29 August 2013

Spider

It had to build its web where I hang my swimsuit!  But it seems happy, eating its very own fly.


The house is full of spiders that benefit from evening insects brought in by the light. Then they eat them and send their empty skins down in little parcels and I have to tidy them up!

24 August 2013

New Beetle Babies



Saturday morning excitement! : ) My Zophobas morio beetles have been busy and when I dug through the substrate in their tank, I discovered many many new larvae that hatched there from the eggs laid by individuals that I raised from the larvae. Some were tiny, some were huge and some were absolutely massive! It is even more exciting, because these larvae will play an important role in my future biology class. Year 6 (ages 11-12) biology curriculum containes invertebrates and we are going to have a little beetle farm in an IKEA box with these superstars : )


The larvae molt and grow bigger and bigger, until they eventually curl up and form a pupa, from which an adult individual emerges. The beetles are pale white when they come out and get darker over the next few days, until they are black.

If you are not scared to see my new larvae in movement, here is a little video that I uploaded on YouTube just a few minutes ago.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohUAfIGrhfw

23 August 2013

Happy Birthday !!!

 
Big "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" for my birthday man!!
I will not be there, but I hope the birthday parcel (no matter how late it arrives) will bring a lot of joy.
Love and hugs!! x

22 August 2013

Elderflower Goodness

It's been some time since I went foraging for elderflower. I did write about the trip, but I didn't write about what I did with the flowers.

There is a lot of things that can be done with flowers and berries of elder tree. My first goal was to make fried flowers. Dipping the flowers in ordinary pancake mixture was great fun. Also having something so unusual and with stems on my plate was quite enjoyable. : ) 
The idea of eating flowers is somehow romantic, however, it was one of those meals that keep coming back, so even the following evening my burps tasted of elderflower (which is not so romantic). But as a little dessert it was fine :)

 
The other thing I wanted to learn how to do was elderflower juice or syrup or lemonade. My Hungarian Grandmother kept making this when she was younger and I remember I loved it very much. I roughly followed the recipe by foodlover.cz - basically some water, flowers in it, lots of sugar, some lemon juice and citric acid. It came out as a jug of something between lemonade and syrup and it was delicious. It lasted in the fridge for over a week.

 
I do not know where I'll be next year, but if I can find some elder, I will make these delicious things again.

21 August 2013

African Weekend

Last weekend was the third African weekend at the Botanical garden in Troja, Prague. After finally having a lot of time to myself, I spent both of the days there, in the outdoor exhibits of the garden, sipping karkadé, eating hot dogs and looking at plants and other things that were going on. The topic of this weekend was "Helping and Crafting". A lot of charities presented original African jewellery, coffee and other handmade goods to help raise the standard of living for people in Africa, fight against child labour, and make people aware of what is going on in these countries. Thre were drumming and dancing workshops going on, discussions and signings of Africa-themed books and watching films about Africa were taking place as well.

"African Summer" in the botanical garden will last until September and each weekend is dedicated to something else. The main exhibition of the summer are statues from the Tengenenge village. Each of them is for sale. Visitors can book them and will get them after the exhibition is over.

Statues made by Tengenenge village residents

Botanical garden in Troja is great in one thing - often when you come there, you will find out that more things are going on at the same time. There may be something in the greenhouse, something outdoors and remains of some older exhibitions will be left in the garden... this time there was also a finishing exhibition of Pelargonium plants, exhibition of plant photographs of the Cape phytogeographical area, exhibition of winning photographs from "FotoFata" photography competition and some remains of the spring "Wicker in the garden" exhibition, such as benches and sitting areas and these lovely plant supports.

Plant supports made of wicker

20 August 2013

Windowsill Gardening 2013 - Peas and Salads

I am going to be Alys Fowler of windowsil gardeners! Some months ago, after an excessively exhausting English lesson that I gave, I took the money for a little trip to BauHaus and exchanged it for some pots and soil to keep compay to my lonely seeds at home.

I cleared out some ivy that is growing on the house and recently started shading my room too much and even growing in through the open window (greenvasion, I call it) – it was bit of an ivy massacre, but the space gain was well worth it.
 

Peas used to be my favourite plant to grow and eat as a kid. In these pictures, the peas looks amazing, there were lots of flowers and even pods started forming. However...  now it will rest in peace in compost. All my plants got some nasty disease, which looks like a fungus - white powder of spores falling down from the surface of the plant and even the pods and flowers started falling down. So no peas this year.
 
Another packet of seeds that I bought was "speedy salads". They really do grow quickly and taste great. Snails like them as well. Now most of them have gone into flower, so I am growing another container full of juicy green salad leaves to enjoy before winter.
 
 
I used the leaves in salads many, many times. I really enjoy how it works. I take care of salads and salads take care of me :)
 


18 August 2013

Disconnected and Stitching

New birdies hanging from the windows

Something happened with our routers a few days ago and so far we've been unable to fix it, so there is no Internet connection at home at all. That is why I am sitting at the university (on Sunday!!!) and blogging and writing my e-mails from here. Luckily now that I have no work that would require being online, I can enjoy my time at home without the need to check my email or Facebook every three minutes. 

