Midsummer.

Midsummer’s eve.

Troll butter.

Troll butter.

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ Tomorrow will be a day to cure hangovers for many people and in nine months lots of kids will be born πŸ™‚

 

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It rained almost all day yesterday. The dogs loved to finally get out on a walk this morning, I was exhausted when we came back :-)

It rained almost all day yesterday. The dogs loved to finally get out on a walk this morning, I was exhausted when we came back πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

 

Photo comes from: http://www.grottanfredriksdal.se/?page_id=332

The bog ladies had had fires during the night.
The bog ladies had had fires during the night.

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It doesn’t take a lot of dirty imagination to see what the midsummer pole really is πŸ™‚ and lots of magic is connected to it. The pole is usually made as a big cross and at the end of each side of the cross hang wreaths, those wreaths were important to save because when winter arrived it was important to put in the bath, that would keep You healthy for the rest of the winter and that was very important since they didn’t have any antibiotics. Even though the night is very short here at this time of year it still was important to keep ones eyes open just in case any of the beings we have here would come too close. They were especially active this coming night. A common troll was no big problem, it seems they usually were good friends with humans (and no our trolls don’t burst if the sun hits them or become stone. They also look very much like us with the exception of the long fury tail). A mountain troll however is a nasty piece of work and they would most likely kidnap any human getting to close. They are however easy to see because of their size and they are also rather ugly).

 

This is how normal trolls look like here. The painter was John Bauer and this painting comes from the boom series Amongst gnomes and trolls. This is about a changeling, the troll mother (to the left) wanted of course the best for her daughter so she swapped babies with a queen. Her daughter was anything but nice though πŸ™‚

This however is a Mountain troll, shrewdΒ but not too intelligent. This is also a John Bauer painting.

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Young girls had their best chance of knowing who they would marry this night. They had to, totally quiet until they fell asleep, pass seven (or nine depending on where one lived) fences and pick seven (or nine) flowers to put under their pillow. If they managed to do that they would dream of their husband to be. One way to make sure one would be healthy all year long was to roll around in the midsummer’s morning dew, naked of course. The dew had lots of magical powers so people collected it too in empty jars just in case someone got seriously ill. This was of course the night it was important to collect as much healing herbs as possible, preferable with lots of dew on them. In some places they drank spring. They had beforehand cleaned out a spring in the forest or where ever it might be and during the night they went to the spring and drank the water, that would also secure good health they thought. Naturally that could be a problem because of the spring nymph. If they didn’t sacrifice to the nymph the effect would be quite the opposite.

 

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I woke up at 2 am last night while almost successfully trying to cough up my lungs over the bed. My throat had been so swollen for a few das that if affected my ears but suddenly I could feel the swelling get smaller, I got my hearing back again πŸ™‚ and my fever vanished and has stayed away all day! I still have that nasty coughing and I’m pretty sure it will stay for at least a few days more. I would feel alive again if it not had been for the rather high temperature outside together with over 95% humidity. It feels like I’m walking in a steam bath πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ An hour ago they predicted rain and thunderstorms but now they say mostly sunny and no thunder at all πŸ™‚ I don’t care because I’ll most likely just sit on my sofa doing nothing. The beekeepers wanted me to come over but I don’t have any energy to do anything πŸ™‚

 

The four last ones, for this time, taken with the Kiev4.

The four last ones, for this time, taken with the Kiev4.

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It is time to make a pot of tea I think and perhaps I’ll repot some plants with too small pots but I doubt it πŸ™‚

Have a nice midsummer’s eve!

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I see the sun!

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The sun is shining and it feels so strange, today should be cloudy and rainy too, it always is these two days of midsummer πŸ™‚ We will actually have lots of sunshine today according to the Norwegian weather site yr.no (I think You can use that one on the American continent too and it is the most accurate of all weather sites we have here). The Swedish one however show almost no sun until late afternoon so it looks like the Norwegian is the one giving the prediction closer to the truth today.

 

The dogs and I fled to this place several times yesterday when the rain started and we were too var from home :-)

The dogs and I fled to this place several times yesterday when the rain started and we were too var from home πŸ™‚

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Rowan flowers.

