Herrmannsdorf farm and workshops, Germany

Herrmannsdorf is only two kilometers from Glonn in Bavaria, Southern Germany. When I last visited, long-necked ducks ran over the courtyard and you had to watch where you walked. The lovely buildings from the early 20th century are protected as a monument and any additions need authorization. There are the main living quarters, the large market building, the west and east sheds and stalls, the central restaurant building, more pig stalls and a few mobile chicken coops which can be pulled to other locations.

The pigs that are bred are strong and compact with a black head and hind part and a pink middle. A piglet weighs only a few pounds, a “teen” about 50 kg and a fully grown pig about 110 kg. You should reconsider before dreaming of a pet piggy! Herrmannsdorf offers workshops to learn how to make sausages, Weißwürste and ham. Turkey and other kinds of meat are bought from local producers.

The sows and piglets have their own building. Sows are “easy-care” animals, they will give their little ones milk, but they do not count them if they get lost. The stronger ones fight their way to the front tit with the most milk, the smaller ones take what they can get. The male pigs don’t do much more than lie in the shade or eat, they save their energy for the dating rounds with the ladies. The females are rather willing after less than a week after delivering their litter.

The chickens always have a rooster nearby to make them feel comfortable. They love taking “sand baths” to be rid of the mites in their feathers. In 2018 the foxes couldn’t find enough mice to eat and therefore raided about half of all chickens on the farm. For a while they had to stay within their coops. The chickens with the blue feet and the elegant cocks are French “bleus” that are cross-bred with an Austrian species with ruffled feathers on their heads. The goat seemed unruffled while munching on all the twigs, the sheep maintain a nice short lawn around the coop.

Naturally you can also learn baking and how to fold pretzels (Brezen). They do their own milling for whole grain bread types. Processed flour is bought elsewhere. Coffee beans are bought green and roasted in their own torrefaction machines. The coffee and espresso is very good.

The Kindergarten which originally was intended for their employees’ children has been “outsourced” for other local children. Oddly enough, it is right next door to the distillery… The market has only ecological food, meat, cheeses, olives, canned goods, bakery wares, coffee and tea, fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs. All the employees (more then 200) we saw were cheerful and very proud of their work.

The restaurant has a large Biergarten under trees. Inside the large room with beamed ceiling there are many tables on different levels. The menu is not large, but all ingredients are ecological and fresh, of course pork is never missing. Prices are rather high, but the guide argues that taking good care of animals and not using chemicals costs a little extra.

Hedwig’s Hundred Household Helpers – deep drain drainage

Meet my wise white owl Hedwig (whom we all know from Harry’s Owlery). She has flown in to help us with quick-fix, inexpensive and (last but not least) ecologically-friendly ways to get our household in better shape. Our problem was the kitchen drain. The plumber warned us never ever to use Drano et alia again, as that would inevitably and eternally damage our water pipes made of concrete. We tried to coax our drains not to get clogged again – the repair cum cleaning job is rather time-consuming and not so cheap – but Ollivander’s wands refused to do the trick. A friend stumbled over a nice online article the other day and – it works! So here goes:

In a mug or cup mix equal parts of salt and soda. Pour into your previously cleaned drain and wait a moment.

Then pour in the same amount of clear vinegar essence (Essigessenz) and watch the white foam bubble up.

Wait for a bit and wash it all down with a goodly amount of hot water.

Enjoy your bath and basins again!

Have you heard this one already?

  • “From my bedroom, I can watch the sun set .”
  • “That’s nothing. From my bedroom, I can watch the kitchen sink.”

If you’re not grinning, you should work on your double meanings….