Sunday, 24 January 2016

Ash Farm in Austria

So what do the smallest campsite owners in cornwall do in the winter, when all is quiet on the campsite? Well some of the team continue looking after the animals and getting chores completed, 
whilst others disappear off to Austria to do a little research on how austrian farms in the Tirol manage their animals in the winter and also exercise the body with a little skiing!
The farmhouse was beautiful, inside and out and run by a wonderfully friendly family who ticked all the right boxes. We arrived in glorious sunshine
and spent our first afternoon being nosey around the farmhouse, investigating the hay barn and the cowshed with fourteen milking and breeding cows.
The cows and the bull all live in the stalls over the winter and venture out daily, weather permitting, into the enclosure at the back of the barn.
Even the newborn calves venture out into the snow after a couple of days! 
Chickens provided us with a scrumptious boiled egg breakfast daily, with fresh bread and rolls and home-Maria-made apricot jam. And the egg entrepeneur got to practice his egg collecting skills even though he was on holiday.
In Austria tractors have snowchains on and roll bars
and with a fresh layer of snow, a tractor is out early in the morning to make the roads passable.
Small boys are tasked with clearing the snow off cars, with a broom!
And with keeping the farm dog Jessie entertained with a never ending supply of snowballs
But, just so you don't think the holiday was all play and no work, the exercise regime was as follows, 4 hours a day skiing, over 5 days, with snowballing and sledging in the mornings immediately after breakfast
Our first day was in green conditions, allowing for some awe inspiring tree loving and a 2 hour afternoon walk in sunshine
and naturally some fungus photographs
even a little horse-talk, thank goodness I know pferde-sprache!
Day 5 in the mountains though was a 6 hour hike up and down the mountain range behind the farm, the Kaiser Gebirge, by way of a 'rest' day from skiing!
We walked up through the woods, passing very few other mountain trailers, enjoying the peace and the sunshine
The trail took us to 1600m high, to the Grutte Hutte and to a view we shared with a herd of mountain goats.
On the route up I could not resist some photos of water troughs, I love these traditional water troughs

 we got quite arty with our photos in the end

and Dom spent ages getting this one
Walking and photograhy is thirsty work though and what better way to refresh than with one of nature's own ice pops, straight from forest larder
There are other sorts of larders too. This is a feed hut for deer, with fresh hay in the feed rack, which ensures they have sufficient to eat in the snowy conditions.
We saw the hut on the way up our mountain trail and on the way down we were treated to a glimpse of the deer as they scattered from their forage hut - startled by our chatter as we headed home as the sun went down......we should have been quieter!
 A few more funghi, this time found on snowy tree stumps
and look what else we found on a snowy tree stump, pebble art. It's like St Agnes has come to the alps!
However, all good holidays come to an end and eventually goodbyes were said, to Maria - what a lovely lady you are - to Michael, with thanks for befriending Dom and making his holiday a great one
 to Julia and to Elizabeth and the herren of the family and finally to Jessie the dog
and to mountains
and away we flew saying goodbye to the Innsbruck tirol in the sunshine......until next year.

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