Today we celebrate Midsummer’s eve here in Sweden, a holiday as big as Christmas over here. The traditions go way back and the christian church did of course do what it could to make it a truly christian holiday and one could say they failed miserably 🙂 They made tomorrow John the Baptist day since it is 6 months before Christmas day so that sort of fits rather well. If You ask anyone today when John the Baptist’s day is I’m pretty very few would be able to say the right day. For some reason we Swedes always celebrate the eve, never the actual day 🙂 Tomorrow will be a day to cure hangovers for many people and in nine months lots of kids will be born 🙂
The Midsummer pole, some also call it the may pole but in this case the swedish word for may doesn’t mean the month but to dress, is dressed with leafy twigs and flowers. Some say that tradition is very old others that it came from Germany in the early middle ages, what we do know however is that back in the days they had huge bonfires but to be honest, it is not so wise to have if the summer is dry, who knows how well that fire will spread with some help from the wind 🙂 Anyway, the midsummer pole is dressed and risen early in the day and later in the day people will start dancing around it. My favorite song is the little frogs and it is quite fun to see grown up jump like little frogs around the pole 🙂 Another favorite is of course the priest’s little crow who drove a car by himself and we all know that is a pretty difficult task for a crow so he slides here and there until he ends up in the ditch and of course that’s what all dancing will do too 🙂
It is a cold but sunny morning here and we were out walking as soon as the sun started to rise above the horizon. The frost cover wasn’t as thick that I had thought, the below freezing degrees started already yesterday evening. The absence of wind made it much nicer that it was to be honest.
The rain they had predicted for today is now moved to Sunday, that means I’ll have to mow the lawn no matter if I want to or not 🙂 If I wait another week the grass will be so long that my mower won’t manage to cut it and who knows if we’ll have sunshine next week, they are wobbly enough to predict the weather just a day ahead so just imagine how bad it is when they try to do it for a week 🙂
I shouldn’t have slept that long yesterday even if I most likely needed it. I had problems falling asleep and I woke up just after 4 am too but I did feel relaxed so it was a good sleep the little I got. I can’t say we have daylight already at that time now but it sure shows that the day is close. Today the sun went up at 5:32 am and soon we won’t have much night at all here and further north they won’t have it at all since the sun will stay above the horizon 24/7.
Lots of birds are singing and we heard a deer warn about something with is odd barking but we didn’t see any other animals today. We walked to the clean creek but it was even too cold for Sune to take a bath today, I even saw some ice at the edges of the water. Mist “pillars” were rising by the little lake and according to folklore that’s fairies dancing before the day starts. Fairies are actually quite nasty beings, they love to give children diseases and they might even kill them if they want to.
The wind has started to blow some so I guess the grass soon will have dried up enough for me to mow it. I better check all the electric cords so they still work, I had problems with one of them last summer if memory serves me right. I think I’ll have time for a pot of tea before mowing though 🙂
Have a great day!
The day started out slightly foggy and drizzly, the fog gave up but the drizzle kept on until early afternoon. It has been warm though and the wind has been rather weak so it has been pleasant to take walks anyway. I had planned on doing some repotting of plants but instead a took a nap, an hour and a half long nap and the only reason I woke up was because of a telemarketer. I was actually quite happy she called so I finally woke up but not so happy that I bought anything from her 🙂
I have tried to find any folklore about the beings and their activities at Easter but have found almost nothing, only the witches seems to have been active this holiday. I guess however they are out and about like always though even if humans were more concentrated on scaring witches. I did however find a lot of sites about the old Norse believes and can dig in to that if You wish to know more. The Norse beliefs (or Asa tron as we call it) is a growing religion here though even if few say it out loud yet. Almost all swedish names for the days in the week comes from the Norse gods. Monday and Saturday sort of linked to it too since Monday is the Moon’s day (it was pulled across the sky by the horse Rimfaxe) and the sun was pulled across the sky by the horse Skinfaxe).
