Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stamp of the day: Lichens and conifers

Stamp from Åland, an island between Sweden and Finland, which belongs to Finland but have their own stamps.

This time of year is the best time to look at lichens,mosses and conifers here in Sweden. The leaves have fallen from the trees and the light reaches down to the ground level again. And there they are in all their glory! Amazing structures, colourful and slowgrowing. Most people don´t think about it but they are also part of our Christmas traditions. In our advent candle holders, the tradition is to put "white moss" around the candles. It´s actually not a moss but a lichen that grows in Swedish forests.

And I believe there is quite common to have little Christmas gnomes made of conifer cones and felt fabric. At least we have them, homemade of course!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's for dinner?

roast duck, originally uploaded by Vilseskogen.

Roast duck! At least about two months ago. It was so delicious! Crispy. And easy. Try it!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Picture borrowed from LellePelles Flickr album.

Första advent har kommit till Sverige, och nu lyser adventsljus i alla hus. Mörkret är kompakt på kvällarna, så alla ljus är välkomna. Någon snö har vi inte fått, men i morse var det is på pölarna i alla fall. Om det inte kommer snö till jul ska sonen springa runt huset i badbyxor har han sagt.

Hoppas ni har det bra i höstmörkret runtom i världen!

The first advent weekend has come to Sweden and there are lights in all the windows in the houses. There is a compact darkness in the evening so any light is welcome. No snow has arrived, but this morning there was ice on the water puddles at least. If snow doesn´t come by Christmas Eve, my son says he will run around the house in swimwear.
I hope you all have a good time in the autumn darkness around the world.

Monday, November 21, 2011

On the terror of leaf blowers


(Photo by Jennanana on Flickr, 'Rakes', Creative Commons license)

There seems to be a type of people that can't stand fall.  They can't enjoy the gorgeous beauty of fallen leaves, transitions of seasons, and to let fall be fall.  Instead, they bring out their noisy, polluting, gasoline-monster leaf blowers and destroy the whole feeling of fall.

'Leaves are evil. Leaves have to go away. Leaves are ugly, dirty, nasty, and germy piles of nature's rubbish'. That is what their actions seem to say.   I think this is just another rendition of the common fear of nature.

Dear neighbors, park managers, and landscaping companies, leaves are meant to fall in the fall.  That is what nature is.  It is part of the natural circle.  But I guess you think nature is bad.  Everything has to be organized, controlled, squeaky clean, and then, in effect, artificial and unsustainable.

It is not normal to have a green lawn without a leaf on it in October. It is abnormal. It is not normal to run a leaf blower for 2.5 hours straight on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It is bad, both for the Earth and your health.  If the leaves bother you, get the rakes out and get some exercise at the same, in the nice quiet sounds of nature, such as swishing vulture wings, woodpecker's hole-making drumming, and screeching blue jays.  Spare me the leaf blower terror, please, please....

(It turns out I am not alone.  Los Angeles have banned leaf blowers, and here is a link to some more information about leaf blower terror in the US.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our cat Smokey..

pole cat, originally uploaded by Vilseskogen.
..suffers from a strange, new syndrome named "I think I am a hawk so I am sitting on this fence pole hunting mice"...

It was dusk, therefore the photo isn't what it could have been. (Oh, and she was far away too and no telelens...)

"pics, or it didn't happen" - snow storm in October in NJ, USA

These photos are from a week ago, last Sunday.  What a weekend.  Snowstorm, no power, in the middle of a gorgeous autumn. The peppers were rescued from the garden on Saturday morning, by Saturday afternoon everything was white and you could hear crashing trees and branches everywhere around you. Sunday morning we woke up to blue sky, sunshine, and wintry glistening snow, and a giant mess.  Power was restored Monday, which was sooner than I expected based on all the tree damage.  Our roads to our house were also opened on Monday afternoon, when the trees and power lines had been fixed. Our gasoline generator made sure we had power for the well, furnace, and fridge and freezers.

Nearly all our trees got severe damage, with the most damage on the maples, lilacs, and Metaseqouia (dawn redwood).  There were branches down over our driveway, mailbox, truck, deck, and walkways...  Most of these photos are from the day after, which felt like a crisp day in February, not October...

here it comes: Snowstorm of October 2011, New Jersey

trees and powerlines down: Snowstorm of October 2011, New Jersey

injured Metasequoia: Snowstorm of October 2011, New Jersey

towards the meadow: Snowstorm of October 2011, New Jersey

generator wonder: Snowstorm of October 2011, New Jersey

silver maple with broken branches: Snowstorm of October 2011, New Jersey

katsura leaves: Snowstorm of October 2011, New Jersey

Conclusion, it did happen: More photos here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stamp of the Day: Winter mountain

A snowy mountain from Sweden...appropriate I thought after our record-breaking snowstorm last weekend here in New Jersey.  But more about that crazy storm later.  I think this might be the mountain ('fjäll') Sylarna, but EH and IS can probably confirm that. The stamp is from 1967.