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).”

Alpine Farmers Gathering in Schliersee for 71st Almbauerntag

Last weekend, the farmers of Schliersee and of Oberbayern joined together to celebrate Almbauerntag. This year the council of farmers, who work the high pastures, gathered at one of our local Alms to discuss alpine farming issue both social and political. It was due to this fact that the 71st Almbauerntag for this region was happily celebrated this year here in Schliersee.

Almbauerntag is always celebrated on the second week in October two weeks following the last Almabtrieb, which is normally the 29th of September. I am sure these dates have been established due to the weather, as we seem to get a light snowfall on the peeks during the first week of October.

After a Sunday morning church service at St. Sixtus church in Schliersee, a procession including the local farmers, decorated animals, our local marching band, town council and the various trachten groups. This colorful parade wound around the downtown area and ended up in an autumnal beer tent on the green near Vitalwelt. Locals and visitors alike gathered and lined the streets in colorful trachten, giving our alpine lake town a timeless appearance.

Many of our village farms including Jörgenbauer, Unterriß, Anderlbauer and Kirchbergerhof were in attendance. Franz Leitner of Kirchbergerhof brought along his beautiful black Bergschafe who were led through the bustling streets with only a handful of feed. Bringing up the rear of their group where a pair of tail wagging baby lambs. Hartl Markhauser and his children displayed several historic harvesting equipment. Carriages festooned with ribbons and colorful flower bouquets; impeccably groomed horses with glistening livery were all in attendance as well.

With traditional music filling the air, a small static display on the grass allowed visitors to capture plenty of photos before everyone headed into the cool shade of the tent. A deliciously fragrant lunch was catered with Bavarian efficiency to a packed crowd and refreshing drinks were quickly dispatched. Our fellow contributor Angelika Prem from Hennererhof with the help of local Sennerin served slices of cake from a table awash in delectable deserts.

 

 

To find out more about our local farms and possibly plan your next farm friendly family holiday here are a few links from our farms.

 

http://rixnerhof.de

https://www.hennerer.com

https://www.unterriss-hof.de

https://www.biohof-joergenbauer.de

http://anderlbauer.schliersee.de/unser_hof/unser_hof.php

https://www.kirchbergerhof.info

https://www.schliersee-touristik.de/bauernhof-urlaub/

 

 

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).

 

 

 

 

 

The Lüftlmaler of Schliersee….Peter Wimmer

I have been chasing the tail of the elusive and ever busy Lüftlmaler, for over a year now. With so many historic homes and new buildings, his work load never seems to ease. Thankfully we were able to carve out a few hours to meet.

When you think of the typical picturesque Bavarian or Alpine village you can’t help but think of all the beautifully painted building facades that decorate houses. Having once been an art restorer in my former life myself as well as a decorative painter, I have an endless fascination and respect for this timeless art form.

Peter Wimmer, Schliersee’s most esteemed Lüftmaler is known far and wide for his skills. I had the greatest pleasure to have this short visit with him while he worked on a small project near his home in Schliersee. Bathed in sunlight, he was working high on a scaffolding when I first approached him. His warm and jovial energy is quite infectious and I immediately felt comfortable talking with him.

He explained that there had been some damage to the stucco of the side of this historic home so he was replicating the Florentine detail painting around the windows. This for him was a simple repair. I can only imagine the scale of many of his other structures in his work experiences. Oxblood and ochre were his color palate on the day. These tones brought be right back to my mind t a trip I took to Provence and the village of Roussillon. These ancient colors are of the earth and their influence reached all the way to this lakeside alpine village.

What is a Lüftlmaler you ask? Well, in Peter’s case, he is a Master of the handcrafted method of wall-painting that became popular in alpine villages in the 18 century. Its popularity grew in Italy and Southern Germany during the baroque period as a way of showing wealth. These opulent paintings featuring many times religious figures were painted using the fresco technique.

The Fresco technique is much like it sounds, you have to work on a “fresh” or wet plaster surface. In doing so the paint is absorbed and becomes permanently impregnated into the wall surface. I found an interesting bit of “his-story” that details how the term ‘Lüftlmalerei’ came to be. It states that “Franz Seraph Zwinck (1748-1792), probably the most well-known craftsman of his guild. The story goes that he lived in a house called ‘Zum Lüftl’ in Oberammergau (such house names can still be found there rather often) and because of his profession, was called ‘the Lüftlmaler’ (the ‘Lüftl’ painter). The name of the whole guild most probably developed from this name during the 19th century”.

 

 

I hope you will take the time to look up Peter Wimmer and learn more about his magnificent talent.

www.wandkunst-wimmer.de

Peter Wimmer
Seestraße 37
83727 Schliersee

Tel.: 08026/94844

E-Mail: mail@wandkunst-wimmer.de

 

 

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).

