We are staying in the Swiss countryside at Werner's Uncle Folkhart's sixteenth century mill located in Bärschwil 45 minutes south of Basel. Forty years ago, he moved to the mill and made it his home. It is a gallery of antiques, religious relics, and original artworks. It is a library, the shelves stuffed with books on every subject, from Folkhart's lifetime of teaching at Rudolf Steiner schools. Here and there, on shelves and windowsills, are Folkhart's remarkable collection of museum quality crystals and precious stones. Beside the deep fireplace, one of the original stone mill-wheels has been set onto a pedestal. It must weigh a ton. It is arranged with chrysanthemums and ornamental gourds, a tribute to autumn.
My beloved mother-in-law Ingrid and her husband Lester are here. The landscape of relatives changes daily. We are having a reunion. Every morning, the dark wooden table is laden with platters of French pâté, thinly sliced ham, alluring cured meats, fabulous cheeses, a delicious assortment of fresh breads and rolls, butter, jams and marmalades, muesli and yogurt. We drink strong Italian coffee. And we start another day with another feast.
Before we left the Mühle (the Mill), we had a chance to walk around the property (6.1 acres) and capture the essence of this magical piece of land, abundant with creeks, waterfalls, ponds and lush with all kinds of foliage. There is a lot of upkeep for my uncle and we kept envisioning how an ecovillage would be well suited for this environment.
Werner & Abigail