Leap Year is traditionally an extra day we get and traditionally, we try to do something different, something out of character. This can benefit your personal life, your professional life or just your life in general. It’s a day we can think of as a present, a day to do something daring! What did you do that was different, outside the box, not your usual way? Maybe you have actually done something, maybe you have just thought of something or maybe you have a Leap Year dream. Be daring today like Pip ! Do something different!
Please share with us!
400 Års Jokkmokks Jubileum Marknad 2005
This is the month of February and as in every year since 2005, I am reminded in of a wonderful adventure. In 2005 my husband and I had an invitation from a dear friend of my husband’s to attend the 400 Year Jokkmokk Jubilee Market. For me this was of particular importance because I knew that this market was given by Sweden’s indigenous people the Sami. As a woman with Native American heritage, I knew of these people and had always found them fascinating. Never in a million years had I ever thought that I would actually meet them and learn first hand about their culture.
The Sami live in what is known as Sapmi which is the range in which these people live. Sapmi includes, Norway, Sweden, Finland and even Russia. They have lived in the northern most areas of Sweden for 7,00 years. Today the numbers have risen and the population of Sapmi is around 40,000. The language of the Sami people is divided into two, the North and the South language. The Sami have historically lived by hunting and fishing. The reindeer is the focal point of Sami culture. They have lived, until recently as a nomadic people following their reindeer far up into the northern mountains. They found this to be of great advantage to their much prized reindeer; the pastures in the mountain tops were rich and the brisk winds that blow there blow away all insects and mosquitos.
Progress and changing times has caught up with the Sami as with every other indigenous people around the world. Most Sami live in towns and villages today and are no longer the nomads of the past. The men now take care of the reindeer . The reindeer round ups are now done in a very modern way with the use of snow mobiles and sometimes with the use of helicopters. The run of the reindeer has always been an issue here in Sweden as have the Sami themselves. Up to the 50’s the Sami were treated as all indigenous people and pushed to the fringes of societies and made to conform with the “Swedish” way of life. For instance, the children of Sami families were not allowed in normal Swedish schools with normal Swedish children. There were special schools for them to attend and in those schools, they were forbidden to speak their own language. It must have been horrific for these families and children. During this time, everything possible was done to erase the Sami culture. Sound familiar? This seems to happen around the world to all indigenous people. Thank fully this has changed with the times with the Sami fight for equality. In 1971 the government passed the Reindeer Husbandry Act allowing the Sami to be able to pass over private and government land to move their reindeer. The Sami , even today are not allowed to own land. This Act of 1971 has been a bone of contention with the Swedish farmers and people in general. Even though the forests and pastures are shrinking due to mining, deforestation and the construction of hydroelectric power plants, leaving very little land for the Sami to move their reindeer, Swedish people are still not comfortable with the Sami’s movements. The issues are with the Sami reindeer movements through farm land and leaving damage. This would not have been an issue if the Sami had the lands they used to use, but they do not.
The Jokkmokk Market has been a historic event and has been in the same location since the 1600’s. During the early years, the market was a place for trading, exchanging of much needed goods for the, nomadic people. There was hand ground corn meal, handmade ointments, wool, cloth and very important, shoes. In today’s markets, Sami have on display and for sale all the same items that were once traded, long ago. Now these items are available to visitors from all over the world. Sami come from all 4 countries in Sampi to show and sell their handcrafts. They enjoy celebrating together and meeting Sami from other lands. There were more than 80,000 visitors to the 400 year Market in 2005.
This was an experience of a life time for me. I will never, ever forget all the wonderful experiences and personal encounters I had at the Marknad.
Please allow me to share some of that experience with you:
Throughout the Marknad, we saw several dogs that caught my eye :
We were invited to a beautiful formal dinner during the Marknad week:
While around the Marknad, we heard, through the grapevine that there was going to be a huge dance. We were given a special invitation. There were not many non-Sami invited. We were the only ones of our group that went. It was fabulous! Wait till you see everyone decked out in their finest traditional Sami clothes:
There was much more to our trip, but I will save that for later. I hope you have enjoyed a peak at the world of the Sami and their 400 year Marknad.
(These photos were taken with a different camera and the photos become distorted when enlarged, so this is why the photos are smaller than usual)
Our lovely chickens most of whom are named, have been very busy since the start of our New Year! Every single time we enter their apartment, we find not one but sometimes up to 4 eggs in one of the laying boxes. First the eggs came from our beautiful Brahma chickens, then all of a sudden the eggs took on a different shape and size. So we are sure it was either Henny or Penny or their sister who have no names.
We have so many eggs that we can’t possibly eat them all. We have decided to give them to our close neighbors. Call it the barter system; almost all of our close neighbors have assisted us here at Gullringstorp in one way or another. Our eggs are a thank you for their kindnesses.
