For Linda’s two weeks in Transylvania, I might as well start with the most famous (for Americans, at least) of all Transylvanian icons – Dracula. Of course, the “inspiration” for Bram Stoker’s Dracula was, in part “Vlad the Impaler” who lived in this place in the 1400s. Here’s just a line telling what kind of a guy he was from a publication in the 1500s: “He roasted children, whom he fed to their mothers. And (he) cut off the breasts of women, and forced their husbands to eat them. After that, he had them all impaled.” The city is named Sighisoara or Segesvár (the first is the Romanian name, the second is the Hungarian name; Transylvania was part of Hungary until the borders were redrawn after WW1 when it became part of Romania).
The fortified city was built in the late 1100s or early 1200s when the King of Hungary invited German craftsmen to settle and defend his kingdom.
This place is one of the best examples of a preserved small medieval fortified city. It is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The approach to part of the city.
These buildings are all inside the citadel.
Linda in front of one of the bastions – each bastion was occupied by a separate guild where they would practice their craft and be on guard. A guild in medieval times according to Wikipedia is ” an association based on trades, confraternities of textile workers, masons, carpenters, carvers, glass workers, each of whom controlled secrets of traditionally imparted technology, the “arts” or “mysteries” of their crafts. Usually the founders were free independent master craftsmen who hired apprentices.
Finally getting a wrap on last fall’s chores that were left unfinished.
Here’s what the pruning of a 60 foot of blackberries looks like!
Other mundane spring chores that aren’t really noticeable by anybody but me include picking th remaining deadfall apples, pruning the fruit trees, picking rocks out of the grass moved by plowing snow, finishing the under deck skirting to keep critters out, cleaning up the dead tomatoes and taking the cages out, moving big rocks and cement blocks lying around to a consolidated neat home, cutting out windbreak trees that were not sold as Christmas trees that were planted 5 feet apart and need to be 20 feet apart when mature, cutting down mulberry trees is fencelines, and best of all, getting the first planting of lettuce, radishes, spinach in the ground.
Not the Wisconsin Badgers, mind you, but the badger who evidently lives a few miles down the road and is an awesome digger! Guess the soil is now unfrozen for this critter to dig out such an impressive pile of dirt.
As I needed some black dirt to reinforce some raised beds, this beats digging myself or driving to town to buy some in plastic bags. No lumps. just fine, black topsoil.
While in Waukegan, I took an early morning stroll down to the beach.
This must be one of the most deceptive photos I’ve ever taken. I’m surprised the photo is so clear, as my hands could only be out of my pockets for a few moments at a time because of the cold. The temperature was 17 degrees, and the wind was blowing off the lake so hard, you could almost lean forward and not fall fall down.
The odd-shaped rectangular objects are sand-covered ice hunks.
It was a treat to see and hear the lake. Walking towards the lake, from behind the dunes, my first sense is that of a deep white noise. Walking closer, the mid-range sounds of individual waves crashing on the beach becomes detectable, finally, crossing over the top of the dunes, the high trebles of the tinkling of the water retreating back into the lake and bouncing ice crystals completes the soundscape.
Oh yeah, and the buffeting wind, howling unobstructed all the way across the lake from somewhere off the upper peninsula of Michigan, meeting my face as the first obstruction it faced in a few hundres miles.
Claire’s Mock Trial team at Macalester College participated in the “super rgionals” near Chicago after advancing at an earlier tournament in the Twin Cities.
Claire at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, IL. It was my first time to see the team in action. In a nutshell, the team gets details of a court case and present the case before a “judge” – usually a couple of practicing attorneys. The team has attorneys and witnesses and does not know if they will be prosecuting a case or defending a case. I was impressed with the poise, presentation, and knowledge of the teams that participated.
Probably not a surprise that the team advances to the National Finals in Orlando in a couple of weeks! Here, senior captain Claire with the team and coaches show off the hardware!
While I dropped Martin off at church this evening, I had a couple hours to spend in Ames, so I wandered over to Squaw Creek to check out the river to take advantage of the warm day and extended daylight.
The creek was churning and crashing, sending its winter mantle of ice south.
It was something to witness that only happens once a year and reminded me that yes, I really do live in the north, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.
In the hour or so I was there, the amount of ice dramatically decreased, owing to the temporary nature of the ice out.