Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hanbury garden

Today we took a trip to Hanbury gardens. It is the most beautiful garden on the Riviera. Perhaps the most beautiful garden I have ever seen. But Jessica and the boys didn’t want to get out of the car so poor Juergen waited 2 hours while Sarah, Nicole and I took a short look. It’s actually 45 acres. You could spend days there. My heart is full! It was amazing! Afterwards we drove to the small kingdom of Monaco. We drove around Monte Carlo. Again, amazing! It’s clear this is where the big money is. It is nothing like the area we are staying in. It’s like LaJolla and Tijuana…night and day. On the way home we stopped in a French small town. Juergen bought me pastries…yum! And we also eat at McDonalds. This was the only time I could get Jessica out of the car. I think she enjoyed the ride but she simply doesn’t feel like walking anywhere. I took 200 photo’s but can not post them all. It was a good day! And tomorrow is Juergen’s birthday. We spend our last day on the Riviera, then move on to Tuscany.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Genoa Italy

Today we had a day trip to Genoa. It is a very large an important city. The birth place of Columbus. We went to the aquarium. It's supose to be the 2nd largest aquarium in Europe. It was OK. I think the one in Oregon is better. But the kids liked it & we got Jessica out of the car. Afterwards we drove around and had lunch at a very good Italian Resturant. Philip and Nicole both eat the sea food. And then we eat some very good ice cream. Tomorrow I want to visit a good garden in the morning. Juergen will take the kids to the beach in the afternoon...well that's what is planned.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Alive in Italy

I'm sorry we have not been online. There was no internet in our house as expected. And most people have cell phones with internet, so there are no internet cafes. We had to buy a internet stick with some time on it. And even setting this up was not easy. I have to be on Juergen's computer outside to get the reception. The trip here was long but good. We left at 4am. There was an amazing amount of traffic along the way. We got stuck at the long tunnel in Switzerland. That added 3 extra hours to the trip. But we made it. The house is an old mill where they pressed olive oil. Olive oil is big business here. The hills are covered with olive trees. I think it would be nice to see the fall harvest. It is all hills here. There is no place to play soccer. The boys are bored. The girls seem to find an easier time entertaining themselves with drawing and reading. The beds are very small. I have to share a bed with Jessica. We don't want her walking around the house at night. The stairs are very uneven. But Jess doesn't sleep well, and I have slept badly so far. Juergen and I are both tired. It has not been much of a vacation so far. Yesterday the 2 of us got to take a walk by the sea. That was very nice. And we are begin to see all there is to do. Juergen is looking into a whale watching tour. He also found a very good garden I can visit near the border of France. We will manage to enjoy ourselves. We just need to get the details worked out. Jess is stressed out, and it makes everything hard. But it is lovely here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

packed and ready

God willing, We are leaving around 4am and driving for about 10 hours with 5 kids. The thought of it almost makes me want to call it all off. As always, thank you for your prayers! arrivederci per ora i miei cari amici!

a hair cut and we are off to see the world

I showed one of the house sitters around. They will try to keep my plants and fish alive for us while we travel. I had a number of last minute things to take care of including a hair cut. Juergen just took Mickey to the dog hotel. We take him to the same wonderful dog trainer every time we travel. He will be fine with them, no worries. The kids have youth group tonight. Then it' straight to bed. We will try to go very early (Like 4am)to avoid the heavy traffic. The weather is not going to be so good in Italy. In fact, it's expected to be much warmer in Germany over the next 2 weeks. Oh well! But the trip is still a change of pace, a new perspective. I needed that. I should have internet there. I'll blog if I can.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Two Greedy Italians - Series 2 Episode 2

This is where we are going in 2 days. I'm so excited!

getting ready

The sun is shinning and I'm feeling very good. We are getting allot done today. Nicole, Jessica and I went to buy 3 goldfish to live in our small pond. The pond was getting mosquitoes in it. The fish will eat those right up! I didn't want to use any poison. I don't want to kill what is good, just control what's bad. I also bought sawdust to put on the potato beds. I'm hoping that will help block the light. We don't want green potatoes. I watered all the house plants. They should be fine for 2 weeks. I am also cleaning the kitchen, living room and hall today. Tomorrow I'll only need to clean bathrooms. Nearly everything is now packed. I just need to finish my cloths & Jessica's cloths. God willing I can relax a little before we go. It always seems like I need a vacation just from getting ready for a vacation. Packing for 7 is never easy. But the kids are getting better at helping. I am more or less just quality control. My vacation book has not come in the post. I also ordered the complete collection of fawlty towers on DVD. That has not come either. So I hope the mail comes soon. Vacations are for laughing and learning.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Juergen and Nicole in Italy