 

 

 

An Empowering Collaboration…Gipfelgwand Schliersee

I have been a true fan of the many beautiful handmade products that Corinna Hofmann is selling through her company, Gipfelgwand Schliersee, for a couple years. So, imagine my surprise when she approached me to help her bring her vision for her latest collection to light. Aloha Schliersee is inspired by sunny summer’s days spent at the local Strandbad, the cool tranquil turquoise waters of our lake as well as the flowing landscape.

When I met Corinna she explained to me that Gipfelgwand was a dream 10 years in the making. Aloha Schliersee breathes new life into the traditional styling and clothing of this area. It is a fun and funky, Bavarian Bohemian Treat. Corinna came from the Bodensee area about 3 years ago and she brings a sort of German version of the California surfer girl feel to the designs. Yoga, Stand Up Paddle and the outdoors all blended together in a powerful yet feminine charm.

Last Friday afternoon, we met at Hennererhof in the Westenhofen district of Schliersee. This was the culmination of a lot of networking and friend making. As a small group we embarked upon the steep journey up a path that was nothing more than a deer trail to the famous Baumgartenschneid. This location is truly magnificent and very much worth schlepping up camera gear and props to obtain the view.

Waiting for us at the tipity top was a troop of mountain goddesses. There really is no other way to describe the collection of woman gathered for this shoot. Each one bringing their own particular strength and beauty. From Sports model and Bergwacht members to florist and Yoga instructors. The power and the softness combined. Pure inspiration and we were blessed to have such a company of women.

Working quickly so as not to loose a moment of the magnificent light we quickly shared our vision for the shoot and prepared the simple, natural styling. Flowers were festooned in braided hair and the iconic Gipfelrock were presented to many smiling faces. Shoes were optional and quickly forgotten.

This was the culmination of Corinna’s vision and planning. The even was a designers dream. It was pretty special to this photographer as well. It is incredible what she has been able to achieve in such a short time living in Schliersee. I was so impressed by the support and encouragement she has received from other female entrepreneurs in and around Schliersee. Powerful and empowered creative women all coming together to bring to life another woman’s vision was absolutely inspiring.  The women in these photos have all met through the Female Mountain Power Summit and their names are, Sabrina Tamara Regina Steinberger Irmi Baumann Miriam Stannecker Anna-Maria Wimmer.

 

 

You can find out more about Corinna Hofmann and Gipfelgwand at:

https://www.gipfelgwand.de

 

Aloha Schliersee
https://www.instagram.com/aloha_schliersee/

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/gipfelgwand/

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/gipfelgwand_schliersee/

 

The women in these photos have all met through the Female Mountain Power Summit and their names are, Sabrina Tamara Regina Steinberger Irmi Baumann Miriam Stannecker Anna-Maria Wimmer.  http://www.fmps.mindfulnez.de

 

 

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).

 

 

 

Haying Side by Side in Schliersee

Living far from my home country and being a bit of a nomad, makes invitations to be included in seasonal projects and events so much more special.

Last Saturday, I was invited to join a local farming family from the lakeside farm of Anderlbauer. Hartl Markhauser and his two lovely daughters, Sophie and Sefa, along with son Harti and the family patriarch, Sepp. Together we all piled into vehicles and raced the sporadic raindrops up the mountain.

The days mission was to bring in the precious golden hay of summer before possible turbulent weather. If you live in a farming community you can often tell the weather just by the activity level of the local farmers. During hay season you will see the mad dash begin to bring in the hay that is cut and drying in the fields before rain. Storing damp hay can ruin that years yield and therefore shorten the amount of feed hay the animals have for winter in the barn.

Upon arrival the first thing that needed to be done, was to make room in the hay loft buy removing a massive round hay bales. It was Sepp’s job to organize each bucket load of hay from the Frontloader. It seemed to me to be a nice job up there, out of the heat of the days sun. Plus I adore a hay loft.

After a few helpful tips from Sophie and Harti, I do believe my hay raking skills greatly improved. If you are like me and adore the bucolic imagery of farm life and have ever stared longingly at a group of farm hands working in unison to complete a task, then you like me would have been overjoyed to tear down that third wall and be included in the composition. I couldn’t help but think that the hikers watching us work, would never guess there was a wayward American in the mix. Speaking of being in the mix, there is no better language course then to working and sweating side by side listening to the lilting tons of the local Bavarian dialect. An experience you cannot put a price on.

This years hot dry summer has been difficult for our farmers and their cattle. High heat and lack of sufficient rain have led to there being a lack of grass on the mountains. This was most evident by the many salivating bovine faces that came increasingly closer to us while we worked. I am sure the smell of the drying hay was as intoxicating to them as it was for me.

