Wednesday, October 29, 2008


It happened one strange October in 2008. A day after the temperature had been over 20 degrees (75 F), we woke up one morning to snow and storm. The Halloween pumpkins froze, branches broke while I was watching on giant trees because of the heavy wet ice-snow that stuck to the leaves that were still on them, I had to rescue the last chilipeppers in the garden, and we kept our fingers crossed that the power would not go out since our new woodstove is not installed yet. Now it is a day after and we still have snow here on the Owl Mountain, but not as much. Very strange weather. Global warming is causing global weather chaos.

Dream job?

Someone I know got a job in Madagascar recently and is on her way there via Paris, France. You can check out her blog about her adventures here.

Early morning fog

Some mornings are like paintings by van Gogh. This was last week in central New Jersey on my way to work.

Swedish sleep

We have a ban to post photos of people's faces here on the blog, but I think this one is OK. If you can't tell who this cutie is, don't worry, you are not meant to. The people that know know. Funny thing happened with the camera, because the blanket was purple, not blue. I think it is that 'vivid' setting that changes it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Art from nature

Painting by air is fantastic. I paint in the nature and make the beginning of an art as long as I have time. At home I finish the paint. The moose is from Jamtland, in the north in Sweden. The heron in the stream is from Dalalven, one of the longest river in Sweden. This two are soft pastell. The men in the small rowboat is from Hasselo in Smalands archepelago. It is a watercolor. This is some of my paintings the last time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Design for Web Icon

I was thinking that we could create a web icon (the 16x16 picture next to the url) for the blog. Here it is:

It shows a sink pipe with orange gooey stuff coming out of it, as well as two letters that are in the blog name.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oyster bar, NY - 3 weeks ago

A misty day in NY, no skyscrapers where visible from the streets. A good day for books, stores and food.
And food there where...oysters for starter and scallops (pilgrimsmusslor) for main course. My first raw oysters ever as LS already told here in an earlier post. And of course the fantastic Grand Central and design of the Oyster Bar restaurant.

PP said we should sit by the bar/counter close to the kitchen. We didn´t but we had a look when we passed by. Fantastic. Next time I´ll sit by the kitchen.


A snapshot of the Chili harvest at 333 DZ road. The yellow ones are Habanero mustard, the long red ones are Super Chilli, the small ones are Thai and someting more. Big ones are just sweet peppers. LS or PP, correct if I´m wrong about the names. Do you still harvest?

What´s your type?

This is a picture I took in an American food store. I was pondering on the fact that so many product designs are created to fit a certain type of person. Sometimes I can long for a bottle in a nice glass mold, imprinted into the glass..saying White vinegar. Simple and clean. Or like the brown paper bag which used to contain sugar in the days back.
What do you think, are the products too designed today?

What I also been thinking about lately is what we have in our swedish foodstores that doesn´t exist in US. Some are easy, swedish candy like Bilar and salt licorice and Mums-mums, some are more surprising like crawfish tails in salty water. What is it that is truly swedish? Is it pölsa, blodpudding and falukorv? Or is it rather a mix of spices that is typically swedish? I don´t know, I´m looking for answers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We live in changing times... a breaking moment in history

I just can't help myself! I love this video. Check out the design too, not just the movie. Things are changing here in America, finally. Listen to the lyrics...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yes We Can.

I am so hopeful!!! Soon we will have President Obama.

Interesting reading about this poster and its copycats.

Stamp of the Day: Scandinavian design

I grew up with these designed bowls "Margrete" by Sigvard Bernadotte (in English), a real Swedish royalty. These bowls were everywhere in Swedish houses. When my sister came here recently, she brought one for this American house, so now we have a little piece of royalty-design here in New Jersey. You can read more about the design prince here.

"Sigvard Bernadotte was the second child of the Swedish Crown Prince Gustav Adolf (later King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden) and brother to Queen Ingrid of Denmark. From 1929 Sigvard Bernadotte studied at the Decorative School at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. He assisted in creating and installing the epoch-making Stockholm Exhibition introducing Functionalism in Scandinavia in 1930. This new approach to design and architecture - the concept of form being determined by function - had a profound effect on the young Bernadotte and influenced his future design career as one of the leading industrial designers in Scandinavia" link

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Busy weekend

It has been one of those weekends here at Screech Owl Meadow (I just made up that name, in Swedish I guess it would be sparvuggleglantan). Busy, busy, and now our bodies are aching as a result. When I started makin this list of what we accomplish I got amazed. 4 people can do a lot! (Kids, thanks!!!) We did: Digging holes in the basement, wheelbarrows of gravel, rocks, and old coal, scraping and painting window sills, washing mosquito nets for windows, washing windows, oiling soapstone counters, scrubbing kitchen linoleum floor and then shine it up, washing 3 loads of laundry and hang it outside, clean all bathrooms, put up new shower curtain in kids bathroom, wash walls in kids bath (once a year this needs to be done), two people got eye exams, one got new classes, we got new pillows and a wider comforter, make jerk seasoning, made dinner two nights (filet mignon and lobster! and jerk shrimp, hot and good), mop the stairs, fix the lawn mover (for the 100th time), change water filer (too late, filled with icky black stuff), made labels for all homemade oils and vinegars (about 15 bottles so far), take in laundry, shake carpets, wipe down walls over stove in kitchen, read New York Times, clean up stuff hanging out of a cat's butt (ough! horrible), kids' cleaning rooms, order garlic for fall planting, order a insulating box for the attic stairs, going to Lowes to get renovation stuff and carrying it to the barn, going to liqour store for wine, getting corn at the farmer's market, dropping of a child's desk at a friends, went to sleepover party and pig roast (AREA) and playdate (LA), planned dinners for next week, did homework (kids), wiped down shelves, looked for a missing hook for the kids shower curtain, tried to find the lost tablet pen (no luck), carried stuff to the barn, into the attic, and upstairs, and watch to Road to Perdition. No wonder we are tired tonight.