I am not such an expert on eggs, but we have been told by one of our close neighbor Bosse, that our eggs are delicious and that the yolks are the most yellow he and his wife Irene have ever seen! Good job girls ! They are producing delicious and beautiful eggs.
Every now and again I decide to make a ” Breakfast Dinner ” which includes home fries, french toast and some type of yummy sausage or ham. A real treat for my Swedish husband. I use our eggs for the french toast batter. I am thinking about deviled eggs which we both love and so do my neighbors. I recently found a great Egg Foo Yong recipe and am dying to try it. I really miss that particular Chinese dish here in Sweden. Lots of eggs can be used to make that dish. Here is the link to this recipe, in case you also love this dish, I just have to share http://www.closetcooking.com/2012/01/egg-foo-young.html Let me know if you make it and how it turned out.
Here are eggs and chickens: ( which came first, the chicken or the egg ? )
There’s an old saying; “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it” ! We said for so long, “where are our eggs”? Well our ladies were just waiting to ring in the New Year before they started to lay and now there is just no stopping them. We keep this overflow down in the basement in our cold room and have 3 containers full in the refrigerator.
Here are some of our feathered beauties:
Thank you ladies for all the eggs !
I really wish I could send eggs to all of you !
Yesterday was a joyous day of celebration for the birth of our newest Royal Family member.
Today we learn all about Sweden’s littlest Princess:
Her name has been chosen: Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary
Many of the Royal experts were hoping for Alice or Sophia. There were girl names being suggested in all the papers and on the news.
Our King Carl XVI Gustaf has announced Sweden’s littlest Princess’ Royal title: Duchess of Östergötland
This little one has a very impressive and long name and an equally impressive title. Our king Carl XVI Gustaf has said in an announcement this morning: “I am sure that the Duchess will do her best to embrace the county of Östergötland.”
Also it needs to be said that our new Duchess of Östergötland has already had a couple of introductions, this morning. Our new Duchess has been introduced to the Marshall of the Realm and the Speaker of the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) . She is already a busy little Duchess.
Here is the only known photo of our New Duchess taken as she left the hospital with her parents, HRH Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel
Sweden’s littlest new Princess will have a big responsibility ahead of her, but for now she can enjoy being a baby!
Today is a momentous day for Swedish people and the Swedish Realm. There has been an official Royal announcement that our Crown Princess Victoria has given birth to a daughter! Here is the Royal Announcement given by the Marshall of the Realm:
The Marshall of the Realm is happy to announce that HRH Crown Princess Victoria, on Thursday the 23rd of February at 04.26 has given birth to a daughter. Both mother and child are doing fine.
According to Swedish Royal traditions, cannons will be fired off today. Normally there are 21 to be fired, but because this new baby that has just been born is a girl and is the heir to the throne, the number will be doubled. There will be 42 cannons fired in total. This will happen not only in Stockholm , but all over Sweden. Tomorrow will be a day of cannons being fired all over Sweden. I have read that the Royal Court has many events planned over the next few days in the celebration of this Royal birth.
The fact that HRH Crown Princess Victoria’s new baby is a girl, means that a queen will inherit the throne from a queen. This will be historic. It will be the first time that this has happened in Swedish royal history.
Sweden’s new Princess was born at the Karolinska Institute, a world famous hospital and research center. We all know that both mother and daughter are doing well and the father Prince Daniel was present at the birth and has given a press conference with a face gleaming with joy and amazement at the birth of his daughter. Prince Daniel is not of Royal blood and it was not required that HRH Crown Princess Victoria marry a person of Royal blood lines. So the fact that this baby has the blood of a commoner, makes the Swedish people quite happy.
In Sweden, the state pays every parent 1,050 kronor per child, per month. This is paid through the office known as Försäkringskassan. This payment is given to all parents as they have children and is equal to 157 dollars. This payment continues per child, per month, until the child is 16 years old. This is true even for Royalty. The first payment will be made March 20th.
Just a little about our Swedish Monarchy:
According to records, Sweden has been a Kingdom since prehistoric times. Our present King has been Monarch since September 15, 1973. He is King Carl XVI Gustaf. Our Royal family consists of Queen Silvia of Sweden, HRH Crown Princess Victoria ,Princess Madeline, Prince Carl Philip and new Prince Daniel husband to HRH Crown Princes Victoria.
Sweden enjoyed the Royal wedding of HRH Crown Princess Victoria to Daniel. Daniel is a commoner and was the Crown Princess’ personal trainer owning several fitness centers in Sweden. The Royal Wedding was June 19, 2010. It was so beautiful!
We all are waiting to hear what the new Princess’ name will be. There may be an announcement as early as today.
As a subject of the Royal Swedish Realm, I send my humble and heartfelt congratulations to the Royal family.
