March 15, 2013
This is my contribution to a new photography assignment proposed by Scott Thomas: black-white photography. I find it always interesting to join in, visit other participants’ blogs, learning more about photography and seeing each one’s perception of a similar theme. March 20th, 2013, is the deadline to share your pictures.
All details are given here : http://viewsinfinitum.com/2013/03/06/assignment-24-black-white-photography/
Ninio, my Beagle, in one of his patient looks, waiting for the photography session to end and go for a walk. I converted this picture to see how my colourful dog (black, white and tawny) would look in B/W. I like his somewhat softer look and particularly the expression in his hazel eyes.
September 8, 2012
Some weeks just go by their own quiet way and rhythm. I do not mean a routine because there seems to be something special in each day. In some weeks though there are events out of the ordinary, people and places you will remember. The week described here was one of those.
Monday is sometimes a day when I try cooking new recipes. Pies or quiches are amongst my favourites. Some of them I find reading blogs such as Tammy’s. Her blog is not only about food but also about community supported agriculture. Well worth reading.
The recipe is about a tomato pie. Since I had a big and beautiful zuchini waiting to be picked in the garden, I added some of it in the pie (grated and grilled a little). This is the only change I made. It tasted really delicious, Thank you very much, Tammy.
On Tuesday I had to go to town and found a quiet lane to walk for a while with Nino-the-beagle. Guess whom we met ? Another beagle looking lonely behind a fence. What do two beagles say to each other when they meet : “Let’s escape together and go hunting !”
Wednesday morning. Brilliant clouds welcomed me as I opened the shutters. “O, beautiful golden clouds, what will you bring us on this day” ? As it happened, the warm morning turned into a stormy day. A rather temperamental weather this Summer but a rain that was well needed too.
A short break after work on Thursday afternoon. As we were sitting on a bench with a friend, a “school-boat” was floating down the canal. A lady was steering the little boat back to its mooring. Not as simple as it looks and she did very well.
On Saturday morning at our friend’s home, we were awaken by a ballet of helicopters. Every third minute or so, a helicopter would fly over the area, fill a big bucket of water (700 liters) and pour it down on the forest which had caught fire during the night. It took the pilots two whole days to stop it. Nobody was injured and the damage could be stopped in time.
Sunday was a happy celebration day ! Family and friends gathered around Alima, our youngest niece. The sun shone brightly for her. There were prayers, songs, dance and lots of African food and music. Another change of scenery in this particular week. Alima was quite comfortable and relaxed dancing in her proud grandmother’s arms.
Guess what I did on Sunday ? After a rest following the previous long day, I sat down on a lovely terrace between sky and earth, took my pen and some nice stationary; I wrote to a dear friend all about my recent week. Internet is not part of her world and we both enjoy exchanging letters every month.
May 7, 2012
About three years ago, this shy and unsure little guy arrived in our home from the South of France (Provence), just in time for my birthday A ten weeks’ old Beagle looking up at me with eyes that seemed to say: “Here I am, tired from the long drive, my heart and stomach feeling strange, away from my mom and pack of brothers and sisters… Will you love me ?” If the picture is a bit blurred, it is because my eyes were a bit misty too.
A few weeks later, Nino was already exploring the jungle of lavender flowers whose scent may have reminded him of those vast blue fields that spread over plains and hills in the Provence. Something familiar for him.Life is not always a tranquil river… (Title of a French movie). At 8 months, Nino had a surgery and came out of the vet’s with this strange and cumbersome kind of hat. It did not prevent him to walk and run head down though, scraping against any stone or branch that was on his way to some interesting scent.
Month after month he grew up into a strong, energetic and alert Beagle, always so happy to walk or run along mountain tracks. Sometimes on the leash when cows were pasturing nearby, sometimes as free as the air and totally oblivious of my “retour/return !” command. My second son, a soccer player, gave me a referee whistle. Its shrill sounds seems to bring him back to me. Sometimes.Although a Southerner, Nino really adapted very well to our long winters. He is never cold nor tired to walk in the snowy forests. His short but thick fur keeps him warmer than any coat I could wear. No cold feet nor frozen fingers for my Beagle. On and on he keeps exploring and digging under the snow.At the end of March though, I almost lost my Nino. During a walk across a field, he ate something poisonous, real bad. I never saw what it was and the vets who took care of him for three days could not find out either. He had a terrible fit, uncontrollable convulsions. It took him a few weeks and more medicines to recover. Calm, sleepy, recovering slowly but surely. I will never forget this moment of panic, Nino trembling violently, his four legs all stiff, his imploring eyes saying “help me !” and am so grateful to the vets who cured him so well. A strong little Beagle.
