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Recent Entries to this Blog White, White and More,,,,,,,,,,
Posted: 25 Mar 2010
Southern Gardening, lesson 1,,,Controlling ones temper
Posted: 25 Feb 2010
Just One Day
Posted: 10 Sep 2008
The Blueberry Blast
Posted: 13 Aug 2008
How many ways are there to cook sheep?
Posted: 29 Jun 2008

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Biita's Blog




Southern Gardening, lesson 1,,,Controlling ones temper

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:44 pm

I used to have a garden.

I used to have a lot of land to make a garden.

I used to have a lot of land to forage on.

Ahhh, i can keep on going, but i won't. The shoulda, woulda, coulda's do me no good here in the south of Norway.

Here in the south, is the land of cars, buses and trucks. People with fences, tightly guarded homes and gardens to die for. Flowers all bursting with color and well maintained you think you was on a TV set of a horticulture show. Nothing random. Every little detail so well plotted out that it actually does not look so planned at all.

Now. Then there is me. Knowing i must keep up the Olssens (norwegian version of the Jones) I made my plans. I hauled rocks, dug dirt, made compost and bought compost to get started even more. I bought seeds, and flowers to ward off pest. Very planned i tell you. I incorporated existing plants and bushes into my plans to give it that " not so new look " Man it looked good! I tell you i was so proud when the neighbors came over and asked for details and where i got the ideas from. I worked hard on that one little part of my garden around our new little cottage house. So hard i threw my back out for a few days. But i hobbled around even then, dropping something here or kicking something in place there. Then when i was able to get back to work again, i started another garden this time for shade loving plants that only love morning sun on back side of the house.

Here i trimmed rose bushes of 3 different kinds, pulled out and ohh yes i did dry or freeze tons of nettles. I needed the room for what i had planned. I kept the roses! But worked hard to get all the roots from the nettles out, and ohh wow they was huge and spread i swear half way across the yard. One of the neighbors as a welcome gift gave me 3 blackberry bushes that will bloom this summer comming. It takes a few years for blackberry bushes to mature. Altho they are little, they are very much appriciated.

I cleared out all the plants around KB's father house and planted strawberries in the corner of the house that got sun from morning until about 11:00 in the night. mmmmm, the makings for the sweetest, juiciest berries.

Then on the other side of the house where i had built the rock garden with existing bushes and plants in it, along the house i made another small garden area. My tomatoes, paprika and basil was planted there, and oh i just drooled when i watered that area. I can see it now, pictured in my head, char roasted paprika, skin peeled, on a sandwich with feta cheese, salt and pepper with strong olive oil soaked basil layed over. Tomato saus, soup, sandwiches of all kinds, and ofcourse just plain eating the tomato like an apple. I drooled. I honestly did. I made Balder (our rottweiler) jelous with envy at the amount of fluid i could produce and drool.

So what happened with all that? i hear you asking.

Well.

Lets start with my drooling area.

Balder is 10 years old now,,so he just basically lays around and watches....but he is still good looking to all the other lady dogs in the area. Yes. They flocked to my dog and took out my tomatoes, basil and paprikas. I was devistated. Heartbroken. And well,,,,mad. Okay i let it go, its not Balders fault he is just so adorable.

The rock garden that i hauled all the rocks to, built up and layered so intensly with different woods, leaves and dirt, not to mention compost and dirt i bought. Well i didn't see it at first, everything was taking off so nicely,,all my herbs and edible flowers looked so darn good. Just a matter of time when i would be picking them along with the radishes and lettuce that i had also planted along the other end of it near the light pole. ohh yes the spinach also. I was ready, knife and fork in hand just about every day when i checked. Then for some reason i dropped the knife and fork and looked at the plants and started to panic. What the H*ll is going on here. They were turning brown and dying in mass quantity. My garden became the neighborhood litter box for all the cute little furry cats in town. (there is sarcasm in there) The cat feces caused my dirt to turn so acidic it ruined the dirt for years to come. I will have to replace everything there including all the way down to the bottom level. Not to mention just the act itself the food was no longer edible.

As i slowly picked up the knife..........

