Monthly Archives: April 2011

whitsunday indicators

Posted on by kathrin

Every family with a child ready for the first communion this coming sunday is this week busy with making cakes and special sweet dumplings, to be delivered to each household in the village. We just got a bag full from the neighbours and in return it’s money or a gift, and a card.

raschpeln

Posted on by kathrin

“Raschpeln” or “Ratschen” is the bell replacement between Good Friday and Easter Saturday. Kids walk the village three times a day with their wooden instruments, and try an be as noisy as possible. At the end they collect money and sweet from each housefold, and considering the current minimum wage for adults, they did pretty well this year. Almost 5 euror per kid per sessions plus bags of goodies.

the first white asparagus

Posted on by kathrin

This definitely means that spring is in full swing. We had our first proper portion of white asparagus from a field in the garden today. Cut it, peel it, boil it, and then just add a bit of melted butter and freshly chopped chives. You can buy it everywhere now, from the side of a field to the street veg markets and any supermarket. It ain’t cheap, at least not the local stuff, which has more to do with labour costs. Because white asparagus needs to be harvested just as the “heads” are showing, and the season is from now until St Johns on 24th June. So this means a lot of walking up and down the field in early mornings.

it’s brewing

Posted on by kathrin

Always reminds me of the Fumata – the white smoke that signals the end of a papal election. This smoke means that our neighbours brew a new round of beer, which takes around 6 weeks to be ready. Almost every village around here has a working brewery, and the beer is served directly. Upper Frankonia – the area here – has the the world’s greatest density of breweries, and half a liter shouldn’t be more than two euros.

the seasonal village shop

Posted on by kathrin

Bernhard and Bärbl have opened their “shop’ again – for Easter. Last time we went just before X-Mas, and now of course the animal range has changed from bull to rabbit and from reindeer to chick. It seems that there is much more Easter decoration floating around in public than a few years ago. Ceramic easter bunnies looking after front gardens and front doors, chicks in all sorts of material and size appearing amongst flowers and bushes, countless easter eggs and ribbons hanging on almost everything. There are also more traditionally shaped easter wells around, which go up on Palm Sunday and come down on Whitsunday.
Höfen had such an easter well until a few years ago, but then the man died who always got the special green from the woods, and no one new could be found to do it. The iron frame used as an under construction has also disappeared. Only the decorated eggs are stored in the attic of the community house, probably a couple of thousands.

the land of detail

Posted on by kathrin

I’ve been to Playmobil Land at Playmobil HQ in Zirndorf which is 60 miles away. Everyone who ever had to do with Playmobil is amazed by all the tiny details that come with it. From the strips for binoculars, to screwdrivers for the spare wheel and white bandages for injured animals. So at Playmobil Land this is multiplied many times over without giving up on any of this. There is so much staff there who do nothing but constantly collect, sort and redistribute the milions of tiny parts which at home normally end up in the hoover. Astonishing.

blossom

Posted on by kathrin

Cherry, apple, damson, magnolia.

soil to brick

Posted on by kathrin

We went back to the Götz brick factory across the hill – to see the pit and the machinery, and were (again) amazed by how direct brick making is. The factory sits right next to the pits, the old one is now exhausted and has filled up with water, and small amounts of clay are dug twice a year for unfired bricks and paint products. This has clearly created an industrial landscape, something I never associate with neighbouring villages. The factory hall is vast, chilly and filled with machinery that has produced 10 milion bricks a year until 1989. It’s another one of the big empty volumes – like barns – which are not used anymore, but so much bigger, and I don’ t envy the family who still owns it.

Frau Götz will come to the next clay event in Höfen, on Monday 9th May, to talk about clay as a building material and afterwards we will offer clay facials.

herbal euphoria

Posted on by kathrin

Herbal walks, edible wild plant tours, cooking with weeds … this spring’s fashion has arrived at Höfen, too – or again. On my search for someone to help with the next clay event, I spoke to Sylvia at the other end of the village, and it turns out that she’s just finishing a course as a herbalist. She’s showing me “Giersch”, or more correctly, is telling me the name for what I simply know as a garden weed. Regina, a friend from Nuremberg was here, and reassured us that it s fine to eat violets and daisies just as they are. And because it’s all so exiting, daisy buds get pickled now, violets chrystalized, nettles steamed…

country children

Posted on by kathrin

“Country children are, sadly, one of the ingredients of our nostalgia-ridden rural mythology. We still half-believe them to be blessed with special health and innosence, and to have more earth wisdom than street credibility. The reality, as Colin Ward so vividly documents here, is often that they are quite simply cut off.”

Richard Mabey in his forward to Colin Ward’s “The Child in the Country”, published in 1988, ten years after “The Child in the City”.