So where's the snow?

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

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Crazy winter!


Last weekend (Jan 10th) we had the most nutty weather.We knew a cold front was going to hit a warm front, but that’s not unusual, but the varitaion in temperature was extreme. It rose to +13, and as you can see all the snow in the yard melted leaving a sheet of ice. In the morning, I saw more of these fast moving clouds that refract the light, as I saw when this first happened,  they seem to be going with this phenomena. Its also I guess something to do with the angle of dun and light in the morning – both time it happened practically due south. Apparently it’s called cloud iridescence, and its not only due to the light but ice crystals!


The next day it snowed. Out came the snow shovels!All this week, its been lovely and cold,real winter, but with temperature inversion, that it was warmer at the top of the hills than here in the valley!


Now today, a week later, its doing it again. The temperature rose from +1 to +9 and back down again in a couple of hours.  I saw a tinge of colour in the fast moving skies, we’ll see of the 50 cm of snow predicted turns up tonight!

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So how has your garden grown?


Following a warm and damp winter, we’ve now had a warmish and damp summer. The neighbours are blaming us, saying it came from England – and some of it did!!!!  There was one time in late spring when temperatures got to the low 30s,and today, August 30th, we have all the signs of an early autumn. We’ve harvested the carrots, as the tops were turning, but what a crop!  The parsnips are looking good, but they need to wait for the frost to sweeten them up. We also had loads of peas and broad beans. The courgettes and Okaido pumpkins haven’t liked the colder nights, and have slowed right down in growth, and the strawberries were lousy. The sweetcorn may not ripen with the continuing rain, we’ll see.  BUT loads of redcurrants for a first attempt at wine, and blackcurrants for jam and liquor. Such a difference form this time last year when the whole valley was drying up.

The geraniums haven’t liked the damp and cold, and have reacted by going nuts in their flowers, here another example of a white plant bearing a red flower.


Next year we’re planting less sorts of veggies but more of them, carrots, peas, broad beans, Okaidos, strawberries.

The summer has still gone too quickly. Some of the sycamores are starting to change. I don’t mind a early autumn, if we get snow in November and the crisp dry cold, rather than the soggy dampness of the past few years that went straight to Dave’s chest.

But it’s been an unusual summer. The hay crop has been rained off several times. Cold nights in August.  Sooo much rain. So how has your summer/winter (for those in other climes) been?


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We’re always being told about how things go back to your childhood, but this one I know goes back. No idea how old I was, but in our house in Winchester, we had a huge storm overhead. A loud one. and I was scared. I must have yelled. So for once I had my mother’s attention and I think my brothers too as they banged away on the piano and made me laugh. So I relate storms as being positive things, where I have some love and attention around me. Daft innit?


It also means that I like to play ‘scare’ in the garden when a storm comes down the valley, just how long before the closeness sends me scuttling in. There’s probably something Freudian in that too!


Coming storms also send me out with the camera for shots of building clouds and dark horizons. We’ve had a spate of daily storms going along with the recent hot spell.


This farmhouse always reminds me of the house peeping over the hill at the start of ‘watch with mother’. Showing my age here!

The farmers around went mad cutting their fields for hay, and maybe for once showed more sense in realising that the weather would break earlier than the forecast said. A few did still get caught out with wet hay left in the field but I guess that’s not so important with silage.



Do You like storms?

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Hot spring!


The weather here continues to be very warm, and of course it seems worse because Easter is so late and the ski resorts are trying to cling on for their bookings, but many lower ones are already closed and I’ve seen people trying to ski over the brown patches.

And so we’ve been doing a lot in the garden, much earlier than usual. I’ve had the Geraniums in the spare room for nearly a month with a little water bringing them on, and Dave is now making noises about putting them in the green house, but we are still having low nighttime temperatures with a little frost, me thinks he’s getting carried away this time, not me!

We’ve put the swing seat in its new place and have already wasted several hours just sitting, watching and listening to the waterfall. The other effect is that although we had a snowfall a couple of weeks ago, there has been no rain and already the farmers are wingeing about their grass growth, but farmers all over the world are never happy!  Nevertheless
after last year, we’re investing in another water barrel for the summer. We were in Salzburg this week and as usual its six weeks ahead of us, with the magnolias nearly over , forsythia in full gas and the trees covered in this strange green stuff. And I’m glad that I have all this to look forward to!  I wonder if a rich person could travel around the world and so live in permanent spring?

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Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow


Our terrace after Christian was at work!


Here’s one we had earlier!

After our whacky January, we now seem to be getting shedloads of snow. Today (Feb 16th) we had 37 cms which I read on our snow-ometer (OK, its the picnic table on the terrace and a ruler). We may have had more in one fall in years past, I wish we had measured before. It is heavy wet snow, and it was a relief that Christian our neighbour has mended his snow plough and blower and we left him with several of his mates happily blowing snow all over the place!


We had to drive into Tasmweg in the morning and that was interesting as the snow was still coming down and the plough  hadn’t been through for a while. On coming back, we turned into our little bottle neck lane and ground to a halt – the plough had now been through and left a heap blocking it. Dave managed to get going after one of Christian’s mates gave us a shove and then got stuck again going into our yard. More lads appeared and I reversed in- we had to laugh as Christian turned up and they all raced down the lane and sat on his car bonnet to give him traction to drive backwards up the little hill.  In the middle of the afternoon it got up to +5 and there was a thaw, apparently it is going to freeze tonight – more fun!

This week I begin my first course teaching at the Volkshochschule (evening classes), and Dave takes another German course. I feel far more confident as I passed my TEFl course. I just wish I could hear from Ibisacam if I’ll be working for them in May – I want to really plan it this time!  So we’re keeping ourselves busy, we even got the Cross country skis out last week. It was very warm, and a lot of the time the snow was sticking, but it made it easy to walk up a slope. Hopefully, the snow now will stay long enough for us to get out again!


Today, I actually had some Green finches at the bird table and coming out of Tamsweg we saw the now huge flock of Field fares settled on the snow. We also had a brief visit from a small group of Long tailed tits. I wonder where all our usual birds are?


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Drought in the Lungau


One of the things that attracted us here, was the greenness of Austria.  Of course that means a high rainfall.  So this year has been a bit of a shock.  Temperatures up to the middle 30 degrees and no rain.  This followed a very cold, late spring after  a snow famine in January, then major floods (the 100 year flood it’s called).  Last summer we had heat, with downpours in between. The fields are now turning brown, and the farmers, having had a late first hay crop, have now had a scanty second, with some having to bring cows down from the Alm, because there is no grass, so they are having to feed this winters hay. Some are even having to sell their stock.


I give the Government here it’s due. With all the tales of Maize crops drying out, wheat not forming on the straw, plus the hay situation, they have very quickly stepped in with emergency payments. I dare say this will still need many duplicate forms filling out, knowing the love of beurocracy here, but at least they’re quick to respond, not like the EU.

Last night, we though we would get a reprieve as a sneaky cold front was going to cross this African blast. The skies did darken and we had a huge wind, like a whirlwind blow down the valley, picking up the dust in the factory yard down the road, trees came down, skies got blacker, but not a drop of rain.


Our water barrel is long empty, and we could take water out of the Thomotalerbach, but that’s apparently not legal.  So Dave and I are now showering, and using the difference to water the veggies and the container plants.


Most of them have got their roots well down, but are wilting in the middle of the day. Crazy to be in August and have no ripe tomatoes, and no beans!


The heatwave is forecast to finish on Thursday, with a pleasant 20 degrees, oh I hope so, I loathe showering and want a soak in the bath!!!!!!!