The Changing Seasons – May 2020

 

It’s time again for the wonderful challenge The Changing Seasons hosted by my dear friend Su from Zimmerbitch!

 

May presented itself with a lot of “firsts“…

 

…like the first rhubarb of the year that I stewed into a compote and served with warm semolina, a childhood favorite of mine that I still look forward to each Spring.

 

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Making rhubarb compote with sugar and vanilla (May 2020)

 

Or my first try at baking a French Tarte Tatin, an upside-down apple pie with caramel sauce. However, all my attempts at creating caramel completely failed, and so I made do with gourmet chestnut cream instead which tasted even better!

 

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My first try at baking a Tarte Tatin (May 2020)

 

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Tarte Tatin in the making (May 2020)

 

Both results however, the compote and the pie looked less good than from when they were unprepared. 😂

 

 

And here comes my third attempt of making caramel sauce – I have no clue why it hardened out like this, it should have been a sauce!! But at least it made for some interesting contemporary art, don’t you think? 😉

 

 

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You call this toffee? I call it art! (May 2020)

 

 

 

My cactus gifted me with beautiful flowers again which always makes me smile.

 

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Cactus flower (May 2020)

 

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Cactus flower (May 2020)

 

 

And then there was another first – my first visit to my local library after the Corona crisis started. Needless to say, that my haul was quite big and impressive. 😉

 

 

 

Even more exciting than going to the library again, was my first trip to the Zoo!!

Normally I don’t actually notice much on the train ride that takes me to the zoo, as it’s all so familiar. But this time, after weeks of staying at home and only venturing outside to do the grocery shopping, it felt all so new and wow again, that I couldn’t help taking pictures of the train stations.

 

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S-Bahn Station Hackescher Markt (Berlin, May 2020)

 

As I didn’t know what to expect at the zoo what with all those rules around, I only took my little compact camera with me and admit that I concentrated more on taking it all in than on taking pictures.

The first thing to greet me was this huge rhododendron:

 

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Rhododendron in the zoo (May 2020)

 

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And then my attention was captivated by this little girl taking its first ride on a hippopotamus:

 

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And then I saw my first coati after several years of missing them, as the zoo had stopped keeping them for reasons unknown to me.

Isn’t it just adorable?

 

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Coati (May 2020)

 

 

If you would like to join in, here are the challenge guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to Su’s original post, she can update hers with links to all of yours.

 

Hope you enjoyed this month’s of “firsts”!

59 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons – May 2020

  1. What a fabulous May for you. Isn’t it great that we are not confined to our homes anymore. Everything is all shiny and new as you said. Love your photos as always Sarah. The Coati is very cute! Have a lovely week ahead Sarah xxx

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  2. Fabulous list of Firsts:
    I love the sound of rhubard (love love love) and warm semolina – I’ve never had this combination before and it sounds delicious!
    Your apple tarte looks divine (before & after!). After this good start, there will be many more to come?
    Caramel is so tricky. The last batch I tried, I used condensed milk as a shortcut – problem is, it didn’t turn that lovely brown caramel-y colour.
    I can’t wait for our libraries to be open again …. it looks like it’s going to be a few months yet. Never mind, it will have to be online borrowing for now.
    The kiddo on the hippo photo is so cute! And I have learned a new animal today: looking up coati now.

    Thank you for also sharing your lovely cactus flower and another atmospheric capture of the train station (I have missed these!).

    Hope you are having a good week, Sarah! and looking forward to seeing you at the Virtual Tea Party, and The Changing Seasons for June.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so sure you’d love rhubarb with warm semolina, Ju-Lyn, it’s so yummy! 😀
      I’ve stopped trying to make caramel for now, but think I’ll give it another try in winter. 😉 I’ve heard that condensed milk works really well for homemade ice cream though… 😉
      I’m so happy our libraries are open again, not all of them but a couple and even though it’s a weird atmosphere what with people wearing masks and not lingering about it’s still lovely to go there every now and again. Hope yours will be open again soon!
      So glad you enjoyed my photos this month!
      Also looking forward to Su’s Virtual Tea Party!!! Have a wonderful week!

