Well, get ready for a whole bunch of photographs, I took them all with my iPhone (3GS) yesterday.
We were invited to celebrate THE VERY TRADITIONAL SWEDISH MUST MUST MUST CELEBRATE - HOLIDAY
m i d s o m m a r
with our friends Malyn and Philip and the 2 sons A. & N.
They live on a lovely farm just outside of a lovely little village called "Tolg".
I took following photo of their house in August 2009.
When we got there late afternoon, everything was prepared.
Look at that...
The table setting was really lovely, with real wild strawberries treaded on real blades of grass.
Midsommar is all about spending time with family and friends, AND good FOOD!
As a starter we had potatoes, salmon and herring.
AND typically swedish.
A MUST at MIDSOMMAR!
This is the lady of the house...
Here we have the man of the house...
He and one of the boys opened up a bottle of their home brewed beer (it tasted really good, even for someone like me who doesn't usually like beer)
...and the others had either normal beer, white wine or this...
Elderberry juice - with taste of wild strawberries, again...
A MUST HAVE AT MIDSOMMAR!
In the background we listened to a couple of typical swedish MUST-LISTEN TO (OR SING)
midsommar/festival - songs...
I guess it is a good idea to get one of those Cd's for ourselves at home, just in case ;-)
Then, (the boys had already fired up the BBQ-coles when we got there) it was time to put the meat on the GRILL!
AND Malyn, the lady of the house, surprised us with another MUST HAVE - MUST DO MIDSOMMAR TRADITION!
Remember when I wrote in my last post "midsommar vacation" that I (or in that case WE) wouldn't be wearing a chaplet from daisies on my head???!!!
WELL, sometimes you just gotta go with the flow, right! ;-))
The nice thing was that we all got to wear those pretty chaplets, even the two young men!
They wore them with pride, as you can see...
Handsome Handsome Handsome! :)
The hosts wore them with pride too, look how they shine!
Then, after a visit to the horses, with some pieces of crisp bread (knäckebröd) in our hands, it was time for DINNER!
Oh it tasted "så gott"! :)) All of it!
Ice cold Schnapps was served for the brave ones during the meal, right in those colorful and (in my opinion huge) shot glasses.
Another MUST HAVE - MUST DO midsommar tradition! :)
Time flew by while we ate, talked and laughed and before we even knew it it was already time for coffee and STRAWBERRY CAKE - the ultimate MUST HAVE midsommar - ingredient!
I watched Malyn work on finishing the strawberry cake (part of it was already made the evening before).
I could see that she had years of experience putting "that thing" together. :)
I assure you, that cake tasted as good as it looked...
"Michi" hurry uuuuup, one picture is enough! Coffee is ready and we wanna get started with that caaaaaake!! :)))
Y U M M I I I I EEEEEEEEE!
Even though we had to go home again way too soon (our puppy dogs were home alone) it was still a real treat, the hosts, the food, the "ambience" and all the good laughs we had.
A big "thank you" to the host-family !!! ♥
Last but not least I post a photo of "Bessy"... she didn't get meat and didn't get cake, but she did get pet and scratched a lot. And she got "levergodis", I had some of Cleo's in my pocket (dog biscuits).
AND the boys, A. & N., took her for a walk!
I am positive that she had a fun midsommerafton (midsummer-evening) as well :))
One week vacation.
One week of sleeping late.
One week of a (almost) daily Cafe Latté at Espresso House.
One week of family time.
Today we had 17 hours and 54 minutes of daylight.
2 seconds less then yesterday.
We, and everyone else in Sweden, will celebrate "midsommar" on friday.
A "must-have" at every midsommar-party is strawberry cake.
And a lot of girls will wear a chaplet from daisies on their heads. Not me ;-)
This time of the year we are surrounded by lush meadows and happy, fat cows. :)
The weather has been a real mix between very sunny and hot, rain showers and thunder storms and gusty winds. Quite nice actually.
And exactly those gusty winds help dry the firewood for the next winter, which is still sitting out on the courtyard, nicely stacked.
It happens with increasing frequency that I loose track of time. Time seems to become less important to me - and so does watching TV by the way.
The days and weeks go by and I only seem to notice individual moments, special moments with family, our animals and (sometimes too far away-) friends, as well as seemingly unspectacular, but often fun encounters with so called strangers (and I have lots of those - I am a bus driver remember?!)
Tree Rings have always fascinated me.
A trees growth depends on nutrition and weather conditions. The amount of tree rings tell us how old the tree was when it was cut, and their thickness tell us if the tree saw good years or not so good years.
A humans (spiritual) growth also depends on nutrition and "climate".
What are the things that are so important to us, things that nourish and cherish us?
What do we need to become passionate, loving and unique individuals?
What does it take for someone to get to a point in his or her life where it is possible to be who you are?
To not care about being judged by others AND at the same time care enough about others to not be selfish.
Life is a funny journey. So interesting and challenging, we just gotta say yes to the gift.
The gift of freedom of choice. Of course there are people on this earth who don't have much to choose in life, some are born into more challenging circumstances then others...
But one thing we all have in common.
We all have the freedom to choose how we see, feel and act.
We have the freedom of the mind.
And the mind is powerful.
We have the freedom to choose to leave the past behind us.
We have the freedom to choose to forgive the ones we blame for our suffering.
We have the freedom to choose between suffering and excepting what is.
We have the freedom to choose between having too high expectations of the future and welcoming what is into our hearts.
We have the freedom of the mind.
And the mind is powerful.
Time is not important.
It is not important how old we are and how many wrinkles we have on our skin.
In fact I think that wrinkles are cool.
Just like those tree rings on the tree trunk...
Life is a fabulous journey.
Strangers are friends and sometimes friends are strangers.
But at the end of the day it doesn't matter because we are all the same.
On monday I had a acupuncture and cranio sacral treatment (that might explain this strange blog entry for most of you ;-))
and at one moment during that treatment I felt "very little", tiny in fact.
I felt like transferred directly back into my childhood.
And then, the next moment, I had another thought coming up which put a smile on my face....
Småland is a province in southern Sweden, which is divided into three counties.
Size: 29.400 km².
The highest summit in Småland measures only 377 m above sea level.
There are a lot of beautiful lakes in the area and forrest covers about 50 % of Småland's surface which makes it a perfect home for all sorts of wildlife.
IKEA was founded in the Småland city of Älmhult, not too far from where we live.
And! It's a wildflower paradise!
The province has it's own provincial flower, the Twinflower.
Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to see one yet... so this is a borrowed image ;-)
I JUST LOVE SWEDEN!
I've never lived on a place where so many different (wild)flowers grow and in the part of Austria, where I grew up, we did not have the chance to watch Canada Geese raise their offspring...