Friday, October 29, 2010

It was faster then I had thought

Last week I thought I should ask the sister of Philip's best friend to go to Royal Rangers. I knew I would need to take care of the little brother during the 2 hours of Royal Rangers because the mom is not home. I was thinking about it...but Philip did it. He asked, they said yes, and they showed up. What could I do? I said OK. I brought the sister, and I carved Halloween pumpkins with he brother. He had a great time with me. Next time we will make gingerbread houses. The sister had a great time too. Philip's best friend loves it. And Philip has already invited his other friend from school. The problem with this is that the other friend is Muslim. I need to speak with his parents first. I don't want any trouble. So, I guess I'm taking care of a little boy (the terror of the neighborhood) every Friday. He was nothing but good for me. Please pray for them. They are so open to know God. They are so hungry for love.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

my birthday

Today is my birthday. I’ve reached an age (49) where I have enough of everything. In fact, I have cardboard boxes in my dinning room I plan to fill with the extra stuff (books, knick knacks, and old cloths). My closets and shelves are full, and over flowing! It’s not that I don’t like nice stuff. I do. I would have been more then excited to buy that Art Nouveau mansion I looked at last month. But I’m trying to be content with what I have. And I’m trying to let go of all the extra stuff that clutters my life. Some times I’m embarrassed by how much I have. Sarah played with her best friend from school on Monday. Afterwards I took her home. Her parents are very poor immigrants. Sarah packs extra food in her lunch everyday. I suspect she is feeding this girl. When I walked into her housing complex I felt ashamed by my wealth. I was humbled. I don’t know how else to put it. How can I have so much, and they have so little? It was humbling.
This morning Juergen woke me early. The kids wanted to give me gifts before school. Sarah gave me a sweet stuffed polar bear. Philip bought me a dancing dog. Juergen took the morning off and took me out to breakfast. I got cards, phone calls, and a cake baked by Jessica and her teacher. Again I am humbled. I’m overwhelmed by the love of my family and friends. Sometimes I can not speak with out crying. I’m over whelmed by God’s grace. But my heart breaks for the poor. I find it uneasy to walk in a world with so much goodness and so much poverty. I guess God believes I can handle the extremes. I find myself more and more confused by it all. I’m very grateful for all that I have. I hope I can help lift people out of physical, emotional, and spiritual poverty. I find it all odd…life is so extreme. I guess this isn’t your typical birthday reflection. It’s what I feel right now. I feel overwhelmed by goodness, and overwhelmed by the needs of others. My heart and mind are much too small to manage it. I’m so glad I’m not God. How can he manage it all?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Addictive Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups raisins
• 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 4 cups white sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
• 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
• 6 eggs
• 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
• 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Grease three 12 cup muffin pans, or line with paper muffin liners. Soak raisins in hot water for ten minutes to plump, then drain.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, and applesauce, until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Stir the raisins and walnuts into the batter. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


this is from allrecipes.com
I have fresh pumpkin I need to use
these are also low fat, and maybe you can use Agave nectar instead of all that sugar? I guess you would use 1 cup agave nectar instead of 4 cups sugar? My guess...I'll try it.
I'm also going to use 2 cups whole wheat flour instead of all white flour. In fact, I might even add oatmeal too. Let's get some fiber!

Won't you be my neighbor?



Does anyone want to be our neighbor? This house is for sale. The house just behind it is our house. It's 8 rooms, 210 m2, with 388m2 garden, and only 279,000Euro. It’s near the street car, schools, shopping, our church, swimming, tennis and many other sports. I would love to have a friend move next door! I don’t think we are going anywhere soon. God is giving me a heart for the kids in the neighborhood. I also have an appointment to look at a garden in Leimen on November 5th. So maybe I can have my house, and a vegetable garden too. I do not care about moving, I just wanted garden space! Here is the link to the house that’s for sale.

http://www.immobilienscout24.de/expose/57746876?is24EC=IS24&style=is24&navigationbarurl=/Suche/P-2/Haus-Kauf/Baden-Wuerttemberg/Rhein-Neckar-Kreis/Leimen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looking



Thomas got a book for his birthday. The English title is "There be Dragons". They made a movie about it. The movie is going to come out next year. Thomas wanted to read the book on his class trip. I said no. Juergen said maybe. It is a very popular book, but so was Harry Potter. I'm thinking why read this when you can read Narnia? And after Narnia read The Lord of the Rings. Why spend your time filling your mind with questionable stuff when you can have a story that is sure? I do not want my son addicted to dark literature. I have not read the book. Maybe it's Ok? I don't really know. But I ordered CS Lewis The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in German. He can read it before he sees the movie.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's time to pack your shoe boxes

