Yule.

Winter may have just started.

I couldn't catch all the colors around the moon yesterday evening. There was actually a rainbow (or raincircle) around it.

I couldn’t catch all the colors around the moon yesterday evening. There was actually a rainbow (or raincircle) around it.

I woke up in the middle of a night from a stench so foul that it was impossible to breathe. My first thought was that it was one of the dogs having problems with the stomach. So I got up and started to look after te place I had to clean up. How wrong I was, it turns out it was one of the cats who had been in the litter box but hadn’t covered it afterwards. How on earth can a small cat create something so nasty smelling???? It was horrible to go in to the bathroom and clean it up, still he had no stomach problems what so ever, it just smelled that way 🙂 🙂

 

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It hadn’t started to snow when we were up the first time but it had when we went up the second time.Well I don’t count what had started to fall yesterday evening because I don’t call that snow even if it technically most likely is called that. You know those tiny ice flakes you can see when we’re having frost? It was those that fell from the sky and it is quite beautiful when it happens but it doesn’t happen often and it is never a lot of it falling.

 

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The wind was a bit stronger than I realised at first so we walked out on the fields and it didn’t take long until I couldn’t see anything through my glasses 🙂 I’m so glad that I now have a lens with autofocus because I couldn’t see a thing 🙂 So we walked to the creek where I knew the wind wouldn’t reach us. I had also brought the Hasselblad camera with me and it will be fun to see how those photos will look like. It has a very dark seeker and it is hard to focus as it is and today it was impossible 🙂 🙂

 

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We passed the dead deer again and this time Nova showed a much bigger interest in it but thankfully she does what she’s told to do even if I could see that she wasn’t happy at all to have to leave this reeking wonder 🙂 I was totally covered in snow when we came home but the jacket wasn’t especially wet at all when it all melted away. I’ve hung it over a radiator though so it will feel warm when we’re going out again today. We’ll have snow almost all day but it will get warmer by the evening and then it’ll start to rain (at the moment however it sounds as if it in this snow also follows half icy marbles, we call it marble snow. It looks much like hail but is much softer, just like snow).

 

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It will however start to freeze again just when I’m about to drive to work tomorrow morning and after that it looks like winter actually has arrived, it will stay colder for at least the rest of the week but it is just a prediction and those I don’t trust at all 🙂 It also says a lot of sun so that makes me even more sceptical 🙂 They show nothing of interest on tv unless I want to see the rerun of the absolute last episode of Downton Abbey. I watched it yesterday and I have liked these programs even though they have had very little to do with how it really was working and living in such a place. If You like this show You will like this last episode.

 

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So instead I think I’ll watch a disaster movie on dvd. The weather all over the world says The Day After Tomorrow but I watched that not too long ago, so why not 2012 🙂 Otherwise I might just as well take a long nap and a nap is never wrong 🙂

 

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Have a great day!

 

This spruce lost more than two thirds of its hight some years ago but it didn't give up and die. It actually looks as if it is getting a new top again.

This spruce lost more than two thirds of its hight some years ago but it didn’t give up and die. It actually looks as if it is getting a new top again.

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The Yule tree.

This is how it looked on one side of my cottage this morning.

This is how it looked on one side of my cottage this morning. 

The wind blew so hard during the night that I woke up several times when the heavy rain hit my bedroom window. Today the wind has moved north and become even worse they say. The arctic winds will bring cold air so already tomorrow we’ll have below 0C (32F) and snow will start falling in the early Sunday morning. The wind seems to calm down by tomorrow but will be back when the snow starts to fall again, how nice.

 

This is how it looked on the other side. Guess which weather won :-) We went back to bed instead and slept for a few hours :-)

This is how it looked on the other side. Guess which weather won 🙂 We went back to bed instead and slept for a few hours 🙂

Suddenly the sun broke through and out wer went.

Suddenly the sun broke through and out wer went.

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The German custom of having a christmas tree, we call it yule spruce since most of us have a spruce (even if some rather have pines or even junipers instead) became popular rather late by the common people. The first ever recorded yule spruce was in an aristocratic home 1741 (Stora Sundby the place is called) but it didn’t became popular amongst the common people until around 1850’s. The first ones were usually very small and placed on a table or hung from the roof. Only the rich people could afford christmas baubles, others had perhaps apples in them and perhaps pine cones. The really poor couldn’t afford apples so there are examples of people wrapping colorful paper around potatoes to have as decorations.

