Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Another year gone by

Another year has gone by and to be honest I can't believe how quickly it went by. It seems only like yesterday when I moved back to Germany and yet already 16 month have passed since then.

In this passed year I have settled back into German life. The mentality on a lot of things is different and it certainly took some time for me to settle back in. There are still cultural differences that I appear to have forgotten and am totally oblivious about certain customs... There were ups and downs in this year, from having to find a job to those cultural differences that made me doubt my decision to move to Germany. Spending time in the UK with family and friends was great but the time spend with my cousin (and her kids) was priceless. She reminded me that I moved to Germany for a reason and that making this dream a reality is what keeps me going. We have grown much closer again this year, for which I am so grateful, even the distance to New Zealand can not stop that.

I am happy with how things are running on the homesteading front. I introduced rabbits to the homestead and moved from none to 7 at some point. I learned how to butcher them and I am now down to 3. For year one with rabbits this was OK, the timing to get them was off, which let to the litter being born quite late but next year I will work on a different schedule for the litters.
I grew most of my own fruits and  vegetables, I am stock piled all for winter and spring. I planted some blue- and raspberry bushes additionally to what I have. There is still so much work to be done over the next few years to get everything to where I want to be but I will take one little step at a time, after all Rome was not build in a single day either.

Wishing you all a Happy 2014

Here is to 

~Continuing to living the good life in 2014~
~may all your hopes and dreams become reality~

Friday, 27 December 2013

{this moment} - Things I Love (about the holidays this year)

- watching the Nutcracker the day before Christmas Eve - Magical  

- baking cookies on Christmas Eve and surprising my elderly neighbors with them

- spending Christmas Eve's at my moms 

- having my mom and brother over for Christmas day and enjoying the home grown rabbit I made with traditional red cabbage

- singing Christmas Carols

- simplicity

- playing games all evening long

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Happy Solstice

I saw the most amazing sunrise on this Winter Solstice morning


Wishing you and your family a Solstice, peace and harmony

Christmas Party at work

Our Christmas party this year took us to the Eichsfeld to Hanstein Castle in Bornhagen to be exact. We started of midday and our first stop was the 'Wurstmuseum'(sausage museum). We were shown in a movie the traditional way to butcher in Thuringia. We were able to see the equipment used up close and were able to see the kitchen that is still used today for the traditional butchering. I found the whole process amazing. My dads family is from Thuringia and have always butchered the traditional way back in the days. I still remember fondly all those trips over the German border when I was a kid to what was then the East Germany. We always brought lot's and lot's of different sausages back with us. I was happy to note that we were able to buy some of the sausages after the tour of the museum.

Once that was over we went to a close by Christmas market and by 16:30 we were back at the 'Klausenhof'. We were going to do a walk around the old Castle. It took us an hour and we learned a bit about the history of the castle but also about what happened back in the day when Germany was divided in this region. We ended the day with amazing food, good laughs and presents. I got home early this morning at about 1am but am up now, no longer able to sleep

the kitchen

old woodstove

Add caption


sausage museum

walk around the castle at dusk

good food and presents

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny of Small Things for this week's yarn along. 


I have finished my summer shirt on the weekend. It turned out pretty good. I love the color and the yarn was very light, compared to the one that I made earlier this year, which makes it perfect for summer

Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas Market - Bad Gandersheim

We have a small Christmas Market in the town closest to us. Yesterday after I returned from the shooting competition, I went to visit it. My main reason to go on Sunday night was because of the Christmas Choir that was going to sing at the church.

The market is small but offers lot's of handmade things, bee wax candles, wood decorations, wool. The snow was the only thing that was missing to make it perfect. Oh and the choir was singing beautifully.

Christmas Choir

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny of Small Things for this week's yarn along. 

The back of my new summer shirt :)

Monday, 2 December 2013

When things don't go as planned

When you run a homestead, garden or backyard farm, things often don't go as planned. Yesterday, one of the rabbits had an accident and managed to knock two of it's front teeth out. Now that rabbits front teeth were slightly deformed anyway... I kept an eye on the rabbit yesterday evening and noticed that it wasn't able to each much, if any due to the knocked out teeth. To avoid anymore suffering for Muffin, I decided to butcher the rabbit today after work. This was so not how I imagined the butchering of the rabbits would go but sometimes things don't go as planned.

Now to be honest, the butchering of the rabbits was the one thing that I dreaded to an extent. I have watched countless of times when a rabbit, duck, geese, chicken etc. was butchered but I have never done it myself. I was nervous that I would not be able to do it, nervous that I would cause more pain to the rabbit, nervous about doing it wrong... You name it, I was nervous about it.

I am not going into detail here but in the end, it worked out pretty good for my first time and I was nervous for nothing I guess. Muffin weight in at 1.8 kilos, which is a decent size but she was also the smallest out of all of the young ones.