No no, it was just a thought. I do like cats, just not in my garden is all.

Then one day in June, all of a sudden our back yard turned into what can be called, " an almost fjord" it flooded out. The main water pipe in the road burst and all the pipes from it also burst, leading out to all the homes in our little area of the back road. Yes well,,,in come the bulldozers to fix the main break. Then came the bulldozers to fix all the homes affected. One problem with this scene. "I" was the only house effected. Well mine and KB's fathers. In come the bulldozers and took out all my strawberries just getting thru the gates. Just smashed them and no hope at all of anything recovering. On the way to the back yard, remember the blackberry bushes, it took out 2 of them, and just rolled over and kept going.

Okay insert Berserker here.

After loosing the other areas and the strawberries i went balisitic. I asked him what part of a plant surrouned by a little mini fence did he not understand, that meant "garden"! He apologised, shrugged his shoulders and went back to work. I hung my head, went back inside and made my mind up right there, i am ment to forage. By every god known to mankind i will be the best forager in all of Norway. I will.

Sigh.

Not this year.

The open field that lays at the edge of our home, across the long drive way, desided to get developed. All the cherry tree, but a few, all the plum trees but a few, all the pine trees but one, all the pear trees but a few got torn down. But! We now have a very nice childrens center or Barnehagen with all kinds of trees they planted for the children all fenced in, sitting there. And this summer there will be an elderly home right next to it. Even Balder is p*ssed off, that was his potty for goodness sakes.

Alot more has happened but that is what has become of my first adventures in gardening in the south of Norway. Do i like? Not one bit. Do i like living here? Not one bit. Will i try again? Probably. Do i want to try again? Not sure. Its still early yet for gardens here in my little part of the world. Is it still a fairytale place. hmmmm. To me it is more like a nighmare, but hey even nightmares have some good to them. Rude awakening, and showing you how to over come and work out what is wrong. So i guess i have learned now why all the homes here in the south are so guarded and closed in, protected and beautiful. City life is not for me, but then that is the beauty of the human nature, we all are able to adapt and learn. Some faster than others. Wish i was one of them.........*giggles*



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Just One Day

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:56 am

Something I have been mulling over in my mind is something that Aunt Hedvig said to Kolbjørn. When she called him on his birthday, she said "Happy Birthday, today you are 46 days old" (ofcourse in Norwegian, not English) The conversation being on the loudspeaker so we could all talk, I heard this, and thought to myself, hmmmm, she's getting old, let it pass, don't correct her. The thought that she said days, and not years, made me start to think, is she having more problems than she leads us to believe. So I mentioned it to Kolbjørn, and he looked at me like i had a huge wart in the center of my forehead. With one hair sticking out. Horrified. With my eyes, i questioned him. And obviously the invisiable wart also, because he said in absolute incrediability, "Henna, you are born in the Arctic, don't you know"

Know what?

Well that got him laughing. So I sat there thru his laughing fit over how a person could be born up here, and at my age, not know the cycles of the Sun and Moon.

****screetching halt here**** actual skidding sounds with both feet wearing the rubber down at the heels.

Know what?

I think I am pretty much intune with the Sun and Moon cycles,,,,thank you very much!

No your not.

I am 47 days old. Not years. Now I have the incrediable look on my face. And an even bigger incrediable smile to go with it.

Heres how it works. Here in the Arctic, we have one day a year that the sun is at its zenith. Summer Solstice. That lasts 12 hours. The other 12 hours happens on the Winter Solstice. When the sun reaches its absolute lowest point in the sky. All those other days of the year, the sun never reaches its highest and lowest points on earth. They just lead up to the Solstices. Everywhere else on the planet, every single day the sun will reach its highest and lowest points. Not here. It take a whole year to make one full day.

When the Winter Solstice comes around in December we have absolute pitch black. No light what so ever on any of the horizons. But only on that one day. Everywhere else in civilization has this every night. Even for a split second, it happens. Not here. When we go thru the darktime, on the western and northern horizons, we still see a thin sliver of light. The eastern horizon is trying to work on bringing us light back. It turns a little lighter black. Almost a reddish gray. Thats our winter morning light. By that time, the sun has started to go down again, but never to the original point of Winter Solstice. Thats why we have light on the horizons, all the time.

