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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Commercial Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 9 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Monday, May 28, 2018

Written by my husband Pieter: MEMORIAL DAY - FREEDOM HAS ITS PRICE

This post is written by my husband Pieter J.C. Vedder.
A very personal story, that highlights Memorial Day.

May the younger generation come to appreciate the true meaning of FREEDOM...

Over the years, the two most asked questions we have had to answer have been: where are you from (because of our accent) and also; do you like it here.

The answer to the first question is quite simple; we came to this country from The Netherlands almost 35 years ago and in 1993, we both became American citizen. 

Then the second question; Do we like it here? You bet! We both really LOVE this great country, especially the South and not the least, Laurens County.
Perhaps you like to hear a few reasons for our love affair with this country and especially with Georgia.
First of all, there is the ample living space for everybody. Compare this: the state of Georgia is 4.7 times bigger than The Netherlands, but has only about half the population. 

We once bought a lot in the Venice area of Italy, where we lived and we had to pay over 40,000 US dollars for approx 8,500 sq. ft.(0.195133 acre). We paid less here for a couple of acres. 
Taxes in the US are also lower then in most European countries (although the Democrats in this country are trying hard to match them). We also found it relatively easy to integrate in this community; the people in general are friendly and perhaps less nosy and envious then in Europe.
Then there is the climate. Okay, we might have some hot days and we have gnats and fire ants. But if you think that you are better off shoveling your car out of a pile of snow (we lived in Pennsylvania too) you may have it.
But what we appreciate most, and what many Americans, especially the young generation, take for granted, is the personal freedom. 
As a teenage boy, I have experienced what it means to loose your freedom. Especially the last year from the five years under German occupation has had a big impact on my life.
For months we have been under heavy artillery fire. (We lived close to the German border and the river Rhine). Shrapnel wounded me; we had to leave our home and village and had to evacuate to another part of the country etc. Many families lost loved ones as the result of bombardments. The Germans executed two sons 17 and 23 from a befriended family staying with us, my middle brother just escaping that ordeal. 
We were lucky that we lived in the countryside (my dad was in the greenhouse business) therefore we always could find something to eat but the people in the big cities were really starving. When, on September 17, 1944 the Operation Market Garden started in our area (near Arnhem) dropping thousands of paratroopers to secure the bridges over the rivers we thought that the war would soon be over for us. We were wrong; we still had to wait almost half a year. 
Can you imagine the feelings we experienced when, in April of 1945 the American troops and their allies finally liberated us. I will never forget that day in April when we came back to our small village from our half-year evacuation, finding the greenhouses flattened and most of the houses ruined, including ours. We slept that night, rolled in an old carpet (we didn’t have a bed yet) and when we woke up, the sun was already shining. My dad put his arms around us and said; we are the richest family on earth; we are all free and alive.
Thank you America, we will never forget what you and your Allies did for us and we will never forget that so many young and brave Americans, among others, have given their lives for our freedom.
Margraten overview of American Cemetery in Limburg, The Netherlands
The pictures show the American Cemetery: Fallen But Not Forgotten in Margraten of the Province Limburg where Mariette is born and where we both lived. This is the final resting place for 8,301 young American soldiers. Freedom has its price!
The Dutch observe their Remembrance Day May 4 and Liberation Day May 5, but they've made it a tradition on the Sunday before the U.S. Memorial Day to pay tribute to the American service members who fought for freedom and are now buried at the cemetery in Margraten.
Today is the 73th time that they observed this.
Seen on one of the photos is: William A Mc Kenna Jr Capt 121 INF 8 Div Georgia Dec 25 1944…
Photos taken by my brother: Martin Van den Munckhof except overview cemetery.