Life is sweet without living in the cyber-space. I managed to do a lot of things that I couldn't do for a long time - cooked, re-potted some plants, tidied up the room finally and even spent a nice evening in bed, watching Narnia and stitching up some socks and eventually also these little birdies that have been waiting in the box for a long time.

See?? You can get work done if you stop wasting time online! So get away from your computer (but come back later for more posts) and do some work!!


Soon to be listed on Etsy


10 August 2013

"Crystal" Friendship Bracelets

It's been ages since I blogged about anything even remotely crafty, so here we go!  These are a few bracelets that I made for my shop during this summer. It is not often that I learn a new pattern, but I really liked this one, so I did. It is called "Crystal" and originally it is designed for six different colours, however, I decided to use only three -two full coloured and one variegated. I made three different bracelets with this techniqe and I really like them.
 


The green one (on the right) is already sold, however the dark blue-grey one and the orange-yellow-brown one are still available in my shop.

The design comes from my favourite Czech website naramkypratelstvi.cz (see the tutorial here) and is originally from a Polish crafty website.

08 August 2013

In the Tower of St Elizabeth's Cathedral in Košice

We are back in my Prague home, full of impressions from all the travelling (and FOOD!!!) we have been experiencing in Slovakia in the last week. So while my lovely English man cooks lunch and I am not allowed to stay in the kitchen, let me tell you about one simple trip we took in my hometown (Košice, eastern Slovakia).


On the day that we were leaving Košice by a night train (if you ever buy a night train from Košice to Prague or vice versa, make sure you travel by EuroNight train - really nice - and buy your ticket in the city from which you are starting your journey - the City Start discount is huge), we decided to walk up the northern tower of St. Elizabeth's Cathedral in the city centre.

Entering the cathedral is for free and it is really worth it. It is a proper working catholic church, so sometimes it happens that you enter during  service, but there are always some people who just want to look around. For 1.50 EUR (children younger than 15 years have a discount) you can enter the highest tower of the cathedral - the northern tower.

It is 59.7 meters high and there are 160 steps leading to the top lookout. There isn't much space there, so do not go if you are claustrophobic, afraid of dark, heights or swirly staircases :)

 
In several places on the way up, there are little rooms - with bells, with the mechanism of the clock and windows that offer views almost as great as the top lokout.
 

View from the top is still the best though. We spent quite a while up there, looking at hidden yards and pretty balconies of the town that one can only see from the top.

Up left: Hlavná (Main) street and State Theatre; Up middle: Alžbetina (Elizabeth's) street; Right: Urban's Tower
Down left: city centre; Down middle: Hlavná (Main) street with a park and a piece of St Elizabeth's Cathedral

03 August 2013

Down the River between Slovakia and Poland

Our little summer vacation is here and with it trips to cottage, walks, mosquitos, sandal tan, sunglasses, hats, sightseeing, cool drinks and cycling bruises. My English man and I are together for about two weeks now. We started in Prague, then continued to Košice (Slovakia) and soon we are returning back to Prague again. We took several trips with my parents at the beginning of this week, one of them being rafting down the river Dunajec on traditional rafts in the north of Slovakia, where the river creates a border between Slovakia and Poland. The water level was low and a journey of 9 kilometers took our rafting guides almost two hours. (It was a very hot day and Adrian kept splashing river water on me all the way). We met ducks, lots of other (mostly Polish) rafts, saw fish and a lot of natural beauties of Pieniny national park, some of which are pictured below.

Traditional raft on Dunajec, Slovakia/Poland

Most of the guides wear traditional vests and hats. The hats are covered in seashells, because originally, the rafters were transporting wood down the river all the way to the sea. For every completed journey to the seaside, they brought back one shell. So the man with most shells was the coolest one :) (You can buy the hats as a souvenir. I checked - all the shells were made of plastic)

Seven stone monks, Dunajec and rafts

Seven stone monks. According to the legend, there were seven monks living in the "Červený Kláštor" (Red Monastery) nearby on the Slovak side of the river, who were allowed to visit one nun living on the Polish side (as the guide mentioned - for prayers, of course!). The only condition was that they had to go one at a time - a different monk every day of the week. However, because according to the rules of the monastery, the monks could not talk to each other, they couldn't agree on who will go when and so they all went, and every day (praying must have been very important to all of them). And therefore, because they disobeyed the rules, they were all turned into a stone and so was the nun (who is represented by a rock on the Polish side of the river, of course).

Tri koruny

The three rocks "Tri koruny" (Three Crowns). Each of them has its own name, both in Slovak and in Polish, the only one I remember is that the first one is called "Duch Pienin" (The Spirit - or Ghost - of Pieniny). If you look closely, you can see that the trees on it form its eyes and sad mouth or moustache.


Beautiful scenery of PIENAP (PIeninský NÁrodný Park - Pieniny National Park)
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