I’m going to try to show you what the Black Forest looks like. Unfortunately we saw no trolls, wolves, witches, urchins or elves this time but it could be that they only exist in fairy tales. We stayed on a working farm for five days, in our own modern apartment on the ground floor under the family’s quarters, with separate door and parking. We had a full kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom so we were completely outfitted for the stay. Unfortunately the expected WiFi didn’t work.

This farm was off the main road into the Black Forest a few miles, at the end of a well paved one lane road which became an unpaved access road for forestry and ranching activity. I think the entire region would be covered with thick forest had it not been cleared for meadows and farm animals, similar maybe to New Hampshire and Vermont. It’s too steep for farming. So the Black Forest is not all forest at all. There are villages all through it and a great deal of acreage has been cleared for human habitation. The forests are fully managed and logged. Some forest is privately owned and some state owned. Often enough, cities and villages have some ownership as well. Forestry is a very important occupation.

Our place is associated with the village of Stegen for postal reasons, but we never really had reason to go there, if there is a there. We drove a couple of times to a neighboring town of Kirchzarten for groceries and to catch the train, downward to Freiburg and upward to the resort area of Lake Titisee. We were pretty isolated. Our host is married to a Mädchen (lassie) from the next valley over. Their kids might well inherit the farm as it’s been in the family for hundreds of years. The owner is well educated in farming, has a degree in the subject and has been to the US to observe farming practices. They are no bumpkins. They are associated with organic farm organizations and have won numerous prizes of various sorts. Unfortunately they were too busy to spend much time with us. Farmers work morning to night, and the children have their chores, too. Grandma lives in the old house on the property, as does an uncle.

We were delighted to be in this environment and right at the forest edge with many trails to follow. We kept very busy.

For those who have not experienced a Ferienwohnung here’s a look around a modern one, built ten years ago for the young family.

Here's the front of the place. We're down below, beside our black car.

Here’s the front of the place. We’re down below, beside our black car.

The living room with TV

The living room with TV

Kitchen where we immediately began to spread out things.

Kitchen where we immediately began to spread out things.

Breakfast corner by the kitchen

Breakfast corner by the kitchen

Bedroom made up in a standard way. Comforters kept us warm on chilly nights.

Bedroom made up in a standard way. Comforters kept us warm on chilly nights.

Bathroom with heated towel rack, great in winter where it becomes the room heater.

Bathroom with heated towel rack, great in winter where it becomes the room heater.

Here are bits and pieces of the farm.

The horse stable directly across from us.

The horse stable directly across from us.

Here are some horses, or ponies.

Here are some horses, or ponies.

A covered rabbit pen, safe from hawks.

A covered rabbit pen, safe from hawks.

In with the rabbits

In with the rabbits

Eva likes them, too.

Eva likes them, too.

The bell once called the workers in for their meal.

The bell once called the workers in for their meal.

They belong to this organization that features full fat organic dairy products.

They belong to this organization that features full fat organic dairy products.

Before the day was over we took a walk up the forest road until light faded.

Some of their sheep.

Some of their sheep.

Some managed forest, selectively cut.

Some managed forest, selectively cut.

Up, up, up we went.

Up, up, up we went.

We passed neatly stacked split firewood, what the ranchers use in winter, if not all year.

We passed neatly stacked split firewood, what the ranchers use in winter, if not all year.

We met a family out exercising their horse.

We met a family out exercising their horse.

Next day we we went up in another direction, toward the meadow where the cows and horses hung out.

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Here we look down on our place on the left side.

Here we looked down on our place on the left side.

Near the top we get to rest

Near the top we got to rest

Another barn where the hobby pigeons roost.

Another barn where the hobby pigeons roost.

One day we took a closer view around the farm. The cows had come in for milking.

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Cows have friends. They like to hang out together, rub and lick one another.

Cows have friends. They like to hang out together, rub and lick one another.

The children liked to ride the cows at milking time.

The children liked to ride the cows at milking time.

Around a farm there is constant birthing, and probably dying, too. A horse gave birth the night before we left.

One of the cats recently had kittens.

One of the cats recently had kittens.

The dog was curious.

The dog was curious.

Here's a young calf.

Here’s a young calf.

Pigs, too

Pigs, too

Someone's riding one of the horses.

Someone’s riding one of the horses.

Our hostess and daughter at the cow barn.

Our hostess and daughter at the cow barn.

Here's a view from one of our walks looking toward Switzerland over to  the highest peaks in the Black Forest.

Here’s a view from one of our walks looking toward Switzerland over to the highest peaks in the Black Forest.

Well, that wraps up our farm stay. Let’s head off up into the higher reaches for the final post of our vacation.

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