Monday, November 28, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Food aid

Yesterday, totally unexpected, we received a food parcel from one of our readers. The parcel's contents was not intended for us though, but for our dog Jeanny and the wild birds we are feeding every day. What more can we say than: "Thank you so much!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Making a Julbock - 4

Now, we are going to finish the job. The way to do it stays the same: tying up the spruce branches, lashing them with gardening wire and a little bit of trimming to conclude.


The head is finished, but the neck needs some additional trimming.


You make the Julbock's collar and tail by sticking spruce branches in it's neck and behind. For the horns, you tie some branches tight together using a lot of wire - almost like wrapping them up. Then you stick them in the Julbock's head.


If the Julbock needs more volume, you stick some extra branches in the desired places. If you want to, you can wind red tape around the head and legs.


Finished! For the seventh year in a row, the Julbock will be watching over us during The Dark Days and - of course - Christmas.

We wish everybody who is going to give it a try: good luck!

Making a Julbock - 3

We continue making our Julbock. We have hammered some nails into the wooden frame and use gardening wire to tie the spruce branches to these nails.


To start with, we tie a bundle of branches on top of the body.


Then we wind gardening wire around the branches and the body until all the branches are lashed close to the frame. Next, we tie a bundle of branches to one of the front legs.


The branches are lashed around the leg by winding gardening wire around them. Then we do the same with the hind leg. Next, we take the pruning shears and trim the body and legs into the desired shape. Now, you can clearly see that our project starts looking like a Julbock.


We 'do' the legs on the other side and then we start on the neck and head. Fastening the spruce branches to the frame and then tying them around it with gardening wire. And some cutting and trimming to conclude. It is as easy as that.

To be continued...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Making a Julbock - 2

Before we continue, a bit more about the size and proportions of the frame. Of course, you don't have to make a Julbock as big as the one adorning our yard. A smaller one is not only as nice a decoration as a big one, but probably also a lot easier to give a nice place inside your home. As long as the frame's shape and proportions are right, the result will always be a fine looking Julbock.

The proportions are: body 100%, legs (from the top of the body) 120%, neck (from the top of the body) 90% and head 40%. The shoulder height of the frame in the picture below is 32 centimetres.


To be continued...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Making a Julbock - 1

With one month to go until the winter solstice - and just a few days more to Christmas - it is time to create some Christmas atmosphere at Lilla Laggåsen. The most striking attribute we use for that, is a big Julbock. This year, it will be adorning our yard for the seventh Christmas in a row. In the next few posts, we intend to show you how to make such a Julbock.


To start with, you need a wooden frame. It is important that the shape and proportions are right. These are, irrespective of the Julbock's size, always the same.


Furthermore, you need a good pair of pruning shears.


And spruce branches. The size and amount depend on the size of the Julbock you are going to make.


To attach the spruce branches to the frame, you can use gardening wire.

To be continued...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November walk - 2

The walk I wrote about in my last post, wasn't over yet - I had merely reached the halfway point. On my way back home, I passed some more pretty sights.


Birch crown covered with frost against a lightly clouded sky.


Ice drops caught in a spider's web.


An other heart-shaped object.


And last but not least a moose cow observing me from a safe distance.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November walk

There are so many beautiful things to be seen here, every day again. The past few days, roaming in the forest, I took some nice pictures.


View over a misty valley. It has a kind of fairy-tale beauty.


Ice in a roadside ditch.


A blown down aspen. Moose have eaten the bark of the trunk. Leaves and branches of this tree are one of their favourite foods. Normally, moose do not eat bark from living - standing - aspen trees. But as soon as one lies on the ground...


A close up of the lower part of the trunk. You can clearly see the grooves which the moose's teeth have made. It must have been a tough job, for moose only have front teeth in their lower jaw.


This clump of grass - a little bit heart shaped - brings some colour in the, at this time of year, pale and colourless forest.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Almost magic

The magnificent display of colour you can see in the picture below, was caused by refraction as the sun light passed through the melting frost which covered the grass in our yard. It was almost magic, as if the yard was studded with gems.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trust

Maybe you remember the post in which I described how the birds in our yard made it clear to me that it was about time to start feeding them again. A post which gave some readers of my Dutch blog cause to 'accuse' me of having a very vivid imagination.

A month has past since that post. And a lot of bird food has found its way to the birds. But thanks to that investment, we have become very close with 'our' feathered friends.

Each morning, they greet me peeping and tweeting. And if I then don't fill the bird feeders fast enough, the boldest of them just come to get me. They leave the protection of the bushes and fly towards me, followed by some fly by's. Or they fly around my head a few times, peeping and tweeting again. Once in a while, one of them even lands on my shoulder. The message is clear: we want food and we want it now. When I start moving, they return to the bird feeder, knowing that food will be served soon. When during the day, the birds run out of food and one of us is out in the yard, they fly over to fetch us in just the same way.

I do realize, of course, that the affection of our feathered friends is purely based on the fact that we provide them with food. But nevertheless, I am moved by the knowledge that we may enjoy their trust. Or is my imagination running wild, again?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where is the snow?

Since mid-October, the weather has been unusual mild for the time of year. This winters first real cold and snow has yet to come.

Some day last week, I read in the newspaper that, at that moment, there was no snow cover worth mentioning to be found in the entire country (of Sweden). And that hadn't happened, in November, since the SMHI (Swedish Meteorological Institute) started documenting weather facts in 1904.

Lilla Laggåsen, November the 5th 2009.
This fall, we haven't seen any real snow, yet.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dark days are here again

Yesterday around noon, I took this picture of our yard. You can clearly see that the shade of the trees has reached the house. As of today, the forest will be blocking the light and warmth of the sun more and more, until eventually, even the chimney will not be 'touched' by direct sun light anymore. Dark days are here again!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sundogs

This morning, when I came out of bed, the outside digital thermometer read 0,0 degrees Celsius. Closer to the freezing point than that, you can not get!

Although it was sunny and clear, it has been freezing all day. At the end of the afternoon, the grass and bushes were still covered with frost.

Shortly after noon, I noticed a sundog - parhelion - forming on the right side of the sun. Now and then, it even became more oblong in shape, looking like a short piece of rainbow. About ten minutes later, a second sundog appeared on the left side of the sun. It was a fine sight.

Sundog - parhelion - on the left side of the sun.
Sundog - parhelion - on the right side of the sun.
The complete picture, the sun and two sundogs.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunset glow

From a weather point of view, the past seven days were grey, foggy, chilly and dark. All the time, the wind blew from an unfavourable direction and because of that, a thick overcast dominated the sky and kept the sun away. All in all, it wasn't very inspiring.

Today, the wind changed direction at last. The overcast disappeared and the sun was allowed to shine brightly. The 'grey' was gone and the colours were back. At the end of the day, there was a beautiful sunset glow. At this moment, the sky is still clear and the temperature has dropped to just above the freezing point.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The chimney sweep

Twice a year, we get a visit from the chimney sweep. He comes to clear ash and soot from the stoves and chimneys. An important job, especially in rural areas where people depend on wood burning stoves for cooking and heating.

At this moment, our stoves and chimneys are 'clean' again and ready for the winter to come.

To be a good chimney sweep, you have to love black clothes and have no fear of heights...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just posing

This afternoon, Jeanny decided to pose at a beautiful place at the lake side. And I - of course - took the opportunity to make a picture.