Images of here and there

August 31, 2017

July and August went by very quickly and were quite busy, it seems. Nicely though. When in the morning I opened the shutters and saw the top of a mountain under a blue sky, I knew the clouds would eventually disappear and leave room for another sunny and hot day.DSC03978One day, as I went  to a small town down in the valley, I had the surprise of finding some marmots (groundhogs) very far away from their alpine territories. Mom and her girls. Those were local marble sculptures made by a great uncle of mine who passed away a long time ago. He had sculpted many  animals (foxes, squirrels, weasels, cats, owls, eagles and more) that were exhibited here and there in our area.  Often in parks, on fountains or bridges, in front of some schools too. What a happy and touching discovery!DSC03959Up in the mountains wild flowers cover our pastures with varied and beautiful shades. This is just one of the many bouquets I picked during Summertime. Not two were alike and I just loved their delicate simplicity.DSC03982A few minutes before a loud Summer storm, I spotted a complex agricultural machinery, a kind of rural art, don’t you think ? And a lovely splash of vibrant colors when the sky got real dark.DSC04044Shopping one day in a dairy shop, I smiled as I read the wooden sign : “”Eggs from happy hens”. They must have tasted good because there were none left for sale. Too bad.DSC03964At a multicultural family reunion around a little baby, Mady,  his Senegalese Dad had invited several members of his African family and friends and before long an exotic music was in the air for everyone’s pleasure.DSC04093

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Ninio loved our sunny Summer  but sometimes he enjoyed some shade too…going zebra- like !DSC03814

I did not quilt much during these past months but just started an experiment with two or three plain materials that I cut  and assembled randomly. An improvisation without too much thinking or planning. The very hot days seemed to have slowed down my imagination… Let’s see where this will lead me to !DSC04047I hope you will enjoy these few images taken during the last months. There was more to be thankful for or to feel sad about but we have to take days as they come and make the best of them, don’t we ?

DSC04057Before long those little birds will stop their “chat on line” and leave for another Summer somewhere else while we will stay here with the happy memory of their cheerful singing.

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Gifts of love

February 14, 2016

I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day !

This small heart,  made of joyful scraps weaved together like a tapestry of friendship and love between us all, is my gift for you. I had so much pleasure sewing it slowly, seeing how simple stitches could create such movement on the various materials (cotton and wild silk). This is just the beginning of a new technique I discovered in a book by Claire Wellesley-Smith “Slow Stitch” (mindful and contemplative textile art).

DSC02044.JPGMany Valentine’s gifts of all kinds are shown in our shops. I chose a window presenting books for children. Love stories with happy endings, questions like “What is Love” ? and many more tales about those unforgettable friendships with a beloved dog, a horse or a rabbit.Maybe these books will remind you of those of your childhood or the ones you read to your kids later on ?  I do remember “The Family Bear’s Picnic”, a book brought back from the States and that I read countless times to my sons. Being in English, I had to translate this story for them every evening for quite a long time. Sometimes I would not find the very same word as the night before and…it was a drama: “No, no, Papa Ours  (bear) did not say that !” or “His sandwich was made with ham and not cheese”! Memories of love that made me smile today.DSC02029.jpgNature offers us hearts  and signs of love in places you do not always expect them. Like this  piece of snow stuck between two branches and that I had not noticed when taking the picture. In fact, I was more attracted by the setting sun caught in the forest. Hasn’t it got a shape of a heart too ?hiver, baies rougesAnd here is another gift of friendship and gratefulness for you on Valentine’s Day. Thankfulness for your visits and support even though I have not been regularly posting and visiting you these days. This is the landscape I saw this morning as I opened the shutters of the chalet up in the Alps. I am never tired of looking at it, morning or evening, at sunrise or sunset, in Winter or in Summer.DSC02062.JPGWishing you well on Valentine’s Day and on the other days too 🙂

Isabelle

Altitudes and contrasts

March 19, 2014

Over the past weeks it seems like I did  nothing much but come and go between the mountains (4429ft) and the plains (1480ft) and yet I can assure you a lot happened in-between ! The seasonal flu’ hit several family members I looked after; Spring cleaning fever hit me too, as well as clearing out. I also took time to visit with friends here and there. During these constant trips up and down the valley, I became interested in  comparing the changes of Season according to the different altitudes.

The tall and almost bare larch trees in the Alps; snow melted in places but no green buds yet.arbres-mâts

A forest of slender masts in the town of Morat, at the edge of a lake. The boats are stlll protected from the cold and the frost that can cause so much damage in Winter. Soon they will sail on the lake though.

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Under an unusual mountain fog, the slate roofs of the chalets are still covered with a thick layer of snow.

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whereas the old red tiled roofs of the ancient houses shine under the sun near  Morat.

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Snow flowers over 4000ft

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and  Spring first pink blossoms at the lakeside.  So welcome !

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Someone you know, my Nino, is almost taking off a steep slope in the mountains, a simple joy he never gets tired of,

Ninio, snow

and a thirsty dog (20°C on that particular day) taking a bath and drinking water at the edge of the lake, after playing with his master on the grass.

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Typical Winter activity…

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and early Spring relaxing moments at the lake.