Tuesday (Tisdag in Swedish) is Tyr’s day, he was the son Of Oden. Wednesday (Onsdag in Swedish) is Oden’s day. Thursday (Torsdag in Swedish) is Thor’s day (His name in swedish is Tor) and Friday is Freya’s day (She’s called Freja in Swedish), Saturday however has nothing to do with any beliefs, it is the day for baths 🙂 Saturday is called Lördag in Swedish and to löga is to take a bath in old Swedish 🙂
It is time to shave off all the hair on my head again, it doesn’t matter how much I wash my hair, I can still find powder paint if I scratch on my skull 🙂
Have a great day!
Tonight is the night when the witches flies to Blåkulla to have a party with the devil, at least according to old folklore. We actually call them påskkärringar which directly translated is Easter hags but the word kärring actually means my loved one in Swedish so it is hard to translate it good 🙂 Anyhow, tonight is the night. Blåkulla is most likely an island by the east coast of Sweden and its real name is Blå Jungfrun (The Blue Maiden). Naturally most of You think that witches fly by broom but not all do, many actually fly on an upside-down cow 🙂 Rather practical if one gets thirsty on the way 🙂
Anything could actually work to fly to Blåkulla so to make sure nothing one owned would be used by the nearest witch they put away anything they thought could be used in sheds or barns and then they painted white crosses on the doors. But it isn’t only women flying there to be honest, there are also men and quite a lot of children too. One way to at least make life difficult for the witches was to, on Easter eve when they were flying back home again, start huge bonfires and use fire works. Today most of us think of the animals and the environment since there usually are lots of bad thing in the fireworks like led so we don’t use that much of it, there’s even talk about forbidding it totally and I won’t mind if that happens even if I think it is beautiful.
One could say that this is the Swedish (and Finnish) Halloween because today in the eastern parts of Sweden kids dress up like witches or wizards and goes from house to house to get candy, we in the western parts do it on Easter eve instead. I doubt it will happen here though because the kids here are either too young or too shy 🙂 I don’t have any candy at home anyway so I do hope no one comes here 🙂 I will however look up in the sky to see if any witches fly over my cottage, I won’t start a bonfire or use fireworks but I will wave to them and wish them a happy easter 🙂
It is time to make something to eat. I’m not sure if I’ll just make a few sandwiches or if I should have a piece of the Småländska cheesecake (slightly different from the American one) I bought yesterday 🙂
Have a great day!
We started early this morning and were out before 6:30. We didn’t have any fog as I had hoped but the sky was almost totally clear so we would get sunshine. A bit cold so I wore a sweater beneath the jacket, I thought it is better to be a bit warm than to freeze. How stupid I was, it is better to freeze a bit because one will get warm just by moving around and wearing an extra sweater and at the same time being fried by the sun is like walking in hell 🙂 and that does not help with the temper when two leashed dog do what they can to tangle us all in to a lot of small trees and bushes 🙂
They were of course only leashed in the nature reserve, none of them have much of hunting instinct but a nature reserve with almost no smell of humans but loads of smells from animals can start hidden talents and that is something I really don’t want 🙂 We reached bridge three without and just as I walked across if one of the boards broke, thankfully it was close to the bank so it never fell down into the creek. I walked slowly backwards to land again and was thinking of going back home but then I figured that since it held enough when I stood at the middle of it I really should be safe walking across it. The creek isn’t deep but it is muddy and the water is a bit too chilly for my taste 🙂
The sun warmed up the ground a bit too fast so long parts were more or less swampy, even where the path led us right. It was even worse when we reached the lake. It was impossible to go where we had been last week and that was quite annoying since I could hear cranes just nearby. I looked between all the trees towards the lake and suddenly there one was, a crane. There were too many trees to use the autofocus and I knew I wouldn’t have especially much time to get a photo. I focus between the trees as good as I could and suddenly the crane showed again. As soon as I got the photo the crane was gone again. We did try to walk around the southern part of the lake because I could see a small boat on the other side.
