It has been another year and in this year I have so many new visitors and following visitors to my blog. The Holidays are just around the corner . This will be my last post of the year 2012.
I would like to wish everyone a most wonderful and Happy Holiday !
I would also like to wish, happiness, peace and good health to all in the New Year!
Happy Holidays from all of us here at Gullringstorp!
See you all again in 2013.
Let’s try to ease the accessibility of guns in the USA
Tomte are part of Scandinavian holiday lore. Thanks to Wikipedia, I can share some Tomte facts with you. For such a tiny fellow, there’s a lot to be said about him.
The tomte/nisse was often imagined as a small, elderly man (size varies from a few inches to about half the height of an adult man), often with a full beard; dressed in the everyday clothing of a farmer. However, there are also folktales where he is believed to be a shapeshifter able to take a shape far larger than an adult man, and other tales where the tomte/nisse is believed to have a single, cyclopean eye. In modern Denmark, nisses are often seen as beardless, wearing grey and red woolens with a red cap. Since nisses are thought to be skilled in illusions and sometimes able to make themselves invisible, one was unlikely to get more than brief glimpses of him no matter what he looked like. Norwegian folklore states that he has four fingers, and sometimes with pointed ears. His eyes glow in the dark.Despite his smallness, the tomte/nisse possessed an immense strength.
Even though he was protective and caring he was easy to offend, and his retributions ranged from small pranks like a stout box on the ears to a more sociopathical punishment like killing off the livestock or ruining of the farm’s fortune. The tomte/nisse was a traditionalist who did not like changes in the way things were done at the farm. Another easy way to offend him was rudeness: farm workers swearing, urinating in the barns, or not treating the creatures well would be soundly thrashed. If anyone spilled something on the floor in the house it was wise to shout a warning to the tomte below. An angry tomte is featured in the popular children’s book by Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf, Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (Nils Holgersson’s Wonderful Journey Through Sweden). The tomte turns the naughty boy Nils into a tomte in the beginning of the book, and Nils then travels across Sweden on the back of a goose.
One was also required to please the spirit with gifts (see Blót) – a particular gift was a bowl of porridge on Christmas night. If the tomte was not given his payment, he would leave the farm or house, or engage in mischief such as tying the cows’ tails together in the barn, turning objects upside-down, and breaking things (like a troll). The tomte liked his porridge with a pat of butter on the top. In an often retold story, a farmer put the butter underneath the porridge. When the tomte of his farmstead found that the butter was missing, he was filled with rage and killed the cow resting in the barn. But, as he thus became hungry, he went back to his porridge and ate it, and so found the butter at the bottom of the bowl. Full of grief, he then hurried to search the lands to find another farmer with an identical cow, and replaced the former with the latter.
In another tale a Norwegian maid decided to eat the porridge herself, and ended up severely beaten by the nisse. The being swore: “Have you eaten the porridge for the tomte, you have to dance with him!”. The farmer found her nearly lifeless the morning after.
The tomte is connected to farm animals in general, but his most treasured animal was the horse. Belief had it that one could see which horse was the tomte’s favourite as it would be especially healthy and well taken care of. Sometimes the tomte would even braid its hair and tail. (These tomte braids were in fact most likely caused by insufficient brushing.) Sometimes actually undoing these braids could mean misfortune or angering the tomte.
Here are some samples of tomte:
In the beginning , even before we started milking our goats, I made the decision to get a hand milker. It was a product that would help older hands and would solve the problem of tiny teats of our littlest goats. No one told me that your hands would survive the pumping, but your arm would soon just drop off! My husband and I have what feels like arthritis symptoms in our hands, so hand milking these ladies was not really an option. We decided it was time to make a change and make the investment in a real milking machine. We made a long drive further down south to visit the couple selling the new milking machine. It was a lovely drive with spectacular woods covered in beautiful snow (snö in Swedish)
I really had fun taking those photos with my iPhone, from the comfort and warmth of my passenger seat in my little car.
When we arrived we met the goats and the new prized cow. Man of the house did not like goat cheese , so no more milking the goats, great for us! A cow was purchased for her milk instead. I apologize for the quality of the photos taken in a very dark barn area with my iPhone and not my camera.
They had an old Swedish breed, Väneko. This cow known as Väneko is a rare breed brought back from the brink of extinction. This breed named after a village (Väne-Ryr) in the province Västergötland. They are found in the region near one of the largest lakes in the South West, Lake Väne. Väne cattle are remnant of the old South Swedish peasant breed and often also called Allmogeko. The breed was discovered in beginning of the 1990s.
