This summer’s picks (and pecks)

While I am writing this, I am sitting on the corner bench in the kitchen by the old table with a pot of green tea. Two loaves of bread are in the oven – a new creation made with wholegrain wheat flour, spelt, potato and buckwheat. I am curious to see how the experimant goes. The air is becoming more and more bread-scented and delicious every minute. Phoebe is roaming her territory outside, Klaus is still asleep. Ah, it feels good to be home again! ­čśŐ­čÄëI am grateful. July flew by incredibly fast and I spent most of it away from home. My schedule was packed with business travel across the country to facilitate various in-person workshops. I have become a lot kinder to myself when it comes to working, taking breaks and doing only one thing at a time, but my optimism and can-do attitude still sometimes make me say “yes, I can” a little more often than would be ideal.

The “tour list” went like this: Using Bingen as my hub and then going from there to Erlangen, Braunschweig, Karlsruhe, Mainz, Stuttgart, Berlin and Mainz again. Well, at least that was the plan. Karlsruhe did not happen because of a Covid infection. While I was in Brunswick, I felt telltale symptoms creeping up on me and although my test was still showing negative, I cancelled the workshop for the following day (picking up the phone to make that call was not easy for me). I quickly changed my travel plans and rebooked the train ticket to go back down to Bingen one day ahead of schedule. That turned out to be a good decision.

While I was on my way there, I learned that my grandpa (aged 99) had a positive test and was suffering from symptoms. Just 12 hours after my arrival in Bingen, my test also showed the famous two bars. That was how I got I spend a memorable week in Bingen together with grandpa – looking after him and his household, taking it slowly and enjoying some time together that otherwise we probably would not have had. For him the infection was a lot more severe despite his four vaccinations but he made it out alive and in good spirit. You can watch a short video of the story on hppyppl’s instagram channel. The whole thing was probably still easier to bear for the two of us than for my mum, who also had Covid at the same time but was in quarantine alone in her place. The reunion when she was able to visit us – we celebrated it with a BBQ and Mojitos.

Now, there is only one more week to go before our summer holiday in Denmark. A part of me is looking forward to it and another would love to stay here instead. Why? Well, the veg in the garden are growing so nicely and there will be a lot to harvest in the next 3 weeks. We already enjoyed a tasty soup this week with our own beetroot, courgettes and herbs. I can have a home-grown leaf salad or rocket every day, the beans are blossoming and the outdoor tomatoes are finally beginning to blush.

Ah, and have I told you about the chickens yet? Together with the neighbours we now look after a good handful of hens. They have their own patch in the garden and provide us with delicious eggs. One of my favourite little pleasures at the moment is going to visit them with a treat (salad leaves, cooked potato peel, cucumber skin and the like). The way they come running towards me just makes me grin every time. Running chickens are – at least for me – one of the funniest, uplifting sights in the world.

It’s really a picture-book rural life up here at the moment. I am immensely grateful for all the things that make up my life and I am aware that we are lucky and privileged to be able to live this way. This, for me, is something to cling to in world that is so crazy, sad, destructive, suffering and hopeful all at once.

On the barn project, there is also an update. Remember, I had this idea of turning our barn into a workshop space that can also be used as an apartment? After much back an forth because of material shortage, inflation and insecurity of the overall situation, we have now decided to go ahead regardless and get “phase 1” of the project completed this year, saving the rest for later. I will keep you posted on how that goes.

Cannot wait to taste it!

My bread is now ready, I am adding a picture of it. It’s a bummer that I cannot include the scent as well. ­čśŐ

Wishing you a good rest of the summer, wherever you are spending it.

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