Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Family Celebration of Summer

Celebrating Summer With Family
Janet, Paula, Laurie, Carol, Anne

Families get together in summer and in our case, as for many, we are scattered far and wide.  I live in Germany, my sister Carol in the USA and my sister Anne in Ontario.  We all meet at my sister Paula and Laurie's in Nova Scotia, the province where we grew up.  We sisters were all born in Prince Edward Island but moved to N.S. when young.  My brother-in-law, Laurie, would be celebrating his 80th birthday, thus we all wanted to share in that great day.

As I write, it is winter, but those summer days linger on and the warmth from those sunny days reminds me that summer will be here once again before we know it.  

Snowy views from our house in Germany.  Thankfully, the snow did not last long.

 I flew to Nova Scotia at the end of July.  It was, in fact, the latest I have ever gone as well as the shortest time I spent there.  By the time I arrived my sisters were all there, so the partying started the moment I stepped inside my sister Paula's door as that is where I stopped before heading to our own house up the road.

A few days after I arrived, Paula and Laurie's two daughters and five granddaughters arrived to celebrate their father and grandfather's 80th birthday.  As they would not be there for his actual birthday, he was lucky to have two big celebrations just two weeks apart.  Their son and daughter-in-law and other three granddaughters in Regina were unable to attend due to a brand new baby in the family, and this time, a boy!  So, eight granddaughters and a grandson for future celebrations.

 Paula and Laurie and their kids and grandkids kicking it up
Below, Paula and Laurie's two daughters on the outer sides and the five granddaughters.

Now on with the party!
 The birthday boy enjoying his meal!
 Paula telling stories about Laurie!
 The granddaughters serenading their grandfather
  Our sister Anne enjoying her meal
 Carol and Liz--Laurie's daughters in costume--with another serenade

Daughter Liz and the granddaughters at left; below, Laurie singing in his wonderful baritone voice
During the following days I was involved with projects at our house.  Always lots to do with mowing, gardening and the pool. 

We use another mower now, so Hans uses this old Honda for hauling away branches and brush.  It still works well after at least 25 years as we bought it from the former owners back in 1997.

The old wagon which came with the property is not in good shape, but it still adds to the scenery.  It dates back to the 1930s.  It was owned by the parents of the chap who did the electrical work on our house when we first bought it.

Hans had been in N.S. earlier in the summer and had a new liner installed in our pool with, of course, water added: 125,000 liters. 

The pool is 40 feet by 20 feet (about 14 meters by 7 meters), thus one can really get some exercise.  It is 3 feet deep at the shallow end and 9 feet at the deep end (about 1 meter and 3 meters deep).  The water was cool this particular day but Anne and I did have a swim.

Two weeks later, we celebrated Laurie's actual birthday.  As always, lots of great food and good friends.

Another important member of the family is BJ, who is about the same age as Laurie in dog years 

A birthday cake is important for any birthday, especially for a special one.  Paula and Laurie's friend John, who has made one several times during the past summers, once again offered to bring the cake and, as always, it was superb.

Below, John putting the finishing touches to his magnificent cheese cake, with Paula in the background doing a few last-minute things before dinner.

The picture of the single piece of cake shows how good it looks and how one can almost taste it!
Although the birthday celebrations came to an end, lots else was going on, including at our house.

I entertained on our deck a couple or so times.  Here are a few pictures of those enjoyable evenings. 

Two  very unexpected and welcome guests stopped by, close friends of my sister Carol from their nursing days at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, the city where both Sadie and Donna have retired.

 Sadie and her beautiful cat

Liz has two dogs, one a German shepherd.  She is a lovely animal but got free momentarily.  She wandered behind one of the cars and was greeted by a skunk!  Luckily we were all well hidden on the house side.  The skunk was scared, of course, and before it took off sprayed the dog.  
Liz called for some vinegar and before we knew it the odour was gone.  Many use tomato juice, but vinegar is just as good and doesn't leave any colour behind.  I was surprised that it didn't leave any odour behind outside either.  

I had skunks visit me every evening, sometimes two of them together.  Not sure if this is one of them or not.  Luckily, there were no more such incidents.  I don't have a picture of Liz's dog or I would put it up.

Paula with BJ and Liz with her little dog, both of which are the same or similar breed

A few days later, I was entertaining the family again on the patio. This time, two more unexpected friends arrived:  Jean and Jo.  They had come from Saint John, NB on the boat to Digby, which is only 40 minutes from us enroute to Halifax.  She phoned to see if I was at home.  We all welcomed them as they are great company and great friends.

Carol, Laurie and Jean
 Jean in the forefront and Jo at the far right corner
Paula and Carol in deep conversation
Carol, Laurie and Jean with Jo in front
All great times eventually come to an end.  Anne, and a week or two later, Carol, left for home.  Both had stayed with me, so it was lonely in the house when they departed.  However, Paula was just up the road so we had some good times together until I left myself. 

