Friday, May 31, 2019

Green stuff



One of the things I really missed when we stayed on the island last year, was taking care of plants. I've always had lots of them (long before it was a trend). But with all the traveling back and forth it just wasn't an option, unless I wanted a lot of dead plants on my conscience.
But in January, when I knew we would stay longer this year, there was no holding me back. I bought a plant the very first day when we went to the supermarket and I've been adding plants ever since (if you follow me on Instagram, you may have caught up on that).
I've been meaning to post about my plants for a while now. In fact, I had a post, and pictures all ready to post weeks ago, but somehow I never got to it and then some of those plants died and it wasn't fun to post it anymore.

Last Sunday I was repotting some of my plants and I decided to take some new pictures and write a new post to go online this week. So, here we go.


This was that very first plant. It's an Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen). One of them wasn't doing so well, so I took them out of their shared pot, rinsed the roots and gave them both their own place to grow. We'll see if that helps.


Lemon balm is my favorite herb for tea. It tastes great and it's calming too. I love to use fresh leaves, but I hope this plant will grow large enough to harvest and dry leaves too.


I think this is some type of agave, but I'm not sure. I tend to buy the cheapest ones in the supermarket plant section and they're usually not labeled.



These are cuttings I brought from my favorite plants in Holland. The top one is a Ficus Benjaminus (Weeping Fig), the one on the bottom a Schefflera Arboricola (Dwarf Umbrella Tree). I thought they were doing well and took them out of their shared pots to get their own and then I found out none of them have roots. Still, they're growing and creating new leaves. Not sure what's happening here. I gave them a different type of potting ground and hope they will grow roots now.


Another medicinal plant: Aloe Vera. At least I know this one will survive here, though I'm not sure if it likes being in a pot.



I don't have to worry about these two either. Sansevieria's (snake plants) are very sturdy.  I had them in Holland too, but I bought these here.


Last, but not least: a pepper plant I grew from seeds. I have more outside (I'll show those later), but I decided to take one of the stronger plants and add it to the selection I keep inside, just to see what works better.


It is time we move to the new house though. There are so many more plants I want to buy, sow, or take cuttings from, but I wouldn't know where to put them...
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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Three things - home is more than just a word

 

I read some blog posts about the 'one word' thing this week (here and here) and realized that the word I dismissed is actually really present in my life this year.
Wait, let me find that post... ... ...  Hmn, I thought I blogged about that, but apparently, I didn't. Or at least I can't find it. Oh well, I'll explain.
I dismissed the word 'home' because when 2018 ended and 2019 started, I didn't feel at home anywhere. We didn't have a house on Curaçao yet (and as you may remember it was quite a struggle to find one) and the Dutch house was more or less sold and also staged for viewings. It didn't feel like my home anymore.
So choosing 'home' felt wrong. I was already depressed and a bit homesick, no need to focus on that. And since I couldn't come up with another word, I just skipped the whole one-word thing.

But looking back, this whole year has been about 'home', so I might as well embrace it.
So, here are three things I learned so far.

- owning a house that I love definitely helps to feel at home. Since we bought the house, our tiny apartment feels more like home too, the whole island does. When things go wrong I still tend to think 'I just want to go home!', but lately that is followed by 'Oh wait, I am home and I don't actually want to go back to Holland.'
I guess having a place to root is really important to me.

- having my stuff here also helps. I did blog about that. We brought just a few bits and pieces, but having them around makes this furnished apartment feel like more than just a place to stay.

- the hard part is still being so far away from my family. T. has been away for work more than usual this past week and I realized that this island will never be home without him, even though I love it so, so much and we will live in the house of my dreams in a few months. I felt homesickness rearing its ugly little head even during those few hours alone. There was also some stuff happening with my family and I felt the distance harder than ever.
If something ever happens to T. (I still worry about his health a lot) I will probably move back to Holland. It's true what they say: home is where the heart is. Right now the biggest part of my heart is here, so that's good.