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/operation_narnia/

Every year we try to pack at least one shoebox for every member of our family. It's an easy way to teach your kids to give. Please consider taking part in Operation Christmas Child. This is a program run by Samaritans Purse. They bring millions of shoe boxes packed with toys and school supplies to needy children all over the world. If you want to give me a gift for my birthday this year, please don't buy me anything...just pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child. You can find instructions and ideas at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/operation_narnia/ . Just imagine the joy of a child who recieves a new toy...it's so easy to be part of that blessing!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

the news

Yesterday was very full. Nicole went to Vienna, we cleaned the yard and house, the boys had a party, and we went to a party. The boy's party went really well. They bowled, eat pizza, then came home and played on the computer. It was Thomas' first real friend party. He was very happy! I'm so blessed he had a great time! My camera is broken. I took photo's at the bowling alley, but they just didn't turn out! My camera is totally broken! I sent the small spare camera with Nicole. Juergen says he will buy me a new camera for my birthday. I was hoping I could get by without a new camera. I wanted a paint gun for my birthday. But the camera died just in time! Our babysitter can not watch the kids until next month, so I'll celebrate my birthday then. Maybe we can rent a paint gun? I want to paint the inside of my house next month!

The boys started to attend Royal Rangers 2 weeks ago. This week Philip brought his best friend to the group. The friend loved it. I would like to see Victoria, the sister of Philips friend attend Royal Rangers. The problem is, the mother works. Victoria is watching the youngest brother. If Victoria goes to Royal rangers, then who will watch the young brother? Should I watch the little brother so Victoria can go to Royal Rangers? The little brother is the terror of the neighborhood. But going to Royal Rangers could transform Victoria's whole life! Thomas may also ask a few friends to attend the group. I watch Sarah and Jessica during that time. Juergen will have to come home early so I can manage it. In a year or 2 the little brother could also attend Royal Rangers. It's just a few hours a week for one or 2 years. But what's that compared to the life long impact this could have? I must be getting old because it seems kind of scarry to me! This kid is a real handful!

Friday, October 22, 2010

packed

Nicole leaves in the early am. I will miss her! She will be gone one week (God willing). We plan to go to Juergen's dads house when she returns. Thomas also has a class trip. He will go to Stuttgart for 3 days next week. Tomorrow Philip and Thomas have a joint birthday bowling party. They both invited 4 kids, and 3 kids from both boys can come. But 8 boys is a good number. They bowl, eat pizza, then come to our house to play and eat some more! Should be loud! Nicole is leaving at a pretty good time! Philip and Thomas are both excited. Thomas has never really had a friend party. I'm so glad he finally has friends to ask!

Juergen and I also attend my good friends 50Th birthday party tomorrow night. Busy weekend! But first we clean house, and yard.

Places to go in Vienna



This is Cafe Central in Vienna. It is a very beautiful place to drink coffee or hot chocolate. We should go there some day!

giant pumpkins



I do not know how practical it would be to grow a giant vegtable. I think of the garden space and the water. But I think giant pumpkins are cool! I would love to grow one giant pumpkin in my life. I doubt I ever will. But still, I think they are cool!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nicole's dress



Nicole and I did go shopping. This is the dress we got her at C&A. It fit's her well. I gave her a string of pearls to wear, and a red and black silk scarf to wear over her arms. She also got new black pumps to match the dress. We even got her 2 new pairs of jeans. I'm much poorer, but she will look great in Vienna! When her other dresses finally come, I'll send them back. Actually, one of the dresses may do for the graduation Ball. She is taking a camera with her. I will ask for photo's of her all dressed up!

Pumpkin Gingerbread

This is from Better Homes and Gardens

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Prep: 35 min.
Bake: 50 min.

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Ingredients

* 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2/3 cup butter
* 3/4 cup chopped pecans
* 3/4 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)*
* 1/2 cup molasses
* 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
* 1 egg
* 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon salt


Directions

In a large bowl combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the 3/4 cup pecans. Press 1-1/4 cups of the crumb mixture into bottom of an ungreased 2-quart square baking dish. To remaining crumb mixture, add buttermilk, molasses, pumpkin, egg, ginger, soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; mix well. Pour over crumb mixture in baking dish. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 50 minutes or until center tests done. Cool 30 minutes.