 

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The sunshine lasted for a few minutes and by the time we came to the creek I was soaked :-)

The sunshine lasted for a few minutes and by the time we came to the creek I was soaked 🙂

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But there was actually a custom in at least southern Sweden to have a yule tree, it could also be called yule apple and a few other local names I just can’t translate 🙂 Usually it was a crab apple tree (or bush would be more correct) dressed with apples or perhaps a spruce where all branches and twigs except for those in the top had been cut of. It could also just be a tree trunk where on had drilled holes and put in a certain amount of apple twigs. They never had candles in them though, only apples as decoration.

 

I have a few photos in my mobile phone but can't find the cable to download it into my computer. So today I mailed a few of them to myself :-) These are all taken November 6th when I was witing for my car to be repaired.

I have a few photos in my mobile phone but can’t find the cable to download it into my computer. So today I mailed a few of them to myself 🙂 These are all taken November 6th when I was waiting for my car to be repaired.

This looks like an old stone age tomb, this and another one was placed where it now days is a pasture for cows.

This looks like an old stone age tomb, this and another one was placed where it now days is a pasture for cows.

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There was another thing called Yule tree and that was a candlestick in the shape of a tree, with both apples and candles in it and there was also something called Äpplstaken which looked like a Yule tree but with only apples in it. They could however not compete with a yule spruce so they became almost forgotten. They have made a sort of come back and here’s a link to the museum of Blekinge: Yule tree which show You a few more modern made ones. Just click on each photo and it will become bigger. Blekinge by the way is one of the most southern regions in this country and  where most of my family comes from (even if I’m a 16th part Russian and a 1/4 Serb 🙂 ).

 

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The garage isn't far away from the old abbey ruins.

The garage isn’t far away from the old abbey ruins.

It is time to give the animals something to eat. We have only been outside once today, the wind and the heavy raining sort of forced us to stay indoors so one could think we would have lots of energy bit it is actually the opposite, we’re all really tired despite the long nap we had. I do hope tomorrow weather will be a bit better.

 

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Have a good continuing of Yule!


I’ve already started with the candy :-)

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I hadn’t planned to post any blog today since this is our big christmas day but I wanted to show what I found in my christmas present from Joyce 🙂

 

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There’s one thing missing here because it was a bit broken but I have friends who can fix it and I’ll show You as soon as it is.

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I’ve already started to eat some of the candy 🙂 That pickled cucumber made in rubber now has a special place on my linen cupboard 🙂

The weather is anything but christmas like but it could be worse. I read about the tornadoes in USA. We will get strong winds tonight but nothing compared to something like that. So I guess I should be happy with this weather after all 🙂

 

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The most important tv program of the year, the 57 year old Disney christmas special they show here every year at the exact same time. Christmas hasn’t started until that program is shown and almost a third of the population in this country watch it 🙂 I’ll tell You more about it tomorrow if I remember to.

 

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It is time to start eating some of all the christmas food I have, the sad thing is that I’m not really hungry 🙂 I grilled the ham this morning and it is delicious 🙂 and after that I started to eat some of the candy that came in the package from Joyce 🙂

 

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Have a Good Yule!

 

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I won’t open it until Yule eve.

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We had fog again today and it stayed until shortly after I’ve come home after work 🙂 It started to drizzle instead when we went out on our walk and I can’t say it gives the same kind of photos at all 🙂 but it was at least not heavy showers so I guess I should be happy for that 🙂

 

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I drove by Falköping on my way home. I was going to pick up a package I’ve gotten a few days ago and it was as I suspected and hoped the package I get from Joyce every Christmas 🙂 Thank You Joyce! I haven’t opened it yet though so I can’t say what’s in it 🙂 I’ll do that on Christmas eve which is our big day in Christmas. It is the day the Yule gnome comes to our homes giving us our yule presents. At least back in the days he came by horse or with a goat pulling a little carriage with the presents. Now days I think most kids believes he comes with reindeer like Santa does.

 

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I was scared to death  when having to go to the yule gnome to get my presents and was so relived when they told me he wasn’t for real 🙂 I have a photograph when my best friend and I went to the yule gnome in a store and they had top bribe me with loads of ginger bread before I agreed to sit in his lap and get photographed 🙂 One can see how I hold several ones in my hand 🙂 Our yule gnome is a mix of the old gnomes and Santa and now days he look much the same as Santa does. But more about our christmas traditions later on.

 

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I was supposed to buy some other things too while I was in town but it is amazing how a tiny town like that can have such nasty traffic! and in the middle of they day too, doesn’t anyone work any longer? So I skipped those things for later because I wanted to keep the little sanity I still have 🙂 At least I got the food I need because they have now placed our post offices mostly in grocery stores 🙂

 

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The weather isn’t especially christmas like, it was rather warm today and soon we’ll get at least 10C (50F) and of course lots of rain. I could have gone to a big christmas dinner this evening, the factory owner does this every year for us employees but I prefer to stay at home instead. I know that as soon as I’ve come home after work and have been out on our walk, the only thing I want to do is to relax and start the weekend. I rarely think I would love to go back to the village where I work again, even if I’m invited to a christmas dinner.

