another gift this summer - poppy seeds - grew gorgeous flowers and colors.

The Alpine strawberries are doing great, and are very sweet.  The wire keeps them safe from the birds - a family of Jackdaws.    

 Nearly all of my lilies have bloomed now, in pink, white, orange, and multi-colors.  Another gift of six packages of bulbs from a friend.  If you ever want to know what to get for me as a present - plant and flower seeds/bulbs are fantastic!

These grow wild over the fence.

Last but not least, cows - my favorite!  This was taken next to a petrol station.
Dutch cows, unperturbed by anything.

I'm wishing all the folks back in America can have the time and opportunity to find the beauty and peace where they are.  It will get better, it always does.

Meanwhile, if you can offer support to my mother in New Jersey, I'd appreciate it.  She's nearly eighty years old, and still works for NY Life.  She and a friend are raising six hens to produce organic eggs.  Not to sell - she's been eating organic food and has been a vegitarian since before it became fashionable.  Where she lives organic eggs can cost $4/dozen, and in today's world looking to live more "green" and becoming as self-sustanable as possible is a better choice for those who can. 

But, she and her friend own one more chicken than the local law allows, and a neighbor complained.  There are no roosters (so no loud crowing noise), and she is clean and responsible, keeping the chickens inside a coop, on her own property.  But until the law is changed, my mother is a criminal!  She needs people to support her with their signature to change the law there. 

For more info, visit these links or email me:

I'm very proud of my mother for many reasons.  She's always led the way towards the future.  She did things before most other people, because she thought it was right.  She adopted me as a single parent - and I got to raise my own pet chicken from an egg to a hen when I was a child.  My mom built me a coop in our yard.  She taught me that whatever you dream about doing, you can do it. 

Go Mom!