He is our peace

The Bible says that God knows what we need before we ask him. It also says we should seek him first, and all these things (food, cloths etc) would be added unto us! I ordered 2 dresses for Nicole online 2 weeks ago. She goes to Vienna on Saturday morning. She needs a dress for the Opera. The dresses have not come! She has no time to shop tomorrow. We only have 2 hours tonight to shop. 2 hours before the stores close. I’m praying UPS shows up before Nicole returns from her Math Tutor. I do not want to race out to buy a dress! But you know what? God knows! I thank God I have money to buy her a dress. She has shoes for her over sized feet (I had to order those special). What an awesome opportunity! I love Vienna! It is a very cool city. Vienna has great art, and great cafes. I wish she was taking a train. They are traveling on a bus. Please pray for a safe trip.
This has been (is) a crazy busy day. I could use some peace! I love the old song….

Jesus has broken down every wall. He is our peace, he is our peace. Jesus has broken down every wall, he is our peace…he is our peace.
Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you…he is our peace…he is our peace!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

dreams do come true!

Patricia and Henrik have a beautiful baby girl. She made a very strong entrance into the world. I hear she is very beautiful. I plan on spoiling her! I love her already! Congratulations to my dear friends on the birth of their miracle daughter…welcome Anne!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I keep wanting my farm house



and it's still on the market. I like the owner. I'm sad for them that it's still not sold. The garden is a dream!

Cast Iron Apple Pie



HERE is a blog that has a recipe for Cast Iron Apple Pie. It looks awasome. I'm going to try it!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

not fun!

Philip throw up all over everything just now. It will take 4 or 5 loads of laundry to clean up the mess. I can not catch up with it all. It's getting discouraging. This will be the 3rd straight week with sick kids. And what's the saddest is tomorrow is his birthday. What a bummer to be sick on your bithday! Sad!

'Pint Sized Cakes'

A good friend of mine made 'Pint Sized Cakes' as a fund raiser for he sons school last year. She had left over jars that she gave to me. It's a cold wet day. I thought I would try making some cake today. You sterilize the jars, and fill them with one cup of cake mix. Do not use more than one cup or batter will overflow and jar will not seal. Place jars evenly spaced on a cookie sheet. Place in a pre-heated oven and bake until cooked (about 45 mins). Remove jars from oven one at a time keeping remaining jars in oven. Make sure jar rims are clean. (If they're not, jars will not seal correctly) Place lids on jars and screw rings on tightly. Jars will seal as they cool.

jar cakes Pictures, Images an
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Pint Sized Carrot-Raisin Bread (makes 6 cakes)

cook at 325 F, or 200c for about 45 mins

2- 2/3 cups White Sugar
2/3 cup Vegetable Shortening
4 Eggs
2/3 cup Water
2 cups shredded Carrots
3 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Cloves
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup Raisins

Pint Sized Chocolate Cake (makes 8 cakes)

cook at 325 f or 200c for about 40 mins

1 stick plus 3 Tbsp. Butter or Margarine
3 cups White Sugar
4 Eggs
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
2 cups Applesauce, unsweetened
3 cups White Flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Cocoa powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/8 tsp. Salt







Friday, October 15, 2010

Royal Rangers



Philip began Royal Rangers today. I wanted Sarah to join too but they don't have a leader for her age group. The pre teen group at our church stopped meeting because there wasn't enough kids coming. Philip loved the Royal Rangers. They made apple cider and grilled hot dogs. They also sang songs. I hope Thomas will go next week. I think Philip will also invite a few of his friends. I'm so glad it went well!

trying to make it work for me

Thomas has ADHD, and he loves computer games. I was looking for something that would help him get better at French and math. I found 2 pretty good looking games for the Nentndo DS hand held player. Now Nicole has a Nentendo but it's pretty broken. I found a new one on sale at Amazon. I figue it doesn't cost more then one months tuition at a private school, and less then one months fees for a French and Math tutor. I think the novalty of having a new toy to play with just might help him do his French and Math. The trick will be no other games allowed. After all, who wants to train French when you can play Star Wars? I'll tell you how it works out. I need to find a German game, and we have him covered! He loves technology, lets make it work for us!


http://www.amazon.de/gp/mpd/permalink/mTUZ0SI31ONI6/ref=ent_fb_link

making compost


I'm cleaning up my yard this weekend. I'll clean out the raised beds. We are starting to get frost at nights. I could keep my tomatoes alive one more month in the tomato house, but there is no sun. I would not get any more fruit, so I'll just compost the vines. I have beautiful compost from my compost worms. I'm thinking about making 2 or 3 compost barrels. I want more compost for the spring. I need volume. This idea looked good. These plastic barrels are available here. People make wine in them (I think).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I was being protected!