Summer Solstice is the complete opposite. We have light 24 hours a day. No night, but if you look to the east at midnight it will look like shade has taken over that part of the world to us. Still light but not as bright.

So in the 12 hours when the sun makes it highest point in the sky, to the 12 hours when it makes its complete sunset, it takes 6 months, and another 6 months until the sun rises again. One full year.

Amazing!

But its just another thing that makes the Arctic such a magical, and intriguing place to call home. It is like in a fairytale. You live a whole lifetime in just a few short days.







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The Blueberry Blast

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:59 pm

Holy weapons of mass destruction Batman!!

Is what I should of said.

But instead I said,,Sonofa---, What the h---, Sonofa---!!!

I'm gonna go to hell for that. Well the way I see it these days, at least it might be warmer than the Arctic.

I guess maybe it would be a good idea to start at the beginning. --nodding-- yeah.

We have been having some very serious family issues here on the farm for the past,,,ohhh,,,lets say,,,since summer started. But I keep smiling, going about my business and try to keep a very positive outlook in the long run. Its just my way. I go foraging, pick blueberries, plant my plants, learn about what flowers are already here on the farm and what might possiably grow here besides. Theres the tourists who come to stay, the cook outs, making cheese and well just a lot of different things that i take the time to try or do on a regular basis.

Today, mind you, has been one day I would like to start over. From the moment I got up, and seen KB drank all the coffee, and I actually had to wait until more was brewed, to the moment i stood in my kitchen this afternoon wearing half my blueberry saft while toursts stood in my kitchen with huge eyes trying not to laugh at me. Yep blue/black is the new fashion color for a few more days. So why am I wearing this new color for the fall fashion in the Arctic. Let me tell you. Its all the weathers fault. Okay, okay, I'll stop skipping around and get to the facts.

We having been having very dry weather for a very long time now, but today, it is raining. Beautiful slow, big drop rain. The kind of rain my crops are just drinking up nice and slowly. So since I can't go out to play or work in the gardens, I pulled out my blueberries that I had picked for a few weeks, and froze. Its a jam and saft day I told myself. So I got to working in the kitchen. Half way thru making my jam, KB calls and says he is soaked thru and can I please bring him another Viking outfit. Sigh. So I put things on hold, and ran the cloths up to him. To make a long story shorter, my jam did not set. Sigh. So back to the pot, and i used Toni's recipe on how to fix jam that hasn't set. It worked. While the jam was trying to set the first time, I had started a batch of saft from my blueberries. No problem what so ever. It was nice and thick, but not to thick, and sweet as can be. Just perfect. Until I decided to follow a secret trick on making the saft preserved longer for over winter use. I let it cool, then added the 1/2 t. of natron, or baking soda. Well it must not of been cool enough. Because when I bottled it up, the cork blew like whale comming up for air. I had saft on the walls, the cabinets, the windows, the counters, all my kitchen gadgets and tins. But most of it I think ended up on me. As I was getting a warm wash cloth to start wiping my face, hair and cloths, there is a knock at the front door. OMG! No! No, no, no, no, no! Come in! As i frantically wiped my face, only to turn around and there is 3 toursts with eyes the size of sunflowers, jaws hanging open, and trying very hard not to laugh. All I could say is "I'm cooking" So I get them checked in, ID's listed and hand them their keys. I usually walk them to the cabins and really welcome each guest. Not this time, as soon as they were out the door I ran to the bathroom and looked on in horror. I looked like I had the measles only blue/black dots. My hair was matted and also is now spotted blue/black. Well at least it kind of goes with red hair.

I ended up with 2 bottles of saft, there should of been 3, 10 jars of blueberry jam, and I also made 2 bottle of flavored oil. One for fish, with oil, dill, lemon balm, garlic and norsk pepper mix. The other is a dipping oil made with green olives, garlic and basil. Ofcourse they have to sit for at least a week, then they will be good to go. I also had started a cream cheese the night before and it was now ready for the added ingredients. I make this out of yogurt and half t. of salt let sit over night to drain. I added finely diced leeks, red sweet pepper, garlic and basil. Let it sit a day and it is so good, it barely lasts to the next day.

