Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Learning From The Land, aka Back To Braunsberg



About a week ago I discovered on one of my many google searches that you can rent a little vacation apartment on various organic farms throughout Germany. I had heard of this before, but never really considered doing it (also equating it with camping I think, and I'm not much of a camper....) But recently I've been so burnt on city life, at least the rude, every-man-out-for-himself version Berlin is so known for. And Jasper, I knew, could use a break though he's not really the farm kind of guy (but some part of me will always keep the fantasy alive that, someday, we will raise chickens.) So, on a whim, I booked a room at Braunsberger Höfe, a farm in the tiny village of Braunsberg which is in the former East German state of Brandenburg about an hour and half drive from Berlin. I stayed there with Miss Mia and Baby Li while Jasper headed back to the city; Mia only lasted a day, toddler city slicker that she is, but Baby Li and I had ourselves a time.

Although I have much to report
(and perhaps gradually will if the mood strikes me) here are the main things I learned:

1. Apples really DO taste the best when picked directly from the tree, as in no comparison. The apples you are eating from the super market are but a mere ghost of what an apple can truly be.

2. Geese are really, really, really mean. Actually, I already knew this one. Around ten years ago I had one of the best meals of my life on a little farm on the French island of Corsica. Geese came over as we ate and nipped at our ankles. The ironic things is that we were eating, among other things, pate....I had also heard that geese are great watch animals and discovered soon it was so very true. Anytime we even came close to their pen they immediately waddled over and started honking and hissing like we had come to burn the barn down. Sheesh. It made me feel a little bit better about how much I love, love, love to eat their livers!

3. Pigs, another very intelligent farm animal, smell really bad. No news to me. What WAS news, however, was how truly frightening they sound when they are being fed. Our apartment was, li
terally, above the pig pen (though luckily it was quite homey and did not smell...) and so, at seven thirty on the first morning, we heard this sound; a sound like the ghouls in Dante's fourth ring of hell feasting on a some poor fresh soul. Seriously....Mia ended up having to go home early because the farm (quietness, etc.) was too spooky for her, but I think it was probably the pigs that had set the tone.

4. Farm fresh air really IS good for you. Yes, something about being in the middle of nowhere surrounded by animals really did me a lot of good. I've been back in Berlin for a day now and, yes, the weather is still hideous and far too cold for October with no beautiful fall light but, still, I am just so deeply relaxed that it barely even bothers me. People somehow also seem much friendlier. O
r maybe it's me who's friendlier....Who knows? Either way, all I can say is thank you Braunsberg!


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