And no kids asked for Sunday candy all day! Thanks PP, AREA, and LA for all your help.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What came first - oysters or dinosaurs?

After the discussion in another blogpost I have been looking into this topic. I was sure that oysters had been around longer than dinosaurs, but that is not so! The earliest oysters (in the family Ostreinae) fossils are from Late Triassic, in a time period called Carnian (228 to 216 million years ago). The first dinosaur (Eoraptor) also showed up in the Carnian.

I found a review of a book about the oysters (see picture on left) and it seems like oysters are as hard to investigate and classify as some plants. Plus they are hard to open, of course.

I love this sentence:
"the most unifying characteristics known for oysters were their fine table quality and their aphrodisiacal value."
These are great evolutionary characters, didn't you know that? The review is from 1977 and was published in Journal of Paleontology (= journal of old, dead and stonied things). Even today scientists can't agree on how many oyster species there are, just like in the orchids, birds, and snakes. Splitter or lumper, what are you? Birdwatchers like as many species as possible so they can cross them off in their books. Oyster eaters don't care about the Latin names, only where they come from: Pemaquid, Kumamoto, Onset, Blue Point... Botanists are still fighting it out.

NYC National Debt Clock runs out of digits

(the photo is from April. Photo: Jesper Rautell Balle)

NEW YORK (AP) — In a sign of the times, the National Debt Clock in New York City has run out of digits to record the growing figure. As a short-term fix, the digital dollar sign on the billboard-style clock near Times Square has been switched to a figure — the "1" in $10 trillion. It's marking the federal government's current debt at about $10.2 trillion.

The Durst Organization says it plans to update the sign next year by adding two digits. That will make it capable of tracking debt up to a quadrillion dollars.

The late Manhattan real estate developer Seymour Durst put the sign up in 1989 to call attention to what was then a $2.7 trillion debt.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Absolut Mess

If you ever need good food inside an old inn and sit fully protected behind thick stone walls and have nice conversations - go to Sergeantsville Inn. It is not only a great restaurant, they also have the Absolut Mess drink there, based on a recipe we haven't been able to figure out. They told us the ingredients (Absolut Citron, Mandarin and Kurant, cranberry juice and lime). It is very good when you order it here (less so at our house, wonder what is wrong when we make it). In the photo, the mess is in the front and a glass of Chardonnay in the back. This is in the tavern part, they also have a restaurant part with really nice tables. We took EH here during her visit and we had some fantastic food! They have homemade grappa too, and make a fantastic calamari appetizer.

Snapshot from New York on last tuesday, about a week ago..

A snapshot from the American Museum of Natural History:
We all are related to dinosaurs,
we share a heritage from the very first mollusc in the sea.

New York from the airplane lifting off Newark at nightfall.
High above stars were looking down on earth.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A magical place

This is one of my most favorite ceilings in the whole world. The Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station in New York, USA. EH and I had lunch there, and she was served her first oysters ever. You should have seen her face when she ate the first one. I have to say that she showed no hesitation at all, just took one, put some lemon and sauce on it (I think), and then dumped it in her mouth. I think it was bigger than she had expected, because she looked a bit flustered, but then this huge happy grin spread across her face. Yummy!!! One more family member hooked on oysters. We had three kinds, Flying Point and Pimaquet (spelling?) from Maine, and Sisters Point from Washington State in the Pacific. This was the appetizer, and for lunch we had the traditional panroast - like a tomato-cream soup with seafood. Wonderful. Heavenly. A memory for forever. If you ever visit NYC, you have to go to this place. If you don't like fish and shellfish, they can probably whip up something for you anyway, like burgers or so.

I have recently been convinced...

...that sculpture as an art form can be really interesting. It doesn't have to be abstract, weird, dried clay things on pedestals in dusty museums. Instead it can be big, bold, outdoors, sturdy, fragile, wet, shiny, and just strange and fascinating. EH and I visited Grounds of Sculpture in Trenton/Hamilton, NJ, and it was an eye opener for me. I have uploaded photos from this place on my Flickr account, and here is a couple of tidbits. If I know the sculptor's name and the name of the work, then it is part of the file name, in case you would like to look up my more information. My favorite of the abstract ones were Wave by Brower Hatcher, and I also loved the different beasts made by Dana Stewart. You were allowed to touch the beasts, and we fed them with Cotoneaster berries that grew nearby. I really want to go back to this place and visit it all times of the year. Imagine this garden in winter with lights on the sculptures and a light snow fall. We didn't have time to visit the fancy restaurant Rats, which probably was good since we saved some money that way. But they have affordable lunches.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back to Swedish autumn

Today is a good example of a swedish autumn at it´s worst. We´ve not reach november yet, that is by far worse, but we did have heavy rain and really windy all day. As mum would say "inne-sittar-väder" or translated "sitting-inside-weather". I have no passion for taking photos in the fall, so I borrow a picture from another blog. A nice one, the photographers blog is here Temafoto in swedish.

Have a nice cup of tea and stay inside!