December 12, 2012
…I still wish to share some of my Fall colours just before snow fell heavily and unexpectedly. Colours from here and there along those past weeks.
Ninio is posing in a golden forest and probably thinking: “If I were not on a leash, all you could photograph would be just a vague glimpse of one of my white legs running away like a flash or just leaves !”
I finally finished sewing a small quilt that brings warmth on a wall of our house. Inspiration came from a photo of a Flickr friend and artist, Eglantine. I tried to find on fabrics the colours and patterns she painted on wood with acrylic and pastel. Thank you, dear Eglantine, for your inspiration and permission to use your picture. Underneath is the photo of my friend’s artwork.
More pictures of Eglantine’s Flickr photostream here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/eglantine/
This is the mini-quilt I sewed and embroidered using scraps of colourful cotton, polyester, organza and gauze ribbons.
Colourful too were the images of a beautiful and fascinating movie I saw recently, in particular the thousands of bees’ swarms working diligently and flying in all directions. “More than Honey” by Markus Imhoof or “What if Bees would disappear ?” in French is a documentary. Fascinating, I wrote, but I should also say very worrying and well worth seeing. The present situation of those precious and endangered insects was filmed in various countries of all continents. Our whole planet is concerned with the bees’ disappearance from their hives or new colonies having to be destroyed.
What are the causes ? Pesticides or medicines used to fight them ? Parasites ? A new virus ? The stress bees are submitted to during their forced long journeys ? Industrialisation and mechanization ? Pollution or damage caused to the environment ? No sure answer is given but the documentary definitely makes you aware of this terrible danger : the bees’ disappearance and with them the absence of cross-pollination. Losing bees, as we all know, would have repercussions throughout the food supply chain.
“More than Honey” should be released abroad at the beginning of 2013. Don’t miss it if you have the opportunity to watch it. The film was presented at the Locarno Film Festival 2012, in Switzerland.
Since October weather has changed. Snow fell heavily in November, temperatures dropped a lot and a Siberian North wind is blowing every second day. I know, Winter is here but…one can still dream of colours, right ?
October 22, 2012
Grape harvest is over in most areas of my canton (Valais). Some grapes will have to wait for a mid November harvest though. The wine produced then will have more flavour, sweetness and this particular flavour “terroir”, from the local soil.John O’Donohue, Irish writer and philosopher, writes about “Autumn and the Inner Harvest” (Anam Cara). He tells of the four Seasons of the heart, Autumn being associated with old age.
“In the autumntime of your life, your experience is harvested. Within the harvest circle, you are able to gather lost moments and experiences, bring them together, and hold them as one”.
As in the Celtic Wisdom, O’Donohue sees Autumn as the harvest of one’s soul that gives a deeper sense of strenght, belonging and poise. A quiet delight when this time arrives in your life.
I like O’Donohue’s deep thoughts and, as I walked through those wineyards last Sunday afternoon, I remembered my mother’s words and memories of her younger years when she was helping her father taking care of their few vineyards over the same hills. It was a hard work for anyone involved. No machines were used. The work started in February/March and ended in October/November. A lot was to be learned over months and years. A harvest of knowledge and traditions were transmitted to sons and daughters, families’ links were valued and strenghtened. Most mountain villagers grew vineyards on the foothills. Their earnings were meagre and when the grapes were brought to the communal wine cellars, the gain was much appreciated. It used to be a joyful and singing crowd which walked down to the valley early in the morning (5-6am) during the season of grape harvest. Sometimes, on lucky days, a postal bus would drive the villagers and winegrowers down to the vineyards. After a long day’s work under a hot sun the return home up to the little villages was much quieter. Bodies hurt and voices kept silent. Of course there was a big celebration at the end of the harvest. It coincided with this other tradition that is still present nowadays : roasted chestnuts (brisolée). A feast when served with various kinds of cheese, cold meats, rye bread/butter, grapes and apple pie; we also drink must (grape juice not fermented yet). A simple and delicious meal-of-the-season.
All those thoughts and more went through my mind during my afternoon walk. I wished my mother would have been there with me, holding my arm, smiling, commenting, remembering and gleaning the few grapes that were forgotten or left for visitors or birds or beagles Yes, Nino was with me and I had some trouble keeping him close to me, especially when we walked near this beautiful vineyard (below) that had not been harvested yet.
In a photo album, I found this old picture of grape harvest in our area, Valais. My mother could have been there making a pause and chatting with friends. Those days are long gone….
