There Will Come Soft Rains

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
Sara Teasdale

My favourite Teasdale poem feels very relevant right now. Written during World War I, these beautiful verses fit into today’s situation, where many live in an anxious state of confinement.

Teasdale refers to spring’s awakening, which is what we’re experiencing here in the northern hemisphere at this moment and which makes the whole situation easier. Nature takes its course, despite the dealings of mankind.

I find the poem comforting; it’s a call not to despair, but to live in the here and now and enjoy the spring unfolding outside. Everything changes all the time, and soon the confinement will be over.

Soft rains, and the smell of the ground…

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Hug a Tree

The other day I went up to a beautiful clearing in the forest above the village, where my favourite tree stands. It is an old larch tree, a real survivor. Lightning struck and mutilated it years ago, but it’s still full of strength and life.
I hugged “my” tree for a long time, including friends and family in that warm embrace. What a wonderful moment of closeness and peace. It lifted up my whole day.
Inspired by this heart-warming experience I once again searched my garden for a tree to hug closer by. My oldest cherry tree stands on a steep slope so I had discarded it, but now I secured the path up and built a little plateau to stand on. Then I hugged this gnarled companion, and it was perfect.
In times when social and physical contacts are scarce, hugging a tree makes even more sense. It fills your body and mind with happiness and it really makes your heart gentle.

Moomin knows how good it feels to hug a tree

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Flower Colour Therapy

Finally the flower season has started here in the Alps. During hikes in forest and across meadows an abundance of shapes and colours meets the eye.
Flowers are not only wonderful to look at or examine, but they have an impact on our well-being too. Just as the colours you wear have an effect on your state of mind, flowers of different colours will influence you. This is the season to go out and enjoy all the wonderful flowers in nature, gardens, and parks. Let their energy strengthen you and bring you joy!

RED – Papaver rhoeas – Corn poppy
Material existence, vitality, passion

ORANGE – Calendula officinalis – Marigold
Creativity, compassion, desire, joy

YELLOW – Caltha palustris – Marsh marigold
Self-confidence, self-worth, self-esteem

GREEN – semprevivum tectorum – Common houseleek
Inner peace, generosity, love

BLUE – Myosotis arvensis – Forget-me-not
Understanding, communication, expression

INDIGO – Gentiana alpina – Alpine gentian
Intuition, wisdom, focus

VIOLET – Hepatica nobilis – Liverwort
Spirituality, clarity, faith

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V for Vitamins

In the midst of winter, when the cold bites your nose and your immune system urgently needs a boost: turn to carrots and oranges!
Already the colour of these winter staples spreads energy and joy. Orange is a stimulating colour, vibrant, and flamboyant, and best of all: oranges and carrots are packed with vitamin C and A, just what we need right now. For the nutrition value it’s best to eat them raw. The height of winter vitamin freshness is a salad of roughly grated carrots and small pieces of oranges, with a dressing with fresh mint. However there’s so much more to be made with carrots and oranges. Here are two of my favourite C&O recipes:

Orange Hummus
200 g chickpeas, pre-cooked
100 g carrots
1 orange (organic)
50 g tahini or 4 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
½ Tsp. salt
black pepper
1 Tsp. paprika powder
½ Tsp. ground cumin
1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tsp. nigella seeds
Peel carrots, cut in smaller pieces and cook for 10 min. Let them cool off.
Rinse the chickpeas, and wash the orange.
Grate off the zest of half the orange, and press out the juice of the whole fruit.
Mix chickpeas, carrots, tahini and 1 dl of orange juice.
Add 1 Tsp. orange zest, spices and salt.
Drizzle over olive oil and nigella seeds.

Orange Hummus

Carrot Goodies
150 g carrots
2 Tbsp. dried apricots, cut into small pieces.
1 ½ dl milk
2 Tbsp. cane sugar
¼ Tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ Tsp. orange zest
a tiny pinch of salt
1 Tsp. butter /rapeseed oil
50 g dark chocolate
Grate carrots, cook them together with apricot pieces in the milk until all liquid has disappeared.
Add sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and salt, butter or oil and boil for another 5 minutes.
Spread it out (1/2 cm high) on a parchment paper and let cool off.
In the meantime, melt chocolate in a bain-marie. When melted pour it over the carrot mix and let cool off.
Cut into smaller pieces and enjoy!

Carrot Goodies

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Spreading the Christmas Spirit

A friend, visiting my little village, was surprised by the multifaceted cultural offer here in Mase, and called it an “alternative village”. I love that designation! It’s true, for a tiny place with 260 inhabitants there is a lot going on. In summer we have our fairy tale night, “Nuit du conte”, in autumn there’s the correspondence festival “Lettres de Soie”, and in winter the “Fenêtres de l’Avent”, the Advent Windows:
Three Saturdays in December people from one of the village neighbourhoods arrange a cosy gathering either at somebody’s home or in a common venue. This group of people cook and bake, prepare mulled wine or spiced tea, and decorate the place in a festive way. Late in the afternoon, when it’s getting dark outside, all the villagers are invited to share this Advent gathering. This year the couple organising it in our local mill on the Saturday before Christmas couldn’t make it, so I jumped in. Together with a handful of friends and neighbours we’re preparing such a get-together for the 22nd of December.
Because the strong Christmas traditions back home in Sweden, I’d like to give the event a little Swedish touch. I’ll prepare a “glögg” (mulled wine) without alcohol, bake a “mjuk pepparkaka” (ginger cake), and make pepparkakor (gingersnaps) with Gorgonzola cream – all of them Christmastime classics from Sweden.
There is quite some work with preparations and cleaning up afterwards, but I’m really looking forward to this event! It makes me happy being part of the “Christmas Spirit”. Isn’t that the message of the holidays: getting closer to each other and sharing moments of warmth, light, and joy?
I adore living in an open, generous, alternative village.
PS The event was a huge success and we will definitely arrange it again next year!

