Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rural Side of the Horgen Area

"our" farmhouse
We live in Horgen which is considered a suburb of Zurich. Westfield, in suburban New Jersey, is extremely different. One of the main differences is the amount of rural activities and sights seen daily. We have a farm immediately to one side of our apartment and it is interesting to watch the seasonal progress.

apples, pears and milk for sale
The farm has a small booth with goods for sale on the honor system. I've bought a couple of things, but not many. The items mentioned on the sign require going to the door and speaking with a farmer to purchase which I haven't done. Until this spring, the farm advertised eggs from free range chickens. They've done away with the chickens - at least for now.  There are also no cows in the field and they have planted some fruit trees in part of the former pasture. I don't know if chickens and cows will return at some point. The the street is currently under renovation and will be closed to through traffic for three months! (yes, this is very inconvenient.) I can imagine the noise, dust, and smells could be very upsetting to the animals. 


stand for sale items next to chicken enclosure (sussmost is fresh apple juice)

mature fruit trees

In the four years we've lived here, we have witnessed other farm changes. The first few years, they planted corn in the field nearest to us. This year wheat is growing in the same field. 

Although they do sell very mature yellow corn in the grocery stores (does not look appetizing to me), this corn was not picked. The ears of corn and the stalks are being chopped all together, presumably for animal feed. 

chopping down the corn

"our" cows as seen from our balcony.

These cows are grazing right on the other side of Ziegelmattstrasse. 

cows and back of farmhouse


The farm has also had sheep in the past. 

notice the Alps in the background

spraying manure - usually a day before predicted rain

I never imagined that weeds would be fertilized. The fields around the farm that were sometimes used as pasture were also left unattended at times. The weeds were fertilized with smelly liquid sprayed from the blue tank.

The weeds grew very tall and then were eventually cut down as in the picture to the left. After they are cut and allowed to dry, they are raked into rows by a special machine and then wrapped into large white "marshmallows" for storage. I believe this is food for the cows when they are inside in the winter.

these would make very big s'mores!

I wonder how the farmer felt about this!
cows with "marshmallows" stacked in the background

Walking around our town, either down by the lake or up on the "Horgenberg", we have seen farm animals. They aren't always part of a large farm. Some are in very small enclosures near where people rent a garden plot - not right outside apartments.  

 Assorted Goats:

small pigs


Sheep are transported from one enclosure to another to "mow the lawn". They go underneath the vehicle to find shade.

On my way home from a local walk, I witnessed our farmer neighbor gathering his sheep into a truck to bring them somewhere else. 

very small enclosure helps

all aboard!

man walking his donkey on our street


There is a riding school near us which means we often see a class of horses with riders out walking in single file. I don't have any pictures of that and now with the road construction, I don't expect to see them.  This threesome out for a walk/ride was a unique sight. I wonder who was the "leader".

Shortly after I published the original version of this post, a group from the riding school came parading through the farm. It was a Sunday - no road construction happening at the time. 


Swiss people (not exclusively women) like to wear scarves. In fact, I remember coming here in June 2012 to look for an apartment and noticing women wearing scarves when at the same time I was wearing a tank top and skirt since it was so hot. Since living here, I wear scarves a lot too and have found them very useful. That extra layer around the neck area does keep you warmer. Also, when walking near a farm with recently fertilized fields, you can wear your scarf to cover your nose! It actually helps!
about $4.00 for 2 pounds!

Pick your own cherries! Ladders provided for picking, but I only chose the ones I could reach from the ground. The trees were loaded so that was no problem.

messy hands

My cherries are in the plastic bag and I am weighing them to determine how much money to leave. I found no receptacle for the money and left my coins on the scale.



We also have a vineyard in the neighborhood. The vines are on a hillside and it is fun to watch them change with the seasons. 

vines are resting

baby grapes

Some vines are covered and protected from birds. Others not. I don't know how they decide. This small vineyard has many varieties of grapes planted. 

leaves turn color as the fruit ripens


harvest time!
All of this happens within a 20-30 minute commute of Zurich! Amazing, isn't it?