We four sisters in early morning

Goodbye to Nova Scotia and here I come Toronto!
Carol departed a couple of weeks later in her own car.  She was catching the ferry to Saint John from Digby and then on home to New Hampshire.

 Goodbye until next year!
Yes, Carol did get home but almost missed the ferry.  She had left the house the day before to stay overnight in Digby as it was an early morning crossing.  She slept in!  She likely never dressed so quickly in her entire life before getting into her car and heading to the ship.  Luckily, it was just a block away.  

She was about to board when she discovered she had left her passport at the hotel.  In a panic by now, back to the hotel she drove (or flew!), got her passport and made it onto the ferry as the last car.  The ship waited for her!  The boat started immediately.  So an excited end and a frantic one to her holidays in Nova Scotia.
 Yes, she arrived home safely!

To you all, enjoy the winter months--or at least think of the warmth to come in spring and all the family gatherings to look forward to next summer.  I shall write before long about our celebrations with all our Canadian visitors here in Germany last fall.  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Chicken Nights with Waltraud and Albrecht at the Linde

 Prostit to Waltraud and Albrecht Breig!
The Gasthaus Linde in Wallburg, one I went to most Tuesday evenings over 25 years, has closed.  It will re-open under new owners on 7 January.  Waltraud and Albrecht have retired and will be sorely missed.  I believe chicken will still be served but whether the menu will be the same I don't yet know.  That well-known chicken at the Linde was as good as it looks:  Crisp skin flavoured with herbs and moist, but perfectly cooked meat  

The plus side is that their daughter and Waltraud's two sisters will be working there, so some continuity.  Time will tell how things go.  Many Canadians knew it well during the Canadian military days in Lahr.  Quite a few have returned for a visit and headed to that same Gasthaus for their well-remembered chicken.  On one occasion, three Canadian men ordered two half chickens each and I think one of them, a third!   

Oh, how I would miss it--as would many others if it were not to be served!  For now, though, it will continue to be so as far as I know.

This picture above was published in the newspaper here in December.  I took a picture of the picture, thus the reason it is not clear.  The new owner is at the far left. 

The picture above shows the table I always sat at. This particular occasion was my first time back at the Gasthaus after my summer and fall in Nova Scotia.  I am about to enjoy one of my evenings at the Gasthaus with that great chicken and salad.
A few of the following pictures I have shown before, but all are to remind those who loved this Gasthaus of the good times and good food they enjoyed:  in particular, not only Waltraud's chicken and salad but Waltraud and Albrecht as the Wirtin and Wirt.

My table below in the foreground with a view of the corner table where Hans and I always sat when we went together.

On the menu, another way to serve chicken:  in a basket!

The Gasthaus Linde

Three Canadian friends visiting from the USA, Holland and Nova Scotia, Canada:  Jo, Chris and Jean.  They all loved the chicken and the wine.

Another evening with Canadians:  Hans on the right and J├╝rgen Binder in the forefront.
 Below, I am peeking behind Harry Rideout.
Enjoying the company, the food, the wine and the evening

Below, Hans' choice one evening:  Wurstsalat and Bratkartoffeln

I chose my usual:  Chicken with French fries and salad.

I always ordered their green salad, but many ordered the mixed salad which included various salad ingredients.
Waltraud makes the dressing for the salad herself and also sells it.  She will continue to do so.  We use it at home and buy no other now.  One can purchase it at the Edeka in Ettenheim and also in several other Edeka stores in the area, including in Lahr.  It is called  "Salatsosse Zur Linde."   The green tree on the label, of course, is a Linden or lime tree.  Whether the label stays the same only time will tell


Below, a perfectly poured beer for Hans.  The family-run brewery in Schmieheim is situated just down the road from the Gasthaus in Wallburg.

Occasionally, as shown below, I have a Weissherbst Schorle--half wine and half sparkling mineral water. 
Below, Waltraud's great Feldsalat, which is in season from late November until almost spring, so at Christmas time it is often served.  It is my all-time favourite salad.  Feldsalat has a different salad dressing than regular salads and it is similar in almost every Gasthaus with just the odd variation or addition.   I gave a recipe for it in my blog post "A Cooking Class at the Romatic Hotel Adler-Post" on 29 Feb 2016.
The Christmas season
A large group of guests enjoying a meal and the company.
Almost a full house another evening as shown below.  I had a great view in 2012 as noted by my wine glass in the forefront

Waltraud in December 2010. 
As seen below, she is serving the former owner of the Gasthaus at the Stammtishch.  She took over the Gasthaus from him 22 to 23 years ago. 

The Stammtisch during the Christmas season

 My favourite meal and never to be forgotten!

Happy retirement Waltraud and Albrecht!