Of course, as is the Bavarian tradition, at the end of these few hours of hard graft, the days repose was taken in the breezy shade, with a magnificent mountain view and a table laden with delights.

Thank you again Markhauser family for making this frustrated farmers dream come true.

 

 

For more information on the beautiful Anderlbauer

Familie Markhauser
Fischhauser Straße 5
83727 Schliersee/Oberbayern
Telefon: 0 80 26 / 9 46 64
Telefax: 0 80 26 / 9 46 65

E-Mail: anderlbauer@gmx.de

 

http://anderlbauer.schliersee.de/unser_hof/unser_hof.php

 

 

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).

 

 

 

Confessions of a Self Professed Ignorant Animal Lover in Schliersee

I was inspired to write this article after a walk up Firstalm with friends last Saturday. Due to the beautiful weather, large groups of people were wandering up the to Firstalm for lunch. As locals call it, the “alpine lunch rush”. From the animals perspective the volume of noise and people increased by ten fold compared to the weekly 5 days of virtual isolation. Monday through Friday in most of the year tourism is very light so the 2 days of weekend can be rather a shock.

 

Every effort by the farmer is made to keep his animals protected. Where it is possible, a portable electric fence is installed but even that is not deterrent enough to keep people at a safe distance and not entering the animal’s “personal space”.

 

On our short hike I was shocked when I witnessed a man leave the path and approach a sleeping cow. The cow, not knowing what this human wanted, quickly stood up. Then the well meaning man called to his wife and young child to come join him for a photo. Another shocking sight was a family with a young child who were walking through a remote pasture area on Spitzingsee. I am not sure what they did to awaken the cow herd but they had not one but the entire herd racing behind them. In their defense they did keep their cool and did not scream or run. It was a scary thing to watch. There are more than enough safe paths that this cross country excursion was not necessary.

 

I too have made this same mistake when I first moved to Schliersee. My husband and my dog decided to take a walk in Valepp before we realized not every walk we did in winter is safe to take when the cows are free in the pastures. At one point I watched while my husband and dog were chased out of the pasture by 15 young bulls. My dog was so terrified he managed to defecate and run all at the same time. It is funny now but neither of them would trust me to lead a walk for a few years.

 

So let me lay out a few suggestions and opinions. We have to remember that our farms are not petting zoos. Also remember with the volume of visitors in tourist season heightens the fear and stress level of our animal residents.

 

Here are a few of my observations and lessons I have learned.

 

  1. We say we love animals but each time we approach them inappropriately, we put them in danger. They do not enjoy our affection as much as we enjoy giving them affection. We have to check our motivation. It is more about our needs than theirs.
  2. We want to protect the rights of animals to live freely during the Alm season and your “Selfie” is not worth them loosing their rights. Learn how to zoom with your camera phone to keep at a safe distance.
  3. Cows are not 600-800 kilo Teddy Bears. These are living, breathing, giant animals not stuffed animals waiting to be snuggled. They haven’t been raised to cuddle.
  4. We come to the country to experience farm life, we say we have a passion for all living things but we must respect our local farmers and protect their delicate way of living.
  5. Some advice from this Recovering Well Meaning Animal Lover, we all love the critters but in our excitement to have a close personal connection with the 4 legged residents, we endanger them.
  6. Another false belief I see expressed by the actions of visitors to our bucolic land is that when the people are on vacation so are the dogs.That dogs are safe to be off leash here because it is the country. This is very wrong for many reasons but I will give you just two. Your visiting dog may feel the need to chase or hunt one of our many free range 4 legged residents thus endangering both farm animal and dog. And another good reason to respect the leash law is that you are more aware when your dog decides to defecate. So you will know that you must pick up after your dog. I know for many dog owners, the idea that if cows can relieved themselves here then it must be ok for their canine side kick to also leave a little something behind. Just remember, your dog feces is much more dangerous than a cows waste. Dog droppings cause an illness in cows which causes miscarriages.
  7. Mama horses, Mama sheep and Mama cows, there is little difference from mama bears when there are young animals in the pastures. The protection instinct is strong in all animals and that includes our beautiful local Miesbacher Fleckvieh breed. Remember to give them their space so they never feel threatened.
  8. Now place yourself in a free range animals perspective. You are alone with your little family and community on a wild mountain top. Your senses are on full force to be aware of anything that proposes a threat to your group. Most of the week things go with the flow. It is peaceful and quiet but on those two days of the week, everything changes. Imagine this feeling of threat or danger with loud noises and laughter. Imagine the possible negative affect it can have on the milk and cheese products when the cows are unnerved and upset. The weather can be danger enough, lets not in our ignorance be added worries to our local farmer and his livestock.

 

 

So the key is RESPECT. Stay a safe distance and arrive to the Alms for your local cheese laden lunches and be thankful to our famers and their animals who make all this possible.

 

 

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).