Related links:
{Margraten - Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in my Province of Limburg}
12½ jaar L1 - Amerikaanse president in Limburg | President George W. Bush visits Margraten on May, 8 in 2005. He did stay at the Château Hotel, St. Gerlach and was very complimentary towards the Staff. Proud of my Province of birth Limburg!
President Honors and Commemorates Veterans in the Netherlands - Margraten, The Netherlands | From White House Archives May 8, 2005
Dutch Queen and Bush lead VE Day memorial | YouTube video

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

One More Patio Added

In the spring of 2014, I've written the post: Our Patio Tiles Are DONE! (see link below post...) and that was it we thought. All part of our Water Control program. We did leave out ONE corner without tiles because we still had our healthy Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc living there. See a post from a healthy shrub in 2011. 
BUT... our Hibiscus started looking bad and husband Pieter took starters last year, in order to rescue at least some 'Offspring'...
Meanwhile, with the photos of the tile boxes and all info, in front of me from the post about: Our Patio Tiles & Freeze Warning, I found them on the Internet! Home Depot had long discontinued them...
Yep, at a STOVER'S LIQUIDATION warehouse in Knoxville, Tennessee at some 7 hours driving distance from our home. They even were open on Sunday! So I drove there on June 11 of 2017, to pick up our order of 10 boxes with the Marazzi Orizzonti Sunset 12" x 12" tiles
We'd spent a night at a Hyatt hotel in Atlanta and from the warehouse I did drive straight home.
Photo is from April 26 after our pot plants had been moved back from the greenhouse and after all patios had been scrubbed clean to match this NEW one!
This is on March 10, a day that it was not 'wet'... We have had our share of rain this spring! 
Materials are inside front porch for protection.
Concrete is being poured by hand...
Our workers did a neat job!
See how green the wood work in our front porch was from all the rain and pollen...
That has been scrubbed clean too.
The old wheelbarrow functioned for mixing the concrete.
April 26 from the bay window area to the front with all our pot plants already out.
There are dwarf Mondo grasses growing along the edging.
New Patio Corner where the Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc once stood...
Left and right are now both tiled and looking a lot better!
May 20 and you can see that husband Pieter took this photo in-between showers.
We have had such enormous rain for weeks on end and more to come!
Our Quercus Virginiana Grand View Gold is therefore not looking its GOLDEN BEST...
Sunshine makes all the difference!
We also missed good photo options for the blooming Yucca lilies... They're all gone due to so much rain.

Hope you enjoyed this update!
Will visit you within a couple of days, have been rather sick but am on the mend.

Thanks for your visit and comment.

{Our Patio Tiles Are DONE!} | previous post by me
{Our Patio Tiles & Freeze Warning} | previous post by me where you see the tile boxes and name info
{Our Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc & Our Life in Italy} | previous post by me

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Darling Harbour Cruise in Sydney for Surprise Birthday Party

