Autumn is here

Last week the autumnal Equinox flew by, which means that it Autumn is officially here. We have been welcoming it with projects like apple pie and trying out the fireplace in our new house. Before we could try the fireplace, we had to bring some wood up to the first floor. The previous owners left us a lot of wood, which is really nice, since the price of gas just went up 50% for me. They installed a winch to lift wood up to the balcony, instead of having to schlep it up the stairs. Of course, you still have to schlep it from the back of the yard. I am not sure I would have installed such a thing, but since we have it, we decided to give it a try.
This is how everyone brings wood to their fireplace, right?

This past Sunday morning I went to a swim meet to watch an 11 year old girl I know. She did quite well, beating all of her expected times

  • 50 meter back 49.09
  • 50 meter free 40.57
  • 100 meter free 1:29.52

Afterwards I picked up two used suits from the local classifieds for 80€, then I made two apple pies, which we shared with Sasha and Elena. They turned out really well. I ended up baking them a bit longer than normal, because I had adjusted the temperature (180C instead of 200C) to work with the convection oven, but I am getting the feeling that the suggested correction of the oven is a bit too much, so I think next time I will probably do 190C instead). Nevertheless, the pies came out nice and flaky. Thanks for teaching me how to make pie mom!

Wild pigs?

a family of wild boars in the grassland

Last week I noticed that a bunch of my lawn was torn up. I asked some of my friends what may have caused this damage, and they all immediately said “wild pigs”. I was surprised to learn that there are wild pigs roaming around near me, but I guess that might be the case. I did a little bit of internet research, and quickly found many articles about how to prevent wild pigs from tearing up your lawn, so I guess it is quite common in Germany. They use their noses to dig up the ground, which seems to match what I see in the lawn.

The question is, how did they get in? We have a pretty tall fence, which you can see below. We have left the gate to our driveway open some nights, so maybe they came in that way, but that would mean they would have to walk up about 8 stairs. Maybe I am living in a dystopic Orwellian future where pigs walk on two feet? Or maybe it has finally happened – pigs can fly!


Schwebebahn enterint station above the Wupper

While grandma and grandpa were visiting recently we took a day trip to Wuppertal to ride the Schwebebahn (swinging train). We had been talking about checking it out for some time, because it is a pretty unique type of train. Since we all had 9 Euro tickets, it was basically free. We stopped in Duesseldorf for some Asian food, since they have the biggest Asian population in Germany. We also enjoyed some ice cream in Wuppertal, and had a pleasant stroll along the Wupper river.

I don’t know that I would make the trip a second time just to ride the Schwebebahn, but it was worth it to see once.

Sunrise season


This time of year is the best time of year for watching sunrises in my opinion, for a number of reasons. I think the most important reason is probably that the sun is rising about the same time that I am waking up and getting ready for the day, so I am most likely to see it. However, I think there are a couple other factors as well. While the winter tends to be very grey, and the summer quite sunny, this time of year, the sky is often partly cloudy, which is my favorite kind of sunrise, where the clouds turn all pink like cotton candy. We moved recently from a 3rd (4th by American standards) story apartment into a house, and I was worried that the view would not be as good for sun rises. The view from our bedroom window however is still quite nice.