Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Us vs. Them

I know, I know.  The Easter weekend came and went with nary a peep out of me.  BUT...I was definitely thinking about all of it.

In fact, this was my image on my photoblog on Black Good Friday:

For me, this is sooooo Roman Catholic.  For you, too?
I grew up in a Protestant church where our crosses were always empty.

And that got me thinking...which turned into my post today at Vision and Verb.
In fact, I had planned all along to use the above image for it
but changed yesterday, at the last minute, to this one:

 Which image would YOU have chosen for a post on us vs. them, I wonder!

Well, you can decide here, if you want to take a read.....
Warning:  it's about religion, sex and politics, none of which we're supposed to talk about, right?!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Museum in Giessenburg, NL

Two posts in one day, one right after the other, seemed to make sense this time around so as to keep two things separate...and yet somehow connected.

We were in nearby Giessenburg in March to have high tea with Margreeth and Natasha.  That was my first post here.  During the afternoon, we walked into town and, among other things, visited the museum, down the street from De Graanbuurt.  It deserved it's own post, I decided.

First of all, it's huge and a bit of a...well...an intriguing look of the former old grain mill.
It belongs to the extended Boer family, some of whom live there and keep the place running.
It's a privately-run museum with all the contents on display collected by the family over 50+ years!
They call it Ons Museum:  Our Museum.
And yes, that's Gorinchem's Grote Kerk 6 km away, captured from the top floor!

I don't know where or how to begin.  HELP!

No sooner do you call for Help and the 80-year-young matriarch, Mrs. Boer Sr., appears.
She can tell you anything and everything you'd ever want to know.

Like, for instance, how these phonographs work!

How about vintage toys?  To your heart's delight!

Did I mention that we first climbed to the top floor of the building from the outside staircase 
because that's where the museum is.  So after we finished sailed through the museum part, 
we turned a corner and  found a set of steps to start our trip downstairs.

Don't ask; don't tell.
Enough doors to sink a ship...and yours to buy, if you brought your right measurements.

Do you like junk?  Someone's trash, your treasure?
It was hard to know where the museum left off and the "for sale" started.  HA!

See what I mean?

To tell you the truth, I had no clue what was museum and what was store at that point.

I do know that some of this was for sale, as we got closer to the ground entrance.

Welcome to Ons Museum...Our Museum.
I 'spect it's one of Giessenburg's best-kept secrets because I hadn't heard of it in my 4+ years here,
and it's only 6 km from home.

Guess where we'll now take all our photographer friends when they visit!  HA!

A Saturday in Giessenburg, NL

This post has been a long time coming, since Saturday, March 22, when we drove to nearby Giessenburg to visit friends, Natasha, and her mother Margreeth.

And, because we went to see their very unique museum in town, I'm making two posts of this afternoon visit, this first one being of everything but the museum.  The museum post will come right after this one, same day.

So, Giessenburg!  It's only 6 km west of us here in Gorinchem and with only 5K inhabitants.  It's delightful...one of those best-kept secrets just waiting to be visited!  We went for high tea, but started out first with a walk to see the town.

 The river Giessen runs right through the town, with the Reformed Church a landmark.

It was such a gorgeous, sunny day, so I was snapping right and left.
These fields were visible from right off the main road.

No shortage of spring pomp and circumstance everywhere we looked!

And so many weathervanes in the space of just a few minutes' walk!
I was in heaven.

Margreeth and Natasha wanted us to see De Graanbuurt indoor village of shops.
Part of the fun is that their son/brother helped build it!
See the stairs to the 2nd-floor green shop?

That's where we had latte macchiatos in their sweet little café.

Have you ever seen a bathroon sink like this???

Talk about a photo op!  The ladies knew we'd love it.

  Over the nearby canal, both coming and going, we passed something new for me.
It's a duck nesting basket.  I had to go to Giessenburg to see my first one?!

Back at their home, after the trip into town and a visit to the museum (following this post),
we experienced my first high tea here in Dutchland at someone's home.
Yup, exactly what you see, with all kinds of goodies.  I'm such a sucker for scones!
And that's Natasha's ear, with 14 earrings.  Her other ear has 15.  :)

It was a fabulous afternoon and such a pleasant surprise, not only because of delightful Giessenburg,
but because I felt like we made two new friends.  Natasha is Astrid's co-worker,
and now we're getting to know her mother, a bit younger than both of us.  HA!

And because of them, we're going to buy the one-year museum card to start visiting real museums.
More on that at another time but it'll give us free entrance to many museums all over Dutchland.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As a parting shot, here's a collage of the tulips here at the senior complex where we live.
Flower beds of pansies outside and inside the courtyard house these beauties.
This IS Holland, after all...and they're all blooming now!

Friday, April 04, 2014


Sometimes as we are out-n-about, I end up with a mish-mash of things that in and of themselves don't really make a post but, together, they are, well...bits-n-pieces to put together as one.

As a matter of fact, these bits all happened the second Saturday after we went to the Ottoland sheepfold, which is why I want to show them now before they go into a Black Hole somewhere.  It was a full, fun day.