There is often a reason why a door gets closed in front of you. We don’t always know why, but we just need to trust this is true. I was sad I didn’t get the garden on the hill. It is so beautiful up there. I was so sure I could make it nice, but there was something I didn’t understand. Vineyards are not good places for vegetables and fruit gardens. I got a phone call from a friend of mine. She knows something about vineyards. They spray the grapes all summer long, over and over again! The spray would get on my vegetables making them toxic. Even if I don’t spray, the wind would still blow toxic chemicals onto my plants. It would not be a healthy situation! So it’s very good the door got shut in front of us! I was sad, but now I know I was being protected!

Procrastination

Procrastination refers to the counterproductive deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. For some people, procrastination can be persistent and tremendously disruptive to everyday life. For these individuals, procrastination may be symptomatic of a psychological disorder such as ADHD. I was a procrastinator. With out the stress, I found it hard to really think clearly. I wonder if I had ADHD as a child. I was always dreaming my life away. Thomas has a German assignment that should be handed in tomorrow. He has had 4 weeks to do it. Guess when he started it? Oh boy! On the one hand how can I be hard on him when I was the same way? But school in Germany is like 100 times harder then any American school. He is not going to pass if he continues to procrastinate like this! I ask him every day, did you do your home work. I get a yes...but now I need to check closer. I feel like we are on a tight rope, trying to balance between being too pushy and showing enough over sight. Letting go, and still parenting.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Garden

I'm kind of sad! We thought we could have the garden on the hill if we wanted it. That was the impression the man gave us. We gave it lots of thought. We wanted to count the cost. We had to figure out how to get water, shelter, storage and sewage to the property. It would require investment. We were ready to say yes last week when Sarah went into the hospital. I called them and told them this. They said it was OK. We could deal with it this week. On the weekend they said another person wanted one of the pieces of land (he had 2 gardens to rent). This person would choose on Monday, and then we could call. So last night Juergen called back. The other person got the garden we wanted, but we said we would take the other garden (it was a bigger piece but a steeper hill). He said no, he was in no hurry to find someone. He would wait until next spring. The thing is, it's a vineyard. The other person that got the land wants to keep it as a vineyard. Because of this he got the land. I think the owner is looking for someone who wants to keep a vineyard. If he can not find someone by next spring, then he will give it to a vegetable gardener. So it's not really no...it's wait. I am full of ?????? I invested so much time thinking about how we could do it. I was really excited about it. I feel like it's really a no. The owner said maybe, but I feel like God said no! Maybe I was just so willing to say I will stay in my house, and have a large garden on the hill. But maybe God wants us to go in another direction. I just want to settle the whole thing. I want to know what to expect. I want to plan and dream. God said no...and so I wait again. I'm sure he has a better plan, he always does! I hate to wait!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

this is cool

build compost toilet



I've seen compost toilets for sale. They cost around 700 euros. Why pay 700 euros when it's so easy and cheap to build one yourself? I am of course thinking about our garden. We will need a toilet there.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nicole's new blog

http://gotafriendinme.blogspot.com/
The scaffolding came down today. The house looks very nice. I am also happy to look out of my windows and not see a painter looking back at me. Actually, one painter is still here working on the balcony. I think he will also be finished today. Then the doors and windows can be opened up, and the sun can shine in! Jessica has a very bad cold. I feel like I'm playing catch up from last week. I have major cleaning and laundry to do. I also have tones of work to do in my garden, and Petra's garden. Everything has to be cleaned up before winter. I did make some jelly this weekend from fruit my friend Bridgette brought over. I'm anxious to finish that up so I can put the canner away.







Do you like the blue? It goes with the tile on our front wall, and the painting on our garage door. I would love a stainedglass window on the bathroom window above the front door. My be a giant sun? And I want a new front door. Something old ...an old wooden door!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bio-Intensive Garden



I'm trying to grow in a bio intensive way. I should show you my worm compost. I started with a hand full of worms this spring, and now I have gallons of worms, and rich compost. I will add this to my raised beds next spring. I have the worms in a large worm bed that should stay alive all winter. The worms are kept in the warm tomato house, protected from the cold. I think we will find out tomorrow if we can have the garden on the hill. I watched the sunset there tonight with Nicole and Jessica. It is a very beautiful spot. I hope we can have it.


gardening on a hill side



Great idea from a backyard vegetable garden. These concrete “stones” are easy to make and work beautifully at terracing a slope.

