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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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Category: Artic Living | Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:11 pm
Well we can take that 2 ways now, can't we. lol. Either I am totally off my rocker, or I am rip roaring ready to rumble.
Okay I was both today.
I got up this morning and looked out the window and seen this,
about an hour later, the snow started to fall. I sat at the kitchen table and just watched it amazed how fast the tables can turn here. Then I started to wish we had the weather that America and other parts of the world were having. Then I went on the Garden Stew. Did I feel a little better. I sure did!! Then I looked out the window again. I started to remember what yesterday was like. Theres green out there folks, real green. Look for yourselves. Yes there is snow there too, but theres green on the trees.
I even tried to catch some seagulls making their way to the North Sea, just over the mountain. Altho by the time i got the pic to focus, they were gone but look sunlight. And there really was seagulls.
So I started to think of other countries weather. That made me pi#### off, and when i get like that I start to cook. So I visited America. I made American pancakes, I don't have Vermont maple syrup but I did make blackberry syrup from Pennsylvania. Then I made Parker House Rolls. Good yeast rolls. Then I made a Hawaiian pineapple upside down cake. Then I went south after some more dough rose up, and made pecan coffee rolls, or close to it. Then I was still on my cooking spree when I opened the drawer to get my corn meal out,, and what!!! No corn meal. How am I going to make good Texas Corn Bread. OMG!! I don't even have popcorn to put in my grinder!
At that point I sat down at the kitchen table filled already with goodies, and looked out the window, picked up my coffee cup, and a huge crow started to read me the riot act. Woman!! Are you crazy? (yep) Just who are you mad at? (mother nature) Now who is going to eat all this? (Kolbjørn and Balder) Did you choose to live in the Artic or not? Now this stopped me right in my train of thought. I did choose to live here. I already knew what to expect, growing up in Lapland on the Sapmi. Then I looked out the window again. And smiled. Everything is still turning green, the flowers that have bloomed are still smiling upwards. The roads aren't snow covered, just the grass. Its not so bad. The seagulls are still laughing in their silly call. Animals are being born. It really isn't so bad.
So Kolbjørn came home a little early since he had to work all weekend, walked in the door, seen the table, his eyes got big, a huge smile lit up his face, and asked me " Who made you mad this time". As he dipped one pancake in the blackberry syrup with one hand, and cut a piece of cake with the other, and Balder drooling all over the floor. I was embarressed to tell him there was orange coffee cake rolls in the fridge.
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Ol' McSelnes had a Farm, E,,I,,E,,I,,Oh
Category: Artic Living | Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:01 pm
Okay we have a farm but the only thing animal wise is one very spoiled Rottweiler. We don't have animals on the farm now,, but at one time there was.
My husband, Kolbjørn, I think has had a mid-life crisis. I was told by a fellow Stewer that most guys buy a little red car and try for the younger chicks. Well Kolbjørn has all the horses minus the metal, no chicks but he does have a few piglets. lol. But anyways he was a carpenter at the museum, but during winter there wasn't enough to do so he got layed off, but just for a week,,lol. The Chief from the Viking museum asked him if he was intrested in training horses. He thought about it and said yes, 3 seconds later. (he thought real hard there) He has experience with horses so it was natural for him to accept the job. I on the other hand, had doubts. Besides the horses there is also the cows, boars and sheep. My first thought was "ohhh no, thats going to stink" then I thought "Awww I can take pictures of the cute little babies" Then I found out, this is a working farm just like how the Vikings did it. Survival. Food. Panic on my part. Ready to demonstate. Ready to throw Kolbjørn into the barn here on our farm.
Well he loves his new job, comes home tired but with a smile, and talks about what he did that day. To me thats all that matters, is he is happy, and also he has enough sense to take his work close off in the entry hall and not in the house! Good man!
So lets see how the Vikings raised their animals and what kind of breeds were from way back then.
The first picture is of the boars. Since here in Norway its against the law to own pure boars these ones are mixed with pigs. But you get the idea.
Baby boars, there are actually 5 of them, and yes in 4 months they will be slaughtered for food.
