25 April 2014

Fresh veggies are available!  Not greenhouse stuff but honest-to-goodness fresh veggies.  I brought peas home, and showed the kids how to shell them.  It's something they've never done  - fresh peas are a rarity in German supermarkets, I don't grow them (legumes are my curse as a gardener, and if you now tell me how ridiculously easy they are to grow, I will never talk to you again), and the next farmer's market is 15 miles away.  But here in Kosovo, they are available everywhere all of a sudden.  It's harvest time in Greece, I suppose.


24 April 2014

Thunder and lightning today. We don't get that too often, so it was a nice change.  Not an imposing lightning picture but heh.  It's really hard catching lightning with your camera, especially when it's multiple minutes apart!  And from just watching we had not been able to tell that this lightning was a nice purple in color.  The things you learn...

22 April 2014

The younger kids are having their week of Spring break.  Luckily for them, the weather has turned and it's just gorgeous outside.  So we're doing a mixture of hanging, crafting, drawing, no studying, and jumping on the trampoline.  I'm also doing a workshop on off-camera flash (even though I don't own a trigger system but heh!) and tried myself at manual flash settings.  Oh, dear. It's a whole 'nother world, isn't it?  But when it works, it looks very cool:

David jumping high!

21 April 2014

We took a day trip to Istog where we hoped to do a little hiking in the mountains.  As you can see from the image below, the weather didn't cooperate.  We started out in bright sunshine in Pristina and drove into chilly rain. 

We stopped at the famous Trofta restaurant.  It was okay food - the kid's steaks were kind of tough, my fish was good but not so wonderful that I felt the need to break out in compliments.  I don't like canned mushrooms on the best of days.  But the setting is nice and the waiters were very kind, and the bread was excellent, so we thought we got our money's worth. 

As we left Istog it began to rain in earnest, and we couldn't find the waterfall we wanted to hike to anyway, so we just drove back home.  That drive, though, was spectacular from beginning to end.  You see the Mokra Mountains in the north towards Montenegro pretty early on, as well as the Accursed Mountains that reach deeply into Albania.   For a long while, you drive along the edge of mountains still clad in snow.  The meadows are green and dotted with thousands and thousands of dandelions (at this white stage, we call them "Pusteblume" in German which means "blow flower").  Cows and sheep graze everywhere.  You just want to throw yourself down in this grassy green - if it hadn't been for the rain, that is. 

It was very, very beautiful and not our last trip to this part of Kosovo for sure!

20 April 2014

Six days of continuous rain, after two days of snow (!).  Gloomy, foggy, wet.  The soil in Pristina is just not used to so much rain, so we have big puddles of rain sitting on top of the waterlogged clay that is our front yard. I think all my seeds are just drowning.  I had put a "soil improving" mix on the dirt strip next to the garage and the first little leaves had already popped up.  I don't think our soil is going to be improved this year.  It's just sticky mud right now.

We hid the Easter baskets in the house, and the kids found them and were happy about the good German (uhm, Swiss) chocolate bunnies and eggs.  We'll spend the day venturing outside for a bit and then we might just be huddling in front of the TV, watching "Earth" with David Attenborough, or do a Warehouse 13 marathon.  Or something like that.

Happy Easter.  Make it a nice day for yourselves.

06 April 2014

I took two kids to Germany for a week.  Alan is getting a checkup and a week of spring break, and Leah had to come along because we don't know what to do with her -- she gets off school an hour before the older boys and the older boys can stay by themselves but she cannot.  I had not considered that she and her oldest brother are like cats, constantly fighting.  Maybe it normally sort of drowns in the normal fighting that goes on all the time?  But boy, they fight. 

In Germany we say, when ten daisies fit under your foot, it's spring.  It's definitely spring in our backyard.  Everything is lush and wonderfully green, the cherry blossoms are out, the pears are about to bloom, the apples are thinking hard about it... Oh, I wished we could stay.  We're only here for a week but we are definitely relishing it!

Oh, and I got myself a Lensbaby.  I can't really justify the expense for my coveted 24-70mm L lens, so I bought something to play with.  This is one of the very first images I took with it.  Not bad for a lens that needs manual focus and basically does not talk with your camera at all.  This will be a lot of fun.

Lensbaby Composer Pro with Edge 80, f/5.6

Lensbaby Composer Pro with Edge 80, f/5.6

31 March 2014

We have a sick little girl on this glorious spring day.  She's been running a low-grade fever on and off on Sunday, so we decided to keep her home today.  She's the only one who got to sleep to her normal wake-up time.  The other kids were not happy about daylight savings.  Not happy at all.

18 March 2014

Someone really loves "Frozen", and singing, and dancing.  However, she does not like to be watched even a little bit when she sings and dances to songs - so I shot through curtain and glass and it's all fuzzy and flat and there's the door handle in the picture - but the image means something to me.  Sometimes, photography just works that way.

7 March 2014

Every one of our kids have learned to read with Headsprout (which, in all those years, changed to "Mimio").   We started with Alan back in Yerevan, Armenia.  David learned with it in Germany.  Jacob, as well. 

The latest is Leah who just finished her 80th episode here in Pristina and is now quite a good reader.  She's been the fastest of them all.  She's easily the most driven of the four, too.  She's very proud of herself and well she might be.  That program is not easy and she's reading at a 1st grade level.  Bravo!