RIP Jetta

November 18th, 2018

On September 12,  Laura got rear-ended in the Jetta on her way home. She did not get injured, but she did have a sore neck for a while from the whiplash. Jacob was riding in the passenger seat, and he was not injured, either. The car was in pretty bad shape. In the collision, the car was pushed into another car in front and so both front end and back end were badly damaged. The car was eventually totaled by the insurance company.

 

.

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Birthday, Patou!

October 31st, 2018

Last Friday was Patou’s first birthday! For this occasion I made her a ground-meat cake with sardine decoration and a candle.

Freitag war Patou’s erster Geburtstag. Zu diesem Anlaß habe ich ihr eine schöne Hackfleischtorte gemach, und mit Sardinen und einer Kerze dekoriert.

Patou is doing really well on her raw-meat-based diet. Most evenings she gets 3-4 chicken drumsticks, a handful of fatty beef scraps a bone and a cup of puppy kibble. Often I also feed her a sardine or an apple or frozen berries or some leftover avocado. I gave her some baked sweet potato the other day and she ate it right up. Sometimes she buries some of her food (esp. the chicken drumsticks) and digs it up the next day for a snack.

The funny thing is that handling all this meat for Patou has really killed my appetite for meat. At this point I have pretty much cut out all meat from my diet, yet I find myself buying 10-pound packages of chicken and asking local butchers for meat scraps once or twice a week. Go figure!

Mehr Bilder hier …

Read the rest of this entry »

Julia’s latte art competition

July 29th, 2018

Last Thursday, Julia participated in her first barista competition – the Thursday Night Latte Art Throwdown at Durham’s Cocoa Cinnamon, where she works as a barista. Great event – lots of creative energy in the room! Also very interesting to see some the Triangle’s masters of latte art in action. Painting with milk in coffee for the enjoyment of your customers strikes me as an odd and very beautiful artform :)

DEUTSCH: Donnerstag abend hat Julia zum ersten Mal an einem Latte Art Wettbewerb teilgenommen.

Latte Art (von ital. latte, Milch und engl. art, Kunst) nennt man die kreative Gestaltung der Milchschaumoberfläche von Espresso-Getränken mit graphischen Motiven wie Blättern, Blumen, Herzen, abstrakten geometrischen Motiven u.v.m. Meist gestaltet die Latte Art ein Barista.
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latte_Art

Der Wettbewerb fand in dem Cafe wo sie als Barista arbeitet statt. Es was sehr interessant Baristas aus der ganzen Region bei ihrer Arbeit zuzuschauen und die kreative Energie im Raum zu spüren.

RIP Snoopy the goat

July 15th, 2018

Snoopy the goat in the snow

Yesterday, July 14 at 11AM, Snoopy the goat passed away after a week of severe illness, despite our best efforts to cure her. She was born March 18, 2014 and she had lived with us since August 2014.

Gestern, am 14. Juli um 11:00 Uhr starb unsere Ziege Snoopy. Vor einer Woche war sie plötzlich schwer krank geworden und trotz aller unserer Bemühungen und der Hilfe des Tierarztes, starb sie gestern im Alter von 4 Jahren.

 

 

Jacob’s High School Graduation

June 30th, 2018

On June 13th, Jacob graduated from Durham School of the Arts High School. Here he is … the fresh-baked graduate and the proud family!

Am 13. Juni feierte Jacob seinen High School Abschluß von  der Durham School of the Arts. Hier ist der frischgebackenel Schulabgänger mit der stolzen Familie!

The Durham School of the Arts graduation ceremony was at Duke University’s (in)famous Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Jacob’s Schule feiert den Schulabschluss in Duke University’s berühmt-berüchtigter Cameron Basketball Arena.

255555 miles on Benz II

February 21st, 2018

Today, on the way to work, the odometer in my 1992 Mercedes Benz 300D rolled over 255555 miles. Pretty cool!

 

Patou in January

January 28th, 2018

We got about a foot of snow on Jan 18 and Patou loved it!

She romped through the white fluffy stuff for hours with true puppy exuberance.

 

 

The snow was deep for her, yet she plowed through it tirelessly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patou had her first visit at the veterinarian, getting examined and receiving her first round of vaccinations. She was totally relaxed, trusting the humans  even if some of it was a bit weird and uncomfortable.