Next is the cows, but only one pic I will show. This is the Nordland Cow. Specific to this area and the same kind as the Vikings used. The Nordland cows are black and while and have longer hair than the other domesticated cows here in Norway. She is a beauty.
Next is the sheep. These sheep are also Nordland sheep and are very small. They look like goats but they are sheep. Half the flock is pregnant. Yep you guessed it, but none has given birth yet,,, thank goodness. The first pic is some of the ladies, and the second one has the ram in it. His horns are spectactular. They just curl all around the side of his head.
Now we come to the horses. These also are the Nordland breed of horses that are indigenous to these parts of the country.
I don't know her name, but she is beautiful.
This is Big Wolf, and he is so bad,,lol. This horse knows how to open his stall hinges and get out. Or he just jumps the door and goes. But i love him.
Here we have most of the horses gathered around the hay feeder eating and enjoying the sunny day.
Next is Mjølner, he is one of my favorite horses there, and is left with the long hair in the Viking style. The Vikings used to braid and put shells or bits of metal to show their wealth or too dress up their horses. His hair was left long in that style.
Next is a horse I call Elmer. His is named also after a Norse god the same as most of the others are. But i have a hard time saying his name and remembering how to spell it. Now this horse used to be a terror. Seriously, he bit, kicked and would just chase anyone or any animal down. Then he was,,um,,clipped. Now he is so gentle. Elmer doesn't have a stall, but he doesn't need one either. He's spoiled and has the run of the farm. He has his bed out in the aisle and comes and goes as he pleases. Meet my baby, Elmer.
So Ol' McSelnes doesn't have his own animal farm, but he loves his job on the farm. Taking care of the animals the old Viking way, training them in the the Viking style. Yes my husband the farmer is smiling everyday now from the satisfaction he gets working the land and the animals, and in true form the Norwegian Viking charm is magical and has made its way home.
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The Sounds of ,,,,,,,,,,,,, Ice?
Category: Artic Living | Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:34 am
Think about it. The sounds of ice. What does it sound like, and how does it make you feel.
Think of a hot summer day, your thirsty. You need a cold, cold drink! So you get your favorite beverage, go to the fridge, open the freezer door an take out the ice cube tray. Now you take a few or alot of those little ice cubes an drop them into your drink. Do you hear the hiss, the popping, the cracking. You just know that drink is now going to taste so good. All because of ice.
Now think of that drink filled with ice cubes and put that on the scale of a huge lake or the fjørd. The hissing, the cracking, the popping. Its magical. Its refreshing. Its spring!
Here in the Norwegan Artic we hear those sounds all thru the turning of the season. From winter to spring. When I'm out walking with Balder, down the road just taking in the fresh air, the sounds, the smells of salt an fish from the sea, escaping from below the ice. I come alive. I come alive just as the earth does and bloom right along with it. With each crack that pops from the sea, with each hiss of air escaping from below my smile grows with the knowledge that soon this frozen wilderness will come to life once again. The water sounds from under the snow makes me laugh. The little bridges made by the melting of the ice so the water can run off into the sea.
All this is because you just can't hold back the circle of lifes cycle that is always turning away from you but always, always returning. The old norse legend of the winter snow giants an the summer dwarfs that are at constant battle with each other over if the Artic will be always in winter or always in spring. Each wins half the time. The winter giants win when the sun goes away for a time and the summer dwarfs win when the sun stays out all the time for a time. Inbetween is the struggle between the 2. All I can say is the dwarfs better win soon! And they will.
On my walk I noticed the ice is bulking up in areas on the sea, and large cracks are spreading farther an farther out to the middle. So Balder an I leave the road an go down to the sea.
Ofcourse yours truly has to test out the ice an see if its getting really thin or not. It is! It cracked when i stepped out a little onto it. But what i want to show you is under the ice. It was hard, and you can barely see it but there is no water! This is a very, very good sign indeed. The tide has shifted an is heading out to the ocean.
This is great! Spring is really on its way now. When the water starts to go low tide the ice cracks, and hisses, and pops and starts to talk to us to tell us get ready, were going to break up the ice now. I can tell you I really smiled big time when i seen no water. So I walked down to the end of our main road down to the mouth of the pole. The place where the water turns an goes out to the ocean. There I was shocked because just a week ago there was no "nes" or a strip of land that juts into the sea. You can see the "vika" or little bay taking shape into its small bowl mouth. The ice has already broke up there an will works its way down to our area probably with the month.
