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.
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 Boxmulti 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.
By the time my cup was filled, the sun had begun to shine on the spot I’d selected for the coffee ritual.
I just returned from the village store. I took a few cold beers from their fridge, the coldest beers around. I like that. It’s summer. Three beers. Having a store in the village rocks. It is convenient for me, only a … Continue reading →
It’s a holiday today. It is also a Thursday. That means that some of my work colleagues are using a bridge day (Bruecken Tag) to build a longish weekend. I forgot to plan ahead and hence I work tomorrow.
Frohnleichnam – Corpus Christi (it’s a feastday I hear, but unsure what to eat)
It is only a holiday in the Bundeslaender of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, Northrhine-Westphalia, Rhineland Palatinate und Saarland.
Celebrated 60 days after Easter Sunday.
Not too sure what the feast consists of. But am pretty sure that most Germans I’ve spoken to and I presume many others as well do not have the faintest notion as to what this holiday actually means or represents. Now I belong to that select group of ‘don’t know’ people. I will try to enlighten you and myself.
It seems that Juliana de Cornillon, living in a convent style arrangement in Liege, Belgium kind of wished for another holiday after lent, one especially dedicated to the ‘Blessed Sacrament‘ for which she had a particular groove on.
Perhaps she did or did not have repeating ‘visions’ of Christ for 20 or so years; which she kept secret, in which she allegedly had been instructed to plead establishment of the feast of Corpus Christi. She managed to convince those with some special clout and there you have it, Bishop Robert instituted the new holy day in 1246.
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.
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.
Murray , Michael N.D.. The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods.
New York: Atria Books, 2005.
Centers For Disease Control And Prevention-5 A Day.
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.
When the wood feeling firmed up, I bought tools and will buy more tools
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 …
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.
peeled with mirror
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.
chiseled and riffled
opening at bottom
exposed and finishing
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.
lines & grain
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
It’s carnival season German style. Colorful garb, musical cacophonies, flying candy and fist fulls of confetti tossed not only prettily into the air above the heads of parade viewers, nay … sometimes this vile paper pretty is tossed directly, deliberately into the faces of the public, sometimes even savagely massaged into the hair and down the necks of the now hapless parade visitors. Some of these are even dragged from the relative obscurity of the side of the route into the middle of the action where they are ganged upon by members of the carnival cliques and suffer unspeakable carnival mayhem.
This being Rose Montag (Rose Monday), revelers take to the carnivalized streets celebrating something I understand little about. Here in Baden Wuertemberg is it also known as Fastnacht.
This little village I live in posted signage last week announcing road/street closures for today and when I asksed I was told about the carnival parade. The day is also taken off by many of the celebrants. I too had it off.
Warm up music blasted through and between the buildings of this downtown village style neighborhood and that made any sane calm thought to naught. So I decided to join the curious and hangers on. And now I have a badge as proof of my admission payment of 2Euros. I paid to be entertainingly molested by noise, color and bands of wild celebrants, most comfortably anonymous behind carved wooden masks or cheaper yet convincing synthetic copies of these cultural works of art and ancient master pieces of the season.
Below is a selection of todays ribald and raucous celebrations played out by seasoned characters, long versed and immersed in the local customs of the various cliques, groups of celebrants.