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Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.

Betty Smith

Local bike-ride view: Fresh snow on the mountains, but spring in the fields.

Local bike-ride view: Fresh snow on the mountains, but spring in the fields.


A Horsetail shoot pushes through forcefully enough to take the moss with it.

Spring springs here in Switzerland.  Things thrust out of the ground as if propelled. Buds truly burst.   Flowers open as if in time-lapse photography.   It seems as if there is no time to waste to get on with the business of flowering and fruiting and setting seed, beIMG_8677_1cause winter cold must surely be just around the corner.

Only three weeks after I cut the scarlet runner beans off their frame in Kapiti and harvested some ripe pods for re-planting, those same beans have already pushed above the ground in Altenrhein.

Mind you, there were some dirty days between-times with emptying the compost bin, and mixing the fresh new goodness with the soil from last year’s pots (mainly the previous year’s compost) – and preparing for planting.


At the foot of our gingko tree

Somehow I feel the same urgency that nature does: get those tomatoes in as soon as the Ice Saints Days have passed.   Depending on what part of Europe you’re in, there are between three and five saints whose feast-days fall between May 11th and May 14th.   Those dates often coincide with a late spell of cold weather – hence the saints got their collective name of Eisheiligen – and farmers and gardeners take good note of their reputation.   It’s a little like Queen’s Birthday weekend being the “safe” time to plant tomatoes in New Zealand.

Now with the beans up, we’ve stuck the poles in place, and laid a strut from there to theIMG_6658t elder-tree – partly as steadying mechanism, partly as a further run for the runners, and partly for our furry friend!  Last year “our” squirrel used that strut to try to access the sunflower seeds from the bird feeder.  We think it’s the same little creature who was raiding the feeder the year before in the gingko tree.    And last week – could it be it’s the same chap or chappess bouncing round the lawn?



The earlier model bird feeder, lid knocked off and open to temptation.

got lid lifted

Got the lid up … now how to reach in….


Thinking of repeat visitors – last night a laubfrösch (leaf frog) appeared at the windowIMG_8686 – of
course more interested in catching the insects attracted by the light than in observing us.  It was small, even by laubfrösch standards, so more likely to be a youngster than the return of our visitor of a couple of years ago.

IMG_8682_1Back to the garden – we’re even harvesting already.  The alpine strawberries are giving us a handful of intense flavour each day.  Friends say they wouldn’t pick the berries from the forest edges any more, for fear of a nasty parasite that a passing fox might deposit on them.  We think ours, along the house-wall and path, are safe enough – though no doubt all sorts of wild things pass that way when we’re not in residence.

And while I’ve been planting flower-boxes, nature has been setting out her own array.



Even Rorschach’s busy rail yard flowers





Field flowersIMG_1403



The yellow iris in the foreground reminded me of a wonderful field of lilies by the lake (Bodensee). I was too late to walk among them this year. In the back are the old stalks of schilf,  with the new growth pushing through.


Sibirische Schwertlilie in the wetlands nature protection area by Bodensee (Lake Constance)


… And of course it wouldn’t be spring without a little of this… 


Weinberg snails with the joy of spring. These are a protected variety, so we left them to it, with our with encouragement.

Remember the quiet wonders. The world has more need of them than it has for warriors.

Charles de Lint