On being Germanized

Image if you will … it’s 20:15 on a Sunday evening in Germany. Anywhere in Germany. Anywhere at all in Germany really. The show is on. Tatort. The familiar flickering of the super sized boob tubes cast their long familiar ambient spells and stun their captive audience into a mute fascination. It begins …

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It’s only TV I know … and TV is furniture but it’s the fun kind of furniture to sit and watch. Germans love watching their TVs. Especially on Sunday evenings when Germany’s longest running crime series airs. Tatort first aired in November 29, 1970 and continues to this  day.Funny thing is I remember this show from it’s black and white days when I was still a younger lad.

And I believe that now that I’ve begun to settle into the weekly viewing habit, and rather anticipating the next show that I’m beginning to become more German. You see, it’s tradition in many households to watch this sometimes riveting crime scene murder investigation.

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Watch Tatort on Sundays and investigate together here with us at 20:15

And yes it is a little different than the run of the mill ‘mercan crime shows. I find that this show in particular makes the viewer think a bit as she/he tries to figure out the current case and what makes this show rather interesting is the fact that often an unanticipated twist takes you places you weren’t anticipating. That’s one of the reasons I like the show.

No, I don’t always like the episodes but that’s to be expected but I’ve come to like this or that detective duo and the particular chemistry that make them work, or not work.

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And in the months preceding my move back to Germany a couple of years ago, I used Youtube to watch as many of the online shows as I could to get the language back into my ear and head. Now that that’s in there my Sunday evenings are scheduled, ha.

It’s always interesting to discover what kind of a story and writers came up with. See you on  the couch next Sunday evening; German style.

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Outdoor Lore and the Lure of a Good Cup of Coffee

Autumn … let that sink in for brief moment.

Dense fog and moisture in the air, dewy wetness on all things still green and those turning color too.Rusting leafy foliage falling away baring their now stark treed host. Dried corn plants shuffling their crinkly leaves await the harvesters blade and the pale early morning sky fuzzy misted over as the sun begins to burn through with a cool and bright effort. And pumpkins dotting this or that field or ornamenting this or that farmer stand or door steps.

Yup, it’s fallish out there folks.

And I’ve got a hankerin’ to be out there, to spend time in the thinning woods. Where green turns to rust and mushrooms show themselves off against the leaf littered forest floor, some pretty, some ugly and all of them fascinating.

Yesterday I gave in to that hankering and hunkered down the evening before to prepare my daypack for a short day trip into the local deciduous woods. The air felt fresher, the temperatures chillier and my step quicker so as to generate a bit more body temperature even though my wool mix hoodie kept me snug and warm.

It being a Saturday morning, the forest lanes and roadways (this is Germany and the woods are crisscrossed with ‘Waldwege’) were empty. I had the place mostly to myself. And as I often do, I wondered where the wild boars were. But most of all I was anticipating my first cup of outside coffee.

Clear Lake OR Camping 2012 ciaodarlingciao.wordpress.com

goodness (ciaodarlingciao.wordpress.com)

If you’ve ever made a delicious cup of hot coffee outside you may know the pleasure I speak of. No, not a cup of instant crap but the real ma-coy, boiling water poured into a coffee filter over a large cup. The result a brew so good that it nearly blends into the surrounding beauty. Ah ok, so the heady scent of a freshly brewed cup of java out there is kinda out of place as it were but it does the body good. If you prefer a good hot cup of tea would also do the trick I suppose but coffee is my choice for moments like that.

I spent some time looking around and gathering a bit of firewood, smallish bits and processed them into suitable sizes to accommodate my Bush Box multi fuel pocket stoves’ small size and then set to building the fire that would boil the water that would release the intense flavored coffee into my cup and then my mouth. It took a little while but the time spent doing the work was well worth the efforts.

Bush Box

By the time my cup was filled, the sun had begun to shine on the spot I’d selected for the coffee ritual.

I sat back and just liked being there.

Quote of the day

I’m looking forward to Christmas, but I’m still waiting for fall.

Emma Unrau – daughter

Radish & Party = Impossible? You decide

 

 

 

 

 

Fathers day, German style … Serious radish party/FEST. Really.

Seems like in late spring any reason is a good reason for a party. Bikes were leaned everywhere, strollers wedged in available spaces in between and everyone clamored for a seat at some orange table.

I was surprised by the hoards of enthusiastic party goers who made it up the hillside to sit on orange benches at orange tables and eat long radishes, drink either beer or wine and have a good time.

Did I mention the reason for the party surprised me? I believe I did. But then again, I also made my way up the hillside to check out the craziness.

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Radish lovers or party likers or both

 

The sun blessed the goings on with shine and for 2.20Euros your plate looked like the ones below.

Long lines at the drinks/eats ticket booths, long lines at the radish tables, longer lines at the drinks tables, long lines at the sausage grill table and lines at the two porta potties way in the back.

gour·mand [goor-mahnd, goor-muhnd] 1. a person who is fond of good eating, often indiscriminatingly and to excess.

