Laura Boston-Thek “American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).”

Neighbors Helping Neighbors…Truly a Benefit

There is nothing good, unless you do it!” or in the original German “Es gibt nichts Gutes, außer man tut es” this is the motto of NachbarschaftsHilfe Schliersee. They truly represent this quote by supporting the people of Schliersee.

For the past three years, the Bauerntheater with its beautiful and traditionally painted wooden interior has been the backdrop for this talent packed benefit concert. The goal of this talent packed event each year is to gather enough funds to help them offer the supportive programs to those who might need them in the community. To encourage more participants in their very needed group as well as draw attention to their many causes as well as to just bring everyone out to have a great time.

Just a sampling of a few of the much needed programs that NachbarschaftsHilfe Schliersee offers are Dementia help and support, Parkinson’s support and help for the hearing impaired. Something that I know from my own experience which is incredibly important is 24 hour Dementia help. After the first benefit concert the group was able to purchase a car to provide rides to doctors appointments and other necessary excursions. These programs are made possible by the donations of others and are incredibly needed and necessary.

This past Sunday was this years benefit concert. Side by side the residents of Schliersee gather to sit and enjoy local talent. This year we were treated to a culture packed afternoon provided by the operatic trio of Bettina Schoeller, Carlo Schraml and Timm Tzschaschel, the composer on piano. They sang many classic songs to which the audience were encouraged to sing along as well. A table covered with delicious homemade cakes and pastries, donated by local bakeries,  line the walls giving fragrance to the air. Voices lifted in song and hearts lifted in laughter, there is no better way to bring a community together.

If you are visiting Schliersee or are a resident, this annual event is not to be missed. For more information about what this integral organization does for the community, please visit their webpage and consider contributing to this very important program.

 

NachbarschaftsHilfe
https://www.nbh-schliersee.de/über-uns/erfolgreiche-benefiz-veranstaltung/

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Feel the Burn & Get Stacking

There is a universal saying, that wood warms a person three times; once when you cut it; once when you stack it; and once when you burn it.

 

This was told to me in my first year in Schliersee by the man delivering my firewood. I think he saw panic in my face the moment I realized I faced days of moving and stacking seven Stere of wood. To give you a little perspective on firewood sizes. A “Stere” is the German measurement of wood. In the US we measure our firewood by “cord” which measures four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long (4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft.) and has a volume of 128 cubic feet. The German measurement, “Stere” measures 1 cubic meter. That is a heaping pile of winter heat.

 

What is wonderful about wood other than its warming properties, is that wood is sustainable. We made a plan when we decided to rent an old Bavarian farmhouse or “Landhaus” we would install the best Swedish style wood stove and heat the house using wood as much as possible as a way to cut cots.

 

As you wander around Schliersee in autumn you will be keenly aware that it is time to start planning the year’s firewood order. Heavily laden trucks and tractors are on the streets bringing the residents their wood deliveries. Many times you might see small mountains of wood occupying someone’s parking place in front of the home and everyone is busily moving and precisely arranging and stacking their woodpiles.

 

These diligently and impressively exact stores of logs are creatively tucked into any spare covered nook and cranny. Under bench seats, as bench seats and climbing right up into the eaves.These towers of future warmth become architectural features, not just utilitarian lumps of lumber to hide out back. Many are simply works of art which bring not only a warmth to the inside of Schliersee homes but also add a welcoming dimension of home and hearth to the beautiful exteriors of local buildings both modern and historic.

 

 

I hope some of these designs inspire you to get “stacking” and add a bit of Bavarian Schliersee flare to your home this winter season.

 

Here’s some more interesting firewood facts:

 

FIVE BEST BURNING TREE SPECIES

Hickory – 25 to 28 million BTUs/cord – density 37 to 58 lbs./cu.ft.

Oak – 24 to 28 million BTUs/cord – density 37 to 58 lbs./cu.ft.

Black Locust – 27 million BTUs/cord – density 43 lbs./cu.ft.

Beech – 24 to 27 million BTUs/cord – density 32 to 56 lbs./cu.ft.

White Ash – 24 million BTUs/cord – density 43 lbs./cu.ft.

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Schliersee…So Much More Than Cows

After several years of obsessively photographing the various local Almabtriebs, this year I was sent a very kind invitation to come and experience another lovely local farming event. The Schafprämierung, in english we would call it a sheep “Best in Show” which, also included goats. This event is held each year in Tegernsee at Kohlhauf-Hof.

Sadly, after many years of great weather, this year the event received a complete soaking due to the remnants of hurricane Maria. Though the weather dampened everything, animal and people alike, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the farmers and young breeders.

Despite the weather, the atmosphere was a festive one. Of course there was a small local traditional band playing and the air was fragrant with hot homemade stews, sausages and lamb steaks. Never to be forgotten at any German gathering, an entire table of delicious homemade cakes. Local vendors set up booths and sold various hand made products like  cattle bells and sheep’s wool items.  An amazing weaver from Miesbach brought her traditional Bavarian style loom carpets while women carded and spun wool. For the children a class was offered on felting wool and they really enjoyed.

