Weekend Coffee Share…a very quiet cuppa together

Coffee, or tea?

If we were having coffee, or tea together this weekend you would have to do most of the talking. Why, you said. Well, you see I’ve lost my voice. I don’t believe that ever happened to me before. I feel pretty good, but my voice gradually disappeared this week. On Monday and Tuesday morning it took a while for my voice to warm up. I felt great, and didn’t think much about it. (When you talk a lot at work your voice sometimes get tired, and you sound like the day after a big concert with your favourite artist. That’s just how it is.) On Wednesday it took even longer, and my voice still sounded scratchy when I arrived to work. My voice was kind of OK, but after breakfast when I was leading an activity with the children I all of a sudden couldn’t talk at all without coughing (like where did that come from?) Within the next few minutes it got worse and worse, and I decided to go home. It all happened very fast. First of all, I couldn’t do my job, since being a teacher involves a whole lot of talking, second I didn’t want to get anyone sick if this was the beginning of something. I took a Covid test the next day, just to be sure, but it came out negative. My voice isn’t completely back yet, but as long as I don’t talk, I’m doing OK. I’m going to keep quiet this weekend, and hope for the best. I don’t think it’s anything serious. It’s weird though, not being able to talk. I didn’t like it at all, having to leave work on Wednesday. I stayed at home with my daughter only a couple weeks ago, and missing more work is not good. I don’t mean to complain so much. Complaining is not my thing.

How is your week?

On a more positive note, this is what’s growing in my balcony garden right now. At the top there’s an oregano/apple-mint tea mix (its heavenly, really lovely,) celery, figs and (hopefully) winter veggies. I posted a photo of my bell-peppers last weekend, and they are still doing great as well.

If we were having coffee this weekend I would have to tell you that we had some kind of breakthrough with my daughter this week. At least it feels like that, not saying that everything is going to be all smooth sails from now on, but I think her father and I got her to understand why speaking Swedish in Sweden is mandatory and not a choice. She understood that we expect her to do her best at all times, and accept the help she is offered. Tuesday morning she woke up so angry and the whole morning was a disaster. The girl has some drama in her! She screamed and throw a fit the whole way to the bus stop (2km)..phew. After that it was like all the anger had disappeared, and my sweet girl was back. I sure hope she stays. (Most of the time I’m the best mom in the whole universe, according to her, but when I’m not…it’t not fun to be in my shoes.)

Have a refill on your beverage and tell me about your weekend plans! The only plan here is to recover my voice, read and write a bit. Thank you so much for staying with me, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share

I’m having hot coffee today, what can I get you?

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? There is ice tea in the fridge if you’d like some, but I’m definitely going for some hot, black coffee today. 

Fall is on its way here. We’ve had a high of 10-15C/50-55F this week. Tomorrow it’s suppose to be 21C/70F and partly sunny, giving us perhaps the last day of summer? Earlier this week we’ve had some rainy and very windy days, and some days with a tiny little bit of sun. I like fall weather, except the very windy days. There is a long downhill slope on the bike trail I take on my way home from work, on Thursday afternoon the wind was blowing so hard in my face that I had to work really hard going down that big hill. I think that was the windiest day. (Naturally the wind was blowing in the opposite direction when I was going to work in the morning.)

The garden are showing signs of fall as well. The cold nights are stunting new growth, and many leaves are starting to yellow. 

Today’s harvest
I’m thinking it’s time to make some green tomato/ginger marmalade, it’s SO good with some cheese on salty crackers.
More green tomatoes.

I picked the red tomatoes in the first photo today, but I have maybe 6kg/13lbs of green tomatoes left. I’m thinking of picking all the green tomatoes today, and make green tomato/ginger marmalade. I made it for the first time last year, and it was SO good. 

Last years green tomato/ginger marmalade

Speaking of my garden, I’ve planted some cold weather crops for a winter garden; celery, cauliflowers, and parsnip. It’s an experiment, we’ll see. I might plant some more cold weather crops, like broccoli perhaps. I am definitely going to plant some garlic this fall as well. 

