Good morning everyone. As I am once more across the country-  here is my first guest  from The Fellowship: Gerlinde.  We are beginning our international small farm tour in Germany. She writes, cooks and travels over at her blog The Sunny Covegerlinde21

I am tickled to be asked to post here, as The Kitchengarden has become one of my favorite blogs. Reading about Cecilia’s life on her farm reconnects me with my childhood on our family farm in the middle of Germany.  It brings back memories that have been pushed aside by living in the United States for so many years. During those years, I went home to Germany to visit my parents and the rest of my family as often as I could. Once I retired from teaching, and my mom’s health started to fail, my visits became more frequent. Last year, I must have spent three and a half months in Germany.gerlinde-1

Our farm has been in the family for generations. When my dad married my mom, he took over the farm from my maternal grandfather. We had a dairy, as well as pigs, chickens, geese and other farm animals. As a farmer, my father grew wheat, sugar beets and potatoes. The beets were delivered to the nearby factory to be made into sugar, and the milk went to to a local creamery. I have early childhood memories of sitting on a tractor with my dad and selling eggs with my grandfather to the local store. As a child, we often played in the village and would escape to the forest when the adults had chores for us. Life was free and full of adventures.


When I was 15, I went to boarding school for a better educatIon. As my father got older, the hard  work took a toll on his body and he had to quit farming at the age of 55. My brother had to find another way to make a living because farming in Germany was no longer profitable. So, he became a hobby farmer. To this day, he raises sheep and any stray animals that come his way. The picture shows him with some orphaned wild pigs that he raised until they were released back into the forest. My nephew’s wife brought home a  rescue goat named Lenin and some tame geese for her children. She also has two horses.gerlinde 4


In our village, the era of the self-sustainable farm is over. There is still one farmer who farms his land with large machines. And there is only one dairy left. Instead of growing their own food, most people go the supermarket. My mother’s beautiful vegetable garden has become grazing land for the sheep and horses. Maybe one day, the old way of living off the land will return. The neighboring villages have a few smaller farms that sell their produce at the local farmer’s market. Some have turned old barns into cafes. Homemade sausages and cheeses are sold on roadside stands. There will always be people like Cecilia all over the world who will find alternatives to large scale farming

gerlinde 5

Cecilia asked me to post a recipe for potato pancakes. You can find the recipe on my blog here

Have a wonderful day

89 Comments on “Gerlinde

  1. Thank-you, Gerlinde! Your photos are lovely and reminded me how much I love the villages and countryside of Germany. Now I’m going to pop over to your blog… 😊

  2. Lovely photos! The top photo, with the rainbow and the horse, is so pretty. 🙂

    It’s a shame to hear that people mostly get their produce from supermarkets now. Do you have a tradition of markets in Germany, like the wonderful fruit and veg markets in countries like Italy and France?

    • The photo was taken in the back of the farm and the horse belongs to my nephew’s wife. There are farmer’s markets everywhere and produces are being sold on roadside stands. I like going to the markets . Our market nearby has wonderful bread, homemade cheeses , plants and flours .

  3. Nice to see where other Fellows live …. and even better the pancake recipe. I always have one of these with apple sauce at our Oktoberfes every year! Laura

  4. oh my! oh my! that was sheer delight…whta wonderful photographs of such beautiful scenery… Thank you Gerlinde. ( Would your brother like to have a stray Bulgarian dog that I am trying to find a home for)

  5. Look at those wild piggies, how different from our Sheila and Poppy, but just as happy for their food 🙂 Thank you for sharing your photos and your story.

  6. What a joy this was to read this morning, Gerlinde. Thank you for sharing your German farm, family, animals, experiences, and perspective – not to mention the potato pancakes. 🙂 It is sad to see this way of life diminishing all over the world, but, your words and tone carry some hope for the future of farming, however it may become.

    • Thank you Penny, I think there is always hope and people like miss C. I’m going to post a recipe for Schnitzel in a couple of days.

  7. Thank you Gerlinde. Wonderful pictures of life in Germany during your visits. It looks beautiful there. I noticed that you live in Santa Cruz. My husband’s mother lived there when she was alive, in a small apartment right on the coast, overlooking the Pacific, down a steep drop off when a clinging evergreen tree that looked like it would fall into the ocean at any minute. It was a breathtaking view straight from her living room. We have some artwork done by a local artist in Santa Cruz of the city that was hers. It always makes me smile when I look at it. Thank you for the recipe. Can’t wait to try it. Bill loves all things hashbrowns/potatoe pancakes.

    • Hi Kim, I love living in Santa Cruz. I can’t figure out where your mother’s apartment was ? Was it near the Boardwalk ?

      • My mistake, she lived on Opal Cliff Dr. by Jade Street Park. It was my husband’s mother. I was sad when they sold the property. 🙂

  8. Thanks for that, I used to be able to write a bit in German, but I will not embarrass myself today. Ok, I’m psyched to once again, or maybe not, ruin a bunch of potatoes because the way I remember no flour was used and Gramma had a way with the eggs. The pancakes had a greyness to them like Norwegian kumla. ( a dumpling) boiled in ham stock and covered in melted butter. Feed the goats and off to the kitchen now. Blessings to you Gerlinda and Celia.