Rowan flowers.

I wasn’t up especially early today, I watched a movie on channel Six yesterday and it didn’t end until 11pm. I woke up as always around 4 but went back to bed and slept until 7:30. I can’t remember when I slept until then before and not being sick πŸ™‚ The film was Android Apocalypse and was it worth staying up for so long? No not really but I had high hopes for a very long time πŸ™‚ It didn’t matter much that I did sleep for so long since the weather still was rather lousy when we went out for our morning walk.

 

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We have quite a lot of mosquitos now but still rather few but very annoying forest flies. We also have lots of midges, our black flies. They don’t seem to like me especially much but I have been bitten a few times now. It’s worse for the animals though and bad years there are so many midges around that they actually can kill a moose! Thankfully they normally stay close to running water and there’s not a lot of that around my cottage.

 

In my garden right now: Iris pseudacorus, The Yellow flag. We call it Sword lily.

In my garden right now: Iris pseudacorus, The Yellow flag. We call it Sword lily.

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Rosa majalis.

Rosa majalis.

Laburnum Γ—watereri, Golden Chain tree. We call it Golden rain.

Laburnum Γ—watereri, Golden Chain tree. We call it Golden rain.

I’ve boiled the minced meat and rice to Orvars food, I’ll keep on giving him that even if his stomach now is much better. He’s getting a third of his normal dog food, a third of boiled minced meat and a third ofΒ rice. He likes it and it isn’t especially hard to make for him so why not πŸ™‚

 

These are the four last from the Hasselblad for this time.

These are the four last from the Hasselblad for this time.

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Today is a do very little day, the lawn is too wet to mow and I don’t feel like doing the laundry today. There’s nothing to watch on tv since the last episode of the season of Grimm was showed last Saturday and that was what I’ve been watching on Saturdays. I will most likely take a nap or two though πŸ™‚

 

And these four are from the Edixa. This shows blue White wood anemones.

And these four are from the Edixa. This shows blue White wood anemones.

Lamium maculatum, spotted deadnettle.

Lamium maculatum, spotted deadnettle.

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Hector was still around when these were taken.

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Have a great day!


Midsummer.

This photo I've borrowed from Nordiska museet (The Nordic Museum).

This photo I’ve borrowed from Nordiska museet (The Nordic Museum).

I’ve never understood why we now days celebrate midsummer, why are we celebrating that we no turn towards darker and colder days again, especially since our summers are as short and usually chilly as they are. But old traditions die hard as we say here πŸ™‚ Back in the days this was a time to celebrate fertility for livestock, fields and humans. Today it’s mostly a time to have fun, eat a lot of food, usually get nasty drunk and there will be a lot of kids born in nine months from now πŸ™‚

 

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It was foggy up on the mountain this morning.

It was foggy up on the mountain this morning.

This morning lots of people will go outside, no matter what kind of weather we’re having, to collect lots of flowers and birch twigs. Those will later on be used to dress the Midsummer pole. Some of it will also be used to make wreaths to wear on our heads. Around 1 pm people then will start to dance around the pole to songs like “The little frogs”, The priests little crow and other traditional songs sung both now and at Christmas when they all dance around the Yule Spruce. After the dancing most people will return home to start eating.

 

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It looks like it will be a good cherry year.

It looks like it will be a good cherry year.

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We Swedes don’t have that much variation when it comes to holiday food. You will always find pickled herring at any holiday table here (we tend to have a smorgasbord on holidays), You’ll also find meatballs, prince sausages, salmon in many variations and a few different salads. Then of course there’s always one seasonal thing too, like ham at Christmas and lots of eggs at Easter πŸ™‚ If You could get a look at our tables You would very quickly see that Swedes eat anything that is pickled, we must have over hundred variations of pickled herring for instance. personally I just can’t eat it so I have prince sausages and meatballs instead πŸ™‚

 

Sometimes I'm surprised that the Roe deer isn't extinct :-) I had to shout out loud to get this ones attention :-) I didn't want to scare it by just walking by but I'm not even sure it would have noticed us if we had passed it on the road :-)

