Friday, July 15, 2011

A Package

In these days of email, Facebook, Skype and instant messaging, cards and packages from family or friends are still a very welcome sight. Thursday morning, I scooped up the mail from the mailbox, ran into the house and quickly cut open the package. I had been expecting the package, but was unsure of the contents. Oh, the excitement!

Our daughter and son-in-law had told us to expect a package with something "Dutch" for our new bicycles, but what would I find when I opened the package? Do you know what these are? They are genuine Dutch bicycle bells. Dutch cyclists (surely almost all able-bodied residents of the Netherlands) have these bells on their bicycles and ring them as they ride down the many miles of bike paths, warning unsuspecting pedestrians ( mostly tourists) to get out of their way. Bicycles have the right-of-way on bicycle paths, so do NOT stand in a bike path to take a photograph! 

Genuine Dutch bicycle bells

My husband and I suspected that the bells might be in the package, but there was an added treat for me. Wrapped around the bells was:

A "Bike Cap" for my saddle just like those found on so many Dutch bikes—perfect for those rainy days. 

The oil cloth can be wiped off, and the saddle stays dry.

Look for updates as I outfit my bike with genuine Dutch accessories and run errands around my town.

Monday, July 11, 2011

More Signs of Summer

It's too hot for the lettuce, but the cucumbers think that the weather is grand. I have been picking cucumbers from the garden almost every day. Our plants are producing pickling cucumbers, but I find them to be tender and almost never bitter if picked before they get too big.  I have been picking cucumbers almost every day.

Small pickling cucumbers are also delicious when sliced and eaten raw.

We just bought our first batch of sweet corn. There should be more to come.

This batch of fresh corn is ready to be cooked, buttered, salted and eaten!

If you sit outside toward dusk or drive along some country ditches, you may see one of the neatest signs of summer—lightning bugs or fireflies. Let's hope they find their mates so we can enjoy seeing them for years to come. Bonus bit of information: I have read that some lightning bugs track and eat slugs. That is an added bonus for our gardens!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


What can be more refreshing on a hot, humid summer day than a glass of ice-cold lemonade? Purists may insist on making their own, but it's more fun making it in this pitcher.The handle on the top makes it easy to mix the concentrate. As I said, it's lots of fun. This pitcher is for Niek and Diana who are without lemonade in the Netherlands. Sorry—you get herring, and I get lemonade!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More from Turkey Run State Park

I promised to share more photos from our trip to Turkey Run State Park. Dennis took these while he was hiking some of the more challenging trails in the park. Most of the trails are accessed by crossing Sugar Creek via the swinging bridge as shown in a previous post.

It was a hot day and the creek was very inviting to canoeists, although this stretch was empty at   the time of this shot.

Sugar Creek

Near the beginning of Trail 3

Hike the stream bed.

 Both of these photos show the actual trail.

Boulder  Canyon

Don't try this climb in flip-flops.

I hope that you enjoyed this pictorial hike through Turkey Run State Park.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

First Fruits (Vegetables) of the Season

The plants in our small garden have persevered through temperature extremes and excessive rainfall. (Part of the garden had been under water several times.) We are about to pick the first vegetables from our garden.

I love fresh lettuce, but hot weather can cause problems here in Indiana. As I remember growing up in Wisconsin, I think we had leaf lettuce from late spring (in a cold frame) until early fall. I have never been able to duplicate that feat here in Indiana. Almost every year I try to grow lettuce with varying degrees of success. This year we started with plants instead of seeds. Dennis spent $1.25 for eight Romaine lettuce plants. It looks like we will have lettuce in June.
Fresh from the garden
Rinsed lettuce

If you don't have a salad spinner, I recommend getting one—no more soggy lettuce! It's also fun to use. Push down and watch it spin.

Add radishes, olives, onions or anything else you fancy and enjoy eating a delicious salad.

Dennis and I are eagerly waiting for the tomatoes and cucumbers.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Camping at Turkey Run

Turkey Run State Park in Indiana is one of our favorite parks and places to hike. When we decided not to spend the money to go to the upper peninsula of Michigan this year, it was not hard to opt for a six-day trip to Turkey Run. Instead of walks along Lake Superior shoreline and hikes to find tall pines, we were in for moderate to rugged trails through topography that looks nothing like the relatively flat farmland of northeastern Indiana.

A flat spot along the bluff
Suspension bridge over Sugar Creek

Camping for us means hooking up our 26-foot trailer to our pick-up truck and heading for a campground.We used to tent-camp, and we had a pop-up trailer for one camping trip, but those days are behind us. We have a comfortable bed, small kitchen, bathroom, table and small couch, heating and air conditioning. I guess people now call it "RV-ing, but we still saying "camping." 

Dennis and Greta relax under the awning. Yes, the dog has her own chair.
A visitor to our trailer 
Be observant to spot these spiders.
Most of the wonderful photos from the rugged trails were taken by Dennis, since my left knee has been bothering me for months and I chose to remain at the campground. I contented myself with some easy hiking and wandering through the campground looking for interesting wildlife.

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
We saw lots of Tiger Swallowtails. Unfortunately, the only one I could photograph landed at our campsite with a damaged left wing.

Camping is hard work. Greta is waiting for me to join her for  "reading time."
I'll have more photos and camping commentary this week. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saving a Toad

This post could have been about lots of things–camping, weather, gardening, graduations, but nature intervened.

We had a good bit of rain and wind while we were gone for six days, so Dennis (husband) who was mowing asked if I would remove some large branches from the yard. I obliged, but in doing that, I found a toad nestled against the trunk of one of our large maple trees. Since I didn't want him to be hurt, I coaxed him into a small bucket and deposited him in the bushes of our side yard. Sorry—no photo. He did not stay around to say "Thank-you."

May he or she live long and eat lots of flies and mosquitoes.