On the farm

After the weekend, we go to stay with Käthe and Herbert for a few days. They live in an old farmhouse in the Altes Land, south of the Elbe. It’s a fruit farm, growing apples, pears, plums, and probably a few other kinds of fruit in small quantities. Like many small European farms it’s 100% organic, with three modern windmills providing some of its electrical power needs.

Herbert speaks some English, but is self-taught, and a little hard of hearing. Käthe’s English is better. Still, I can’t help thinking that if I’d known that one day I’d be spending time in a farmhouse in Germany, I’d have paid more attention in German lessons. Not that it would have helped that much—when they’re talking to each other, Herbert and Käthe speak Plat Deutsch, modern Low German. It sounds like a mix of German and Middle English.

So I find myself surrounded by German and dialects of German, and for a while it makes my brain hurt. By late afternoon my language processing regions have spent hours trying to decode the strange noises around me and are tired out.