Balder an I walked all the way out to the tip of the nes and took a picture of the way back to the road. But you can see the water is there, but so is the ice, but barely. Won't be long now until we pull the boats out of the boat house an take off into summer!
Ahhh! I love the magic of the Artic. The land of fairytales an legends. The place where the land talks to you, and the ice speaks plainly. The land of sailors, vikings and farmers. The only place I call home.
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Category: Artic Living | Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:42 pm
In the past day i have run thru every emotion i think known to mankind. This blog today is probably not for everyone, but right now, its for me. Its a very emotional blog, of my day that has left me in shreds with my heart bleeding wide open, and not sure at the moment it can heal right. Its something i have to get out of my system or i am going to bottle it up an that won't be good. I don't expect anyone to respond to this, infact i hope i don't disappoint or unintentionally bring back feelings for anyone. Go back to what ever now.
I got a call today from my dearest an best friend here in Norway, the first friend i made while here. My garden buddy. My female confidant. My best friend. She called to tell, why she hasn't been in touch for a month now and hasn't answered her phone. Her daughter was found dead. Her beautiful daughter, that even now as i write this i can barely see thru the tears. She hung herself. She was my age. She was also a dear friend.
When i found out i ofcourse am in shock. I had to get out. I went for a walk, and cried. I ended up down on the field, how i don't remember, but i screamed and screamed. And cried some more. I went in to the sauna, and just sat there. My pain is for a mother. A mother who lost their child. My pain is for my friend who i couldn't be there when she may have needed me most. My pain is that i have the need to comfort her. But most of all, my pain is that i have no closure to a dear friend. How selfish i am. me me me...
I have tried to post on the board, but i end up either leaving or staring at what i hope i am writing is intellegent at the moment. I can't think, i'm sad, i'm hurt, i'm angry, and lost. I'm sick at heart, and still lost at the moment. But,,,,I know i will be okay with time. Right now,,I hurt.
Eva, jeg elsker deg. Takk for alt.
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Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Category: Artic Living | Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:32 am
This is a blog that will take a few writings to cover. With that being said, Velkommen til Lofotr Viking Museet. Welcome to the Lofoten Viking Museum. The word Lofoten or Lofotr in old norse, is a word no one knows what it means. I live in Lofoten. Our motto here on this island is Wild an Wonderful Lofoten. And let me tell you it is. Up the road from where I live is a museum that is extremely intresting. I'll give a brief history, but will add a link that goes into it further.
In Borge, there is a farmer who was plowing his field when he come across some timbers that were petrified, not just laying there but stuck in the ground at varying lengths. Seeing this he called the local university an they sent out an archeologist. What they found was the largest an most elaborate Viking long house in all of Norway. The chieftain that lived here was one wealthy man. He left tho, why, some suspect because of christianity, others because he wanted to go to Iceland. No one knows except he packed his bags an left for Iceland, with his whole household and a fleet of ships. Upon further digging they found down by the sea, a blacksmith forge, dock, and a veriaty of other buildings. The house is estimated to have been built in the years around 500 a.d. and was added to for the next 400 years.
Upon reconstruction of this long house they were in awe of the vastness of it.
But what I want to show you is down by the sea. The famous Viking boats of the years from between 500ad to 900ad.
"Oh Lord, deliver us from the fury of the Northmen!" That famous prayer was not to be answered for another 250 years after the famous Lindinfarne raid in England. But you see the problem lies with what were the Vikings. They were not always mersenaries, or out to rape, kill and pillage what ever was in their path. Vikings were farmers, first and foremost. They were traders or merchants. They mastered the sea long before most countries even tried to get off their land. What made the Vikings famous is when the Romans tried to invade this part of the world. Lets just say they never came back. The Norse people have always had a wonderlust in their bloods. Adventure. Exploring. The openess of the land and sea. The variety of boats is amazing and what they made them out of. The procedures they went to, to weather a boat. One type of boat is from a single log, hollowed out then treated and sunk to the bottom of sea floor bed. It stays there for a few months or sometimes a year. The theory is that the ocean waters mould the boat. the rocks that are loaded into it starts to rub and add further moulding so the craft becomes sea worthy and never deteriorates. Amazing.
