This blog collects notes from Höfen, a small village in Southern Germany, where Kathrin from public works was living and working for a year.

farewell sausages


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.

ready to go


Clay from the field.

traditional or so costumes


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 connection.

gasbockrennen


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 us.

tower rise


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 shortly.

shopping in the village


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.

three o'clock routine


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.

Erna is in hospital


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 ......

canned


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.

embroidery


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 it running.