Monthly archives: September 2009

what are we going to do with all this zucchini?

Fall air brings dreams of canning and visions of beautiful rows of glass jars filling old wooden shelves. Despite my constant apocalyptic reverie, I still hadn’t learned anything about canning. But my pirate friend, who is actually a wise old grandma in disguise, brought the ingredients and the recipe, and I had a try. Unfortunately this recipe tastes so good that the glass is already almost empty.
Zucchini Relish ala Martin
1. Get a really big pot. Cut 3 kg zucchini and 1 kg onions into smallish chunks and toss them in. Stir in 3 Tablespoons salt [...]

sticks and carrots

A confession: I hate building. The closest I’ve been able to come to liking it is mindless neutrality, a meditative, trance-like state that comes from the repetitive motions lulling me out of thought completely.
Until Workshop called to tell me that there was a wagon to be had in Russelsheim, and I dragged trash house back to Mainz, I had built exactly one thing in my entire life. It was a CD shelf, and I guess it turned out ok.
Maybe it’s the learning curve that frustrates me, the feeling of not being able to do something right off the [...]

hammer, säge, scharfe zähne

I have reached the magical point where I can now imagine finishing the wagon. Which might sound shabby, but it makes all the difference. The fall air has everyone building–fixing a leaky roof, building a shelf, installing a new wood stove. The feeling of fall gives me energy, makes me want to hoard food and chop wood. But this year it scares me as well because winter is coming, and being able to clearly imagine being finished isn’t enough to keep me from feeling uneasy when the air starts feeling cold.
Today, however, it is warm, hot [...]

the marauder’s guide to “wagenplätze,” continued

And then the questions kept coming. If you didn’t read part one of this question and answer, you can find it here . Otherwise, here are some more detaily details about living in a wagon community with a whole bunch of people.
What about animals?
There are at least as many animals here as there are people, wild and otherwise. And they make for good argument fodder, tell you what. When I moved to Mainz, there were two dogs and three cats. The dogs were used to the cats, everybody ran around free, and even though the [...]

ulcer, thy name is visa, part the second

Even the extra week didn’t help, and I couldn’t have gotten the paperwork together in time anyway. My checklist said I needed a copy of my birth certificate issued within the last six months. To do that I had to send away to the States, to a company that refused to actually send me the birth certificate, no that would be too simple, but who instead insisted on sending it to my American credit card billing address, in America.
Then Ms. Handbasket came to visit and we burned bibles and made music and tore up the town, and I [...]

ulcer, thy name is visa

I have known that this day was coming for three years. The day the Ausländerbehörde (“aliens department” as the online dictionary so ominously translates it) issued my last visa, I left the office thinking vaguely of the day when I would have to come back with a new stack of papers, take a number, and stand in another 6 levels of lines and waiting rooms. But the image was hazy. Three years sounds like such a long time.
Well, it isn’t. With three years and two visas worth of harrowing experience to prepare me, you’re probably thinking, [...]

the marauder’s guide to “wagenplätze”

I have been exchanging emails with a soon-to-be Frankfurter who, through his questions, has made me realize that despite all my winding narrative attempts, I’ve left a lot of unanswered questions about wagenplätze for the detail-oriented and the seriously curious. So here is a detailed question and answer with some of the most common questions I get about wagenplatz life.
So what the hell is a Wagenplatz?
The short answer is that a wagenplatz is an intentional community in which people live together on a piece of land in a variety of wheeled dwellings.
Most of these dwellings are what [...]