Category Archives: life

WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 15

Wed. 13 Aug 08

Life here is very relaxed. Even so, we are continuing to find things that need doing. I have been picking berries, canning and baking, while Philip continues to prepare the ground for planting and trimming (pruning) the grapevines. Yesterday was a rain day so we were stuck inside most of the day. However, I was able to grab some apples and make applesauce with them in the afternoon.

The laundry is done and it seems like one load takes forever in the tumble washer. This is a very modern version to give  you an idea. Then, because there isn’t a dryer, and it is raining the close must be hung inside to dry.

Philip came down with a cold and so yesterday’s rain day allowed him to rest, which he badly needed. I tried to get him some cold medicine at the only shop in town. I went over and asked them for kolt medicine and they had no idea what I was asking, so I just sneezed. Seems that is the universal language for colds. 😀 Sadly, they didn’t have any that Philip would take so I passed.

In about an hour I will leave on the bus to visit and dine with Xarah, one of my online friends. Larissa, from Germany, won’t be able to join us until near the end of our tour.

Zug is approximately the same distance to Zurich as Maur so it should work out nicely near the end for Larissa to join us.

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 14

Sunday, 10 August 2008

No church to go to today. Philip was able to call Hans-Peter and we will be visiting them in Stäfa tonight. Yesterday was a touring day. Our host left for the film festival in Lugano and so we were left to our own plans. As the two day Zürich Street Parade is this weekend we wanted to avoid Zürich altogether. We decided instead to go to Rapperswill. It turned out to be a superb choice, with but one challenge. The bus vack we had to take only connected to Zürich–more on that later.

Rapperswill port, Switzerland

Rapperswill port, Switzerland

Rapperswill is a gort town near the southwest section of Lake Zürich. We tourned the “old town” area and saw the rose garden. We lunched at a Migros counter and had a really good sandwich they call a pizza sandwich. It was nothing like pizza, but instead had a soft semi-round bread with warm cheese and other ingredients. Mine was ham and tomato and Philip had just motzarella cheese. Both were quite yummy.

Just around the corner from the station is a marina and temperature display. The ferry was in and so after I checked with the crew to be sure our “Alla Zones” pass would be accepted, we decided to take the boat back. We actually took it three-quarters of the way around the lake because the 17th annual Zürich madhouse was in full swing when we reached Zürich. However, we ended up back in the Zürich depot in order to connect to Maur.

Zurich Street Parade 2008

Zurich Street Parade 2008

What a madhouse! It was wall-to-wall weirdos! I am not kidding, young people dressed up in costumes with feathers and body parts clearly visible, that were better left hidden. 😉 I was glad to be on the bus back to Maur and safe and sound on the farm.

Mostly I have been cooking, picking berries and canning applesauce. The first batch was so well accepted that Reinhart Lüeder, our host, took a jar with him on his weekend jaunt.

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 10

Sunday 3 Aug 2008

As you can see by the infrequency of this journal’s entries life has been very full with activities. since my last entry we have made two sojourns and seen many sites.

First of August Switzerland

First of August Switzerland

First of August in Switzerland is celebrated much differently here than in the states with the Florida Suncoast Swiss American Society that we belong to. Rather than a round of singing and picnic there was a small town fourth-of-July type event. The evening, about seven, we walked to town in the drizzling rain. Upon arrival at the local restaurant we were escorted upstairs to a small conference type room. There we were served wine and orange juice while we awaited a visiting guest of Hans and his wife (Schini), named Ursala. We had made arrangements the day before to join her there after we met her in the restaurant again over coffee with her spaniel, Buffy.

In short order, Ursala arrived followed by a string of men from the community. One had nothing to do with the other but…
The men lined up in the front along one wall like a row of eligible bachelors. this group was soon joined by several others and the room quickly filled to capacity.