 

 

Patou on January 26, at 3 months of age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brrrrr – crazy arctic cold

January 7th, 2018

Auf DEUTSCH hier … Last week was crazy cold here … this morning RDU recorded 3 deg F and it was 6 Deg F at the house at 7 AM. Almost the entire week, temperatures stayed well below freezing, and the on the only slightly warmer day we got snow! Taking care of all the critters who have to stay outside was not trivial, when temperatures dropped into the low teens every morning. The horses ate an entire 800 pound bale of hay last week, and Patou ate a couple of pounds of meat and fat most days last week. We also had to get the horses warm water every few hours the first couple of days, but then Laura went on an epic quest to get a water trough heater – probably the last one in the county and that made things a lot easier.

It was a bit scary to leave our 10-week-old puppy outside in these frigid temperatures, but she did fine. I insulated her dog house as best as I could with hay and cardboard. She seems pretty cozy in there, and I did get up every night at 2 AM to check on her and give her a bunch of chicken and some beef fat. Then we went to give the horses more hay and check on the emus and give the bunny warm water. Same thing for breakfast at 7 AM. She is really incredibly cold tolerant as long as she gets enough calories to keep that little furnace going.

Read the rest of this entry »

2017

January 1st, 2018

2017 has been a year of transitions for us. Julia and I have started working as volunteers with a group of local political activists – the People’s Alliance of Durham. We started going to the meetings as a reaction to the current political reality in this country and we are working in community organizing around economic equality issues, workforce development and racial equity.

Julia also started working as a barista at Cocoa Cinnamon, a locally owned coffee shop with 3 locations in Durham, while she is also figuring out her next move regarding college. It’s her first real job with real responsibilities, performance evaluations and a real paycheck. That experience has been a huge transition for her toward adulthood.

Laura is in her second year at her new job at the Life Skills Foundation and organized a trail marathon across Durham County together with one of her organization’s board members and Bull City Running. The “Race Across Durham” was a fundraiser  for Life Skills and ended up raising over $40,000 for the non-profit.

Jacob is now a senior in High School and gearing up for a major transition towards adulthood in 2018. Last summer he did some work in technical documentation for a friend who is a programmer-entrepreneur. He did have some transitions in his romantic life this year, which was bit difficult for him. Jacob and I also started going to the YMCA downtown once a week to get more exercise. He likes the weight machines and I like swimming laps in the pool and the relaxing in the sauna a bit.

Myself, I started exploring tea more seriously – especially Pu’erh and Oolong teas. I had to cut back on the beers, due to stomach problems and teas are a whole new world of fun and interesting flavors. I have also started exploring the spiritual realm of existence more systematically after some interesting experiences dabbling with meditation. I am studying the teachings of the Buddha from a Theravada Thai Forest perspective, and mostly interpreted by disciples of the venerable Ajahn Chah. I am finding these teachings bring significant value to daily life. Meditating on the present moment and developing mindfulness and compassion on a daily basis has allowed peace and contentment to grow in every aspect of my life. This practice has already significantly improved my mental and physical well-being. So I will continue on that path.

Last September, I traveled to Germany to visit family and friends. I had a wonderful time, even though the visit was quite fast-paced and not restful. But it was really good to see my parents and my sister, and to catch up with some friends from my school days.

Toward the end of the year, 2017 had a bit of a surprise for me, as we decided to get a 7-week-old Great Pyrenees puppy. Her name is Patou, and she has been with us now for 2 weeks. She is really settling in here as the farm dog. The other critters are getting used to her and she is getting used to them. She and I have really bonded and we spent a LOT of time together during the holiday break. I am certain that seeing her grow up will be a fun and amazing experience – really looking forward to the journey.

 

Welcome home, Patou!

December 17th, 2017

Saturday, we drove to Kittrel, NC, to pick up Patou. Here she is, this morning on her first day of training. She was born October 26 to a pure-bred Great Pyrenees dad and a mom who is half Great Pyr and half Akbash.  She was one of five pups for sale and with her slightly shorter coat and slender build she definitely takes after mom. She also inherited her dad’s friendly, people-focused character and gentle, mellow nature. On the drive home, she fell asleep in Laura’s lap, and so far she has only barked once, when she got so excited about meeting the neighbor’s little girl Anne (photo below).

Samstag fuhren auf’s Land, eine Stunde nördlich von Durham um unsere Patou abzuholen. Auf dem Bild hier beginnt sie heute Morgen ihr erste Ausbildungsstunde. Sie wurde am 26. Oktober geboren. Ihr Vater ist ein reinrassiger Pyrenäenberghund und ihre Mutter ist eine Mischung aus Pyrenäenberghund und dem Türkischen Akbash Hirtenhund. Sie hat has kürzere Fell ihrer Mutter und den gutmütigen, Menschen-bezogenen Charakter ihres Vaters geerbt. Auf der Fahrt nach Hause ist sie in Laura’s Schoß eingeschlafen und bis jetzt hat sie nur einmal gebellt, und nur aus Freude als sie dem kleinen Mädchen der Nachbarn begegnet ist (siehe Foto unten).

