Friday, September 7, 2012

East of Dresden

For a little over a month we had the great pleasure of tending a farm in a tiny town east of Dresden, Germany. Oh man did we learn a lot. And we got to eat some truly delicious Kartoffelpuffer - or what we'd call latkes or potato pancakes.

They eat them like we do, with sour cream (quark) and apple sauce. Jews and Germans are the same people, turns out. The apple sauce is the freshest I'd ever had - made that day.

We now know why Germany is called Germany in English but Deutschland in German (Deutsch). The various peoples living throughout the area now known as Germany had different names - the Germania peoples were eventually joined together with the Teutonians (the letters D and T in German and English have opposite sounds). The modern name of Deutschland comes from the 1880s. But the old names from prior times were still known by the Brits so we got Germany.

We heard stories of what it was like to grow up behind the Iron Curtain; needing special permission to visit Grandma in the 5km wide border zone; learning all about Native Americans in school and how modern (European) Americans were the invading conquerers; singing Yiddish and Hebrew songs in church because the history of Christians and Christ starts with Judaism and they considered it a shared history.

We learned about the difference between east and west when it comes to first days of school - in the west they call it a Schultüte, or school cone, but in the east they call it like it is, it's a Zuckertüte - sugar cone. And we laughed and laughed and laughed.

Of course we also got to play with the animals. Goats, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens, and a cat. All the water for the animals is pumped out of the ground using a hand pump, or collected as rainwater in barrels. All the hot water for the house is heated by solar panels - solar panels that work even when it's mostly cloudy. The contrast of high tech efficiency and low tech efficiency was incredibly fun.

And today we are in Hamburg, yesterday Joshua picked up his visa, and tomorrow we head out for our bicycle touring adventures. Looks like more Switzerland, some Italy, maybe lots of Italy, maybe some France, and definitely a bit of Barcelona. As usual, our plans are up in the air. But we do know that in a couple of hours we'll put our computers into boxes and ship them ahead so we can't do any more work for the whole month! Just bikes and tents and adventures!

Below are the pictures of life on the farm... we miss our new friends already.

geese and chickens, ready for supper

The ducks. They inspired me come up with the word: ducksgusting. I'm sure I'm not the first.

The south west corner. Barn with solar panels.

Joshua bringing fresh grass and branches to the goats. This is the main street through town.

The youngest child feeding the shyest goat some potato peels

Got a goat by the neck, just for fun

And the goats can get up here!

In my element

Just some more scrambling

historic Zuckertüte

what to expect in school Zuckertüte

hidden among the candy - something useful for the little guy starting school

What's really going on... pumping kids up for school

bye bye!

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