 

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I would be sober since I can’t get back home otherwise but my work friends won’t be and it doesn’t matter how much one like them since they aren’t as funny and charming as they think they are when they are beginning to become drunk (and they’re even worse when they are drunk) 🙂 🙂 So I would just have gone there, eaten the food and then hurried home anyway. So instead I’ll continue to read one of the books I ordered last week, Terry Pratchett’s “Small Gods”. I haven’t come that far yet but already gotten a few good chuckles 🙂 and Thank You Dianna for the Christmas card, it arrived today 🙂

 

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It is time to get something to eat and I think I might make some rose-hip soup today.

Have a great day!

 

Here it is, tha package from Joyce! Beautifulas always and very heavy too, the girl in the post office had problems carrying it and for a while it looked like she would drop it :-) The dog treat bag was placed beside in the big package and they are very happy now becausae they were allowed to get some of it :-)

Here it is, tha package from Joyce! Beautiful as always and very heavy too, the girl in the post office had problems carrying it and for a while it looked like she would drop it 🙂 The dog treat bag was placed beside in the big package and they are very happy now because they were allowed to get some of it 🙂


You better have slaughtered Your pig today.

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Today is a big day here in Sweden because today we celebrate the catholic saint Lucia, a rather odd tradition since we have been a strictly Lutheran protestant nation since the middle of the 1500’s. The tradition became popular amongst the common people around 1920 but it had been celebrated more or less the same way aristocratic families since the 1700’s. So all over this country they’ve had Lucia processions where they sing yule songs and we usually have coffee, tea or julmust and eat gingerbread and a bun we call Lussekatt. Lussekatt is a wheat bun usually spiced with cardamom, saffron and sometimes raisins. Here’s a link to different videos of our Luciatåg.

 

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But we’ve had a tradition to celebrate this day since way in to the middle ages. Back then December 13th was when we had the winter solstice so that was when the night was as longest and all the beings were as strongest. It was the start of the Yule and it was best for everyone if all chores for yule had been done by then, like the slaughter of the pig for example. If one hadn’t done all chores there was a risk that Lussi, a female demon being (well here in southern Sweden it was a male one instead), would pay a visit to the home. She would punish the family who wasn’t ready to celebrate yule properly.

 

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Lots of Trumpet swans were flying around between the lakes this morning.

Lots of Trumpet swans were flying around between the lakes this morning.

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She would also come down the chimney and take children who hadn’t behaved good and those children would never be seen again. But all beings were extra powerful this long night, so people would stay at home and very few would sleep at all that night, one never knew if a troll would try to get in to the home. Trolls could swap their children to a human one ( I guess it was because they thought humans had better homes and wanted the best for their children) and that could be a big problem since troll kids never could behave properly 🙂 One could think that humans would be able to see a difference in their own children and troll children but unless it is a mountain troll trolls look very much like us humans and actually behaves much like us too but there’s one big difference and that is that trolls have tails. I think that at least I would have seen that tail pretty early 🙂

 

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If one should notice that the child was swapped one way to get ones own child back is to threaten the troll child with spanking. No one loves its own child more than a troll mother and she would know as soon as the threat came and quickly swap the children again. A troll is never cruel to its children and no matter how nice that home was they would never allow anything bad to happen to them. But more about troll in a later post.

 

Surprise! I rarely show humans here :-)

Surprise! I rarely show humans here 🙂

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Today has been quite wonderful but rather cold. I woke up to a world covered in frost and we went out before the sun even was close to rising above the horizon. I wanted to be sure to see the sunrise so we started by walking in to the village this morning too, only because I knew there would be no hunters in the forest today. I had brought the old Edixa with me too but half way home it was so co,d that the old camera froze and wouldn’t work 🙂 So we went home, left that one and brought the analog Nikon instead and that one worked perfectly. So off to the forest and creek we went. Unfortunately the ground wasn’t that deep frozen as I had wished for so we couldn’t walk up-stream as I had hoped, perhaps it will be by next weekend even if it will be warmer by then again.

 

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We walked out to the bog on our afternoon walk and to the small creek we usually follow when we’re there. It was a bit difficult to reach it though since all the debris after the tree chopping still is there. Tomorrow’s work again because I didn’t win the lottery this time either 🙂 The fire is burning in the stove and the radiator is on in the dog house, tonight will be rather chilly.

