This blog collects notes from Höfen, a small village in Southern
Germany, where Kathrin from public works was living and working for
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
50 kg white cabbage, 500 gr salt, 1 bottle of frankonian white
wine, cumin and fennel seeds, juniper berries and some sugar.
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
There have been quite a few amazing views and images in the last
few weeks, but we never took a photo.
The thick fog in the valley that we drive into in the morning, with
the early morning sun colouring the top layer in either pink or
cold orange. A week of vast blue skies, with hundreds of
criss-crossing contrails marking the central european skyscape. The
other day Theodor saw stars for the first time - what a discovery
when you are three . "Wow, there ARE stars!" He knows the moon from
London, but stars rarely make it through the light pollution. We
went to the cemetery in the pitch dark yesterday evening, because
my mum thought it's very special to see all the hundreds of candles
which are still on from All Saints Day.
I've never seen so many buckets. Everywhere. Small, big,
coloured, white, black, you name it. And they all have a particular
purpose. Bucket for sweeping the floors. Bucket for the dirt from
sweeping the road. Bucket for kitchen compost to be taken to the
garden compost. Bucket for paper rubbish. Bucket for collecting
freshly pressed apple juice. Bucket for leaves. Bucket for
......... The photos just show a small selection. One day I will
document the "bucket-per-person" density here.
We first asked Erna and Hanna if we can collect the fallen
aplles from their fields. Then spent two hours collecting as much
as we could (lots!). Washing and shredding (twice for juice and
three times for schnaps). Followed by pressing. Nine buckets make
three crates. Three crates make 50 litres of shredded fruit, or
roughly 28 litres of fresh juice. We made 200 litres mash for
schnaps and 28 litres of fresh apple juice. How many buckets of
apples did we use?
Some of the fresh juice was later given away. To Erna and Hanna for
the apples. To Waltraut for always supplying us with blackberries.
To Anna who is just very nice. To Gertrud because my mum owed her a
favour. And to Michael and Rita who gave us their kids' plastic
tractor when we got here.
Mud. LOTS of mud, some puddles, and not much else.
We had an
International Village Shop honesty-box style ("Kasse des
Vetrauens") last Sunday - as part of Höfer Waren
2010 and the launch of the International Village Shop website. The whole
afternoon was more about making things (wrapping fruit in clay that
was) instead of selling. In previous years we had much bigger
stalls and sold always more than expected. There were reasons not
to focus on a trading table:"people always feel obliged to buy
something". So here we go - we had a small shop on a shelf with an
honesty box, and only those who really really really wanted to buy
something did. Total turnover: sixeurosfifty.
The village fete always takes place on the first weekend in
We have two openings very near-by to go to this week. One is by
Manfred Frey, who helped a lot with the molds and the casting of
He is showing his porcelain design at the Stadtmuseum
Bad Staffelstein. The other opening is at the Kunstmühle in Mürsbach. A former
mill and listed building, which is partly used for exhibitions of
contemporary art - run by Familie Eller, whose son Thomas Eller is an artist based in