Monthly Archives: February 2011
February 28, 2011
Home slaughters are also referred to as “slaughetring fetes” (Schlachtfest), and we just had one. Obvioulsy killing and processing a whole pig is quite a big task, which is made easier by plenty of people to help. And there is a lot to celebrate: the pig finally hanging, the o.k. from the veterinary, the belly being cooked, the stomage being filled, the sausages going into the massive pot, the sausages coming out, the end of a long day …
It’s a very enjoyable day where the social takes place around shared work. So here are images of those who helped and have been involved. To be followed by photos of what the pig has turned into.
February 25, 2011
A different kind of friday session this one is. I’s the long awaited home slaughter of a pig, and it’s taking place today on Friday 25th Feb. The start depends on the schedule of the official meat inspector, who has to check the dead pig before any of its parts will be used. We are set for a 8.00 start. Photos and details to follow soon.
February 23, 2011
An evening class run by the adult education centre in the Communit Hall next door.
Gentle exercises and cheesy music from the 80ies (yes, we are in Germany….).
12 women age range 25 to 75. I was the only one without proper trainers.
Price for 10 sessions is 24.00 Euros.
February 22, 2011
Definite, definite dates to clean your windows in the village are the Village Fete, Christmas, Easter. And a few times in between. Very clean households would clean their windows once a month. But rules on properness and cleanliness seem to have relaxed a bit, and cleaning your windows has become more of a voluntary decision.
Windows here are actually quite easy to clean (you just open them inwards and clean them from both sides) – nothing in comparison to sash windows in the UK. And one of the funny rules in our house is: the window in the garage gets cleaned whenever we slaugher a pig. That’s this week.
February 18, 2011
Rosa has been ringing the village chapel bells for the last 59 years – first of course with other members of her family, but now it’s just her. At 7 am, 12 noon and 6 pm – each time the lenght of a certain prayer. And she rings the bells when someone in the village has died. They’re planning to install an electric bell for the 60th anniversary of the chapel this year.
February 14, 2011
Self-build is deeply embedded in the local psyche, and most houses are part- or fully self built. It’s not about alternative building techniques or life styles, but simply about getting an affordable house. This efficiency contradicts the planning patterns for the new residential developments. The inner villages have been constructed as quite compact settlements, with plenty of shared walls and short infrastructure routes. The new developments with their detached houses behave a bit like pancakes and spread slightly shapeless across former fields. The rural lacks any over-all planning strategy. Guidelines that exist are mainly to safe and secure an idea of what is a “Frankonian” look – which gets translated into a certain angle of the roof and red coloured roof tiles. I spoke to Mr Gunzelmann from the regional Conservation Board, and he knew that only very recently rural municipalities started to consider more compact developments, and look closer at existing building stock. That’s mainly for economical reasons because the upkeep of compact structures is obviously cheaper. In Höfen there are five empty buildings within the old village, and at least eight large houses with only two residents each. It’s not a village of aging population, but many of the children decide to add their own house.
February 10, 2011
The pig is sourced. The meat inspector found.
Erna still has the large metal bath tub and chains to scrub the pig.
Lists are being made of who wants what: quite a few friends will come for the
“Kesselfleisch”, the first portion of freshly boiled meat late morning.
Then the favorites are cuts for gulasch, roasts, roast on the bone, spare ribs, schnitzels and of course ham.
Sausages are a longer list: Bratwurst, weisser and roter Pressack (a kind of pate made from rough cuts) filled both in jars and intestine, then cooked and some to be smoked, Göttinger, liver sausage in intestines eaten freshly or smoked, and so on… I mainly live of dry bread that day with a bit of schnaps once in a while, and only later in the day some fresh liver sausage.
February 8, 2011
Germany is big on regional products at the moment. See the recent reginonal products map by Zeit Magazine. There are two brands called “von hier” (from here) and they are involved in a court case to clarify who is the real “from here”.
Sounds like the village.
I would say that I’m from here, but this might be disputed locally. With food – as in “grown here” – it is all a bit clearer. Food simply needs to be grown here, processed here, and distributed here. And then you can have huge debates over how local locally grown sugar actually is – just as an example, since locally grown sugar made from sugar beets is only a response to the shortage of cane sugar from the colonies and some sugar wars. The live span of food is faster than the one of a human being. So a local sugar beet is a local sugar beet – never mind the roots. I’m a local but with bohemian roots, which means my grandparents got settled here as “Sudetendeutsche”, those of German nationality who were expelled in 1945 from countries formerly incorporated by the Third Reich, and my family history in the village is all post 2nd WW. Having grown up in a village where the parents of my contemporaries would considered myself as not “from here”, my only argument for being “from here”, is the moment you declare it as a fact yourself.
This aplies to Höfen and to Hackney.
February 4, 2011
I love barns – those which are still unheated, unpaved and with little lighting. Around here most of them have lost their initial function – to keep the live stock and store hay/straw, wood and grain. Of the top of my head I know of 22 such barns in the village. A farmer friend recently called them “spaces for hot air”, and the amount of left over and empty built volume across the countryside is astonishing. Nothing much happens in many of those barns – only a few have been converted and the rest keeps providing rather raw space – which is rather rare.
Ours is for cutting timber once in a while, storing planks and all sorts of trolleys, being able to keep absolutely everything that you actually don’t need anymore but might need one day, and a “village museum” by my father which consists of old farming equipment and random objects. The barn smells of cold and dust, and is one of the calmest spaces I know.