Nino has now fully recovered, as you see from this picture taken yesterday during a walk. He is again the determined and tireless dog that he was before he got ill. Strong and alert in his element, Nature. This conqueror’s attitude… has he been inspired by Napoléon crossing the Alps ?;) I think Nino still has a lot more to enjoy and explore. Happy Birthday, little buddy !
September 22, 2011
Fall is about to start and I have not shared much of my Summer with you…
These past weeks have just flown by ! No real stress but various activities that kept me away from the PC. Let’s have a look at some of my Summer windows that will tell you a little more.
There were several friends who stayed at home for a while. Together we visited the old town of Fribourg and some of the small workshops. Behind the bars, an old low-ceilinged room or rather a real Aladdin’s cave with antique furnitures, lamps, dishes, jewels, coins, precious fabrics, and so much more. Having decided a while ago to do some serious clearing up, I resisted buying anything. Do not think though that I have not thought of it !In the same area of the old town, behind St-Nicholas’ Cathedral, there is a small art gallery I visit now and then. I went there with other friends on a rainy Sunday morning. A very colourful and joyful exhibition welcomed us. A painter/textile artist and a ceramist had created special artworks that I will show you in more details later. The gallery window showed a big white canvas where the Italian artist had sewn or stuck all kinds of fabrics and other materials. Fascinating ! And so inspiring. This is part of the view from our car window as we drove to the mountains with the family. Italy is right behind those mountains on the right but on that particular day we turned left to the Alps and the village where we took part in a family celebration.
Another view from our car window. We were driving on a highway along the Lake of Geneva. Switzerland is on your right, the French shore on the left. The city of Geneva lies on the far end of the lake. On a clear day, at any hour but especially at sunset this landscape is just breathtaking. Can you spot the first autumnal mist on the French side ? Just in case you wonder about these two pictures … I was not the driver.
Up in the mountains and strolling through an almost abandonned hamlet. A young couple whose great-grandparents had lived there earlier had decided to restore their chalet. They started with the roof and the windows. I must say it was a happy and encouraging sight for this tiny village is a precious memory of past times although modern additions (road, electricity…) make life easier up there.
A daily hike to high mountain pastures (about 7000ft). Two energetic dogs were so happy to meet and run together : a tourist Beagle (my Ninio) and a resident Jack Russel. A young French lady lives in the small stone house for the Summer Season while the cows graze up there. Her window opens on a bare landscape but for a few “arolle” trees. There are a special kind of pines (Pinus Cembra) which resist the low temperatures in Winter. Her window also opens on a vast corrie of mountains. The lady is the cheese maker of this particular pasture. The large round pieces of cheese she produces are very sought-after for their particular taste. If cows could speak, they would tell you how good the grass tastes up there with all the wild flowers covering the pastures from June till end of August.This is my kitchen window at home. One I never tire to look through at any Season. At this time of the year the greenness is dazzling. The rowan-tree attracts lots of birds who take their turn more or less patiently to eat its berries. It is noisy, happily so. The wheat field is blazing under the sun. In the evening I love to stand there and watch the sun disappearing slowly behind the forest. I am so lucky – and grateful – to live so close to nature !
Now, this is a window I could honestly have done without… Its unfathomable darkness saddens me so much. After camera and printer let me down, my laptop refused to respond and start. Yes ! Three devices I took for granted for years just went blank at a few months interval. I must add they all had almost the same age and probably were tired of working. Or of me, who knows ? This black window is also a reason why I did not post much lately. I had to rely on other computers not always available. Now I am back to the family’s old PC. I cross my fingers – and toes - for the good old computer to last until I can offer myself a new computer !
Not being able to post much had also advantages : I read and sewed more
More about it later. So I hope !
December 7, 2010
A snowy forest star just as lovely as in Summertime.
