Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Visit to an Alp

 This is an alp, a summer home for the dairy farmer.  Our friend Ernst's family were dairy farmers from way back, and they used to bring the herd up to the mountain pastures each summer to graze on the wildflowers and lush grass.  The farmers would bring their families with them to take care of the cows and make cheese all summer.  Some Swiss farmers still do this, others just drive to the alp everyday to take care of the cows and do the milking.

 I have always wanted to see an alp up close. 

 Do you see the cowbells?  Next to them up in the eaves, there is a little window which goes to the sleeping loft.

 I kept trying to get my son to keep still so I could take a picture of him peeking out of the little window.  He popped his head in and out of the window like a jack-in-the-box, just to keep it challenging.

 Inside, there is a little room for sitting,

 and a little room for cooking,

 Ernst, who is a chef, started the fire right away, and got some sausages cooking as soon as possible.  The little wood stove in the background is heating water for washing the dishes.  There was one more very dark little room with food cupboards, and a spigot and sink.

 Through a low little door connected to the fireplace room, we stepped into the cow barn.  Here is the old cheese-making cauldron.

 Here are some of the troughs, well worn by the necks of cows from many years ago.

 A ramp leads from the barn into the meadows.

 Here is someone coming out of the barn.  The outhouse is at the far end of the building next to the barn.

 This girl and woman are slicing Tete de Moine, (which means Monk's Head) cheese.

 The special cutter makes the cheese slices look like flowers.  I wish I had taken a picture of Monica slicing the cheese their family made on their dairy farm.  It was delicious!

 Imagine looking up from your work to see this all summer.

Thank you, Ernst and Lucy!


Rachel~At the Butterfly Ball said...

Dear Beth, I enjoy your posts about the Swiss countryside very much. Thank you for taking us on such lovely tours!

Mama Goose said...

Thank you so much for your lovely photos. I always do enjoy them. You ask, imagine looking up from your work and seeing this all summer?. I only say wow, and take a deep breath in - to be able to once again drink in the alpine air, ah....that would be nice.

Thanks for sharing.

Beth said...

Mama Goose....are you from the alps? Beth

Beth said...

Thanks Rachel! I love exploring every weekend! love, Beth

Bonnie said...

I am so envious of everything you are getting to see and experience! How wonderful! Those snow capped mountains are just breathtaking...and my mouth is watering looking at the cheese..I can only imagine how good it must taste.

Beth said...

It was truly a glorious day...I've told my husband I want to be in these mountains every weekend for the rest of my life, and that I am not leaving Switzerland until I see an ibex. love, Beth