 

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Have a great Saint Lucia’s day!

 

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Soon Yule starts.

No new photos again until tomorrow.

No new photos again until tomorrow.

I’ve ordered the yule cards and I like the photo but I sort of would have liked something more colorful. Well I could have saved some that I like from earlier this year so I really have no right to be annoyed about that 🙂

 

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The warmer weather they promised us in the earlier is now gone, as I said the other day. Now the temperature drops after every new prediction they make 🙂 So far they still are above 0C (32F) but there’s time to change that too 🙂 and it looks like we’ll get a storm after the weekend with very strong gusts, thankfully it will come from west so I will most likely not notice much of it here in my cottage, my neighbors on the other hand will most likely get the full force from it.

 

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The first of Advent is this Sunday and that’s a sort of big thing here, it is the beginning of Christmas or Jul (Yule) as we say here. I will of course buy lots of Julmust and gingerbread, a must at advent first 🙂 I think it is time for me to dig deep in to our folk-lore too, I usually do that this time of year. Now begins the time when the beings are out walking around a lot since it is dark so much of the day and this is also a time when they are as most powerful.

 

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Beings here are usually not especially nice and lots of the fairy tales that have become Disney films have very different endings over here. The little Mermaid for instance dies a horrible death, Sleeping Beauty is in the original story actually raped while sleeping, by a king, and wakes up after giving birth to two sons (the queen didn’t like that at all 🙂 ), that’s not a story one tells children at bedtime 🙂 Cinderella’s step sisters are actually trying to make the glass shoe fit by cutting of parts of their feet 🙂 One cuts of her big toe and the other her heel. That was actually a story I red myself as very young 🙂

 

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Fairies loves to give little children diseases and tends to kill them as well, gnomes can help but also burn down our homes and the list of bad thing those beings can do is endless 🙂 Our trolls however isn’t especially bad (unless they are mountain trolls, they are always bad). Most trolls look just like us, the thing that separates us is their tail, normally they hide it well though 🙂

 

And here are four Minolta x-300 photos.

And here are three Minolta x-300 photos.

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and one from the analog Nikon.

It is time for something to eat and then some dog belly scratching before I go to bed.

Have a great day!


Frosty.

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The temperature dropped down to -13C (8,6F) during the night so I woke up to a white world covered in frost. The weak wind we had when we went out for our morning walk made it quite nasty out there but as soon as we came in to the forest it turned and became a rather nice walk. Birds tweeted and I could hear some hunting dogs in near by hunting areas barking like crazy as they were following some poor animal.

 

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I showed one of my neighbors (and he’s also one of the hunters in this area), the photo of the paw print and he is sure it is made by a wolf. He wasn’t to happy about it, not so much for the fact the wolf hunts too but he is the owner of that calf who was born outside my cottage. They’ve had four new calves lately and three of them died early, only the one I saw still lives. I told him that I’ve been talking to the cow to go inside with the calf and for so long that she finally got tired of me and went indoors 🙂

 

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It is a little bull and they gave it the only name it really can have being born at Christmas, so now Jesus is walking around in a pasture just outside my cottage 🙂 🙂 A perfect name for a perfect little bull 🙂 He also told me that we now have a new neighbor here, a beaver. For some reason it has chosen a ditch with very little water flowing in it. It is a bit unlucky though because that ditch will be dug up soon, it doesn’t work especially well as a ditch any longer. But if its lodge manages to be undamaged this ditch will most likely be perfect to live by.

 

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We’ve had lost of sunshine here these two last days and perfect weather for using my Hasselblad camera. So now I have two rolls of film that I’ll send away to be developed as soon as possible, most likely next Monday. I have no plans on driving anywhere as long as I have food and fire logs enough here at home and the mail woman won’t come until Monday either, Boxing day is a holiday here so most people don’t work today. Perhaps there will be more rolls because I have three more here at home and we’ll have this cold weather for some days until it turns again. We’ll even get some snow tonight they say, I can’t say I want it but I can’t stop it from falling so there’s no use in complaining 🙂

 

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It is time for some more tea and then we’ll head out for another walk. Perhaps I’ll bring the old Kodak with me this time, I must try it at least once but it is so cold outside that I’m not sure to how that old camera will react, it might freeze and stop working 🙂

 

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Have a great day!

 

I promised Jouce some photos on my Christmas ham. Normally I onlu buy a brined netted ham. It has been brined for ariund 15 days.

I promised Jouce some photos on my Christmas ham. Normally I onlu buy a brined netted ham. It has been brined for ariund 15 days.