My blueberry jam fixed with the help of Toni and the Garden Stew


And a photo of it all together, the jam, saft and oils. I'm still afraid to put the corks on the saft, thats why they are left open,,


So all in all not a bad day really, just a little colorful.

So what did KB think when he got home from work today. Well I can tell you he was afraid to say anything, it might have been the narrow eyes I had on him. He just smiled, okay howled really. But as he was walking up the stairs I could of sworn I heard him saying,,,,

See Spot! See Spot cook! See KB run!,,,,,,,,

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How many ways are there to cook sheep?

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:11 pm

Why would I want to cook sheep, or lamb for that matter. Bear with me on this. You'll find out in a few minutes. So lets start out with the question. Just how many ways are there to cook sheep?

We can start out basic and go gourmet. Okay we can boil it. Boring! But its a start. Then we can roast it, saute it, underground roasting, on a spit, in a pan, in a pot, sushi maybe? Nahhhh! Okay there is basically alot of way to cook sheep. Now why do I want to do this.

I have my fields over at Selnes. Veggies planted, of all kinds, in a field of such rich, nutrient happy land that just begs a person to stick a seed or seedling in it to grow. No one lives at Selnes, but it is used. Not good enough for Norwegian folks. Guess I better start at the beginning huh.

This winter past the sheep farmer who lives across the fjord from us, wanted more land to let his sheep feed and roam. Everyone went to the community meeting to vote on this. All the other people who live on that side of the fjord (not many belive me, its on the beast mountain side, you know avalanche territory) voted yes, as long as the sheep farmer fenced in the areas of land the sheep would roam. The catch. The good folks of that side of the fjord had to give up a section of their own personal land to do this or they would have to pay out of their own pocket to fence in all of their own land. The sheep farmer is evil,, plain and simple. He offered to pay for it all if they gave up some of their land. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!! Why not vote no, then the sheep farmer would have to just be happy with what he already had,,,,A WHOLE FREAKEN MOUNTAIN!!! Now with Selnes, because no one lives there he was going to fence in from the road and to the next neighbors land. What does that mean. All of Selnes would be open to the sheep, and they could not wonder to the sea is all. The house, the land, my farming, all for the sheep. Uncle who was given a time frame for a decision, let it lapse. He knew what he was doing, and didn't bother to tell us. I tilled, I manured, I worked over there. Its all gone. The sheep have eaten everything that has come up. Trampled all the work, and land is a mess. Thats the place where I got the biggest juiciest blueberries, tyttebær, cloudberries the size of a large grape. Not to mention a lot of the wild herbs. The reddest rhubarb you have ever seen. The elephant style garlic from just a little version of garlic. Everything grew double it was supposed to. Its all gone.

So getting back to how DO we cook sheep and lamb. I'm thinking on an open spit, invite all the good neighbors from across the fjord, expecially the sheep farmer, and just have one hell of a big party. Shoot I even have the homemade wine for it. Compliments of Selnes.

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My Husband, the Drunken Womanizer!

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:11 am

He cheats! He steals! He got a slave woman pregnant! He gets drunk every night! He's a bully! And one heck of a rower on a ship!

Did I mention Kolbjørn is in a play.

Yep my loveable Viking man is in a play being put on by the Viking Museum. He plays a viking just like I described in the opening here. Only he's a single man who is one of the Chieftans trusted men. Sheesh. He plays a character from the neighboring island called Gimsøya, still called that today, and just to the south of us here on Vestvågøy. That chieftans name was Tore. My husbands character name is Kåre. He's also the comic relief in this very dramatic play.

The play is about 2 chieftans, who are very Norse in their beliefs, and the marriage between their children to set up allies because of the oncomming onslaught of other religions being introduced to the islands. Its also the story of Olav Tvennumbrunni, the chieftan of Borg (Viking Museum) and his lead up to leaving for Iceland.

