Nature

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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Running through the moor….

by Sanne on

Today very early in the morning I went jogging as I so often do, but I was really in the mood to take a longer track as I normally do. So I did put my running clothes on, stepped into some good running shoes (very important!). So I got in my car and drove to the farm of my parents, who live next to “Het Haaksbergerveen”, a bog/moor-like nature area of approximately 500 hectares. It is an very beautiful area where I already love to come since I was young girl.

At the farm of my parents I parked my car and after a cup of tea, I started to run towards “Het Haaksbergerveen”.

There was a gentle drizzle rain when I started to run, but that was okay. I even liked the soft rain on my face. But after the first kilometres the rain started to get worse, until it was really raining cats and dogs. And even that I didn’t mind really. The temperature was not too bad and by those first kilometres my body was already warmed up. I felt good.
My speed and rhythm were good. Even my running clothes that were soaking wet didn’t bother me.
I left the main paths that lead through the moor and entered the area of small sand paths where almost no one ever comes and most likely not many are aware of. But as I grew up here I know them from the many trips I made through “Het Haaksbergerveen”, which my parents were not happy about at all. As they said, it was dangerous (and they were right with that) and I should started to behave as a young lady (Mhhuuaaaa :P).

While running I passed by many spots that hold memories for me. The small lake were I as young girl always went swimming (which was not allowed by my parents). The spot with a great view over the surrounding moor, where I took someone I loved often. The area where the Drosera grows. And many other sports with good memories.

I have to say that I not only felt good, I felt extremely good. My soaking wet clothes that made me feel the rain directly on my skin didn’t change that.
I think my complete run was around 14 kilometres. This slowly older getting body is still in good shape.

Back at the farm of my parents my mother looked at my wet clothes with a shaking head. With a grin I borrowed a big towel to put over the chair of my car and drove quickly home.

Home again, I took a long relaxing hot shower. And now sitting in my bathrobe on the couch, I only can say that I loved the running of this morning. And now I am enjoying a hot choco and I think I earned it *SMILE*

The photo was not taken today (I had no camera with me and even I forgot to take my iPhone along), but some years ago. Just wanted to show how beautiful “Het Haaksbergerveen” is.

 

 

(Credit photo: Sanne)


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The exploding cucumber

by Rob on

As a Dutch sayings learns us, you’re never to old learn something new. And well, today I learned something new!

During the holiday on Lésvos (as the residents of Lesbos call their islands themselves) I made quite some photo’s. And among those a number of photo’s of plants that for some reason did draw my attention.

It took some time to find which plant it exactly. The plant growns along Mediterranean of South Europe and in the temperate areas of Asia. Well, maybe here the reason I never seen this plant before.

The Latin name is “Ecballium elaterium”. More commonly known as the “Exploding cucumber” or the “squirting cucumber” (or in Dutch know as “springkomkommer”, “spuitkomkommer” or “ezelskomkommer”). The plant is related to the family of the cucumber (Cucurbitaceae).

It gets its unusual name from the fact that, when ripe, it squirts a stream of mucilaginous liquid containing its seeds, which can be seen with the naked eye.

This plant, and especially its fruit, is poisonous, containing cucurbitacins. In the ancient world it was considered to be an abortifacient.

In my opinion it is very nice to learn this kind of things. To broaden your horizon as they say so nice.

I really can be amazed how people don’t see these kind of things. Some times I think that photography learns you look for details and special things.
And no, you don’t need a macro-objective to make these kind of pictures. Neither a tripod. Just patience, that is all what is needed.

(Credit photo’s: Rob)


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Bram Hijmans trail

by Rob on

In 2012 Marion and I made a bicycle ride into the dune-area and we discovered a wonderful small path leading us through the forests. This path was called the “Bram Hijmans-trail”. We had a very enjoyable time over then (see the article A nice bicycle trip… about that).

I learned that Bram Hijmans was a composer from Heemskerk who lived from 1932 to 1996. But when I later tried that find the trail that was named after him again, I failed. I asked quite some people, but no one could really point to it again. Even Google gave only a limited result when searching for it and that what was found did not gave the location of the trial.

