Monday, October 29, 2012

Traditions abound in small German village

AFFALTERBACH, GERMANY-In this small farm community near Marbach and Stuttgart, church bells ring at noon and 6p.m., as a long-standing tradition to call farmers in from the fields.
   During the day the narrow streets are the freeways for large farm trackers pulling trailers; some empty and some containing crops grown locally.
   Sugar beets-feed for livestock-is being hauled, along with all varieties of apples, pumpkins and squash.
   Fields have been tilled smooth or are growing a popular local crop, rapeseed. Now about four feet high with yellow flowers, it serves as ground cover, and later, livestock feed.
   This time of year, grapes are being harvested from steep -sloped vineyards. most headed for a local winery to be turned into one of many different types of wines this area is known for.
   Evidence of farming begins the moment one leaves the village. Plowed fields, rolling land and large stands of forest surround orchards and vineyards. Occasionally, a farm house and associated building can be seen off in the distance.
   During a drive, you expect to see deer off in the distance or, like back home in southeast Michigan, crossing the road in front of you.
   I've seen deer behave that way toward evening on a drive through thick woods several miles from here.
   While we are inside on a cold, snowy day watching a one-day delayed Tiger World Series game, Sunday dinners are prepared and eaten as they are at home.
   Life is quiet like the traffic on the street. Stores normally close at noon Saturday to re-open Monday. Bakeries are open a few hours Sunday mornings then close for the day.
   Life is tranquil, peaceful and serene on a day like this.  It seems to make lounging around preferable to being in the woods or field. There is always tomorrow.

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