Zebragras
Chlorophytum comosum is a well known houseplant. The common name for this plant is spider plant, but is also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy or ribbon plant. In Dutch the plant is known as “Zebragras” or “Graslelie”.

It wants a light place, but preferably not too much direct sunlight. Apart from that it is an easy plant to grow. Regularly water and once per month a little fertilizer is all that is needed.

The plant is also known for it air-filtering capacities and for these reason NASA is interested in this plant.

So why an article on this weblog about this rather common houseplant?

Well, during the last years of mothers life, she had a “Zebragras” plant in her house. A nice big and healthy plant.

When my mother was taken in to a home because her health didn’t allow it to live on her own any more, the house where she use to live needed to be cleaned and everything removed from it.
Among other things, I took the “Zebragras”-plant with me to my home.

Since then, this plant was standing in my living room, growing strongly.
That is until summer this year. I noticed the plant stopped growing and clearly the heath was getting weak. I realized that this plant was slowly dying and nothing would stop that.

Luckily, many plants have a special way to multiply: Rooting plant cuttings. Basically this means you take a healthy sprig of a plant and put it in a glass of water. If everything goes well after some time the sprig will start to develop roots. When there enough strong roots the sprig can be placed in potting soil and with a little luck the sprig will start to grow.

Even more luckily is that rooting from cuttings is mostly successful for the “Zebragras” plant.

So some weeks before our holiday to Greece, I took the two most healthy sprigs from my mothers plant and placed them in water. Already after a week the first roots started to grow. One week before we left for Greece, I placed the two sprigs in potting soil.
3 Weeks later on our return the sprig had started to grow and formed new leaves.

I waited two more weeks and the sprigs had grown into strong healthy young plants. The plant I had taken the sprigs from was really almost dead. And the time was there to replace the old plant with the young strong sprigs.

I am happy that I could save the “Zebragras” plant that once belonged to my mother this way and that there is now a strong and healthy plant again, as can be seen on the photo at the top of this article.

The white ceramic pillar and pot on the photo belonged to my parents and was given by my brother, my sister and me to them for their 25th wedding anniversary. The “old plant” was also placed in this plant pot.

Happy that it worked out this way!

Rob
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Tokmakia

During our vacation this year we have been visiting the Eastern part of Lesvos. A beautiful area where wild horses roam and turtles can be found. Also the home of many bird species, there are more wild bird species on Lesvos than anywhere else in Europe.

At a certain moment we made a break aside a road that led along the East coast of Lesvos. I looked over the sea and saw there some islands. I turned to Mel, our Greek friend from Lesvos, and pointed towards the islands.
Before I even could say something she confirmed smiling that these were the Tokmakia islands (when you look at the photo above, the islands more to the horizon, not the small one closer to the coast).

Last year, when we travelled with our best friends as a group to Lesvos (and Mel certainly belongs to that group), we sailed around Lesvos with Richard as our “captain” as he his the skills and experience to handle a sailboat as the one we rented.
The Tokmakia islands was the place where we dropped the anchor.

It is said that the Tokmakia islands attract, like the ancient Sirens, everyone who is passing by. And that is true, when you are standing on your boat and you see those islands you will feel a strong desire to explore those islands.

The water around the Tokmakia islands is crystal clear, it almost looks as if there is no water. It creates the image that your boat is floating in the air.
The islands are home to many bird and plant species, a wonderful place for those who are interested in these.

As said, last year with visited these islands. The water was too shallow near the beaches, so Richard decided to drop the anchor on some distance. After we made sure that the anchor was properly secured, we swam as true explorers to the island holding food and other stuff above our heads so it would not become wet. After a few times to the sailboat and back we had anything we wanted on the beach of one of the islands (the one called “Ασπρονήσια” or Aspronisia).

On the beach we had the nicest pick nick and even a small BBQ (very good secured so nothing could go wrong).
We swam in the crystal clear water of the sea, we enjoyed the sun on the beach, we explored the island and were amazed by the beauty all around us.

Our time on Ασπρονήσια was truly amazing. Something never to forget. When we left (and made sure no garbage or anything else was left behind) we all were feeling great.
Back on the boat we prepared to sail away and when the anchor was raised I heard Richard say to Marissa that they would come back to these islands.
And oh yes, one day we will go back there…

I must have been standing there for a while, dreaming and watching the Tokmakia islands there out in the sea. Suddenly I felt an arm around my shoulders… Rob… He smiled. And do you know what he whispered in my ear? “We will go back there… “.

And now I know for sure that we will return to the Tokmakia islands one day!

(The photo’s below were made during our holiday of 2016, when we visited as group these wonderful islands).

Marion Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia

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Me and my big mouth…

by Rob on

Slapen

You know it when you say something you don’t really mean, out of fun… to make others laugh and have a good time. And suddenly it gets a slight bitter taste.

Many will know that Marion and I have a so called “LAT” relation (Living Apart Together). The weekends we are mostly together, but throughout the working days we are not. A good situation we both support and are very happy with.

More than 4 weeks Marion has been sleeping next to me. The nights before our vacation to Lesvos, during our vacation and the days after our vacation.
It felt good, also the “special” nights (don’t ask :P).

