Tag Archive | German

Expanding my German vocabulary

Before moving to France, my German vocabulary consisted of about three phrases: “schnell,” “Guten Tag,” and “Heil, Hitler.” Apparently I learned it from World War II movies. Oh wait, there was also “Danke Schoen.” I guess I can thank Wayne Newton for that one. Once we were in France, we had to make a couple of trips to Germany, so I was compelled to learn a few more phrases. Helpful things like, “Ich spreche keine deutsch.” (I don’t speak German). German has never been high up on my language-learning totem pole. But I recently learned a new phrase that is kind of fun: holz hausen. “Holtz how-zen.” My understanding is that it means “wood house.” Like, a house for wood.

A few weeks ago we got slammed with an ice storm that took down trees and limbs like crazy. (German for tree: baum. Thank you, Christmas songs).

Frosty lives to see another day

This monster fell across our driveway, all the way across our neighbor’s yard into their driveway, where it smashed the back of their car. The neighbor took his chainsaw to it a few days later, which resulted in this:

Heap o' wood

We didn’t want to store it up on the porch, because that’s where we keep our seasoned firewood and obviously this stuff is very, very green. I don’t even know how I came across it, but I found an article on a unique way to stack firewood that apparently originated in the mountains of Germany and Switzerland. (German for mountain: berg That one I must have learned through osmosis). Enter, the holz hausen. I showed Mr. Gren the article and he liked it, so we decided to construct one. Right after Mr. Gren split all that wood.


First, we made a 7′ diameter ring with scrap lumber and lined the inside with bark to keep the wood up off the ground.

Ring around the... pole.

Then we started stacking the split logs around the ring, one layer at a time. More or less.

Das ist gut.

Once it was about three feet high, we dropped in several more splits to fill up the middle, then laid two poles across for stability while building the next story. But Mr. Gren needed to split more wood and wasn’t up to doing any more that day. A couple of days later, he was feeling especially industrious and split the remaining wood and finished up the rest of the holz hausen all by himself.

Little hut

Complete with bark shingled roof to help keep out the rain

Isn’t it cute? It ended up being a little over 6′ tall. The wood won’t be ready to burn for several months, but in the meanwhile, this is a nifty way to store it. And we all learned some German to boot. Tschüss!