This lake is known as what we call poor lake. It isn’t very nutritious so either all the fish in the lake is tiny (we call those fish for thousand brothers, there are loads of them but all are tiny) or there are a few but rather big fishes in the lake. I did however find some folklore about it. It is said to have a powerful being living in it, something we call Sjörå (a kind of lake nymph), she’s also called the Lake Lady. She is unlike many of our beings not one to kill humans just out of blood thirst, unless one make her angry of course by for instance we killing or destroying the animals and surroundings. You will understand that it is her You see because she usually sits on stone in the water, combing her beautiful but green hair.
She has a somewhat strange herd of cattle, they are striped and the cattle usually grace around the lake. If one should come too close to them the cattle then will run straight into the lake and vanish. If one would fish in that lake and happens to catch a big pike it is best to put it out in the water again because it could actually be one of those striped cows. She will help anyone who will sacrifice anything to her, like a few coins or silver. She will then make sure one will get a good catch if fishing in the lake or warn if bad weather is approaching. Make her angry though and she will most likely drown the one doing that. She also dislikes the being living in rivers and creeks which we call Näcken (and also the Creek Horse which also lives close to rivers and creeks(Bäckahästen), so it can be a good idea to be a good friend to her. Näcken and Bäckahästen will kill You just for fun.
I won’t go there tomorrow because it was just too wet now (unless the night gets seriously cold so the ground freeze again) so this was the last time this spring I could go there because from Monday until the early summer this will be a bird sanctuary and no one is allowed to be there. The bird sanctuary actually starts here in the village so unless one is going straight home to someone one knows here one can’t wander around as one wish. We who live here are of course allowed to walk around but not out on the bog. We were out for over three hours and as soon as I started to relax all my muscles got cramps 🙂 It didn’t matter what I did it just refused to let go for a very long time 🙂
It is time to take another cup of tea, then some laundry because I had no clean t-shirts left and after that a nap I think.
Have a great day!
I really need one of those maps orienteers use so I better know where I am while walking on the bog. Not that I was lost but I did try to find where the lake is and I know I was close today but I should most likely have walked a hundred meters or two (much the same in yards) by the creek before I walked out on the bog. I have watched maps here on the net but they don’t show the creeks especially well and then it’s impossible to know where one really is.
We didn’t get any fog as they had predicted and the sun shoved up much later than predicted too but there was no wind so it was quite nice anyway. Nova thought it would be a good idea to get down to the badgers den, twice but I managed to stop her in time :-)Badgers are nice animals but I doubt even they would like a dog visit while they were sleeping through the winter 🙂
I have no idea what scent those two dogs smelled when we went out on the bog but they started behaving crazy so I had to leash them. Not that it helped much because both still tried to follow the track after what ever it was that had passed 🙂 As soon as we had passed bridge number three to the other side again they started to behave normal again and chased each other all the way home again. The sun broke finally through the clouds when we were on our way home and it has kept on shining all day long.
Later we went out to the bog again but to where we usually walk. To be honest, I didn’t think the ice would carry me but it did, lots more trees here that shadows the ground and much less grass that weakens the ice. It is so nice out there, no sounds from the outside world reach us, it is a totally different world out there. Today I heard how the male Jay sounds when he wants to impress his female and I have to say it sounded very exotic. I didn’t understand what bird it was until I saw it. I thought they only screamed like they always do 🙂 The Swedish name for the Jay is Nut screamer 🙂
I’ve done the laundry and it is now hanging outside to dry, doubt it will though since I hung it on the north side of the cottage and there’s no wind at all. Doesn’t matter as long as it get that smell before I bring it in to dry instead 🙂 It is time to give the dogs and cats their food and after that I might get something myself 🙂 By the way! I only have twenty percent space left here so I’ll soon move again to a new blog with much the same name. I’ll tell You several times before I leave this place and I’ll give You the address several times before I do too.
Have a great day!
