Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Very Well Weathered Fence

While I was walking at the lake a few days ago, I walked along a trail a bit further away from the lake that I hadn't been to for a while and discovered this beautiful old weathered fence. I never really noticed it before which is odd since I tend to see fences everywhere.

Coming closer, it revealed all the moss and lichen that was sitting on it. I quite liked its wobbly shape.

I noticed the holes that were put in the fence posts to fit the slats in. Rather crudely done, but beautiful in its own way. It was a very natural and simple fence.

Some plants were leaning against the posts and growing through the fence, making the fence part of their environment. It just belonged here.

Certainly a good fence - and therefore linked up to "Good Fences" at the Run *A* Round Ranch.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Imagine Yourself in a Bavarian Beer Garden

You probably have heard of the Bavarian beer garden ("Biergarten") which you can actually find all over Germany. But somehow we always picture beer garden in Bavaria - they probably have most of them. The beer garden is very casual - you sit on very simple benches at long tables. Often you share the table with other people - friends and strangers - which is a great way to get to know new people and have fun. You can also eat in a beer garden, often the local cuisine with mainly more simple meals. It is not fine dining, but the food usually is excellent. (I'm still practicing my food photography - it's not perfect at all, well, far from that actually. It's perfectly imperfect - and hits this week's Texture Tuesday's theme, which is "perfectly imperfect"...)

Processed with Kim's texture "kk_evolve" in soft light at 100%

Obatzter is one of the beer garden food, and I have to say that it is my favorite. It has lots of calories, of course - everything I really like to eat is certainly not on the light side! Obatzter is made of very ripe Camembert and butter, onions, spices and a little bit of beer. It is actually very easy to make - you just have to find the right Camembert.

On Sunday I made some Obatzter because I felt like eating it - it was a warm day and I had this beer garden feeling. I had baked some Bauernbrot (farmers bread), we still had two bottles of Bavarian Hefeweizen, I had some very ripe Camembert - nothing could stop me!

I can tell you, it was delicious!

If you feel daring, or you once went to Bavaria and had some Obatzter and would like to make it from scratch, or perhaps you're just curious - here's the recipe. Sorry, it's in metric measurements.

You need:
- 250g very ripe Camembert
- 50g soft butter
- 2 tbsp light beer
- 1 small onion
- 1 tsp paprika, sweet
- a trace of ground caraway
- pepper and salt
- a bunch of chives

You may remove the rind of the Camembert if it is "too ripe". Mash with a fork. Stir in butter and beer.
Add finely chopped onion. Add paprika, caraway, pepper and a little salt.
Put the cheese on a plate and top with chopped chives.
Serve with fresh farmers bread or soft pretzel (if you can get real Laugenbrezeln where you live, that would be my choice)


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Don't Fence Me In!

But that's exactly what we did - we fenced ourselves in.

We started out in January - the month was so dry that it was okay to start right away. The Geek designed the fence and then one Saturday afternoon began building.

Everything of this fence is handmade (except for the nails and screws and stuff like that). We bought the redwood and then set up the miter saw and cut, cut, cut. After I had asked him, the Geek showed me how to handle the saw and I was happily cutting the pickets.

The Geek dug the holes in the ground for the posts, sometimes with the help of Kaefer. I was the one who screwed the pickets in place for a big part of the fence, slowly working my way along.

Until, one day in March, the fence was completed. It was a day to celebrate.

It feels so much nicer now with our fence. We will keep it in this natural state, even though the color will gradually change to gray. But that is okay.

I'm linking this to "Good Fences" at the Run *A* Round Ranch for the first time - this definitely is a good fence!

Monday, April 7, 2014

For the Love of Roses

When I walked through my neighborhood last week I was surprised to see so many roses - already, at the beginning of April. Yes, it still surprises me. In some things I'm still on "German time" (after 13 years of living in Northern California!) and that means that roses do not bloom before May with the peak season in June.

But this is Northern California - everything blooms so much earlier (my French lilac is almost beyond its prime); still a wonder for me. This rose caught my eye because of its beautiful colors - I like the pink and the peach, it's gorgeous. The white fence behind it didn't hurt either.

So I chose this photo for this week's Texture Tuesday with its theme "for the love of _____". Roses, in this case. Processed with Kim Klassen's texture "kk_0411" and then I brushed the texture away from the main blossom of the rose.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Finding Spring

Today's 100 Happy Days photo

We had some heavy rain recently - much needed, and it turned our brown land into a green one. The gardens exploded - everywhere is color now, so much eye candy wherever you look.

Today I walked through the neighborhood with my camera - and everything I saw made me so happy!

Baby Blue Eyes in my garden

California Poppy - such a happy flower!

White and pink blossoms shout "It's spring"!!

The fountains whispered their lovely splish-splash...

and the mockingbird sang his little heart out. 

One of my most favorite spring bloomers are dogwoods, either white and pink ones, whereas I give a slight preference for the pink one over the white one. I also love the peachy-pink one, but I couldn't find one here.

What I found the most, though - and therefore beginning and end of this post - are wisterias. The fragrance of these stunning climbers is absolutely heavenly.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Memories of French Lilac

My Dad loved French Lilac. Whenever he saw a blooming bush of French Lilac, he would stop whatever he was doing (like driving a car) and go over to the bush to smell the fresh blooms. I remember my brother and me sitting in the backseat rolling our eyes...

processed with Kim Klassen's texture "dustyrose"

But nowadays I don't roll my eyes anymore - I can so well understand why my Dad did that. Since we moved to this home almost two years ago, I planted 6 French Lilacs - the last one, Pocahontas (pictured here) just two days ago.

My friend K. had given it to me because my Dad had passed away without knowing this special detail of his life. You can imagine her surprise when I told her what French Lilacs meant to my Dad.

I planted this one in memory of my Dad right at our front gate of our new fence. This way, when it will have grown a bit, passers by will be able to smell the blooms if they want to - just like my Dad did.

I'm linking up with Kim Klassen's "Texture Tuesday".

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Oh Happy Days

When I visited denthe's blog this morning I saw that she has joined the 100 Happy Days challenge. I hadn't heard about it before, so I was quite curious. After following her link and reading all about it, I decided to join as well. Surely, it can't be that difficult to find at least one thing a day that makes me happy? Take a picture of it and post it to my Facebook page?

I take this as a reminder that there always is something that puts a smile on my face. This challenge will be especially important on days I feel gloomy.

So I will post one photo each day to my Facebook page and Google+ and every now and then I plan to write about it here on my blog.

Today is the first day - and my happiness started early, with baking these Brötchen (German rolls). In Germany it is quite common to eat fresh rolls for breakfast every morning. You can get them in every bakery and they taste best the day they were made.

Since the three of us have breakfast together only on the weekends, I decided to bake some Brötchen for today's breakfast. I made the sponge yesterday afternoon and let it sit on the counter until this morning. I got up at 6:30 and started to make the dough, which again had to sit for a couple hours.

Shaping the dough into Brötchen was more challenging than I thought - out of 25 I managed just one almost perfectly shaped Brötchen:

I definitely need more practice! But who cares about the shape when these heavenly smells wind their way from the kitchen through the entire house and you're really hungry when you finally could sit down for a very late breakfast?

The Brötchen were delicious, although I can think of some way to further improve them. Of course we didn't eat 25 of them - I just threw the remaining Brötchen in the freezer for some weekend breakfast in the very near future.

You can find the recipe for the Brötchen here.