Linking up with Carole's Three on Thursday

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Knitting and reading - childhood memories


Knitting:

The poncho is coming along nicely. I started on the second skein. I still love the color changes and I really hope these two skeins make a big enough poncho. I could add a border in a different yarn, but I'd rather let these two shine on their own.
I'm also knitting potholders with cotton. It's the perfect project to take with me to the house. I have to do some unraveling though because I found out yesterday that I don't have enough of that green to make two squares. Not a problem, I can add black cotton, but I already finished one square. And even though these are just potholders, I want them to be the same. So I'll unravel the one that's finished a bit and add some black to that one too.

Reading:

I'm reading Kruistocht in Spijkerbroek (Crusade in jeans - I think there are translations available). It's a children's novel (for older children/teenagers) and I loved it as a child and as a teenager. This February it was in the stores for only two Euro, so I asked the girls to get me a copy. I really wanted to read it again.

The story starts in the 20th century (the present when the book was written). A sixteen-year-old boy takes part in an experiment with a time machine and is sent back to the Middle Ages. He soon finds out he is in the time he selected, but not in the right place. He misses his window to get back because exactly at that moment thousands of children pass by and he can't get to the right spot.  He soon finds out these children are on their way to Jerusalem (they are in Germany at that point) to free the Holy City. Rudolf decides to join the Children's Crusade. Not because he believes the sea will part for them when they arrive at Genua, but because he and a student he met soon after he arrived want to help the children to survive.
Even though I know how it ends (I've read it many times as a kid) it's still captivating to read. I'm really glad to have this book in my collection again.

Do you reread childhood favorites?

Linking up with As Kat Knits' Unraveled Wednesday
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Monday, May 27, 2019

A brilliant idea


So today I bring you a picture of two hats I didn't finish. Or so it seems.

But no, in fact, this pictures shows a brilliant idea* I had last week.

I was thinking about making my favorite hat pattern (you know, this one) and how it might be nice to knit one for myself in cotton yarn. Not because my head gets cold here, but to keep my hair out of my face (I always braid it, but it never stays tidy).
And then I realized that just knitting the brim of a head makes a perfect headband that would work nicely too. And look a lot less ridiculous.


It was a nice quick project and I'm kind of obsessed with the possibilities now. Colors, patterns, embellishments (embroidery, beads)... so many ideas.

Oh, the second black one? That one was immediately claimed by T., who uses it as a sweatband to keep the sweat from dripping into his eyes when he's working on the house. He likes me to knit some more too (without embellishments though).

* or I finally realized the obvious, that might also be the case here ;-)

linking up with Nicole's Crafting On
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Weekend doings









We had a wonderful weekend. We gathered with friends and worked at the house. That's a tiring combination, but a lot of fun too. I took a little moment to take my camera into the 'garden' and took some pictures of cactusses and agaves (that big stalk in the picture above the last one is an agave flower, it can grow up to 3 metres high).
Today someone is coming over to fix the roof at the house, but we also have work to do (me) and clients to visit (T.). So, a busy day awaites us, but we feel up to it.
Wishing you all a great start to your week!
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Friday, May 24, 2019

Small victories


I have a tendency to dream, think, and plan, big. I know that's a trend right now, but I'm not sure if it's really all that good. I usually want to do more than I can and to go faster than I can manage.
And then I'm never satisfied with what I've accomplished. I'm always two steps ahead of myself.
'Yeah, I did that, but there's so much more I should have done...'

Not healthy. I don't want to do that to myself anymore. So I'm trying to celebrate the small victories.

We've been working in the house for three weeks now and yesterday I could finally declare part of the house clean and free of bat droppings.
The whole downstairs, two bedrooms, the small bathroom and the hallway between them. All clean. Okay, don't come over and test for hygiene. When we have running water, I'll do some more cleaning. But for now, I'm happy with what I've accomplished.