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Gourmands radish perspective: salted radish with a piece of ‘Bauernbrot’ (farmer bread) with butter

Eat your radishes. They’re good for you.

Radishes and their greens  provide an excellent source of vitamin C.  Radish leaves contain almost six times the vitamin C content of their root and are also a good source of calcium.  Red Globes also offer a very good source of the trace mineral molybdenum and are a good source of potassium and folic acid.   Daikons provide a very good source of potassium and copper.   

Radishes, like other member of the cruciferous family (cabbage,kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts), contain cancer-protective properties.  Throughout history radishes have been effective when used as a medicinal food for liver disorders.  They contain a variety of sulfur-based chemicals that increase the flow of bile.  Therefore, they help to maintain a healthy gallbladder and liver, and improve digestion.  Fresh radish roots contain a larger amount of vitamin C than cooked radish roots.  Radish greens, contain far more vitamin C, calcium, and protein than the roots.  

Sources:

Murray , Michael N.D.. The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods.
New York: Atria Books, 2005.

Centers For Disease Control And Prevention-5 A Day.

National Agricultural Library-USDA. usda.gov.

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia

 

Natural Cat Toys or Feline Fun

Are you also owned by a cat? Do you let it outside? We are and we do. They … two of those irresistible feline creatures own us. We’re all in.  And they on occasion, either one or the other or arguably in concert commit heinous acts that are more acceptable if referred to simply as hunting. We are helpless or is that hapless?

If you also allow for their oft somewhat irritating mewling wishes to be let out into the great outdoors your feline overlord probably also exhibits similar borderline criminal habits and/or commits similar violent crimes.

Feline Hunter 1

Feline Hunter 1

Perhaps your pet felines’ victims are more typical, like slow birds, the odd butterfly or deaf&blind mice. Not ours, no. Although from the speed with which they race up into the  tree in the corner of our small back yard, you’d believe that they believe that this time they could really actually fuckin’ do it, catch one of them birds that is. But the birds always have the lats laugh/chirp. And fly away unscathed if a bit ruffled.

And lets not forget the one time not too long ago… I was enjoying my first of two Sunday morning coffees on the patio when I heard what my brain encyclopedia construed to be pathetic bird screeching noises, which in turn led me to turned towards the noise and to look and to believe for a brief moment in the very possible fact that ‘they’ had finally snagged one of their feathered and unsuspecting tormentors.

My brain had been wrong that early morning, very wrong. That while it was true that one of the feline hunters had indeed snagged some prey, it was not a wee bird, nope. It was a mouse. And that mouse was reacting rather violently to being disturbed by a cat. Loudly too may I add. The funny thing was that said cat became a bit clumsy and more to it, even surprised I think judging by her reactions to/by the reactions of said mouse. So surprised in fact that  any skill connected to such a speedy catch simply disappeared and cat appeared to fumble about even more clumsily while the vociferous mouse employed every trick in its power and rapidly extricated itself from clumsy cat and raced for the safety ofsome hole in the ground, leaving a slightly bewildered feline scratching her chin. A good laugh, that. For me and the mouse, not the cat.

No dear reader, our two lethally clawed, sharp fanged murdering pets appear to be specializing in the slithering kind of prey, something one could at a glance think of as a snake. But it is not a real snake.

As the weather is warming up nicely, it seems that these snake like lizards litter the cats’ territory. I say litter because it is becoming a daily event, one or both of show up in the yard or sometimes inside with a long writhing surprise. A prize they play with, puncture, toss about but never devour or visible disfigure. They don’t even appear to nibble on the poor things, not even a bit, but they certainly perforate the smooth skin with their super sharp finger tips.

Copyright © wildlife-media.at/bilddetails/26995/blindschleiche

Copyright © wildlife-media.at/bilddetails/26995/blindschleiche

The given name is Blindschleiche aka Anguis Fragilis, although it is not blind. It is found all over Europe and loves to hang out in damp areas such as gardens, among foliage, compost heaps, soil or among sheltering rocks or stones. They loose their tails just like lizards, don’t have legs nor do they sport the distinctive arrowhead shape snake head. They eat slugs and worms and on average are 35045cm in length with some even stretching to 52cm long.

Ideal cat toys according to the enthusiasm our feline hunters exhibit when showing off their latest catch. And don’t fool yourselves. Cat’s don’t care about fragile when they hunt or play, they simply don’t give a shit.

Feline Hunter #2

Feline Hunter #2

We save as many as we possibly can by distracting the felines and then perform a simple yet magic trick that always leaves the cats guessing…  with a WTF look on their focused fury faces … “hey man, it was right here just a second ago” 😉

Midieval Fantasy, Pirates, a Druid and Pagan Folk Music

Once upon a time …well yesterday actually. In a land somewhere …  as in Germany.

