Finally got myself a shredder for the garden. I’ve been pruning the laurel today. A few times per year there’s a lot of pruning to be done, like recently the apple tree. I didn’t want to spent a lot of time again cutting the stems and branches back to a size that fit the waste container. And besides throwing away all that green material seemed a waste in itself.

So when I was done pruning the laurel and saw the heap of branches I cut, I measured the biggest branch and with the 3yr old visited the hardware store to get a shredder that could take it all.

With the shredder I made short work of it, and ended up with a very fragrant bag full of shredded laurel branches and leaves. I added it all back as mulch to the garden, which insects (now temperatures are dropping) and worms will enjoy. Much better than throwing it in the bin. A pleasing act, I found. The tribe of blue tits that uses our apple tree as a meeting place seemed in agreement, chattering above my head.

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On my way back to the parking lot after getting a hair cut yesterday, on a whim I walked into the Flehite Museum to see what was on. A nice surprise was the exhibit of 100 works of Engelbert L’Hoëst (1919-2008), a local artist. Colorful expressive work. What spoke to me most were the night views of the sea he made in Portugal. Playing with how the moonlight can set strong accents.

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Three ships, Portugal, 1975

Also a really nice touch were a few facsimiles of diary notes the artist made.

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I don’t have a style, because every moment of life is different again. …. I have always remained seeking.

And, this one that led to my conclusion below.

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It is evening, a dark sky, some light further away. I hear the first tones of a bird starting a song. Again I see the spring nearing in my garden. My studio is full of excitement of what is about to come.

As E and I discussed this over dinner last night, my conclusion was it is really useful and good to share as much of your creative expressions and observations as possible, jot it all down, however trivial they might seem at the moment of making them. It provides glimpses into thoughts, processes, and are of value as such to those near and after you.

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Self portrait of/by Engelbert L’Hoëst, 1957

With our 3yr old I visited the zoo yesterday. It was a chilly but beautiful sunny day and we explored the zoo together for 5 hours. Driving a little electric car on her own, taking the zoo train and riding a dolphin on the merry-go-round. Pancake for lunch obviously.

Biggest adventures were walking the rope bridge over the bear pit,

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and following a hidden trail she discovered which led over tree stems across a pond, through a little cave and what she called the ‘jungle’, to the very back corner of the tiger enclosure (a path dimensioned more to her length than my so I had to duck most of the way). There we came upon a sleeping tiger which we watched and discussed for a long while.

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Since shortly after we moved in we have a temperature and humidity sensor in our garden.

This week’s heat wave is breaking records across Europe including here in the Netherlands. So I’ve kept an eye on the temperature in our garden. Our sensor is part of a city wide network of sensors, which includes two sensors nearby. Of the three sensors, ours indicates the lowest temperature at 36.8 (at 16:45), the other two hover just under 40 and at 41.8 respectively. Such differences are caused by the surroundings of the sensor. That ours is the lowest is because it’s placed in a very green garden, while the others are out on the street. In our completely paved and bricked up courtyard the temperature is 42.1 in the shade, due to the radiation heat of sun and stones. Goes to show that greenery in a city is key in lowering temperatures.

Three sensors in our neighbourhood, ours is in the middle, showing the lowest temperature. Note that the color scale is relative, for these 3 sensors running from 36.6 to 41.8.

In the past days since our return from France the temperature has been steadily rising, as per the graph below (which currently ends at the peak of 36.8 at 16:45). Staying inside is the best option, although the also increasingly higher lowest temperatures (from 15 to above 20) mean that the nights are slowly becoming more uncomfortable as the outside temperature will stay above the in house temperature during most or all of the night.

UPDATE as of 26/7 June noon, here you can see how the night minimum jumped 5 degrees in 24 hours, bringing it above the in house temperature for the entire night, except a brief moment around 6 am. At noon the maximum for the day before is already nearly reached.

The way to make this graph yourself is

  • Go to meetjestad.net/data, where you can select various data types and time frames. Our sensor is number 51, and I selected a time frame starting at July 19th at midnight. This allows me to download the data as CSV.
  • The data in that download is Tab separated, not comma,when you select a comma to be used as decimal point.
  • The file contains columns for the sensor number and its latitude and longitude, that are not needed as this is data for just one sensor. Likewise, empty columns for measurement values for which my sensor kit doesn’t contain sensors, such as particulate matter, can be removed. Finally the columns for battery level and humidity are also not needed on this occasion.
  • With the remaining columns, time and temperature it is easy to build the graph. In this case I replaced the timestamps with sequential numbers, as I intend to make a sparkline graph with it later.