Here is a natural hide boat, that is upside down to drain. Its a single man boat, but made also the same way as the boat i described earlier. This boat is said to be made as early as the turn of the first century. Ofcourse this is a replica, but its made the same way.
Next is the Lofotr, the boat of the seas here, where people can row with other guest, and get to feel what it was like to be a Viking on the high seas.
And here is the Ofotr or Ofoten.
The dock area built exactly as it was then.
And while your out in the ship, maybe you will catch one of these.
For your sake I hope not,,,lol. But if your intrested in further learning about Borg Viking Museum here is the link to a wonderful place an time in Norwegian history.
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Confessions of OCD
Category: Artic Living | Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:49 pm
Hello my name is Balder, and I'm an almost 8 yr old Rottweiller. (My birthday is this month) I have an obsession with licking. I can't help myself. Its something I have to do day or night. The urge just runs rampant thru me, and what ever is within licking distance, gets a good bath. The problem is my obsession drives my mom crazy. She is so patient with me, she never screams, or threats me with what ever might be within grabbing distance. But today I think I might have made her rethink her layed back behavior. I honestly think I seen a hair on her head start to turn grey before my very eyes. It was amazing. Spectacular. I also think she may have a bald spot on the side of her head where she keeps twisting it, to control her anger.
What brought all this on. I don't know, but when I get excited, I have to lick. If I go outside, no matter what the weather is, I come in and just have to bathe from head to toe. I mean, I'm NOT a dirty dog! Besides grass, snow, dirt under my nails just drives ME crazy. Hmmmph, and SHE gets mad. Well I guess I could just track it all thru the house then. Heres what makes me mad! When the compusion comes over me, and my drool gets going, an the tongue is about to lick between my toes, she'll say, Nei Balder, you don't want to have sores on your feet. Yes I do! I love to lick my toes. Then when I start to lick my bed, the walls, my toys, and i can't help it, I really can't, but hair gets caught in my throat an I start to choke. Well SHE gets scared. Hmmmph, like I don't. But i can't just help myself. Then she starts to bake, ahhh the smells, drives me wild, an the drool starts to build, an I have to,,,, well you understand. But will someone make her understand!! She puts this crate around my head, then rubs my ears, an calls me her little buttercup. Hola Cripes Woman!!! I'm 8yrs old an 160 lbs,, little buttercup my,,,patootie. So she will take it off because I have mastered the eyes. Its all in the look. hee hee. I got her fooled alright. So I start to lick my feet again. This time she tells me "Thats it!! Your in the dog house now!" So I get up on her bed, and she puts that,,,dang,,,crate on. When will I ever learn.......its a dog life.
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Category: Artic Living | Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:31 pm
I want to ride my bicyle, i want to ride my bike! So I did. I took a nice ride on my bike and went to 2 very special places here on Vestvagøy. Not very far, but in the winter it seems like it. I bundled up in my winter clothes, when I was done I looked like Ralphies little brother in the movie, A Christmas Story. So off I went, the day was beautiful. We now have 4 hours of light, one hour is prelight, 2 hours of actual light, an one hour of light after the sun has set. Works for me, so off I go.
My first stop is a place at the bottom of my mountain that sits in front of the our house. The beast. This is a place that is at the west side of the mountain in the foothills of it. My house sits at the middle of this mountain, I headed towards the sea. Here is my first stop. This place is very very special, its called UrVatn. That is the old norwegian, the viking language for Ancient Waters. This place was so sacred to the Vikings of this area and the people of an era before them. Tourist pass this place an have no idea what they are looking at, and the local people here like to keep it that way. So the tourists never stop. Vikings came here to pray. They left token offerings, prayers and held ceramonies here at this water. Why is it so sacred you would think,, the reason is it is salt water, in a place salt water should not be. its an underground cavern of water fed from the ocean. Its surrounded by land. It should be fresh water, but its not. Here is UrVatn:
You can see my mountain here
The second special place that I went to, is the ocean. I live less than 1 mile from the ocean, so heading out from UrVatn i head straight for the North Sea.
