Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Was it worth it?

Sitting out there on  the balcony..... a sunny quiet late may morning...
Not a single man made sound to be heard, listening to the birds calling, hearing the buzz of the bumblebees as they visit the blooming comfrey; a favorite of them. I can not help but wondering if i should really cut that down. It is starting to overgrow that slope and spreading like wildfire, but the majestic massiveness of the plants has a beauty of its own. Topped by those delicate blue flowers so eagerly sought after by those fluffy buzzers. Buttercups, the downy heads of seeding dandelions and comfrey in bloom.... a lovely image.
I hear a gull screaming up there somewhere and my eyes trace the light blue sky above...
There!! There it is, fighting off a buzzard that apparently came to near the gull's nest. They swirl and dodge, flapping wings and extend talons. Then the buzzard is chased away far enough and everything turns ''quiet'' again.
I keep looking at the buzzard as it continues drawing circles against the blue. Not a single flap of the wings,  only slight adjustments to capture the airflow and alter its course.  Buzzards seem to like this particular spot; meadows, lakes and clusters of trees, all concentrated within a few 1000 square meters. Good hunting grounds and good thermals I suppose.

I rush in  to grab the camera. I have to try..... and then my eye starts seeing other things too; the way the sunlight illuminates the land and plants, the different shades of green in the leaves. The aspen a bronze green, the birches a slight greyish green, the bird cherry a deep green, the rowan a full, bright green. I noticed how full the bloom of our new appletree is. Saw that on other apples in the area as well; large clouds of white embedded in the green of the land. Large patches on the meadows have turned a deep yellow with blooming dandelions. I just wished the bees would have been here already!! They'd have a feeding bonanza! No, I will not cut down the comfrey. I'll let it grow and try to limit it to one area. Too valuable a plant as a feeding source. And of course as an addition to the compost and as a liquid fertilizer as well.

I look across the garden. How overgrown  it has become in such a short time. How lush and colorful too. I think of the grass trimmer I bought. It sure will come in very handy to keep that growth under control.
I also think of the mistake I made in purchasing that one, thinking I made a good deal by buying last years model for a good price..... only to find out after delivery that it did not come with  battery or charger! Had to buy those separately. And they were no longer in stock so I had to order those elsewhere. It set me back more than I liked!

And then my mind turned to all those other purchases we made recently. The extra greenhouse, the car and trailer. The beekeeping stuff... Many small bits 'n' bobs too. The trip we needed to make to Stockholm, to the Dutch embassy, 2 visits to the dentist for my wife, paying back the social service......  The only thing that wasn't actually necessary was the military tent, but I will need that in february and it will come in handy during the summer... hopefully. Why is it that when you get cash, you need to pay big bills or have large expenses all of a sudden? Or is it the other way around??
And the funny thing is that I often calculate such purchases in time, not money. How long do I need to work in order to get the cash I need to buy something? The trimmer cost me two 12 hour workdays and that hurt. It will make the gardening a lot easier later on, but still.  The little greenhouse a little over one day, but that will repay itself in fresh tomatoes, peppers and paprikas. Well, that actually isn't exactly true. I sold my 4x4 opel and paid for the greenhouse and beekeeper gear that way.
The money for the Pajero and the trailer we had to borrow and that I really did not like. It is a relatively small loan however and the merits of that are already showing. Now we do have the room for all of us, including dogs. Now we have vastly increased logistical capacities. And that is already paying off.... I hauled to full loads of transport pallets home for free. These will serve as basis for our cosy gardencorner and henhouse. Much of the wood can be used for the construction of the latter too and the rest will serve as firewood coming winter. We can also transport cattle if needs be and it turns out that that is becoming increasingly possible and may be necessary next year...
The trip to Stockholm was another costly issue. A 400km round trip, because we had to buy new passports for both me and my oldest daughter. My wife came along, since that was mandatory, according to the info on the homepage. Turns out it was not.... One complete workday wasted. However we did get some new information on changing citizenship and that made a lot of difference. Of course we went shopping and we thoroughly enjoyed the visit to a café and had a huge cappuccino with a Dutch stroopwafel and generally enjoyed being there. We so miss this; being able to go out to a cosy café, have some good coffee or a drink and just enjoy the good life, preferably with friends, but together works just as well. We also came home with some books. So was it worth it? We could've saved a lot of cash if some bureaucrat wouldn't have been so tight up. It wouldn't have made the least bit of difference to her. On the other hand it was great to be out, spend the day with the ladies the way we did, we got some valuable information and a couple of very nice and very useful books.

Later today I heard another racket. Several gulls were calling loudly and now some crows had joined the choir. The buzzard had returned and it had brought its mate! The calls seemed to rally more birds as I saw a handful of jackdaws rushing into the "arena", immediately charging at the crows! But their attention was quickly diverted and with joint effort 3 species of birds worked together to fight off a forth one. Amazing!!
I also did try the trimmer and I was reasonably impressed by its capabilities! It definitely will lighten the workload and save me many an hour of grass cutting. And this means that the plan with the removal of the wood chips and ground cloth will be put into practice.

So one can ask one self:"Was it all worth it?".
I for one can say:"yes, it was". Every spending, no matter how big or small, will yield a substantial reward. The car and trailer increased logistics, the coffee and closer relationship with my daughter, based on shared time and experience, the books wisdom and ease of mind, the beekeeping stuff is self explanatory. Heck, in case of an emergency with the car, trailer and tent we are even capable of relocating fast and still have a heated place to live in!
That is what we have learned these last years, even decade. Spend your hard earned cash wisely. Sometimes you need to take a loan. More often you don't need to. Our current economical system is based on impulse buying or a false feeling of need. Think and rethink.


  1. Buzzard? Are you sure? Looks like some kind of accipiter to me.

    Yes, think and re-think. Here's what I think: If what you purchased makes a positive contribution to your life it was 100% worth it. It's mindless spending that is soul-crushing and so many people are victims of it. You of all people are definitely not guilty of mindlessness. You're one of the most mindful people I know.

    1. Thank you....
      I think it was a buzzard, since it was too large to be an accipiter of some kind. I zoomed in quite a bit.
      Mindlessness..... Ues, that is one of the scourges of our age.

    2. I think mindlessness WAS of evolutionary benefit at one time. Long ago. LONG ago. (Saber tooth cat coming. Don't think. Act!) But we are behind the times. We don't need that much thoughtlessness any more.