PESTICIDE in an Organic Garden

Where do you celebrate the publication of a book about organic farming in Bern?  On an organic farm, of course.  And if you want to party in the city so no one has to drive? Well, then you need a small organic farm—or, to be precise, an organic garden, ideally one that’s right in theContinue reading “PESTICIDE in an Organic Garden”

The End of the Ice Saints

Yesterday I planted a last batch of sweet alyssum on my balcony.  Every scrap of space in my pots and boxes is filled. From now until the end of October, I can sit back, water, and watch the flowers grow. Most of my flower-planting, however, I did off and on between May 7 and May 15,Continue reading “The End of the Ice Saints”

The Latest News on PESTICIDE!

Hello, dear friends, family, and blog-post followers. I’m in New York for my book launch, and lots has been happening. But first: you are invited to the launch of Pesticide at the Mysterious Book Shop, 58 Warren Street (near the World Trade Center) in downtown Manhattan. It’s on Tuesday, April 19 at 6-7 p.m. ThereContinue reading “The Latest News on PESTICIDE!”

Switzerland’s Golden Girls—and Boys

The Beijing Winter Games ended Sunday night, and just when you thought you wouldn’t have to hear the word “Olympics” again until July 2024, you’re confronted with a post about Swiss skiing medalists. And I can’t even ski! Ah, but I’m Swiss, which explains it all. Okay, I’m a double citizen, Swiss/US, but when itContinue reading “Switzerland’s Golden Girls—and Boys”

Beauty in Black and White

It has been at least twenty-five years since I discovered a Swiss art-form called paper-cutting or Scherenschnitte. And now I’ve discovered a new Swiss paper-cutter, Marc Schweizer, who’s about to have a show of his work in the Alps. Although the Chinese had already been making paper-cuts for at least 1500 years, the craft didn’tContinue reading “Beauty in Black and White”

Thou and I Will See Him Dine

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “Good King Wenceslas.” It has a rousing, easy-to-sing melody and tells a dramatic story.  I especially like the verse in which, with each step, the king’s feet heat the ground, melting the snow and leaving a warm place where his page can walk. But what I could neverContinue reading “Thou and I Will See Him Dine”

What Do We Mean By Old?

When I was fourteen, my family moved from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to West Vancouver, British Columbia. In those days, Gastown, the historic district of Vancouver, was starting to fill with interesting shops and hip restaurants, and my parents sometimes took my sister and me there for dinner. Although I found Gastown fun, I couldContinue reading “What Do We Mean By Old?”

Hunting (and Eating) Game

In Bern, as in many parts of the world, autumn is the season of cool, crisp air, golden light, falling leaves—and hunting. But here it isn’t just the hunters who get to enjoy the meat they bring down: venison steaks are for sale in local grocery stores.  As far as I’m concerned, though, the bestContinue reading “Hunting (and Eating) Game”

The Birth and Death of the Aare

When I first came to live in Bern in January 1987, only two months had passed since the Rhine had been disastrously polluted by a fire in a Sandoz warehouse on the river’s bank in the Swiss city of Basel. The water used to put out the fire had caused huge quantities of dangerous chemicalsContinue reading “The Birth and Death of the Aare”

Swiss Women’s Rights: What Happened?

In 1869, the territory of Wyoming (population less than 10,000) gave white women the right to vote. The first country to grant suffrage to women (including Maoris) was New Zealand, in 1893. Later came Australia (1902), Norway (1906), Great Britain and Ireland (1918), Germany (1918) and the US (1920), among others. A few more atContinue reading “Swiss Women’s Rights: What Happened?”