This blog collects notes from Höfen, a small village in Southern
Germany, where Kathrin from public works was living and working for
The (kind of no) fruit situation and my perosal task to make
some schnaps whilst I'm here have led to a new food route: two bags
of elderflower berries from the Haus
der Kulturen der Welt (as part of myvillages.org starting the
project) in Berlin have travelled with me to Höfen - by high speed
train. I am waiting for some sunnier weather to match them with
some rural berries, and to reach the crucial 100l volume that is
needed to take it to the official distillery.
Andi very kindly drives us around the fields on his tractor once
in a while. The kids are superhappy - all bouncy and bumpy and no
safety belts - and I got a good update on the latest Land
Rationalising Programme (Flurbereinigung). Can you see how wide and
solid and mud free the lanes now are? This is obviously not part of
my memory of a rather unorganised and romantic landscape around my
village, where you could wander around overgrown lanes and flooded
meadows. Those lanes and landscaping is rationalisation and
engineering on quite a level, and listening to Andi is a good
lesson in avoiding nostalgia about the countryside that I never
even used as a farmer.
Swapped a cucumber and some peppers for a bucket full of
blackberries with Waltraute Müller - arrange by my mother Heidi
It had never occured to me until today, that my ambition to make
some of my own schnaps in Höfen might be cut short by the fact that
there is simply not enough fruit. A very long and very cold spring,
and a cold and wet summer mean that there isn't any of the surplus
fruit that normally fuels local wine and schnaps production:
apples, pears, plums.
After a walk around the fields I can report that there are
luckily some trees with fruit, and it's now a matter of who owns
them and if they harvest them, in order to rescue my schnaps plans.
Otherwise I will have to divert to elderflower and rosehip, which
are both classified " specialist" schnaps - probably because it's
incredibly timeconsuming business - which means my Schnaps would
indeed be for very special occasions only.
I come from here and I've been here so many times during the
last 20 years that I can't quite tell the difference of arriving in
order to stay for a few months - rather than a few days - yet.
We had "welcoming' gifts - very sweet from Erna and from Ingrid
and her daughter. There was a village fete in the next village
called Freudeneck (that's "corner of joy" in english) with another
version of a pop up village shop, and I had silly amounts of
Kathrin - that's me - from public works and
myvillages.org is moving
back to her home village of Höfen in Southern Germany for the next
few months. We are moving there with the whole family and will
increase the village population by 2.5% - that's amazing.
From there I'll be working on a number of projects such as
Waren which I started with myvillages.org in Höfen a few
years ago, and other interlinked projects such as Rhyzom, the International Village Shop.
For updates on rural life and work check this blog, and if you
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Tel (00)49 9547 8732 206