We drove directly from the sheepfold to the swan man's house about a kilometer away, in Goudriaan.  Goudriaan is also where Adrie, the woodturner, lives.  See how close everything is!

I call Arie the swan man because he's the guy who smokes swan meat...
as well as geese, wild pig, deer and mackerel.
 See that stash above?  That's ours...swan and mackerel only!

I know what you're thinking:  NO!!!  NOT THE SWANS!!!
But, like deer and other such animals, even swans can be too plentiful.
Too many swans and you destroy the polder for the farmers. Not good.
Once you get past the "Bambi Factor," you'll LOVE smoked swan.  Besides of which, it's so lean.
All that oak wood is for the smoker, where Astrid is standing (top right).

Arie also has a barn where his neighbor's cows bunk down.
One of the support poles is from a windmill sail!

We continued from Arie's to our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant,
catching the sights along the way.
Those herons are little rascals...always moving away when you get close.
The one above was at 1928mm on my miracle camera (for those who understand).

Have you ever seen a manure truck?  It's springtime in the polder for the farmers!

And what about a log trailer like this, pulled by a tractor.
Only out in the byways of the Dutch polder!

 At the pannenkoeken restaurant,  the sun was playing hide-n-seek.
How cool that they even have a kiddies' corner!

Between Arie's and the restaurant, there was lots of foot gear to enjoy.
The Dutch do like their clogs, especially on the farm.

Then, one last stop at Wijnhandel van Ouwerkerk in their new building next door to here.
It's gonna take some getting used to.  I loved the old look of the "museum" from 1860.
That place will now be used for storage/stock.  (sigh)

Like I said, just a bunch of bits-n-pieces, all on a Saturday afternoon!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring in the Garden

Every once in awhile we drive the 5km to nearby Arkel to have koffie with our dear friends, Siem and Thelma.  If we can sit outside in nice weather, it's like heaven for me because they have such a huge yard, full of goodies.

Let's just say I have wandering eyes and can't sit still!

 But first, we had iets lekkers (something good) with our koffie.
And another friend, Wil, came by to visit a bit and drop off her tennis rackets with Astrid for stringing.
(surely you remember that multi-talented Astrid also strings rackets)

Then I was on my own personal mission to take pictures of every different flower I could find!

 Since this is Holland, let's start with the tulips...almost all of which were red.

I know daffodils and forsythia but after awhile I had no clue what I was looking at.
I just know that I enjoyed what I saw, even if it grows on trees!

Hmmmm.  Which images should I group together??
I just went for broke!

Don't you love how Mother Nature makes her color combinations!

And if it weren't for the butterflies and bees, where would we all be!

Speaking of "we," Thelma was putting on her own show for Astrid.
She's her own special flower!  What a fabulous addition to the garden. 

And since you surely remember Astrid's "garden" on our balcony...

...it, too, is growing up a storm.  Build it and they will come!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Dutch Sheep in Ottoland: Part 2

When I told you (last post) that our two Saturdays a week apart at the Ottoland, NL, sheepfold were as different from night and day, I meant it. This time, we were two of only a handful of visitors.  Everyone had come the weekend before.

So in that regard, we looked at everything with new eyes.  And this time it even occurred to me to take videos with my camera!

Before going into the sheepfold, I snuck around back to look in through the open door.
There was good light and the week-old lambs were eating off the hay bales.

And Astrid was already there, capitalizing on the photo op.
(and, yes, that's the famous Dutch wind I love!)

There were lambs cuddling....

...and lambs nuzzling their mamas...

 ...and lambs wandering around while everyone else was eating.+

Even lambs jumping around for joy...just to be alive.
Hello, World.  Here I am!

A different Billy Goat Gruff from the previous week was on top of a bale, King of the Mountain.

What a handsome dude!

But THIS is what totally captivated me!
Every time I looked for 30+ minutes, they stood munching and staring at each other,
while little lambsy-divey watched from below.
Was it spring love???

No amount of distraction distracted them!

We really did have the place to ourselves.
Sheep heaven.

Towards the end, the shepherd came in and talked with Astrid.
Do you remember him from here, when he brought his flock to Gorinchem in September of 2011?
All that time we kept saying we'd go out to his sheepfold, which we finally did.

As we left for our car, guess who followed us!
It's not all work and no play for these smart, adorable sheepdogs...or for Astrid, either!

Next door to the sheepfold, other sheep were out in the fields, doing what all sheep do.
Come April, all the lambsy-diveys will be out there with them.
This is what spring is all about for sheep in the Netherlands!


And did I mention that the Dutch do NOT mainly grow their sheep for lambchops?  Or I should put it this way...sheep slaughtered for meat is exported, which explains why I rarely find it on menus when we go out to eat! They grow their sheep for WOOL, which is in bountiful supply here in Dutchland.  I can live with that.

 Sister Ruth's new grandbaby gitl, Olive Rose, was born this past Monday.
As a sweet tribute to her and to all lambsy-diveys everywhere, especially those who need holding,
here's my own Ollie lamb:  I love you!