Remembering Our Ancestors: Paul Heinrich Bücker

Last Sunday 37 years ago, (Great-) Grandpa Paul passed away in Gütersloh, Germany.

When Paul Heinrich Bücker was born on 26 January 1911 in Balve in the German Sauerland, both his father Josef Bücker and his mother Anna Hotmaker were 35 years old.  He had many brothers but only one sister, Auguste, or Gustchen for short, and she died fairly young.  They all missed her terribly; Paul named his first daughter after her.  From the quiet and beautiful Sauerland, the family moved into the Ruhrgebiet during the 1920s, most likely because Paul’s father had to find work in the city to feed his big family.  Times were hard in the Weimar Republic.

There, in the city of Dorsten, Paul grew into a man and married Anna von Hinten on 23 January 1939.  Paul moved his family out of the Ruhrgebiet to the more quiet Gütersloh close to the Teutoburg Forest – yes, the same area where the Cherusci Arminius (or rather, Hermann) beat the Romans in 9 AD -, where he worked for a private rehab clinic as a physiotherapist.  They had two daughters, one at the onset of WWII and the other when the war was over.  During the war Paul served in a medical unit in Danzig.

Paul with 2 grandchildren

In the late 1940s, Paul’s mother Anna, then widowed, lived with them for a few years in Gütersloh before she died in 1950.  His older daughter remembers well her ‘Strickoma’, and the time spent together.  Paul worked at the same place until he retired when he was 70 years old, so that would have been in 1981.

Paul with his wife Anni on a visit to Bremen, Germany, around 1975

Paul died of a heart attack only roughly two years later, on 12 July 1983, in Gütersloh, and lies buried there, see picture below.  His wife Anny followed him fourteen years later.

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Here, Paul and his wife Anny lie buried, together with their son-in-law Ingo Hain, whose 51st birthday it would have been on the day this picture was taken, 12 July 2020.

Rest in Peace, dear Opi.  You had a big heart, and from you, I first learned about Goethe’s Faust, the music of Richard Wagner, and why it is a good idea to eat smoked ham sandwiches with knife and fork.  You also were the most cunning Easter-egg-hider in the family!

We love you, and we miss you.

Paul liked to visit the harbor in Bremen. Here he is watching the ships being loaded and unloaded, in 1982.


Connie’s Baked Onion

Enjoy this episode of “Connie’s Camp Cooking” and glean various yummy recipes.

Lonnie and Connie from ‘Far North Bushcraft And Survival’ – they are located in Alaska – uploaded a campfire cooking video that we found both entertaining and informative.  Yesterday we tried the onion recipe and it turned out very delicious indeed.  Her sweet potato bread is next!

For her baked onion, Connie cuts the onion into wedges (as shown in the featured image), puts butter between the wedges and a bouillon cube in the middle, wraps and seals it all with aluminum foil and then just bakes it in the coals.  We did the same, but put the onion into the oven together with a bunch of oven potatoes and baked it all for an hour or so at 350ºF.

For the bread, Connie uses equal amounts of flour and cooked sweet potato (or pumpkin) mash and some salt, mixes it together until it can be rolled out or formed into patties, and then fries it in butter in a skillet.

But watch her do it, it’s much better than just reading about it.  And note her cobbler recipe that is printed in the video description.

Classical Sunday: By the Brook

Welcome May! Nature’s music once more on this beautiful Sunday morning in our neck of the woods.

Spring in the woods.  Is there a better place to be on earth?

We are indeed people of the woods, with our families coming out of the hills of the Appalachian and the Harz mountains.  Old hills…

This is what the little water fall looks like this weekend.

Enjoy your first May weekend.

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Herbal Household Remedies: Mint

Most plants of the mint family have a wonderful fragrance and can be used in various ways. Check out this link to find out more.

Here is an interesting article on the OFA‘s website about mint and its uses.  If you have some in your yard, you know just how prolific all the mint family plants are.  Make use of them instead of fighting them as ‘weeds’!


How do you use extra mint leaves? Here are 12 marvelous uses for mint around the home and garden—from culinary to medicinal to mouthwash to bug repellent!

All images on this post are straight from the article we are linking to, only slightly edited

Classical Sunday: Listen to the Cardinals

One more concert of the natural kind. 

Listen to our northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) singing in the woods.


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Trillium. This one is most likely going to be white. We’ll see in a little while.

Herbal Household Remedies: Dandelion

“Dandelions are Nature’s way of giving dignity to weeds!”

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) grows in abundance all over the fruited plains.  It’s a perennial with deeply cut leaves forming a basal rosette in the spring and flower heads born on long, hollow, milk-sapped stalks.  Both leaves and flower stems grow directly from the rootstock.  The root itself is surprisingly long, going straight into the ground.  Its root is one of the reasons why dandelion leaves are so healthy: The plant pulls its nutrients from deep in the soil and thus is chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc.


Dandelion tea is for good for hypertension (high blood pressure):  In the spring, dandelion leaves and roots produce mannitol which is used in the treatment of high blood pressure and a weak heart.  A tea made from dandelion roots and leaves is good to take during this period, from about mid-March to mid-May.  In this tea, both root and leaves should be used fresh.

Dandelion tea also helps reduce fever during childhood infections like mumps, measles and chicken pox, and is excellent for upper respiratory infections like chronic bronchitis and even pneumonia.  For this tea, dried roots and leaves are used.

Below are the two tea recipes, the first for high blood pressure, the second for childhood infections.

