Archive for March, 2011

The deliciousness of blue

Have you ever seen anything more startlingly lovely

Than a bird singing in the blue of a winter sky –

Or tasted  anything as delicious as the creamy snow

Glittering on the shelves of trees?

And have you heard anything sweeter

Than the music created by sunshine

Streaming in through a stained glass window of branches?

For more deliciousness, please visit: Skywatch.


Eating your way into spring

When you live in a cold country, you have to seize every chance to celebrate.

Friday dawned very cold and snowy: a perfect day to celebrate spring!

In Sweden, Annunciation Day, also known as Our Lady’s Day, is commonly called Waffle Day.

This is because Our Lady’s Day is ‘Vårfrudagen’ in Swedish.

If you say that very quickly, it sounds like ‘Våffeldagen’, which means Waffle Day.

And Swedes take this very seriously. It’s time to take out the waffle iron

And make the waffle mixture and cook until golden brown.

Each part of the waffle is shaped like a heart and a whole waffle is made up of five small hearts… Waffles must be the food of love, don’t you think?

(The waffle iron does all the work and tells you when the waffles are ready, so there is very little chance of burning them!)


Then comes the fun part – decorating your waffle with fresh fruit and cream.

Bliss!

So next time someone says, “What a load of waffle!” The only response can be: “Yes please!”

For more traditions, please visit: My World!


Joyful

Sometimes when you’re enjoying the colours of the setting sun,

You just can’t help but feel the joy bubbling up inside you

Until it tickles and delights

And make you want to roll around in happiness.

All we have to do is open our arms (or paws) and welcome in the joy of the day!

For more happy pets, please visit: Camera Critters.


Illumination

Even a fresh snowfall couldn’t dim the joy of this time of year: the spring equinox.

A time when the light starts coming back, ice and snow recede eventually

And long evenings unfurl perfumed with flowers and warmth.

As one hemisphere gets shorter days and the other longer ones,

This Yin and Yang dance reminds me that we all share this world

And that we are all dependent on each other for balance and harmony.

I will love the light for it shows me the way.  Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.

– Og Mandino

For more harmony, please visit: Skywatch.


The epitome of Swedishness

Every summer, many Swedes take a month’s holiday to relax and get back in touch with nature – and themselves.

They enjoy long light evenings in summer cottages with outdoor plumbing (and sometimes no electricity)  in the middle of the woods.

You may remember that we did this very thing two years ago when we hired some little red cottages out in the countryside.

We are repeating the experience this year – but in a little timbered cottage with an actual toilet (a dry closet) inside!

We got the keys to the house at the weekend. It was like visiting a fairytale cottage.

A few snowdrops waved in greeting while they enjoyed the spring sunshine.

A short walk away, there is a beach on the shores of a sea inlet.

Right now, it’s covered in snow and ice, but I can just imagine the sand and the sea, can’t you?

Oscar is guarding the wooden playhouse. The bigger house with the veranda (see photo below) is the guest cottage with room for four people.

The brown wooden building between the two is the guest toilet.

After all, even if you have indoor plumbing, there are some traditions you just shouldn’t change!

For more culture, please visit: My World.


Golden boy

On Friday as I left the kids at school, a gang of crying children rushed up to me to let me know some sad news.

This lovely boy, Frodo (one of Oscar’s puppies from his first litter), had cancer in the mouth and was going to be put down that very day.

Before Frodo and his family moved away, he was a regular fixture in our house, staying here for company and exercise several times a week.

I walked home from school with a very heavy heart.

Then I thought of all those tears and how he had touched the lives of so many little ones. How he was never too tired to play or walk or run.

How he was always happy to see you, no matter what.

I remembered all the joy he had brought to so many, including myself – and I felt a bit better.

This surely speaks of a life well spent and a dog well loved.

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

For more darling creatures, please visit: Camera Critters.


The vast universe of the heart

Beauty stole over the skies

In silken veils of colour.

I sensed something special was going to happen.

