Saturday, March 31, 2012

Leimen with the new kitchen

Leimen

It's Saturday morning and I need to go clean the kitchen in Leimen. It sort of makes me sad/ mad/ discouraged that the house is not rented or sold. We continue to invest money into renovation and we continue to pay the mortgage on an empty house. I've looked around and I'm pretty sure it's the best house near Heidelberg for the price. We get calls from people who can not afford the place. This week I had to turn down a family with 8 kids, and an American family who would only be here one year and could not afford the rent. I feel sorry for these families but I can not go down on the price. We owe the bank money. Sometimes I do not know where I can find the courage to deal with this situation. I shut my eyes when the money leaks out of my bank account. There goes our savings. God please help us. I just want to go forward. But we do not walk by sight, or emotions. And God is good all the time, even when the housing market is slow! I love my garden, and I'm grateful for the space. I just want this situation to be resolved well. Today I'll clean the kitchen and pray blessings over the family that rents the house. It would be nice to wake up on Saturday and just enjoy the day with my husband and family. As always, I thank you for remembering us in your prayers.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mom's Birthday

Today is my Mom's birthday. It was very special for me to see her on her birthday. I took her to a second hand shop and out to a nice cafe. We made a good dinner. Tonight we are watching The Pink Panther. I'll write more soon, I'm missing the movie.
These photos are funny because we all have our eyes shut!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Potatoes

I planted a large bed of potatoes today. I'll have to list the types. I have some from Germany, South America, Denmark, and Scotland. I have red white and blue potatoes, big and small. I first loosened the soil, added peat moss, laid the potatoes on the peat moss, then put straw down, then finally mulch. I'll keep putting straw and soil down as the plants grow. It should give me a super crop of gourmet potatoes. Nicole planted seedlings in the next raised bed. We should get good kale, spinach, lettuce, onions and carrots(all started from seeds). Dad is helping us fix our well. Mom is trimming my box wood and my herbs. It's such a beautiful day to be outside. The sunshine really makes me happy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another beautiful day

I planted another dozen plants this morning. Our perennial flower garden is going to be very nice. We could us a little rain. It's been very sunny all week, more like May weather. I'm not complaining, but we could use some rain. We are trying to get all those bulbs in the ground. It's not so easy because the ground is a little hard. We are digging holes for the baskets, and replacing the hard clay soil with peat moss. I wanted to take all the grass out of the area, and till the soil. But the ground is like a rock. They must have put allot of the construction waste in the ground in this spot. I plan to cover the grass with peat moss and straw. The flowers will come up through this straw mulch. Eventually the grass should die back. The peat moss should help soften the clay. The straw will protect the whole thing, holding in the moisture. I'm sure the worms will like this area, and do their wonders. Philip has been helping Dad. If fact he has done such a good job putting in the flowers Nicole and I decided he could run the flower business. There will be (God willing) thousands of cutting flowers this summer. He can cut nice bouquet and sell them. We think 5 bouquets per day at 5 Euro per Bouquet, 5 days per week. That's 125 Euro per week. He is only allowed to make 400Euro per month. So maybe he will have to allow Sarah to help him a little? He can sell flowers for about 3 to 4 months. With the money he can buy a ticket to visit Grandma and Grandpa (well maybe). Just an idea. But Philip has been a great help!

Monday, March 26, 2012

a beautiful day

The weather has been amazing. We got a few more plants into the ground. I also took Dad to the garden center to buy some soil for the raised vegtable beds. Slowly we are getting it together. We are all a little tired and moving slowly. The sunshine does help me feel so much better!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In the garden

Nicole and I went to the building supply store to buy wood for boarders in my vegetable garden. Juergen will put the boarders up for me. I've got all these plants started. They need to be planted. The wooden boarders are only temporary until the boxwood plants grow. That will take about 5 years. A garden is always a long term project. First you deal with the infrastructure, then add the plants. The plants will cover the infrastructure, and soften it. Just give us 5 years, it will be amazing (I hope). Juergen is in Leimen. He had an appointment to show the house for rent. But he just called, and the people didn't show up. Oh well. I just know God has someone in mind. I hate the wait and the work, not to mention the loss of money. But I will wait, and just keep believing God will provide us with the right family soon. I don't like it when people just don't show up for an appointment but that's happened to us over and over. It get's really frustrating. It cost us so much valuable time. We have so much to do. It is sad to spend hours going to Leimen, waiting and waiting just to turn around and come home. Frustrating. God please help us finish this whole process...just let us settle the matter well and soon.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pie and a place for Jessica