This time however I boght an already cooked one. One can either boil the ham (one hour/ kg) or oven bake it and I always oven bake it. When it is done remove the net and trim away the skin and most of the fat. It is important that there's a lot of fat on the ham when boiling/ oven baking it because the fat bring out all the falvors. But most fat can be removed before grilling though.

This time however I boght an already cooked one. One can either boil the ham (one hour/ kg) or oven bake it and I always oven bake it. When it is done remove the net and trim away the skin and most of the fat. It is important that there’s a lot of fat on the ham when boiling/ oven baking it because the fat bring out all the falvors. But most fat can be removed before grilling though.

I mix one egg and two to three tablespoons with a strong mustard, ad a tea spoon with sugar too. I normally pour in some bread crumbs sotherwise it's so runny. I spread it as evenly as I can over the ham and then I sprinkle lots of bread crumbs over it all.

I mix one egg and two to three tablespoons with a strong mustard, ad a tea spoon with sugar too. I normally pour in some bread crumbs sotherwise it’s so runny. I spread it as evenly as I can over the ham and then I sprinkle lots of bread crumbs over it all.

This is how it should look when ready. I live those first lukewarm slices but it is perfect as cold too. Christmas ham on a sandwich is delicious :-)

This is how it should look when ready. I live those first lukewarm slices but it is perfect as cold too. Christmas ham on a sandwich is delicious 🙂


I wish You all a Good Yule!

Thisis one of the presents I gor from Joyce! It is so beautiful!

This is one of the presents I gor from Joyce! It is so beautiful!

I’m writing this on the evening before Christmas eve, or Julafton as we say in Swedish. I have the tv on and they have a so-called uppesittarkväll on the two biggest networks (not together of course 🙂 ). There’s no good translation for uppesittarkväll but it means they will send a show from the same studios all evening in to the night. I have the PBS channel (TV 1) on and that is actually the most popular network here in Sweden. They cook christmas food from different parts of the world but I think they cook some Swedish ones too. Artists sing popular Christmas songs. There are a few really good artists but some are what I call b-artists, from Sweden Idol and similar shows. They try hard but are sort of out of tune most of the time 🙂 The host is jolly and laughs a lot, all the time actually 🙂 There’s also a man showing fun ways to for instance dry a mobile phone that fell in to water and other odd ideas and tricks 🙂

 

I had to take several photos to be able to show what was packed in that big package :-)

I had to take several photos to be able to show what was packed in that big package 🙂 Cookies and candy, life is good 🙂

I must admit that I've already tried the Bog Ftogs :-) I mean, that name sort of demands to be tested first since I live just beside this huge bog. They are delicious bythe way :-)

I must admit that I’ve already tried the Bog Frogs 🙂 I mean, that name sort of demands to be tested first since I live just beside this huge bog. They are delicious by the way 🙂 New tea varieties too, can never have to much of that.

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I’ll have lost of nice evenings with hot chocolate.

 

 

Christmas eve is the big day here in Sweden but I’ve never understood why we have it on Christmas even when almost all others have Christmas day as the big one. There are a few traditions that is a bit more important than others this day, at 3pm Sweden stops because we’re all watching Donald Duck and his friends celebrates Christmas. We have seen the almost exactly same program for over 55 years now. They show short films or snippets from big films and few have anything to do with Christmas to be honest 🙂 When ever they try to show a new film or snippet and removes one of the old ones all hell break loose here. One year they decided to remove Ferdinand the Bull and suddenly someone threatened to put a bomb in the house of Swedish Television 🙂 

 

Is there anything better than a bowl of hot soup when the cold weather sets in, which it will already tomorrow they say.

Is there anything better than a bowl of hot soup when the cold weather sets in, which it will already tomorrow they say.

The dogs love their present! I haven't given the cats their yet, they are out hunting in the sunshine (which will be gone shortly, don't need to see any predictions to understand that :-)

The dogs love their present! I haven’t given the cats their yet, they are out hunting in the sunshine (which will be gone shortly, don’t need to see any predictions to understand that 🙂

I also got this Hex Sign. This one is the Tree of life and it looks just like old traditional <<<<<<<<kurbits art here in Sweden!  and I do like kurbits art.

I also got this Hex Sign. This one is the Tree of life and it looks just like old traditional kurbits art here in Sweden and I do like kurbits art! Thank You Joyce!