DSC00268Such are my landscapes at the moment. Winter is not yet over (far from it) and Spring is starting to shine down in the valley. I even saw apricot trees in bloom, a rare sight at the end of March. I wish you happy moments, joyful colors and a warmer sunshine in a blue sky.

En route for Spring !

Silent times

May 18, 2013

So much time and patience have been needed recently to first open my PC, then read my mail and respond to it, write on the blog or read you ! My old PC definitely needs a rest or better said, a retirement after a long and good collaboration. Slowly but surely.Remington 2Maybe I will go back to writing on an impressive  type-writer such as this  Remington from other times ? It was sitting quietly on a coffee house table.

A letter 2Or maybe I will switch to snail mail – which I often do anyway – choosing a lovely stationary, using my favourite fountain pen and letting it flow gently on the soft paper ?

montgolfièreSomething is sure though. A travel is planned soon. I will fly over the Alps to a warmer climate (hopefully !) and when I return home, you may well find me sitting in front of a new screen 😉

In the meantime, I wish you a happy and sunny Spring, plenty of pictures, thoughts and experiences  to share. I look forward to reading you.

Take good care of you.

See you again later. Au revoir et à bientôt.

Isabelle

One week in pictures

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.

http://agrigirl.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/i-like-pie/#more-6508

  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.

Friday was a rainy day. A drive over the mountains to visit long-time friends of our family. It was cold, foggy. The landscape looked  autumnal and yet beautiful in its own way.

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.

How about  photo assignement  this month ? Here is one proposed by Karen at http://karmardav.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/photo-hunt-inspiration-and-early-announcement/

The deadline is August 31st and the theme is about the place(s) that would represent the “End of the earth” for you. Karen explains all about it in her blog (see above link, please).

Looking through some of my recent and older pictures, I found some images that I thought would show you my vision of the end of the earth.

A hamlet up in the Swiss  Alps.  About 15 people live there all year round. Both sides of the mountain slopes seem to close in front of the small village. On a foggy day the chalets look isolated, almost lost in the forest. To me it does look like the end of the earth. When the sun is out though the high mountains all around offer you a different sight: a quiet little village from where you could start hiking to the  mountain pastures.

On a brighter side, here is a man doing paragliding;  it looks as if he is heading to the end of the earth… A view that made me dizzy and envious of the infinite space that lay all around him and that is so difficult to imagine.

Sunset on the large lake, beauty, light, peace,  isolation. It seemed that one could not go further and that the horizon of the lake would be the end of the earth.

Austral mountains and forests stretching out to the horizon.  No visible village nor town nearby. No hikers to be seen around. The only sounds were the calls of the noisy cockatoes. A sure feeling of being at the end of the earth.

As for the “extreme” type of picture I felt like adding to Karen’s photo hunt, I chose this one. I took it a few years ago as I was walking along a mountain trail. Two boys  were cycling and they stopped in front of a trail going down the slope. So steep that I would have hesitated to walk down there myself. I barely had time to ask : “Are you sure you…” and down they went !

windows

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 !

Photo assignment

January 17, 2011

Do you think this picture is out of Season ?  In my part of the world, absolutely ! But “Food” is not.  It is a matter that concerns us all daily and everywhere.

I chose this summerly image of  vegetable gardens in a mountain village to tell you about a new photo assignment by Scott Thomas Photography  http://stphoto.wordpress.com/ at Views Infinitum.

All about it – with some very interesting information and advice  on Food Photography – is explained here :

http://stphoto.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/assignment-11-food-photography/

Have a look and join us before Midnight (your time), Wednesday, January 26th, 2011. Wish you much fun ! Et “Bon appétit” 😉

A sea of fog

January 1, 2011

A large sea of fog filled the valley for the last sunrise of this year.Slowly but surely it will disappear…Tomorrow morning when the New Year will start, I hope there will be plenty of sunshine for your eyes to shine and your heart to feel warm.HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

BONNE ET HEUREUSE ANNEE

Our National Day on August 1st started like this :

A bright blue sky, some pretty clouds to make it more alive, little Swiss flags fluttering in a light Summer wind. In short, there were great perspectives of a lovely evening with music, dances and some other celebrations that many people in the village had been preparing for quite a while.

Around 9pm, as a band of young musicians from the next village and a folk group from Indonesia had just arrived,  a violent wind almost blew away the big tents where the guests were preparing to play and dance. And the main street in the village looked like this :

People had deserted the tent where the food was prepared. Usually it is a big barbecue and the local famous meal : “raclette”, mountain cheese melted over a open fire (for a smaller crowd) or over a grill and served with potatoes and pickles, like last night. That is my main regret… I so enjoy eating raclette and I was not the only one !

Together with the wind, rain started falling heavily. Only the few courageous ones stayed under the tents hoping for a quieter weather but it did not happen.

People started to rush to the cafés and restaurants. This is where I stayed  for a while and took those few pictures whose quality is far from good but I just wanted to share last night mood with you.

Families of Dutch tourists were waiting patiently and more or less joyfully for clement skies… No usual National Day speeches nor anthem, no official fireworks nor bonfire, no dancing in the streets nor in pubs (too crowded !) but some isolated fireworks who brought cheerful sparkles under the rain 🙂 C´est la vie ! So is life !