 Bathroom before:

Bathroom after:

hallway before:

hallway after:

bedrooms before:


bedrooms after:

On to the weekend. I hope (see what I did? hope, not plan) to clean the kitchen walls for the first time (but they are not as dirty as these were) and the walls of the entry room for the second time (because they were the worst and I didn't get everything off the first time).
But I'm also going to have some (more) fun at the beach.

Wishing you all a great weekend!
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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Three on Thursday - epic battles



Three types of animals we have epic battle stories to tell about. Well, maybe epic is a bit exaggerated, but I do like a good story.

- bats. Oh, the bats in our new house! Goodness. I already told you about the droppings and my cleaning them off the walls and floors is also becoming an epic battle. I'm really inching my way around the house these days. But I'm getting there.
When we started working in the house we removed all the wood panels that were blocking the missing windows (bars were still there, so it was safe to do that). The bats didn't like their cave (they resided mostly in the entry room) so light and we thought they'd left.
Well, they didn't. They just relocated to the darkest room in the house. The attic. We tried opening those doors, but that didn't get enough light in (there's just a tiny window in there). T. tried to smoke them out with those coils that should (but don't really) work against mosquito's. Didn't work.
I did a bit of a search on the internet and found this list of things that might work (can't find the exact website right now, but there are several to be found if you google 'how to get rid of bats', like this one).
At the end of that list was cinnamon. That website stated they hate cinnamon. So we bought five packages of cinnamon and sprinkled the powder on the beams they were hanging from. And hey presto, before we finished sprinkling (well, actually T. did, I really don't want to get near them) they were gone.
They came back once, but they didn't stay. To make sure they won't return I also hung aluminum foil where they enter (they don't like the light flashes and the sounds that makes).
The picture above actually has a bat in it. See that vague black spot on the right? It's a bat, not going to enter our house. And no, I wasn't planning on taking pictures when they were actually in the house. I'd have to get way to close to do that.

- lizards.
Inside we just get the small ones, luckily, but when you see them moving around from the corner of your eye it sometimes gets you. Most of them are the size of a cockroach, so mostly I'm relieved that they aren't. They're also very stubborn. When I'm sweeping the floor, they only move an inch away when I hit them. Each time I hit them that is. And waiting for them to leave doesn't work.
We also have a lizard living in the outside toilet. This one is slightly bigger, the size of a rat and he refuses to move. So each time I use the toilet I tell him to avert his eyes and to stay put (don't want him to jump on my head). So far we seem to have reached an agreement.

-  ants.
We sort of noticed that there were always ants in the car when we rode back from the house. But last Thursday we realized we had been parking on a nest. And that the nest was transferring itself to the car. When we started the motor and the fans started blowing, they started to spit out ants. And it kept spitting them out until there were at least hundred of them running around. Like a horror movie.
I felt like a massacre murderer, but there was nothing we could do but trying to smash them. We should have gone back to get the insecticide we keep at the new house, but that didn't occur to us until we were about halfway, so we just kept driving. The road home never felt that long...

Linking up with Carole Knits' Three on Thursday
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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

In my kitchen








Lately, in my kitchen, I have been...

:: thinking about that other kitchen a lot. Each time something drops out of my very limited storage space and each time I have to move things around to create workspace on the tiny counter I think 'just wait until we've moved'.
I'll build a big pantry and if that counter isn't big enough, I'll just add something else to work on (I'd like a big butcher block that I can still move around).

:: wondering if it's that prospect alone that brought the fun back in cooking

:: experimenting with spices I found in the supermarket

:: inventing new dishes that we loved very much.
The one pictured above: I combined diced bacon with a (big) yellow bell pepper, a sweet potato, and a leek, added two teaspoons of the shawarma mix and let it simmer until the veggies were soft(ish). Ate it with rice. Simple, but so good!

:: writing it all down for when I lack inspiration

:: enjoying making coffee with my mother's old coffee set. She got it when she got married, but it was in her cupboard for decades, because she uses a machine now. She decided to get rid of it when she and my father moved to a smaller house, but I like making coffee like this, so I took it with me to Curaçao.

