Thursday, June 14, 2007

Vacation - Gone Fishing! ... Vakantie - Wij zijn vissen!

Rue du Chat Qui Pêche (Street of the cat who fishes)
Paris, France - 5th arrondissement.
Image © 2007. Judith Nijholt-Strong

Oh ok, we're not really going fishing and we're not going to Paris either ... bummer (jammer) !

However, it is time for summer vacation (zomervakantie) for "our humans". On Saturday, they will be going back to their favorite village in the Somme/Picardy region of northern France (Frankrijk) , for a long, quiet get away! We're certain that they will be enjoying it very much, as they always do.

"Mom" will be sketching, drawing & painting while in France (her passion), and "Dad" will be relaxing & reading 15 thick books, (his passion - *eye roll* or *eye strain* ? ... you make the call) . And of course, they'll be getting in a lot of sight-seeing, including a trip down to Normandy (we still wish we could go ...).

Naturally (natuurlijk) , this means No Blogging for us until "our mom" (our typist) returns.

Well, this is what we'll be doing while they're away:

Finn is ready for his own vacation!
© 2007. Judith Nijholt-Strong

Bon voyage "mom"& "dad"!

We'll see you, our readers, back here sometime around the mid to end of July.

Tot ziens! (Till we meet again!)
Finn & Sacha


It occured to us, when looking through our list of catagories for our blog, that we could actually label/catagorize this entire blog: "Random Silliness" ...

;o) F. & S.

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Friday, June 8, 2007

The tulips are gone ~ De tulpen zijn uitgebloeid.


copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Red Elegans", Lily-flowered Tulip
Talens, W&N, Holbein designer Gouache on Winsor&Newton wc paper.
12.5 cm x 18.5 cm

Yep, the pots of the special tulips are over now...we're kind of sad. :o(( . However, we (and our humans) really enjoyed this experience - the planting, the waiting, the worrying and finally, the excitement as each new layer brought forth more beauty to behold!

We've previously blogged about planting them here: "Garden work - Tuinwerk" and here: "Tulips and The Wall - Tulpen en de Muur" and a photo of the pots getting snowed on here: "What is that white stuff? - Wat is dat witte spul?"

"Mom" has been sketching and painting the tulips all spring, as well as other garden flowers. Hmm, we guess if you're going to live in Holland then you have to draw tulips - there must be a law somewhere. Here are some of the tulip pages from her various sketchbooks she has devoted to sketching the flowers in "our" garden. Sometimes there's been delightful surprises - not "officially" planted!

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
Sketches done in Moleskine sketchbook using colored pencils,
Derwent Graphitints, gouache, pen & ink and graphite pencil.

This is another gouache painting that "mom" did of one of the Rembrandt tulips, "Mabel" (heirloom blub from c.1915) . Along with the oldest Duc van Tol tulips (c.1595) , the Rembrandt tulips were "mom & dad's" favorties - so much so, that this coming fall, they are going to buy us some more Rembrandt blubs for "our garden"! We're lucky little Dutch cats. :o)

copyright Judith Nijholt-Strong
"Mabel in the Skies"
Talens, W&N, Holbein designer Gouache on Fabriano wc paper.
14 cm x 14 cm

Rembrandt tulips are also known as "broken tulips" because of the differing and variegated patterns in the petal colors - no two are alike (which adds to the pleasure of growing them, in our opinion) . The patterning is caused by a tulip virus in the bulbs. We think they are simply beautiful tulips and apparently, so did people many centuries ago! We were most pleased with our Rembrandts ... lovely, tall, strong-stemmed, perfect "traditional" tulip shape heads and long lasting - even when used as a cut flower.

We've put together some photos sets for "our readers" (hey we do have readers - don't laugh!) of all the heirloom tulips we grew this year. We lie, of course, actually "mom" put the pics together... we're just pretending we're "clever cats in clogs"! *grin*

Duc van Tol tulips & Gele Prins (click image block(s) to enlarge)

Rembrandt "Insulinde" and Double Early "Purperkroon"

Rembrandt "Mabel" and Lily-flowered " Red Elegans"

And sadly, how the pots look after the tulips have finished blooming (uitgebloeid).

Oh well, we'll just replant the bulbs in the fall and hope to see these beauties next spring.

Tot gauw (see you),
Finn & Sacha

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Carnival Came to Town ~ De Kermis Was In het Dorp


"Knuffel en Koffie" and "A Carnival ("Kermis") View" - sketches

© 2006-2007. Judith Nijholt-Strong - Colored pencils in Moleskine sketchbook.

Last weekend, the carnival (kermis) came to our village (dorp). It was not a very big carnival, actually quite small, but it was very "gezellig" . Our human "mom" did the sketches above at last year's kermis ... this year she didn't sketch.

~ A note about a special, and very Dutch, word: Gezellig ~ :
The word "gezellig" is very difficult to translate into english - let alone pronounce ( guttaral "g"at the beginning and end). Although the most often used translation is the word "cozy", in reality the word "gezellig" can apply to all manner of situations (i.e. being with friends, being in a room, going to a concert, taking a walk, having fun at a carnival, enjoying a good dinner, holidays, etc.) . Suffice it to say that when you hear a Dutch person say something was/is "gezellig" , they are conveying having had a really wonderful experience! Hmm, maybe "warm fuzzies" would be a good way to translate "gezellig" - LOL, I'm not so sure about that translation though - "gezellig" is just, uhmm, "gezellig" ! Dutch is not an easy language to learn, or to get the hang of, but once you truly understand what "gezellig" means, well, you've almost arrived! *giggle* and I've just typed the word "gezellig" 9 times, so you must understand by now. heh heh

Back to the carnival ...

There was enough to see & do at this small carnival, and many tempting things to enjoy. Our humans had tasty "poffertjes"!

"Plates of Poffertjes" Aardbei met slagroom en banaan met slagroom.
(Strawberry & cream and banana & cream.)

Poffertjes are tiny puffy pancakes about the size of a silver dollar, but puffy not flat - usually served covered in powdered sugar. They can be "jazzed up" with fresh fruit and real whipped cream (or even chocolate!). "Dad" had the strawberries & cream and "mom" had the bananas & cream. The poffertjes were just a bit overpriced (carnival food, you know) , but oh so lekker (tasty) !! Ja! Ja! (yes! yes!)

Our "Dad" won two stuffed animal toys playing the gripper games - "mom" just watched and cheered him on while he put a small pot of coins in the machines!! hahahaha!! Costly stuffed toy (dure knuffel) ! "Dad" gave this doggie to Finn, as every cat should have their own doggie (hondje) .

Finn looks like he could care less ... lol

Look! On the sign of the candy booth (snoepkraam) was the coat of arms (wapen) of the city (stad), Bergen op Zoom, - where we were born!

"Wapen van Bergen op Zoom"
Bergen op Zoom is in the province of Brabant, The Netherlands.

And here's a pic of a Dutch policeman. "Mom" told us he was asking the little children ; "Have you seen Finn & Sacha around here?" Uh-oh, it seems we're well known in the Utrecht province!!

"Kleine kinderen met grote politieagent."
(Small children with big police officer)

"Mom & Dad" didn't go on any rides this year (they're getting old ... ha ha), but they did spend a couple of "gezellige" hours at "de Kermis".

Here are some more photos from the carnival.
(click on image to enlarge)
"Kermis in Our Village in The Netherlands"
All images copyright 2007, Judith Nijholt-Strong & Auke Nijholt

Tot volgend jaar! (until next year!)

Groetjes (regards) ,

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