So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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Snow Muse!

This year, I’ve been mostly photographing this view from the kitchen window!


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I really hate snow!

I know that sounds daft living in Austria, but each year, when the first real fall happens I get like this.

It all started when we came here, and found our neighbour was an obsessive snow shoveller. Sometimes she would be up before light on the yard, heaping it into piles. We would wake up and she would be whizzing past our kitchen window. We do have a big yard and when all the flats were lived in, all the garages were used and it had to be cleared. Trouble was that the only place to put it is around the back of the block, so more heaving and tipping it.

We went with it over the years, but now she’s older and now only clears in front of her door. It’s not just her though. Many people are out manically clearing. The older generation, where they grew up with more snow and cold (so they say) possibly had a case to clear it, but now? The rest of us have to clear all the flipping stuff. Every year I say, WHY do we have to clear it all when three out of the six garages aren’t used? No one  listens to me. Sometimes I go on strike, but they just miss ours out or heap it by our hedge.

For three years, we had a new neighbour who had a snow plough, that was pure joy. But he’s moved, so I guess this year it’s back to the grind. As I write, it’s with a dread that I know Martin will soon be out beavering and I’ll feel impelled to go and help. Then there will be the added fun of having to go and clear the holiday homes we look after. The only good thing about it, is that it makes for a good work out.

But it’s not only that. We’ve had a beautiful November walking in the valley, and now that’s mostly ruined. Lots of the places will be impassable or put down as Cross country runs.

It’s the walking the dog in it twice a day, whether I like it or not that wears me down. Bundling on all the layers.  It does get you fitter when its deep, but when the Council clears the roads, unless its gritted, its like walking on a skating rink. I fell over three times last year, being caught out like this or by sneaky bits of ice hiding under it. When I wear the spikes on my boots in this, they don’t last long.

And don’t talk to me about skiing! My winter sport if anything is going snow shoe walking, if I have the energy after clearing the yard. I will get over this and get carried away photographing when the skies are blue and the light’s wonderful.

But, this morning, I’m longing for a damp, dull, grey English morning, where the ground is green or muddy. I can do mud…


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Silage in October?

We’ve had a warm, wet summer, in fact a normal summer. As you know, I love to follow the farming season.

This year, there has been loads of grass, and some fields have been cut three times. I was surprised when farmers cut a couple of weeks ago.

Now we have a bit of sunshine, they’re at it again. Surely there can’t be much nutrition in it? Snow is forecast on Sunday, so there has been much scurrying around with bakers today.

How late do you cut in your part of the world?


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Winter Wonderland!

December 15th, St Margarethen, only -3!!!!


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Bad Snow

This is a shot I took last Tuesday.

And this is what we woke up to.

A low-pressure system had come up from Italy, bringing heavy wet snow. We had 30 cm here by lunchtime and it snowed until the late evening.

As I walked the dog, I could hear branches cracking and trees falling. Many trees drooped as if in agony.

The road to Tamsweg was closed, mostly due to lorries without winter tyres, but also fallen trees.

Eventually, it was cleared, but there were power cuts all day and by the evening we lost all power until the following lunchtime.

I took these shots by moonlight only!

It took the area by surprise, being so early in the year for heavy snow.  We’ve since had heavy rain, the Mur is up 20cm, and tonight (Saturday) another low is due to sweep through, but it’s not certain that it will be rain or snow. Of course, the ski resorts are thrilled, plenty of snow to piste!

My guess that this will be either the nastiest winter in our 12 years here; the plague of mice maybe really was a forewarning. Or this will all blow away and we’ll have hardly any snow at all. Guess which option I’d prefer!!!!


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Spring!

How is your spring going? Last week we had 6 inches of snow, but its all gone now. The first crocuses are in the fields, around the corner of our house, violets are dazzling with their scent, and I have seen one pink/blue Lungwort poking through some dead grass. The chiffchaffs have arrived, I saw some swallows in Tamsweg, I hope they’re not freezing and today I heard the crunching chat of the black redstart, always a symbol of spring,

Swingle is eating anything dead coming out of the thawing snow, if not rolling in it. But best is still rolling in the snow and eating it like ice cream.