Are you getting tired yet,, its just a little further up the road. Not far, see theres the sand flats already all frozen over. Do you see that big white mountain, that is Eggum, the next stop after Eggum is America.
Ahhhh here we go,,, Jump right in,,(if your a polar bear that is,,lol)
The mountains off in the distance here is the next island called Vesteralen
Well the sun is getting lower in the sky, an its starting to get a little to cold for me, so i better turn around an head home now.
And finally as I pass that bend in the road, I am greeted heading home by the best sight of all. The sun.
The magic of Lofoten, the rugged raw beauty of this one island in the North Sea. My island, of fairytales that have come true. I hope you enjoyed your bike ride!
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Doing The Snoopy Dance,,,,,,,,,,
Category: Artic Living | Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:07 pm
Ohhh yeah thats right, I am doing the snoopy dance. You remember snoopy, dancing ontop of his dog house, nose in the air, arms flying high, legs kicking in all directions. Thats me. Not as graceful as snoopy maybe, but I sure gave it my best shot!
Kolbjørn an I decided to take a trip to Leknes today. Just to get out, have lunch in town, little window shopping, talk to people we know. Nothing much, just getting out an socializing. Getting into the car I couldn't help but notice how light it was. I even commented on it, an he agreed and was wondering the same thing. Both of us with big eyes, big hopes, and big fears that what we was both thinking was just an illusion. The moon was ever present, but it was just to bright out to be just the moon. So we headed out, and as we traveled, the moon was getting higher an higher in the sky, and just not as bright. But, and I mean but, directly across from the moon, the most beautiful sight came over the horizen,,,
We seen the first sun rise of the new year. I looked, and looked, and was starting to get a little blinded by what was shining on me with all the force a winter sun can have. I looked at Kolbjørn, he at me, an we both had tears in our eyes. Not from the brightness, altho he won't admit it, but from the site of the sun. When we got to town, I noticed people just stopping an looking, then moving on. A few times I seen a store clerk or two come out an sneak a peek. Everywhere you stopped someone would say, look who got up early, then point to the sky. It was wonderful, it gave hope, it gave promise, and it touched my soul. It was just what we all needed up here.
All my pictures were taken in the car, but I don't care, road sign, street lamps, an what have you in the pictures,,, Its still the sun.
For one magnificent hour this is what we basked in.
Just a little more of our fairytale island in the North Sea.
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Frosty Winter Blues
Category: Artic Living | Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:08 pm
Living in the Artic is hard. But you learn to see beauty in everything you look at. I have not seen snow for 2 months now, since November. This is hard for a land that is supposed to be covered in snow. The dark grey, black and browns cover our landscape and make it hard to remember there was once color all over the fields, mountains, marshes and sea.
This is the season of the Blue Time, when the snow covers our land, everything turns blue, cold blue, frosty blue, an every shade of blue inbetween. The snow and the moon is what makes these blues. You see we have the sunrise now, an the sunset, but the sun hasn't crossed the horizon enough to make a huge difference in our light. The moon is up 24 hours a day an that is our main light source. I have taken some pictures today because every waking moment of "daylight" is good for the soul, during this blue time. You know that spring is on its way. Its a long ways off, but it will come, an burst forth all the colors that you can think of, except for blue. So this time is a special time, the blue time, it has its own season, its own time, and its all because the moon gives us this light, during our waking hours, that we are so blessed with the color blue.
We have no snow. I have said that, but in these pictures there is frost. layers an layers of frost. Its the Artic, theres supposed to be frost. Buts its something you can not appriciate unless you walk it an live it everyday. The frozen beauty is breath taking. Like I have said, this is frost in these pictures, not snow.
Here is the sauna, i am facing east, so you can see our winter light,, the moon
The fjørd is frozen over now, from one side to the other, just the beginnings of more ice to come, and ofcourse the frost of the Artic
Our barn shining in the light of day.
Behind the blacksmith shop
Welcome to my world. The Blue Time, of the Artic. The beautiful sparkling frozen world of the Norwegian Artic.
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