For the Love of the Land

There’ve been some magnificent responses to the challenge to depict Love so I won’t  attempt to compete.  Rather, I thought I’d enter something out of left field.  Well, a Swiss field actually, where, for love of the land and the creatures of the field, the muffel* mows the hay in a peculiarly even-handed way.

Clouds and Rain

The idea is that each time he mows he leaves part of the field untouched, allowing the grasses and flowers to mature and die back, replenishing the natural cycle of the land.  These grassy areas also capture moisture and act to prevent erosion – and of course, offer shelter to the creatures of the field.

*  Though I’m pretty confident this is the spelling S & R gave me, and I’m pretty sure muffel is a dialect word – any more information gladly sought.

49 thoughts on “For the Love of the Land

  1. I am from Austria, so the Swiss word Muffel might mean something else, but in our dialect a Muffel is someone who does not want to do something fun or is generally against doing fun things. Like a spoilsport or a sourpuss, I guess.

    • Nathy – so nice to hear from you! Thanks for the definition of muffel in your dialect. I got the impression a Swiss muffel is a nonconformist of sorts, certainly serious in what he thinks and does, but in the case of our fellow, certainly joyous in his execution of it.

      We were all agreed the hillside had clouds and rain, and the other smaller field was either teardrops, or raindrops (depending on how much of a sourpuss we think our muffel is?) I’ve asked Susy to write and tell me more about the muffel – perhaps after she’s thought about it we’ll get a clearer definition.

      • A sport-muffel would be someone who does not like to do sports, and kind of has a disdain for people who do, but might be a nice person otherwise.
        So maybe this Muffel is a conformism-muffel. I think I will try and introduce this word to every English speaking person I know. English seems to be missing the right term for Muffel.

          • A bit more on the Swiss Muffel – people think these people are ‘freaks’, mostly because they seem to prefer their own company to being part of the crowd and doing and enjoying the things most people like to do. Susan says ‘their’ Muffel has had his nickname since they were at school – she forgets why, but he apprenticed as a shepherd and then as an artist, and speaks
            English. He apparently has a website that I’m going to explore right now! I think maybe we’d call him a ‘loner’, or a bit of an eccentric.

    • The problem is there are so few farmers who see it this way! It’s something dear to my heart Lynne because in Australia, 200 years of grazing hard hoofed animals, and cultivating vast fields of fertilizer- and water-loving crops of grain has done unbelievable damage to the land.

      Seeing this farmer bringing in the muffel to mow his hay almost brought tears to my eyes, as do stories of farmers in Oz who’re taking drastic steps to try to heal their land.

    • That’s fantastic news Tim – just wonderful to learn that Kentucky farmers are allowing the pasture to mature and replenish itself in places. From the research that’s starting to emerge in Australia it’s making significant beneficial changes to the soil itself, and of course to stopping erosion.

    • Certainly the land would be better off for it, and thus, I believe, all of us as its capacity to produce increases with the greater fertility of the soil, etc. And the balance between good and bad insects and their predators kept, lessening the need for insecticides, etc. etc. etc. … 🙂

  2. an inspirational post to read first thing in the morning, joy and creativity in the mowing, love for the earth and all its small creatures, and such a sense of fun, definitely done by no spoilsport!

    • No indeed, Christine! I think the Swiss meaning is a little more along the lines of a serious thinker, nonconformist sort of person.

      This man – this muffel – is certainly serious about what he does, because he only mows for farmers who ask, or allow him to mow in this way, which means he’s taking serious risks with his income. But as I said to Nathy, the pictures he mows into those fields and hillsides are so imbued with the beauty of nature I imagine him full of joy as he works – singing with joy as he weaves back and forth with his mower!

  3. Wonderful subject and photo. It makes me think of those man-made forested bridges over highways (I’ve seen them in Europe), built so animals don’t have to cross busy roads to get to alternate feeding grounds. I love it that more people are trying to live in harmony with nature instead of just running roughshod over it.

    • Those ‘bridges’ over man-made obstacles like highways and dams, etc., are a wonderful example that at last the tide may be turning in favour of “the environment”. Now, if we could just get more farmers to let nature do its thing in their fields … though Tim says in Kentucky it’s being done, which is great news!

    • I’m a farmer’s daughter, John, and it’s the love of the land – that sparse, arid, topsoil poor land of Australia that i’ve always thought of as my ‘home’ – so people who show the love of their land are heroes to me 🙂

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