Representing Schliersee was Franz Leitner (junior). His families beautiful farm, Kirchbergerhof is located in the  Fischhausen part of Schliersee. Franz was showing his magnificent Alpine Steinschaff. Through this event I learned In 2009 the Alpines Steinschaf was named “endangered livestock breed of the year” so its cultivation and care are very important to the breeds survival. It was great to be there in support of a fellow Schlierseer.

What stole my heart were the happy faces of the young breeders, Jungzuchter, who were showing their sheep for the first time. Watching the connection of these young children and their much loved and trusting sheep was precious. The joy of the parents and grandparents who could share their passion for animal husbandry was written all over their faces. These traditions of local farming if not taught and shared might one day might sadly die out. Sharing and teaching them to the younger generations helps to keep the traditions alive. Their joy just fills you with pride for this beautiful alpine land and its people.

I am sure there were technical aspects of a Schafprämierung which were very important for the health of these local breeds but for me it was the joy of community that I most took away from the day. The excitement of seeing the results of the years hard work, breeding and caring for these sweet faced creatures. The sheep were definitely the stars and their personalities shined through. Many of the sheep tried nibbling on the serious judges aprons causing them to break from their important stoic roles into warm laughter.

 

 

The judges took great care to check each animal thoroughly for particular signs of good breeding. The health and care given to every animal was judged accordingly to a strict standard.

 

Unfortunately, although I was properly attired for the weather, myself and my camera encased in gore-tex for protection I ended up getting soaked to the skin which sadly brought and end to my visit.

 

 

For more information on Schafprämierung and events:
http://www.alpinetgheep.com/news-bayern.html

To learn how you can stay at the beautiful Kirchbergerhof farm:

http://www.kirchbergerhof.info/frame-index.html

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

It’s Wander Time in Schliersee

Autumn is the time to wander in Schliersee. All those beautiful breezes and cooler temperatures make long hikes so much more enjoyable.  And lets not forget the way the warmer light illuminates the Fall colors. It is seriously and endless treat for the senses.

I thought I would share with you an incredible hike I took a few years back. I had just had major surgery and wasn’t feeling strong enough to tackle a monster climb but the alpine hills were calling me.

My husband and I set out by Taubensteinbahn cable car on Spitzingsee. We really didn’t have a goal in mind but the sky was full of otherworldly lenticular clouds fueled by a Chinook winds. Once at the top we were spurred on, higher and higher by the majestic views and all the other wanderers of all ages.

We followed a reasonably easy trail winding around the mountain and at the craggy summit we could see the famous Rotwandhaus, nestled on its perch just below us. All around people and their dogs were breaking their hike and basking in the autumn sun. It was such a peaceful moment in the golden light.

Due to our late departure, my husband said we needed to start back down the trail towards the cable car station if we wanted to make the last car, or we could go have a drink and something to eat at the Rotwandhaus and walk the 7 kilometers back down the mountain to Spitzingsee.

What a wonderful decision that was, after a leisurely snack of meats and cheese presented as beautifully as the landscape they were served in, we began the trek down the mountain. All around us as we traveled were animals gathered to enjoy the last of their days in the high pastures. On a whole the walk down was an easy 7 kilometer walk and I highly recommend this journey for those who might not feel fit enough to complete the entire 14+ kilometer climb. The duration of the hike down the mountain for us, with many continuous breaks for photos, was 3 hours. Remember to budget that into your time and just incase pack some headlamps.

Some good tips and information about Taubensteinbahn and Rotwandhaus.

Taubensteinbahn is open daily in autumn from 9:00 till 16:30. This cable car is closed in winter completely. A one way ride costs 10,00 € per person.  If you decide not to walk down you have to buy your ticket back to the valley and that is is 9,50 €.  Children ride for free

For more information please call : +49 8026 92922913

For information on the Rotwandhaus http://rotwandhaus.de/rotwandhaus/anfahrt-kontakt/

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Da summa is außi -The Summer is Over

After a long peaceful summer with the cows dotted lazily about in alpine pastures we are reaching the final climax of a successful season. There is such peace and tranquility in these days filled with the long golden light of autumn.

As the many tourists begin to head back to their homes and sometimes stressful lives, a calm sets on our land here in Schliersee. Daily life and Bavarian traditions return once more. Though the animals on the mountains seem blissfully unaware. I am sure somewhere in their DNA their internal clocks are ticking away their time of freedom under the great big sky is ending.

Soon their farmer will return, one last time, to guide them on their long journey back to the valley and the familiarity of their farms. Their big day of celebration will soon be upon them and  their joyful reunion with the other animals from the farmstead.

To wander in these final moments amongst the cows and they lay about like lizards sunning themselves accompanied by the tinkling of the bells as they groom. I can honestly say there is a feeling of serenity that takes over and you just can’t help but smile.

At this time the swallows dash about gathering the last of the insects for fuel for their next journeys. Everything on the mountains seems to preparing for their next adventure. With the shorter days and cooler temperatures signaling all that the big change is near. Some may call it as the last breath of summer.

In each season here in Schliersee, from the mountain peaks to the shores of our green lakes there is magic to be found.

 

 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).