November 19, 2010
What is my Autumn like ? The first sign of my favourite Season is the light haze over the horizon. It is not a fog, just a slight mist, a hazy look that tells you for sure that Fall is there.Autumn brings a most colourful change in nature. In the mountains the larch trees needles turn into a bright yellow-orange shade before falling down into a soft carpet.
Soft and natural carpets everywhere. The kind of carpet I enjoy walking on because of its rustling sound and ever changing colours.Autumn is a Season of celebrations in my canton (state). A family tradition is the meal where everyone, young and less so, meet around a convivial table to eat roasted chestnuts. We usually eat those with various sorts of mountain cheese, “viande des Grisons” (air-dried meat, beef, produced in the canton of Grisons), rye bread and butter, grapes, apples, all local food. On this occasion we drink must (grape). Every year we so look forward to meeting and eating this rather simple and tasty meal in good company.Autumn is also a time for grape harvest in this particularly warm area. Vineyards have been planted for centuries on the side of the mountains and down in the valley. Never do the vineyards look as beautiful as now ! A patchwork of hard work almost all year round. What a reward and a pleasure when the vintage is a good one !This is an ancient cellar no longer in use but I remember that “my grand-father-from-the-mountains” (as I used to call him) had a similar one under his house in a small village. He would take my hand, bring me to his cellar and show me proudly his yearly harvest. What a work it meant !And what a delight to savor the grapes from one’s own vineyard !Grapes and apples, the two kinds of fruits that Autumn gives in abundance over here.Gratefulness for these many gifts of nature in this wonderful Season.
Many thanks also to Scott Thomas for having brought up this new photography challenge.
There is still time to participate ! Your photos have to be posted before Wednesday, November 24.
November 1, 2010
It was around 5.30pm and I was driving to town. The sun was highlighting the pasture and the cows, the last rays of a beautiful but chilly autumnal day. I just had to stop and take a picture of two Seasons that were overlapping. Snow had fallen on the Prealpes mountains and the sight was enchanting. Could it be that Winter is at the door ? A bit too soon for me…
“Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting and Autumn a mosaic of them all”.
November 16, 2009
This is how my garden looked at the beginning of this month… Since then we have had rain, wind, frost and snow is not far ! Now this garden is no longer so colourful but our Autumn has been exceptionally mild and bright.
This image is also my contribution to the “November” challenge Scott Infinitum proposed for the coming month. See the link below please and join us if your wish so !
First Autumn for my beagle Ninio, 6 months old, full of energy and curious about just anything, including maple leaves !
November 1, 2009
Soon they will be all gone, the golden leaves of our beautiful Autumn, the weather forecast for tomorrow is snow, falling up to 1000m. A cooler breeze is blowing already. The moon is almost full and as people say over here: “The new moon means a change of weather”. We’ll see… but in the meantime let’s go for a walk through the woods.A bench and table that went through better days and were used to see many picnics…The late afternoon sun playing hide and seek between branches, my favourite time and light to take pictures.
October 25, 2009
This is a quilt I like to have around when Fall comes. The walls of my home change as the seasons come and pass. I find that the shades of this particular quilt blend in well with the colours of my surroundings: yellow, ochre, brown, green, rust. It seems to capture all the rays of a sun that has lost its Summer warmth.
The touch of these different materials is both soft and raw under your hands. The hand quilting adds a kind of uneven texture on materials that would normally be softer. Harmony in differences. I like it for the light it brings into the house and for the movement created by the various textures.
October 14, 2009
A poem that came to mind this afternoon as I walked through the fields bordering the forest. Leaves were falling over my face, swept away by a soft but freezing breeze. They touched the soil gently, without hardly any sound to my human ears but not so to the blade of grass…
“Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, “You make such a noise falling! You scatter all my winter dreams.”
Said the leaf indignant, “Low-born and low-dwelling! Songless, peevish thing! You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.”
Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept. And when spring came she waked again — and she was a blade of grass.
And when it was autumn and her winter sleep was upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves! They make such a noise! They scatter all my winter dreams.”
The Madman Chapter 30
September 26, 2009
This is the first sign of Autumn’s arrival. A light mist over the landscape. The humidity covering the grass, quite different as the dew of warmer days. Subtle shades on a green landscape and this nip in the air that makes you look for a sweater and go for the morning walk with the dog. Nino-the-beagle would not feel this new cold though, too busy looking for new tracks and his nostrils filled with scents of the hunting season.