Until some days ago, when two persons gave me the information I was searching for. One was a colleague who found on the Internet a PDF with a walking trail that was leading along the “Bram Hijmans pad” (the PDF even contained a map).
Almost at the same time someone from a social media site told me that I just had to follow the “Hondsbosseweg” (which can be found on Google Maps) and that would lead me directly to the “Bram Hijmanspad”.

Yesterday was a very warm day, so we waited until the temperature was bearable again. Marissa and Sanne (who were visiting us) joined Marion and me on our trip bicycle to this “long lost” trail. We made a small detour through Heemskerk and Beverwijk to show Marissa and Sanne some of the nicer things to see around there.

As the map showed and as I was told, the “Hondsbosseweg” leaded indeed directly to a very path that could be very well the trail we were looking for. But as I saw this very old direction sign, I knew we were on the right location. I could remember this sign very well.

While we followed the trail walking next to our bicycles (bicycling is not allowed there) we saw some very nice sights. And even with Heemskerk and Beverwijk really close-by, you got a feeling there to be somewhere in the middle of very big wild reserve and for many kilometres no one is near. I like that feeling. And so did the ladies when I mentioned this to them.

And then finally the complete confirmtation that this is the “Bram Hijmanspad”…

A said, we all enjoyed this little trip into this wonderful area. As Marissa remark, so different as the forests in Twente. She couldn’t find the old oaks and such where she is so used to. But according her it was wonderful to wander here around.

I think I will come here more often and enjoy the area and all that is close to there.

When I bought this camera (Nikon D300s), Marion gave me a GPS module (I still love it very much). And as the GPS module was turned on, I will now always be able to find back the “Bram Hijmanspad” (each pin on the map represents one or more pictures taken on that place).

Back on the normal roads, I realized that it was from there where we were a little trip to Wijk aan Zee. I suggested to the ladies that we go there for some food and drinks. The idea was welcomed very positively as we all were hungry and thristy.

We ended up at beach pavilion Timboektoe. A very nice place to be. After dinner there (although it was already late for dinner), we stayed there rather a long time. The conversation was good and we laughed a lot. Time flies when you are having fun…

Well, another great weekend….


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Nepenthes Alata

by Rob on

Yesterday while doing my groceries I walked by a place where they do sell plants. In a moment of recognition my eyes were caught by a certain plant… The plant that I saw a so called Nepenthes Alata. In normal common English this plant is called “Pitcher plant” or “Monekey cups” (“Bekerplant” in Dutch).

Apart from the maybe a bit strange appearance of this plant, there is more to it. This plant is a carnivorous plant. And I have to say that “carnivorous plant” is way overrated. Plants that “eat” big animals or humans only exist in stories, but not in the real world of this planet.
Insectovorous plants would be a better name for them. They use insects to get nutrients they need and which are not available in their natural habitat.

Sure, the active insectovorous plants as the Venus Fly Trap and the Sundew are interesting to observe. But I really have to say that this “pitcher plant” that I bought with its pitchers of 15cm and more is rather intriguing to me. And as I saw this afternoon, it has already been successful when I noticed a fly trapped in one of its pitchers.

It brings back memories of long when I still was living at my parents home and I had this terrarium full with insectovorous plants….

I know it will be hard to keep this plant in good condition, but I think I can do it!!!!


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A nice walk…

by Rob on

Yesterday Sanne and I had the same thoughts… the weather was too good to stay home and do nothing. But for once there was really nothing to do in or around the town of Haaksbergen. So when I called her, she told me that she was just about to call me :).

So we ended up making a nice walk in the “Scholtehagen’-area near Haaksbergen.
People must have thought that Sanne and I were a couple. Well, I couldn’t care less if they did. Almost everyone claims to be open minded, but when a woman and a man get together, enjoy theirselves and feel comfortable, then there has to be more to it… So much for the being open minded of most people.

Anyway, it was nice to walk around the pond that is located there. Relaxed we talked about some things that kept us busy lately. A lot of the things we talked about was nothing new to know, but there were also here and there some new things.
It is good to talk. To listen to the others thoughts and to exchange opinions.