Celebrating 21 years of going way way back in time, the MPS14 or ‘Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum‘  or in English ‘Mediaeval Fantasy Spectacular’  put on the annual traveling show with this and that for everyone and this is what I saw …

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Ye Banished Privateers, and pirates too … the lot o’ them

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Skater Privateer

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the eyes have it

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family fun

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friends and family and large dog

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spices and herbs or herbs and spices

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scottish warrior from behind

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scottish warrior from the front

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drinking horn and knife on belt

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shopping old timey style

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dress fit for m’lady

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m’lady with headdress

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please don’t touch! much thanks! In Germanic

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knives for sale

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man in kilt

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faerly  floating above it all

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bottle of themed drink

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seated with large sword

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enjoying a brew

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or two’s company

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drawn together by interest

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fantastic fantasy

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dreaded and jeweled

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checking out the wares as well as the wearers

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reindeer furs for sale

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Celtic Druid

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Saor Patrol piper Charlie Allan

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good music and dancing

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On guitar, Steve Legget of Saor Patrol

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Mark Monaghan of Saor Patrol beats the drum

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wee lad on air percussion rocking out to Saor Patrol

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appreciative audience

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dancing foot… really

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jester waiting for an audience

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staffs and other stuff for sale in many festival booths

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other stuff for sale

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black dog and man in black

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craftsman making his wares

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Steve “Sic” Evans van der Harten (left) and Jennifer “Jenny” Evans van der Harten (right) Omnia warming up to share their neoceltic pagan folk tunes with their fans

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Daphyd “Crow” Sens of Omnia scans the crowd while holding his slideridoo, a modern sliding didgeridoo

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Omnia in concert

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Ominous clouds opened up on the audience during the Omnia concert and the hardcore danced on in the hail

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knight with shiny shoulder

Yes, this event was certainly a spectacle to behold.

The Wood is the Journey

Wood. It’s everywhere. It’s all around us. I’m looking at some right now. My feet are firmly planted on some too. I like it. I’ve always liked wood. That’s an ingrained thing. Wood makes me feel good.

I’ve always done things with wood, carving walking sticks or carving other things. But many years ago I put the more serious carving aside. You just know.

Perhaps you dear reader have experienced something similar with your toolbox of human talents and creative skills. You sense it and you can’t really ignore when something within you refuses to be abandoned, when the pilot light of creativity remains alight. Time goes by but the thoughts, ideas and dreams keep coming. And so it was. And so it is. And so I returned to the tools, the feel and the wood.

A dear friend was instrumental in this return and I am thankful for that. I simply joined the wood sculpting course he was in an the rest took and is taking care if itself. The feeling of relief a sure sign that I was doing the right thing. That I was doing what I should be doing. That it was good to touch the wood and to reconnect with the familiar. I began with a warmup piece, creating in a larger scale the same spiral lines I usually use on walking sticks, this time on a birch log. I still need to finish that one, it is roughed out and ready for finishing work it was a warmup piece and remains a work in progress.

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When the wood feeling firmed up, I bought tools and will buy more tools

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A second piece began to take shape and is leading me along an unfamiliar path which is intriguing and a bit frustrating at the same time because it is drawing me out of my comfort zone.

And then I found olive, or it found me. Actually a largish chunk of olive trunk wood. Wow. What a find. The possibilities …

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top view with wet core

The piece was wet wood, freshly cut when I put it in storage for observation and to let it dry out. Over the next few weeks I peeled off the rough bark, giddy with impatience to expose the fantasy shapes, twists, hollows and bulges that are this piece of wood. Ok, so olive wood is fairly rare in these southern parts of Germany. Finding a piece like that not an everyday occurrence and no, I didn’t find it digitally although a few of my carving colleagues in the course found and bought olive wood pieces online. I am fully aware of the coolness of this score. The trunk is approx. 45cm in diameter and 65cm tall and I guess that the tree must have been close to 60 years old when it succumbed to the worms that were working their way through the centre core.

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peeled with mirror

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rough start

It is one thing to begin a piece. It is another to finish it. And yet another to turn a project into firewood. THAT is not an option and so I bridled my excitement and only then laid tool to the wood when the moment felt right. But once I began the project grabbed my by the neck with such intensity and urgency that the first 60 hours few by.

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roughed out

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smoother

chiseled and riffled

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roughing out

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roughing out

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opening at bottom

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impression

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exposed and finishing

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hollow

So far I’ve whacked away at the piece with carving tools letting the mouthwatering olive smelling chips fly. I’ve spent days in an intensely focused meditative state with long thin riflers in nearly cramped gloved hands creating shapes, rasping lines and following as best I can the dictating flow of the myriad emerging flowing grains and contrasting dark/light patterns that make this wood so unique. And to satisfy my most irritating perfectionist urges, countless pieces of paper parted from sand in varying grades, shimmied to and fro, back and forth, across and with the grain to render by hand a nearly baby bottom smooth finish.

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riffling

 

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shapes

 

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lines & grain

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interior view

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smoothed surface

At this stage of the project I can see at least 60 hours into the future and perhaps beyond but there is not real rush and I have no deadline other than to create something interesting, something that takes the eye on a visual journey … into the olive wood and I have the finished piece also firmly in mind, yet open to changes as fluid as its grain. The openings into the core of the piece drawing the eye inward, the colorful grain triggering day dreams. All that said, a photo of the finished piece will be added as an update.  Das Holz ist der Weg