Still Learning

….after all these years.

I have always been firmly convinced that “allspice” is a special american blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. I was very wrong about this, however. While speaking to a good friend about allspice yesterday (yes, I know, such exciting topics of conversation) I did a search for it on the internet and it turns out that it is a completely other kind of spice, see the wiki article here.

Why the obsession with allspice? Because of a very special recipe for spice cake that I have been making for almost 40 years calls for it, and I’ve never seen “allspice” in Germany (though I now know the german name for it, “piment”).

I’ve made many culinary forays into other cultures in the course of my life, especially the italian, french, mexican and indian ones. My very favorite cookbook, however, is a very special american one that my mother obtained while I was still a youngster. It’s the “Bentley Farm Cookbook” by Virgina Williams Bentley. It is by far my favorite, because Mrs. Bentley’s approach to all things kitchen, cooking and serving are sensible and the cookbook was written with much love. It’s a cookbook that you can actually sit down and just read – it’s informative as well as entertaining.

Here an excerpt from her introduction to the book:


I often tried to “borrow” this cookbook from Mom, but she kept her eyes on it always, the book being one of her favorites too. Imagine my delight some years ago when I managed to get a used copy from a large online retailer.

It contains recipes ranging from as simple as making lemonade to as exotic as curry of lamb. But my favorites are her oatmeal cookies, which are to die for, and the spice cake recipe which requires allspice.

I think there is a spice cake on my radar for this week.

Religious Holidays

Living in Bavaria, in which the catholic population has a slight majority, we enjoy a number of extra holidays that aren’t celebrated in all of Germany.

Today is one such day, “Frohnleichnam”, which is the Feast of Corpus Christi in the english language.

It is celebrated by processions through town. The participants carry religious icons and flags, and make their way through town, singing and praying, and then stopping to hold a small service at an altar set up at different places in town each year.

Here are two pictures of the procession that just passed by my house:



There is certainly some beauty in the rites and pageantry of it all, yes. And I’m all for preserving traditions, of which Bavaria has very many.

But as I sit here, listening to them solemnly singing hymns at an altar placed just adjacent to our property, I cannot help but remember that over 50% of Bavarians are CSU (Christian Social Union) supporters. The CSU is the bavarian “sisterr” party of Merkel’s CDU, and it was our Bavarian CSU Prime Minister, Horst Seehofer, who threw fits and tantrums when Merkel wouldn’t close our borders, even threatening to sue the very government of which his own party is a part. We all know how this ended up playing out –  in the EU making  a vile and foul refugee deal with Turkey, a country that jails opposition journalists and has a problem with free speech. Once again,  refugees from warn-torn Syria, trying to find someplace to live their lives, are drowning in significant numbers in the mediterranean.

Just because it says “Christian” on the outside, doesn’t always mean there is “Christian” inside, I guess.


I Completely Forgot

….to do a food porn shot of the tandoori chicken, but it turned out very well – very spicy and exotic, though not spicy in a hot sense of the word. In terms of hotness, I’d rate it “comfortably warming”.

I’m taking it into the normal cooking repertoire, though I may be renaming it to “cowboy chicken” instead of “indian” chicken for equal opportunity purposes 😉

Amazingly rejuvenated by two days of summer weather with endless sun spent in the great outdoors of my little world, I leave here with a quote of the day:

A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”

(Bernard Meltzer)

Knitting Weather

….is what we’ve been having, so yes, I finished the white lace sweater:


By the time I got to working the front half, I’d gotten used to the pattern and only had to frog a few rows once.

We are supposed to get summer weather (just the next two days) which pleases me, as I decided to try out a new recipe for indian tandoori chicken on Sunday, the spicyness of which will fit perfectly with our summery temps.

Yes, I know I moan about the weather a lot. But thanks to its absolute abhorrent nature this year , it’s almost June and I’ve hardly been out with the camera, haven’t even sat on the motorcycle, and have barely enjoyed being outside – all of those things that I enjoy doing. I feel like I’m being slowly robbed of my favorite time of the year.

Other Muddles

Having completed those two cardigans, I wasn’t going to knit anything else for a while, especially in light of the fact that spring had sprung, sending me outdoors.

Then I found a stash of yarn that I began to make into a lacy summer sweater, but put the just started project aside when I, quite by accident, came upon another pattern.

It’s all Zippi’s fault. She has all of those intriguing buttons in her sidebar that lead all over the place and brought me here, where there are lots of free patterns for wonderfully cottony yarn which is reasonably priced.

So, over this three-day weekend which has been so blighted by rain, I’ve been busy with this:


Which will eventually become this.

Though I must mention that I’ve never done as much frogging on a knitting piece as on this one. There’s no advantage to letting your mind stray while knitting lace patterns.

Metric Muddles

We have had wonderful spring weather for the last week or so, and it has been rejuvinating to enjoy going barefoot, wearing shorts, and catching some rays.

Now that we have a long holiday weekend (Sunday/Monday are Pentecost), we are getting the downside and just this morning I received an alert from our national catastrophe organisation (oh, so many useful apps out there) that we should be expecting rain in quantities of 80 liters / square meter over the next two days.


Feel free to convert that to inches, if you are feeling particularly bored today.

It’s been a long wait

for a decent spell of weather lasting more than a few days, but it has finally arrived (about a month late). Which means that the weeds have had time to grow and, it seems, multiply.

But they are gone now, and my back is glad that it is over. Weeding here, there and everywhere and carrying around pots of plants have done me in a bit, and I am not doing anything today but sitting around.

I made the first trip to my favorite nursery yesterday, and added some additional blooming plants to the ones already in place on my porch.

On the very left, my lemon tree of many years, some lavender, red daisies, a bay leaf tree and more red daisies, more lavender and iceland poppies. The tall thing not on the wall is a williams pear tree.
More iceland poppies and lavender, the bushy green thing is an almond tree, albeit still small. I’ve had it for three years now.
More of the same, and some forget-me-nots and my tea cup.
The color of this coleus just blew me away and I brought it home. It wasn’t very expensive.

So, I am off to enjoy the little heavenly haven I’ve created for myself. It’s finally that time of the year.

Erdfunkstelle (Satellite Earth Station)

The satellite earth station at Raisting was built in the early 60s, and was for many years one of the most important communication stations of the Deutsche Telekom for telephone, data and television communications.

Out of Telekom use for a number of years, it is now being used by another company for communications to (I think) third world countries (but I’ll have to research that). The entire communication park is under historical protection, as far as I know.

Either way, it’s a place I used to go quite often, as the satellite dishes, some of them up to 32 meters (104 feet) in diameter, are quite impressive and make good motifs for photos in any weather. It was also one of Tobi’s favorite venues.

Here are some pictures:

An idyllic place, really. Even cows graze here.
An idyllic place, really. Even cows graze here.


This gives a good comparison of the size. There is a tall man in the photo, taking a picture.
You’ll have to click for larger to get (oh boy – pun) the bigger picture.
As I said, they make for interesting subects.


Another Cardigan

I finished the second cardigan last week, but it took me a few days to find suitable buttons (antique brass) for it, so I held off on photographing it:

Knit in Rowan Hand Knit Cotton, Forest Green Design "Cobalt" by Kim Hargreaves
Knit in Rowan Hand Knit Cotton, Forest Green
Design “Cobalt” by Kim Hargreaves

This is actually the third time I’ve knitted this pattern. I have the same cardigan in dark blue, and have knit it as a sweater in light blue. The original pattern calls for 3/4 sleeves, I’ve made them full length each time.


A link to the booklet containing the pattern can be found here.

I was going to give my wrists a break, but I’ve found another yarn stash. Hmmm.