Sometimes I’m surprised that the Roe deer isn’t extinct πŸ™‚ I had to shout out loud to get this ones attention πŸ™‚ I didn’t want to scare it by just walking by but I’m not even sure it would have noticed us if we had passed it on the road πŸ™‚

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Can You see what flowers are most dominant now :-)

Can You see what flowers are most dominant now πŸ™‚

Tonight however is one of the most magical nights there is and lots of the beings are out and about. I don’t think our trolls become stone or burst when being hit by sunlight, that would be rather difficult since we actually have sunlight here from time to time and the sun now is up for over 18 hours and our trolls are much like us humans with farms of their own and really can’t cope by just being up while the sun is away during summer. The mountain trolls however is different, big, shrewd and a bit evil as well but they live far from here πŸ™‚

 

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So I wouldn’t be worried if I met a troll while being out walking tonight, I’m not even sure if I would recognise one since they usually keep their tails hidden but I could of course try to see their ears, which are slightly pointy. I would however stay away from many others like fairies, nasty little things that loves to spread diseases and death to especially children. The Lantern Man would have problems luring me out on the bog since it is so bright outside all day now πŸ™‚ For the ones having an Ash tree on their property it might be a good thing to sacrifice something for the tree, like water if the summer is dry or fertilizers now when summer is wet. That’s a good way to keep the Ash tree lady away from the home, she isn’t nice to have around otherwise.

 

This is the last photo from this morning, the rest will be a mix of older ones.

This is the last photo from this morning, the rest will be a mix of older ones.

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If You are unmarried and wants to know who Your future spouse will be You can get to know that this night. Just go out and pick seven or nine flowers (depending on which tradition one follows) and climb seven or nine fences and (be quiet all the time untill you fall asleep) put those flowers under Your pillow during the night and You will dream about the coming one. While You are out and about at night You might as well collect as much dew as You possibly can since it has healing powers that You might need during our long and dark winters.

 

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One way to collect a lot of dew is to take the wreath You made earlier today, drag it in the wet grass, drie the wreath and save it for that Christmas bath. Put the wreath in the bathtub and then join it for a long nice bath, that will help You staying healthy through the rest of the winter. The midsummer dew could also help when baking or brewing beer πŸ™‚ this was also the night to collect as much medicinal plants as one could, they would be extra potent if picked this coming night.

 

These are from the Edixa. I was trying the "new" tele-photo lens and it was a bit tricky to use because I had to wait adjusting the aperture until I was happy with the photo. As son as I adjusted the aperture it was very hard to see through the lens at all :-)

These are from the Edixa. I was trying the “new” tele-photo lens and it was a bit tricky to use because I had to wait adjusting the aperture until I was happy with the photo. As son as I adjusted the aperture it was very hard to see through the lens at all πŸ™‚

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I would dare to say that today also would be a very good day to plant a Care Tree. A Care Tree is tightly connected to the well-being and fortune to the property one lives at. Different beings can take a home in that tree ( like our gnomes, grumpy old long bearded but very small beings, or Wight’s or guardian spirits) and as long as one doesn’t disturb it, like taking even a single leaf or injure it in any way no harm will come to the home on that property. If, however, one would injure that tree in any way the property and family living there is doomed. I have two Care Trees in my garden, two different Rowans πŸ™‚

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I really get a feeling of old times when watching these Edixa photos. I guess both the old camera and to use a film instead of a digital camera brings out that old-time look in the photos.

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The Church did try to make this a Christian holiday, that was what they did. They used an old pagan tradition and made it Christian. Here however they failed miserably πŸ™‚ I doubt that anyone who isn’t Christian actually knows that our midsummer also is John the Baptist’s day, to be honest I don’t think many christians know that either πŸ™‚

 

It is easier to get better photos with the old Hasselblad camera though. Using old cameras is both impractical and expensive but so much more fun :-)

It is easier to get better photos with the old Hasselblad camera though. Using old cameras is both impractical and expensive but so much more fun πŸ™‚

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I didn’t use a tripod for any of these photos and many of them shows the world in a slightly odd angle πŸ™‚

It is time for a short walk again, it doesn’t look like it will rain for a while now so we better get out there while we can πŸ™‚

Have a great Midsummer’s eve!