Saturday, June 30, 2012

Flower power

To conclude the month of June, I'll post one more series of flower pictures. It may seem a bit overdone, but bear in mind that, during the past few weeks, we literally have been bathing in flowers. And if you think that you have seen them all, you are wrong. You haven't even seen half of them, but I'll save the rest until another year. So now for the last time, this year: flower power!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Little mouse

One fine afternoon, a little mouse was foraging in our yard. Nicôle spotted the little animal, even before I did, as it came out from under the shed. I went down on all fours in order to have a closer look and managed to get really close to the tiny creature. It almost seemed as if it wasn't aware of my presence. For some fifteen minutes, I crawled side by side with the mouse, carefully studying it's every move. It was really interesting. Nicôle had a good time, too, watching me moving through the yard on hands and knees.


Then, the little mouse left our yard and strolled into the forest. There it started feasting on a mushroom. Recognising the species as being poisonous to humans, I wondered what to do, but decided to let nature have it's way. I can only hope that Mother Nature educates her children well.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bloom time

At this moment, bloom time is reaching it's climax. The feast of coulors hasn't come to an end, yet.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Midsummer 2012

Another week has passed and the summer solstice lies behind us. From now on the days will be getting shorter until the darkest of times in mid-December. But with the whole summer in front of us, autumn and winter seem so far away that the thought of the already shortening days doesn't bother us, yet.

We started the week with the discovery that the mosquitoes and black flies were back, at last. Until then, we had been wondering when they would hatch. Sure, we had seen some of them flying around every once in awhile, but not in numbers worth to mention. That has changed, now. Huge amounts of these insects are swarming through the forests and over meadows, searching for blood. When outside, you have to keep moving. As soon as you stop, they are all over you.


During the week, we had some visitors from The Netherlands. First a couple which is planning to move to Sweden, later this year. And then, our old veterinarian and his wife - that visit really was a nice surprise.


On Midsummer's Eve, we didn't attend to the traditional activities in the village nearby, nor did we feast on typical Swedish Midsummer food. Instead, we went to one of the - many - lakes in the vicinity of our place, to give Jeanny the opportunity to do what she likes most: playing with water.


At the lakeside, we discovered a bunch of beautiful yellow flowers. It were some Tufted Loosestrife plants in full bloom.


Just take a closer look at these lovely flowers.


At home again, we found a four-leaf clover in our yard. And a second one, too. How lucky can we get?


Then we fired up our summer kitchen and baked homemade pizza for dinner. Not only did it look great, it was delicious, too!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More flowers

The warm and humid weather is a real growth booster. All plants are growing rapidly and more flowers are popping up. The feast of colours continues. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Magical butterfly

It just comes fluttering into our yard, the first butterfly of the year. Ignoring the great variety of abundantly blooming wild flowers, it finally lands on the only cultivated flowers we have - a pot full of them which we got as a present, a few weeks ago. Our guest must be a gourmet...


It is a beautiful butterfly, and a big one, too. Between it's wing tops, it measures at least eight centimetres.


The butterfly takes it's time to feed on the nectar of the flowers. Then it takes to the air, again. Higher and higher it flutters. Until it rises above the tree tops, and a gust of wind blows it away.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Still going strong

Today is our dog's ninth birthday. We are very happy that we may still enjoy her presence every day.


Jeanny - a young spirit in an old body still going strong - showing off with the presents she got from some Dutch admirers.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Feast of colours

The spring flowers are blooming like crazy. It is a feast of colours and so beautiful. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Time flies

We seem to be having fun a lot, because just now, time passes very quickly. So quickly, that it's nearly impossible to keep up with this blog. Today, I will give you a brief overview of what we have been up to, lately.

To start with, we have been out on a short camping trip to the Glaskogen area. We had a great time and it was a real joy to see that Jeanny really liked all the 'around the tent and campsite chores' we had to do.


One night, I woke up around 3 a.m. and decided to go out for a long walk. It wasn't dark at all. The birds were already awake and singing loudly. Shortly after 4 a.m. I witnessed a beautiful sunrise.


Last weekend the temperature dropped dramatically. It was so cold that we even had to light the wood stove - something that very seldom happens in June. The cold spell was accompanied by a forceful storm which blew a big tree over our power line. Luckily, although it was near, the line did not snap so there was relatively little damage.


After the storm, we collected some smaller blown down trees and converted them into bird feeder stands.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Making nettle soup

One of the plants shooting out of the ground right now, is the stinging or common nettle. And that's good news, because this plant can be used to make a tasty soup. Here's the recipe of how we make nettle soup (enough for four persons).


To start with, you need two litres of freshly picked nettles. Take young shoots, the tops of older shoots or just the leaves of full grown plants. To measure two litres, you can use a two-litre freezer bag.


These kind of tops will do fine. Clean the nettles, take away root parts and thick stems. Then wash the nettles thoroughly.


Bring half a litre of lightly salted water to the boil, then add the nettles. Let them simmer for five minutes.


Poor of the water but don't throw it away. Chop up the nettles.


Melt two tablespoons of margarine in the pan. Sift three tablespoons of wheat flour into the melted margarine and stir thoroughly. Add the nettle-water, two bouillon cubes and half a litre of cold water. Bring the broth to the boil again. Then add the chopped nettles and let everything simmer for five more minutes.


Stir a decilitre of cream through the soup. You can top the soup with a slice of hard-boiled egg, chopped chives and/or a little bit of fried bacon. In this example, we only used some chopped chives.


Stinging nettles are called 'stinging' nettles for a reason: they can sting. So be careful while picking and handling them. It takes a full ten minutes ten minutes of simmering, before the substances that cause the burning pain and blisters completely loose their effect. Do not make the mistake, like Nicôle did, when she made nettle soup for the first time, to taste the soup before it is completely finished cooking.

Nettles are at their best in spring. Later on, the stems become tough and the leaves brittle, so now is the time. Enjoy your meal!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Squatters

For the last few weeks, our woodshed was occupied by squatters. After having build a nest, a pair of Common Blackbirds moved in. The female bird laid three eggs and incubated them. Then three tiny birds made their appearance. From that moment on, both parent birds worked hard, feeding their offspring until they jumped out of the nest. That's right, they jumped out, for when little Blackbirds leave the nest, they cannot yet fly. After leaving the nest, they live on the ground, being fed and taken care for by their parents, until they, usually two weeks later, can fly themselves.

Just a few hours before 'our' little Blackbirds abandoned their nest, Nicôle made this video.