 

Most people eat after Disney and we have the same food on our tables no matter what holiday it might be 🙂 but the ham at Christmas is changed to something with eggs at Easter and we have neither on Midsummer which is almost as big as Christmas is here. We tend to have a Christmas smorgasbord, called Julbord, where we place all the food and everyone can pick as much or as little on so desire. The ham is the most important thing but no Julbord without zillion different kinds of pickled herring. I can’t for my life understand how anyone actually can eat it and say it’s delicious because it’s just nasty. Then we have salmon, usually pickled or cold smoked and I eat neither but I do eat warm smoked if they have it. Meatballs, prince sausages, beetroot salad and red cabbage usually stand beside each other making lots of people confused since they don’t always like both 🙂 then we have the regional dishes like here where they often have baked brown beans. For dessert there’s usually risalamande or as we call it ris à la Malta. It’s rice pudding mixed with lots of whipped cream, vanilla sugar and berries and lately I have seen apple pie too with either custard or ice cream.

 

I also got a package from Dianna in Canada! With Candian coffee and Canadian tea and also some history behind them. >It'll be very interesting to try both :-) I also got a favorite cookie package of mine, Maple Leaf cookies :-) They are a bit dangerous because they just taste better the more one eat :-) :-)  Thank You Dianna!

I also got a package from Dianna in Canada! With Canadian coffee and Canadian tea and also some history behind them. It’ll be very interesting to try both 🙂 I also got a favorite cookie package of mine, Maple Leaf cookies 🙂 They are a bit dangerous because they just taste better the more one eat 🙂 🙂  The card beside show two puppies but the flash stopped You from seeing that :-)Thank You Dianna!

A calf was born on Christmas Eve. This one was not even an hour old when I took this photo and it was born just outside my cottage.

A calf was born on Christmas Eve. This one was not even an hour old when I took this photo and it was born just outside my cottage.

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We don’t have Santa Claus here, we have the Jultomte, Yule Gnome. He looks very much like Santa now days but it was different in the beginning. Before the Yule Gnome however we had the Yule Goat or Yule Buck as we say in Swedish. This goat has its origin way back, most likely from our old pagan past. It is supposed to be one of Thor’s immortal goats that pulled his carriage when he flew up in the sky. A man dressed up like a goat, usually a head made from straw and a goat skin over his shoulders and was the one bringing the presents, we call them julklappar (Yule knocks) because in the beginning it was meant that the giver should stay unknown so they just knocked on the door, opened it up and tossed in the present and then ran away. Good thing they didn’t have good locks back then 🙂 Later on the gnome took over that job but the goat still continued to stay close to the presents because he was the one pulling the carriage or sled with the packages. The poor goat was once again degraded when the horse too his place but we still have him in our homes as straw goats. They also build the worlds biggest straw goat in the city Gävle and almost every year someone burns it down 🙂 🙂 🙂 Some say it’s a shame but to be honest, no one would know it ever existed if they didn’t burn it down, not even here in Sweden 🙂

 

My neighbor got two light nets.

My neighbor got two light nets.

and I a new light chain.

and I a new light chain.

One of the orchids started to open up this morning.

One of the orchids started to open up this morning.

 

The Yule Gnome is a mix of the folklore gnome and Santa. Looking at old paintings the first Yule Gnomes were quite small and dressed in grey with a red cap. Later on he grew a lot and suddenly he wore red clothes and had reindeer’s. Now days I’ve seen lots of Yule Gnomes with grey clothes again and I like that, sort of like kicking coca cola in the butt 🙂 The folklore gnome is anything but jolly. He, because there are no female gnomes, is always grumpy and really dislike people. He lives on farms and help with all the work, especially with the animals and the better one treat the animals the more the gnome helps. He is almost always dressed in worn grey clothes and a red cap. He always have a long beard, usually quite white or grey and it can be so long that he can wrap himself in it totally. The gnome is very strong and can if he so see fit kill a human with one blow, if for instance they mistreat their animals. It is important not to give hom new fine clothes because he can start to believe that he can’t work with too fine clothes and decide to leave the farm 🙂 If he would start to really dislike the family who lives at the farm he can burn it down.

 

A bit frosty this morning but it started to rain some when we were out walking.

A bit frosty this morning but it started to rain some when we were out walking.

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The gnome has two close relatives that are more or less extinct now days. One is the Mill Oldster. Back in the days we had loads of mills along most creeks or rivers and the mill oldster helped keeping the place in shape. He had his moments though when he could be extra grumpy, for instance if they had to use the mill at night he just stopped the mill from working. It could be because he thought nights should be calm and quiet so he could play the fiddle and he was almost as good as the water nymph Näcken but he had no intention of drowning anyone though 🙂 or it could be just because he wanted to be nasty. There was a way to bribe him though, Mill Oldsters are big lovers of tobacco, especially snus, snuff. So if one gave him some he allowed them to start the mill anyway. There was another reason he could do things like stopping the mill, it was because he wanted some company so he was a bit more social than the gnome.