Kåre is a fun loving man who loves his mjød, beer, his battle axe, a wild beserker, who loves a good fight. He also can't keep his hands off the women. His problem starts when he gets a little frisky with 2 slave women, who finally find out about the other. The confrontation takes place with the 2 women fighting and arguing over who is going to marry Kåre. Kåre in the meantime is passed out from to much merry making of all kinds, and wakes up to hear them fighting in the main room about who is going to marry him first. Kåre scared into sobriety, for the first time in his life is helpless, and trembling. The thought of marriage just makes him want to curl up and cry. As he tries to sneak out of the long house to hide on the ship, both women grab him and try to make him choose. Kåre runs for his life. You see these women are desprate. Their slaves. Kåre is a free man and marrying him would make them free also. So now the fight is on who is going to win Kåre, but Kåre is no dummy when he's sober that is, and takes off for the ship and finds a very cold and wet hiding place. Very fitting I would say! Cools him off completly.

Here is my drunken, womanizing husband, posing for the camera. The costume is one of that time period, around 900 a.d.


He also likes to bully the chieftans son here on Vestvågøy, and this is his partner in crime.


This is a costume of one of the women who plays the chieftans wife.


And the Saga


The first of 4 plays takes place on the Summer Solstice. The last is in August. The play will be played 3 times a day for those 4 different weekends. They row in on the Lofotr. On the summer solstice they hold a Blot, or ceramony for the Norse gods in the traditional style of the year 900. Everything will be done with as much authenticity as is known of the time. The recreation will take a person back in time to when the life as the Viking knew it was slowly changing, evolving into a stronger more Nordic Norwegian. The Northmen of the modern world, who takes their cues from their ancestors, learns from them, and comes out stronger with each lesson.

So here on the magical, fairytale island of Vestvågøy I asked my darling, lovable, modern Viking man a question.

So honey when do you get the new wife, I could use some help on the farm, you know.

All I got was a look.


I almost had to walk home.



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Slow Down, Just Slow Down Now

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Mon May 26, 2008 6:05 pm

The phrase running around like a chicken with your head cut off, is an understatement. They at least stop!

I like to think I'm fortunate that I don't have to leave home to go to work. My work is right here, on the farm. Ofcourse we have all the farming that goes on once the weather lets us think about farming, but I also run a camp ground. I deal with tourists from all over the world. Some speak english or norwegian. Most don't. That being said, since Joshua has left back to Iraq, life has not stopped long enough for me to notice it snowed in the mountains...

Balder pointed that out to me.

Spring is definately here! Yah! Hip-hip-hoo-rah!

Can I sleep now.

Everything has gotten underway. The ground has been tilled. The unediable weeds gone. Manure worked in. Seaweed added. Compost added. Rows made. Some of the plants have already reached their new homes, and I also made a new bed on the southside of the house as a salad garden. Now this isn't just here at Stranden, but also at Selnes and Huaun. The other 2 farms. Not to mention I been picking dandelion greens like crazy for winter use in cooking and also for teas. The flowers are just starting to blossom, so the wine containers are out and ready to go. The birch trees are finally in bloom all the way, so that lead to a couple days picking leaves, and making saft and drying leaves for teas. I only like the young tender leaves for all this. The older ones tend to be bitter. Even when dried.

The rhubarb is ready for the first shoots to be picked. You know the new thin stalks. I make an apple/rhubarb compote that can be used as a jam or topping. I've got about 10 jars so far made. 5 large bottles of saft made. The siersløk is up and growing so fast, I've got 10 jars of pesto made from that. The nettles are soon up, and the angelica is almost ready to cut to make candy soon.

