This week, we took life at the Lufts head on. There were many firsts to be had.
Monday was Halloween - a day not celebrated in Germany. Although it is growing in popularity as candy companies advertise and package candy for the day, it is not a part of German tradition. Halloween went almost entirely unnoticed for us except for Ben, the Lufts' son, who arrived to dinner dressed, we think, as a ringwraith.
The week seemed to fly by and this was due in part to a dinner party we attended on Monday night. Marcel and Ute's gracious neighbors, Christiane and Horst, invited us over for English Night - Kurbiseintopf (Literally translated as Pumpkin One Pot) and English conversation. The retired couple lives next door to the Lufts in a renovated farm house. We were greeted at the door and invited into their dining room where an inviting fire and seasonally decorated table awaited us. Christiane and Horst further reinforced our notion of the Germans as a convivial bunch who can certainly handle their liquor. Christiane served a delicious pumpkin stew. The tureen seemed bottomless as we each helped ourselves to second and third servings of the warming and tasty meal. While Christiane replenished the crusty bread and stew, Horst continually refilled our beer and wine glasses. It was a marvelous night of fascinating conversation and good company. Fairly early in the evening the conversation turned to politics, the state of the world and how to garner the interest and involvement of the youth. Big issues and serious topics for us here in Weitsche. The people here and the Lufts' way of life provide hope in what sometimes seems like a bleak forecast for the future.
Despite our late night, Tuesday began bright and early at 7:30am with David's first chicken slaughtering. We'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Overall it was an intense and informative experience. Surely we won't be able to look at meat counters the same anymore. As Marcel always reminds us, it takes a bit of time to do this process well, especially if you expand the idea of "the process" to raising and providing for the chickens. Much has to be adjusted or abridged or entirely lost when the process achieves larger economies of scale.
|David and the chicken prepare themselves for the inevitable. Does the hen know what's coming here, we wonder?|
|First, the chicken is hit on the head with a small club. This step is mandatory in Germany. If we do this ever again, we're buying a chamber mechanism where gas knocks the bird out, not a club. This was the troubling part.|
|With an axe, the chicken's head is chopped off. Actually this was the troubling part.|
|The bird is then dipped in boiling water and plucked.|
|David carrying away the plucked chickens. He also participates in the gutting of the animals.|
|Marcel tells us that Germany tradition calls for the liver of the killed animal to be given to the hunter. Here is the chicken liver served with onions, salt and pepper....|
|...and here is the 'hunter,' loosely interpreted.|
The chicken slaughtering was not the only first of the week. This week, I (Christina) went on my first bike ride. Thanks to my patient bike instructor, I finally moved beyond the rounds in the village circle. We went on several long bike rides this week and I can confidently say I know how to ride a bike.
|Homemade hamburger buns. With Ute's help, we were able to bake some pretty delicious and simple buns.|