Joined January 2019 Message
  • Day73

    Back to a new normal

    May 25, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    With the kids going back to school full-time today and things slowly but surely trending back to normal, we are also winding up our Swiss Quarantine Story here.

    Circus, piano, capoeira - everything except for swimming - is back up and running in some sort of ultra-hygienic, socially distanced form. Shops are all open again - admittedly the ones that we went to most often were never closed. The waiting list for a dentist appointment is three months long - ack! Really should have called them sooner.

    The kids are most excited to see their friends again before the end of the school year - frankly they are pretty keen on spending time with anyone who is not in the family! This summer is expected to be a bit special with few people leaving very far for the holidays, so hopefully lots of time to catch up on missed play as well. We adults are even allowed to see our friends again!

    All in all we weathered the storm decently in Switzerland. We know only two families who had covid-19, thankfully neither with any major ill effects. The kids were able to keep up with their schoolwork at home and will likely not be impacted by any missed exams. Economic consequences are yet to be fully exposed.
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  • Day72

    Deconfinement cake

    May 24, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Celebrating tomorrow's return to full-time school for the kids! Today's activity was to test out a new recipe: butternut squash spice cake with lemon icing. We made a ton of substitutions and it still turned out great! If anything it had a bit of a store-bought feel to it, lacking the ton of random bits (raisins, chocolate chunks, nuts, zest, etc.) that usually litter our creations. Good base anyhow, next time perhaps we'll add some pear cubes, walnuts, diced pineapple or cranberries.Read more

  • Day71

    Who says swings are for kids!

    May 23, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

    Our swing has arrived - or rather we have at last gotten organized enough to finalize the order! The delivery was smooth - especially in that the dude helped us with the extra step of getting it up the stairs in front of the house - quality and ease of construction were as expected - even a couple of kids and a monkey could do it 👨‍🔧🐒👩‍🔧 It has also been Poppy-approved for comfort and lounge-ability. Still need to find some kind of footstool solution and remember to bring the giant seat cushion under cover when it rains.Read more

  • Day70

    Ski cones

    May 22, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    These little guys - plus one rather bigger brother - were slated for conversion from plain old pine cones into super cute ski cones early on in the confinement. We still plan to make this super idea real - including knitted scarves, felt hats, rustic wood skis and poles, not to mention hands and heads - just as soon as the seasons turn and we can find the right size acorns and seeds for the missing appendages. Several foraging trips to the forest were made, alas to no avail and so we shall have to put this one on the backburner for the fall.Read more

  • Day69

    Bottling elderflower liqueur and cordial

    May 21, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Wow! Yet two more potentially appetizing applications for elderflower - homebrewing herbal liqueurs and cordials!

    The liqueur is apparently also known as "St. Germain" on the high street, the drink can be made by combining honey, lemon, elderflower and vodka - then bottling and waiting for four to six weeks. Given that we're currently just about drowning in elderflower, no time like the present to give it a try.

    The cordial is made by steeping elderflower blooms overnight in liquid sugar (just sugar dissolved in water) together with honey, mint, lime juice and lemon. There is no cooking involved so the shelf-life will be shorter. It turned out a beautiful, sunny, golden blond colour and tastes like spring in a bottle!
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  • Day68

    Chez Jones

    May 20, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    While there are no Michelin stars being handed out - at least not yet - you can't say that meal-times aren't a special experience Chez Jones! From happy meals to giant bites, from rabbit kidneys to chicken hearts to beef tongue, from crispy sage chips (what else to do with the enormous bush in the garden?!) to elderflower everything, from spelt to quinoa to kamut, from learning to pick up food with chopsticks to learning to use knives with the right hand to learning to eat chicken wings off the bone, there sure has been some adventurous dining these past weeks.Read more

  • Day67

    Welcome to the renovated lower terrasse

    May 19, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    What a great feeling for everyone finally getting this long outstanding project done! We just completed the repair work and transformation of the lower terrasse, just in time for summer. Highlights include:
    - ripping up the seriously heavy garden dalles
    - transporting them around the yard several times, who needs a workout after all
    - jackhammering the underlying screed to test for potential water issues
    - getting a handful of shockingly varied quotes for repairing the stucco wall (nice job DEA on not trying to take us for a ride)
    - mixing Jones-crete to re-fill the aforementioned jack-hammered trench (oops!)
    - designing a new look, most importantly that we could execute on ourselves (thanks to Arnaud Cachin for the gravel idea)
    - levelling the "lilypad" dalles using modern ancient Mommy-style masonry techniques
    - raking the selected medium-sized stones, after much debate about the best size and colour given the situation (so glad OBI was doing home deliveries during the lockdown)
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  • Day66

    Why not play diabolo in the living room

    May 18, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Poppy quote of the day: "Y'know, somehow I don't think our parents would've played diabolo in the living room..."

    And well I guess now we know why! Shortly after Davy was told off for making marks on the living room ceiling, Mommy was getting coaching tips on throwing the diabolo into the air. Following a few successful low-level catches, the guidance came to try throwing it a bit higher. Needless to say, one more diabolo-width mark joined the others and Mommy is now banned from living room diabolo as well.Read more

  • Day65

    Cooking elderflower jam

    May 17, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    First batch of homemade jam for the junior Joneses - and boy do we feel like a bunch of old country-folk now! The elderflower have been steeping for two and a half days in water, together with a few mint leaves - time to strain them into a pot and cook it all up with some - who are we kidding, an absolute shedload of - sugar, plus lemon and pectin.

    After stirring the mixture constantly over a rolling boil for five minutes, we poured the aromatic liquid into prepared jars and waited for it to set. Second time lucky for the setting (had to add more pectin and bring to a boil again) and the resulting jam was good for a first attempt - a bit too intense - next time we'll actually measure the liquid and steep for just two days.
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  • Day64

    Time for a little home improvement

    May 16, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Everyone dove right in to work on some longstanding home improvement projects today. We've really gotta start taking before and after shots to remind ourselves of the progress! First, the masked musketeers tackled filling in the hole on the veranda with concrete - it remains to be seen if we got the water ratio quite right. Next was powerwashing the tiles on the patio and sweeping weed-killing sand into the cracks.

    Meanwhile Mommy was taking care of the greenery around the yard - a never-ending task really - specifically top priority was to deal with the rapidly encroaching ivy, wisteria and creeping vines before they got too far out of hand. Finally it was time to settle the totos and zuzus into their garden homes, a task for which Davy discovered a handy potted-seedling planting tool that Anne had left behind.
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