Raindrops on My Skylight

Today was a day of much-appreciated rain. Sitting at my desk in my bedroom cum office at the top of the house, I heard it pounding away all day. Very comfy to listen to when one is dry and warm, knowing that it’s welcomed by nature, since it hasn’t rained much in the last couple of months. It is a tad cool – in Germany the days between May 11 and 15 are known as the days of the “ice saints” (die Eisheiligen). Those are the saints Mamertus, Pankratius, Servatius, Bonifatius and the “cold” Sophia. After May 15, it’s said, one can be reasonably sure that night frosts will no longer occur to endanger newly planted crops. Since I’m living in a very warm part of Germany, there won’t be any night frosts, but the temperature is expected to go down to 1°C tonight. I bought a plant for my patio last Friday that I’ve wrapped up in a plastic bin liner (not having anything better to hand) just in case that’s too low a temperature for it.

Last week and the weekend were nice and warm with temperatures around 22°C, even a bit higher, which is my favourite temperature range: anything between 20° and 25°C. Higher temperatures, I don’t much care for. That’s why I’m not so keen on summer, because weeks of 32°C (or more) is just too hot for me. 2018 was dire, with the heat and drought starting in May and lasting into September. August and September are usually at least slightly better, because the sun starts setting earlier again, but June and July are just awful when it’s hot and sunny. Curious Dog doesn’t much care for those temperatures either and I always need to go on his afternoon walks very late, when the sun is low and the shadows are long. Oh well, plenty of people like hot summers. Just my personal predilection. I don’t mind it if the heat stays in June, July, and August, but now-a-days, those are not the only hot months. We’ll see how it develops this year. But since we are already almost at mid of May, it hopefully won’t get as bad as 2018. The woods could do with a rainy summer, they still haven’t recovered from the droughts of 2018 and 2019. So, I’m happy it’s raining.

On Friday, I got some more plants for the garden. About four smallish lavender plant, which Mum and I planted under and next to the big rosebush (already blooming, lovely yellow-red flowers). Also, a clematis, that I planted up against the wall and fence to the neighbour’s yard. I already planted one last year, but that was too near the hedge and didn’t thrive (it’s still alive, maybe it’ll grow some this year). I also planted another flowering plant, for the bees, that I don’t know the name of. I used to have a huge version of this one at another flat, which had a balcony cut out of the roof. It was lovely, but the plant was invested with loads of little bugs and it was a pain trying to get rid of them without resorting to pesticides (which I never do, and certainly won’t do if it happens again – bad for nature and bad for Curious Dog). Hope it doesn’t get bugs here and that it doesn’t get eaten by snails.

Before we could plant the lavender, we had to remove a kind of plastic ground sheet that was laid under a covering of wood chips. I don’t know if this ground sheet was intended to keep the earth moist or to prevent the growth of weeds, but it was laid in all the flower beds in this yard (not too many, since it is a very small yard). I’ve removed it everywhere except under the huge butterfly bush, but I’m planning to get rid of it there, too. If it were something that would rot away, fine. But plastic? I’m not having plastic in my yard. Also, those ground sheets keep shedding bits of plastic string and I’m worried that birds (or other small animals) will pick it for nesting and get tangled.

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So that was Saturday. Gardening. It got quite hot and sweaty. I like a garden, but I’m not so enthusiastic about the work associated with it. Especially since I also did quite a lot of housework on the weekend. I hate it when the weekend has more work in it than a workday (but it wasn’t that bad, I’m exaggerating). The best thing about cleaning and gardening the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. Just a pity that it doesn’t stay accomplished but has to be repeated all the time.

On Sunday I did some cleaning as well and, in the afternoon, we watched Antman on Disney+, which we hadn’t seen before. It was entertaining and I’m looking forward to watching the sequel, Antman and the Wasp. I also binge read Martha Wells’ new Murderbot novel Network Effect. It was great – a real novel, not just a novella, like the other installments. I like them all. They are sci-fi dealing with the adventures of a construct, a kind of android with human parts. They are real-pageturners, but the most appealing thing is the way the Murderbot interacts with humans and other AIs. Spoiler: it’s not really a murderer, rather the opposite. I hope Wells writes a few more of these novels.

I also finished this month’s section of War and Peace. I’m now at the half-way point and it’s all good. Although I’m glad I’m reading it slowly, in installments, as otherwise I think I’d get sick of it. Too much high-level soap opera. It is kind of like a soap opera, except not so unrealistic. All the characters keep suffering reversals of fortune and feeling. Some of them are plain stupid or casually evil. Most of them annoy me at one point or another. But in smaller bites I’m enjoying it.

We also tried out two new dishes this weekend. One with mushrooms, bell peppers and savoy cabbage lightly fried in a pan and then deglazed with an orange juice and soy sauce. Served with whole-wheat pasta. The other with pre-cooked lentils to which pineapple pieces were added before simmering everything in coconut milk seasoned with lemongrass, a bit of curry, and a lot garam masala. Served over whole-grain basmati rice. Both recipes were easy to cook and absolutely delicious. They will be added to our collection of permanent recipes.

Today, we’re making a cream of broccoli soup. It’s the right weather for a nice warm soup: cold and rainy. Curious Dog and I got very wet on our afternoon walk.

Keep safe, world.

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