More than three weeks since I came back from my trip to Switzerland and I still can close my eyes, feel the dry mountain air, the warmth of late summer days and can hear the babbling brook and the sound of the water well.
Of my twelve days in Switzerland, I spent eight days on my own in a remote hut in the mountains to do research for a project I am currently working on. The hut is located in the Bernese Highlands, close to Seebergsee, with a 35 minutes hike to the next inhabited farm. It is a traditional Maiensäss from the 18th century or even earlier, a plain hut with stable and hayloft, seasonally occupied by the farmers in spring when they would herd their cattle to the mountain pastures. In summer, the huts stood empty while the cattle grazed in high alpine pastures – before being occupied again for a couple of weeks in autumn when cattle and farmers were on their way down to the valley again.
The hut I stayed at lies so remote that there is neither electricity nor running water. The first thing I did in the morning was to kindle a fire in the old woodstove in the small kitchen and put the espresso cooker on (there is a purling well with drinking water right in front of the hut) and it was the last thing I did in the evenings, except from that it was the tea kettle that was simmering.
Since I was not on a holiday but on a research trip, I went on long hikes every day to study huts and barns in the surroundings, armed with my sketchbook and my camera. As a pastime, I often picked hawthorn berries, rosehips and barberries on my hikes and gathered wild herbs. When I returned in the late afternoons, my hands had something to do while I listened to the babbling brook behind the house.
One day I found a bit of rusty wire in the drawer of the old garden table and decided to make something for the hut. A few rosehips and a bit of wire got turned into a little heart – which was so easy to make that I wanted to share it here with you. You can use other berries as well – rowan and hawthorn for example, just make sure that the berries aren’t too juicy or mushy. It can help to string them on fishing line and hang up to dry for two, three days before you put them on a bit of wire.
I made several of these and put them up in some spots of the hut that I thought needed some extra love, among others the beautiful old entry door…
The hut may be far from my eye but close to my heart and it makes me smile to think of how I might find a little trace or two of this year’s stay, a dried rosehip heart or a little posy with mountain thyme and wild oregano, next summer when I return.
I have many more photos to share with you, but the little rosehip hearts make such a lovely autumnal decoration that I thought I’d put up a few photos here to inspire you to go for a walk in your city park or the woods to pick a handful of rosehips before the first frost takes them.
That was my afternoon coffee break – back to felting doll heads and stuff limbs…