And all the time I was bragging about how nice it would be to have the bed for me alone again… No one to bump into, all the spaces, blablabla…

And now the vacation is done and all returns to normal.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to change anything in the way Marion and I are living…. but the bed is suddenly very empty. Me and my big mouth….

Rob

 

 

(Source photo: www.metaphysics-knowledge.com)


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Forge of Empires

by Rob on

Forge of Empires
As with every holiday there are these “empty moments” when nothing is going on and nothing needs your attention. Mostly it is early in the morning, late in the evening or when the ladies were getting a tan.

For these moments I loaded a game called “Forge of Empires” on my iPad (well, you are a gamer or you are not 😜).

The game is about building a city and taking it from the stone age way into the far future.
You have to build houses for your citizens. Create an army. Conquer land. Defend your city. Produce all kinds of goods and much more.

Luckily, you don’t have to be present all the time. You can just quit the game any time you like and look hours later what all happened. New goods may be produced. More money may be collected. Other players may have visited your tavern or repaired your items…. or your city may have been attacked 😮.

Of course the idea behind this game is that you buy for real money in-game items that will help you to process faster and easier in the game.
Apart from a few euro when I was completely stuck in the game, I will not spend real money on this game. And for the most this is not needed at all, just some patience is needed.

I think I will keep this game loaded on my iPad. May be nice for traveling by train to work and back home again.


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Parsley (Dutch: Peterselie)

by Jennifer on

Parsley

As Marion and Rob are currently on Lesbos, it is maybe a good moment to speak about parsley. Oh, there is a connection between parsley and Greece?
Yes, there is! For the ancient Greek parsley was a symbol of joy. Laurel wreaths were made of parsley and worn at festive.
A combination of parsley and oregano was considered a cure against a hang over.

It were the Romans who spread parsley over Europe.

Anyway parsley (Petroselinum crispum), or “peterselie” as we call it in Dutch, is a species that belongs to the family Apiaceae.
Parsley is native to the central Mediterranean (southern Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). There are nowadays many cultivated species available.

Fresh parsley sprigs or chopped leaves are very often used as garnish of many dishes. Chopped leaves are also often used in soups and stews.
Sometimes it is even used as a snack. It has indeed a very nice flavor. Try it someday, you may like it.

Fresh parsley contains relatively large amounts of minerals (especially iron and silicon), as well as B-vitamins and carotene. The vitamin C content is exceptionally high (80-300 mg per 100 grams).
This only goes for fresh parsley. Dried parsley contains a lot less vitamins. So fresh parsley is always preferred over dried ones.

Apart from all mentioned before, parsley is also beneficial for your health.
Parsley is anti-inflammatory. Regularly eating parsley can help to prevent inflammations.
Parsley supports the digestion. If your digestion is not optimal, by, for example, a mostly sedentary existence, parsley supports the digestive process and reduces the risk of stomach ulcers.
It provides a clean, fresh breath.
Despite good oral hygiene you can suffer from bad breath. Eating parsley helps you to get a fresher breath. Parsley contains quite a bit of chlorophyll; a substance with an antibacterial effect. This substance fights the wrong bacteria in your mouth.
And these are just some of the positive effects of parsley.

There, how a simple herb as parsley can be so special!

Jennifer

 

 

 

(Photo was published in the public domain, see Public Domain Pictures)


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The stars above

by Rob on

Now the darkness has covered the island, the temperature has become very nice. Very welcome after the heat of the day.

Mel, Marion and I made a very nice walk in the neighborhood of Mel’s house. Just 5 minutes away from her house and the darkness is complete. Then, looking up to the sky, something unknown to The Netherlands anymore, shows… a sky full of bright and playful stars!

The heavy “light pollution” in The Netherlands hides the beautiful star filled skies from us. Even in the sparsely populated parts of our country, it is nothing like as hereupon the hills of Lesvos.

It is amazing to see how many stars there are in the firmament, all differences in brightness and size. Just imagine that the star closest to us, apart of the sun of course, is still 4.2 light years away from us. The furthest known star is 13.4 billion light years away (Hubble 2016). Just try to comprehend that!

I tried to make photo’s of this wonderful sky, but I failed in that! Next year I have to bring a tripod to capture this awesome phenomenon!

On my iPhone and iPad I have an app called “Starwalk 2”. This app has many nice features, but there is one I really love: if you hold the device in any direction it will show the current firmament including planets, stars, satellites, deep space objects and more.

The pictures below are things we have seen tonight. It was really awesome how we could match the information given by the app to the real sky!

Ah well, both Mel as Marion are dozing slowly away into sleep. Lets get some sleep I would say!

Petra Petra Petra Petra Rob

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The town of Petra.

by Marion on

Today Rob and I walked through the town of Petra. Petra is a town in the northern part of Lesvos and where we rented our studio for this vacation.
Petra
This is what the Wikipedia says about Petra:
Petra (Greek: Πέτρα meaning rock) is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located at the northwest of Lesbos and comprises the villages Petra, Skoutaros, Stypsi, Lafionas, Ypsilometopo and the settlements Petri and Anaxos.

