Special thanks to my wife Karin and my children for their understanding, patience and contributions; to our Urliopa Gottlieb Brugger for passing on his wisdom and experience, Urlioma Elisabeth, Grandma and Grandpa Hilde; Hans Dabernig; the story-telling Mama and Grandma Irene Thoma and many others.
The moon was waning just before the new moon in Capricorn - according to tradition, the very best time to harvest wood, so we wanted to make the most of the day. Two men dug up more than a meter of snow to free the tree trunk, so they could cut as close to the ground as possible and not waste any precious wood. One man was sawing and the other wedging.
We evenly distributed the saw, axe, wedges and other tools into four backpacks. Then we strapped snow skins under our touring skis and began the nearly five-hour-long ascent into the white and snow-covered 'Johannis Valley'. The selected spruce trees grew between the small 'Ahornboden' and the 'Laliderwaenden'.
Even nowadays, when cost effectiveness and standards are paramount, it is possible to erect buildings in harmony with nature. Those buildings are sustainable, free of chemicals and are able to return back into the natural cycle. They stay within budget and survive us from hundreds of years.
He was inspecting a wood home, manufactured in our workshop and his words were: "You did an impeccable job; I don't have any doubts about you! "This was the biggest praise and encouragement for all of us. Building with a combination of natural and modern building methods is a positive step forward.
Nowadays, in our fast and transient world, they are like enduring sign-posts showing us nature's way. I too feel fulfilled and appreciated when Granddad looks at the work our young ones do. He slides his old, sinewy hands across the wood beams and floors and his face is full of recognition and approval.
Granddad's face always lights up when he shows and tells us about the buildings he has worked on. They all have one thing in common: He and his colleagues didn't know anything about modern techniques, wood preservatives, enamels, glues and other questionable substances. However, those and many other buildings constructed centuries ago still exist.