This is from our last trip to Italy. I'm trying to get Juergen to take the guitars again. When I video tape it, you will notice a real growth in Nicole's playing. She now helps lead worship. And Thomas and Philip also play. Philip is just starting (like in the past month) but Thomas can actually play pretty good for a beginner. I’ve made good progress cleaning and packing. Hopefully I’ll finish packing tomorrow. I show the house sitter around on Friday. I also need to bring Mickey to the dog hotel. I’m hoping I can get my hair cut before we go. We all need hair cuts. I'm getting very excited about the trip. They say traffic will be very bad going South. I think we will be leaving very early in the 4am. That part will not be fun!


I just walked into my garden and picked 5 different types of lettuce to make a giant salad for lunch. Oh how happy I am to be growing some of my own food! God willing, it's just going to get better as time goes by! I'm looking forward to the tomatoes and peppers! There is nothing better then fresh salsa! The photo's are of Uncle Rickey making fresh salsa with the kids in Cyprus. That was a great trip!

Still no teacher for Jessica

I met with an organization that is suppose to help us find an aid for Jessica. They don't have anyone, and don't think they can find anyone so specialized. It's funny, I felt like calling the meeting off. I just knew in my heart it wasn't the right organization to help us. I don't even know anything good or bad about this group, but I just felt a big no in my spirit. So I met them today and they told me no...they have no one who could work with Jessica. So we will keep looking after the vacation. I don't really expect to find someone until the fall. I figure anyone good is already working with someone until the end of the school year. If you know of someone who wants to be a part time private teacher to a 20 year old autistic young lady, (sorry but we need a women) then let me know. It will be part time, in the mornings. It would be a pretty good job for a mom that wants to be home with her kids in the afternoon. We live one minute away from the s bahn station. It takes just 15 minutes to get here from Heidelberg. Jessica can be very sweet and loving when you get to know her. She will be a little stressful at first. She is not very flexible, and resists change. She has autism, so I guess that’s to be expected. If we hire a person our self, without going through an organization, that person will get more money. So a private contact would be best for the teacher...they would get more money. We want someone who either knows how to do facilitated communication or is willing to train in FC. Our goal is to teach Jessica to communicate on an I pad. We want Jessica to be able to communicate with the I pad, and maybe even become a writer. "People seldom see the painful and halting steps by which the most insignificant success is achieved" Anne Sullivan

We are looking for an Anne Sullivan for our Jessica. A special teacher who can unlock her world!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top 6 Reasons to Get a Pond - Permaculture Artisans Network

Convert your Lawn by Sheet Mulching

we did this in part of our front yard. I want to finish the whole front yard this way in the late summer or early fall.

How to Sheet Mulch

Straw mulch and compost tea

This morning I had a dream that the straw I had ordered came. Sure enough it did. So Nicole and I put a fresh layer of straw mulch over the potatoes. We also put mulch on the vegetable beds. It will help preserve the moister in the beds. If it rains allot, the mulch will soak up the extra water. If it's dry, it will release water to the plants. And the soil will not dry out. For the potatoes, it helps keep the ground dark. I'll also add some sawdust or something to help keep the area dark. If potatoes get exposed to the sunlight they turn green. Green potatoes are poisons to eat. Another thing we did is add the compost tea to water, and we watered all the plants. It really stinks. I started making the compost tea about 5 weeks ago. It has soil, weeds, peels from vegetables, fish bones, coffee grounds and egg shells and lots of water. It really smells bad! It's been sitting in the sun cooking for weeks. We added a small amount of this tea to the watering can, then more water. All the plants got feed. I hope it helps encourage good growth! I may cover the grass and all the flower beds with this stinky tea. But only if it's going to rain. I wouldn't want our garden to smell awful for the poor house sitter! The videos I've seen on you tube say compost tea will really help the plants grow. I just had to give it a try. Right now everything we are doing is a theory. We have never done these things before. It's all theory. But so far everything is doing pretty good. The only thing that hasn't done well in the garden is the pumpkin plant. I think it got eaten by something? It's dead. but I have new pumpkins starting from seeds. So we will see if we can still get a pumpkin crop this year. It's hard to believe this garden is only a few months old. We will get a pretty good crop for the first year! And in time, as the soil improves, it will only get better! I love it! It really makes me happy to grow some of my own food!