Living in an apartment I don’t have enough space at my balcony to be self-sufficient on vegetables, or legumes. I grew some beans this year, they were delicious, and they are all long gone. Last year about this time I ordered a few big bags of different types of dried beans, and lentils from an organic wholesale site. I decided to do the same this year, minus the lentils since I still have some left. I received them yesterday; 5kg/11lbs black beans, 5kg/11lbs kidney beans, and 5kg/11lbs garbanzo beans. I also ordered a 1lbs bag of an organic sprouting seed mix, that I love having on my sandwiches, in my salads, and as topping on soups. It feels good to be stocked up on the basics. Next month I’m hoping to score some locally grown turnip and carrots, they are being harvested in September and are usually very inexpensive to purchase in bulk during harvest time. Hopefully I will be able to grow all my own beans, and veggies myself in the future. For now this works great.

What have you been up to this week? There is a big Covid outbreak in town. One class at my daughters school is closed. When I picked her up on Thursday she had a sore throat and a stuffed nose. I ordered a Covid test for her, she’s going to take the test on Monday morning at a nearby medical center. (Tests are actually done in a tent outside the medical center, to avoid spreading the virus.) Adults do self tests at home if they have symptoms, but children aren’t allowed to do that. My son started to feel ill today, he is also going to get tested. I hope they just have a cold. (I feel great.) There’s so much to do at work now with the startup of a new group and a new semester. I am leading my team from home the best I can when I cannot be at work physically, but it is difficult. Especially in the beginning of a new semester I think it’s extremely important to lead by example, which is hard to do from home. My colleagues do know that they can call me anytime for support, and input when I’m at home, and they do. I also know that they are doing a great job, but still..

Have a refill on your beverage and tell me about your weekend plans! Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Growing in my balcony garden

Today’s tomato harvest

We are nearing the end of the gardening season in my part of Sweden. The tomato harvest have been bountiful this year. The photo above picture today’s tomato harvest. I imagine that there will be similar amounts of tomatoes every day until the first frost in 2-3 weeks. I am very happy with this season, the first at a new location. The first year at a new spot is always trial and error to some degree. I will do some things different next year, but overall I am very happy.

This tomato is on its way to becoming salsa 🙂

I only got a couple figs this year, but my tree is very young. I purchased it last year, and expect a better harvest in 1-3 years. I am very grateful that one out of my two fig trees survived moving during freezing temperatures last December.

What are you growing in your garden? This post is a respons to this week’s Sunday Still, temporarily hosted by Natalie, since my friend Terri is busy this week. Please join us here!

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – out of the ordinary

Coffee at my balcony

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? It’s still warm enough to enjoy a cup together at my balcony. I closed the glass panels a couple weeks ago, and now it’s like a little greenhouse again. Most of the veggies are harvested already, just a few tomatoes, and some bell peppers left. We’ve been blessed with an abundance of tomatoes this year. How are things in your world?

If we were having coffee I would tell you that things have been a little out of the ordinary this week, for several reasons. We welcomed new students to my class. That is always very exciting, getting to know new individuals and their guardians. 

There was some serious flooding in the region (not close to where I live.) It rained moderately Monday and Tuesday, but started to rain heavily the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. I rode my bike Monday and Tuesday (trying out my new rain-gear,) but had planned on taking the bus on Wednesday, since I knew I was going to get my second Covid vaccine dose in the afternoon (I got so dizzy after the first one.) While I was chatting along with a friend that happened to take the same bus on Wednesday morning a lady on the bus starts screaming, I looked out the window, and this was what I saw. 

I work a little outside the city, and this is not close to the center of the city, or my home. Many of the roads, and some houses in the region was damaged after the worst flooding in over 30 years. In the city of Gävle, one hour South-East from us, the flooding caused some real damage in a couple neighbourhoods. As far as I know no human was injured by the flooding. The flooding here, and the horrible fires going on in so many places in the world are a real cause of concern. At some point in the future I still plan on having a homestead, even though I’ve had to change the location several times the past few years (due to fires in Northern California, and drought/bad air quality at the property in Arizona.) It is still my dream. So many variables to consider; I need water, but it cannot be too close to water (danger of flooding.) I need trees (healthy air quality, and firewood,) but the area can not be too dry (fire danger,) but I do need it to be sunny enough for gardening..Sometimes I wonder if this place exists.LOL. I know I will find the right spot one day. I am not in the business of purchasing a place today, or even this year, but I look at different options and keep track of the market (land prices,) and weather data for different places almost daily. 