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  3. Sarah, sounds like May was a vast improvement on previous months. It is nice for you to get out. I know you are careful and respectful of others. The zoo trip must have been a real treat, especially with the number of people there much reduced. That coati is adorable. Your photo looks like a ceramics project in the making to me. 🙂 Also loved your photo of the train station.
    Take care, lovely. I hope your summer is mild. It was way too hot for you last year.

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  4. Hi Sarah, I’m visiting from Su’s The Changing Seasons link up. Looks like you had a good month of May with many firsts. I’m in Ontario, Canada. We’re still under emergency orders until June 30. The public library here starts to allow curbside book pick-up later this month. I’m looking forward to pick up new books to read.

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    • Hi Natalie! Thank you for your visit and lovely comment. I totally get that you’re looking forward to visit your public library again, I felt famished after 2 months! 😂 Stay safe!

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  5. This was a fun read! So much going on for lockdown. 😉 Beautiful bloom on your cactus. I would eat the caramel in any form. Bet you could put a piece in your coffee and let if melt the flavor in. I love it as art maybe on a cake. 😉 That’s quite the stack you have from the library. I’d never make it though all that but it would be fun to try. I”m glad they have let you loose in the zoo. Have never heard of a Coati. I’ll have to do some research. Love that huge Rhodie tree. Mine are about done with their blooms and then I get to clean up the mess. You have been keeping quite busy experimenting with food. We are still not going out of lockdown very fast so my only outing is to the market at 7 a.m. I hope things keep moving in the right direction there. It’s crazy here. Keep having fun.

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    • So glad you enjoyed this post, Marlene! Yes, pretty busy for a lockdownish sort of month. 😉 Restrictions are being lifted more and more here, and people embrace all opportunities to get back to life as they know it. Sadly this also means people behaving quite recklessly too – there’s been a party here in Berlin last Saturday with over 3000 people coming together, and real close too, like in hugging and kissing everybody, even people you don’t know. No keeping your distance or wearing masks of course. It’s a shock really, since that’s not going to help getting those number down, on the contrary: they will surely go up again. 😦
      I try to enjoy what freedom I can but always try to keep my distance and wear a masks, even when it’s not mandatory like in the zoo.
      I was thinking of dipping that caramel into my coffee but I’ve been drinking my coffee without sugar since half a year, and I bet I would relapse into bad habits if I did. 😉
      Take care and stay safe! Hugs! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s an impressive list of first, Sarah! Has your zoo reopened? Ours is opening this week, but you can only go with an appointment, as they are limiting the numbers in there. Our libraries are reopening for curbside only, so you pick out what you want online and then just pick it up. And that cactus flower was gorgeous! I haven’t had flowers from my Christmas cactus in over a year.

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    • Thank you, Ann! Yes, our zoo has reopened though only by appointment and online reservation as well. It’s a bit different than under normal circumstances but still very nice. Most libraries here have the same system as yours I think which is at least something. Hope your Christmas cactus will gift you with some flowers this year!

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  7. We were given some rhubarb last week, and have enjoyed it with our morning cereal. Nothing fancy [unlike your amazing effort Sarah] made with it as I didn’t have enough of it. Have a good week 🙂

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    • Rhubarb with cereal sounds amazing enough to me, Suzanne! So glad you get to enjoy it in your corner of the world too, it’s something I always look forward to each spring! 😀
      Have a good and safe week too! 😀

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  8. What wonderful caramel “sauce” artwork! Lol. It will look so creative splashing up from the center of your tart! Beautiful bright photos too, Sarah, and how fun to get to the zoo again. I’m glad things are going well in Berlin and you’re getting outside into the sunshine. Have a beautiful week, my friend. 🙂 ❤

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    • Ha! I wish I had thought of that, Diana! Instead I broke it in pieces and enjoyed, very sharp!, bits of toffee! LOL!
      So far things are going quite well here but more restrictions are being lifted now and we’ll have to stay cautious. Still, it’s nice to be out and about again. Have a lovely and creative week ahead, dear friend! ❤

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      • It feels like it, Sarah, and yet reform is necessary and most Americans are protesting peacefully. We’re really fed up and want change. The injustice of racism brings the whole country down. I think the other officers involved in the murder will be arrested today and that will help calm things down. I worry now that many of the protesters are going to get sick. 😦

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      • I hope the protests will have the desired effect in that that a change for the better will be made. It has been long overdue to address the matter, I think, but like you said, it’s worrisome that many of the protesters might get sick now. 😦

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  9. Coincidentally, I made strawberry-rhubarb sauce today with the rhubarb that likes growing in a shady corner by the side of my house. That’s as far as my culinary efforts went this month. I love your black-and-white photo of the Berlin train station. When was it built?