Today Nicole made apple & also Lemon pie with Mom and Dad. I can not wait to try it! It smells and looks so very good! We will eat it tonight after my small group Bible study. I took Jessica to visit the day care center we will most likely put her in. I got her to get out of the car, but she would not go inside. She stood at the gate and would not let the car out of her sight. The weather was wonderful. I sat in the garden with the people who did the evaluation. We all decided Jess needs her own aid, and should come to the center 5 mornings a week (half days). So when they find the right aid for her, she can come to the care center. I refused to leave the place until Jessica came and looked at the sheep. I had to wait because she was stubborn. But I did wait. She saw the sheep. And maybe next time it will be easier because she knows now that they have sheep and dogs. Jessica has been home for 9 months. She needs to get out more.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

flowers,flowers,flowers

So today Mom and Dad slept and rested from their long trip. But I also put them to work. dad & Nicole planted about 2000 summer flowers. That's right 2000. Nicole and I had gone on a flower shopping spree last week. I got these cool green baskets to plant the bulbs in. Dad & Nicole combined flowers that would complement each other in size and color. We will actually plant the baskets (God willing) tomorrow. It will be a sight to behold this summer. Sarah and grandma also read together.

They are here

Sorry I didn't post anything. It was pretty stressful for them. Dad was very uncomfortable on the flight. He looked pretty bad when they wheeled him off the plane. I didn't take any photo's. That would not be a pretty picture. But but they slept well. They look a bit better. It takes awhile to get over the jet lag. I'll write more soon. just to let you know Mom and Dad are here!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

adapting on a budget

My parents are coming and we are busy getting ready for their visit. My Dad has a few special needs. His legs are a bit weak and I don't want him falling down in the shower. I looked into renting a special chair you can put in the shower. I found out they don't rent bathroom things. You need to buy them. So I looked at chairs I could buy. They cost between 60€ and 250€. OK! But then I saw this beautiful white thrown for only 17€. It's strong and waterproof. We even have a seat cover we meant to put on the toilet in our guest bath, but never got around to it. So for 17€ my dad can safely sit in the shower (in style I might add)! He will have a designer shower chair!

Monday, March 19, 2012

I want Monets Garden!

I love this photo for me with the Japanese tourist on the famous bridge in Monents garden outside of Paris. I have many other photos from this place. I've been there 4 times. When the kids move out I want to replace the grass with flowers. Can you have too many flowers?

getting ready

Today I'm getting ready for my parents to come. I'm trying to do all the laundry and cleaning. I'll clean the ground floor today (that's the living room, hallway, a bathroom and the kitchen), and the 2nd floor tomorrow. We will also clean Nicole's room tomorrow. My parent's will have her room, and she will sleep in the office. I also need to finish Fridays Bible study on James chapter 2. I don't want to concern myself with much when Mom and Dad get here. Tonight, We will sign the new loan on the house in Leimen. We will need to rent the house for at least 3 years before we try to sell it again. We keep getting requests from families who would like to rent. Today I got a request from a German family that has 4 kids, 2 cats and a dog. I guess we will just talk with them and see how good the dog and cats are. I've seen cats that are really fine, and others that scratch up all the walls. Some dogs are fine, others will pee all over the hardwood floors. We can not tell until we talk with them, and talk with whoever rents to them now. Most of the people who want to see the house need a place in 3 to 6 months. Of course we want a renter now. But we will still be picky because it's a long term commitment. Anyway, I'm excited about my parents coming. They are suppose to fly tomorrow. I hope it goes OK. It's really a long trip. Jessica, Nicole and I look forward to meeting them in Frankfurt!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

my new blog

My new blog is called Veggie Trade. You can find it HERE. I want to grow as much fresh veggies and flowers as I can, and trade what my family does not use for your good stuff. So far a friend will give me grapes for tomatoes, sharpen my kitchen knives for herbs and flowers, and find me canning jars for sweet peppers. I will only trade with local friends. Maybe I could send seeds in the mail, but mostly this is a local thing. But who will trade with me?