Such a warm, friendly and cozy atmosphere. Christmas spirit at its best!

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The Creative Pause

From time to time you need to stimulate your creativity. From time to time it is good to take a step back and make a pause.
Whatever activity you are involved in will benefit from your stopping and recollecting yourself. The creative pause is like a gentle wind that cleans out old debris and refreshes your mind.
During such a pause things ripen, fall into place, and often it brings new energy and inspiration; perhaps even new directions.
I am taking a pause from this blog. Looking forward to letting fresh breezes sweep through the “Head Office” and I am curious to see what they carry away, and what they bring in.
We will meet again when the autumn winds have passed and the silent snow of winter is falling. ”Wisdom comes with winters”, as Oscar Wilde said, and perhaps inspiration as well ☺

A pause in the forest

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On Kindness

Many things can make the world a better place. As a base they all have a positive approach to our planet and other living beings. Love, helpfulness, care, concern… And at the centre of them all, there is Kindness.
Kindness warms hearts, our own and others. Kindness makes all the difference.
One of my favourite quotes is “Kindness is Love made visible”, found at the Instagram account of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
This foundation really emanates “love made visible”! They teach, inspire and have great hands-on suggestions for spreading more kindness in the world. At their website you can find an extensive list of kindness ideas, beautiful kindness quotes, free lesson plans and training materials for educators – and you can become a RAKtivist
If we all do at least one kind act, however small, per day our beautiful blue planet will quickly become an even better place to live!
Let kindness rule your life.


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A Year in the Swiss Alps

Spending most of my time out and about in the mountains taking pictures, I end up having a huge selection of nice photos from the beautiful Swiss Alps. The changes of seasons are very visible here and I adore documenting them.

Would you be interested in following me along my path during a year? I am considering to put together a photo calendar and would like to know if there is any interest among my readers. Please let me know if the idea appeals to you!

At the moment I am looking around for alternatives on where to print them and hopefully I will find something feasible. 🙂

Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in the mountains….

Spring in Vernamiège

Summer at Lac de Taney

Autumn in Mase

Winter at Le Rimble

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Fruit Tart Frenzy

Years like this, when there is an abundance of every kind of berry and fruit, you need to find ways to use your harvest. Up here we cook kilos of jam (continental breakfast rules), store as much as possible in the deep freezer and make millions of fruit tarts – fruit season is tart season in Switzerland!
This wonderful period starts off with rhubarb tarts, continues with the famous apricot tart, then come raspberries, nectarines, cherries, pears, plums – and it ends with apples.
Fruit tarts are my all time favourite pastry: not too sweet (no sugar in the crust!), not too heavy, and wonderfully fruity fresh.
From my local friends I’ve learned how to avoid the fruit tarts getting soggy (with a little layer between piecrust and fruit – see below), and I’m happy with my not too sweet recipe. It’s the same principle for any fruit. When using blander fruit, like pears or apples, I like adding cinnamon or ginger.
The crust, however, is still my stumbling-block. My standard recipe has a nice taste, but it just cracks when I try to roll it out. Do you have a god recipe for a dough that does not fall apart…?
If you want to try a fresh fruit tart, test the recipe below – or come up here during the fruit season! ☺

Tarte aus Pruneaux

Pie crust:
See link above!

• 1 Tbsp. wheat flour (wholemeal)
• 1 Tbsp. cane sugar
• 1 Tbsp almond powder or flour
• A pinch of cinnamon

• 500 g prunes

• 1 egg
• 1 Tbsp. water
• ½ dl crème fraîche
• 1 Tsp. vanilla sugar

How to prepare it:

• Preheat oven to 180°C.
• Roll out your dough thinly (if you manage…), brush a pie tin with oil and put the dough into it. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest in the fridge 15 min.
• Cut the prunes in halves and pit them.
• Mix flour, almond powder, sugar and cinnamon well.
• Bake the piecrust 10–15 min.
• Spread out the flour/sugar mix over the half-baked crust and place prune halves tightly together, skin downwards, in circles on top.
• Whisk egg, water, crème fraîche and vanilla sugar, spread it out over the prunes and put the tart into the oven.
• Bake it in 180°C for approx. 1 hour.

Serve lukewarm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and fly off to fruit tart heaven!

Who can say no to a fresh fruit tart…? I can’t!

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Amazing Autumn

As of the 21st of September it’s officially autumn. I want to celebrate the beginning of this colourful season in words & pictures ☺
Here two favourite poems:

SeptembermorgenEduard Mörike

Im Nebel ruhet noch die Welt,
Noch träumen Wald und Wiesen:
Bald siehst du, wenn der Schleier fällt,
Den blauen Himmel unverstellt,
Herbstkräftig die gedämpfte Welt
In warmem Golde fließen.

For the English translation, click here.

Nothing Gold Can StayRobert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

To catch the golden light of autumn is a challenge. Sometimes I succeed…

Light haze down in the valley, bright light up here…

Surrounded by gold as I walk along my garden path

Autumn frame for the majestic mountains, seen from Arolla

The Colminers’ Path is best in autumn

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