To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Monday, March 02, 2009


Two and a half years we lived in this house in the East of Holland, about an hour from Germany. The house was in the midst of the forest and close to a beautiful part of Holland, called "the Veluwe" with heather fields and forests. The estate was named "Uyt Ten Bosch", which translated would be, "Out in the Forest (or Woods)."

The house in itself is not as extraordinary, as much as how it changed owners that is worth telling this story.
My apology for the quality of the pics. I took pics of pictures glued in my old photo album. After 25 years or so, the colors have started yellowing.

At that time several of the ornate big houses that were standing empty most of the time, were ransacked by drug addicts or hippies, and started living in it. The house owners could not do anything to get the unwanted visitors out, because the laws protected the renters better than home owners!

When the landlord heard we needed a temporary place to live, we both would benefit. It would take her a few years taking care of her affairs in the West, before she could move to the East of the country to take care of her inheritance.

In Europe is more emphasis on status, meaning the position in life at birth. To belong to the nobility would set people more apart than wealth or education. The homeowner's late mother had been the cook (I believe) of the baroness. The latter gave her this house when she became too old to work. (above: Rhododendron blooms)

"Noblesse obligue" comes into place here. This saying denotes that belonging to the nobility also brings its responsibilities. In this light, the gift of the house would not be seen as extravagant

We definitely had a different relationship than most renters have with their landlord. Maybe because of our educational status, she treated us more like guests, when she was checking if things in the house were working well. One of the times that she visited, she brought the Pear Torte (recipe is 2 posts before this one).

One of the features of the house which we really enjoyed was that the big living room, opened up to the sun room. One could oversee the front garden from the sun room.

Blooming Currant Tree

We loved the surroundings. When waking up in the morning one could hear the birds chirping. On the road side of the acre of land was a row of currant trees. From a distance they look a little like apple trees.

Blooms of the Currant Tree

Coming closer there are distinct differences in the flowers. Also the branches of the currant trees are smooth, while the ones of an apple tree are gnarly.

Two huge populars framed the sides of the entrance of the property. There were a variety of plants, flowers and trees, and some had grown very large. To my great delight also a pond with waterlillies and other plants. In the front garden stood a large rhododendron bush (pic, see above), probably about 7 feet. It was obvious that once there had been a full-time gardener.

We have never enjoyed the seasons of the year as much as in this house.
The day after we moved in, it started snowing. Looking out from each window we saw a hush came over the tall forest trees in the background as the snowflakes did their dance. It felt like living in a fairy tale!
The inside of the house though needed some renovations. The seven gas heaters inside the house were barely enough to chase the chill and dampness of the forest away.

This made us appreciate when the days became longer and spring arrived. This season is so energizing and full of anticipation when one plant after another comes to life and blooms appear everywhere.

The summer was marked by never ending days. We loved to sit and have long conversations in the sun room with the door open, Day light finally would fade around 9:30pm. On hot humid days it remained cool in the forest.

Sloshing through heaps of leaves in the Fall and raking, raking was the name of the game. Such an exuberant farewell of the trees which were gearing up for winter.

Only two weeks after our third child was born, we moved to a bigger town nearby.
The experiences of living in this house in the forest were treasures that we took with us in our heart.
Two years later, just before we moved to the USA, we visited the proud owners of a renovated "Uyt Ten Bosch."


Reader Wil said...

This is a great and very beautiful house. You must have had a great time living there! Thanks for sharing and for your visit.

cookingwithgas said...

what a wonderful story- thanks for sharing it. I live in the woods so I can relate to never being able to keep the house warm im the winter. In the summer it is great to have the shade the trees provide.

Catherine said...

Jeannette, this is a lovely account of a time in your life all those years ago. I know the West of Holland better as hubby comes from Schouwen Duiveland (Zeeland) but we have driven around parts of the east years ago when we visited his student town of Arnhem, and we often go to Liessel and Deurne in Brabant/Limburg area. I know this is more south, but he often spoke of the big old houses in the east, often of colonial planters from former East Indies colonies. What struck me was the undulating landscape in the east compared with the flat polder vistas of the west.
The quality of the pics are great given their age!

Jeanne said...

What a beautiful house. I was reminded reading your post of a house we used to live in. It had a big yard and a deck out back that we used to love sitting out on in the morning or evening with the only sounds the birds. It had beautiful hardwood floors and beam ceilings in the living room. Both my husband and I lost our jobs and we had to make the hard decision to leave that home. I miss it even though I know we made the only decision we could.

jeannette stgermain said...

Reader Wil,
Yes, it was kind of a fairy tale period in our lives :) thank you for your comment, I really enjoyed all your posts about France - probably still a piece of "home."

jeannette stgermain said...

in Holland not many forests are left, so some people would visit us, just to go to the forest (also to visit us too, of course). I always like to visit your blog!!

jeannette stgermain said...

No way! I have lived in Walcheren (Arnemuiden, and went to school in Middelburg) and Zuid-Beveland (Goes, 6th grade and High school) in Zeeland - wow, what a small world!
Yes, it was those big houses of colonial planters of the East Indies I was talking about, that were trashed.
Arnhem- hope you visited "the Open Air Museum" -if you've never been there, tell your hubby it's worth the visit! You see a lot of history in everything that is displayed there. Good chatting with you-thanks for the visit:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Life at times give us rough periods to go through - sounds like a dream house. Sorry you had to give it up!
Thanks for visiting :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

This sounds like the ideal place to live in. Haveing lived in the bush myself for over 22 years, I miss the sounds of the frogs at night, the millions of stars and the way I could sleep with my doors and windows open almost throughout the year. Sigh!! How I wish I could be back there.

jeannette stgermain said...

