Friday, July 31, 2009

One of the most summery things there is...

in Sweden, is to pick blueberries. This is how you look afterwards :)

after the blueberry picking

photo by LS and the hands belong to MH, 7 year old

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stamp (s) of the day: Sweden in stamps

Hello world!

While LS is travelling back to U.S, I´m saying bye with some stamps of Sweden.
Come back soon!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blue skies

Face Stockholm makeup in the window

Blue Swedish colors from Face Stockholm, as seen in a Gothenburg window. Enjoy! (more photos here)

Stamp of the Day: Yummy summer

Greetings from Swedish summer and Swedish summer food! Swedish berry cakes, cheese, grilled fish, kanelbullar (cinnamon buns), coffee, tomatoes and bread. Hmm, that bread is the French kind, what was the Swedish postal office thinking? More photos from our adventures are coming soon!

(posted by LS and EH)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vi har sett ett LODJUR!

Igår kväll när vi åkte hem från ett bäversafari i egen regi såg vi ett lodjur stående på en grusväg. Vi såg den bara som hastigast men har hittat spåren och det är inte ett utan 2 djur. Förmodligen en hona med unge.
Inga bilder just nu.

Trip to the area Hälsingland

Canola field in Ärla socken

Sweden in summer is a country of easy pleasures. The scenery and landscape gives you blissfull cure from the long dark wintertime. The sun arises long before me, at four in the morning and set not until after nine in the evening. The canola field is lik the sun and the linen field of blue flowers is like our short blue nights.
Except for a few annoying things, like ticks, mosquitos and horseflies, there is nothing to beware of really, landowner allows other people to walk their land and paddle the lakes freely.

Linen field in bloom, Oil linen Ärla socken

Before leaving Eskilstuna for the north, we make a stop at the best Ice cream place I know.

Slagsta Icecream café in Eskilstuna.

Gott och blandat bägare med slagstaglass, strawberry icecream and candy "Gott och blandat".

Spent the night in a sleeping car from the historic Orient express train. Figures in Agatha Christine thriller and movies. The train is parked in Gävle, in the perimeter of Furuvik Zoo. They have a lot of monkeys, we saw schimpanses, orangutangs, gibbons, lemurs etc.

One of three wagons parked for good.

Our hotel for the night.

(For O.K.) Gävlebukten

A small river where we paddled yesterday, Flugån, (Fly creek) but we saw (read: felt!) more mosquitos than flies.

Large Hälsingland- wooden houses across the lake.

An old abandoned smedja, (blacksmiths house)

Everything is left.
Old handdriven drill.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Snapshots from Swedish landscapes

Now we have left Eskilstuna and headed over to the West coast, more exactly Stenungsund. On our trip we passed through the old 'robber forest' of Tiveden with its clear lakes and dark forests, then on to the large plains and the cradle of Swedish civilization around Skara, and passed over Göta River, and then to the west coast with its giant landscapes of granite mountains and clay-filled valleys. Here are some snapshots from the last couple of days, and as usual more photos are on Flickr.

Coca-Cola a la locavore
Locavore (eating local) has arrived in Sweden in the marketing departments. Coca-Cola proudly states "Made in Sweden" and "Sugar from Skåne" (the southernmost province) on their cans, most likely to inform that there are no high-fructose corn sugar syrup in this and it is not made in Germany or Spain or something. I was very surprised to see this. In America, would Coke say "Made in Pennsylvania"? I think the Swedes care more than the average American. However, there is no information about transfats about any food here, incredible. People love margarine, so the butter revolution hasn't really arrived yet. Otherwise there are lots of organic food alternatives in the regular supermarkets such as ICA and Coop, and Swedes are the best recyclers in the world.

Älgarås church
Älgarås church is a medieval wooden church, one of only 12 left in Sweden. It has the oldest church bell too, which has rune inscriptions on it. The inside of the church is covered in medieval paintings, and you can really hear the historic time ticking away in there. This is a great place, but is not near any of the big highways, so I think a lot of people are missing it.

Leo Pettersson: Sprung
The sculpture park at the old bronze age grave fields of Pilane is amazing. Modern sculptures are placed in the landscape surrounded by billion-year old rocks, thousand-year old culture, and living sheep. I loved this place! Many more of the sculptures are on Flickr. This sculpture is by Leo Pettersson and called Sprung and situated up on a large mountain with views over the Atlantic. The bent structures were made from fresh willows.

moon jelly fish
The jellyfishes were abundant! This moon jellyfish doesn't sting.

fishy things
The fish and seafood is fantastic in Sweden, especially along the coast. Lots of it is locally caught.

local organic farm
We picked our own tomatoes at Mölnebo Ecological Farm. We also bought fresh salad ingredients, but the lettuce was not lettuce, but 5 other unusual leafy vegetables, such as ice plant, New Zealand spinach and other very tasty leaves. It is a wonderful place, go and visit!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The shot in Skottvång was forceful

One day this week we visited Skottvång Mining Museum (sorry, only Swedish website), about an hour west of Stockholm, Sweden. I am not sure exactly what Skottvång means, but Skott is a shot like from a gun, and tvång means to force someone or something to do something.