Petra Church
Mel would still do an article on why the town is named “rock” and the connection to the lovely church of Petra (Mel, gentle reminder 😁).

The costal town lies at the foothills of mount Lepetymnos. This gives a magnificent view on the town.

Petra is a town with many nice small streets with lots of shops and taverns. A real pleasure to walk through. Many typical Greek buildings showing a diversity in building style, but all with the typical red roofs.

Petra Street
The main road of Petra leads directly along the sea, very nice for walks. Especially when the wind plays with the sea.
East of the town there is a very nice sandy beach. Great for swimming and tanning. And there are many nice restaurants near.

Such a nice town!

Marion

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Is The Bible 100% Accurate

by Sanne on

Is The Bible 100% Accurate? This pastor believes so. And I, as you may already have suspected, I don’t think that this is correct.

The video below is created by Alex J. O’Connor (or Cosmic Skeptic, which is the nickname he goes by. He is a science enthusiast, atheist and vlogger. I have seen this video already about a year ago. By pure coincidence, it popped up on my screen today. And while watching it, I realized that I still love it as the very first time I saw it.

I really like it how this young man makes his view on things clear. While being very respectful, he makes his opinions very clear. I admire people who are capable of doing this.

So just as Alex I don’t believe the bible is 100% accurate. Far from that even.

Enjoy the video. And if you don’t agree with what he says, which is completely acceptable, please show the same respect as he does.

In the YouTube video there are a number of links mentioned, please find them below:

Sanne
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So cold and wet…

by Marissa on

I really wonder what is wrong with the summer of this year, it is so cold and wet. Right now the sun trying to break through, but this morning it was raining. As it was yesterday.
And the temperature is also way too low for the time of the year.

Almost every week I go once or twice swimming. We have over a very nice indoor swimming pool, a real swimming paradise. There is tide bath, herb baths, sauna, solar stations, whirlpool and anything else you might want in a swimming pool.
It is not a real big distance to the swimming pool, so mostly I go there by bicycle.

Yesterday on my way home on my bicycle, it suddenly started to rain again and quite heavy. Before I reached my apartment all my clothes soaking wet. The wind was rather nasty. So I felt freezing cold.

At home I jumped right away under a warm shower. I always shower at home after swimming to was my hair properly, but this time I needed to get warm again. The shower help me to get on a normal temperature again.
But as said, this kind of rain and temperature is not normal for this time of year. So I hope we will have a nice after summer this year.

When I returned to my living room, I saw some photo’s I made during our vacation on Lesvos last year and I realized what I am missing so much… that nice warm sun shinning on my skin, bikini’s and shorts. Beaches and long drinks. Long walks along the hills. BBQ’s in the garden of Mel.
So yes, I don’t like cold weather. I don’t like rain and wind.
I am born for the sun!!!

So happy that we can go back to Lesvos next year. Maybe the area of Sigri or Skala Eressos will be nice according Mel. She will join us then there.


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In 2015 around this time of the year I placed a message on Facebook related to Marion’s and my vacation to the island of Lesvos. It was after a long time that we would be going there again.
On one of the photo’s of the area where we would be staying there was an island visible and for no clear reason that the island got me interested.
When I found the island on Google Maps my interest even became stronger as it showed two buildings, a road and a pier.
We were thinking of a small farm, but we let also our fantasy run wild. Maybe a millionaire was living there. Or maybe someone was murdered there and now it was haunted.
Through a map of Lesvos that I had bought I found that the island was called “Agios Georgies”, which translates to “The Island of the Saint George”.
And we learned that the island had a nickname: Rabbit Island.

Rabbit Island Rabbit Island

Sadly during our vacation of 2015 we didn’t get a change to visit the island. But we made for up for that in 2016, when we visited with our best friends Lesvos. We had a great day and night on Rabbits Island. Again, I like to thank you Mel for making that wonderful experience possible.

The first thing we learned last year was that the building on the island wasn’t a farm, neither the house of a millionaire or a place that is haunted. It is a small chapel, of course dedicated to Saint George.

The name Rabbit Island finds it’s origin in the fact that somewhere in the past people released rabbits. There are no natural enemies for the rabbits on the island, so the rabbit community grew… well, as rabbits ;-).
No natural enemies, except the humans of course. In the last century people from the surrounding cities hunted all the rabbits until there were none left any more.

But recently someone has placed rabbits on the island again and he is taking extra care of them by feeding them and bring them fresh water when needed.
So Rabbit Island has its rabbits again!

The island offers a small pier to dock your boat, a nice beach and a secure place for a BBQ. And that, is apart from the chapel, all there is.
We had there to most fresh fish I ever tasted, caught and cleaned that morning.

The ladies enjoyed the beach to tan. And of course we took the opportunity to snorkel there, a very nice experience.

I have really great memories of this time we spend on Rabbit Island. Most likely for never to forget. If possible we would like to visit the island together with Mel again!

Below you can find more photo’s that we made during our visit at Rabbit Island. When you click on all the real photo’s (so not on the two Facebook screenshot) a larger version of the photo will be displayed. Enjoy!

Rabbit Island

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