In the garden and loving it!

I like this idea. If we put this tunnel house on a concrete block foundation that is say 1 meter high, and then do a mosaic on the wall, it would make the tunnel house taller, and look better. You can buy kits for tunnel houses, but I think it would be easy just to cut the parts our selves (cheaper too). Here are some photo's from our gareden work yesterday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

excited but a little stressed

Tomorrow my parents will drive to my brothers house in Seattle. They spend a long weekend there. Tuesday they will get on the airplane (God willing) and fly to Germany. I'm very excited about their visit. I just wish I was not so busy. I also have Alpha Course and Small group next week. And I just found out there is a special meeting with the daycare Jessica may go to. I guess it will be OK as long as I can prepare next weeks Bible study ahead of time. I don't want to be so busy when Mom and Dad are here. I just want to focus on them. But I don't have a house keeper & gardener. I am the taxi driver. Normal life does have it's daily business. That isn't going to stop. I just hope it isn't too stressful for my parents. If you think of them, please pray for their trip. Just driving to Seattle (about 5 1/2 hours) is stressful for them. My Mom just had foot surgery in December, and Dad does not drive anymore. And the 10 1/2 hour flight, plus the check in time at the airport, and customs in Germany make it a very long trip. It will not be so easy for them. I hope they make it over OK. That they are in good health, and that they will have a comfortable flight. I wish we had the money or miles to upgrade them to business class. But they have to fly coach. Coach has gotten less and less comfortable. It would be so great if the airplane wasn't so full! I'll do what I can to spoil them when they are here. I just have to figure out how I can manage "normal life" too.
PS. Dad, I rented a walker for you to use in the house. I also got you GF bread and cookies. We are ready for you to come.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

wrong about the house loan

The bank guy just came. He offered us a loan but the terms were not as good as we had hoped. The rent on the house will not pay the house off. In fact, to pay the house off in 30 years we would need to pay additional money per month (over the rent). And to pay the house off in 15 years (when we retire) we would need to pay 1000 Euro per month over the rent (killer)! It's very bad news for us! Each month we would lose money on this house, and be responsible for renovations and maintenance. It's really a bad deal to have it as a rental house. It's better to sell it at a loss. But we have no buyer. We have until Monday to sign a new loan. We needed a few days to think about what we should do. Honestly , we asked until Monday hoping for some kind of miracle. If we could just have a buyer it would be such a gift! But the other option is to rent for a few years, then try to sell when the market improves. They say Germany is heading into a recession. Know one is buying houses right now. So maybe if we hold on to it for a few years, then try again when the environment improves? That would be our best option right now. So if we find no buyer in the next few days, we need a good renter for say 3-5 years. Perhaps that would be the best move? We need wisdom. I know none of this is a surprise to God. He has the big picture. I am blind but He see's it all! Juergen show's the house to the Solar company that wants to use it as a guest house. We got more information about the company. They are from Spain and spend over 5000 euro per month on hotels. This is why they are looking for a house to rent. They are starting a new branch in Heidelberg. They don't want to buy something because the business may not make it. But they would give us a larger then normal deposit as security. If they decide to rent from us, it's probably our best option. Perhaps we will know tomorrow.
I think I would be fine with renting for a short term (until the market improves). I think this is our path!

alpha

We had our first English Alpha Course last night. There were 11 students and 5 helpers. I got to sit with a table of amazing Asian women. It was wonderful. I can not share with you the questions asked, people need to feel like they can ask anything with out it being broadcast to the whole world. But thoughtful interesting questions were asked. And I think I talked too much. I need to be careful not to dominate the discussion. I will try hard to listen more, and let everyone else talk. I think it's just because it was the first night, and people were not sure how much they could say, so they were quite and so I talked. I feel so honored to be with such bright and amazing students.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

