Merry Christmas!

Kandern

One of the things I love about this region are the Christmas decorations.  Even every little village has some kind of Christmas decor.  The main street in the city where we live is always full of Christmas trees and lights.  It’s so beautiful.

IMG_20151215_171102Since we’ve been here we’ve had a real Christmas tree each year.  I love the smell of the evergreen inside.  Thankfully, the cat doesn’t seem at all interested in the tree!

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Another great part of the holiday season here is cheese.  Since we live very close to Switzerland, we also get  fondue and raclette (two different kinds of melted cheese).  Raclette is available at the local Christmas markets, but you can also do it at home.  We haven’t done that, yet.  However we have taken advantage of the prepackaged fondue.  Yum!

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Our own Kleingarten (small garden)

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It’s been years since we’ve had a vegetable garden.  In Germany gardening is very popular, and even if you don’t have your own land, you can rent or borrow a space.  I started a hunt for our own garden spot in February, and it didn’t take long to secure a spot in a surprising place – at my office!  I didn’t know, but they had a small plot behind a shed.  Only one other person is sharing with us.

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Our part includes zucchinis, tomatillos, roma tomatoes and cilantro.  We’re already collecting a good harvest.  My travel has been slow this summer, so I’ve had extra time to water and tend the garden.  Of course I can do it during breaks while I’m at the office which is really nice!

The biggest challenge has been keeping the weeds down.  Thankfully, the garden is mostly hidden from view because people here take pride in having their gardens well manicured. This has been a fun new challenge, and something I’ve enjoyed about being in Germany.

These small gardens are a big thing here.  Click here and here to learn more about them.

 

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Spaghettieis!

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One of our favorite ways to explore is to try new foods.  In the summer the Eis Cafes (ice-cream shops) are open.  We finally had the chance to try this great German treat – Spaghetti-eis (ice).  Don’t think of normal spaghetti.  This one is vanilla ice-cream pushed through a spaghetti machine with a whipped-cream center, topped with strawberry sauce and bits of white chocolate. If you ever get to Germany, try this.  You will be glad you did!

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Making a little jam

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When we were home in the US for our home assignment, I spent some time with a couple in New York who taught me how to can.  It was so much fun!  We did jams, tomatoes and pickles. So, for my birthday this year, Jeff bought me a small hot-water bath canner.

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Home preservation seems to be popular here, and all the shops were full of canning jars when summer arrived. The farmers markets were overflowing with beautiful berries, Jeff and I worked together to do a big batch of strawberry, blueberry and black berry jams.  It was fun putting what I learned into practice.  If you’ve never done it, it’s much easier than you might think!

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