So where's the snow?

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


Cold, horrible spring


End of May 2013

When we came back to Austria, we were surprised to find how little our plants in the greenhouse had grown.  Even the beans in the garden were a little brown around the edges.  Cold and wet, and so it has continued.  As I write on May 31st, our part of Europe is lying  under a big swirl of wet, dripping cold rain and snow. We had one day where we frantically weeded and grass cut, then it hit.  One day of semi dry, but now it’s been raining solidly for 48 hours and  there is no forecast let up until after the weekend.   The hills are once again snow covered and the news has already reported landslides and earthslides.  The Mur hasn’t risen greatly yet as the rain has been of drizzle intensity.  I’d seen some cows going up the hills in the trailers, I hope they have some shelter.  The Cuckoo arrived yesterday, along with the swallows, they were a good two weeks later than last year, and not as many  maybe they pressed on through this yuck. We’ve even kept the fire lit in the evenings, having run out of wood, we’re on woodpulp logs.

However, when we looked at the photos of last year, things are roughly the same with peas and beans, but the courgettes were way ahead last year, and we have all the geraniums still in the greenhouse.  I’m comforted that the UK has had a late spring too!!!!


End of May 2012


Travel Theme; Texture

Seems to me that texture also comes with colour -taken in my garden this week before the first snow of autumn – well ok, it was on the mountain tops not here in the valley!

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Travel Theme:Flowers

What a joy this one.  We have such a short, intensive summer here in Austria, we plant our flowers and enjoy them as long as we can, especially where we live in a white world so much of the year -like all the houses are painted in colours and the older ones with motifs -just as I’ve done in the Photo challenge (

We do blossom in spring:

We do fields of dandelions in May:

We do Alms full of colour in June;

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 We do them in July and August on Balconies, this is an abandoned farmhouse in Ramingstein which is still decorated by the family;


In September, the bees and I enjoy the last colour:

But best of all are the flowers in MY garden:

And they’re a bit purple too!

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At the bottom of the garden are three sycamore trees, which I watch throughout the year as they come into leaf and are brushed by storms and when they are filled with seeds, to when they go brown and sleep for the winter.  They tell me when a storm is coming along the valley and hide the singing birds.  They are there in one of the oldest photos of here that we’ve got.  What they must have seen, the building of the factory, all the workers who lived here, the tyranny of Mr Hart , who’s father owned the flat upstairs,  a Nazi ,who terrorized all the local kids and whose taint still is on his son.  

Our block of flats was built in the 1930s as accommodation for workers in the paper factory that was across the river. It made Hirsch packing paper that went all over the world –  now long gone.  In the picture above, our block is the long building in the left hand corner.  Our flat is at the far end.  You can see the baby sycamores to the right of it. We think the picture is about 1950.

The factory was accidentally (hmm) burnt down during the war, and the flats sold off – to guess who, My Hart who was a leading member in the council. I remember our Estate agent saying our flat has no history – but I think it must have loads.  Workers came here from all over Europe.Yet it was the young Mr Hart who planted the pines that blocked our view of the river, and planted fast growing pines that block one side of the garden and he under planted the Sycamores, strangling the life out of them – the middle one this year looks weak and ill.  What does this say about the man?


Travel Theme: Summer

Looking down towards the Grangler Hut, Weisspriach, Lungau

This summer is going to be the best for several years, I’ve decided and that’s final! After all my time teaching riding and the summer when I worked seven days a week at Lois’s stables when he was hurt and then the last two at the Burg with all that associated stress, I’m going to be more at home.  As well as having weekends, I’ll have the Bank holidays. This means I will finally have the time to work on my garden, instead of filling it with flowers and then neglecting it.  I’ll have time to harvest my veggies and fruit and make jam. I might even have a go at some wine making if I can find the gear.  I’m putting a second picture in, wonder if that’s allowed?

June 2010

This also means I’ll have time to go walking in the mountains with Dave and friends. The Bergs are completely addictive, although I cuss and swear as I trudge up and have to take deep breaths, this year I’m fitter (but not thinner) and I cant wait to be up there in that clear air, beautiful views and the silence that wraps them. Of course it’ll also mean Kaisershmarrnn testing at the huts –there’s always one somewhere on a route.  And the camera will be with me, as I disappear for a shot, leaving Dave exasperated or talking to himself.  We just need the last of the snow to melt – which this year means some places will be inaccessible until July, never mind, I’ve got all summer!

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May Day

Unlike England, the May holiday in Austria is taken on the day it falls, this year being a Tuesday, so a lot of people are taking a long weekend, and there’s another holiday on the 17th and then there’s Pfingsten or Pentecost,  sometimes I’m quite happy with the Catholic church! Don’t think there’s anyone leaping about here with Pagan festivals, but you never know

After last week, when it snowed, we hit a heat wave with temperatures in the 20s.  I fell about laughing as Dave tried to light the fire in the evening as it was warmer outside than in, he wouldnt listen to me, and so all the smoke came pouring though the wood burner and fell to the ground like special effect ghostly smoke! Opening all the doors shifted it and once the sun was behind the hill the temperature dropped and it lit. Our flat has walls of about two foot thick, excellent insulation, but often in the summer we have to open all the windows to let the warm in!

The hot weather meant a rapid snow melt on the mountains, so now both rivers are in full spate of brown water and all sorts of interesting things are coming down as stuff left stranded by the low levels in winter is washed down.  I’ve seen at least two trees go over the waterfall, quite a sight!   The noise of the water all around us is amazing, maybe you can liken it to white noise, but I love it.  Now the weather has gone what I term,’close’ warm and humid and there’s thunder forecast tomorrow,I  just hope we can get our garden planted and the grass cut in time!  Driving around today, it seems most folks are planting their gardens with the veggy seeds, and a few even have plants out.  Just hope it isn’t like last year when it snowed in May and June and set everything back.  

I’ve rambled on before about the Dandelions here, but in our back garden they seem to have appeared from nowhere and more than usual. I wonder if the heavy winter will have its effect on the plants?  Of course, soon as it got warm, most of the birds have taken themselves off , to somewhere where there must be more goodies for them to eat, such un-gratefullness!