Autumn Impressions from Germany

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

– Albert Camus

Fall and snowy winters are my favorite seasons. This year’s fall has come a bit later after we had a rather lengthy summer with a drought.

I love to see the blankets of leaves, which I don’t have to rake. I enjoy foggy mornings while having coffee on the balcony. Then we might have clear blue skies a.k.a. Indian summer (German: Altweibersommer = old women’s summer), when the yellow leaves are so bright against the deep blue sky. Autumn is full of change.

If time allows, I take morning walks through the nearby forest.

Herbststimmung im Wald.

Another pretty sight in downtown Bad Homburg.

Amber-colored leaves

A Japanese maple in the sunshine

A dog rose bush  providing tasty berries for Hagebuttenmarmelade (rose bush jam). When I was younger, this type of jam was available in supermarkets  only between November and late spring. I suppose they have it year-round nowadays.

Against dreary November skies, a cup of hot mulled wine (German: Glühwein) might help in the evening. 🙂 With the mostly sunny days we’ve had, MY Glühwein bottle is still unopened.

When to Harvest and Plant Lily of the Valley from Seed Pods

The best time to harvest lily in the valley seed pods is in late summer, and the best time to plant is in late fall.

In early September of this year, I cut off the shriveled lily of the valley seed pods and left them in a bowl for decoration – until today.

In a previous post, I had written about How to grow Lily of the Valley on the Balcony. The tiny red berries were my harvest.

Lily of the valley and rose seed pods, and scarlet runner beans

Before cutting the seed pods, I left them in warm water for an hour. With one recycled plastic bag (serving as gloves) on each hand, and some sturdy paper underneath, I propped open the seed pods with a very sharp knife. Be careful as the flesh and juice are poisonous. At first, I was careful not to cut too deeply into the seed pods, but there was no need. These little light brown seeds are very sturdy.

Once you’ve cut them open, they should be planted right away. It will take several years for them to grow flowers.

Lily of the Valley seed pods

I planted them 1/4 inch deep in a big planter (at least six inches or 15 cm in height).

Autumn Fest in Oberursel

Oberursel, home to Frankfurt International School (FIS), has a lot to offer. Sunday’s fest, Herbsttreiben, was held in the old part of town, and we noticed many curious newcomers. Also overheard a German explain our Grüne Soß’ to someone in English. The poor lady could not think of the word herbs, so she said the Grüne Soß’ was made from green “things”. It surely is!

Here we have the local Mayor Brum (second from left) with some of the fest’s representatives.

Herbsttreiben alle

Scary looking jester. By the way, the last British king to employ a jester was Charles I, which was more than 300 years ago.


The fair also had old machinery on display such as this saw and wood splitter vehicle (dates probably back to 1934). The German description read: Selbstfahrende Bandsäge mit Holzspalter.

wood cutting

This Ebbelquetscher (apple press) was run by two young men, showing how apples were pressed in the old days.



Here goes one of the many buckets it took to fill up the tub below.

Men at work

Men at work

The fest might have been a wash-out on Saturday as it rained most of the day. We got lucky on Sunday as it stayed dry.




Oberursel Herbsttreiben

Oberursel had its annual apple wine contest.

Ebbelwoi Tasting

Ebbelwoi Contest

Ebbelwoi tasting Oberursel

Oberursel is a good place to live.


Autumn Season in Germany

Autumn has definitely arrived with today’s first real chilly temperatures. We have turned on the heaters and pulled our goose-down feather beds out of the closet again. I have made my first cup of hot milk with honey and cinnamon.

Autumn foliage in Camp King Oberursel

Next to pumpkins and other fall merchandise on sale, the shelves at the local supermarket are filled with Christmas sweets already, such as Lebkuchen, Dominosteine, Zimtsterne, etc.

I wish stores would not push these sales so early BEFORE the season.

Indian Summer in Germany

I like fall and its colorful leaves with the blue sky as a back drop.

I don’t mind the wind sweeping down the leaves as I don’t have to do any raking as an apartment-dweller.  House owners, I am sure, feel different about this leaf-raking business.

One single leaf weighs only a few grams, but a fully grown deciduous tree sheds about 40,000 of them each fall. These leaves of a single tree, when added up, come to a total of 200 kilo grams (about 500 US pounds).

For example, the second-largest German city of Hamburg has to dispose of 12,000 tons of dead leaves every year. Germany, the land of forests (and rainfall), is blessed with tons of leaves. All together 360,000 tons of leaves will be swept up by the end of the last windfall.

All this beauty provides enough stimulation for philosophers and poets. Fallen leaves make wonderful piles for kids to jump in. They create layers of humus to enrich the soil, and supply shelter for winter-sleeping animals, among many other benefits.

Fall has a rich vocabulary, too and these are the words that come to mind:

morning mist, fog, Indian Summer, blue skies, pumpkins, squash, Halloween, sunflowers, squirrels, nuts, gathering chestnuts, chimney smoke, kite-flying, scaregrows;

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