Tomato Soup

When I was in the UK, I had the most gorgeous tomato soup that you can imagine. I have never been a big fan of tomato soup, funny enough considering that tomatoes are a basic food for me like potatoes are for others but since that day, my view on tomato soup has changed. So over the last few weeks I tried different types of recipe, that make a nice creamy soup and after some modifications, I found my perfect recipe that I want to share with you:

2 TBSP butter
extra virgin olive oil
4 lbs tomatoes, peeled* and sliced  
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1-2 medium sized carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable stock

fresh basil leaves, chopped

Place sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet. Cover with olive oil and the salt and pepper. Add a fresh sprig or two of oregano Place in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes to roast.
Halfway through the roasting, melt the butter and remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until the vegetables begin to get soft (15 minutes or so). When the tomatoes are done, add those to the pot (removing the sprigs of herbs), along with the stock. Simmer on low until the vegetables are all tender (another 15 minutes or so). 

I had the soup on the weekend with some lovely fresh bread and I was in heaven...

Sunday, 1 December 2013


Have a wonderful first of Advent everyone

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Update on the rabbits

It's nearly midnight and I just got home from the movies where me and some friends watched the hunger Games part 2. I read the book and loved the movie too. Since I am not tired, I figured it might be a good idea to give you an update on the rabbits

As I got my rabbits rather late in the year, the breeding season for them was rather off, seeing as the young once only arrived in the beginning of July. For me this means extra cost raising them through the winter when there is no food and I have to buy supplement food. Not very self sufficient if you ask me but it was unavoidable this year.
The plan for next year is to have babies from January through to March, so that they can be butchered in September/October and I don't have to raise them through the winter.

Yesterday I tried to get a grasp on how much the little once weight. They are five month old now while many people told me they butcher their rabbits as early as 12 weeks, I wanted to have a t least some meat on them and wanted them to turn 6 month before I butchered them.

I used to keep two of the little rabbits together until mid last week when I thought that one of them looked rather small compared to the other and I separated them all. Turns out I was right. Snowy and Muffin shared a box are two opposites for various reasons. Snowy is a massive 6,5 kilos, while Muffin is just 4,5 kilos. Muffin also has a slight issue with her two lower front teeth from what I noticed. I will see how this week turns out and if she is putting on some weight but if not she will be butchered next week. Junior and Blacky are both 5 kilos each but Blacky will stay with us for one season at least as a breeding doe.

Snowy, a massive 6.5 kilos

Muffin age 5 month 4.5 kilos

Junior 5 kilos
Thumper, my 2013 breeding buck
The 2014 plan is that I hopefully get one more litter fathered by Thumper in either late December or early January. I put him and Mia together again today, and hopefully that union will be fruitful, if not I am out of luck and Muckel will have to get the job done as Thumper will be my Christmas Meal.
Blacky who was born in July will be a breeding doe for 2014 and I will try to put her and Muckel together at the end of January.
Mia, my other breeding doe was put together with Thumper today and if God will, we have babies shortly after Christmas. If that works out, I will put her with Muckel at the end of January/beginning of February. If all things work out, I will raise 3 litters in 2014 with a potential 4th one depending on how things go.

Blacky, 5 kilos, 2014 breeding doe

Mia, my breeding doe

Muckel, my 2014 breeding buck

Friday, 29 November 2013


Yesterday my most recent order from Taproot arrived (well I picked it up from customs where it was stuck but that is a different story). I have been meaning to get the print set of Wandering through the Seasons from the wonderful Phoebe Wahl for while but the high shipping cost always put it in the back of my mind to order it at a later time. So about 2 weeks ago, I ordered it together with my calendar.
 I love the art of Phoebe Wahl and already have the picture Instillness in my living room for a few month. From the moment that I saw the pictures that follow this rosy-cheeked family through the four seasons, I really wanted to have them displayed in my living room, and I could not only get one season, it had to be all. They are so beautiful don't you think:

Wandering through the Seasons

Art by Phoebe Wahl

Art by Phoebe Wahl

I also go the 2014 calendar with art by Phoebe Wahl! It includes many of the images that have appeared in the pages of Taproot. Those images are a a real inspiration to me and I am looking forward to seeing the different images each month.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Uncle George

back in 2001

in 1997

It was just a month ago I saw my uncle George. Old age had caught up with him in the one year that I had not seen him but considering that he is in his 80s that was to be expected. What I didn't expect was for my cousin to contact me 3 days ago and tell me that her dad had taken a turn for the worst and might not make the week. My cousin was back in New Zealand at that time, and her mom (my aunt) was visiting, they went on the next plane to get home and arrived on Friday evening. 

This morning at 5:45am I found out that my uncle has passed away peacefully. I am still in shock. I know what it feels like to be at the other end of the world when your dad is not well and you are unable to say goodbye but I am thank the Lord that my cousin and aunt were able to make it home in time to say goodbye. 

Uncle George was my favorite uncle. I remember fondly the times when we watched the 2006 World Cup, how he would tease me about me Geordie Accent, how we would joke around to find ways to keep me in the UK (prior to me moving to the UK). He was a fun loving guy, a handyman, who made the best pancakes and pancake-toppings in the world. A loving partner, father, grand-pa and uncle.

Rest in Peace Uncle George - you will always be remembered