People have mined iron here since the 1500s, first with the help of fire and water, and later using gunpowder. The mining was only done during the winter in the early days, and men, women, and children all worked in the mine. In 1900 it became illegal for women and children to be miners. Volunteers have restored many of the buildings and every summer there are concerts with famous Swedish artists and theater for children.

Cannon made at Åkers Styckebruk from iron from this mine

The ore was transported on sleighs to Åkers Styckebruk (Foundry) where it was melted down and made into cannons, among other things. The big cannon in the back was famous, because it was the first cannon that could be loaded from the back, not just the side. These two cannons are from the 1850s.

stack for making charcoal, just lit

The day we where there was the day the charcoaling stack was lit to make charcoal. The forests in Central Sweden are littered with round black circles in the forest (nowadays usually covered by moss), that mark the old charcoaling places. It was hard work, you had to make sure the stack didn't get too much or too little oxygen - you didn't want the wood to burn up, and you didn't want the fire to go out totally either.

Swedish tile roof

Swedish tile roof, made locally probably.

the building where the iron was lifted up out of the mine

This is the tall building where the iron was lifted up out of the 900 feet deep mine.

More photos from this place here.

Yksi kaksi kolme

IS and Pippi Longstocking (not her real name) took me to see an art exhibit about contemporary art in Finland and Sweden, and a few things really stood out. The name of the exhibit is "Ei Saa Peitää" (=Do not cover, a sentence that was on every electric radiator when I grew up.

Mikael Ericsson had a multimedia exhibit in a large dark room with a curved screen - his white drawings on blue background were very suggestive and fastpaced - like a combination between French animation, doodling, and timber spiders... I took several videos that are on my account on Flickr, and here is one.

The whale called Archangel of Seven Seas by Marcus Copper was also incredible. A whale skeleton was made out of wood and the wooden organ pipes from a burned down rural Finnish church, and hooked up to a compressor or something so the whale 'played', with incredible deep sounds, like whale song. A must see!

Marcus Copper: Archangel of Seven Seas

Butterfly bush

first video...lots to learn with imovie!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Scientific yuk yuks

As the story goes, some prominent scientists were invited to a
party, and this is how they replied:

* Ampere was worried he wasn't current.

* Audobon said he'd have to wing it.

* Boyle said he was under too much pressure.

* Darwin waited to see what evolved.

* Descartes said he'd think about it.

* Dr Jekyll declined -- he hadn't been feeling himself lately.

* Edison thought it would be illuminating.

* Einstein thought it would be relatively easy to attend.

* Gauss was asked to attend because of his magnetic personality.

* Hertz said in the future he planned to attend with greater frequency.

* Morse's reply: "I'll be there on the dot. Can't stop now, must dash."

* Newton planned to drop in.

* Ohm resisted the idea.

* Pavlov was drooling at the thought.

* Pierre and Marie Curie were radiating enthusiasm.

* Volta was electrified, and Archimedes buoyant at the thought.

* Watt reckoned it would be a good way to let off steam.

* Wilbur Wright accepted, provided he and Orville could get a flight.

Morning glory

First real photo from the new camera. I have video too but don't know how to download it yet!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Night Pizza(from Hell)

OK, so poor old me is left here in the US as all the rest enjoy a Swedish holiday.
We have a living thing in our frig....a "starter". It has to be fed to be kept alive muuuhhaaaaahahahahahah. It's Aliiiivvvvveeee! So you take it out and feed it. I'm all alone so I have to feed it by myself. No problem right? Riiiiggghhhht. I take it out and separate it and feed it, no problem, I have detailed instructions left by LS. She makes the most detailed instrustions, she is a scientist right? OK, no problem, its out overnight RISING. In the morning all is well, it looks just like when LS makes it. OK morning comes, a quick check assures all is well. I place the starter on my lunch bag so I remember to put it in the frig when I leave for work. After eating breakfast and showering I go downstairs to leave. Duh da duuuuhhhh. The starter has fallen off my lunch bag and spilled all over, lots on my bag and it's strap and much on the counter and more dripping on the floor. I clean up the best I can and leave.

Upon returing home, late because I had to get pizza ingredients, I look at the dough I left out for tonights pizza. Looks OK, but not any different than it did this morning, it rose but not at all as much as LS's does. I turn on the oven and get the dough out, flour the table surface to roll it out. I divide the dough in about 1/2, thinking I will freeze 1/2. I start to roll it out. I have way too little it is immediately apparent. So I go back to the freezer and get some more. I roll it out to about maybe 1/2 the size I need and try to pick it up to turn it to roll it more evenly. The part I pick up comes away crumbling in my fingertips. I'm left holing a piece of dough about the size of a fingertip. Did I mention I have never liked dough much?