 

Stairway to heaven? :-) These coming photos are from yesterday or earlier.

Stairway to heaven? 🙂
These coming photos are from yesterday or earlier.

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The second relative was the Skeppsrå. I can’t find any good name on him in English but we can call him ship gnome. He did much the same job as the gnome but on ships instead. No one knows from where he came, some believe he sort of grew out of the tree other believe that he might be a gnome following the tree from the forest. Sometimes it happened that one grew out from the tree and one came with the tree from the forest and two gnomes can’t live on the same ship, of course :-)If they couldn’t agree on who should stay, which of course they never could, a big fight started. It could become so violent that the entire ship broke and sank to the bottom. One Captain managed to stop one of these fights by letting one stay on the ship and promised the next ship to the other one. The Ship Gnomes lived as long as the ship existed, when it sank the gnome died and since we don’t build that many ships from wood now days most of them are gone now.

 

He wasn't happy yesterday when he followe us to the bog. Lots of people around and I guess the smell of an eventual wolf doesn't help :-)

He wasn’t happy yesterday when he followed us to the bog. Lots of people around (the hunting group was out grilling hot dogs)and I guess the smell of an eventual wolf didn’t help 🙂

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The pig is also a very important Christmas symbol here. Most believe it’s because we eat ham every Christmas which most likely is wrong. We haven’t eaten Christmas ham for that long to be honest but it goes way back to our pagan days. It origins from when we had the Norse gods. Up in Valhalla, located in Asgard where Odin and the chaps lived they had a pig, Särimner (I think You call him Sæhrímnir in English-speaking countries and I think that might be Icelandic). He was slaughtered every day to become their dinner and as long as every single bone was saved he resurrected again early next day. Practical but perhaps not that fun for the poor pig 🙂 The pig has always been very important here because they gave a very lot of food for very little input so to speak. They could just let the pigs walk around in the forest and didn’t have to feed them at all, they found enough food just walking around eating what they found on and in the ground. They always slaughtered the pig at Saint Lucia’s day so they had time to make all the sausages and other things they would need during Yule and the rest of the year. In many of the old Christmas cards one can see the yule gnome, the yule buck and the pig and a few presents too of course 🙂

 

The calf was very wobbly in the legs when trying to get some food and the mother didn't help a lot, she moved around all the time :-)

The calf was very wobbly in the legs when trying to get some food and the mother didn’t help a lot, she moved around all the time 🙂

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 Thank You both Joyce and Dianna! 

I wish You all a Good Yule!


Wolf?

It is around 10 cm (4 inches) long and slightly wider.

It is around 10 cm (4 inches) long and slightly wider. It’s not the best of photos but it isn’t a bright day and mud is dark too 🙂 This is a print of a front paw.

 

 I got up at 5 am as usual and the sky looked rather clear so I was hoping for some sun when we were going out later in the morning. But first I had to do to the super market, they open at 7 am and I was hoping that I would be rather alone in the store at that early hour. Lots of people had been thinking just the same thing 🙂 But most of them were still wandering around in the store when I had paid my things and started to drive homewards again. I only needed three things and knew exactly where to find them. I was home again before even an hour had passed.

 

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and then the sky turned dark grey.

 

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We went out just before the sun was supposed to show but it never did, the clouds had thickened and there were only a few rips that still let the sun shine through. We walked down to the creek and started follow it upstream. The ground was strangely enough semi frozen, I say strangely because yesterday we had up to 7C (45F) and it never fell below 0C (32F) all night. It was actually 4C (39F) when I got up this morning. But it was good that it was semi frozen because the road was rather muddy and it was possible to walk there just because of the cold road. I had stopped to photograph something when I looked down on the mud.

 

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 I could see one very good print just beside my foot and compared to Orvar’s foot print this is huge! At least twice as big and as You know Orvar isn’t a tiny dog 🙂 He’s 75cm (30 inches) at the withers and weighs a bit over 50kg (100 pound). The print couldn’t be more than a few hours old so I kept my eyes open when we continued our walk, not because I was worried but I really would like to see a wolf 🙂 This is most probably a young one walking around trying to find a place of its own. But I kept the dogs close to me, especially the old ones since they have their leg problems. The smaller ones were leashed. I can say that they were very interested in this track and I guess they were wondering who this new dog in the neighborhood is 🙂

 

I had planned on walking in on this road but this isn't how dark it really was, it was much darker. I sort of felt that I might need something to protect the old guys just in case we would meet the wolf in there. I doubt it would do anything if we met it, a wolf is smart enough to know it would be outnumbered even if two of them are really old.