James study

It's a full week and next week will also be full. I finally sat down and finished the Bible study for Friday night on James chapter 1. I actually love doing the study but I get very distracted. I'll sit down to learn and the phone rings, the door bell rings, or Jessica needs something. It's hard to get going on it. But I managed to finish, and now I can relax. Tonight is the first English Alpha Course. I will be there (God willing) but I will not be leading it. We have a good team and we will share the leadership. There are going to be 10 International students. 4 of them come from China! My heart sings!!!! Tomorrow I need to clean my house. Friday I will cook for the pot luck. I think we will do something easy like homemade pizza. I got my grape in the mail today. I also got my potato seeds. I also ordered some hey for the garden. I will use this as a mulch. It came today. Maybe I'll plant the potatoes? Or maybe I'll just take a nap. I'm so tired!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

this and that

I worked for hours in the garden today. First with Nicole, then with the boys. Nicole set up the tomato house. We sunk the posts in the ground. I also used tent pegs to hold the covering down. I want to get some long boards or even larger bamboo poles to make the sides more stable. Right now it's got some tools in it. Later in the season it will house tomato plants. They do better when they stay dry. You water a tomato from the ground. I've had this tomato house for a few years. It works well. I may decide not to get a greenhouse. I can start my plants pretty well in the heater room. I would mostly use the greenhouse for tomato's. Maybe I just need one more cheap tomatoes house? Knowing myself, I will not be using the greenhouse in the winter. I'm not really sure I'm going to need it, so I think I'll just wait and see if I can do without it. Juergen is showing our Leimen house to a person that needs a guest house for a business. This makes me wonder all sorts of stuff, like who will be in the house, and how will it be used, and who is responsible for the care, and what about insurance, and how do you check the credit on a business? We have an appointment Thursday to redo the house loan. I feel very sad we did not sell it. I feel like crying! We will probably get a very good loan, and the rent will pay down the house in 15-20 years. So about the time Juergen retires, we will hopefully have the house paid off. Then we will have extra retirement income. But of course anything and everything could go wrong. We still have to be responsible for the care and maintenance of the house. We have to pay the mortgage if the house is empty. We need to deal with the renter if they are causing trouble, or causing damage. It was never my dream to be a landlord, but after Thursday that's what we will be. I'm sad! I just hope we can find a good renter. This business seems a little odd to me. I need a lot more information before I will trust that it's honest. In a case like this you would expect to be contacted by a realtor, not a private individual. It seems fishy to me. Maybe it’s OK, but it just does not seem right. The pictures are from my garden in Leimen 2010.

Monday, March 12, 2012

English Alpha Course

Our English Alpha Course starts this week at the FEG in Heidelberg. If anyone knows someone who may want to come? It looks like we will have 10 International students joining us. You can be a seeker, or even a believer . It's 9 nights with dinner and talking about what Christians believe and why we believe. Juergen and I are going to help lead the group with a few other really great people. We could use your help by praying for our group. The whole world is going to come, and take what they learn back home to their home lands. I just love International students!

Nicole's Art in progress

An update on my painting "The China Cabinet", 27th hour of work: The Chinese porcelain is done and I'm working on the metal buttons. The next thing will be the pandas and the lucky cat as well as the shelf boards.

Does anyone want to trade with me?

Has anyone ever done bartering? I have this giant garden (100% organic). I hope to grow an over abundance for fresh vegetables and flowers this summer. More then I can use. This is the hope! We will see if it actually works out! I thought maybe I could barter with people using the extra vegetables and flowers. For me it is sort of a game to see what I could get using my extra veggies! I thought I could set up a website. On the website I could list what I have available, and a list of the stuff I want. For example You come cut a large bouquet of flowers and give me a loaf of fresh baked bread, or some milk. You come over and cut a large salad in exchange for some coffee or bottled water or a few tubes of tooth paste. My fresh flowers and vegetables for your stuff. Does anyone have interest in such an arrangement? It will be a few months until I have any vegetables of flowers. But I could even plant your favorite stuff if I knew I had people to trade with. I’m planting seeds now & I want to know how many seeds I should plant. Just for us, or for many more people.