I got my second Covid vaccine dose on Wednesday, and had a reaction to it. After the first dose I got dizzy. After the second dose I was dizzy at first, but not as bad as after the first dose (I was extremely dizzy for three days, didn’t dare to leave my home.) The morning after the second dose, on Thursday I woke up at 4.30 am with a fever of 101F/38.5C. I had a fever for 24hours, and then it disappeared. My body ached yesterday (Friday,) but I felt pretty good otherwise, today Saturday I feel great again. I didn’t go to work Thursday and Friday, but yesterday I got a lot of work done from home. 

Now I am ready for a relaxing weekend. There’s no other plans than doing little things around the house that always needs to be done, clean up a little on the balcony, maybe read a little, go for some walks, rest, spend time with my daughter, have a nice family dinner on Sunday. (We always make Sunday dinner a little more special.) It is a beautiful cool, sunny day outside, 51F/11C right now, and we expect it to warm up to 62F/17C later in the day. The leaves have not started to change colours yet, but that’s probably not that far away.

What’s you plans for the weekend? Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? Hot, or cold? 

It’s a gorgeous day outside, about 72F. My daughter and I took the long way home after work. We walked along the river that runs through the city, we stopped and looked at beautiful flower arrangements, and enjoyed ice cream at one of our favourite ice cream places. It’s still (late afternoon,) beautiful outside, and I might take another walk later, right now I am enjoying sitting down here with you for a spell. How are you doing? How is your week so far?

Falu River, taking the long way home from work today.

If we had coffee, or tea, I would tell you that the beginning of the week was rough. My daughter had some kind of stomach bug.. no details needed.. Let’s skip to the end of the work-week, the kids in my group are starting to come back after their summer vacation. I am excited about the new group of children I am blessed to spend time with this year. It is always super exciting getting to know a new group of children, and all the unique individuals in the group. Today I ended up answering a lot of questions about dinosaurs! Am I really sure that no dinosaur ever ate a human being? Or? Am I really, really sure? I love how every day is full of surprises when you spend them with 5 year olds. 

My balcony garden is doing great. The past month I’ve harvested more than 5kg/11lbs of tomatoes, and there is more to come. I’d say that this gardening season have been rather successful. In the beginning of the summer there was beans and peas. We’ve had some herbs and salad throughout most of the summer. I am happy with the result, even though I can think of some changes I will consider next season.

What’s you plans for the weekend? Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – Really getting into vacation mode..week 6

How awesome that you choose to join me for coffee this weekend! Come on out to my balcony. Let’s enjoy some time catching up while sipping some strong coffee, ice tea, or maybe something stronger (it is the weekend after all.) How is your week? What have you been up to? 

Several of my tomato plants are starting to shift colour.

Have you noticed that the tomatoes finally are starting to turn red? My daughter has a birthday on Sunday, and as usual she wants Mexican food at her party (a very small one this year as well, with me and her brother as only guests.) It would be fabulous if I could serve a side salad with our own sweet tomatoes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that, two days left, I think it is very possible. Besides the Mexican food that she always wants for her birthday, there is going to be cake of course. Last year she wanted to make the cake herself, this year she wants me to make it. I have very specific instructions for the cake. It’s going to be a five layer cake with three layers of soft angel cake, and two layers of red velvet cake. There’s going to be homemade creamy vanilla pastry cream between the layers, and a fresh creamy lime pastry cream on the outside, at the top of the cake she wants a layer of marzipan and her name in chocolate..and candles of course. I’ve promised to do my best…we’ll see. On Tuesday we visited a second hand shop that sometimes have gorgeous kitchen items for almost nothing. We were looking for a cake plate big enough for her monster cake. We scored a pretty one for the hefty sum of about fifty cents. LOL. I’ll try to post some photos of the cake on Sunday. I don’t make cakes so often nowadays, but I do enjoy the artistic part. 