So sorry that you have to miss your favorite place to live! I can tell that you long to be there...and you love bugs! What made you move?Don't have to answer that!
Even for a citykid like I, I sometimes miss the sound of frogs and seeing fireflies at night when we would walk home (in my Texas time).

Scriptor Senex said...

Looks beautiful; and what an interesting history.

TheWritersPorch said...

Jeannette.....what a beautiful house and a wonderful story!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Houses certainly have personalites and such wonderful things to impart to those who dwell within. It's such a gift when a house provides true sanctuary and becomes a real home. Our old cottage sits beneath the trees as well, and I could never imagine someone else living here!

Lovely post!

jeannette stgermain said...

Scriptor Senex,
that coming from you, I know is a compliment.
About something totally different: Do you know that you bragging about my art, brought me another reader? Thanks!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you, Carol. I know you would have loved that huge rhododendron bush.

jeannette stgermain said...

For that reason I like older homes, because they have so much more character...and you become part of them :).

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It is a long story Jeanette but the bottom line is the powers that be decided that I was to old to be a tour guide. Nowdays they seem to want "young and sexy" instead of experience. So here I am, back in the middle of the city again, hating every moment. I guess in a way it was a good thing as it made me discover the world of bugs which I have totally fallen in love with. Luckily bugs are found everywhere and are not restricted to the bush.

jeannette stgermain said...

Well, you must be young of heart (I thought you were a young person :) )- that is hard to be let go. Hope you have some means of supporting yourself. I have no idea about pensions in South Africa - does everyone who has worked get them? Isn't there any little cottage, or room that you could afford in the bush?
I am not trying to pry into your life, but I would not want you to let go of your dreams- if it is at all possible, I would go for it. You deserve to live where you are happy!
You don't have to respond to this at all -just keep it in the back of your mind, and when an opening comes and you can move to where you feel you belong,it would make my day to get that news from you.

Marvin said...

My house in the woods is small, relatively new and very plain. It is adequate, but has no personality. The house in your post sounds charming, if hard to heat.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

For now I am lucky to have a fantastic job with a wonderful boss and yes I am older, 57, but my love for life, camping and the outdoors keeps me young at heart. I think I am going to be one of those who gets old in years but not in ways. I still can outwalk, outclimb and outwork many people half my age.

I try to get back to the bush at least every second weekend. This is the place where I go to find my soul again. It is not the way I want to live, but all in all, I am happy with what I have. One day when I retire, maybe I will be able to do it in the bush, but for now, I just enjoy every minute of every day.

Yes, they do pay a pension from the age of 65 but it is very little and I think I will end up working here for many years to come.

Thanks for your interest Jeanette. :)

jeannette stgermain said...

I left a comment on your blog - hope that the worst of winter is over now in the Ozarks!

jeannette stgermain said...

no wonder that I thought you were young - I wish I could outclimb, outwork people half of my age - this past year I have been working to get my legs back in shape to where I was before this year, because of a sciatic nerve acting up, but I'm almost there!
Hope you know I wasn't hinting for your age-
Glad that you now have a job and a boss you like :) - that helps. Being interested in people like you is easy - and I payed a small fortune to be trained in that area.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I think it is just clean, healthy living that does this Jeanette. I was always more of a tomboy than a lady, much to my fathers dispair. LOL!! But I would always tell him I did not want to be a lady as they have no fun. :)

Sorry about the leg. I am glad it is almost better. It seems the older we get, the longer things take to heal. Fortunately I hardly even catch a cold, so I consider myself fortunate.

antigoni said...

Beautiful story of this house. Very touching that the memories of that house are so alive inside you.

antigoni said...

I can't give you the recipe of halva(our dessert). We buy it,we don't make it. There are special shops which make the halva. It's difficult to do it and you must know how. The recipe is from Asia Minor and came to Greece with the refugees in 1922.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

In America we call it the difference between "new money" and "old money." I have neither, but can't say I would want either. Lots of problems with that green stuff.

Barry said...

Actually the photographs were wonderful and the house looks ideal.

As was your description. It obviously brought back fond memories.

jeannette stgermain said...

I know about the tomboy part, that's what my parents thought I was - looking back I think it's more of an independent spirit, and I was(am) determined that people can't walk all over me because I'm a girl.
Boy, we're having guite a conversation about our background. Too bad there is not much chance I will ever get to meet you, but then they say, "never say never!"

jeannette stgermain said...

You are very perceptive (about the house). they have Greek restaurants here (haven't seen Greek delicatessen stores yet), so I'll be looking at the menu's!

jeannette stgermain said...

yeah, I don't have old or new money either - but, I have status (just kidding)! Thanks for visiting my blog!

jeannette stgermain said...

With the pics, (the progam)photoshop helped -my hubby taught me a few tricks, since he took a class last semester. It's as an artist that I'm perfectionistic about colors :)
The story about the house is like a fairy tale to me. Thanks for your comment!

Rosie said...

What a wonderful old house, its history is fascinating, how lucky you are to have been part of that history - and you have so many happy memories of living there too. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Hi Rosie,
I really like your blog...somehow it recognize "something European" in it -don't know what exactly. When you pass that 45 year-line, you start thinking more about history (I do).Thanks for visiting, welcome any time!

Anonymous said...

depressing all of it :(

Paintings painters art history

jeannette stgermain said...

since you are a writer of painter's histories, maybe you can keep this tidbit on file as a contrasting story :)

Rebecca said...

What a great experience living there must have been...those are the things I dream about!