Monday, April 26, 2010

Timetravel to the Cave Gladium 2009 in Furth in Wald

This leap of faith will be needed in more ways then one...

... to make along story short, shtuff happens....
needless to say life intervened and the blog bit the dust for awhile..
but things are looking like they are getting back to normal if you can call it that and I have some catching up to do.
The weekend in Furth in Wald was great and we spent way to much money at the Cave Gladium. Lot's of men in tights; some carried it off better then others but they were all absolutely fearless and in the spirit of things.

The organizers of the festival really have managed to keep a certain level of authenticity over the years, very little was totally out of place other then us visitors naturally. While the participants certainly covered a larger period in time from the early through the late middle ages most really tried to live as authentic as possible within their chosen era and many of them with their children in tow. Watching them in their daily life, the artisans working in their trade and then being able to see and purchase their wares was really a feast for the eyes and ears.

I had many conversations with the artisans about their effort to not only produce wares that came from the middle ages but also using the correct tools of the trades and times.

No coolers or BBQ of the modern days, open fires and one bowl stews were cooking in front of many tents. Tradesmen brought in raw food on wagons that could be purchased. A large lot set aside stocked with firewood so the surrounding forests were not pilfered. Drinking water came from a created well and had to be carried from there by bucket or jug. The latrines were of modern function due to the health issue arising from thousands in need of relief but they were cleverly disguised and one could not tell from the outside that modern conveniences were behind the door.

All in all a refreshing relief from that disneyfied influence most everything has in the USA, it was anything but..
We had a great afternoon and had it not been for our niece's wedding which we really did not want to miss we would have been back at the Cave Gladium in a heart beat.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Koetzting, Church Bells, Beer, Food & Eurocard

Home again after 6 years, the flight was uneventful if you can ignore the fact that tired and bored toddlers do not travel well. Our main flight from Detroit to Amsterdam was full of them.

The car ride from Munich to home was quite interesting, 120kmh plus on the autobahn and then a very picturesque slower drive through the mountains of the Bavarian Forest to my home town of Koetzting.

The band is the city band that plays for all occasions where parade music or a concert is necessary, they are absolutely great and I love to hear those songs they really bring back my childhood......oh boy.... and I am not the sentimental type.

The first weekend we had our Buergerfest with lots of good beer, food, loud music, stone lifting and fingerhackeln. It was a good start to our vacation and we had a chance to meet a lot of friends who came back home for this. People were still singing and drinking at 3 am and that would have been just fine since on vacation one can always sleep in but then I totally forgot about the church bells. At 6am come hell or high water and especially then, the bells ring for mass very loud and lots of them. Now as the crow flies my window is about 200 feet away from those bells and they ring for about 3-4 minutes, and then also every fifteen minutes throughout the day and night. Once for the first 15 minutes of the hour, twice for the half hour, thrice for three quarter of an hour and then four times for the full hour with one bell and the number of hours with another bell after that. So like Cinderella you can count the bell strikes at midnight before your fancy car turns into a pumpkin.

Since being home just walking through town is a bit hazardous to my health due to the fact that I meet people every few yards or so and get invited to beer, food and long chats, and one has to be polite and cannot say no.The amounts of beer and wine I have consumed since arriving here would sustain an adult quite well if you looked at it from a caloric standpoint. Beyond that if I count all the pretzels, cake and rolls I had to eat since I really should not live from alcohol alone, I would need to start working in a rock quarry or similar in order to use up all the 'energy' I consumed.
On the flip side our town and in particular my home sits on top of a hill, quite a steep hill and this allows me to look at this as two rock quarries ( going by the afore mentioned theory ) and so I am eating accordingly. I have already enjoyed plenty of sausages, and roasted piglet, horse sausages, blood sausages, Pommes mit Mayo and real smoked Wieners not just colored ones, Suelze with all kinds of odd bits from a pig and many more.... but I probably will not get a veal's head this year since my mother hates to cook it and there is not a butcher in town anymore who would have one to explain some of these odd food choices you need to know this was a very poor, hilly farming country and not a thing was wasted. You could not afford to; in order to survive, any critter and most of its bits were used and very successfully so, and in a most tasty way.
But this area also has an abundance of tasty sweets. The reason for this is the catholic church who has been trying to keep the people here on the straight and narrow with mixed results.
We have some strange customs and also many pagan ones that the church learned to live with. Not eating meat on Fridays has resulted in a fantastic assortment of very rich and tasty sweets many of them can be eaten as a main course and naturally I have to test everything and make sure it is still as good as always. Zwetschgendatschi, Bienenstich, Nussecken, Teeblaetter, Kaesekuchen, Striezel, Rohrnudeln und husband who loves sweets is no help whatsoever in holding back on sweets, if anything he buys more and then I have to at least try and end up eating half of whatever he ordered. You need to google all these goodies and I am sure you'll find a site. Olli Leeb also has a great Bavarian Cookbook that was once published in German and English that has recipes and stories of old customs.


