So where's the snow?

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


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Garden Time – rain, rain, rain

May 31st

We have had a spell of what is maybe normal spring weather, damp air, heavy thundery showers but thank heavens, no frosts.  Of course it means  that the plants are well watered but now we begin to panic about mould in the greenhouse!  Still, I’ve got everything planted out, even the emergency windowsill courgettes have been bunged out on a plot! I can sense the frustration of the farmers as it going to rain everyday for the next week according to the forecast, and its the start of hay and silage time.

The birds have mostly taken themselves off, but to my delight, this year a family of Greenfinches has stayed behind and are chomping on the few sunflower seeds I put out. The sparrows don’t argue with them like they do the Tits and they share the table together. We have a resident cuckoo for the first time, its worse than a clock you can’t switch it off!  The meadow below us is full of campion, ragged robin, daisies of course, Buttercups, Spreading bellflowers, and Meadow Bistort.When the sun shines, and I’m doing the ironing, I have the bedroom window open and the smell comes wafting in.  I often put the radio on and have found the Radio 4 extra, last week I had the joy of a Morecombe and Wise show, plus the Dad’s army radio show, quite a giggle or am I showing my age???????

I’ve met my share-dog, it’s a lovely golden retriever, the vet thinks about five years old, already spayed, how could anyone bother to buy a pedigree dog, have it done, then abandon it?  Lizzie and I are looking forward to our dog duties!

One thing I have noticed on my blogs – no mention of stress, hating job, sleeplessness, tiredness, I just go, do me cleaning, come home and forget about it.  Bliss, thanks God!


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Weekly Photo Challenge -Today

Today, Dave and I have been enjoying Kaiserschmarrn at the Josef Merle Huette, in Shoenfeld.  This is Austria‘s most favourite pudding.  Best enjoyed after a good walk!  It’s basically a sweet pancake, cooked in butter, accompanied by ApfelMus – pureed apples or a compot of any fruit. It is mashed up and dusted with icing sugar. This one only got 8/10 as there was a little too much butter and no sultanas in the mix. We always rate our when we are in a mountain hut!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/weekly-photo-challenge-today


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Sycamores

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?


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Garden time – Apples and Plums, Jam and Wine

It was when I was out to photo the apple trees, I noticed that the Plum trees have next to no flowers on them at all. I had to check back at my photos over the past few years and there are definitely less flowers than in earlier years and they look scraggy, not full blooms, just a couple of petals.  Another effect of last year, or just the trees having one of their rest years?  We’ve had so many plums the past two years we’ve got sick of the sight of them!  The cherry trees locally have had a great flowering, missing the Ice man, unlike the apples which did get zapped, but with so many flowers I guess it’ll still be a great crop.  My ornamental cherry has also had a pathetic flowering this year, nature’s cycle?

Especially with the fiasco of Paggy’s plum jam making. I’ve never managed to get it to set properly, as he wont let me add enough sugar as he’s a diabetic, but even with the gel zucker – it has extra gelatine and pectin in it I understand, it wont set. Then it goes moldy!  It seems we need to reduce it at least by half before adding the sugar, which  will do this year, if we get any fruit!

Very few people make home-made wine here, which is a surprise, Schnapps and jam yes. Maybe it’s because wine is so cheap! I can’t think why as there are so many soft fruits in  any garden, and jam making or cordial uses maybe more sugar.  Maybe its due to the beer drinking!   I’ve also got at last my own elderberries going, so now its do I make juice and then maybe jam from th flowers, or wait to make jam from the fruit??? Such dilemmas!  We’ve also just planted our first Blackberry, they seem not to be Lungau hard, which is a shame as they are like weeds in the UK.


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It’s not a wilderness!

God still has so much work to do in me, it seems like the process is never-ending,  how would I manage without his grace?

The new job is ok, it was definitely his hands, and it works, but  I don’t earn my share of our combined income.  It’s ok for a while as there’s spring madness and poor Dave is having to work up to 50 hours a week at the garden centre.  This is why I’ve been trying to make money on the second blog – which is coming close to being ditched as it’s not working for various  reasons. I’ve got time to write this and the new book is chugging on slowly.  I have time to garden and weekends and bank holidays off. More  than just what I asked.  The only downside is I’m on my own a lot, this I on the whole like.  At times though it gets a bit lonely, but  God hit me with a smackeroo  the other day,which still has me reeling.

I was whining on to myself about how lonely I feel and whats this life for, blah, blah, blah.  When he said to me, this isn’t a wilderness, it’s a paradise and he opened my eyes.  I have all I’ve asked of him, he’s leading me through some issues that I really need to deal with, and the quietness is his mechanism to do it. Holy Spirit is helping me to perceive things and deal with them as never before.  He’s given me with all I could ever need or want, I need to be with him, he’s my friend  and I must just simply enjoy it.

I am at peace like never before.


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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!