Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

June 14th// Two!

D-day, and well, that was quite a day!

We got up at dawn to finish the last preparations, thankfully it was sunny and warm which helped with getting up.
One of the preps included laying out the numbers of the year our home was built, in an assembly of rosebuds. As we didn’t want to waste hundreds of flowers for one single day, my mum had prepared boxes full of crêpe flowers. As she had spent months making these, she became quite the expert and the result was truly beautiful.

Mind: We left the flowers overnight outside, and I took the pictures only on the following day, after a windy night with a light drizzle and a quick reassembly in the morning.

We were lucky, as the rest of the garden was also in full bloom and ready.

While we were still busy buttering the Schnittchen – German sandwiches, often made of rye bread with various toppings- the first vistors had already started arriving, and soon we all were sitting around small homemade rolls and pastry, sharing a first coffee and simply enjoying what was around us.

Soon the flow of visitors had become stronger, although we were approching lunchbreak.
We had in mind to make good use of the planned break, but quickly abandoned the idea when people stayed throughout. So in fact, there was no pause in the day at all, but we didn’t mind, as we
were truly fueled by the strong resonance!

Note: you will find no pictures of the vistors, as I wouldn’t publish without consent – and we were lacking time to get that.
But among them, we had this little guy, who didn’t mind his picture taken and shown:

Quickly 3pm came around and with that, the musicians arrived. The day was in full swing.

In the middle of the violin play I was surprised by a couple of good french friends who had made the trip to support us! I was truly touched and so unfortunately missed out on snaps of the other musicians.

The last guests left around 7h30pm. After that some of our closest neigbours, my friends and family gathered enjoying the end of the day and just relaxed in the last sunrays.

As my friends also stayed a good deal of the following day, we took a trip up to a typical feature of our region, the Kindelsberg, giving a spectacular view of the region, here’s a sneak peek:


Back home we were greeted by some wonderful leftovers and a crisp blue sky.


People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

That was sort of our leitmotiv for the day. Let each and every one freely experience the beauty of the place by himself, the fruit of a family’s labour for over a century. Let everyone keep in mind of what may be turned into concrete one day and lost, what is at stake and may deserve support in order to be preserved.



Saturday, July 5th, 2014

June 14th// One


I litterally rushed through the past weeks – without somehow coming any closer to checking the items off my to do list.
While every single element had been meticulously followed up upon, I still had more than half of confirmations missing, was obliged to change my train ticket at the last moment due to a graphic glitch at the printer’s, and on top of that the weather forecast was not looking good at all.

Then in the last wek the outstanding responses magically started pouring in and everyone went out of their way to get everything set up/ sent/ fixed fot the set date.
And: what’s the fun in preparing an event without a little chaos?

However, due to the constant backpaddling with sending out reminders and such, I lacked time to finish my own preparations. The ‘wind wheels’ for a freestanding installation, the over 70 brochures with postcards needed folding and assembling, the slate tablets indicating and guiding to our familiar spots in the garden, to be prepared.
I briefly considered dropping some of my ideas but in the end stretched the waking hours of my days to finish and fit in what I had imagined for months.



There was another unexpected issue upon my arrival was the garden, or more precisely, the grass. The lawn had evidently not been mown by the brewery as contractually agreed upon and in some places reached over 30cm (!). A further inquiry revealed that since their attempt of taking care (!) of the fir tree (see the story here), the brewery’s subcontractor had no more unlimited acces to our premises and consequently had decided simply not to do the works anymore.

We transfered the matter to our legal advisor but in the meantime something obviously had to be done about the 1500m2 of grass and so an afternoon of nonstop mowing quickly had to be fitted in to fix the matter.


As my exhibition was still up and running at the Café Sohler, I had decided to borrow a couple of garden related prints and place them around in the garden, their natural environment so to speak.

You’ll see most of the prep work in the pictures – one of the tiny parts left out was that memorable last day, friday 13th nonetheless, when I broke my own record and baked the final 9 cakes….but I leave that to your imagination, as well as the state the kitchen was in after.
But who cares? Because by then almost all the flowers were in bloom, the weather forecast had considerably improved and we were as good as ready!




Friday, June 6th, 2014

7 days to go

Sorry to all for my radiosilence.  Right now Iam in France, doing my last minute preps before making the trip back really early tomorrow morning.
So next Saturday will finally be the day when we open our garden for the very first time , and I have I have had my hands full for the past 6 weeks preparing for that day; I’l show you more of what I planned once I arrive home. The invites have been sent out a couple of weeks back and now it’s time to cross our fingers that as many as possible RSVP!


I wondered how to put it best, but one way to see what else happened would be the special Olympics of unpleasant surprises by the brewery taking place at our home – and these swallowed the rest of my remaining time.

The day following the expert’s visit for the historic evaluation, my mum prepared us a comfort lunch to put ‘an accent’ to that important moment that was behind us. Afterwards, she accompagnied my grandma in the living room for her after lunch rest when I heard a scream: “Quick, outside!”. I ran outside and saw that the brewery had set up a truck with a big lifting platform right in our garden and one of the workers was up in our fir, busy with a chainsaw sawing off branch after branch of that 100 year old tree.

