This blog collects notes from Höfen, a small village in Southern
Germany, where Kathrin from public works was living and working for
Frankonian opinion and taste buds say: fresh sausages are the
best, and fresh means made and cooked on the day. Andi, with whom
we butchered a pig in
February, suggested that we should make another round of fresh
sausages before we leave for London later this month. We made 122
pairs (some were frozen - que faux-pas) and now we eat them
all up, with family and friends.
Clay from the field.
I wasn't aware that traditional costumes are big in fashion in
Frankonia now. Because locally there is no recent tradition of
wearing costumes, and "Lederhosen" and "Dirndl" are imported from
Bavaria, and come along with a growing general appreciation
of "Country Style" living in the countryside. Good to see that the
brass band from Ebing sticks to the late 20th century tradition of
wearing denim and T-Shirt. Levi Strauss is from Buttenheim in
Frankonia, about 15 miles from here - on the local-global
Gasbockrennen - loosely translated as the goat chase - is a
village fete tradition for Monday afternoons.
Someone dresses up as a goat, someone as a farmer's wife, someone
as a baby, to then run around the village and chase onlookers,
paint black stripes in their faces, and gennerally create some
fuss. It's obviously somewhere deep down a pagan ritual, and linked
to bullfighting. With each cosmic age coming to an end, the
associated star sign - like the Capricorn - is chased away, to make
space for the next species. Taurus is followed by Capricorn, is
followed by Piscine - the age we are just about to leave behind
Shortly after sunrise we had a tower rise in the village today.
The refurbished top of the chapel tower was delivered on Andi's
folklift, and then lifted back on top. The clock is to follow
The kids insist we should go shopping in the village once in a
while, and their favourite place to spend money is the very ancient
chewing gum dispenser on the road halfway down the hill. We spend
about one Euro, have a break on the bench which never seems to be
used, and go home again.
If one of the women in the village turns 70, 75, 80 , ... the
rest joins up to collect money for a present and flowers, and meet
at 3pm on the day to visit the birthday girl for cofee and cake. I
could spot more than 200 euors in the present, and they reassured
me that they always manage to get this amount easily.
To do with hot weather and low blood pressure. The many
raspberries in her garden are more than ripe, and it seems such a
waste not to pick them. There is surprisingly a lot of fruit in and
around that doesn't get picked and processed. The picking is always
the fun part, and the sticky juicing and jaming and freezing and
drying always takes much longer than planned. But there is so many
rasperies that it's almost worth considering some schnaps making
After a week of asking many in the village if they have a
canning machine, or know someone with a canning machine, the very
friendly publican from Goldener Stern in Rattelsdorf lets me use
his. It's about 80 years old, and they use it for potted meat. This
is also the pub where they make their own cottage cheese and once
in a while fresh sausages to be fried on the day - something that
Frankonians seem to appreciate very highly and the pub is packed on
the day. Today was quiet and he didn't mind me canning clay.
Conny and Ernst are running a small lace making factory in the
next village Rattelsdorf.
Hardly anyone knows about it and embroideries and textile industry
is not associated with the area. Their manufacturing business here
is the result of many movements within what has for a long time
been a global textile industry.
Conny's grandparents had an embroidery factory in Plauen, and after
Germany was split in two, her father decided to leave the DDR, and
came to West Germany, then got a good position at an embroidery
factory in Pakistan. Later he started work at a small embroidery in
Breitengüssbach, which is 6 km away, and started his own business
in Rattelsdorf in the 1970ies. The machines are from Plauen, and
they are the embroider's equivalent of the Heidelberger printing
machines - they run for decades, and move on from modernising/dying
factories to countries where it's still profitable to use them.
Conny and Ernst sold one machine to Turkey last year.
Ernst is from an area in Austria that is very well know for its
whitework embroideries, and his family has also been involved in
embroidery for generations.
In Rattelsdorf they keep the machines running and produce mainly
curtains for what Conny calls the "countryhouse-style" niche, and
they're distributing to small shops which can't get small runs from
the wholesalers. And as Conny says, it's their lifeblood that keeps