The house I grew up in, ( the one on the right in yellow or in the very top picture / the pink one was my dowry) has a new cafe that opened in 08 and I have to say I like it. I am sitting in what was once my parents' old living room. The kitchen as well as my playroom downstairs are now also part of the restaurant/cafe. called Clemens which is my father's first name.
The town has really grown and you can check it out on and currently we have a nationally known yearly theater production going on which you can check out under

Below is one of the older houses in town - downtown on the banks of the river.

old Hunger Turm and part of the castle walls with the Main church. The town was first mentioned in writing somewhere around the year 1100 AD. It's been around a while.

Shopping is another matter though, my credit card company runs these lovely ads enticing you to travel all over Europe and shows these idyllic little towns that accept nothing but my card, well let me tell you not my town of 7,500. A little while ago I left a stack of baby clothes in the biggest department store in town, due to the fact that all you seem to be able to pay with anywhere is Eurocard. When I asked the somewhat disinterested young lady at the register what a person not coming from Europe should do, she shrugged her shoulders..... Oh I miss my American customer service. Here there was no smile or a ´I am truly sorry`, or´ there is bank down the street` etc... no just a shoulder shrug and then she kept pricing product which I interrupted her from.
This was not the first store I had this issue with and I understand the fact of higher fees for the store owner but since 99.999% of customers do have Eurocard why not accept at least one of the world wide cards most overseas tourist have all three or four major cards in their wallet.
I am seriously debating a letter to the editor in one of our 2 newspapers here in town.

For today I have to come to a close, tomorrow we are off to Furth in Wald for the Drachenstich the oldest Festival in this corner of the world. I have more pictures that I have to post and put some captions with it.
I will do this over the weekend if all goes well
Now I need to figure out what's for dinner..............

Monday, May 25, 2009

Some UFOs and a few finished projects

If you are a quilter you have UFOs unless you are a some sort of a ' I never start a new thing until I finished the old ' type of person. Let me tell you I am not that type of a person. Quite on the contrary I can go from one thing to the next in a heart beat, and I will do so with passion, or obsession in some cases. I take turns in knitting, sewing / quilting , try my hand at miniatures, writing stuff, do mosaics or make a book by hand in miniature, little gardens in bottles, though that has been a while and a multitude of other crafts, and then always back to sewing and knitting and a bit of crocheting off and on.
Most things I learned in school and a few I have taught myself over the years and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Along with sorting through stuff which is progressing slowly btw but progressing I have promised myself to finish some UFOs (unfinished objects) this year.
The first UFO I finished this year was a small quilt for my oldest son, I started it about 2 years ago and he finally received it for his 30th birthday. I do better with strong deadlines, if I tell you I cannot promise there is a good chance a longer wait is likely if I promise though I will devote endless hours to finish it, as this following quilt, my second in my life shows.
I promised my mother a quilt for a big birthday a good ten years ago and did this over the summer one year. My first quilt I have to dig up a picture some day I made for my oldest child shortly after she was born almost 33 years ago.

This next little picture was done with a pattern for the polar bears from Margaret Rolf's paper piecing book and I put them in a little winter scene with a hint of Christmas for the parents of my Italian daughter who I miss a lot. Again she does a better job keeping up with us then I do in return xoxoxoKatia.

The next is one of my favorite ones it was made for a friend of my oldest daughter, this young women is also Italian, her name is Mafalda and I hope she treasures it as much as I do.
The inspiration came in wanting to bring together hospitality and citrus fruit which equals warm weather which equals Italian to me anyway and horse chestnuts which are home to me and to her at the time. I drew all the patterns of dishes on paper and hand appliqued them and later on machine quilted the whole thing. The dishes are maybe a smidgen smaller then life size.

This following creation of mine is an UFO I have been struggling to finish for years, it is for my first grandchild and if I don't hurry I will have to wait to give this to her when she is out of her teenage years, because once she is a teenager, I am afraid she might not like it for a while until she is mature enough to appreciate the design and effort. The design is my own and the inspiration is my parrot Zoe.

This last is a very short lived UFO but it did not get finished when I thought it would and it did take some serious effort to finish due to the fact that I could not decide how to finish the bags.
They are now with their rightful owners my two granddaughters the ones on the walnut tree on an earlier post. All the plants and animals Latin names start with their letter.
Each bag closes with a bit of Velcro and has a little pocket on the inside.