Remember the tourists? We had 3 men from Italy here, who thought they could go swimming in the sea,,,(snickering here) so I let them. They shed their cloths, down to the undies, and all 3 just made a mad dash out and dove in. Now they all had tans. When they came up, they screamed, squealed, and used some words I think were not very nice, but I don't know I don't speak Italian. It was just a feeling I had. Their tans turned a lovely shade of pink, then blue and finally they looked kind of a dusky shade of purple after about 30 seconds in the water. What can I say I waved, and smiled. I seriously think they might have tried to smile back,, but not sure. Then we had older couple from Germany and all they wanted to do was sit and drink. Well. No problem here but its spring and mother nature doesn't wait on me. So everytime I passed them by, they made me drink a shot of schnapps with them. If I said no thank you, they chased me with the bottle and a shot glass. Seriously. By the time I got done with my picking and planting, all I could do was look at a birch and wonder why it has 3 leaves all together like that. This was homemade schnapps. Potent. The next day I actually checked to make sure this didn't put hair on my chest. My husband loved it. Wanted the recipe, but we couldn't figure out how to pantomine that until the next day, but they was gone by then when the wits started to kick in again.

So its going to be a busy spring, with the natures harvest, planting of crops, tourists, not to mention my herbs and flowers. To top it all off, all the work that I have already done so far as canning and bottling is not for me! Its for the family who are all comming up in a few days for Uncle Tobias' 90th bithday celebration, and staying for a week. They have all made their requests.

So now that the tourists have gone for a few days, and I have caught up on my harvesting and planting. Maybe I can sit down.

***phone ringing***

Hi Henna, Its me Inger. Are you busy? Remember I said I wasn't going to have crops this year? Well Kjerste has talked me into it and we want you to go into business with us. The man is here now tilling the soil, can you come over and help? I made a chicken salad, with regular salad, and Kjerste brought over some wine, so we thought we would have tomorrow a garden tilling party with lunch and,,,,,

I go tomorrow for the garden party.

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A Blast into the Norwegian Past

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 8:04 am

As you all know I live on the island of Vestvågøy, that sits out in the North Sea. We are a series of islands, with a series of smaller islands all around us. One island I am going to take you to, is on private property. No one is allowed down there unless you live on the islands or are a friend of the family that owns this one island. Holsøya. Thats where we are going. This is a dialect of the Nordland language that has been forgotten for hundreds of years. No one really remembers what the word Hols means now. Øya means island, that much is clear. So maybe by the end of this blog we can figure out what it means.

So lets start our journey into the past, the Norwegian past. Way before the Viking era. Way before the Iron Age era. We are going to the Bronze Age. An age that linked the Stone Age to the Iron Age. We are going back in time over 2,500 years, to a time when mankind was on the brink of becoming the modern people we are today. But its also a time I truly believe when the last of the truly spiritual people existed all over the world. The people who connected with their enviroment. Listened, smelled and tasted the wind and sea. Felt the ground beneath them and appriciated what was there for their taking. And gave back with most exuberant feasts and festivals. Who prayed and talked with nature, and nature talked back. The people who walked with the earth.

So close your eyes for just a second, but not to long or you will miss this time travel trip back to the Norwegian past of the vibrant people of the time.


Here we are, on the sands that link the islands together when the tide is low for the summer months. This is the only time of year when you can go there without the aid of a boat. This is not going to be an easy trip, the terrain is rugged, over grown, and rocks everywhere. Watch your step! If you do step on a rock and it moves under your feet, stop, step back and retrace your steps until you reach solid earth again. You'll see why in a minute. So come on lets go meet these people.

Thats one of our goals ahead.


Careful!


This is the islands altar. Upon closer inspection you can still see the moss covered steps that leads up to the center. There is 5 steps, that goes in a circle all the around the stone structure. Over the years and centuries it has since collapse, and is believed to hold a very important person underneath its stones.


Again be careful, you never know where you are stepping here, this whole island is one big underground moseleum. Some are very obvious and stand right out, others are moss covered and look like clumps of earth and stone.






Remember ths is not a blog about death, but the life and progression of a culture of people who lead up to the people we are today. Who built the Norwegian people into a strong willed, strong minded, vibrant and full of life people who in their own way still carry on the ways of the past. These people who are buried here are still alive. They still speak to us thru their stone alters, their bronze age technology, the experience that has been handed down since who knows when. They still breath thru all of us, in any culture, as long as we look thru their eyes at the way nature is guarding us. Teaching us to work with her, and remember the ways of the past. To carry on the traditions that are passed down to us, and this makes all them very much alive. There is still one last place I want to show you, that will amaze you at just how advanced these people were. Look here!

