Wilderswil

Part of what keeps me going into the landscape every day is how the people in the local towns and in their agriculture integrate at the smallest scale into the larger landscape. Wilderswil is an excellent example.

From my place I took two busses and in 10 minutes I was in Wilderswil Dorf–the center of the village.

IMG_2260

The Bears Hotel in the center of Wilderswil–this is downtown in the village. 2,700 people live in Wilderswil which is part of the Interlaken agglomeration(24,000 pop.).

After 5 more minutes walk I was at the edge of the village on a pedestrian path known in the local dialect as a wanderweg–a way for wandering through the landscape–journeys to the unknown.

ForestJourney

Wandering along a wanderweg.

After 15 minutes in thick mixed forest, a view of the larger landscape opened before me.

IMG_2252

The small scale agriculture sits at the base of steep forested mountains.

SmallScalein the Mountains

The valley floor is pasture for smaller agricultural holdings. The forest begins where the slope becomes too steep for pasture.

The small scale agriculture comes right to the edge of town.

Edge of Town

This is the kind of diversity that comes from hard work and returns healthy people.

The town people use every imaginable way to bring practical plants, gardens and small scale agriculture right to their doorstep.

Integrating

These are typical throughout the village–the owners encourage nature right up to their front door.

This last black and white photo, taken in 1952, shows Wilderswil at the mouth of the Saxeten Valley and river. This valley, while never gaining the reputation of the Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald Valleys, has undeniable drama and magnificent landscape setting. These are the Berner Oberland.

1952

By Werner Friedli – This image is from the collection of the ETH-Bibliothek and has been published on Wikimedia Commons as part of a cooperation with Wikimedia CH. Corrections and additional information are welcome., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59858775

Engineers’ Delight

In the world, the very broad world of ‘engineers’, there are huge works that stun and amaze. There are also smaller works that read very clearly as the ‘engineers’ world’.

Engineers'Delight

Materials, details, scale, colors and content. Definitely ‘Engineers’ world’.

A little joy…

…goes a long way. Especially this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Northern Hemisphere?

After the joy of the first fluffy snows, I find a certain, almost enbalming, dreariness in gardens before any sign of snow drops or aconites. Everything is gray and dank.

That was yesterday, after my physio at the hospital, as I walked home. Cheery did not enter my thoughts. Wind was cold. I zipped my coat up higher to protect my throat. Everything was wet. Melting piles of snow everywhere. All plants had suffered under the burdens of ice, slush and snow.

Witch Hazel

Unexpected discovery. Don’t give up hope. And even a little bit of fragrance.

They call it witch hazel. There are a bunch of them around the world in the Genus Hamamelis. Got its common name from its use by water witchers. Lots of medicinal uses.

From first sight, it sparked hope in me.

Quarantine at the edge of town

All of us are experiencing quarantine in one form or another. 

But the edge of town? What is that? Traditionally the edge of town was the place where fertile flat lands were cultivated for agriculture that was more valuable than town housing. And necessary.

So, yesterday I took a walk–quarantine all around. Walked by myself. As I walked across town, I saw an open bakery, an open grocery store and an open drug store.  Everything else was closed.

IMG_0756

The town had plenty signs of spring–the forsythias always shout with joy.

IMG_0751

At the edge of town, I saw the agricultural landscape, the spring green of willow trees and the hopeful construction of a tree house.

IMG_0754

Then I saw the farmhouse–so many activities related to food. Farms are amazing producers and guardians.

IMG_0752

At one entry to the farmhouse, I was reminded of the simplest of their products–available almost any day of the year. Direct from the farm: eggs, jams, Alp cheese, goat cheese.

Quarantined? Take a walk. Check out the edge of town.

Wood

…dream or old school or sustainable?

IMG_0688

From the forest to the town.

IMG_0685

In the town.

IMG_0672

Duplex?

IMG_0674

Neighbors in the duplex make the shared balconies their own. Note finishing details–they are rough but they stand the test of time. Century? Two centuries? Older?

IMG_0673

Not everyone keeps them in museum quality. It is expensive; and believe it or not, it is not in compliance with current energy standards. And how much to upgrade in order to meet those standards?