Dandelion Tea for Hypertension

For dandelion tea, bring one quart of water to a boil, reduce heat and add about 2 Tbl cleaned and chopped fresh roots.  Simmer for 1 minute, covered, then remove from heat and add 2 Tbl chopped, freshly picked leaves.  Steep for 40 minutes.  Strain and drink 2 cups per day.

Dandelion Tea for Childhood Infections and Upper Respiratory Infections

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil.  Reduce heat and add 2 1/2 Tbl dried, cut dandelion root and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 3 tsp dried, cut leaves.  Steep for half an hour.  Strain and sweeten with 1 tsp of pure maple syrup or 1 tsp of blackstrap molasses per cup of tea and give to the child, lukewarm, every 5 hours or so until the fever breaks and the lung congestion clears up.


Disclaimer: The author is not an medical professional, nutritionist, or dietitian. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for legal or medical advice, or medical treatment or diagnosis. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product or beginning a new health regimen. When wildcrafting or foraging for plants, do so ethically and always have absolute certainty of plant identification before using or consuming any herbs. By using any or all of this information, you do so at your own risk. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

Poesie: Wordsworth’s Daffodils

Cherish your memories.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

~ William Wordsworth

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Not exactly a host of daffodils, but enough to remind us of Wordsworth’s well-known poem.  Methinks it’s message is really rather relevant in this day and age.

Herbal Household Remedies: Home

Home is where the heart is.

Among all the news about Covid 19 and the recent developments in Italy, the tidbit that struck me the most was that having to stay home purportedly took the joy right out of life for many Italians.

It makes me wonder.  How common is it that people do not actually like to be home?  Do people not like their families, significant others or pets, for that matter, well enough to actually spend time with them?  What’s wrong with staying home that it would deprive people of what makes life worth living?

I guess the thrust of my health-considerations for today is clear by now:  How healthy can it be to call a place ‘home’ that you don’t actually like to be at?  Where do people prefer to spend their time that being home is experienced as such a burden?

Here is something to consider:  Many people even of our grandparent’s generation still spent most of their life living in the same area, and most of their days in or around the house or homestead.  In fact, for by far the larger chunk of human history, spending time with your family or clan was the normal, traditional way of life.  Neither extensive circles of friends, nor many hours spent shopping or being entertained otherwise, nor extensive travel were part of people’s lives, surely not on a regular basis.  Consequently, people were a lot less concerned about other people’s business and a lot more concerned with their own, and put a good bit of effort into making their living place a home indeed.

Every crisis is also an opportunity.  Maybe we can use this pandemic to reconsider our lifestyles and turn our houses into homes again, places where we love to spend time rather than places that we flee.  It’s the way our ancestors lived.

Home is where the heart is.  If you do not have a home, where, pray tell, is your heart?

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Happy puppy

Barbie Adventures: Meet the dos Santos Family

You like Barbies? Then read this!

This is the dos Santos family.  When the above picture was taken, they were at Great Wood National Park, OH.

The dos Santos Family:

Magnus, 24 yrs old:

Magnus is an artist who paints for an art museum, likes dogs, trees, and especially his daughter Vicky.  He does not like mosquitoes at ALL.  Magnus enjoys going on vacations with his family to Ohio or the Amazon River, and also makes board games and reads out loud to Victoria.  When he was a boy, he carved little dogs from wood and played with them when he wasn’t shooting his BB gun, scaring off bunnies.  Magnus owns a short haired chestnut Chihuahua named Tipper .

Antonia (née Azúl), 23 yrs old:

Antonia is a passionate home baker and teacher who likes cooking, pizza, and stuffies (commonly known as stuffed pets).  She hates spoiled pork tenderloins, as you can imagine!  In her spare time, she plays with Victoria, bakes cupcakes, and writes stories.  Strawberry, Antonia’s white long-haired cat, always lies under the kitchen table when the oven is on and tasty smells waft through the house.  When Antonia was little, she had at least 200 dolls which she collected herself.

Their Daughter Victoria Aethelflaed, 3 yrs old:

Victoria, or Vicky for short, likes dolls, bouncy balls, and dogs, but she does not like Neapolitan Mastiffs.  When she grows up, Victoria wants to be a dog breeder!  Her favorite foods are pizza and hamburgers.
Vicky has 2 friends:  Alyssa Neana and Coral Oyster, whom you will meet in a later post.

Antonia’s Mother:

“Whee!” Riding in Hana’s car is fun!

Mrs. Lea (née Calcetín) Azúl, 43 yrs old: 

Mrs. Azúl is a retired jeweler who likes jewelry, of course, old times, and bean soup, and hates Elvis music.  When she was 18, she got her first car and as a result, likes to ride in Hana’s car.  Hana and her sister Kimi are friends of the dos Santos family whom you will hear about in a later post.
As you can imagine, Mrs. Lea loves to play with her granddaughter Vicky.

Antonia’s Sister:

“What a nice spring breeze!”

Rosette Azúl, 18 yrs old:

Rosette is a famous prima ballerina who has danced Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Odette/ Odile in Swan Lake.  She likes classical music – obviously! -, Pom pups, and cheeseburger pizza, but she hates Depreepy music with a hateful hate!  Her lyrics of her most hated song are: “Roast Beef…… And soo on it goes, On and on, On and on!”  She thinks it is CrAzY!  In her spare time she plays the flute with Anty (Antonia) and Mag-Tag (Magnus).  When Rosette was two years old, she rode a motorcycle!

In our next post, we will introduce some of Antonia’s and Magnus’ friends.

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