Here is how the gardener did it: She stacked bags of concrete in a row, then wet down the bags for a week or until the concrete hardened. Once hard, she tore off the paper wrapping.

Then she added another row on top of the first, wetting the second row of concrete bags, waiting for the concrete to harden and then removed the paper – and so on until she had her vegetables beds at a height that worked for her.

Composting toilet



A Composting toilet would be ideal for our garden. It is totally waterless, and the compost can be put on the fruit trees. You need to let the compost seat for a few years before it can be used. I also have compost worms that could speed up the process. I found a place in Germany that sells a whole out house system. The sawdust you put in it makes the compost smell OK, or non stinky! We will have no water, sewage or electricity at the garden. We need self sustaining ideas. This is one idea that could really solve the toilet issue.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

bottle art







I love art made from old wine bottles. I would love to replace my front door with a wine bottle stain glass window, and Jessica's window, and the bathroom window too. Don't you just love that tree made from bottles! I could find yellow, red, and orange glass to make a sun. Wouldn't that be cool! Even with new paint, I find my house dull!

Friday, October 08, 2010

building with garden sacks, or earth bags

Sarah and Juergen get to come home after her last shot of IV antibiotics. She had a very serious infection in her salivary glands. They do not know what caused it. It's good they treated it. Something like this could get into the jaw bone, and also cause permeate damage to the fecal nerves. So God willing she will be fine after this treatment of industrial strength antibiotics!
Juergen has to be on the phone most of the morning. They will have Sarah in the hospital school room. So I will not go to the hospital today. I'm trying to catch up on some cleaning and laundry. I also did a web search on buying Polypropylene Garden Sacks. I want a good supply of sacks to build raised garden beds, and retaining walls if we get the garden on the hill. I would love to make a green house from earth bags too. We will see! I'm really tired. It has been a long week. I've had very little sleep. The painters are still working on our house. They are almost done. Hopefully the scaffolding can be removed by Monday or Tuesday next week. It's taking longer because of the balconies. Sorry, but I didn't take pictures. Too stressed to think of it! I’m just so glad Juergen and Sarah will be home soon!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

good news, it's not the mumps! Sarah and Juergen can come home tomorrow. The masks can come off!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

update

They ran tests today. She has a bacterial infection in her Salivary Gland. This may or may not be a secondary infection. Until the rule out the mumps, she and Juergen are under quarinteen. They should know something tomorrow around noon our time. This happens to be the 20th wedding anniversary of Juergen and I. It's a little sad, but funny he is quarantined in the hospital today. I do not know what it means to our family if she really does have the mumps. We may need to be under quarantine for awhile? I do not want that to happen, so please pray it doesn't happen!

Sarah is in the hospital

Update on Sarah

Last night Sarah woke up with a swollen face. It was about 1am. Juergen called the Dr, and he was told to go right to the hospital. He waited with Sarah over 2 hours. At about 3:30am I finally got the news. They would check her into the children’s hospital and begin an IV antibiotic. They didn’t know what it was, but she also had a high fever. Sarah was 100% fine when she went to bed. It was a shock to see her face swollen like she had large oranges stuffed into each cheek!
Juergen stayed at the hospital with her. Today the Dr’s will run tests. It could be mumps, but it’s probably not that. She slept well. She is happy. I spoke with her on the phone. It is an adventure to her. The fever is down. The cheeks are still swollen. I guess she will be in the hospital 2 days, but it looks like she is very stable. I don’t know if it is Mumps, a spider bite, an allergy? I guess we will maybe find out today. But she seems to be safe, and I’m sure she will be OK.
Today is my 20th wedding Anniversary. We had plans to eat breakfast out, and walk in a palace garden. We were also going out to dinner. Juergen gave me beautiful flowers last night. Those plans are not canceled, just put on hold for another day. I married an extraordinary man. He is more then everything I could have ever hoped for. I’m sorry he is spending this day in the hospital, but so glad we will be there together.

