Monthly Archives: November 2010

start of the christmas market season

Posted on by kathrin

Nürnberg isn’t far away with its well known market, which isn’t just a Christmas Market, but a Christkindles Market, with an estimate two million visitors a year, and a long-haired beauty voted as the Christkind. We had a far more quiet start in Rattelsdorf, the village next door, which was genuinely sweet and cheerful (and cheep anyway, since its rural Frankonia) and it all lasted four hours. It seems that every village now has to have some kind of One Day Christmas Market, and judging from another one we visited today, we have to prepare ourselves for far too many handmade wooden x-massy things. Höfen won’t have its own market – it’s not even certain if the Christmas party for the women and children will take place next Friday. There is a kind of social crisis going on in the village, which means that it’s extremely difficult to get anyone involved in anything. Various theories on the why and why not are circulating. More over a beer.

first snow

Posted on by kathrin

the coolest office in the world

Posted on by kathrin

We went to drop off my mashed fruit at the local distillery Leicht today (an official one that is). It’s the first day with snow, and when we arrived at the yard, Mr. Leicht (who runs the distillery together with his wife) told us to drop the barrels off “just next to my office”. This is a small wooden box with super-glue tape and a permanent marker: all he needs in the yard to register incoming mash. We delivered 224 litres of mash, got an appointment for a distillation on the 13th Dec, and will probably go home with around 25 litres of schnaps. Total cost will be Eur 44 for the actual distillation process, and around Eur 70 for tax paid to customs. Only those who own fruit trees can use this distillery, and my father had to sign. Mr Leicht told us that customs officers were around all day yesterday to check the whole process, and fined someone who doesn’t own enough trees for the amount of mash he was getting distilled. More on the quality of what will come out of all of this on the 13th.

shopping in the village

Posted on by kathrin

Saturday afternoon we went shopping, to the house with the number 17 and three quarters, half way down the hill. Bernhard is making seasonal craft work, which is arranged carefully in the spare flat on the ground floor.
It’s obviously christmassy now – with all the Christmas markets and real size public nativity scenes opening this Friday as well. We bought quite a lot, and I think there will be return visits. Some of the animals remind me of Peter Hodgon’s animal versions which are on the Peter’s Pots. Is it a dear? Is it a horse? Does it matter?

painting and hunting

Posted on by kathrin

Painting, that’s what I did when I first had an interest in art. Hunting, that’s what my father does in his spare time. My father “rescued” terrible terrible paintings, that I had chucked away years ago, from the bin and casually spread them across the corridor, garage and barn. I can hardly look at them, for obvious and less obvious reasons. The other day, outcomes from both of our activities came very close to each other – in the garage.

ready to go

Posted on by kathrin

The mashed fruit is ready to go to the distillery.
The Sauerkraut is ready to eat.
The deer is ready for the freezer.

up to the cellar, down to the cellar

Posted on by kathrin

The fact that you can go up to a cellar seems rather particular to the area. Almost each house has a natural cellar, often carved into the rocky hillside. Our house has two, one smaller and warmer one beneath the actual house that’s been carved out of sandstone, and one at the other end of the garden – the much cooler one. It keeps an average temperature of 7 Celcius, and is currently used to “let hang” a couple of deers. Beer has been stored in those caves or cellars, and the breweries would open their cellars during summer and sell beer on the field in front. Those cellars were often up or near a hill, and therefore the expression of going “up to a cellar” makes a lot of sense.

jesus on the cross

Posted on by kathrin

I grew up catholic, and I grew up in a very catholic area, where crosses and wayside shrines are much more common than stolen cars or unironed shirts. I once read in a catalogue essay about the sculptors Canova (supercatholic) and Thorvaldsen (superprotestant) that Catholics arrive, put down churches and monuments, and then look for a congregation. Whereas protestants would first start a congregation, and then build churches. So it’s kind of funny that Lawrence and Theodor shout in full exitement “Jesus on the cross” whenever we pass one, and – as pointed out earlier- there are many.

sauerkraut

Posted on by kathrin

50 kg white cabbage, 500 gr salt, 1 bottle of frankonian white wine, cumin and fennel seeds, juniper berries and some sugar.

a stranger who takes photographs

Posted on by kathrin

I got this photo a few years ago, when I asked each household in the village to contribute old images about village life for an exhibition in the village hall. This one seemed to be the oldest photo, probably from around 1910, and shows the main road with the chapel in the background. Someone travelled through the village on a weekday and stopped to take a photo – maybe for an early agrosociological survey – and returned a copy. Most people can still be identified, and the others are probably farm labourers who were rushed out into the street to become part of a village snapshot.