This is how he did it! It all began
soon after Thanksgiving when he and I went out to our woods to search for moss.
It had to be the right kind - soft and easy to lift out of the ground. Some
of it had tiny plants growing on it or little groups of red-tipped fungi that
was perfect to make the krippe meadows and mountains lifelike. This moss
filled two or three boxes - we were very careful not to allow dirt to touch the
top of the moss.
Two weeks before Christmas, he began
to build a waist-high platform along one wall of the living room. On top of
the platform, he would arrange gnarled and tortured-looking pieces of Schlacken
or slag that he had found long ago. It had come from some old factory furnace
and he saved it from year to year to use in building the Krippe. He arranged
the Schlacken to make mountains and caves. He left flat places for meadows and
in the center, he placed a stable so that it was surrounded by the mountains.
Then he would wind colorful Christmas lights around the entire thing. It was
really pretty to see the lights peeking out from the caves and the mountain