:: trying to work out a way to stop eating gluten. (I didn't test if I am celiac, but my grandfather was and my brother and two of the girls are, so it's a family thing). I was doing great at breakfast (I have been starting the day with two boiled eggs for years now) and dinner (at home, that is. When we eat out I still have to tell myself pizza is not doing me any good), but lunch was hard. Basic Dutch lunch is just some slices of bread, usually with butter or margarine and topped with thinly sliced cheese or meat (ham, sausage, bacon) and we actually prefer to lunch like that.
I already ditched the butter and the cheese (dairy - got that from my mother's side of the family), but oh, the bread! I love bread so much). My problem is that I can't eat glutenfree bread, because it usually contains soy (allergic to that) and sugar (I have hypoglycemia). T. eats rice cakes instead of bread, but those have a high glycemic value and my blood sugar went off when I tried that. So now I'm on arepas, Columbian cornbread. These are prebaked from the supermarket, but I plan to try and make them myself in the future. I like how they taste and I can even prepare them in advance when we take lunch to the house.
I've been eating arepas for a week now (and thus I've been almost gluten-free - I ate a wrap for lunch on my birthday - for a week) and I think my body likes it.

What's going on in your kitchen?

If you have followed Soulemama in the past, you may realize that posts like this are very much inspired by the way she used to blog. I've been missing her blog more than I should (get a life of your own, M!), but a few weeks ago I realized that if I want 'old-fashioned' blogging to continue, I'd better start with my own blog and write the kind of posts I want her (and some others who have gone missing) to write. 
So, I'm not trying to be a copycat, I'm just inspired by her blogging and I'm hoping to channel what I miss since she stopped writing into my own blog and into my own way of recording my life - if that makes any sense. I fear it doesn't, but I wanted to get this out in writing just once. 
Oh well, carry on...

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

At l(e)ast it's finished



When I started knitting this back in January I wasn't sure what it would be. I was just trying to knit something to get out of the knitting rut (and the depression) I was in. Using up some cotton scraps, creating a rectangle, that I would be able to use somehow.
Well, that didn't work to get me out of that rut and half a rectangle remained forgotten in my knitting basket for months.
This weekend I decided I needed some knitting to take with me to the house, but I'd like something more washable than the poncho. I took that once, but most of the time I didn't want to take it out because I was afraid it might get dirty. I thought I'd start knitting some cotton squares for potholders (I need some and my family loves it when I give them some) and then realized I was still working on this rectangle. So I took that with me.
Last night I finished it and this morning I wove in all those ends.
I still don't know what I'll use it for. It's big enough for me to stand on, so I could use it as a shower mat (maybe add a backing and or border?), it's also big enough to use under my drainer.
Really, I don't know what I made. But it is finished. I like that.



Linking up with Nicole's Crafting on
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Monday, May 20, 2019

Weekend doings







Our weekend was like many of our weekends will be these coming weeks (months). We spent a lot of time in the house. T. says he already installed about 600 yards of wiring. I don't really want to calculate how much bat droppings I scrubbed of my walls and floors, but it adds up to a lot, I'm sure.
But we also took time to stop and rest. And to breathe and notice and enjoy the moments.
We had dinner at Lagun (that's not far from our house and they have cheap but very good food) on Friday. I think I'm going to make a weather station like theirs.
And on Sunday we stopped working early to go to Kokomo for drinks and good music. We ran into some friends there and met some nice new people when we joined them.
I also squeezed in a lot of knitting-with-a-view, just because I could.
I think we're getting the hang of this balancing thing.

Now, let's try to carry that into the very busy week ahead of us...

Wishing you all a great start of your week!
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Friday, May 17, 2019

Snapshot(s)





I had a wonderful day yesterday. We did a bit of shopping, had lunch at our favorite restaurant and just enjoyed a day off. And later in the afternoon we packed some food and drinks and drove to the house to have ourselves a little bbq party there. The previous owner left a big bbq (made from an old oil drum) behind and we used that. Such fun!
And then we had the most perfect sunset to watch, from our own porch.
Life is good.
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