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).”

Rein it in…It’s the Month of the Horse

November in Schliersee is really the month of the horse. I thought since we just had Leonhardiritt, the religious procession celebrating the blessing of the horses, we should take some time to discover some interesting information about a couple of the amazing breeds we have here in Schliersee.

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting a breeding farm in Austria on the day that the magnificent Haflinger stallions returned from their summer in the high pastures. This breed is truly spectacular. Bred not to far away in the southern Tirol part of Austria, the Haflinger is a warmblood horse known for being efficient, sound, strong, sturdy, and willing. A multi-talented horse, it is commonly used today in dressage, endurance riding, general riding, jumping, mounted athletics, racing, and obviously pulling carriages for historical processions like Leonhardifahrt.

For me, the Haflinger’s coloring is what makes them truly stand out. They are reminiscent of a doe with pale chestnut colored bodies and bright golden manes. I find them to have such great spirited characters. Though they are on the small size they are a horse and not a pony. While at the breeding farm I learned some very interesting tidbits of information. This Tyrollean breed has Arabian blood in them and it is believed that they are all related to one Arab-pony cross named Folie. That mix of blood gives many of these horses a very Arabian style head. They seem to love showing off and being the center of attention.

And on the complete opposite side of the horse characteristic scale, you will find many Kaltblut or Coldblooded horses here in Schliersee. Cold-blooded horses encompass the draft breeds such as Percherons, Shires, Clydesdales, and Belgians. Large-boned and heavy-bodied, these horses were developed to use in draft and agricultural work, and were selected for a calm temperament.

One of my favorite things to see in the early mornings just behind our beloved Leonhardi chapel is when Langerbauer farm lets their horses out of their stalls. The horses seem to store up energy in their powerful legs during the night and just can’t wait to release it exuberantly.  Dashing elegantly across the wide pasture one by one. Sharing in their joy and beauty if only as a witness is an incredibly way to start your day.

 

 

To see these horses for yourself and even take a ride, make sure to visit some of our beautiful local farms. Many of these farms rent lovely rooms where you can experience life on a Bavarian horse farm. They are also just a stones throw from our alpine lake.

 

 

http://www.asenbauer-hof.de

http://www.bayregio.de/gastgeber/Rixnerhof

http://www.langerbauer.de/langerbauer/index.htm

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

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

gaestehaus-sonnenstatter.de/landwirtschaft/betriebsbeschreibung/

 

 

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).

 

 

 

Ratskeller Schliersee Not a Wild Goose Chase

What does paying taxes and roasted goose have in common? In the middle ages, November 11 was pay day and often taxes were paid with a goose. As crazy as that sounds, in this day and age, the tradition of roasted goose on November 11 still lives on in Germany.

Presently, November 11 is known in Germany as, Martinstag (St. Martin’s Day)and it is celebrated by German children with a parade of handmade lanterns in the evening and after a roast goose dinner. The most well-known legend connected to Saint Martin is when he is said to have cut his cloak in half to share with a poorly dressed beggar which later he believe to be Jesus. Making his action a great example for German children to be good samaritans in their lives.

My family loves an amazingly juicy roast goose but I hate to clean my oven after cooking it. Thankfully this year we made reservations to enjoy our deliciously traditional “Martinstag” goose at the Ratskeller in Schliersee. The Ratskeller is located next door to the Rathaus or town hall. It is traditionally where the Mayor and town council would eat so you are always guaranteed a great meal at a good price at your local Ratskeller.

Sadly it is too late to order roast goose  this year but I highly recommend making your reservation for next  St. Martins day at the Ratskeller. Schliersee. The goose we ordered was perfectly prepared with crisp crackling skin and the portion size seemed enormous for only being a quarter of the goose. Fragrant and tender red cabbage and potato dumplings accompanied our magnificent meal. The knowledgable servers can also suggest for you  the perfect wine to pare with your goose.  Petra, Matthias and the entire Ratskeller team were warm and wonderful hosts.

 

 

If you are unable to get to our Schliersee Ratskeller here is a recipe you can try for yourself at home.

 

Ingredients

               
1 Oven ready goose (4-4.5 kg)
hearty pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper
1 bunch of fresh marjoram
4-3 slightly sour apples
2 onions
2 carrots
250 g of celery root
150 g of mushrooms
2-3 tsp cornstarch
1-2 tablespoons creme fraiche
wooden skewers
kitchen twine or cotton string
heavy bottom roasting pan
roasting rack

 

Preparation

Remove giblets and extra fat from the goose. Wash innards and goose and pat dry. Rub goose inside and out with salt and pepper.

Second

Chop marjoram. Quarter and core apples. Mix both together and stuff in the goose. Close neck and belly opening with skewers and yarn. Tie the legs and wings tightly to the rest on the goose body.

Peel the onions and quarter them. Peel carrots and celery, cut up roughly. Clean mushrooms and wash if necessary. Toss everything with the giblets into the drip pan and place in the preheated oven at 175 ° C or 347°F.

Put the goose on a rack over the dripping pan. In the pan, pour 1/2 liter of boiling water. Roast the goose for 4-4 1/2 hours. Prick the skin to release the fat about a half hour into roasting time.

Approximately 30 minutes before the end of the roasting time, pour about 1/8 of boiling water onto the drip pan and switch on the oven 225 ° C or 437°F.

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 3 tablespoons of ice-cold water.

Brush the goose about 15 minutes before end of roast twice with the salt and ice water mixture.

 Once done lift the goose off the grate and let it rest.

 

Put the apples and vegetables from the pan through a sieve. Then deglaze the pan with a little hot water scraping up all the baked on bits and put that through the same sieve.  Remove as much as possible of the extra grease off the top with a spoon.  Put sauce back into roasting pan.  Make a mixture of 5 tablespoons of water and starch together till smooth. Pour this into the sauce. Add the creme fraiche and mix till it makes a smooth gravy.

 

If you are in our area and would love to try a traditional Martinstag goose, please contact Petra & Matthias at the Ratskeller to make your reservations.

 

https://www.facebook.com/ratskeller.schliersee/

http://www.ratskeller-schliersee.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).

 

 

 

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).