My daughter planted an avocado seed this spring, and it is actually growing. I planted some avocado seeds in California, that grew taller than me in a couple years, but I didn’t have them long enough for them to bear any fruit. Watching the process of something you planted from a seed is enjoyable.
Another experiment that my daughter has on the balcony, a lemon seed she planted early June.

It’s been a very pleasant week weather wise here in Dalarna, Sweden. We’ve had no summer thunderstorms this week, and the temperatures have been between 75-80F, just perfect. This week my time have been divided between mountain biking in a nearby nature reserve area, and reading an interesting series of books about a midwife in Stockholm (lazily enjoying the days at my balcony with a glass of ice tea next to me.) What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?

I’ve spent a lot of time mountain biking at Lugnets nature reserve this week.

My daughter and I met a cousin of mine and her boyfriend, and my aunt, at a cafe with an outdoor seating area today. My cousin and I haven’t seen each other since before Covid started, and it was even longer since I saw my aunt. It was wonderful catching up with them. We kept a safe distance at all times, and there were no hugs, but still so very nice to see them in person. My cousin visited me both in Las Vegas and California when I lived there, we have many amazing memories together. 

Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the weekend coffee share! Please share with me all the wonderful things in your world! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – Swedish Fika

If we were having a fika (essentially Swedish for coffee and a conversation,) I would offer you a beverage of your choice; coffee from the french press, ice tea, or a smoothie. I’ve incorporated a new healthy habit into our summer routine, every evening I prepare breakfast smoothies for the next morning. Right now I’m having a smoothie with; baby spinach, avocado, banana, pear, pre-soaked chia seeds and almond milk. It’s really good, and there is an extra one for you in the fridge if you’d like to try. My daughter likes to prepare her own smoothie, something I encourage. She had mango, strawberry, banana, and almond milk this morning. 

My breakfast smoothie with; baby spinach, avocado, banana, pear, pre-soaked chia seeds and almond milk.

Would you like to enjoy our beverages at the balcony? There is slightly more space there now. My plants were growing so much that I had to find new homes for some of them this week, they were taking over. I put an ad up on a local sale site, (sort of like craigslist.) It didn’t take long to sell the plants I wanted to sell. One lady that came over to purchase plants offered me to come to her house and take some cuttings from her blackcurrants, and gooseberry bushes. I am going to take her up on that. I’d like to have more perennials, and berry bushes are wonderful. There is still a lot of plants at my balcony, and soon it will be crowded again, but for now there is room for our feet. LOL. How is your week so far? 

Lake Varpan, Dalarna (Sweden.)

There are several lakes around where I live, and with the lakes comes a lot of seagulls. They are very loud, especially at night, during the day you only hear them occasionally, but at night they are really loud. I’ve been sleeping on a mattress in my daughters room several nights this week, because its slightly more quiet there (more in the middle of the house.) Whatever works, right? The loud seagulls is a very small matter, overall I am happy, relaxed, and enjoying my vacation immensely. My children are also enjoying their well deserved summer holidays, which makes me very happy. Both of them have worked really hard this past semester. My son had a birthday in June that we celebrated, and my daughter have a birthday later this month. I’ve spent some time this week planning things for her birthday. 

Gullnäsgården, a very quaint lakeside cafe, with a beach.

What is the weather like in your area? This summer have offered even temperatures, it’s been between 73-77F most days for several weeks. It looks like today is going to be around 77F. The lakes have temperatures around 70F now, and it is very comfortable. We like to go swimming, and playing in the water. Yesterday we went to Gullnäsgården, the place you can see in the photos. It is a ten minute bike ride from our house, and a very nice place to relax at. The property belongs to one of the local churches. They allow people to spend time there, even if they don’t visit the cafe (it’s a very nice cafe and worthy of a visit,) or rent a cabin. I like that they don’t allow wild parties, making it appealing to visit with children even in the evening.

The menu, and part of the outdoor seating area at the cafe.
The beach area below the cafe. We enjoyed our ice creams on the beach before going for a swim.

Thank you for joining me for a fika today, and thank you Natalie for hosting the coffee share! We are going out to look for some blueberries this weekend, rumour says they start to become ripe, what are you up to?

Love,

Maria