The Bottle Gourd Experiment, Day 1


After two years of harvesting a handful of tiny carrots/kohlrabi/potatoes and bitter lettuce I decided to try something different in 2015: bottle gourds. The seeds arrived a few days ago; today I put three of them in some water to prepare them for germination. Tomorrow I’ll let them dry and plant them into some moist soil on Monday.

I have not yet decided whether I’ll try to keep them all inside our kitchen or whether I’ll get the courage to ask our landlords aka church people if I may use the handrail of the side entrance stairs as a ranking aid.  At the moment I’m thinking about keeping one or two inside and the other one or two outside next to the stairs. As I want them to produce nice, round calabashes they’ll need a ranking aid. So for the one(s) in the kitchen I’ll have to sacrifice the old loft-bed ladder I’m using to air (or store) once-worn but still clean outer wear like skirts in our small bedroom.  With some tweaking and pushing it should fit between the wall and the kitchen counter (the side with all the other plants) so the gourds will be able to grow next to the window. It’s just an east window, but our kitchen is pretty warm in summer and should provide the right climate!

As for a planter, I own a plastic basket which became jobless today (it used to be our waste paper receptacle, but we found a bigger cardboard box at the grocery store); lined with a plastic bag or something similar it should be a suitable home for at least one of the plants. For outside … there is a seemingly abandoned crate I might nick for that purpose.

Yay for bottle gourds! If this experiment succeeds it might make some people very happy. 180 days of waiting …


My soul is a wolf.

My soul is a wolf, running over winter hills, traces in the snow, starlit;
aurora crowning me in green and gold and blue, ancient star-fire

– running with the storm, the clouds, towards a blood-red moon, dipped in gold and drops of silver,
running, running, breathing icy air, lungs on cold fire,
going, going, keep going, running through nights,

dark and starry velvet curtains parting like nowhere found in city walls, not anymore,
and the wolf keeps running.


Listening to Heather Dale while looking at pictures of beautiful stars, nebulae, and northern lights makes me feel my inner wolf again.

Have a Toothless doodle


I’m frustrated right now, like this: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻        (╯°□°)╯︵ /(.□. \)

But looking at the Toothless doodle I made this noon makes me feel better. Drawn without reference on the backside of a sheet in my notepad. Last real class at university. But my master’s thesis sucks, according to examiner #2. One month left and I’m supposed to do everything different than I do now and blah blah. So yes …  *looking at Toothless again*

And obviously I suck at drawing wings in perspective.

Sounds like a plan …

I need some motivation for the final month of my master’s thesis (and preparing the presentation for tomorrow), so here’s my plan (or at least one possible plan) with ideas and goals for the next few years:

  • Step one: finish the thesis.
  • Step two: find work as a paid intern or something similar, for 3-6 months approximately, while preparing for step three by writing applications
  • Step three: enroll as a PhD student (in a programme with a paid half-time position as a research assistant), finish in 3-4 years
  • Step four: work in research somewhere in Europe; I’m thinking about moving to Scandinavia – there are more/better postdoctoral positions available in my field than here while the people are nice (Darling likes the laid-back Scandinavian attitude as well). The universities in Norway have some nice positions open right now – and I’d really like to live somewhere with northern lights for a while! (And there are capoeira schools both in Oslo and in Bergen.)

My priorities may seem a little weird; but if the idea of seeing the northern lights while being able to follow my other dreams helps me to focus on the task at hand and working harder, why not. I can use all the sources of motivation I can get!

And suddenly I remember why I like to study.

Every now and then I feel like I know again why I chose to study, to go to university. Suddenly I remember how it feels to find an interesting phenomenon and see how things fall in place, the silent adventure of words and a curious mind. It’s like solving word-search puzzles, crosswords, and match-the-pattern-to-the-row for a living. It can be tedious, boring, but every now and then exciting again. It may be hard to pull myself together, to open the book, the file, to get started; but then the ideas flow freely and I see the beauty between cardboard covers and the tiny pieces of paper forming  a string of conclusions and open ended questions.

rescuing thawed, dry onigiri

I just found out I can revive thawed and dried out onigiri by putting a little water and salt in a mason jar holding one rice ball, shaking the whole thing to get the rice moist all over, and microwaving the open (!) jar and its contents for 30-45 seconds. Voilà, warm and sticky-moist onigiri. Of course not as good as fresh ones, but still a good way to rescue ones that dried out while in the freezer. Not recommended if you can’t face the risk of your pretty rice ball falling apart more easily.

And it frees me. (Poem to midnight.)

Attracted by the powerful pull only a single string can summon by,
walking the line of notes, exhaling all the burdens of the day
– and it calls me, calls me

Inhaling dusty rhythms of old drumhead leather,
moving with its tidal waves, a rhythm so familiar my body would know to follow it in the dark
– and it carries me, it carries me

A guiding turn of the head, a tiny nod and a glance to the heart of the circle,
I’m following the lead into the sun, the warmth of joyful song and laughter
– and it frees me, and it frees me.