OK so I add more flour and roll it out, I'm praying I can roll it and then somehow pick it up to place it on the stone. OK, so I'm rolling it out. LS does this and winds up with something close to a circle. I have what looks more like a cross between a circle and a circle that a stone drunk person would do when asked to walk in a circle. Well it will be OK I tell myself, it will just be uneven. I still don't know how I will get it up off the table and on the stone. I try to do the thing LS does, that I have seen, she rolls it up on the rolling pin and then "unrolls" it right on the stone. Well, well, well, I get it rolled on to the pin no problem and I'm feeling pretty smug. I take it over to the stone and unroll it on the stone. No art teacher could have ever done a better job of making a pile of folded fabric on a disc for a student to draw! I struggle to pull it flat and I do. Now it has several big gaping holes in it and pieces dripping off the sides and the stone is so hot it is aldeady cooking.

I take the pieces hanging off the sides and pull them off and place them on the holes burning all my fingertips in the process. I add the tomato sauce, the basil leaves and the cheese. Except for the fact that parts of my dough are falling off the edge of the stone and other areas of the stone are left like big dry deserts things seem to be like any other Friday night. Time for a glass of wine.

I time it for 8 minuteas as LS does. I look in...not done enough. 2 Mins more and I think it still needs more time. OK another minute does the trick, I take it out and try to cut it. LS has this crazy method that I don't approve of, at least not conceptually, she uses scissors! So I get the scissors and while I have seen this done dozens of times and it looks to be no problem. I mean everyone uses scissors right? I try to cut it on the burning hot stone, and proceed to get burned and have the pizza fall off the edge of the stone. I finally get it cut which is no small task in just deciding where to cut it; as it's shape is so amphorus as it's hard to know where to cut it to get even size pieces.

I do get it cut up and pit a piece put on my plate. After all this I get my place in the sun as (thru no fault of my own) I achieve a goal in pizza making, the slice, when held by the outer edge only stands straight out, and does not droop!

And it tasted just as good as when LS makes it! I'm just not doing it again. By myself. And I forget to put on the olives I bought for it.

But it WAS good!

Stockholm snapshots

Want a bottle of wine with that?
The locomotive and its train surrounds the base of the statue of Nils Ericsson.
What kind is this, PP?
"Meat is Murder. Eat vegetarian."
Boob foundry. Breast pump.
Big-haul bike for sale.
A music store.
Spiky mat for aching backs.
Strange sign on wall at street level: Smoke exhaust.
Cappuccino with milky heart at Johan & Nystrom cafe.

Today's wild harvest

Wild chanterelles are here! Local harvest in Eskilstuna, Sweden, collected by AREA and EH.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Traces from times past

This 1000-year old viking rune stone at Stenkvista church near Eskilstuna in Sweden says:
"Helge and Froger and Torgot raised rune-covered stones after Tjudmund, their father."
Most stones were positioned near traveling roads as memorial stones after relatives that passed away during their trips abroad. This stone still has the Thor's hammer on it, a symbol of the old norse religion, and it was carved at the time when the first Christian missionaries came to Sweden. The rock is granite, very common around here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The triangular relationship between fish, fire, and flies

Report from Sweden:
Today LA and I spent the day with my Dad IS, out at a little lake called Trehörningen (=Three Corner Lake), south of my home town on of Eskilstuna in Sweden. Near the lake is a giant forest area that was burnt down accidentally last summer to the fishermen's despair. The fishing organization Å! Fiske had stocked the beautiful lake with catchable and edible rainbow and steelhead trout, but the forest fire released so much nutrients into the lake that it killed a lot of algae and all fish due to lack of oxygen. They had released 800 lbs of fish, and 600 lbs of it was pulled up as floating dead fishes. They left it on the shore for the white-tailed eagles, who had a party. This year it looks better, and the water has been restocked and the water chemistry seems to have stabilized. You can fish if you get a permit, and you get to keep your catch. The trouts are up to 7 lbs!

We spent the day there with my Dad the entomologist doing a scientific experiment. We lit a fire (in the grilling area near the lake), to see if any fire-specialized insects showed up. Many unusual and rare species have been seen in the forest fire area, insects that are specialized to live on burnt wood. The three-toed woodpeckers have had a blast eating insect larvae under the peeling barks from the dead and dying trees. We set up white sheets for the insects to land on (and for us to see them better on) around the fire. The more smoke the better, so we put on green pine needles and wet wood after the fire got going. There was lots of interesting species that are adapted to forest fires there (fire weed, different mushrooms, very rare fly species, etc), but the special flies with infrared sensors on their bellies didn't show up.

South of the lake is the original unburned forest full of lichens, blueberries and wet moss. The lake has gorgeous waterlilies, swimming water snakes, a million tiny frogs that just hatched, and sundews (catching the fire-adapted flies, maybe?). You can fish but it is also just a gorgeous place to have a picnic, regardless of if you are interested in 'attractant fires', charred forests or not. Here are some photos, and more is here.

bubbly lichens... [fönsterlav]
Swimming water snake [simmande snok]
Bear moss [björnmossa]
waterlilies in lake [vit näckros]
the lake [sjön]
Attractant fire and sheets for catching insects on.
Swedish blueberries [blåbär]
A kind of beetle that uses it jaws as defense (it is biting my Dad). [bitbock]
Waterlily [vit näckros]
Dinner! One of the fisherman gave me this fish and it tasted great! It is a steel head trout. [middag!]