Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cliff Fence

Do you see the fence up on the cliff? It's from up here that we enjoyed those beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean in Bandon, Oregon. There are stairs down to the beach as well and on top is a parking lot. The stairs are actually rather comfortable, I was surprised about that (we took them down one evening and then up again). It didn't take us longer than five minutes to climb up to the top of  the cliff.

It's a pretty big area - and so is the beach. Endless. At high tide most of the rocks are surrounded by water, but at low tide you can walk around them and even see some seastars clinging to the rocks.

You have to look hard to see the fence in this picture - it's on the very right.

And this is what the fence looks like from the top at sunset - you had already seen it in a different post.

I'm linking up with Theresa's Good Fences again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Living by the Sea

I'm finally joining Linda's Wednesday Wit and Wisdom again. The challenge is to post a picture, then write a short story or a poem about the picture as a writing exercise. Of course my picture was taken during our vacation in Oregon. 

She loved the early mornings at the beach, when she had the long and wide stretch of sand almost to herself. There were only a few dog walkers around, usually with big dogs who loved to chase the seagulls and run into the water to retrieve a ball. Every now and then one would come to her, sniffing her out, get a pet on the head and return to its owner. She loved to watch them and witness their joy of life.

Every time she came to the beach she found some new treasure – an empty crab shell, a seastar, a beautiful piece of driftwood, clusters of barnacles. The oyster catchers danced around in the low water and the seagulls were yelling, always yelling. Could they ever be quiet?

She wondered what it was like to live by the sea. To have a little cottage on the cliff. First thing in the morning would be to walk at the beach. In the night she would listen to the waves crashing on the sand. It was music in her ears. She wondered what it was like to be in a storm, in the safety of your home, watching out over the grey and wild ocean while the wind was rattling around the corners with an eerie sound.

Was life different when you lived by the sea? Was it more laid back? Did some things just cease to be important? Would you live more according to the tides? Would you spend hours watching for whales to appear, scanning the sea to see their spout? Would life be more slowly? Have a deeper sense? Would you be more content?

She felt this stir in her soul, the wish to break out of her daily routine and opt for a slower life. A life that was dominated  by nature and not by money and working hours. A simpler life with just the things you needed for a basic life, not the things you wanted but didn’t really need.

She sighed and watched the dog running along the waterline, jumping for joy. So carefree and without a worry. She would have a dog if she lived here. Perhaps two. Big dogs. What was keeping her from this dream? She was free.

She would go to the real estate place she had seen the day before. And then to the animal shelter.


Monday, July 20, 2015

What's for Dinner on a Hot Lazy Summer Day

The past couple days have been very hot - that hot actually, it didn't even cool down significantly during the night. This is very unusual for our area. Even if it is hot during the day, the nights are cool and the best time is the morning with its fresh air.

But at the moment we're experiencing that kind of summer heat that doesn't allow us to sleep deeply but instead toss and turn with just a thin sheet covering us. The ceiling fan runs all night and the morning doesn't bring a break.

It's what I call hot and lazy summer days. It's too hot to get anything major done. I pretty much sit on the couch in the big room with the curtains drawn (we don't have a/c) and knit. That's all I can manage right now.

So what's for dinner on a night like this when I don't like to cook because it's too darn hot? (Do you remember this song from "Kiss me Kate"?)

Thank heaven for an abundant tomato harvest! Some mozzarella from the neighborhood store, some basil picked from our own plants, good olive oil and balsamico, salt and pepper - the Italians call it caprese and it's the best food on hot summer days.

Of course I serve it with whole wheat bread that I baked myself.

Oh, and don't forget the wine!

I love dry rosé wines at this time of year.

All I can say is "buon appetito"!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sunset Fence by the Sea

While in Bandon we watched every sunset. There is a tiny wayside park on the cliff from where you have a gorgeous view over the Pacific - and into the setting sun.

This is the other side, away from the ocean. I loved how the sun was reflected in the window.

Or let's have a look through the fence.

But I don't want to keep you from a clear view over the ocean. The rocks in the sea are typical for Bandon - as for the entire Oregon coast. It makes this place truly wild.

I'm linking up with Good Fences again!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

First Harvest

It's not quite the middle of July yet and I am already harvesting from my garden. I've been getting my own zucchinis for three weeks, but this morning I was able to pick the first tomatoes - Celebrity, Early Girl and my favorite, Juliet. All are sweet and juicy - such a difference to the poor growing season we had last year.

