Monthly Archives: March 2011

potatoes for childcare

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Until the municipal nursery opened in 1974, the nuns from the local convent were providing the all essential pre-school child care – especially for farmer families, who – unless the grandparents were still alive – couldn’t afford an adult to stay at home and look after the children. Hildegard told me that her children went to the convent nursery when her mother died, and once in a while they would give the nuns a few bags of potatoes.


Posted on by kathrin

Spring has just so started – it’s still early in the year and cold, but some things are definitely not winter anymore.


Posted on by kathrin

I did my own little rural fieldtrip to the village of Sulzbürg yesterday, mainly to meet Heide Inhetveen who is involved in many different  initiatives there, and who is a profesor in agrisociology and gender studies. She showed me the village shop, which was set up by a group of women after the bakers had closed. It’s a shareholder business structure, partly run on volunteeer’s work and paid work, and occupies the rooms of the former bakery. It’s an amazinly well stocked shop, open 6 days a week, with fresh produce from a local butcher, baker and farmer, and the more long life produce is delivered by the last distributor who also does small amounts. There is a shelf with turkish goods for the many turkish residents, a good amount of organic produce and everything else you might need.

The woman behind the counter works there because she likes the social side of it, and to meet others from the village who she normally wouldn’t know or see.

burnt paper streamers

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First thing Ash Wednesday, the local priest burned the left over paper streamers at the nursery, to explain that carnival is over, and lent has started.

shrove monday

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Super fresh, homemade, for carnival only …carnival doughnuts, in German known as Berliners or Faschingskrapfen. You can get them in bakeries all year around, but over the carnival weekend they re best eaten fresh from your own kitschen. The bother to bake them yourself is a very seasonal bother.

karneval peaks

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It’s called “Fasching” here, and the Frankonian version of Karneval is rather tame in comparison to what’s happening in and around Cologne these last days before lent starts. Main ambition is, to have a fun time, and
we had a Höfer Women’s Fasching on Friday night, closely followed by the big “Faschingsumzug” (parade) in Ratteldorf. The women’s Fasching was seriously good fun – with lots of sweetish alcohol and stories that only rarely enter day light. Paulina and Rosa did some gigs and Erna, being born a natural comedian, was truly remarkable. The parade is slightly harder work, with almost the same amount of people watching as there are parading. It takes an hour across Rattelsdorf village, and the best part was giving the mayor a fine – for ignoring all the consultation that had been done in relation to the parking situation in front of kindergarden … local poiltics, and it’s all heating up because there will be a mayoral election at the end of the month.

who would have thought

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Bamberg is the nearest town, 16 km away. It’s small, baroque, has a university, lots of colleges and 11 breweries. It has gained Unesco World Heritage status a decade ago, it’s therefore now fairly touristy, but it still has significant manufacturing industries, which are the main employer for the surrounding communities, including Höfen.
I was involved in peace protests and demonstrations against extending the military service there in the 1990ies. My ant seemed to have had more connections to a left scene and the actual German Socialist Republic throughout the 80ies – but this was never much talked about.
It took a chat with Margit Czenki, who I know through the Park Fiction project in Hamburg and a get together in Belfast and Paris*, to hear more about Bamberg’s important – even though very temporary – role in the German APO movement (extraparliamentary opposition).

She just sent me two books about this very particular time in Bamberg, and I’m indeed grateful to read about something that’s so local but connected, and left little resonance in the collective memory.

* This is not mentioned to make it all sound flash, but to explain the fact that local information sometimes comes from very far away.

pig turned food

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The recipes are all by Andi, who has tried and tested them many times over. Some doesn’t need a recipe, like the boiled belly and the broth. Two new recipes were introduced by Adam and Maria from Grizedale: Zampone, and italian dish, here made with frankonian sausage filling, and Pork Pie made by Maria with pork from Lawson Park.

clay connection

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We started lots of research and talks and workshops around clay last year here, to do with a new product for Höfer Waren, and there were many production ideas that came out of the Rhyzom workshop. However none of them have really materialised by now. So I went to visit this former brick factory which is across the hill (but 15km by car) since they’ve been recently advertising clay workshops in the local newspaper. Gabriele Götz is running the business and she’s also a building biologist. The actual brick making stopped in 1998. Reason was that after the reunification many brick factories in former east germany have been subsidides to become productive again. Which was necesary at the time to feed a large demand in construction material, but which only lasted until around 1995. Then a huge overproduction forced small brick factories to close down and most were bought by national companies, who only kept the most efficient ones going. The Ziegelei Götz continued as an independent business by trading in building material and developing a new clay product range for unfired bricks and pigment. They stills source the clay from their own pit, and the non-firing saves enery costs which makes the products profitable again.
And it also turns out that her great ant was a close friend of my grandmother.