It wasn’t long before the festivities began and we finally understood the reason for the bachelor lineup. This was the Krinau Men’s Choral Group. We were blessed by several songs and then an official from the canton spoke. Ursala told us later the gist of the speech and it was just what we were hoping to hear. The man spoke about the smallness of Switzerland and the need to remain that way.

After the meeting was over we three went down to dinner. About the time we were finishing we heard the fireworks, and had to rush out. It seems Buffy gets scared of these noises and Ursala had to leave for home in a rush.

On the way back to the farm we saw the town bonfire and fireworks on the nearby hillside. The fireworks were small in comparison to our 4th celebrations but none-the-less enjoyable.

The next day we took a train trip to St Galen for the day.

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 9

30 July 2008

Today started off normally with yogurt making to get started in the kitchen and gardening tasks to complete. Lisbeth’s yogurt maker started acting up, it would shut off for no reason regardless of the timer setting. So she decided to have me put the jars in a water-bath in the oven on a very low temperature. Since I had done this once before she simply told me to do it and left me to the task.

Big mistake! I had made dinner in the oven, my mom’s meat crust pie recipe, the previous day and so the temperature setting was in memory from that meal preparation. That meal was cooked at 160-degrees C, but the yogurt setting should have been 40.

I was out in the garden and Layla (Mouse) came to tell me to come to the kitchen, where I found Lisbeth scowling over Felix, who was bent over trying to scrape melted plastic from the oven.

I took over the job, and it was quite an ordeal to clean plastic off the metal shelves and oven, but at least the jars didn’t explode! Now I know how they coat wire racks with plastic.

Gingers Artwork

Ginger's Artwork

Lisbeth had just cleaned the oven a few days prior to this disaster, which made me feel even worse. However, when I was done I think the oven was cleaner than when it was new, well at least as clean, for sure.

At dinner, Felix told me that the product of my fiasco reminded him of an artist named Alberto Burri that he had a book of his work. He said my artwork was at least as good as his. We all were finally able to laugh about the incident.

Melted Plastic Art by Alberto Burri

Melted Plastic Art

This was the last work-day in Krinau, what a way to end a stay!

Tomorrow we are off on holiday. Philip and I have decided to go to St. Gallen. It is the capital of this Canton. Several people have told us to visit there when we can. Roldan told us to visit the cathedral and library. This is what we will do among other things while there.

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WWOOF Switzerland The Saga Continues, Part 8

29 July

It was a busy week. Lots to do both indoors and out. Since I last wrote Philip and I went with Lisbeth Vogl and her two girls, Festie & Mouse, to Seven Mountains in Unterwasser (Under water for those who don’t speak German). We took a lift up to walk the base of the mountains and then near the end the girls and Lisbeth took a short, steep hike back which left us to manage the return trip on our own.

Seven Mountains

Seven Mountains

We had a bit of difficulty finding the entrance to the down lift (ski lift). However, we experienced something new because of our inexperience. As we walked up the outside stone steps to the mountain restaurant, we were met by an obstinate goat and a frustrated waitress who was trying desperately to shew the goat out of the restaurant via the stairs.

Alpine flowers

Alpine flowers

Once back down the lift, thanks to Larissa Glück and my German lessons, I tried out the one sentence that I worked so hard to learn on the cashier, “Wo ist die Bushaltestelle?” To my amazement he not only understood me, but I understood his directions. I heard a couple words I understood, pieced it together and off we went to the nearby bus station.

View from Seven Mountains

View from Seven Mountains

Philip wanted to find a pharmacy so he purchased two rail tickets to Winterthur – much farther than we intended. However, it turned out to be a fine outing and a relaxing trip. In Winterthur we found everything we needed.

During the bus part of the journey we met a man who was on his way to meet up with his wife, Hans Huerlimann, who works for Siemens as a programmer. We only had a few minutes to chat and Philip being a programmer too gave him his card so he could be in touch. It was during this time our computer connection to the world went down. We were so hoping to connect with the two of them while they were in Krinau.