    • Dumplings are on my ” to do list”. Raw, peeled potatoes turn grey when exposed to air but they still taste good.

  9. Wonderful to read about life in Germany, and your family there! Thank you!!!

  10. What a delightful post, Gerlinde! Your narration of life in Germany reminded me of stories my Danish grandfather used to tell us of life in Denmark. It is not so surprising that people who had a life of hard physical work, wear out in their 50’s and 60’s. But I often think a life well-lived doing what one loves – especially with animals, is a most rewarding life. I love the photo of your brother feeding the wild pigs. Thank you for sharing with us this morning! It is always fascinating to hear about life in other regions.

    • I am also fascinating reading about life in other countries. My father worked hard, he continued a tradition but realized that it became harder as times changed.

  11. Hello Gerlinde, your family farm reminds me very much of my grandparent’s farm in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. It also has that shape of two red roofed houses joined by a gate house with a loft. I’m in Europe a great deal over the year but have never made it back to that farm house, (where now my cousins live). Now I want to try to get back there soon. 😀 Thank you so much for sharing; I’m off to visit your blog and compare my potato pancake recipe with yours. 😀

    • When Germany was reunited in 1989, my sister in law’s family got their old farm back. That farm is within walking distance of the Slovak Republic and not far from the polish border. It is called the three country corner . The country side is gorgeous but there is not much else going on. I hope you can visit one day and see your family farm.

  12. Great guest post, Gerlinde! My family is also from Germany, and my mother grew up on a farm near the Baltic Sea. As you mentioned, the days of farming your own land for a living are clearly over, but we still enjoy the opportunity to visit the land there from time to time.

  13. Wild pigs! How adorable! Did they adapt to being wild animals again? Pigs are so intelligent I wondered what the process is to de-habituate them.

  14. How wonderful to wake up in California and walk with The Fellowship around a wee farm in Germany. I honestly still think there is hope for little farms all over the world. If i can do a tiny land grab and feed myself and my family I KNOW there must be many people out there who might do the same. It can be done. You never know what the next generation can achieve. Thank you so much Gerlinde for this lovely story, and your pictures. it has been a real pleasure to host you today. celi

    • Thanks Celi, I hope you’re having a good time in California and thank you for letting me share my childhood home.

      • There are plenty of veggie growing and lamb, pig and chook holding around our farm in Southwest France. All is not gone here. They keep on keeping on. Wonderful to see. I can count on two hands “retired” farmers in their seventies an eighties still working the land because they love it. You can’t stop them.

  15. Absolutely stunning photos. It’s incredibly sad to read about the vanishing farms in Germany. Even no more vegetable gardens. Hopefully this will reverse itself one day and the next generation will rediscover the goodness of garden grown produce.

  16. Hello Gerlinde, we live in northern CAlifornia. What beautiful pics, love seeing the German countryside. Those pigs are so cute. My husband’s grandfather and family are from Germany. Mine from Italy. Visiting Europe is on our bucket list. Thanks so much for sharing. Hope Cecilia is having fun, too. Thanks for the recipe and I will come visit your blog. Blessings.

  17. Have you consultation on schnitzel? We are mad about schnitzel. Great for kids, quick, easy, pound meat …. what’s not to love? I’m pounding blind over here. any tips?

    • I will post the recipe for Schnitzel in a couple of days. I have small cutting boards and dull knives , kids love to help…. or have them stuff some celery with peanut butter and decorate with raisins for snacks.

      • Ants on a log! I forgot about those. Peanut butter is hard to find and expensive when you do. So, I make it in my blender 🙂

  18. Lovely post. Many of us connected via The Farmy are also connected by farming family links. I too have great memories of a childhood farm, my grandparents’, which is now owned by a lovely woman who rescues stray animals! I like to support farmers-growers-producers so love markets, independent local shops, etc. Your photos were wonderful, I have Prussian ancestry from my Mum’s family, and the G.O.’s great grandmother was German 🙂

    • It is so much fun connecting via The Farmy . I hope that one day our farm and village comes back to life with animals and farming.

  19. Hey Gerlinde … wonderful to read about your life in Germany. I do so hope that the old way of living off the land may return 🙂 Thank you for sharing …

  20. Gerlinde, your photos brought back memories of the time I lived and worked in Wiesbaden during the early 70s! Potato pancakes sound interesting. I am on my way to check them out!

  21. Thank you for sharing your childhood memories of life in Germany Gerlinde, it was so refreshing! Hopefully more people will get back to living and working their own small farms like Celi has – and making it work! Yes, it’s hard work but the self-satisfaction must be huge.
    Your photos reminded me of my own childhood when I lived in Germany for two years in Sennelager, near Paderborn (my father was a soldier in the British Army at the time). I went to school there and loved the area, so pretty and surrounded by countryside and forests – a child’s wonderland!