Read the rest of this entry »

Quark!

November 19th, 2017

Gestern habe ich wieder Quark gemacht! Hier in den Staaten is es fast unmöglich im Supermarkt quark zu finden. Zum Glück ist es aber super-einfach Quark selber zu kultivieren. Einfach Milch warm machen (30 Grad Celsius), Starterkultur hineinmischen und dann nach 24 Stunden mit einem Käsetuch die Molke abtropfen lassen. Fertig. Man kann ein paar Löffel quark einfach beim nächsten Mal als Starterkultur in die warme Milch einrühren.

Yesterday, I made quark! Around here we cannot buy this delicious cultured milk product at the store, but it’s super-easy to make. Just warm the milk to 86 Deg F. add the starter culture and after 24 hours separate the whey out using a cheesecloth. Done. You can re-use a couple of scoops of the quark as the starter for the next batch.

Aus vier Liter Milch (1 gallone) bekam ich 1650 Gramm Quark.

Mmmm … Bananenquark mit Honig

Germany Trip

October 31st, 2017

Schorndorf market and city hall

In September, I went on a 10-day Trip back to Germany to visit family and friends. It had been a couple of years and it was time to go back an re-connect. I flew into Frankfurt via JFK and arrived on a crisp Friday morning. I picked up my rental car and drove to Bensheim to visit my great uncle on his 94th birthday. We had a nice visit, some coffee and cake and then later that evening I drove to Schorndorf, near Stuttgart and stayed with my mom for a weekend. Boy, driving on the Autobahn 8 on a Friday evening is a hell of a “welcome to effing Deutschland!” You’re constantly going back and forth between either going 95mph/150kmh or 5mph. Crazy! And then I had to cross Stuttgart during rush hour. Good thing my rental had a GPS and proximity alarms, because roads in that city are clogged an narrow! Eventually, I arrived safely in Schorndorf, just east of Stuttgart.

Schorndorf is a pretty, historic town on river Rems in the heart of Württemberg’s wine country. The town has the distinction of being the birthplace of Gottlieb Daimler, who built the first vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine in 1885. The company he founded became what is today Mercedes Benz.

Stuttgart old and new Chateau

Stuttgart old and new Chateau

On Sunday I visited friends near Aalen, and on Monday I took the train into Stuttgart to visit old stomping grounds and to have a beer and a Döner with a high school classmate. Stuttgart has a pretty rich history and one that has a bit of a “transportation theme” as it was founded as a breeding stable for the Württemberg family and is now known as the home of two major automobile manufacturers: Mercedes Benz and Porsche. Porsche even uses the crest of Stuttgart in its logo.

One curious thing I had just recently found out about Stuttgart is that the town hall is one of the few places in the world where you can ride the peculiar “Pater Noster” elevator – an elevator that has cabins that continuously run vertically up on one side and down on the other.

 

Tuesday, I headed out to visit family in Tübingen, but on the way I stopped in Untertürkheim at the Mercedes Benz Museum. For anyone even slightly interested in the history of the automobile this place is on the bucket list. The architecture is interesting and they roll out the entire history of the automobile (from the company’s perspective, of course). They have some of the very first motorized vehicles on display, including – of course – the first car, the first IC-powered boat, the first bus, truck, rail vehicle, engines for various flying machines etcetera. The museum also chronicles the Mercedes racing tradition, which started right at the beginning of the automotive history. Pretty cool.

Read the rest of this entry »

Summer mushroom hunting

July 31st, 2017

Here is a nice photo album of some of the mushrooms we have found over the last few weeks.
Click on the picture to open the album or click through it below.

Dies ist ein Photoalbum einiger der Pilze die wir über die letzten Wochen gesammelt haben.
Bitte auf das Bild klicken um das Album zu öffnen oder hier durchsehen.

Summer mushroom hunting

Foraged mushroom lunch

April 23rd, 2017

Last week we discovered mushrooms growing on a pile of horse manure out back. Laura identified the mushrooms as Coprinus comatus, or Shaggy Inky Caps, which are actually quite delicious, but have to be eaten immediately after harvested. So this morning I went out there and picked a bunch of mushrooms and fried them up in some butter with a little salt. Then I fried a couple of eggs from our neighbor’s Bantam chickens to go with the mushrooms and had me a nice, locavore Sunday brunch :) … more below.