So now I have to finish yet another quilt for my oldest son and I have to stipple quilt a bit on a project my youngest is working on for my third grandchild which is due in September. Apparently the lady does not like to stipple quilt and I do it so well. She has a good chance of getting her way since she set me a clear deadline in no uncertain terms, she knows her mother and she is a quilter herself.
I also have a bed quilt I made about 8 years ago which only needs about 3 square feet of quilting on an otherwise finished king size quilt and the binding and now that I have a new sewing machine I do have high hopes of tackling this venture.
Then on the knitting side I have a curtain, a jacket which actually was finished as a sweater but I hated it so much so I am unraveling and knitting it into a jacket since last winter. A long light blue scarf needs a few more rows and a pink shawl needs edging but they will have to wait until the weather turns nasty and then knitting and watching movies go well together. Besides there are a few baby booties and maybe a light baby jacket I would like to make, speaking of which, I still have a pair of unfinished baby pants knitted in purple and black for that oldest granddaughter that will be a teen in a few years, and just maybe her new baby sister might be just the right size if I finish it by the time she is born.
My oldest project is a collection of crochet picture blocks for a baby blanket, I started this when I was pregnant with my first child, the one that will be 33 this year, I still have it in a big plastic tub along with the unused yarn, I am not sure if it will ever make it in a blankie not until I have finished some others like my under water scene I have hanging unfinished in the kitchen for years I started it about 8 years ago alongside my king size quilt that needs a bit of work, and to this day I know it needs something but cannot quite find it. I added a blow fish last year and all I can tell you is that appliqueing is not as easy anymore as it was 8 years ago, the needle and thread are so tiny they are hard to see and my fingers are not as nimble anymore as they were.
I' ll see that I get a picture taken of it so maybe I can get some input from you.
There are lots more projects to share and a few more UFOs to report about, I have not even talked about my miniature adventures, so stay tuned.........

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Joys of Gardening

These last few days summer has definitely decided to stay for a while. The end result is an abundance of grass and weeds mainly in form of dandelions, I used to like those when I was little ...

So weeding, planting and mowing has been on the agenda, though I have to be honest .. I don't mow.. raising five children has to bring some sort of reward, I count not having to mow as one of them. Just to make things more interesting I also have a 25 to 30 foot long walnut tree trunk laying in the back yard. Its branches are piled in a heap waiting to be whittled down. We bought ourselves a handy wood chipper that really does the trick quite nicely. My true love is making some trellises that go along with the fence he built for me a few years back. So things are moving along. And best of all, I think I finally outwitted my ground squirrels, they know the back yard is danger territory due to the dogs, but my front yard and my pots in particular were their playground, the last 3 summers.
I would almost on a daily basis have to replant my flowers or at least add dirt that they dug out.
The first summer I had no pots, the second summer neither and I was amused, well ground squirrels are kinda cute, the third summer I had pots and now I saw them for what they are, pesky little rodents. I needed help, I got puppies but they had to grow a bit first they were hardly bigger then a regular squirrel themselves when we got them. The following year and 4th summer we had some hunting success and we had the odd dead critter brought to us and my pots on the backstairs had finally a greater survival rate. Only the pots on my front stairs were still under attack. So I tried to flush them out with a water hose though this only resulted in my husband complaining about my watering the plants too much and the water bill skyrocketing. A good thing I have not told him why we had such an increase. You would be amazed how much water you can let go down a ground squirrel hole, without any dent in their population. They were probably sitting in one of their air holes watching me and laughing themselves silly, but I cannot use poison due to dogs and other critters that would eat either poison or poisoned ground squirrel.
This year I upped the ante, I got out my big container of Cayenne pepper and covered the top of my newly planted pots and my 2 grapefruit trees that come outside every summer with a nice layer of Cayenne pepper. And so far so good, not a paw print on any of them, no holes dug, and the red topping on the soil goes nicely with the bricks.
The lilacs and large irises are blooming, the Siberian irises are growing tall, the clematis' are setting on blooms and so are the roses. The bamboo is shooting up stalks and you can almost watch it grow so far so good on that experiment.
The many hydrangeas are leaved out and the magnolia was done blooming weeks ago, all the other little flowers too numerous to mention are in bloom mostly shade plants due to the fact that 22 mature trees don't let in a lot of light one of the reasons why one walnut had to go it was #23.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

