So where's the snow?

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


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Sunlight

The day after the big snow, I had to travel to Salzburg for a library conference. It was the most amazing day and I was glad to escape the snow and the powercuts. Usual Austrian efficiency had the main roads and motorway free of snow.

Once at the centre, we had discussions and seminars. In one room, I was sat near the window. Outside was a mature garden in what must have been the grounds of the house. It just caught the afternoon sun as it began to set, so I took a few photos. The colours were beautiful as they caught the autumn of the trees.

I sat and watched the light change-and enjoying the discussion. Then it was gone. Sadly, I turned back. Then after a while, the sun returned for a brief few minutes, like an extra blessing.

The whole day was like a reprieve from the snow and pressure of the weather at home and I rejoiced in it. Writing this now, I wonder if it was a foreshadowing of what was to come in the next few days; enjoy this and treasure this now.


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Perfect summer

This summer in Lungau has been text book. The farmers had just enough rain and sun for their first cut of silage. We had the heat of 30 degrees, but it was bridged with rain that had the best growing conditions for the flowers and the veges. I found it too hot when I had to go grass mowing with Dave, but I just don’t do hot. He’s spent a working life out in the heat, and to use his highest form of insult, I was born to work in an office………

We had odd bouts where there was snow on the tops, but you can have snow here any season of the year! Some farmers made three cuts of hay and silage, and there has been time for the grass to re-grow for when the cows come down. I’ve yet to get my picture of them looking out of the trailer tops.

We’ve had brilliant thunderstorms that went with the hot weather and yes, there had been a lot of damage, but where we’re protected by the Tauern mountains, we missed it this year. But all normal alpine weather, if bit more extreme due to the higher temperatures!

The final heat ended on the dot of September first, and since then its been appreciably colder, thank heavens. The hill behind us is white again this morning after a couple of days of rain, and I think of the cows stuck up there. In 2007 there was a really heavy snow and a lot died, but I think this will melt.

And the fruit and veges have been brilliant, and we celebrate our first ever Lungau melon!

Only down side was I seem to have the latest ripening Elderberry tree in the valley and I may only be able to make jam, but I have a few bottles of last years to keep us going!

How was your summer? Or those in other climes, your winter?


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So how has your garden grown?

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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.

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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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Thunderstorms 2

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Yesterday we had a real hum-dinger of a storm, with cellars flooded in Tamsweg, hailstones and all, then it all rushed away to another part of Austria.

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Still I got some really good shots as the storm built.

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I guess after the week of this that’s forecast I’ll be over this!

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Anna, it’s too early!

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This is Dave’s cry as I try too soon to plant seeds, put Geraniums in the garden, decorate the terrace, buy new plants.  Ok, I am learning. But yesterday I did mutiny. The weather has gone incredibly springy, the snow is melting and I wanted to sit in the sun. So I took my shovel to the frozen bits on the terrace and made a path to the bench and uncovered it.

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The next morning, I had my quiet time with the Lord, listening to a thrush singing, a chaffinch trilling and the waterfall doing its stuff. Dave said he wanted to take a photo of me with my soppy grin on my face, but thank heavens he couldn’t find the camera.

NO DAVE; THIS ISN’T TOO EARLY!!!!!!!


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Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow

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Our terrace after Christian was at work!

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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!

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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!

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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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