Sunday, September 25, 2011

Back in Deutschland

Hello my friends!  Long time no see.  I am back from California now and finally adjusted to the 9 hour time difference.  It was an extra difficult task this time owing to the 7 hours of playing and teaching I worked just the day after I got back.  I needed this whole week just to recover from the 14 hour flight and hundreds of screaming, energetic, German-speaking kids. 
One cool pumpkin, green and yellow, with mums behind.

But I am back, rested and am now savoring every minute of this perfect fall we have been having.  The sun has been shining but the temperatures are cool.  All of the leaves are starting to change and some have fallen to the ground.  The weather has been so nice and perfect that everyone is outside enjoying it, going to the farmers markets and sitting in beer gardens.  It really couldn't be better. Yesterday was no exception.  After a crisp cool run in the morning (so peaceful) and then an hour and a half of teaching, I made my way to the farmers market.  It was very busy and everyone seemed to be coming away with armfuls of fresh apples and plums, flowers and pumpkins.  I was no exception.  I think I looked hilarious leaving the farmers market, my tiny little frame weighed down by six pumpkins, my teaching bag and an armful of flowers. 
Autumn mums in happy but warm colors.

There is nothing better than decorating with fresh, seasonal produce and plants.  And, it really isn't expensive.  My house looks inviting and cozy and pays tribute to the magnificence of a fall harvest.   And I got all 6 pumpkins for 1 EURO each...that is right, 1 EURO EACH!  Most of them are little (but not as small as a baby pumpkin) but I got a few bigger ones, too!  I also walked away with a huge bouquet of the most colorful mums and, the most interesting, a huge stalk of artichokes that can be dried. 
The largest pumpkin, green!

Before yesterday, I had no idea how artichokes grow.  But this thing was huge and I just had to look it up.  And now I know: artichokes are actually unopened flower buds.  They have purple flowers that grow out of the tough, green leafy thing that my mom likes to eat drowned in butter.  There were several at the market in bloom, but I decided to get mine without a flower.  I thought they would be more versatile and also make a great Christmas decoration that way. 

The artichokes.  I put them in this vase, which is too small.  I need to get a larger vase to balance their top-heavy look.
Artichokes grow on huge, fat stems and mine came with one giant artichoke on the main stem, with two smaller artichokes on small stems that branched out from the larger one.  The woman at the flower stand said that I could simply leave them in a vase without water and that they would dry that way and last forever.  The only change would be that they would get a little lighter in color.  I couldn't believe it!  They were a little expensive (6 EURO) but considering I will have them forever, it definitely seems worth it! 
A nice pumpkin with a really cool stem. 

I hope you are having a nice harvest time!
Interesting colors.

Cool stem and interesting colors.  In the living room.

A cool white pumpkin with an interesting tall shape.

Pumpkin and mums.
While in Cali, I bought the map on the right at an antique fair with my mom.

The living room done up for autumn.

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