They had taped off a big area and I approached it asking them urgently to stop all work or at least the motor of the truck for a couple of minutes to discuss what was going on, but they said they had their orders and would go on and, “no”, no need to put the motor off as there was nothing to say. I quickly started phoning and in the end I reached one person who agreed to temporarily stopped the work so my (by now quite agitated and shocked) grandma could take her rest. I was forewarned though that the work would be taken on again the next day.


We had a family meeting then and there and decided to lock the fence for the time being, until we had legal support for this ‘action’ .
To me, the whole set up seems wanton, but who am I to speak,  Iam only a layman here, right?

What I can say: It seems the tree presented a traffic security problem and the branches taken off were ‘dead wood’ – though suprisingly all the remaining ones right now are in full bloom.
There was also the mention of the ivy “suffocating”  the tree
(by one of the CEO’s) , which seems to be plain nonsense
We finally consulted a tree expert who confirmed the good health of that tree in his written statement, so I suppose it is going to be one opinion against the other.
Fact is, now we have a huge hole where enormous branches used to spread spread winglike over the entry to our garden. I dedicated my first post to that tree.



A couple of days later we discovered, that 5 huge brightly coloured industrial dustbins had made their appearance right in front of that tree on the other side of the hedge on the brewery’s parking lot and immediately to the left of our entry post.
By now there are 7 – I wonder if it is possible to squeeze in an 8th…we’ll see I guess. Here they are:

There is definitely more to come about that!

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Discomfort zone


I was glad to hear and read all your ‘good luck wishes’ for the 3rd and the evaluation, thank you so much.

It was a unusual situation in our home: 8 people total stepping around in our home, with one person in the lead, looking, asking questions, and the other 7 following up, the last often stuck halfway up the staircase or a room – the whole for about half an hour. I was surprisingly exhausted afterwards.

And now? Waiting. Again. I learned that it could take up to 8 weeks before we receive any news.
I was also told yesterday, that a lot less buildings are put under protection these days than only a couple of years back – which  makes the whole evaluation even harder. We are all holding our breath now.




After what feels like my hundredth train ride, it’s back-to-Paris now.  I can’t afford to dwell on my apprehension concerning the evaluation, as time doesn’t stand still and we had an awful surprise to deal with since the day following it. I can’t tell you more at the moment, as we are awaiting legal advise, but I may say this: Iam more taken back than ever by the ruthless way the brewery deals with humans. Still shellshocked actually.

I realize that almost all I have been dealing with since January is new territory and that I have to learn fast. In these situations it truly does come down to what we’re made of. Not in the ‘easy saying‘ sense, but in the one that shakes you to the bone, requests you to put your emotions in a drawer, and all your energy and commitment in resolving the task at hand.


In parallel Iam working on the day we’ll open our garden: now the invites for summer have to be designed and printed. I also think it’s sensible to create small brochures, telling the story of our home and pointing to what is at stake for us and the village when a green space this large is turned into something very different.

I have been tossing the idea around of showing my pictures from last years exhibition (see here) in the garden, so there is also something to read and watch beside the flowers.


Would that be a good idea, what do YOU think? If so, how would you show/ fix them?






Sunday, March 30th, 2014

April 3rd !


Recently I cought a glimpse of what it means to be on tour – I must have been going back between our home and Paris 10 times or so since January.
Basically this was due to the for the historic evaluation of our home being reported twice, consequently forcing me to reorganize my schedule at the last minute – which was not always possible.

I lately tended to function a lot by scribbled notes on paper: ideas, grocery lists and you name it: it was hard to keep the pace. Enrolled like this there was also simply no way I could keep up my social life fully, to update via Instagram or Twitter – my apologies to all those whom I have not written, but do think of!


So behind the scenes and for the past weeks I have been fully invested with alternating meetings and physical work around garden and house in one country, and doing the ‘debrief’ and dealing with daily life in the other.

One goal was to set the next steps for this year. The outline is now roughly sketched, only roughly, as a lot of further direction will depend on how the historic evaluation goes. The day for the visit will now finally take place on April 3rd – it is THE (!) date we have been waiting for since last september.

In preparation, the expert has by now received a 35 page folder of documentation about the builder of the house, in addition to a detailed (partially visual) list of all historic elements of the house. I’ll go back on monday to freshen up the house, a dry run with an independant voluntary representative is set for the 2nd, and then we ought to be prepared for the 3rd.





All you can see in the pictures for now, are the tiny blue flowers strewn all over the spring garden, and not much of anything else, but last week we prepared the ground and finished laying the flower bulbs.
Thruth to be told, I even prepared a planting plan for the whole garden, as while eagerly selecting one beautiful package after the other, you easily lose sight of quantities when dealing with such a huge space.

Obviously now Iam crossing all fingers for ideal ‘growth’ weather. Note that in the pic of the roof the white stuff you see is hail, hopefully that is the last we see of it!





So the first concrete thing that will take place this summer, and that independently of the historic evaluation, will be a summer celebration, a ‘Day of the open garden‘ .
This day should raise the awareness of the green lung of around 2000m2 in the heart of the village, that is standing the very probable risk of being transformed into concrete by the company.

We are in full planning, but I can already reveal that we’ll have musicians in the garden, someone doing an exposé about our old apple trees, there will be a special regional food and drinks and with a bit of luck there should be flowers growing all around. Hopefully the locals will react and dare to cross the threshold of our garden.


But first things first, and we now await the historic expert’s visit on the 3rd. We are honestly apprehensive – let’s hope  for our home to be evaluated protection worthy.