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  10. My dear friend it is so lovely to read your post. I am salivating at your rhubarb and semolina dish. It’s one of the few foods my mother cooked well and I loved it as a kid. I haven’t eaten this for so long and will now be excitedly waiting for rhubarb to come back into season.

    Your library haul is impressive (though not so impressive as your sugar art/toffee/caramel sculpture), I have taken books back, but apart from collecting two I ordered, I haven’t been into the library properly yet.

    Your photos are lovely as always; especially the train station shot. It is really powerful.

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    • Yay! Finally someone who knows, and likes, rhubarb! 😀 A tip: if you get some you can freeze it!! I always do that that, peel and cut the stalks and freeze them so that there’s compote and cake the whole year if I want to. 😉
      The libraries have very different rules here, in one you can only give back borrowed media and collect preordered stuff, in another it’s possible to roam around the shelves if you grab a basket at the entrance to make sure not too many people are inside at the same time. Guess which library I prefer. 😉

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      • My mum used to grow rhubarb, and it was prolific, so it’s a food of my childhood. I liked it in desserts, but my mum also made weird jam with it — which we had to eat when all the nice jam had run out 😦
        T loves rhubarb too, and actually bought seeds to plant in the garden. He hasn’t done it yet, so I should check what time of year is best for planting.

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      • I can sort of understand tomato jam, and have made red pepper jam. Carrots I’m not so sure about because of their texture. And it’s the texture of rhubarb that makes the jam so unpleasant.

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      • Wishing you the same, Sarah! All is well as summer draws near here in Maine. We are fortunate that nature surrounds us and social distancing is rarely a problem here, but we do miss getting out and about with family and friends.

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    • Thanks so much, Jill! That toffee art even tasted nice, although you had to be very careful with the razor sharp edges. LOL! Have a lovely and safe week ahead too! ❤

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  11. That baking looks like so much effort, I’m already out! 🙂 The caramel is totally a work of art, as is the cactus flower and the train station photo. Not sure I’d even heard of a coati, so thanks for that! A lovely, happy post, Sarah! And I’m so looking forward to going to the library again!

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  12. It’s a pleasure to read this post, to sense your joy in everything you do, and to see Berlin with you.Isn’t it just amazing to see the world through new eyes? After being cooped up for so long because of Covid, every experience seems precious, we are all feeling like it’s our first time. I imagine it might have felt this way to people suffering through a war and finally getting to emerge from bunkers after surrender or victory is announced. It doesn’t even matter to the general population which side their government has put them on, does it?

    Sarah, your essay is so full of life, so much fun to read, and your photos are, as always, spectacular. It’s a first for me that anyone would look forward to eating rhubarb – I have no idea what it tastes like, but it made me grin to imagine you digging into a bowl of what looks like celery. Bon appétit, my friend! As for the caramel sauce – that looks like tonight’s dessert! YUM! The Tarte Tatin looks scrumptious – hope you’ve saved some for me. The train station is gorgeous. Does anyone ever sit there and paint its architecture?

    We’re not completely opened up here in Southern California but recent terrible events are happening, and the need for social distancing has been pushed back as people struggle for rights of decency and humanity. I’m so angry again at so much social injustice. We may have just lost not only the war against Covid but also the war for civil rights, justice, equality, everything our founding generations fought for. Your coming out of your bunker – we may be going back in.

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    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Shari! You know they always make my day! 🙂
      Oh yes! Everything seems like new now, and I can very well imagine that it must have felt similar for people after war’s end.
      Rhubarb is quite sour in taste, and you can’t eat it raw or it will give the cramps. That’s why it’s cooked or stewed and added with lots of sugar, which then makes it taste sweet-sour and very nice. It can also be a juice which added to sparkling mineral water is very refreshing. And you’re right – it does look like celery stalks!!

      The world is at shock about the recent terrible events in the US – it feels like that was the last straw to break the camel’s back, doesn’t it? Kind of overdue but the timing is horrible what with the virus and all. And all that violence – how very, very frightening too. Please stay safe, my friend!

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