Braving wind and snow on the coldest day of the week (-7°C).
Cat to Dog : “Not as crazy as you about it… and I don’t mind sharing your territory, I’m faster anyway and I can climb, remember ? ;)”
Snow and fog; it was probably the most beautiful and special day in the country but… totally chaotic on the roads and in town.
Another morning of deep snow and freezing temperatures (-6°C). The laundry will have to stay indoors.
What an utter pleasure to see the sun again and the beauty of the landscape under its cool rays on a forest path !
This is a little of my week for the past seven days. There is less snow today because it has started to rain. The air is still cold but someone cannot resist the call of the forest and off we are on the road and tracks again !
September 13, 2010
As every day, Nino-the-Beagle and I went for our morning walk. It was still raining a little after the violent storm of the night before.Small drops of water were shining on grass and flowers, the coolness of the air definitely announced a change of Season.
There are always the usual stopovers on the way. Nino so enjoys following tracks and investigating them further (down). He loves digging furiously, puffing and digging again with great insistence. Sometimes he lifts his stubborn and cute head and looks at me as if saying “I know “it’s” here, not far, I’ll get it, just wait !” And on he goes, digging happily and throwing earth into my shoes.
As he was searching underground, I was looking up to the sky, a lovely blue sky washed by the rain. There was this cloud as big as a vessel sailing towards Northern skies. I wondered where it was heading to and what shape it would take on arrival.
Later I stopped at the bottom of this tree and sat on a bench. Above in its branches there used to be a sort of small wooden platform. I never knew if it was meant for hunters or for bird watchers. As I looked up though I saw only pieces of broken wood, the hut had been destroyed by the storms or by somebody, I don’t know. It looked a bit desolate.
Nino was beside me looking down – again – at something that seemed to interest him a lot. It was a stone that looked like a nicely wrapped parcel, a small gift of nature. Maybe this is what he thought too ? and did not know where to start opening it and chewing at it
Storm was looming again over the forest and the fields. Dark clouds, a few drops of rain. It was time to get back home at a fast pace. Which we did but not quite fast enough. Half an hour later we arrived home. Soaked.
Just a few thoughts of a morning like many others, yet different, unique in so many ways even if I know this area. Unique in the way I felt on that particular day and how I looked around trying to be really present during those privileged moments.
“I am at home, I have arrived
There is only here and now.
I feel strong, really free,
I find refuge in myself.
I am at home, I have arrived”
This is what Thich Nhat Hanh calls “the meditative walking”.
July 22, 2010
Inside or outside the house, the Summer heat we are experiencing for almost a month is almost tangible. Trying to keep it outside is a job starting early in the morning. I or someone else in the family (but usually it’s me…) open shutters and windows widely. The cool air moves around three similar windows and refresh the whole ground floor. A real delight ! Then, as soon as the Eastern sun gets warmer, I half close the shutters and shut the doors. I left them open just to show you the palpable heat trying to sneak in
This second picture was taken in Andalusia, in the Spring of 2009. The sun was so hot already, even at the end of the day. I liked the way the curtain caught sight of the golden disc and of the heat you could feel through the rough textures of the linen.
And well… there are others who feel the heat in spite of their never ending energy ! Our animal friends. Little Ninio is no longer himself… even if he is still full of mischief and hungry as ever. So thirsty too ! All of sudden, he gets tired and stops all activity.The only place he enjoys resting on these days are the cool tiles of the ground floor. And even there, he looks like thinking :”When is the snow falling again ?”
March 7, 2010
Words do not always need to be expressed… So much can be said between four eyes. Or so I imagined
“Sure, little Buddy, we’ll find it. Some day :)”
December 14, 2009
Slowly but surely, home looks more and more “Christmassy”. Quilts, stars, crown, pine cones, baubles were all sewed along the years. They add a colourful touch inside the house whereas outside trees are bare and bent by a strong and freezing Northern wind.
I just started decorating the Christmas Tree too, one I bought in the village. Every year the funds of this sale will help children go to a ski-camp for one week. This year I fixed decorations in the upper part of the tree only. And of course, no candles nor small chocolate figurines !
Ninio is a great acrobat, there is no obstacle for his stubborness. And his curiosity for novelty is… boundless !
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 !