The day started sunny and nice but now the rain pours down and the wind roars over the trees. For once these low pressures comes when it is dark and no one is outside anyway 🙂 I feel like going to bed really early just so tomorrow ill come faster and the yule vacation too 🙂 I need to write a list today so I can buy the last things I need for my yule dinner, or yulebord as we call it. I’ll start with the ham tomorrow so I can grill it on yule eve morning with eggs, mustard and bread crumbs.
I’ll buy the food in the grocery store in the village where I work, I want to wish all the employees a good yule. After that I’ll drive to Falköping to buy fire logs, they say we’ll get a few days with arctic winds after yule and I don’t want ton drive anywhere during my vacation if I don’t have to. I might bring a camera with me and take a few photos while I’m there, if I remember it tomorrow morning 🙂
All gnomes aren’t land bound, they have a relative that lives on ships. I assume they only live on tree ships but I guess that any ship with wood in them somewhere can have one. These gnomes Skepsnissar (ship gnomes, well I don’t know how to translate nisse so gnome it is 🙂 ) seems to follow the trees that have been cut down to build the ship. This can become a problem because sometimes more than one skeppsnisse comes with the timber. Gnomes aren’t very social to be honest so they would start fighting as soon as they found out that they weren’t the only one.
These fights could sometimes become so violent that the entire ship sank but one skipper once stopped such a fight by asking why they behaved like they did. The gnomes answered that they fought about who would remain as the ships guard. One of the gnomes said that he had guarded the timber they had used to make the keelson from so he therefore thought he would be the guard of the ship too. The skipper then said that he could be the guard of this ship but the other gnome would be the guard of the next ship would build and so the fight stopped. My thought on this is, what if another gnome followed the timber to the next ship? 🙂 🙂
It is time to make something to eat and this windy and rainy evening sort of demands me to have some hot cocoa too 🙂
Have a great day!
Only one and a half day left before the yule vacation starts 🙂 I will work on Monday the 28th but otherwise I won’t start working until Monday the 4th of January. This is the shortest yule vacation I’ve had in years, normally I wouldn’t have started to work until the 11th but we just have too much to do this winter and that is of course a good thing even if I’d rather be at home 🙂
If I look at the weather predictions on the net it says a cloudy but rain free yule even but if I look at the prediction on tv they say a sunny yule eve and it is the same company that makes the predictions 🙂 🙂 🙂 I guess that’s one way to at least get one prediction right 🙂
There are actually a few different kinds of gnomes here in Scandinavia. The one we think of firstly is of course the house gnome (or farm gnome) but there are at least two other kinds here, one who stays on ships Wooden ships of course, not metal ones) and then we have the Mill Man or the Stream Man. Scandinavia has lots of streams and they have often been used as a power source, especially for mills where they grinded flour.
Naturally a place like that has to have a gnome too and they live down at the wheel housing close to the water wheel. Like their relatives the house gnomes they help the miller to keep the order at the mill and make sure that the miller does his work at the right time. If for instance the miller gets the idea in his head that he should grind at night, the Mill Man stops the wheel from spinning because he is like the house gnome extremely strong.
The reasons to why he does this can vary naturally, he likes to have it quiet around him in the evenings because he is like the water sprite “Näcken” very good in playing the violin. Other times he might stop the wheel just because he is in a nasty mood. But one can make him happy again by either give him a sliver coin or some snuff (we call it snus) which is a tobacco product he really likes a lot. But it can also be because he feels lonely and want to have company, that is something the house gnome never would do, the house gnome accepts humans but really don’t like them.
Like house gnomes they are rather small and look like grumpy old men (they are only male, never female) but one can always recognise a Mill Man because there’s always something that shows he’s magic, like having an extremely long nose or perhaps only one eye in the forehead 🙂
It is time for some food and cocoa I think.
Have a great day!
The day has been rather dark and gloomy and the promised fog did arrive, on the other side of the valley. I think I can say valley because on one side it’s the big mountain and I live on the other side and the ground is slightly lower down in between. Still, the mountain peak is 200 meters (219 yards) higher up than this village is. So here I could see the fog clearly but we got as best some thick haze on this side.
