This time of the year is what the Dutch call the “Krokusvakantie” or the Crocus Vacation. Crocuses are usually the first flowers of late winter and are found everywhere right now. Our backyard has quite a few of them growing amongst the grass; along with that dratted moss(!). Schools are out for the week or so of it – the dates are a little fuzzy as to when it actually begins. It is also Carnival (Crocus colors are Marti Gras/Carnival colors- gold, purple and green) time in the south of Holland, Belgium, Southern Germany, etc. Yesterday, LittleN and I were watching the German ARD TV channel “Das Erste”. On it was a Carnival parade in one of the big southern German cities. They had big floats, including one from a local Lutheran church, and the people were all in historical costume. There were kings and queens, all kinds of 18th Century soldiers, kids as princes and princesses and so on. There were no beads being tossed but plenty of flowers and candy. LittleN wanted to know what this one little girl on a float was throwing. I said candy. LittleN then wanted to know if Zwarte Piet was in the parade. Well, I said, it’s the wrong time of the year. The Pieten (plural of Piet) are all in Spain waiting for the beginning of December to come around.