While we walked and talked,we passed the local “heemtuin” (a cultivated garden with plants and flowers that common to the local area). To our surprise it was open and we decided to visit it. And here discovered we had a mutual interest for plants and flowers. So it was a joy to see and talk about all the plants. And I have to admit that Sanne knew many more plants by name as I did.

There was also a shed with bee hives. I am always impressed by these little busy animals. And unlike other people I am not afraid of them. As long I don’t make them angry or am a threat for them, there is no reason to be affraid. I had to laugh softly when I heard the remarks of some other people about how close I got to the hives.

Ahh well… I don’t think I have to tell where this afternoon ended. Somewhere in the middle of Haaksbergen with a cold glass of beer, a glass of wine and some snacks. Hmmm one glass of beer and one glass of wine? ….. *WINK*


(Credit photo’s: Rob)


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Peace of mind

by Rob on

When there are times when a lot is going on your life (good things and less good things), it is important to take some steps away from things… take a small break. I think everyone has her or his way of doing this.

I do this my several ways….

Most common is to grab my bicycle and camera…. go to some nature area and wander there around. Enjoy the silence of nature. Take pictures as weak attempt to capture a little of its beauty. I drain power of being out in nature. Some how I always feel better when I have been to such area. It makes me feel good.

Other times I just want to talk with someone. Say the things I want to say. Get it out of my heart. Just telling what is keeping me busy (no matter if it is good or bad thing) does help a lot. There is no need for advices… just being able to talk about it (and even when it nonsense what I say) helps.
Luckily I have good friends who are always there for me. That is so good to know.

Then there are times I just want to be away from things. Being alone somewhere I am not normally. Just sitting somewhere, reading a magazine… listening to music… watching people walking by.

Of course there are also time I just want a lot of people around me. Then I go to a place as the Markt 2. Have some beers and have a good time with some people I know…. (and no, not every time I go to the Markt 2 it is because I need to get away from the things that are keeping me busy).

Basically think, it is not important how you take distance from things that are keeping you busy, just that you do it… so you are not overrun by them.

Lucky are the people who have as me more ways of doing this!


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Tired of the rain…

by Rob on

I am so tired of the rain…

Almost for the last 3 days it has been raining here…

Raining while doing shopping… raining while wandering… rain in the forest… rain at the beaches… rain while sitting inside looking out… raining while going to the Markt 2… rain while making photo’s… rain while going to buy a beer… raining while going to work… rain while coming home…

Normally I don’t dislike rain…. I can even enjoy a walk in sweet and soft rain. But this is more then enough…. I want dry weather and a clear sky… NOW!!!!!


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Het Stepelerveld

by Rob on

Yesterday end of the afternoon, I suddenly needed to get outside. Every now and then I get the feeling that the walls are closing in up on me and have then this very strong urge for fresh air.
So I grabbed my bicycle and went for a small ride. The weather was not too bad. A bit windy, but for the rest it was a nice autumn afternoon.

Without really thinking about it I went in the direction of the town of Boekelo and ended up in the area called “Het Stepelerveld”. Although for a large part cultivated (in use by farms) it is owned by the “Natuurmonumenten” foundation, who owns, preserves and maintains many natureal areas in The Netherlands (I am member of this foundation, because they do a lot good work).

In “The Steppelerveld” you will find lots of grassland, forests and peat pools. Some of the areas are not open for visitors to preserve them better. But I do know how it is there, because this in this area I used to play a lot as a young boy and over then it was still open for everyone.
The farmers who use land in this area are not allowed to use it very intensive. This means limited numbers of cattle, limited fertilizing and not intensive harvesting. The number of big farms (which are more factories to me as farms) in this area is very low.

Even when it is not a very big area (14 Ha), it is very wonderful place to be. There is not that much traffic, people are mostly very friendly. When I am in such an area I often hate things as my cell phone and to be honest. I often turn my cell phone off at such moments (the company I work for called twice. The calls were justified, but the moment was just wrong).

But the fresh air, the wind around my head did me well. I am not the person to sit all day inside. I like to be outside. And riding around on my bicycle is very good for me (due my health problems almost all the weight I had lost is back again. I really want to start working on that again).

Feeling a lot better again, I returned home. My good mood was fully back again :)


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