So, we got up very early on Saturday morning in Melbourne Australia on October 10. 
Cousin Liz came with her B.M.W. to pick us up at 8:30 AM for dropping us off at the airport.
Again, saying goodbye, we did not have much time together but that was because of our 2-week job for doing training at Melbourne Mushrooms.
We flew to Sydney and were picked up by our mushroom friends Rob Tolson and John Miller.
Home with them to Windsor, NSW, through the new Sydney Harbour tunnel, that opened in August of 1992.
We had lunch at John & Beryl's home.
Here we are aboard the ship but to the right is Beryl Miller, who hosted our lunch for Saturday upon arrival.
With Ansett Australia from Melbourne to Sydney
Feeling happy for having completed a good job and now a few days with mushroom friends in a more relaxed atmosphere.
What we did NOT know was that on Sunday, they had already organized a bus, for going back to Darling Harbour in Sydney for a Harbour Cruise with dinner in honor of the 21st Birthday of Tania Cox, daughter of one of our mushroom friends, Johnny Cox.
Here we are at Darling Harbour, waiting for the birthday girl to arrive with her fiancée...
We hid behind the bus and sprang out singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY and at first Tania was mad at her fiancée for having lured her to the harbour.
Me on the left with husband Pieter and to the right are John Miller and Rob Tolson.
Here we are with the lovely birthday girl Tania in our midst, with her Dad John Cox to her left.
Such a lovely afternoon and evening!
Pieter wearing his favorite leather jacket from Pond's India Leather Garment Factory and I wear one that I bought in the U.S.A.
A very special toast to the 21-year old Australian Tania Cox!
A happy family!
John & Daphne Cox with daughter Tania, cutting the dessert, and her sister Nerilee to the right.
We had such a great time and felt like family!
Norah & Rob Tolson
We arrived home very late with the Tolsons but what a day!
We knew each other for many years and ran into each other usually at International Mushroom Congresses.
We walked with Norah, along the bay of San Diego on March 12, 1985 at the 5th North American Mushroom Conference.
In 1987, on my birthday we all happend to be together for dinner in Santa Cruz, California; 9 of our Mushroom friends from Australia. Rob Tolson with Rob Tolson Jr. and John Baker.
They ordered around 10:30 PM a large strawberry tort with candles and champagne and sang Happy Birthday to me. Unforgettable!
Already in 1986 in August, Robert Jr. did visit us in Georgia at our home, while he was studying at Penn State University. He did stay a couple of nights with us and visited the Campbell Mushroom plant that Pieter designed here locally.
On Monday we first visit Robert Jr. & Buffy's mushroom farm.
Yes, you can read more about Elf Mushrooms when clicking on this link...
We know the two generations!
We also visited John & Daphne Cox's mushroom farm.
John looked so much like our late friend Roy Chappell... They say that we all have a double; somewhere!
Lunch at Mary Daley and her two sons and Olga, the grower.
Next day we visited the Dorresteyn farm, which was leased to his workers.
Rosy served us coffee and dessert.
Next we went to Brian and Heidi Carroll and Heidi gifted me a nice round broche that she'd hand painted.
It always made it kind of hard to leave such sweet friends!
We went to have lunch with Graham and Janet Price and in the evening we rounded it up with a lovely dinner where some 60 Australian mushroom growers joined!
Pieter did show slides form the Indonesian mushroom farm where we worked and John Miller gifted us in the name of all mushroom growers a beautiful book:
Such a warm gesture and so meaningful!
Also John Baker did buy 30 of my own design Lacquered Brass Mushroom Window Decorations.
On Wednesday we had lunch with a Swiss mushroom friend, the late Hans Tschierpe.
First they'd done a video from my harvest demonstration.
Thursday, October 15 we got up early and left for the Sydney airport by 7:30 AM.
No Hawkesbury river flooding this time!
It was hard to part after such special days together, with also a visit to a local nursery for plants.
We could buy a truckload, if it would be allowed!
Via Honolulu, Hawaii we entered the USA and went on to Los Angeles and Atlanta, home on Friday by 1:00 AM.

Just 9 days later, Pieter left for Kalamazoo, Michigan to work for the Campbell plant there and back home on October 30; tired...
On November 1, we did pick up Pieter's eldest brother Thé with his wife Dora, they stayed with us till November 18. We took them to Florida and they both got lucky with check in for Royal Dutch Airlines, as Pieter let Thé use his Royal Wing card and that yielded them 2 business class seats 74!
Always busy but we can look back with lots of satisfaction!
 To find this card in the mail was so touching...
To Dear Pieter & Mariet(te),
I shall be retiring from the position of General Manager of A.M.G.A. (Australian Mushroom Growers Association) as from 31st December, 1992.
May I sincerely thank you for all of your assistance and friendship over the many years.
All of our members enjoyed your visit to their farms and your presentation at the hotel dinner.
If I can be of assistance to you at anytime in Australia, then please let me know.
Best wishes for the future,
Warmest regards,
John & Beryl Miller (our tour guides to the Blue Mountains on this trip...)...

Thanks for your visit and comment and stay tuned for the next Australia trip...

Related links:
Working & Socializing with Staff from Melbourne Mushrooms | previous post by me
Two Cousins from Two Continents in Melbourne, Australia | previous post by me
Visiting Healesville Sanctuary in VIC, Australia | previous post by me
My 2nd Trip to Australia from Atlanta - Dallas - Los Angeles - Sydney - Melbourne | previous post
Katoomba & Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains Australia | previous post by me
Trips to Australia | previous post by me
{My Own Design of Brass Mushrooms} | previous post by me

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Working & Socializing with Staff from Melbourne Mushrooms

