So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog

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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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Where are the birds?


As I write on January 17th, we have no fresh snow here and it’s actually raining. Nuts. Earlier in the winter all looked quite promising as I had Jays visiting the table and the Nutcrackers ever popped in for the odd visit. Since Christmas, the birds have gone. I have the resident group of Field Sparrows and Great Tits. An occasional Blackbird,Robin and Blue Tit, but no one else. If anything its saving me on the bird food. The only thing I can think of, they’ve stayed on the greener slopes higher up as they can access all the ground stuff. Maybe they’ll be back when we get some snow. No one I’ve spoke to can remember it being like this. Maybe its the knock on from the USA weather.  I have seen a group of Fieldfares in the valley, feasting on the huge crop of Vogelberries  (Mountain ash berries), which I’ve never seen before here  but they to have gone.

Anyone else seen anything odd?

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Late Autumn and Paggy again!


2007 and on that year it snowed on the 20th


October 6th this year

The unusual weather seems to be continuing -although, who am I to say, we’ve only been here for nearly seven years!  I find the best way of checking is though my photos ,here’s a selection on comparable dates. How much is my perception and how much is real?


2008, on the 6th, yellow chestnuts, cherries still green, didn’t snow.

We haven’t had a proper frost, the blip which comes in September only brought a slight frosting on the grass one morning.  The sycamore trees which usually give us a golden breeze in September have hardly changed,and the Chestnut trees have barely changed and they are usually the first.


2009, 5th, sycamores and ashes bare, snowed on the 13th!

P1240359We’ve had some rain, but its been mainly dry.  We’ve had some stunning weather with warmth and clear blue skies. We were out walking the other day and they were harvesting the spuds at the same time as a last sneaky cut of silage or haylage or what ever you want to call it….not seen that in October since 2007.


2010, 9th, taken from the Burg, much more colour, by the 24th most trees were bare but no snow.

But maybe this is payback for the drought, an extended growing season so that the second or third cut can be made.  The valleys are full of cows, munching like mad on the remaining grass which is luxuriantly green, but with little goodness in it.


2011 6th, Ash trees bare, can’t have been a frost either as the Nasturtiums still flowering, but it snowed down the valley the next day!


This year, much greener!

I expect the farmers will keep them out as long as the grass grows.  Its delayed the mice moving into our friends holiday house too.  I’ve seen the Nutcrackers but they didn’t hang about.


2012, 6th, trees all much barer, but no snow that month!

P1240425Some finches and sparrows have turned up, and are feeding along with the resident Great Tits. We’ve out a new extension on the table as I want to discourage the Crackers, I think they scared the smaller birds.


2013, Hay and Spuds together!

In Paggy’s garden, there are two Jays feeding on his unpicked plums.  Paggy is in hospital again, he had a busy week, with getting his wood cut for the winter.  He had two local guys helping with this, but they both get on the sauce, and then he had a visit, which involved wine and schnapps. The next night he fell and spent the night on the floor wrapped in a blanker, with a stunning black eye.  So we’re visiting him, at first he said it was because he had eaten too strong chillies, then admitted it was maybe a light heart problem, then said the Doc reported his heart like a 20 year olds……He hopes to be home next week, but we think it may be longer as he’s lying around in the bed, looking ever more frail and and asked us to buy him beer!

So I really was right when I sad we’d put the geraniums in too early……and autumn is definitely behind this year!

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Cow Parsley Spring

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One of the effects of this long wet spell, is that the farmers have been unable to get into the fields to cut the first round of silage.  Normally the second two weeks in May means you’re permanently stuck behind a tractor. On the lower levels, all has been ok, but here at about 100o metres its a disaster.


The grass has gone to seed, and the common Dock or sorrel as I call it, have made a brown haze on the fields, more commonly associated in the UK with derelict land that is full of the larger Dock,which we use to rub out nettle stings.  I’m quite surprised there isn’t more as the slurry is well and truly spread here as soon as the snow goes.


Likewise, the buttercups are making as good a show as the Dandelions.  Most of all though, is the Cow Parsley. It’s just run rampant.  All of these would have normally been cut back  in the silage by now, but instead our flowering. Some fields I’ve seen are pure white, and there are very few Margarita daisies which make a fantastic show at this time.  So what effect will this have on the silage?  Can it still be made with all these flowers in which I know many animals will not eat?  Will everyone be searching for bailers next week? The rain will also make this long grass lodge, also making it difficult to cut. Poor farmers, they can’t win.


BUT it makes for great photos, which would be even better if it would stop raining long enough for the flowers to open!


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High Water

Some of the rain that has been drenching England got here this weekend, just deserts I suppose.  Its not that we haven’t had rain, far from it, we’ve had hot spells followed by storms which has caused much damage. 

Darker water of the Thomotalerbach meets the Mur

 This deluge had the Mur really high but not as high as we’ve seen it.  So after the rain had gone, Dave and I had a stroll along, to get some freash air. Bad idea.  There must have been drains and septic tanks overflowing, the whole river STANK!

Thomotalerbach also rushing about

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Life goes on despite the lack of snow!!!

One of the Lungau Trachtenmode Groups at the Volkskulturfest

I know I keep on harping on about snow but everyone’s remarking on the lack of it.  Several of the  local resorts are now building their pistes with snow canons, we had minus 9 last night, so that helps. This is because snow is made here purely on water and cold air, no chemicals because of the pollution of the waterways.  We drove to Murau today and some of the shady sides of the valley haven’t thawed for weeks and the frost is so deep it looks like snow. I’ve just seen a report on ORF evening news with resort owners looking resolutely cheerful  even though they cant make the  snow – due to temperature inversion its actually too warm for the canons- its only those on the north side and hence shaded that are snow making!

Also whats up in the Lungau this autumn.  There seems to be a funeral every week, when I was in Mariapfarr yesterday I could hear the funeral bells both there and in St Andre and there was another in Tamsweg this week.  There’s been 21 losses in Ramingstein alone, is it the odd weather??????

I had coffee with a new neighbour on Thursday and she’s a lovely lady, we talked away.  I’m guilty of telling about Erna’s moaning the entire summer, and she knows her, but volunteered herself that she’s difficult.  This family built a house on the corner of our plot, and seems were deeply unpopular with all for it – but as that was in the 1980s things have calmed down.  I’d seen her previously with another friend at The Lungau Volkskulturfest in September, she’s a member of the Ramingstein Frauentrachtenmode group, and I’ve been invited along to one of their meets.  It involves wearing the local costume and turning out on parades – see photos.  At least I’ll get to meet some more folks – I’ve also felt hesitant about going being a foreigner.  I can hear my dear departed mother laughing at me, and probably so will my daughter too! It seems so sad that its through our neighbours death I’ve got to know more people.

Most important though is that now I’ve got a Crosstrainer, in an attempt to regain some fitness, I’ve lost all muscle tone – and to think that I thought working at the Burg would keep me fit.  So the contraption is in the spare room and after the first session, many muscles are complaining – tough I say. Funny as I walk more with God, I feel more distanced from this body and can laugh at its desire for food and rest.  As Andrew Wommack says, all this trying to subdue the flesh through denying it etc doesn’t work, you need to renew your mind first, then the body follows!