Like a kid in a candy shop

I like plants. I guess I got that from my dad. His entire garden is full and over flowing with beautiful flowers and trees. It is really something to see! And right now the stores have all the flower bulbs , plants and seeds on sale. It's too hard to pass up! I finally have a garden to put them in! I am like a kid in a candy shop. I have got to stop buying bulbs! I have Lillis and Iris, Hollyhocks and Roses, Baby’s breath, Dahlias , Lilacs , Peonies and the list goes on. Just wait 5 years...we will have a park! Next Thursday the Rhododendrons, Hydrangeas and Azaleas go on sale. My parents come in week. I want my dad to help me plant a knot garden in my front yard. I have red, white, and blue perennials to plant in the center of the knots. I’ll also plant red , white and blue tulips. Should be fun! I have also bought flower bulbs for the house in Leimen. I want to go there some time this week and plant some more summer flowers. I will also put mulch on the beds so it’s low maintenance for the renters. The kitchen is going to be built today. It will probably take a few days for the countertops to be cut. We still hope we can sell, but most likely we will rent it out. That’s OK. Interest rates have dropped even lower. So we could save 400 Euro’s per month on interest (over what we would have paid if we had negotiated the loan last fall). We may even change the loan on our house in Bad Schönborn? But I’m not sure if that’s possible. If we can change our loan we can redeem everything we have lost over the past year (paying for 2 houses). I say Amen to that! I really liked the American family I showed the house to on Saturday. They want to rent a house for 2 years. If we need to rent, a family like these Americas would be really nice.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Basics of Natural Farming (part 1 of 2)

No dig Potatoes

This is how I plan to plant my potatoes this year. I just ordered my seeds.

ruth stouts method

domes

or maybe a dome because it's so cool. But I would skip the water plants. notice how they put a insulation on the north side. And she has water but not so much as the first dome. I would love to be in a warm sunny dome in the winter time. It could chase away the winter blues.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Greenhouse Improvements

the kitchen is moved

Juergen rented a big truck and picked up the kitchen we bought for our house in Leimen. The handyman will put it in (God willing) next week. We also got a request to look at the house by a pastor who lives in Heidelberg and has 4 kids. That could work! I’ve been praying God blesses who ever gets the house. I’ve been trying my best to improve the house. I even planted spring flowers there this week. If anyone wants to buy our house they need to do it by March 15th. All the info to buy or rent the house is at http://heymannhaus.blogspot.com/ I really am praying for God’s blessing to touch who ever rents or buys this house. I pray they will be very happy there. That they will feel peace and at home there.

I think I have it

Juergen does not want to ruin our party tent to make a greenhouse. Besides, it's too big for the space I want to put it. But I found this party tent on eBay for an amazing price. It is just the perfect size. The windows would face South and North. The doors would be East and West. I could sink it into concrete, and add some wooden supports to the sides. Maybe put straw bale walls on the North and West sides. And I could put another door on the East side. Can you follow me? Anyway, maybe this could be the starting point for my greenhouse, high tunnel? I would love to replace the tent plastic with green house plastic just for better insulation. I don't think the tent would be warm enough in winter to grow anything. But on the other hand, it would be a little better shade in the summer so plants would not burn. What an awesome tomatoes house this could be! So maybe I should just keep the tent plastic? And it cost less then 300 Euros delivered. Much cheaper then any green house I’ve ever found. And we could put it up in a day!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Why use a Polytunnel? - V47

How to harvest rainwater from a Polytunnel? - V72

Sliding Door for a Polytunnel - V58

How easy is a Polytunnel to construct? - V71

I'm still thinking of using my tent frame as a greenhouse/high tunnel. The construction would be something like this. I like the sliding doors! I know where I can buy the greenhouse plastic. I think it would be the cheapest and best way we could get an oversized greenhouse space. I just need to get Juergen on board with the idea!