I watched and waited. And enjoyed the cold sunset

Until I was rewarded with a heart in the sky.

“The little space within the heart is as great as the vast universe.

The heavens and the earth are there, and the sun and the moon and the stars.

Fire and lightning and winds are there, all that now is and all that is not.”

– The Upanishads

For more beauty, please visit: Skywatch.


Bejewelled

As many of you know, my world is submerged under white snowstorm skies and a warm blanket of snow at this time of year.

The trick to enjoying a long winter is to capture its treasures.

Bedazzling diamonds glinting in the sun,

Winter twins wearing their diamond tiaras

And there – a miracle!

A ruby jewel lighting up my world.

The latest disaster in Japan shows us that life really is a miracle.

(Healing thoughts go out to all affected in the affected areas.)

For more treasures, please visit: My World.


Horse sense

“One reason why birds and horses are happy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” – Dale Carnegie

Last week, when we arrived at the ranch, Anklebiter #1′s favourite horse was out teaching a girl how not to be frightened of horses.

So we saddled up this cutie instead.

Gleysir. An Icelandic horse with wild hair.

Just look at his fabulous winter coat! No wonder he never gets cold.

Some say that the art of riding – just like the art of life – is learning how to fall.

(But for me, it’s more about keeping the horse between myself and the ground.)

For more charming creatures, please visit: Camera Critters.


Wiring the moon

Telegraph wires, laden with snow, cross the twilight sky.

Now, the moon peeks boldly through

Leading the eye to a rainbow moonscape of snow.

What you see in life all depends on your perspective.

For more deliciousness, please visit: Skywatch.


High exposure

Sometimes the body can be starved of sunlight just as the heart is starved of love.

And when you finally get what you long for, your whole body tingles with delight.

You sing with the joy that life brings you.

I grabbed my camera and went out on a photo shoot (it’s been ages since the last one because of the cloud cover).

I didn’t realize for a while that I had left my ISO on a high number, but these over-exposed shots somehow reflect what I was feeling.

The colours were so strong and vibrant that they hurt my eyes with their intensity.

Somehow, the unaccustomed sun made everything so bright -

A dazzling feast for the eyes with splashes of merry colour here and there.

And even after I adjusted the exposure, that wonderful light persisted.

The light of life, of love, of spring in my mind.

For more stories, please visit: My World!


Bright spark

Every Friday, Anklebiter 1 (and sometimes number 2) and I head out to a horse ranch as soon as school finishes.

The road winds past dilapidated barns and wide open countryside; the road twisting and turning and narrowing as we near our destination in the middle of nowhere.

We brush Attila, who despite his name is a darling, and then we saddle up and my daughter rides away, with the rest of us (dog included) trailing after…

Last week, AB1 went to the field to fetch Attila. Several large horses blocked the way and wouldn’t let her out.

She asked me to help by unhitching the electric fence wires and then chase these horses – did I mention how huge they are? – away.

I took my gloves off and grabbed the hook thingie to detach the wires.

Apparently, you’re supposed to grab the plastic handles and not the actual wires of an electric fence…

I yelled loudly. I shook and you could almost see my skeleton as I vibrated like a cartoon character.

But my piercing scream did the trick. The large horses ran off, terrified.

The ranch owners came running.

“Oh, it’s just me!” I said with my singed hair standing up on end. “Just testing the electric fence for you…”

Pause.

“It all works fine!”

(No wonder my daughter says I’m embarrassing…)


For more electrifying stories, please visit: Camera Critters.


Winter sunflowers

I love the bare bones of winter. The windswept solitary landscapes that speak of cold and golden moments of stillness.

It’s a mistake to think that winter is a dead season. It’s a season of well-deserved rest for nature,

And beneath those bones, there is furious activity after a long period of sleep. Seeds are popping, roots growing,

Flowers waiting patiently to be born.

Beneath the weight of ice and snow, there is a feeling of something more…

Something is waiting there.

It’s just that we can’t see the whole story.

Yet.

For more winter (or summer skies), please visit: Skywatch.


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