Legolas, what do your Elf-Eyes See?
Crebain from Dunland!
Holy Crow, Batman! I think that is a murder!!! Yes, those swarms of birds swooping around our local shopping center are mostly crows. For those not in on the joke, groups of crows are called “murders”. Some medieval jokester probably thought up that one. But, whatever the case, huge murders of crows gather and create a deafening show around dusk these autumn evenings. Honestly, it fascinates me. Here in Germany we have far more crow-varieties than I ever noticed in California. I have to look them up when I see them. There are crows, rooks, ravens, jackdaws and magpies! Ravens are just big crows with somewhat lumpy beaks, but the jackdaws and magpies can be surprisingly colorful when their feathers hit the light and shine purples and blues. Rooks look like crows with a weird white patch at the base of their beaks. All of them are smart, social and plentiful. And they really seem to love hanging around the freshly plowed fields where all sorts of seeds and insects have becomes suddenly free for the taking!
|They really are pretty impressive when they get together in these huge groups!|
Other signs of Autumn
I have been making a concerted effort to notice the signs of autumn around us. They are not, perhaps, quite as dramatic as what my step-sister Starr posts about from her home in Connecticut. I think this is because the Black Forest is a mixed habitat with evergreen conifers interspersed with deciduous arbors that love to put on pretty shows. Color is certainly not absent. But, it has an uneven and sometimes scraggly look. Perhaps for this reason, the locals seem to really enjoy planting glorious color-changing plants wherever they get the chance. For instance holly:
And whatever this gorgeous bush is. These line the freeways and roads in many areas and are breathtaking as you pass them!
|This one is just kitty-corner to our apartment.|
Otherwise, much of what I see is pretty similar to what one might notice in a well-planned and watered area of CA.
|Tree outside our apartment building.|
On the other hand, THIS is not something we saw much of in CA- We got an early snow storm moving through this week. Local wisdom seems to be that this may be a strong winter because it was a hot summer. Dunno if one necessarily follows, but it is off to a cold and early start!
Never did manage to stick more than on a few rooftops at our level. But, cars from the local hills brought down piles that they dumped on the roadways whenever they made a sudden stop DS was absolutely in his element, though! He LOVED it. And, much to his pleasure, the weather has taken a definite turn for the COLD ever since.
|Here he is frolicking and catching snowflakes on
|It fell all day long|
|And did collect a little on the roofs|
|DS went for a scooter ride in the snow|
|He brought back a snowball he had gathered.|
|It broke into three pieces when we threw it|
|Then it was hot chocolate time!!|
Speaking of chocolate, here is a local food update:
|This is a “chocolate muffin”. It is much more
like a cupcake, but about 2ce the size and no frosting.
If you accept that it is neither a muffin nor a cupcake, it is delicious!
|This was a failed effort by a local bakery to make something
Halloweeny. It is a sweet roll that is supposed to
be in the shape of a witch. It was dry and flavorless, though
so no one wound up eating it.
|This, however, was delicious
Chocolate covered strawberries on a stick!
|David’s favorites: Cinnamon Almonds- sold hot in a paper cone from street
vendors all season long.
|Another of David’s favorites, not commonly available. So I made some.
Cinnamon Sticky Rolls!
|Autumny Meal: Chicken galette, apples (dipped in honey- just ’cause) &
tangerines, and spiced glühwein
|And, homemade pumpkin pie
(the pumpkins on the table will make pies later!)
Our friend makes these wonderful little piggies and sells them on Etsy. There are some really darling ones– I encourage you to browse. (EDIT: She just made the local paper with her business! Woot! Article is here. Go Charlotte!) They come in a dizzying array of colors and characters. But, I asked if she would create something special. DS loves the combination of Dark/Bright Blue and Black and he has been trying to teach himself to juggle well. I asked if she could make blue/black pigs with a slightly heavy filling. So, she kindly obliged, and DS is now a happy pig-hurling kid!
|Black and Blue Piggies!
My photo doesn’t do them justice. They have really cute faces!
|getting the hang of it!|
Halloween in these parts isn’t much of a thing, really. Though, interestingly, perhaps, All Souls and All Saints days are work holidays! So, DH gets Thursday and Friday off this week. But, for the most part you might catch someone having carved a “schnitzenkurbis”, a “carving pumpkin” into a jack-o-lantern…
|I had to look hard, but then I did spot them. They are on the posts.|
…or notice that there are some special candies on sale (not for trick or treating) and, of course, there are costume parties at the local clubs and, sometimes, ghostly treats at the local bakeries– like the witch above or the “Gespenst Kuchen” (specter cookie) DS is eating here.
|Much better than the witch. This was a lemony flavor!|
But that is about it. So, I am trying to get more into the spirit of things, ehem. I started off with Pan De Muertos.
|Mom thought it looked spidery, but it is supposed to be a skull and bones|
|Skull got a little deformed in the oven, though!|
That was delicious (and even better, there was enough to make into French Toast the next day… and maybe even enough left after that for some bread pudding. It was a BIG loaf is what I am saying!)
I am not sure what else to do, though. Just the four of us getting costumed up and sitting at home seems…. well, a little anti-climactic. We will definitely watch Nightmare Before Christmas on DVD and possibly some other seasonal favorites. Hmm. May have to go with the flow on this one and call it a split-holiday. Since, really I think Fasching takes over a lot of the Halloween role in this region.
The kids are on vacation for two weeks, though, and David has the end of this week off and some vacation time to spend. SO, we are trying to think of wunderbar seasonal ways to entertain ourselves. As I mentioned, it has gotten cold- and Daylight Savings ended here, so it is dark quite early in the evenings all of a sudden. Puts one in the mood for the holidays. So, Stay tuned!
Upcoming: Well, looks like more autumn and winter and such!