working in Leimen

Nicole and I did some work in Leimen today. We planted 3 window boxes for the front garden wall. They are beautiful with spring flowers. Then we put new carpet on the stairs. Finally we dug up some plants that are directly in front of the garden wall, The painter needs to put new plaster on the wall because of some water damage. He would have stepped all over these plants, so we took them. We left allot of good plants there. The garden still has many roses, grapes, kiwi, herbs, trees and spring and summer flowers. And Juergen decided to leave the covered porch. It was made perfectly for the house. So it will bless anyone who lives there...renter or buyer. I just hope God blesses who ever gets the house in Leimen. It’s a nice place, and getting nicer all the time. Juergen will pick the kitchen up tomorrow. It will be put in by our handyman, God willing next week. We got two more inquiries about buying the house, and one more request from a renter. I guess Juergen will try to show the house again on Saturday. It really will be nice when this house does not require so much of our time & money. Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The mulch is here

Juergen bought me 8 1/2 cubic meters of fine mulch for my vegetable garden. We spread it over the black weed blocker martial. We want to let it sit for a few weeks. Then we will put the boxwood in as an edge around the vegetable beds. Inside the beds we will cut the black weed blocker material out. Then we will plant the vegetables in the beds, and surround them with mulch. The paths will remain with the mulch & weed blocker. Eventually we will replace the pathways with something more permanent. We used the frame of Jessica’s metal bed. She broke the frame this fall. We sunk the frame into the soil, and then planted flower bulbs in it. It will be a "flower bed".
mulch provides protection and improves the soil. There are two types of mulches: organic and inorganic. Depending upon the type, mulches: Reduce surface evaporation. Improve water penetration and air movement. Control soil temperature fluctuations. Protect shallow-rooted plants from freeze damage and frost heave. Improve soil structure and nutrient availability.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Our New kitchen

I found this beautiful little kitchen on eBay yesterday. It was going to sell next week. I asked Juergen to email the seller and offer them something. Maybe they would go ahead and let us buy it now. Well, they agreed. So by God's grace we will pick the kitchen up on Friday. And I hope the handyman will be available to help set the kitchen up either this weekend or next week. It should look lovely with the terracotta tile. Maybe I'll go repaint the wallpaper yellow or a pale green? So our house in Leimen will have a nice kitchen. I'm very happy about it! I hope it's a blessing to the family that will live there!

I got my boxwood

Juergen is home from work this week. He is pretty tired. I'm glad he can get this break. We had breakfast out together. Nicole watched Jessica for us. He also got our taxes done. We have a good refund coming, and we need the money. There are a few people looking at our house in Leimen (buyers). This is the last week it is for sale. Next week we will need to refinance it as a rental house. So it's either now or never. The stair well was painted yesterday. Juergen says that it looks very good! I found a nice kitchen on eBay I hope to buy next Monday, unless a buyer happends to already have a kitchen. I got my tiny boxwood plants in the mail today. 100 tiny plants. It will most likely be 5 years before they grow large enough to trim. No matter! When the mulch gets layed down in the garden, I'll be able to lay out the garden beds, and plant boxwood boarders. Juergen ordered the mulch. A gardener will deliver it some time this week. If the weather is OK, we may even get the job done before the weekend? We already have good plants started for the garden beds. Those plants are in our cold frame for now. I think it's best to wait a few more weeks to plant because of the cold. The weather has gone from warm to cold, and warm again. I had better wait a few weeks! But it gives me so much joy to be in the process of building a new garden. I believe God has given us all things that really make us happy. For me it's my garden, for others it might be music or art or sports. I think we get so busy doing what we must, these kinds of things get ignored. It adds so much to my life and energy just to be outside with my plants. Trying to sell, or rent our house has been stressful for us. But I love my garden. I'm so glad we moved. The house in Leimen was fine...a little small for 7 people but really fine. But this garden in Bad Schönborn makes my heart sing! I feel more alive then I did before. So the stress of the transition was at least for me worth it. I have no idea what I'll do with this big house when all our kids move out. But I guess I'll deal with that when we need to. I'm glad to have what gives me life while I have the health to enjoy it!