Misty morning

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.

foggy morning

Niño, chasseurNiño, mélèzes

B like Beagle

August 15, 2009

Niño 5Birthday does not rhyme with Beagle But at least it starts with the same letter!

B like a Beautiful surprise

B like a Big parcel that I was given on my Birthday

B like an incrediBle joy as I found inside a small red collar

Niño, ball

B like the Black leash that accompanied it

B like the sweet message  that I read with a tremBling voice in front of my family

B like the two deep Brown eyes that looked at me on a picture

B like my heartBeat when I realized this Baby Beagle was mine ! He just needed a name starting with an E, not a B 😉

B like my Elnino Beagle, Ninio for his Buddies

B like my patchwork Basket he chose to sleep in when he arrived at home

Niño, basket 1B like the little Bundle of joy that wakes up every morning

B like the Breathtaking energy Ninio expends every day

B like how unBelievably quick Ninio adapted himself to his new family… and reciprocally

B like his Ballet dancing when it is Breakfast time or  when forest calls

B like the first Bone he ever tasted after a Barbecue which smell kept him Busy and alert for a good while

B like an adoraBle Bright little Buddy who Brings joy to everyBody at home.

Niño, jardin 1

B like Better leave you for now : someBody is waiting for dinner !

B like goodBye

Teatime in Jo’burg

July 29, 2009

Teatime in Jo'burg

teatime, détail 1

Some years ago a friend sent me the manuscrit of a book she had just written. The novel unfolded in South Africa, a story of love and adventure in a vast and beautiful country. Men and animals were never far from one another as soon as one left the big cities.  Several episodes were set in  colonial houses at teatime. Peace and quietness on luxuriant terraces or inside cool rooms. All around the houses there was wilderness, unindentifiable sounds and cries, strong smells and traces on the soil that meant : animals were close.

This story my friend wrote stayed in my mind for a while. I lived in Central Africa for a few years and those sights she described were alive in my memory and brought back images I thought I had forgotten.

One day as I sat in my sewing room, I came across a pretty English fabric : teapots, cups, flowers on tables, the perfect setting for  teatime.  Then I had this idea of sewing  a quilt that would show my feelings as I read my friend’s novel.

It was not long before I found in my baskets of African fabrics all I needed to create my own story : Teatime in Jo’burg. A moment when animals would be even closer to men.

teatime, détail 2The main material was a green and golden batik I had bought in a women’s co-operative in Rwanda. The other fabrics came from various countries: Tanzania, Madagascar, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. Each with its own colour and symbols. A kind of United Colours of Africa.

It took me a few days only to sew the top, joining animals and cups of tea. My own version of my friend’s book. A quilt I truly enjoyed imagining and sewing.

on the edge

June 28, 2009

on the edgeThere is this village up in the Alps,  a hamlet really, only a few chalets almost hanging from the steep slope. Hardly anyone lives there nowadays. It used to be a larger village where families of mountain farmers made their living in growing wheat, rye, vegetables on terraces.  Goats  provided milk and cheese and mules were the only means of transportation. No easy life up there but the necessity to cultivate every inch of soil.chèvreWhen I am in the area, I often walk to this village on a small track along a narrow irrigation canal. Water ! so precious at all times in such an environnement. The canal is called “bisse” over there and it is built in the same way as the Arabs did in Northern Africa, in the Atlas mountains. Arabs who did travel as far as the Swiss Alps  many centuries ago and who shared their knowledge about water supply.

bisse sous VerreyIn Summer the sun is hot in this micro climate. Coolness is provided by the gentle flow of the water in the canal and the shade in the woods. Tourists have discovered this pleasant walk  and enjoy hiking along the mountain slopes for miles. I love it up there. In all Seasons. In Winter it is easier to do snowshoeing. The silence is  palpable. Hardly any birds around but the mountain ones or those who did not migrate to warmer climes.Verrey, sentierIn the late Fall, I like to bring a book with me, sit along the track and read. Often my eyes lift from my reading and just look and admire this unique landscape all around. Sitting on the edge of the mountain, somewhere between sky and earth. The mountains towering above and the valley deep down below. I have walked on this path countless times, it is never the same and always a renewed pleasure, a deep gratitude for such a world we inherited and have to protect.verrey hameau

Enchanting encounters

June 19, 2009

Walking in the forest, even if you go the woods  every day, does not always prepare you for the strange encounters you can do. I have noticed and admired these variations in all Seasons. Nature changes and so do trees, bushes,  anything vegetal. The light goes through various shades along the day and over the months. It is a never ending pleasure and surprise to see  today what you had not really paid attention to yesterday. So  it was with this strange “couple” I really saw on a Spring morning. How many times did I walk on this path and looked without seeing these two tree trunks on the edge of a pasture. Then all of sudden Spring had transformed them completely. In front of me stood two vegetal creatures. “She”, the Lady of the Woods, was particularly visible, slightly bent forward, her long disheveled hair falling on her back. I was stunned and just had to take this picture so as to be sure I was not dreaming !

the lady of the woodsAccording to the time and light of the day or to the weather, rain, frost, snow, the simplest forms of life look like magic natural sculptures.

forestdialWalking in the woods after the rain one day, I almost went head first into this spectacular spider’s web. At that moment it looked to me like a huge forest dial trembling in the light breeze, raindrops trapped in its threads like pearls. A magnificent view !

crinièreSometimes a noise or a slight movement makes you lift your head or turn around. Often you do not see anything. It can happen that your steps disturbed a bird or a lizard and you just hear something without seeing them. But at other times you meet some of the forest inhabitants. In this case  a horse grazing in a field at the edge of the woods was hidden by the tall grass Its white mane barely emerging. A real lovely, peaceful moment on  a hot Summer afternoon.

fox close-up

walk in the wood 2.6.07 031Some encounters are more surprising and really take you aback. This fox was standing on the side of the forest track, not more than 30m away from me. I slowed down hoping to take a picture before he ran away between the trees. But he would not move, he just stood there looking at me, maybe wondering if I was a friend or an ennemy. It was hunting season. I continued walking slowly towards him until I probably got too close  and all of a sudden he was gone !

A curious and lovely looking animal not rare

at all these days around the farms and houses in the village. Not always welcome. His cry at night is frightening. But I do love seeing one of them running across fields or in the forest,  tail almost as long as the body, elegant and rapid, glancing swiftly in my direction before disappearing in the wheat or corn fields.

Today I did not see any animal friend in the forest but I heard many ! It was right after the rain,  as the day started to grow dark. Birds were singing their late day songs so cheerfully, beautifully, competing with each other or just answering good night messages. This is my favourite moment for a walk into the woods. For the softness of the air, the unique light playing hide and seek between the trees and… for the birds songs of course.

light in the dark