Ok yes it’s true I love, love, love animals , hence all the cow photos, but here is my real true love:
I just can’t stop smiling….
I know, I know , it’s a nightmare for my husband and all the other husbands and boyfriends and mothers shoveling this kind of snow. But what can I say , but I just think it’s beautiful. It’s still snowing and has been all day .
When it rains , we say, “it’s raining cats and dogs”. What do we say about snow? It’s snowing bunnies and teddy bears??
Any ideas, please share…
Anyway, I find Gullringstorp during the winter months all lit up and draped in snow, enchanting…
If you have snow, I hope it’s manageable…
If you are waiting for your snow,, I hope it comes…
We had a warning yesterday that during the evening we would have at least 12″ of snow fall during the night. Well the night came and no more snow … We thought we were off the hook… We were not !
This morning we got slammed with snow, snow, snow and more snow. It is 1521 and it is STILL snowing!!!
I hope wherever you are, you are not buried under snow. But if you are, I hope you have someone strong and caring to shovel for you…
Thank you Leif…
PS. Leif just came in from his last shoveling of the day before the darkness at 1515 to tell me that in his estimation, we have had between 40″-50″ of snowfall today.
After nearly 2 weeks in bed with a horrific case of Sinusitis, I went to the Internet to look up ways to protect my nose. I go out to the stable with a scarf wrapped around my face looking like I could rob a bank.
When I am out on the town during winter months I cleverly wrap my wool shawl around my face to be able to breathe in warmer air. Since I have been blessed with both asthma an Sinusitis, it’s important not to breath cold, dry air directly in my nose. Believe me, it sounds easy, “inhale through your mouth and exhale through your nose”, it’s not. It’s a bit like hopping on one foot while twirling a hula hoop or blowing bubbles all at the same time. You start out fine then all of a sudden you are inhaling through your nose!
After hours on the Internet we finally found a site to be able to purchase this item in Sweden and not have to import it.
This item is called Airtrim Cold Weather Heat Exchange Mask
AirTrim masks are designed to help people breathe easier in cold and/or dry conditions — this includes exercise induced asthma in these conditions. This light-weight mask has a filter that absorbs some of the heat and moisture from your own breath to re-heat and re-moisturize the air when you inhale. This helps keep you warmer and makes breathing easier. Often called a cold weather mask or heat exchange mask.
Invented in Sweden for skiers, runners, cyclists and others involved in cold and/or dry outdoor conditions. Athletes with cold, exercise induced asthma will find this mask helpful in training and racing. AirTrim is an Offical Supplier to the Swedish Ski Team to help them train in the cold. There are many athletes in Canada who have started using AirTrim so they can continue training in cold and dry conditions. Mountain climbers have used the AirTrim mask too.
This mask can help you if you :
- exercise in cold weather
- work outside in cold weather
- work in the refrigeration industry
- are sensitive to cold and/or dry air
- active in a dry to extremely dry environments
- climb at altitude
- have cold weather asthma
- have exercise asthma
Here is my AirTrim mask with a special Asthma filter and an extra filter and a cute little tote that arrived in the post this morning:
Alika decided that she was NOT going to get milked, last evening !!
We are now in the beginning of a real winter. We have had nothing but rain all Autumn long with mild temperatures. December has been rung in with not only low temperatures -14c but SNOW!
I love Gullringstorp in Spring and Summer but Gullringstorp really shines during the Winter!
This snow has caught us all a bit off guard. Like everyone in the countryside, we are now scrambling to get everything done that needs to be done before being buried in snow.
We have stocked up on hay and straw supplies in the stable, Leif has weather lined the stable doors that needed it and covered our pond the has many koi. Of course all the shovels have been activated and the chains have been placed on the tractor which is needed for moving large quantities of snow around Gullringstorp.
Max has worn last year’s winter suit and I realized that little Max, like all of us has put on a few pounds, so I have been in the market for a new winter suit for him. My husband laughs when Max gets “dressed” to go out but, he is not a big dog and he does get cold. Not now, because he has a new warm winter suit!
It is important to get all the supplies need for the goats, they need fresh hay and straw especially during winter. Any hay or straw that fall to the box floor, is added cushion and warmth during the cold winter months. Our goats, like all goats love to ear hay and straw and some of it will and always does hit the floor. We don’t mind.
I hope your winter is beautiful on your eyes and heart…