Luckily, Felix was able to fix the problem and Philip found an email from Hans and immediately got in touch with him. They made arrangements to get together the next afternoon for a brief visit during which they discovered they had even more in common. So we agreed to meet them for pizza when we got to our next destination, Maur.

Then on Sunday night we went to evening service and spoke with Ellen, the visiting pastor and Anina the cellist. Anina also played the pipe organ. She is a very talented young woman.

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Untold Story Contines Part 6

The days in Krinau were long and fast. Hardly any time was devoted to personal desires, like writing in my journal or trying to get online long enough to do any business at all. Most of the days are spent weeding and cooking.

The first Sunday we were told that they took basically off so we were both able to attend the tiny village church that I mentioned in a previous post. The service was, as you would expect, in German. However, the lady who spoke, a visiting pastor by the name of Elaine, introduced herself before the service and explained the basic message she was going to give.

The singing was also in German but I did recognize one of the tunes and tried to sing along with the parisheners. My German being what it was, I did my best to follow along and keep up.

After service we were invited to join a group for coffee and quickly accepted. This was our opportunity to meet and speak with some of the townsfolk. One particular gentleman, Robert, invited us to his holiday house, (this is what they call second homes and vacation homes). They not only, he and his wife Hannah, showed us their home, but we walked through the town and all the way to a Bio Farm. It was even more enjoyable than the hour trek the previous week with Lisbeth and the girls. That trek was breathtakingly beautiful, but the company was much more enjoyable.

Wooden Biohauf signThe Bio Farm URL – in German of course – http://www.biohof-krinau.ch/

Along the way we saw an interesting site. The hills were terraced. When we asked Robert about this he informed us that the cows created those terraces.

Also, the signs in the town and the biohauf were made of wood. These signs were intricately carved into works of art Krinau village signas well as being informational. In comparison, the welcome sign to Krinau was beautified with the addition of flowers. Neither of these special touches would you ever find in the states!

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Untold Story Part 5

The difference in cultures is very much apparent, as you have probably surmised from my previous recants. The food, people and the scenery are so much “more” in Switzerland. The words that come to mind are beautiful, friendly and CLEAN! Hardly ever did I see any trash on the ground, including in Zurich.

The weather was warm with frequent rain showers, one of which actually produced hail! It was neat to watch from our upstairs bedroom window, as the small hailstones hit the street. However, I was later to see the damage it did to the crops when I got to the last farm.

The weather is very important to farmers and it was apparent from the start that all news reports that offered information were given full attention.

Kitchen chores

Kitchen chores

When it rained we would spend the day in the house doing what we could to help out. I was usually to be found in the kitchen while Philip worked putting up shelving, or some other manly chore.

In the tiny village of Krinau I would work diligently in the kitchen making cherry jam, yogurt, roasting oats and spelt or making syrup. The latter I explained earlier so I won’t bother repeating myself here.

Cross beam fruit press

Cross beam fruit press

To make the syrup and jelly from the berries it was necessary to steam and then press them. The berries used for this purpose didn’t need sorting as the press would remove all the unwanted excess parts, like stems and skin. The first step was to put them in a metal colander and then sit that in a pan that would catch the juice as they softened and warmed. Then the whole kit was put in a moderate oven to steam for about twenty minutes or so. Once that was done the accumulated juice and berries were put together into the old-fashioned wooden press. (Remember these are all small, organic farms.) This picture is similar to the one Philip had to press with using brute force and wooden blocks.

Country accommodations

Country accommodations

When it rained it was cold, even in the house. It seemed they didn’t have good insulation back two hundred years ago. So after a hard days work on a cold and rainy day I was chilled to the bone and tired, which was the perfect combination for a good night’s rest.

Note the mattress is on the floor. It was usually very hard. One thing that was constant in all the beds on the farms was the covering. They didn’t use top sheets, only down or wool blankets that were encased in a removable fabric with button closure. It was hard getting in and out of bed for two old-teens like us, but once in and under those warm, heavy covers we were quite comfortable.

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