This is one of the rock covers that you can actually see into.


See here, an underground burial place. There are over 80 of these on this island. Many are so hiden you walk right over and have no clue. Some you stand on the brink of falling into when you step on the wobbly stones. Others are open like this one.


That is the resting place of a person I think I would of loved to have sat with, and listened, learned and shared a meal with. And in a way I do everyday. Because I will not let the past die, unlearned, unloved and disregarded as just people here and now gone. Nope. They are my teachers, so I can pass down to my children the basics that make mankind so special. Reconnecting to the past. We can all do that. Yesterday here in Norway we did just that, at summer solstice we do it again. At Jule we celebrate again the past. And when we dig our fingers into the earth, and plant that first plant of the season, we have done it again. We have connected to our ancestors of ever nation, no matter what culture, we keep them alive as long as we live, and believe in our own magic, and relive the tales.

They breath.

So have we figured out what Hols means. I'm not sure I have. But if I have to give it a meaning I would say Life. Life full of wonderment on our little magical, robust, fairytale island out in the North Sea.

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Lofotr - King of the Nordic Sea

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 9:22 am

Yesterday was a very special day around the museum. This is the day the Lofotr comes out of a long winters sleep, to rule the sea again. I'm not going to go into alot of long winded writing about the area, the museum or the people who take care of her. I think the pictures will speak very clearly themselves.

The facts that you should know just to get an idea of just how big this ship is, is she is 11,000 kilos in weight. Or over 22,000 Lbs. Or over 11 tons. 66 men can row her comfortably with out knocking elbows. She is made of all wood, and is the second largest Viking ship in Norway. Replica's that is, made after real finds of these ships. So here we go, lets take the ship out of hiding and let her have her way with the sea!



First the top of the boathouse has to be dismantled.




Then the tug of war starts. A tractor is used now instead of hundreds of men to make her way to the sea.


By the time they made it this far, the bull rope had broke 3 times. But ofcourse their Norwegian, bull headed just like the rope, and giving up is not an option.


She's almost there!


A look down the very long boat house. Lofotr is almost in the water. The tractor will now push her the rest of the way, instead of pulling her out.


Here is the top of the ship. This is exactly the way the Vikings ships looked according to discoveries made, expecially this one. Here is just a small section of the top.


And finally after all the tugging, and pushing, the Lofotr has made it back to her sea home for the summer. Her dragon head will be attached now so she can see where she goes.


The Lofotr will give many thrills to children, and adults all summer long as they get to experience the thrill of sailing the sea in a Viking ship. One none the less as magnificent as the Lofotr, a replica of a real Viking war ship. Their imaginations will run wild and for a short time they can almost hear the wild calls and the beat of the drum that kept the Vikings working as one. The clash of the swords, the flapping of the mighty sail. The bartering from exotic lands and their rich merchandise. For a short time if their imaginations are open enough, they will become a Viking and rule the oceans seas for a few minutes out of history.

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Bottoms Up!

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Tue May 06, 2008 11:55 am

Living in the Artic is something that requires alot of imagination not to mention endurance. I got the imagination, thats for sure but the endurance,, wellll,, I'm getting older, and I hope a little wiser anyways. I now relize its time to go about things just a little slower, easier and carefully. But!!! I just can't. The aches and pains are creeping their way into the old bones. I'll be 47 next month. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, I know. I'm not that old. But I do feel the weather more than I used to. I try not to let it bother me at all. But!! Sometimes you just can't help it.

So that being said and as I'm sure most you have come to relize I love the outdoors. I'm not going to let a few aches and pains stop me.. No Sir-ee!! So I look to nature for remedy. I have learned alot from the states when I lived there, but here in the artic who do I look to now. Well, its only natural to ask the "old timers". The very people who have lived here all their lives. But where did they get the rememdies from... Obviously passed down for generations. Thats why I am writing this blog.