When I stepped outside this morning to gather the paper, I saw a bunch of lavender lying at my front door - my beautiful neighbor from across the street has left them there. She has dozens of lavender plants in front of her house, and every year she gives me an armful of them - that's the kind of sweet person she is.

I had some fun taking photos this morning before breakfast. A great way to start the day.

I wish all of you a wonderful week - and eat your veggies!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Fence By The Beach

On our trip we stopped in Bandon, OR, a sweet little artsy town by the sea. We didn't camp here but stayed a couple nights in a beautiful hotel right on the beach. We started each day by taking a long walk along the sandy beach, enjoyed stunning sunsets and listened to the sea during the night.

Right where the path from the hotel to the beach started there was this beautiful fence, decorated with nets, ropes and buoys.

I thought it was the coolest subject for my photos - and such a handsome guy for Theresa's Good Fences!

 Don't you agree?


I'm participating in the Christmas in July sale on Etsy.
Everything in my shop is 15% off
with coupon code ETSYCIJ15,
now through Sunday, 7/12/2015


Monday, July 6, 2015


During our summer break we went up the coast through Oregon and Washington, stopping where we loved it to camp (some nights we spent in hotels as well, especially when we were in need of a refreshing shower). We love camping, I love sleeping in a tent with just nature around me. That's why we tend to go to more primitive campgrounds and avoid the big RV places.

This time was different than all the other times we went camping - Kaefer wasn't with us. She had left for Germany where she spent a bit more than two weeks with friends of us, going to school and generally enjoying life. It was a very new experience going on vacation without her. While we missed her goofiness, it also had its perks - for example we could photograph as long and much as we wanted without her getting bored.

We always have our special morning latte with foam on top!

I usually started the day writing morning pages and enjoying the fresh morning air.

While the rest of Oregon and Washington was pretty warm and even hot, it was way cooler at the coast. We had some pretty heavy winds and all the light clothes stayed in the bag - it was jeans and sweaters.

We cuddled around the campfire in the morning and the evening, often wrapped in blankets which still smell of smoke even though they had their turn in the washing machine.

I even enjoyed doing the dishes!

We cooked on our tiny camping cooker and I always sent the Geek to fetch more water in our Nalgene bottles. We needed it for everything - cooking, making coffee in the morning and hot chocolate in the evening, doing the dishes, brushing our teeth...

In our campsite in the Oregon Dunes we had very special visitors who were extremely interested in our food - no, we didn't give them anything.

Camping is the way to go for me. I hope we still do it when we're much older - perhaps not in a tent anymore, but a VW camping van. That's my dream.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Celebrating Independence

Today, on the 4th of July, we celebrate our country's independence from Britain, back in 1776. We have red, white and blue parties with family and friends, we barbecue and we have colorful and loud fireworks. It's a joyful holiday, a great day of celebration.

Sadly, some Americans seem to be unaware what we are celebrating.

photo by Robert Bartz

A couple days ago I saw a video in which random people on their way to the beach were interviewed about Independence Day. Some of the "highlights":

Question: Who did we gain our independence from?

- I don't know.
- The South.  - At the end of the Civil War? - Yes, from the South.
- Those countries.
And my personal favorite:
- From California. (oh yeah, baby)

Question: Who signed the Declaration of Independence?

- I don't know. Abraham Lincoln? - And when was that? - 1964? - 19... - 1984! (Perhaps it was George Orwell then....)

Question: Who were the Founding Fathers of our country?

- Silence.

Where the Declaration of Independence was written. Photo by Robert Bartz

While reading this, you probably cringe just as I did when I watched that video. And of course this is not representative for all Americans. But it made me wonder why I as an immigrant have to pass the citizenship test when I wish to become a US citizen. Perhaps natural born Americans should take that test as well.

Especially politicians. No, I am not elaborating on this. You certainly have made up your mind about that and so have I.

Gaining independence is a huge step for any country. For me, the most important part of independence is freedom. Let freedom ring - but so often I feel it's the freedom for one group, but not for the other. Freedom ends where it limits the freedom of others. That is a given. Freedom involves responsibility - a lot of it. Freedom without responsibility is not freedom for all, but just freedom for "Me". Freedom is something we have to work for every single day - by giving it to others and keeping it for ourselves.

Freedom is something wonderful that we so often take for granted. It is the greatest good in our country - and many others. Truly a reason to celebrate.