I know it has been awhile since I posted on my little herd. This is just to check in and see what’s new with some of my goats. We have had a rather unpleasant and unpredictable winter which has kept our little herd inside. I know some people let their goats out during the winter months , but my herd has made it abundantly clear the do not like, RAIN, SNOW or especially WIND. They will all be at the fence yelling to come in. When I open the gate, they fly into the stable. No stragglers to be found. So, it is on us to help entertain them, exercise them and make sure they get the nutrition they need.
As you know, our goats are housed in a stable, which means that they are in boxes according to their particular circumstances. Each of my mothers who delivered in August have a box of their own that they share with their babies. We have 3 tiny pygmy doelings, 2 of which are sister, sharing a fairly large box. Then we have our 4 boys, bucklings, 2 of which are Pygmy, including 1 wether who is a Nigerian who never grew up and 1 Nigerian sharing a box. Our little Nanna is quite happy on her own in her box next to the boys and her 2 boyfriends, Balder & Baby Boy. Our two junior does, Alika and Keriana who we are hoping are pregnant, share a rather large box, even for them. They are Nigerians and are a bit larger than our tiny Pygmy goats.
They are out of their boxes every evening unless they get a treat and are out in the morning.
This is what usually happens:
- I enter the stable carrying dinner and treats for later
- As I pass each box I greet and am greeted with my goat hello’s
- I do a quick check at each box to make sure everyone is there and looks fine
- Each little head at the door of each box gets a pat , a rub and a kiss as I say their name
- Then I enter the boy’s side
- First I let out Nanna after her greeting
- Next Little Man comes out after all my boys are spoken to by name
- I check in on the new mothers – to – be. They are usually laying down looking really comfortable. That’s nice to see.
- Then the bright overhead lights are put on.
- We have a wonderful bag of Lucerne which is wonderfully fragrant and nutritious packed grass. I fill a buck with this and start with Nanna and Little Man who are patiently waiting at their bowls. Then I got to the boys who get their Lucerne on their “dinner table” where they all stand and eat like little gentleman.
- Then Keriana and Alika get theirs in separate containers because some goats have a real difficult time sharing.
- While Little Man & Nanna eat and play together, I fill my bucket with grain and start with Pumpkin and Rose, next Frida and her babies Poppy & Pansy, next is Hilda and Pumpkin, last are the “baby girls” Iris,Ivy & Petunia
- I let them all munch for a bit then I start with they hay in the boy’s box. They love to have their meadow hay on their table and all stand around the edge eating. Next are the Junior does get their hay, both kinds.
- By the time i make it to the baby side of the stable to fill hay, they are all ready to come out , greet each other and have some fun. But first, Little Man has to go back in the box, just in case someone is in heat. With so many females, someone is always in heat.
- Little Man goes back in and is fine because he has had about 1/2 an hour out to eat and play with his buddy Nanna. He was born in August and is a Nigerian so he is still small, very much the same size as Nanna who is a Pygmy.
- All the girls are let out and I say ” Let the fun begin! ” And it does !! Goats running and charging up and down the corridor, It is a wonderful site indeed ! I just love to watch them play and have such a great time.
- I fill hay in all the boxes and have to watch for Alika, Keriana and Nanna who are off grain until April. They try every way possible to get into the boxes that just got their portion of grain. They will get grain in April twice a day and on the milking stand. They will want their grain so this should be no problem. They will need to get used to the stand and being gently touched on the udder. This way when they deliver, I will be able to have them on the stand twice a day and milk them. This is what the books say and other goat owners. So, please wish me all the success in getting my ladies ready to be milked.
- After the hay comes little piles of straw in each box. I place them where I know the mothers & babies sleep, where the “baby girls sleep”, on the table for the boys and in two piles in Alika’s and Keriana’s box. Nanna, sweet little Nanna has decided she would like to do everything and I do mean EVERYTHING, up high. My husband has built her a special shelf for her to be on. She eats up there from a hay bin set up high for her and her straw goes on the shelf as well. She eats up there and sleeps up there. She has to come down from her nest to drink water. She absolutely loves it up there! Funny little Nanna.
- All the water containers are not only filled but checked for tiny mice that may have fallen in. So buckets are cleaned out and freshwater give. because we have had way too many sporadic night with temperatures dipping as low as -11 c , our pump in the stable has been turned off. We carry water from the house in two large green garden water buckets. I always fill with warm water in the mornings since they had a cold night. Goats like a bit of warm water.
- Right about now, my husband makes several trips to the chicken house to give more food and fresh water and collect eggs.
- After they have all played and are ready to go back into their boxes, they get what ever treat may be on hand for the evening.