Of course I will not bore you with any details or pictures from our Mushroom Consulting job...
We're now into our 2nd week of working for Melbourne Mushrooms. It was such a miserable wet and cold day on Thursday, the 1st week!
A very kind gentleman at the Mushroom plant, named 'George', gave me a thick and warm coat.
I could have hugged him for giving me such WARMTH!
Melbourne Mushrooms P/L.
As you can see, it is fuzzy warm lined out totally with this imitation fur...
So I was in heaven!
Where the farm is located, in Mernda, you just can see under the + sign to the left.
On Tuesday, October 6, 1992 we were all going to have dinner with the Staff, at a restaurant in St. Andrews, top right in this map. It was in the hills.
It is often good for being able to socialize in a more relaxed atmosphere instead of constantly doing training on the job...
That's me in the center, wearing my black leather coat.
Pieter, in the center, is listening animated here.
Me in the center left, looking like I'm in thoughts...
Here again, me looking at the camera...
Dinner is being served at the long table...
A note from Campbell's MUSHROOMS that we later received in November from staff members Craig Bass and Richard Bell
Wishing us to balance our work commitments with our guest for a little free time...
Pieter's eldest brother did stay with us in November of 1992.

On October 15 we both did fly back home, via Honolulu, Hawaii this time.

Thanks for your visit and comment!

Stay tuned for the next part.

Related links:
Two Cousins from Two Continents in Melbourne, Australia | previous post by me
Visiting Healesville Sanctuary in VIC, Australia | previous post by me
My 2nd Trip to Australia from Atlanta - Dallas - Los Angeles - Sydney - Melbourne | previous post
Katoomba & Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains Australia | previous post by me
Trips to Australia | previous post by me
{My Own Design of Brass Mushrooms} | previous post by me

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Two Cousins from Two Continents in Melbourne, Australia

Mind you, our trips are NOT vacation and NOT as a tourist but we treasured any opportunity that was outside of the job, of doing training and consulting work.
Yes, after our first week of working for the Mernda mushroom plant, the Two Cousins from Two Continents got together again in Melbourne.
Here we are inside the elevator of a big department store in a new mall...
On Saturday, October 3, 1992, Liz had picked us up at noon and Pieter treated all three of us to lunch on a terrace in South Yarra, at an Italian Restaurant on 306 Toorak Road. 
There now is a Korean Zen Charcoal BBQ restaurant...
Happy together again!
Liz did go frequently to Europe for business and she called me when she was in Venice, Italy only 45 minutes away from where we lived and worked in 1989... Small world!
It always is fun to get a real taste of a country by exploring its shopping malls.
Undies and Cousins... both got hooked on La Perla from Italy!
Studying a garment...
Liz also has been a fabulous seamstress, so we had lots in common!
We did end the day with a lovely dinner at Marcella, after having visited with her at her apartment.

Next day it would be back to work!

Stay tuned for more and thanks for your visit and comment.

Related links:
Visiting Healesville Sanctuary in VIC, Australia | previous post by me
My 2nd Trip to Australia from Atlanta - Dallas - Los Angeles - Sydney - Melbourne | previous post
Katoomba & Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains Australia | previous post by me
Trips to Australia | previous post by me
{My Own Design of Brass Mushrooms} | previous post by me

Friday, May 4, 2018

Visiting Healesville Sanctuary in VIC, Australia

Well, a good night sleep makes you feel a whole lot different next day!
We did drive the short distance to Healesville Sanctuary.
Here Pieter is petting a Wallaby; so very cute!
Pieter is wearing the leather jacket that he purchased in February 1991 from Pond's India's Leather Garment Factory
Remember in my previous post we just had checked into the Eltham Gateway Conference Centre and
that was about 45 minutes from Healesville Sanctuary.
In 1988 we stayed in Bundoora, seen left of 1339 Main Road, Eltham Gateway.
The mushroom plant is in Mernda, at the top above 1339...
There also were night animals that could be seen by infra red light.
Back to the Wallaby and Pieter, with another kid that came to pet it.
One Wallaby came up to me for petting...
Petting this Wombat was very special!
Just a baby, about 5 months old as its Mama had been hit by a car...
Here is another wombat, with its hind leg stretched.
And we spotted this cute Koala up in a shrub!

Thanks for your visit and comment, stay tuned for more...

Related links:
My 2nd Trip to Australia from Atlanta - Dallas - Los Angeles - Sydney - Melbourne | previous post
Katoomba & Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains Australia | previous post by me
Trips to Australia | previous post by me
{My Own Design of Brass Mushrooms} | previous post by me


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