We’ve almost reached 10C (50F) today, so it was a bit too warm to wear a winter jacket but still a bit to chilly to only wear a sweater, it could have been sweater weather if it hadn’t been for the wind. I can’t feel much of here around the cottage but as soon as I walk up the slope I live at the bottom of the wind hits and it gets a bit chilly. No such problem in the forest though so I should just have left the jacket at home.
One of the beings we have in our folklore and one I don’t think many know about is the Spiritus, I know I didn’t know anything about it when I grew up. The Spiritus (also called Spertus) came from hell and could bring wealth and success to its owner. So if a person knew a lot of black magic he could “easily” get one. One way was to tie a human leg on a hook, go to a creek and fish there for three nights in a row and on the third night the ugly little creature, much looking like an insect most of the times would follow the leg up out of the water.
Another way was to brood a roosters egg in the arm pit, according to legends here roosters lay one egg every year. Personally I doubt that though 🙂 Anyway, when the egg hatched it would be a Spiritus that crawled out of it. The Spiritus lived in a beautiful carved box and the only thing the owner had to do was to feed it with a big spit each morning but it had to be a spit on an empty stomach (the owner could not even drink any water). If he forgot to do it while having an empty stomach the Spiritus would go back to hell and punish the former owner severely.
The owner would have a good life with lots of money as long as the spiritus lived and it was best not to be too greedy and keep it for too long, because if the Spiritus died the owner would follow it to hell. It could however be sold two times and it was important to know that because the third owner would have no chance to avoid hell since he couldn’t sell the being. So when the third owner was about to die the Spiritus would leave its box and place itself on the chest of the owner and in that way claim him as his own and to hell. The two previous owners however would still have a chance to get in to heaven.
I think I’ll continue to try the lottery instead 🙂 🙂 and to be honest how do one recognise if the egg comes from a hen or a rooster and human legs can’t be found that easily now days 🙂
Have a great day!
Two nights with very low temperatures and high humidity made the ice on the car windows extra hardened and absolutely impossible to scrape of 🙂 I managed to get bits and pieces of the windows ice-free and had to stop before I left the village to scrape the rest when the car had become warmer 🙂 But the night was absolutely wind free so it didn’t feel that cold to be honest.
It has already started to turn towards warmer again, tomorrow and Wednesday will stay around 0C (32F) and after that it will get rather warm again and windy too. The long-term prognosis says a rainy Christmas. I don’t mind, I grew up by the coast where rainy Christmases were rather common. But I have to admit that it would be nice if it did get a bit chilly instead so the ground froze and killed lots of ticks and it easier to keep my home clean when the mud is frozen solid 🙂
We don’t see many giants here any more, they were common back in the days before christianity came to the Scandinavian countries. In the old Norse gods time they were the sworn enemies to the Norse gods and were constantly fighting the old gods. There were at least three kinds of giants back then, the Frost giants who lived in the kingdom Nifelheim, the giants in Utgård who were skilled in magic and the Fire giants who lived in the red-hot Muspelheim. The world was actually created from the first giant Ymer who was killed by Odin and his two brothers Vile and Ve. This is their Scandinavian names and they differ some from what they are called in English.
But christianity arrived and since they can’t stand the sound of church bells, it is like knives cutting in their ears, they moved to the northern wilderness here in Scandinavia. We have lots of very big stones lying here anf´d there in our countries and they were thrown by giants towards churches so the clocks would stop making any sounds. They must aim poorly though because it seems none ever hit any church 🙂 Giants are as their name says huge, they are also very strong and a bit stupid to be honest and very clumsy.
The Swedish name for a giant is Jätte and that words original meaning is big eater and that has made their relationship with us humans a bit strained since they ate all the food that could be found, including humans :-)So if You ever would meet a giant, keep the distance if it is one of those that eat humans 🙂 Some have however managed to stay away from human flesh and want us no evil even if they by mistake might step on one of us 🙂
It is time for something to eat and today I’ll have cocoa, after all I could still see some frost outside when I opened the door for Sune 🙂