I had planned on walking in on this road but this isn’t how dark it really was, it was much darker. I sort of felt that I might need something to protect the old guys just in case we would meet the wolf in there. I doubt it would do anything if we met it, a wolf is smart enough to know it would be outnumbered even if two of them are really old.

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Mushrooms can the the oddest shape.

Mushrooms can take the oddest shapes.

 

I couldn’t find any more tracks and no sight of any wolf either but it might have been that one who followed us from some distance. Both the dogs and I could hear some twigs breaking and something ran away very quietly when we came closer to the village. That could of course have been wild hogs too but it sounds cooler with a wolf 🙂 

 

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Tomorrow is our big day at Christmas and even if it is Wednesday I’ll write something but I won’t write anything on Christmas day since most people reading my blog celebrates on Christmas day and have funnier things to do 🙂 I think I’ll tell You about our gnomes, the yule goat or yule buck as we actually call it, the pig who is a very important yule symbol here even if most people don’t know why 🙂 and perhaps something more too 🙂

 

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Have a great day!


The start of Yule.

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Advent first is when Christmas, or Jul (Yule) starts here in Sweden. That is the day when most Swedes goes to church, before it was the Julotta (Christmas service) but people tend not to like to go up early in the morning to be at church at 7am on Christmas day 🙂 At Advent first we light the first candle (out of four) in the Advent candlestick. This habit of lighting candles will later this month be one of the biggest reason why so many homes will burn down because people tend to forget putting out the candles when they leave them.

 

We had a cold and frosty night here.

We had a cold and frosty night here.

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We now decorate our windows with electric Advent candlesticks (a Swedish invention I might add) that now is beginning to be popular all over the world, well at least the Christian parts 🙂 and we also hang up our Advent stars so they can shine bright in our windows. They are usually made from paper but many have some made from metal or wood too. We put a lightbulb inside the star that is perforated with holes so the light can come out.

 

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One can't see anything living but one can hear them walking around on the bog.

One can’t see anything living but one can hear them walking around on the bog.

 

The tradition of when to put up the Christmas tree, or as we call it Yule Spruce varies a lot. The old tradition said that it should be brought inside the 23d and decorated on the same evening. My family always brought it in on December 13th and dressed it the same day others waited until December 23d, a very important day here and I’ll tell You about that day later. Some, very few, brought it in on Advent first or December first depending on what came first. 

 

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Some steps are heavy, some light and some can almost not be heard at all. Well it is December and it could be the beings walking home before the daylight takes over.

Some steps are heavy, some light and some can almost not be heard at all. Well it is December and it could be the beings walking home before the daylight takes over.

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We’ve always had uncolored lights in our trees, the few that had colored ones was seen as slightly odd and probably wanted to be special 🙂 Until now I’ve only seen two trees with colored lights and one of them was mine because I couldn’t find uncolored to the small trees I’ve been having lately 🙂 🙂 🙂 We are kind of lousy to decorate with lights outside but we’re getting better, still very few have colored lights. I guess it can have something to do with that uncolored lights look more like the stars in the sky and only travelling funfairs use colored lights otherwise and even though we always loved travelling funfairs people have always looked down on those working there since they mostly have been gypsies or Traveller communities (no we Swedes are no different to the rest of the world I’m afraid).

 

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This creek is thankfully too small for Näcken (the Water Sprite) or the Bäckahästen (the creek horse) to use to drown people in.

 

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This is also the month when the mythological and magic beings are around and about a lot and this is the time of year one shouldn’t walk around alone close to bogs, forests or other isolated areas. There are rules one must follow if one for instance don’t want a visit from Lusse, an evil female being. It’s very important to behave nice towards the gnome too since he can burn down Your home if You don’t. It is important however not to spoil him either because then he can feel that he’s too good to do any work at all and perhaps leave Your house for good.

 

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The bog is a dangerous place to be at but at least most beings rest during the day.

The bog is a dangerous place to be at but at least most beings rest during the day.

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I bought myself a plastic table Yule spruce today and it came with both decorations and lights, uncolored :-). The lights need batteries to work though so I’ll take photos of it when I remember to buy batteries 🙂 It’s actually quite nice even if it isn’t the real thing.

 

But then again, one never knows where Skogsrået (the Forest nymph) is. She can look like a beautiful woman or like a half rotten tree stump with lots of fungus growing on her. It's a good thing to help her but  ever never ask for her help!

But then again, one never knows where Skogsrået (the Forest nymph) is. She can look like a beautiful woman or like a half rotten tree stump with lots of fungus growing on her. It’s a good thing to help her if that chance ever would occur but never ever  ask for her help!

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Have a great day!