D Letzte Woche entdeckten wir Pilze auf einem Misthaufen neben der Pferdeweide. Laura identifizierte die Pilze als Schopf Tintlinge (Coprinus comatus) und die sind ziemlich lecker, müssen aber sofort gegessen werden wenn sie geerntet sind. Also ging ich heute morgen raus und erntete einige der Pilze und bereitete sie in etwas Butter und Salz zu. Dazu kam noch ein paar Spiegeleier von den Hühnern des Nachbarn, und damit hatte ich ein wunderbares Sonntagsbrunch.

Read the rest of this entry »

A weekend in Uwharrie

March 30th, 2017

Last weekend, Laura and I rented a cabin in Uwharrie National Forest. A weekend away from the farm (and  the kids) was just the ticket for us. The cabin was a couple of miles from a trailhead for the Uwharrie trail and a 5-minute drive from the Badin Lake Recreation Area.


We drove the truck out there, so I could take it on the off-road trails at Badin Lake, but the trails were closed for maintenance that weekend. We also checked out the horse camping at Badin Lake and we definitely want to take the horses there sometime.

Saturday, we spent all day hiking on the northern section of the Uwharrie Trail (Morris Mtn section) and when we got back we had some beers and made a fire in the firepit outside. The weather was great and this was the most relaxing day we’d had in a long time. Sunday we drove to Albermarle on the other side of the lake and had lunch there, then we headed home.

March snowfall

March 12th, 2017

After temperatures in the 70s last week, a cold front moved in yesterday and we got some snow this morning!

Letzte Woche waren die Temperaturen schon deutlich über 20 Grad, aber Gestern kam eine Kaltfront und heute Morgen schneite es!

Dain’s Place 10-year anniversary

March 5th, 2017

A few weeks ago, my favorite bar in Durham – Dain’s Place – celebrated their 10th anniversary. They had a big party on Jan. 29 and Dain presented me and two other regulars with our own, personal mugs.

Vor ein paar Wochen feierten wir das 10. Jubiläum meiner Stammkneipe, Dains Place. Als Teil der Feier überreichte der Besitzer, Dain Phelan, mir und zwei anderen Stammkunden unsere persönlichen Biergläser. Meins hatte er von der Freiburger Brauerei Ganter bestellt. Natürlich hat das Glas damit auch ein zivilisieres Fassungsvermögen von 0.5 Liter (statt dem hier üblichen 14 Unzen/ 0.4 Liter) was mir jetzt einen gewissen Vorteil bringt :)

(üblicherweise wird das glas Ganz gefüllt)

Mehr Bilder hier …

Read the rest of this entry »

Historic protests against Trump

January 22nd, 2017

A day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th U.S. President, women (and men) around the country took to the streets in historic numbers. Yesterday, Julia and I joined more than 4 Million protesters nationwide, and almost 20,000 here in Raleigh to help counter the divisiveness and misogyny that propelled this administration into power. This administration looks like a government by the billionaires for the billionaires. Let work on making it a government by the people for the people.

.

Am Tag nach dem Amtseid Donald Trump’s als 45. Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten, demonstierten 4 Millionen Frauen (und Männer) in den Straßen Amerikanischer Städte. Gestern waren auch Julia und ich mit fast 20.000 hier in Raleigh unterwegs um gegen den Hass und die Frauenfeindlichkeit zu protestieren die diese Regierung an die Macht brachte. Diese Regierung sieht inzwischen aus wie eine Regierung der Milliardäre für Milliardäre. Wir wollen das das wieder eine Regierung aller Menschen für alle Menschen wird.

Caturday

January 14th, 2017

Azi, the cat

Meet Azi, the cat. She is a tortie and an energetic trouble-maker. Laura found her behind a dumpster at work and she was probably born there sometime in the spring of 2016, and she had one litter of kittens there, as well. We had her spayed and vaccinated and she has been settling in quite nicely. “Azi” is Ewe and means peanut. (Click on photos to enlarge)

Das ist Azi, die Katze. Sie ist eine Schildpatt Katze, und ein Draufgänger mit viel Energie. sie wurde im Frühjahr 2016 hinter einer Mülltonne in Durham geboren. Sie saß oft im Eingang zu dem Gebäude wo Laura arbeitet und hat um Futter gebettelt. Laura brachte sie dann nach Hause und wir haben sie kastrieren und impfen lassen, und sie hat sich inzwischen gut eingelebt. (Auf die Bilder klicken zum vergrößern)

Read the rest of this entry »

Melting

January 12th, 2017


Today’s high temperature was 68°F (20°C). Julia’s glorious snowman is melting …

Read the rest of this entry »