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!