on getting rid of stuff ..part I

After a few years of circumventing the issue I have bought another organizing book. I have a few, some are funny to read but overall worthless for my life or should I say life style of a pack rat.
This one I have been ogling for a while and the other day I broke down and bought it. Now after studying it for a few days I had my first let's get this done kind of day.
Now having moved 5 years ago, give or take a few months, you would think our possessions are pared down quite a bit, but we moved kind of in a hurry. Pretty much most of our belongings, but for what was stolen ( but that adventure is for another posting ) made it to our new home.
So after staring down this stuff for quite some time now I have finally psyched myself up to getting rid of it.
today I started in the kitchen....
My kitchen came with the house which was built in 1927 and was redone somewhere around the 50's maybe and it has deep cupboards. It is small and really not conducive to cooking. When we moved in everything was shoved into those cupboards and the items most frequently used kind of migrated towards the front of other stuff. I have cups that are older then my kids and my oldest is 32, and those cups are by no means anything worth keeping. Then I have cups that were acquired while the kids where growing up. Mustard cups that have animals prints and were heavily fought over at one time.
Then there are PBS cups from various fund drives and the odd ' ooh I like that one ' cup . As I 'matured' in 99 I bought six 'Y2K 'cups in yellow no less and I generally do not like yellow. And so I went down memory lane today with my cups the Mothers days, Birthdays, trips and other occasions were a cup seemed the right gift for me and myself.
So I decided to think this over ( not recommended by the book btw. ) and let the kids choose cups before I pitch.
Next was the Tupper cupboard, were it looked like a graveyard for anything plastic that could come in handy some day. Old Tuppers either missing lids or bottoms, an assortment of water bottles all abandoned since it is not pc anymore to keep water in plastic. College travel mugs so worn one could hardly read the printing and a package of brand spanking new cheap mock Tuppers for leftovers just in case I run out. Though I have to admit anytime I want to send food home with kids I am better off sending those cheap containers and besides finding the right mate to some older ones would be a longer undertaking. So today I pitched and only kept bottoms that had lids and now I have some real estate available in my tupper cupboard for a salad spinner that I know is somewhere in those other cupboards I have not gotten into yet.
I will be brief as to the findings under the sink, let me just tell you my youngest son, who was shanghaied for this adventure today, exclaimed
"oh that is were our 2 cup measuring cups got to "
they still had paint residue in them along with a ladle that really needed to be brought back into the fold of regular silverware. Now it is nice under there and again lots of room after the removal of what seemed like a million or more of plastic bags. I almost got sidetracked, I would have loved to start crocheting a carpet out of those bags, but I was very brave and pitched them, though somewhere in my brain I remembered a link on how to cut bags so you end up with one string so this crocheting goes slick. If you are interested I'll find it for you just leave me a comment.
The pots and pans cupboard, it also houses Cuisinart, slow cooker, a hand powered Cuisinart thingy, and some odds and ends and the baking stuff and casserole dishes' cupboard were also attacked today and they all were organized, cleaned and had a few odds and ends that needed tossing. I will not go heavily into the findings of residue of not quite cleaned up elderly potatoes
that were found a while ago by husband and youngest son. Let me just say I finalized their past cleaning efforts today. Now everything is as it should be and again nice and roomy.
After releasing my shanghaied son from his duties today I tackled the dish cupboard by myself. Since this area is used daily it really was pretty easy and other then revamping my tea collection and realizing that my dishes are somewhat puzzled together though not as bad as my cups all it needed was a good cleaning and putting a few strays in their proper place.
The drawers, the area over the stove and the pantry is next. And I have to make a major decision as to what color my new potholders are going to be, because the old ones were washed one to many times and really need pitching.

Friday, April 10, 2009

what a wretched beginning......

so here I am with my youngest said it's real easy mom...

well I should have gone to bed an hour ago...

but maybe I can show off some of the stuff I made and share my interests and over the last thirty years or so I have been really neglecting friends I made on the way and some family so this would be a way for me to keep or get back in touch.

Having five children and lots of work to do is not really an excuse, since some of those friends have been equally busy and still managed to write all those letters and sent pictures so really why haven't I.
The word hermit comes to mind, I care , I loved those letters, loved to hear about the kids growing up etc but somehow writing back in a somewhat reasonable time frame was not to be.

The early years were easy but then life intervened and being married to another hermit certainly added to it. Waiting for him to write a letter is a lost cause.
Let me just say other then shopping lists I can easily keep the things the love of my life has written over the years in my wallet and one very sweet note I do have stashed away there for a few years now.

So I've learned a lot, lost a bit, won a bit and I think it is time to share. And if not a single soul ends up reading this .. it is good therapy, just in case I need it.

I like doing things, though my husband might argue I make him do things.

I will share some projects I ran into over the years, share some recipes, and maybe tell you how you can get from wanting to paint just a few walls to tearing down a ceiling, stripping 7 layers of paint from banisters with what seems like hundreds of rails and still keep your husband from putting you 6 feet under.
A few 'UFO's that have been bugging me that need finishing would profit by sharing - a bit of peer pressure never hurts.
So if you stumble across this blog stop back again and maybe just maybe I can show off one of my projects as soon as I figure out how to import pictures on to the rest of the site.
Should you by any chance be Bavarian you may comment in German or Bavarian I would be thrilled.
This blog will stay in English but for the odd reply to a possible Bavarian comment.
greetings for today.