mumps

Sarah woke up tonight with a swollen face on both sides of her face, in the front of her ears. Juergen is taking her to the hospital now. She has had a vaccination for mumps, but I think she has the mumps!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

a dress for the opera

opera Pictures, Images and Photos

Nicole told me tonight that she needs something to wear to the opera in Vienna. She has a class trip to Vienna in 3 weeks. They will be seeing all the sights, including the Opera. Now if you know Nicole, she is as "tom boy" as they come. She hates to dress up. She asked me to get her a nice pants suit. I looked up the Vienna Opera online. It's pretty fancy. I am afraid she has got to be pretty fancy. I think she will be more comfortable in a long gown. This way she can wear flat shoes, and no pantyhose. A pant suit is not going to cut it! So She needs a evening dress for the opera, and another one for the graduation ball next summer. Talk about your fish out of water! My poor sweetheart! She is so beautiful but she hates to dress up!

earth bag house





Now what we could do with the garden is bring bulldozers in and dig large terraces. Then build retaining walls to support the terraces. Then use the extra soil as the building blocks for a guest house, and the back walls of a passive solar greenhouse. What do you think? The costs would be lower, and you use the matrial that you have (extra soil from the hill).

HERE is a web site that takes you step by step on how to build an earth bag small dome house. This would be perfect for our guest house.

now this place is the dream!



I like the raised beds made from sand bags.

Interesting green house design



This green house is designed with water tanks as the back wall (for thermo mass heat storage). The green house is built partly underground to control temperatures. So the house is warm in winter, cool in summer. Then they added a rocket mass heater with pipes running under the raised beds to warm the soil. warm soil is great for starting plants. The south facing plastic walls collect the sun and heat. I guess it's a insulation they are spraying on the frame in this video. I think the trench here is the path you walk in, and the raised beds are on either side of the path?

and another passive solar green house...

heating a green house

Monday, October 04, 2010



this guy is very interesting. If we rent the vineyard we need to farming on terraces. His ideas will really help me know how to set the whole thing up. I also think we need to bring in heavy equipment at the start to build the terraces. Without terraces the whole hill will be impossible to manage!



if



We are still thinking about the time and cost of a big garden. If we get it, I want a garden house. I really like the idea of using shipping containers as a garden house. I'm wondering if we could go in this direction? It sounds expensive, but very cool! If we can find the containers for a good price, it could be pretty nice!

Sunday, October 03, 2010



my new garden?





There is a garden in Heidelberg. It stands on the hills between Heidelberg and Leimen (5 minutes from my house). It is right below Boxberg if you are a local. The owner has been a hobby wine grower for 25 years. Now he wants to retire from growing (it's allot of work). He has children but they do not want the land. He wants to hold the land for his children to inherit. So for now he wants to rent the land for 50 Euro per year. He will give us a lease for 10 years. He will not restrict us in it's use. If we want to tear out the grapes we can. We can grow fruit trees instead. We can put up a guest house. We can put in a fire pit. We can put in a large vegetable garden. No restrictions, 10 years,600 square meters, 50 euro per year. Unbelievable! So now we are thinking about the investment of money and time (mostly time). We can have a playground. We can have a place for our giant trampoline. I can have all the plants I ever wanted! I can have apples, pears, peaches and plums. Maybe I can even keep chickens? The view is great, and the location amazing. I feel like I'm dreaming! I could not manage 600 square meters of grapes. That is too much work. But he said I can remove all the grapes. He doesn’t care. I would keep some grapes, but only what I can use for juice and jelly. I think fruit trees and vegetables in raised garden beds will be much easier to manage! I have a good imagination. I think the biggest investment of time will be in developing the infrastructure. Once that’s developed it could be very manageable. Perhaps we can hire people to help us develop the raised beds, garden house, fire area, playground, compost area, and fruit garden? After that I can maintain it alone. I’m sorry we didn’t get the old house, but maybe God just had this in mind instead. I’ve been looking 10 years for a garden in these hills. I really honestly feel like I’m just dreaming this!!! Oh how amazing!

Friday, October 01, 2010

A Thai Tailor

Juergen got a suite tailored in Bangkok a few years back. Since then, we have gotten e-mails from the tailor. He takes yearly trips to Europe to measure people for cloths. So far I have not replied to the mails. Today was different. He will be in my area in November. I may try to have a tailor house party. Nicole needs a graduation dress made. I would love it if she could have something special made of Thai silk. It is actually pretty cheap to have something made in Thailand. If you are in our area and want a dress, suit or something special then let me know. I don't know how many people we need to make a party. I e-mailed them about that. Here is their web site. It will give you an idea of what they do, and what it cost.

http://www.ambassadorfashion.com/