- After treats, I spend time in each baby box letting the babies play with my hat,my gloves or flaps on my winter jacket. They are so charming and lovable. If I were to leave without this quality time, they would not be happy. I give the mothers a back rub and leg rubs. This serves a couple of purposes; they love the attention and I get to make sure they are all ok with no tender spots that may have gone unnoticed and I always move my hands down under the tummy toward the udders so this becomes a familiar touch.
- When I leave the stable and say my good nights to each by name, I have a very warm and satisfied feeling.
- As we walk home, I know my goats are well-loved and cared for and want for nothing at all. It’s a good feeling.
Everyone is doing so well. Keriana was crying quite a lot, in fact so much I had the fear that she may not have been bred. Then just yesterday it occurred to me that if she were really in heat again my boys who are just in the next box would be going absolutely crazy. They are not! This means her cries and noise is for grain not a boyfriend! That is a relief!
Usually it’s a wether (a castrated buck) in the herd that can alert you to a doe coming into season, but our little wether is not out of his box so another goat has taken up that position, Pumpkin. She knows when a goat is coming into season. She acts as a buck would, talking to her, circling her and trying to mount her. This morning she was right on target, Frida is in heat. This is the first time since she had her girls this August. Both of her girls are also in heat but much to young to breed. Iris one of our Pygmy doelings is also in heat. All this makes for a noisy stable with so many young ladies in heat. Each one has a different call and way about them. Frida has a low-pitched kind of growl with a wagging tail called “flagging”. Little Iris runs back and forth and just seems unsettled. Sometimes she drowns her frustration in the feed room attaching the huge bale of meadow hay. Kind of like a woman during her time of month where she could eat an entire cake if she could. I walk by the feed room and she has a huge mouth full of hay. I hope it helps. Heats last anywhere from 24 hours to 36 hours and come every 21-28 days. Some goats have more frequent heats known as “false heats” so they really keep you guessing and on your toes!
We hope to breed Pumpkin, Frida and Hilda in March. We will need to get our wonderful Emil, our rent-a-buck in to do the job. He has made us some really beautiful babies.
Welcome back for more updates!
In celebration of Lent and Shrove Tuesday, a special bun was eaten Nordic countries and other nearby countries, at a celebration feast before the fasting period of Lent. In Sweden this bun was called Semla or fastlagsbulle. This tasty bun is also found in Finland and is known as laskiaispulla , in Denmark and Norway it is called fastelavnsbolle. These buns can also be found in the traditions of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They do not look the same, but they serve the same purpose.
The religious connections changed with the arrival of the Protestant Reformation. The fasting for Lent was no longer practiced by the Swedish population. Today you can find these buns in bakeries everyday just after Christmas (Jul) till Easter (Påsk). Although today is the traditional day to eat Semlor, they can now be eaten whenever one can find one in a bakery.
Today’s Semla bun is a bit different from the earlier traditional buns that were just plain bread buns sitting in a bowl of warm milk, known at that time as hetvägg. Our Semlor (Swedish for more than one semla ) of today are made with cardamom wheat buns with a hollowed out center filled with almond paste with a generous portion of whipped cream to cover the almond paste. It is then topped with the part of the bun that had been cut off to make room for the paste. The top is replaced and then topped with powdered sugar to finish off the perfect Semla.
There are still people in Sweden who eat semlor the old fashioned or traditional way, sitting in a bowl of warm milk. Most people eat them from a plate with a cup of coffee. No matter how or why you eat a semla, the experience is absolutely divine. You will enjoy exquisite textures when you bite into the bun. You will have the soft fluffy whipped cream, then the most delicious almond paste and the soft spicy bun in your mouth, all bursting with flavor. Some people take the top off and sit it to the side to eat last and then some don’t. Some eat with a fork, most do not. Powdered sugar can inevitably end up on one’s nose. A small price to pay when enjoying such a delicious piece of Sweden.
There is always a quiet competition going on throughout Sweden to name the best Semla bakery. You can find articles in our newspapers about bakeries that are known to have the best Semlor (Swedish for more than one semla)in town. You can sometimes find long lines outside a particular bakery in Stockholm that has been known to have the best Semlor in Stockholm.
This special Swedish bun can now be found in bakeries around the world. My daughter has enjoyed a Semla in NY and London. So where ever you may be today, keep your eye out in your bakeries for our Swedish Semla. You don’t have to be in Sweden to enjoy a beautiful, delicious Semla. I think that’s wonderful !
I wish I could send a Semla to each and every one of my readers today !
Winter decided to come to Gullringstorp during the night. White hell for my husband but a beautiful sight for me and just plain fun for Max:
The weather reports call for more snow… Our little herd is inside the stable, comfy and warm.
How is the weather where you live?
I was awakened this morning to the news that Whitney Houston was dead.
This was supposed to be a year of new beginnings and fresh starts, for everyone.
I am sad today.
Please share your thoughts and feelings.