Saturday, July 27, 2013

We visit the palace gardens Harbke

Today we visited the former border town Harbke with the romantic palace gardens, a manor and the palace church.
The manor was built in 1308 as a medieval round castle in renaissance style and redesigned in the 18th century in baroque style.
Here they cultivated foreign woods and close to the church you can find which is probably the oldest ginkgo in Germany. It was planted in 1759 and it's very comfortable to sit in. (Fotos 3 und 4)

We also looked at the different sculptures in the park, how exciting! Even Goethe visited in 1805 and studied the wild breeding of trees.

On Sunday we were allowed to be there for the honey harvest.
First the honey combs were opened with a special fork. The opened combs are extracted in the honey separator and at the bottom the yummy sweet honey comes flowing out.

We had an exciting time and learned a lot.
Now we have to say goodbye as we have another trip planned.
All the best, Hans and Paul.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A day with bees

Our hosts have 3 colonies of bees. Yesterday we were allowed to come for inspection. It was really exciting, we were even promised to be received in audience with the queen. We were so nervous!
First we had a look around the entrances. Here you could watch the bees entering and exiting. There was heavy air traffic.
Such a colony always has a guard at the entrance; they're taking care that no predator like wasps or strange bees are coming in.
Many bees had yellow back legs, which is the pollen load (although the German name for that is much funnier, pollen trousers), the beekeeper told us. When looking for nectar the pollen get stuck to the back legs, are brought into the beehive and stored in the honeycomb. Pollen is the "bread" for the bees.
Then we watched the bees in a different hive, can you see the orange pollen load? In this hive they're rearing a new colony of bees. The beekeeper found a queen cell in a different colony. It's where the new queen is growing. This queen cell is put into a different hive together with bees, feeding combs and brood cells. That's how you have a new queen for the next year as they're getting older and don't lay as many eggs. So exciting!
Then we opened the first colony. So many bees! Right now you can find around 40.000 bees in a well developed colony. The bees like to build wildly in the hive when they find the space. Have a look, that's what it's like.
 We also looked closer at a brood comb. Here you can see freshly laid eggs, larvae and closed cells. The shiny bit in the honey comb on the photo are little bee larvae which are growing and looked after by the nursing bees. The little larvae are fed with a feeding juice, which is mainly pollen but also nectar.
 We were amazed at how busy the bees were, everybody seems to have a job around here. You can also see the male bees, they're bigger and can't sting.
And then the big moment came: the queen!!!
 This one is easily recognised as she has a marking on the back. This is a backfast queen, which is the name of the bee and both beekeepers were impressed. An amazing animal! During summertime she lays up to 2.000 eggs daily! Astonishing, isn't it? And so that she doesn't fly away the beekeeper looks for queen cells. They are removed or put into a different hive to create a new colony.
In the honey combs behind us you can see it shining yellow, that's the honey! Yummy! The queen had to leave quite soon, must be very busy!
Next week we're allowed to watch the honey separation and help with it, let's see how that's going to be! We'll be in touch!
See you then,
Hans and Paul.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Welcom to Beckendorf

 Hi there,
we have arrived safely here in Beckendorf and welcomed by a w
arm hearted family. There is even a real knight in this area, but see for yourself!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

We visit Kaufungen

Today we are visitin Kaufungen, a smal town nex to Kassel.
 Kaufungen has a nice museum. It is located in this blue and white old half-timber house. 
Unfortunately it was closed.
Inside of the frontgarden is a big bug house and a huge herb garden. Besides the main house is a smaler half-timber house. There is a seminar hous for children to work like as it used to be.
In the northan part of Hesse are a lot of hiking path. Here are two signs of  hiking path and a resting area for hikers. We took a smal brake and enjoyed the nice summer day...
Kaufungen is a 1000 years old town. Here are a long old stables.
In 1017 Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor and his queen Kunigunde of Luxemburg founded Kaufungen Abbey, a Benedictine convent, perched on the steep edge of the Losse valley above what is now the centre of Oberkaufungen. Upon the death of her husband, Kunigunde entered the convent, and lived there until her death in 1033 or 1039. The Reformation brought the closure of the convent in 1527, but the large church (the Stiftskirche) is still standing and in use as a parish church today. At various points in its history, Kaufungen has been a local centre for mining, glass-making, charcoal burning, forestry and paper manufacture.
The farming settlement of Niederkaufungen, situated slightly downriver where the narrow Losse valley begins to open out into the wide, flat plain of the Fulda, is of more recent origin. In 1970 the villages of Nieder- and Oberkaufungen formally merged to form the present municipality. Since 1974, the Stiftskirche has played host to the Kaufunger Konzerte series of classical music concerts. (Wikipedia)
This is the Stiftskirche.
This is a memorial stone for Kunigunde.
Next to the church is a sign with a fairy-tale written on it. The region of Kassel and Kaufungen are the homeland of the Grimm Brothers.
This is the inner courtyard of the Stiftshof next to the Stiftskirche. At summertime here takes place a lot of concerts and other events.
Behind the Stiftshof is a nice old garden. We make a smal brake and enjoyed the natur.
Here was the old cloister.
This is a portrait of Kunigunde
This is the info board under Kunigundes portrait.
Do you finde us sitting on the funny door of the cloister.
This is a beautiful traditional hand-carved door.
Have a look at the nice town Kaufungen. There are a lot of old half-timber houses.
Kaufungen is build nex to the Losse a smal nice river
Also next to the Losse is also a sign with a fairy-tale.
In front of the townhall is a interesting monument. It shows four people which symbolize the old and the new citizen of the two neighbourhoods of Kaufungen named Oberkaufungen and Niederkaufunegn.