  22. Hi, Gerlinde! Thank you for a fascinating peak into your life in Germany. Of course, the first photo knocks me out. And your home so charming. I love that little goat too. Who are the young women in that photo? Your brother’s such a good guy for taking in strays! I’m wondering what and where you taught. Was this in California?
    I have such fond memories of visiting Germany. Beautiful country. I’m not much of a cook. I use the excuse that I’m Irish, which of course, enrages Irish women. But with a diabetic husband, everything is plain plain plain. Little impetus to cook. But I’m so tempted to try potato pancakes! Thank you for sharing so much of your life, and please accept my very belated condolences in the loss of your Mom.

    • That little goat’s name is Lenin and the girls are from the village. I worked in a school for handicapped children in Germany and taught first grade In California. I loved it.

    • That little goat is called Lenin and the girls are from the village. I worked with handicapped children in Germany and taught first grade in California. I loved it.

  23. Illuminating story and great photos: wonderful to get to know you a little better! Seemingly being kind’of a grossmutter to the farmy community I have to admit having lived some five years in Germany after WWII but even further south than Wiesbaden 🙂 ! Ere my parents migrated to Australia I lived both in Freudenstadt in Schwarzwald and then three years in a US Refugee Camp in idyllic Geislingen/Steige near Ulm or Stuttgart whichever way one wanted to travel . . . for parents a difficult time, for children a wonderland!! Thank you for your story . . . so, so enjoyed!!

  24. Danke, Gerlinde. My father’s parents were from Schleswig-Holstein, both Pruessan, not sure where my mother’s German ancestors were from though. I saw a photo once of the tiny house my grandmother Engel and her family lived in (16 people lived in that very tiny house). It was in an open grassy rather flat place which looked like it was probably windy. I wish I knew where that was, the person that had the photo had promised to send me one with the location, but never did. Your family farm is beautiful, such a shame that it isn’t possible to actually survive farming there. The Kartoffelpuffer is the same recipe both sides of my family used, Grandma used to call them kartoffelfankuchen (her spelling), she always retained a German accent, Grandpa didn’t. Lovely to see your childhood home.

  25. In some regions of Germany the potato pancakes are called Kartoffelphfannkuchen. Schleswig-Holstein is windy and flat, if you have more information on that house I could try to help you locate this place.

    • For my Frankfurt(er) Mami, Kartoffelpuffer – hmmmmmmyummm! Wonderful post, Gerlinde, and hallo to you from Frankfurt! Behrensen, had to look it up: near Hameln? What a lovely village. How I would love to live in the country! No wonder your kind brother found orphaned Frischlinge (baby wild pigs), seeing as how the village is located between Schweineberg, Saupark and Naturwald Saubrink!! – Enjoyed your post. All the best to you!

      • Hi Nuri, I think you got another Behrensen. My little village is now part of a town called Moringen. We are near Nörten Hardenberg and Northeim. You drive through our forest when you are on the Autobahn. We are still a village , only the address has changed. I am sorry about that.

        • Danke, Gerlinde, found it! Amidst fields and forests and beautifully uncrowded!

  26. Thank you for sharing your story, Gerlinde. I am in N. NSW, Australia, and I try wherever possible to support the Aussie farmers and also buy as local as possible. In our area small farms and hobby farms are becoming more and more popular, with many farmers markets taking off in the last few years. I was born in England and still retain my London accent (I’m told) and my father in law came from Austria and never lost his accent. I love your photos. Similar to English countryside. Joy

    • Hi Joy, I’m so glad that you support the small farms. I love going to markets wherever I am. I still have a german accent , I’m ok with that , I just wish I could write a little better.

  27. Such a beautiful post, Gerlinde. Thank you so much for taking care of us today. I’m quite addicted to Celi’s blog…so it’s great to have it keep coming. It’s sad about the way the farming is going in Germany…really sad. Speaking of needing to go home and visit mothers, I need to get back to the States to visit mine. Take good care of yourself. x

  28. Hello Gerlinde. Such a delight reading and hearing about the farm and Germany. It is sad that so many family farms are gone. My dad and his family moved to “town” and ran a boarding house so all the children could go to school other than the one room school house he attended and to go to college. They still had gardens and chickens. So many of the small towns in east Texas have shrunk and almost disappeared as the young have little way of earning a living (and everyone wants all the newest things now.) Dad worked and saved so in retirement he could return to the farm and do what he loved there.
    I see some younger people gaining interest in farming – it’s hard to learn if you weren’t born into it, but they persist. With more of the population wanting healthy organic foods and wanting to buy local at farmers’ market, maybe there’s hope for small farming ….outdoors is a pretty nice luxury and is as entertaining as a lot of electronic “stuff”! Cecilia is so good at spreading the word (as well as the reality)
    Really enjoyed reading your post

  29. I often had discussions with my sister in law’s father about todays farming. He would tell me how the price of milk and wheat had not been raised while the animal feed and machines to farm had tripled. Farming has changed over the years in so many ways. We need more people like Celi who are committed to clean and healthy farming .

  30. Gerlinde, I enjoyed your story and the photos. How sad that small farming is being squeezed out.

  31. That first photo looks magical! Thank you for sharing. It was fun going to a different place.

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