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Alp

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ALP, a term applied to the summer pastures of the Alps situ ated just below the snow-line, freed from snow each spring. Such mountain pastures are of great antiquity, being mentioned as early as the 8th century, and are found in all parts of the Alpine chain. In German Switzerland, particularly, the alps are the centre round which the pastoral life of the inhabitants turns. The Alpgemein den, as the Swiss Alpine communes are called, are composed of the persons who have a right to send cattle up to the alps in summer, this right being attached either to certain plots of ground in the valley or certain houses in the village, or to certain persons. In any case the owners of an alp fix the greatest number of cows which it can support during the summer without being perma nently damaged. A plot of ground which can support a single cow (or two heifers, three calves or sheep, four pigs or eight goats) is called a Kuhstoss. On each alp there are several sets of huts at different levels for the cow-h.erds and che_ese-makers, the cattle being generally left in the open. These sets of huts, properly called chdlets or Sennhiitten—though the former term is also ap plied to houses in the village below—are used in turn between the end of June and the end of September. The cheese and butter are stored in huts and carried down to the village at the end of the season. Hay is never mown on the true alps save in spots which are not easily accessible to cattle, but it is made on the Voralpen, the lowest pastures, situated between the homesteads and the true alps; these Voralpen are individual (not communal) property and are grazed, to some extent, during the late spring and early autumn.

alps and village