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The storm before the calm came

Suddenly we’re having Swiss high summer, 25 – 30 ° days with the odd bang and crash of thunder in the evening.  Although that sounds quite tropical, the difference is the lack of humidity  –  even with that heat you can get out and about without turning into a little puddle of perspiration.

We had a shortish bike-ride the other day  through some of our favourite tracks – hardening up our bottoms after a few weeks’ soft living. 

All the wet weather had produced high fields of grass – and with a promise of several dry hot days, everyone was making hay.  On one side of the road – the farmer with his big mower.  Look across the road to the grass lying there.

She was making hay from her front lawn, the old fashioned way.

And in the next paddock, a typical hand-guided mower.

These are the ones you see all over the hill-country. People walk them along  hillsides which, to me, seem impossibly steep.  But that way the farmer can cut the grass and take it to the cows, rather than let them loose on such fields.

Such a life the cows have here   …  grass brought to them,  mechanised brushes in the yards for them to scratch their backs with,  little braces to shape their horns beautifully (true!), and of course bells.   The first drive I took in the country and saw cows in the fields all wearing bells as a matter of course, I could hardly wait for the car to stop so I could take a photo.   It’s not all herds all the time, but so ordinary it’s now unremarkable and I don’t even have a current photo.

Update; I DID find a cow photo – rear end view but there’s a bell visible

Waking up in the morning to hear the 6am church bells (that’s the big wake-up call), and then the cow bells from the orchard field next door, I know I’m here.

Not a cow – but a sheep with bell, under Hans’ cherry tree this morning – yes, you can guess what we were up to!

We did our own harvesting on that bike-ride too.

The lime/linden trees are in full bloom. We picked some to make tea, but then found a neighbour had a dreadful cold.  Lindenblossom tea is highly recommended for a cold – so guess where ours went.  We’ll get more.

The Johanneskraut (St Johns Wort) was also flowering, so that’s now processing, the flowers marinating in oil in the sun to make a skin-soothing oil, and the leaves in alcohol in the dark to make a tincture.

We gathered willow-bark too, stripping and chopping it for a tincture. So all in all… a great hunting and gathering, and yes, our backsides are fine!

St Johns Wort and Great Mullein