After The Rain, Before The Storm

The nightly storms that send rain pelting down upon our humble home and illuminate the sky with lightning are impressive. More surprising though, is waking up every morning to blue skies. It’s not that we aren’t used to wild weather here in the Lake Geneva region; when you live between two mountain ranges, you expect…

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Tough Puffs

Dandelions are one of those plants that people love to hate. They’re tenacious, perennial, copious; their tap roots run deep and even cut blossoms will still turn to seed heads if they aren’t culled early enough. Their leaves spread flat and wide, smothering anything beneath. If we didn’t hate them, we’d love them for their…

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Jurassic Garden

There’s a lot of evidence that gardening with plant species native to one’s area can promote a healthier ecosystem for plants, insects, animals and birds. But how do we even go about planting a truly native garden, and what are the challenges involved? A few years ago, I walked around the hedgerows and fields of…

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Spring Pops

The past 48 hours or so have brought about several changes. Most of them I expected. One of them I didn’t. First, the mirabelle plum tree in the garden. In just the space of less than two days, it went from this: To this: And someone must have told the bees, because the entire tree…

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Swift Moment

A cloudless evening and the shrill cries of a small group of European swifts on an evening hunt for insects. A summer concert told in sharp notes. The swift has a wide range and enough numbers to be merit a population status of Least Concern from the IUCN. Considering the slow but persistent declines in…

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Summer Field Moment

I was out running yesterday and there was a cushion of sound, a papery hum, that accompanied me for a long stretch. At first I thought it was the standard ambient noise of my run: a bit of mountain wind, shards of birdsong, maybe an underlying rush of water from the creek in the middle…

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Shadows and Light

An unexpectedly glorious evening drew me out for a sunset run this week. I got out while the sun was still peeking over the Jura, creating sharp divisions between gold-drenched light and the shadows below. These two fellows up on the hill were in high spirits, and stopped what they were doing to watch me…

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New Arrivals

The first snow of winter, marching towards us across the Jura. The sun was shining in a final burst before a major storm that was due to hit overnight, and I had to go for a final autumn run in the last bits of warmth, even as I could see winter’s approach. No images here…

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Field Clocks

There’s something reassuring in the routine of sowing and harvest. It’s not just the crucial aspect of food security. It’s one way we, as humans, keep time. A vast clock that we make every year anew. It’s blazing hot here, and as I wrote yesterday, the local farmers are using the heatwave to cut, dry…

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The Urge to Affiliate

I was out on a run yesterday, my usual loop, when I found this piece of tree bark lying across the path. Here along the border between France and Switzerland, we’re in the midst of a bise blanche, a fierce wind that blows down through the Geneva basin from the north. A bise blanche weather…

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