The Vikings! Oh the super farmers from the north. Bless their huge beserker hearts. They were a people who adapted to what was around them and used it.. just as I do now. I have listened and adapted my ways to theirs. Lets take the berries of the land. As everyone now knows they are full of anti-oxidents. Blueberries, Cloudberries, Tyttebær (simular to a cranberry) Krekkling ( a very dark berry with no taste at all but packs a whollop) and there is others. All these little powerhouses are full of vitamin C, the B's and full of cleansing powers. They helped the Vikings to stave off flu's, colds, fevers and all those other goodies that the cold has to offer. Then there is the Siersløk. This is a plant that is a combination of garlic and onion. Long fat leaves, comes very early in the spring and dies back just before fall comes. This ofcourse has all the nutrition that garlic and onions has to offer a person for their health. Then there is the leaves of the different trees and berries. The birch leaves are so good for you, for your joints, aches and pains, good for the blood, it has natural asprin in it. The leaves of the black current are packed with more vitamin C.

After learning all this I have taken to waiting for spring with barely contained excitement. I use the leaves and berries and make a saft, or concentrated juice, I like to call Norwegian Kool-aid. When those old bones start to bother me, i make a drink using just a little of the concentrate and add water, or make a tea. Within minutes, I can run around like a kid again,, well okay, almost. I stay healthy now buy making my own jams, safts, chutneys, pesto's. All the good things that you just add to other foods, as toppings are the very things that are keeping me running around.

I started this blog because I will be posting different, very different recipes as each thing comes into season. Just so as not to scare you, or think I have jumped into the North Sea and my mind is still frozen. We can thank those loveable Berserkers and their very skilled wifes and also those from even before them, on how to stay healthy in the Artic.

So each day I go out and I look around, take note what is almost ready, what will be awhile. When I give the recipe I will also give the benifits of the herb, flower, leaf, berry or root. But I'm ready, and waiting,,,,,,,, very impatiently I might add.

Did I mention about angelica, or, or, nettles, then there is seaweed, ohh wow, we can not forget seaweed, then there is the purple clover, and the wild cheval,,,wait, wait I almost forgot the chickweed and the lambsear,,,,,,,, ohh yeah,,,then there is the ,,,,,,,,,,,

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An Artic May

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 4:57 pm

Today is the first day of May for 2008. All over the world its a special day for alot of people. In the olden days it was the day when life of the land is concieved. The journey I want to take you on is one of nature here in Lofoten. The beginnings of the summer to come. The conception of spring. A wonderful celebration of life in the Artic. The people, the land, the sea and the animals. All are bursting with life and ready to start the new summer with all the vitality that one persons life can give.

Today is very special because it is the day the boats come out of hiding. The sea is free flowing now, the fjord is open, and just begging for the open crafts to ride her waves. So Kolbjørn and Uncle Tobias (who will be 90 next month) launch the first of our 3 boats.





For me thats my que to take a hike. Yeah I'm smiling too! So after helping out by taking the required pictures that I need, I take Balder and head for the marsh. This is the place I come to when I need to relax, think or just be alone with nature herself. The beauty of this place just makes my eyes tear up with the untouched virgin beauty. The serenity that can only come with age is abundant here. But the maturity of motherhood that is evident in the controlled wilderness.

The youth of the juniper, with no berries yet becuase it is learning the ways of the wild artic. Learning how to survive and prosper.


The maturity of nature.



New smells for Balder to store away for his dreams.


The serenity of the land here on the marsh is a pleasant present that only comes if you really want to see and accept it.


And the constant ever flowing of the sea to bring new life to the Artic.



So today is a day that will be celebrated, in a quiet way, a thoughtful way. A reflection of all the past ancestors who celebrated maybe in the same way or with the wild bonfires and feast. The ones who launched their first boats or ships of the season, or shared their day with friends and neighbors. We have our first campers of the season, they have been here for 3 days now, and only wanted to stay 1. They are from Germany, so today I will share my special May day with some new friends, and toast in the beginnings of a beautiful summer in the wild Artic in May.



Welcome to my summer, my enchanted part of the world, where life comes slow, but it does show her beautiful face, where the sun always shines day and night, then hides to regenerate himself, only to show his face to the one woman he loves more than ever, the earth. Welcome to life!

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