One year

It has been just over one year since we moved here to Germany. It certainly has gone by quickly. I has been wonderful to see all four seasons distinctly, and watch the world around us change and grow. I especially love the abundance of produce that is everywhere around during summer and fall.  Last week we went strawberry picking on farm and blueberry picking in the woods. The week before, we picked red currents, Johannisberries, at a friend’s house. This week we will pick cherries and raspberries, and hopefully soon, black currents and blackberries. Then this fall, (no zwetschgen, if you please) I hope to pick lots of apples. Last year a late frost killed all the blossoms so there weren’t many apples to pick. I has been fun to see how the different seasons affect how we live and eat, and the different challenges and work that are unique to each time of year.

When we were looking into renting this house last summer, we came by and visited the previous tenants several times. The overwhelming impression I got about the house then was that it was dark, like a cave. The windows were always shuttered and there was a lot of dark furniture and curtains.  Now that sumer is here, I know why. When the sun shines in the windows, the house gets very hot, especially upstairs, where there is a wall of windows. Once the house is hot, it is difficult to cool off. Of course I could leave the windows cracked at night. Only problem is that (there are actually two) there are no screens on any of the windows (Germans apparently don’t believe in screens). The other problem is that in the big room with the wall of windows doesn’t really have any windows. Just a huge glass sliding door. And I’m afraid that strange animals will creep in if I leave it open at night, not to mention gigantic spiders and flies, flies, flies and mosquitos. (See why I don’t like flies in the house, below) So, the previous tenants had everything always shut so it wouldn’t get hot. Now I find that that is the challenge of summer, and I do the same.  In addition to heat control, there is hedge trimming, lawn mowing, weed pulling, sidewalk sweeping and other garden growing chores.

Fall brings the beauty of changing colors. That also means lots of falling leaves. Normally that wouldn’t be such a big deal, but Germans are picky about being tidy. They are routinely out cleaning the yard, outside of the house, and the sidewalk, even the street in front of their houses.  So, autumn will mean sweeping and raking leaves. And…ha ha ha…since we only have coniferous trees, the leaves come from the neighbors, and so part of the challenge will be to return the leaves to their original owners. We also see an influx of giant, yucky, paralyzing spiders as the weather cools off. No, they don’t have lethal venom. I just have temporary paralysis whenever I discover one.

In winter, of course, is the snow, and the shoveling of it, and the sidewalk, and driveway, and the street after the snowplow blocks us in. I am hoping Andy is back before we get any measurable snow. Otherwise I must get busy now inventing some sort of machine to help with snow removal, aside from a noisy snowblower. Winter was also a time when we made a morbid discovery about Bryce’s room. In his room he as a portal to another world…The World of the Flies. They seem to mysteriously enter his room through his light fixture, where they gather by the hundreds. They gather there, and then they die. Whether by our doing, or by some force greater than us all, the flies just like to die in Bryce’s room. Some meet an untimely death at the hand of a rolled up magazine, but others literally fall off the ceiling and expire on the floor. I’ve never seen anything like it.  Is there some trance on these flies that causes them to gather an die in Bryce’s room? Why not in any other room in the house? How can it be stopped??? I thought there weren’t supposed to be flies in winter. We do a lot of vacuuming in the winter.

The good thing about winter…no spiders.

Spring, though it rains almost constantly, and the sun isn’t out, is probably the most relaxed season in our house. No shoveling, no flies, no spiders, no leaves, no fruit to harvest or preserve. Just lots of rain. I love spring.

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