Tag Archives: Moana

Summer Memories

As I sit at a new small wooden table with my brother Holger under the Linden tree, a slight drizzle ensues. The table — a birthday present — is made of a very unusual wood. I don’t know what kind of wood it is, but it has a wonderful aromatic smell and it changes to a darker color when it gets wet, revealing the intricate pattern of the wood grain. Wood grain has always had an attraction for me — nothing compares to its natural beauty. We are enjoying the last of the late evening summer light under the canopy of the old tree, listening to the stream, and enjoying the smell of rain in the air. “Oh crap, my laundry!” I jump up and run behind the barn to retrieve several towels and some pants that I had hung outside to dry. I keep forgetting, that unlike California, where its dry from May until November as a general rule, the rain has its own timetable and playful unpredictability in Germany. Oh good — the laundry got only slightly wet — I hang it over some chairs in the barn. My brother grins at Mr. Forgetful, as I reemerge from the barn. “Wipe that smile off your face!”

I can be as quiet as a church mouse, but when I come from the barn in the morning to go into the house, I am always detected by Holger’s dog Moana. “Good morning girl!” She rolls on her side, and I rub her tummy as she wags her tail — a happy dog. As I turn on the burner under the water kettle, I see a tiny snail stuck to the outside of the top window pane. That’s quite a climb you have accomplished there Mr. Snail — your own skyscraper assent. I wonder what inspired such an endeavor.

The four wild cats have detected me as well, and are jumping up against the glass door, paw prints everywhere. Alright, alright, already — one order of crunchies and warm milk coming up. Usually I can pet them just a bit when the milk is served, as greed then outweighs fear, although they still shrink back or dart away sometimes. There are two new wild kittens, one of whom I am able to pet now, as he has discovered the milk dish. The kitten usually shows up only at dusk though.

It’s time for a walk with Moana. She has waited patiently for me to drink my cup of tea. She loves the morning walk through the forest, and as we get to the large downslope, she waits behind the same tree where she always waits on every walk, looking expectantly at me to throw a rock down the slope. When I throw the rock, she goes tearing down the hill after it at breakneck speed, once in a while even overtaking the rock. She doesn’t necessarily return the same rock that was thrown however. But then again, retrievers are not exactly know for being the brightest bulbs. The rock is then proudly carried in her mouth all the way back to the barn. She has a collection of them next to the stream, some of which I occasionally take to reuse on the walks.

Skipping to evening: the Linden tree, the barn, the house and the meadow have all melted into a charcoal darkness. A few bats — fleeting shadows — are flying over the stream (briefly barked at by Moana until I hush her) gathering up lots of mosquitos one hopes. Blink, blink, blink — three fireflies have appeared. I love fireflies, one of God’s prettiest creations. I opt now to go for the same walk I usually take in the morning, to see if I can meet more fireflies. It’s almost pitch black now. I am rewarded soon: more and more fireflies turn off and on here and there, occasionally illuminating the silhouette of a tree. They make me so happy. On the way back, I count twenty-five of them, or did I miss a few?

Have a blessed week

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No EU Repercussions

Moana (my brother Holger’s dog) loves to come along on trips in the car. When she hears the word Ausflug (excursion), her ears perk up, and she is ready for the car door to be opened. Little does she know, that today’s drive to pick up a few groceries, includes getting some sausage ends. This store — and I will protect their identity, so there will be no EU repercussions (you may remembers this subject from my prior writings) occasionally has such leftovers, and gives them to deserving dogs — at no charge. If word got around among the canines, there most certainly be a queue in front of the store I would imagine. Off we go, the back rear window dutifully rolled down, so she can hold her head out the window. I bet this dog would love pickup trucks in America.

We arrive at the store and she lies down in the back seat as I go shopping. It’s a short list today, some bread and some Schinken (cured ham), or in other words — a few of the missing ingredients for Strammer Max (an open faced sandwich made with egg, ham, tomatoes, and cornichons — feel free to have a look in Wikipedia). And yes indeed: they have leftover sausage ends today. Success for both man and dog. Some milk for the cats, and then the necessary transaction with the cashier.

There is some sniffing on Moana’s part as I re-enter the car — dinner has been detected. Driving out of the village, and then on the main road, I pull over and park to go for a walk through the fields. There is a very quick exit out the car on Moana’s part as I open the back door. All I can see now is a tail waving in the air as she goes full speed up the tractor path between the fields. I have trained her a bit since I have been here, and she returns most of the time when I call her. I do hope there are no rabbits though, because then all is lost, as the hare amuses him or herself with a contemplated exercise routine. OK girl, time to go back, the groceries are getting warm and the cats want their milk.

Have a blessed week

Kitten

The World Cup progresses. I was invited to watch a Germany game at one of my brother’s friends’ house in a small village nearby last week. When I arrived with Moana, I met him at the BBQ, where he was grilling sausages (what else?) with his youngest son. In the spirit of the soccer game he had painted a small red, yellow, and black stripe in the color of the national flag across his head to support Germany (in this case a bald head can be quite practical) much to the amusement of the kids. My middle brother had done this once with his dog too — for a prior World Cup. A patriotic canine, and in this case also less work, as the dog’s fur is black.

A projection screen was set up in the barn, the pre-game chatter was on, and Armin’s kids as well as about half a dozen neighbor kids were playing soccer in the courtyard between the barns and the house. A girl — about nine or ten years old, was in the wooden goal where she bravely fought off kicked soccer balls from the overenthusiastic boy ruffians. It reminded me of when I picked up my snow leopard from a summer camp in Yosemite one year, where she had to put up with a lot from her riff-raff compatriots. Easy there with the soccer ball boys — not so hard, she’s a girl. Moana (tied to a post on her leash) was of course constantly barking at the ball, but since there was so much yelling going on, it hardly mattered. That dog considers every soccer ball in sight her exclusive personal property. Not only that, but she is also a retriever that retrieves — and then keeps.

One of the older girls took me inside one of the barns and showed me a kitten and a mom cat, both of whom I got to pet. There is nothing softer in the world than a kitten I believe, and it’s that time of year again, when kittens abound in the rural areas. I found it very hard to leave the barn.

Have a blessed week