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.

Memorial Service: 80 Years After the November Pogrome

Invitation to a district-wide memorial service to observe the 80th anniversary of the pogroms of November 1938

On Friday, 9 November 2018, in front of city hall in Oberursel (Taunus), a service will be held to memorialize the Jewish population of the Hochtaunus who were victims of the pogroms of November 1938.

14:00 General information about the memorial activities for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution in the Hochtaunus

14:30 Beginning of the Hour of Remembrance

15:30 Walk to the monument dedicated to the Jewish residents of Oberursel who were victims of National Socialism

16:00 End of service

If you plan to attend, then sign up with one of the contacts listed below .

  • kultur@hochtaunuskreis.de
  • Tel: 06172 – 999 4610
  • Fax: 06172 – 999 9811

This is organized by the Gesellschaft für Christlich-Jüdische Zusammenarbeit Hochtaunus e.V. (GCJZ Hochtaunus) in cooperation with the Hochtaunuskreis.

Lily of the Valley and How to Grow Them on the Balcony

Seeing my lily of the valley finally coming to bloom on the balcony, after four years or more in waiting, makes me happy. This potted plant had been sent to me from Switzerland on Mother’s Day.

In the language of flowers, the lily of the valley symbolizes marital happiness.

The following spring, I transferred the plant from its small pot into a wooden flower box on the balcony. It spread its green leaves throughout the box, but that was it.

Yes, after five years at the least, I was tempted to throw it out and told the plant as much. That was sometime in March of this year. It worked! Out came a single flower.
It used to be my mom’s favorite flower, so I did not want to give up so quickly. But the pep talk surely helped.

Mid-April 2018

By mid-May, I had the nicest lily-of-the-valley on my balcony. One of my friends wondered why I did not cut them, and put them in a vase. I have no need for cut flowers! Potted plants are much better anyway – perennials are good for the cycle of life, and bees and other insects appreciate them too.
Cut flowers are for consumerism.
And yes, I get a whiff of them on the balcony with every breeze.

Early to mid-May

By early June, I noticed the first seed pods.

Early June 2018

This is what they look like in August. A bunch of orange berries decorate the balcony. It will be time to harvest them when they are shriveled and dark.

Mid-August 2018

Today, on 31 August 2018, the first seed pods have entered the shriveling stage, and it’s getting closer to harvesting time.

End of August 2018

Read more at Gardening Know How: Lily Of The Valley Seed Pod – Tips On Planting Lily Of The Valley Berries https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/lily-of-the-valley/lily-of-the-valley-seed-pods.htm

 

Bomber B17 Delegation visiting Camp King Oberursel, Germany

Eleven relatives of the B17 crew (shot down in August 1944) came to Camp King Oberursel to follow the whereabouts of the five crew members interrogated at Camp King.

Mr. Manfred Kopp, also known as Mister Camp King, welcomed the group and later on, historian Ms. Susanne Meinl (the one in charge of organizing this Germany-wide tour), also joined us.

Here, Mr. Kopp explains Thomas Kilpper’s art work. The artist used the old wooden floor of the former basketball gym to carve events and memories of the U.S. occupation time. This relief art was then poured into cement, and can withstands any kind of weather (our first rainy day in months…).

Visitors chuckled at first, when they realized the former Commander’s House was now an after-school day care center.

This very house, today’s Kinderhaus, was built in 1921 by a Jewish professor from the Frankfurt University. He was one of the first ones to come out to Oberursel to help start classes in farming, which was by then required from university students.

In 1939, this same house did not meet Nazi standards anymore, and had to be changed into a more German look: the half-timbered house.

The visitors enjoyed this presentation given by Mr. Kopp, and they also had many questions.

One question was – is there any knowledge of POW abuse during the interrogation process? The historian, Ms. Meinle, responded with ‘Yes, they turned up the heat in the room’.

Presentation at the Kinderhaus, Camp King Oberursel

I spent 2 1/2 hours with the delegation. By then, they were ready for lunch (catered from somewhere), two more visitors joining the tour had to be picked up from the airport, and the tour would continue.

One of the visitors was a 90-year-old lady, the widow of waist-gunner, Richard C. Huebotter. We all had a little chuckle, when she joked Mr. Kopp was still young at 85 years of age.

My role in this was to lend a helping hand, such as help greet the visitors, serve drinking water, and get everyone’s attention when moving to the next point of interest.

German Word of the Day: der Dorfweiher

Hundreds, in same cases a thousand years ago, most villages had a little pond in the center. Back then, most houses were made from wood and covered with straw, which posed a substantial fire hazard.

Each village generally had a Löschweiher* (a.k.a. Löschteich, Feuerlöschteich oder Feuersee), or in English: firewater pond, pond with water used for firefighting.

This one we found in the village of Vasbühl (Werneck). I was pleased to discover a remaining village pond. Over the years, many of them have been filled to make space for other facilities.

A long time ago, the village pond was also essential as a water source for cattle on its way home from the fields. Women also used to wash their laundry there. Wash machines did not come to Germany until 1951. My mother got her first wash machine in 1965, I believe.

Not so long ago, when we were children, we had fun skating on frozen ponds. This was very popular in the 1960s.

Nowadays in Vasbühl, with the fire brigade having a central water supply, it still sits right next to the pond.

This is Saint Florian, the patron saint of the fire department.

 

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