Monday, June 25, 2007

Anatomy of a midsummer?

Found this ad where McDonalds have analyzed the swedish midsummer. It says "The day after since 1973". (McDonalds was established in sweden 1973).

I usually end the celebration of midsummer after about one third of this "script", so no hamburgers are needed the day after... :)



Nikon, makers of microscopes and optics for telescopes among other things, have a great site with comparisons of things of all sizes, from 13.7 billion light years (our universe, still expanding) down to one femtometer (the proton). Check it out!

(Listening to while posting: the chirping of the swifts)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Midsommar i Sverige

Prästkragar på landet

Anna dansar kring midsommarstången

Komplicerade dansturer i Stenkvista sockens folkdräkt.

Vi har ätit sill och potatis och jordgubbar och tagit nubbe och nu spelar vi sjörövarspel precis som det skall vara.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Our fearfull leader

video here

The artist simply edited out everything except what you hear. There is no repitition, he actually said those words that number of times. 579 days left.

Midsummer, today! Stamp of the Day too.

All the Swedes on this blog must be busy celebrating midsummer because there is not one post about it yet! Well, full report from the American side of midsummer soon; we are looking forward to the Swedish report too!

Have fun! Enjoy the sun, the akvavit and the herring! Sill och potatis at folket!

Stamp of the day is a typical Swedish summer picture from southern Sweden, Skane, home of Inspector Wallander. The yellow fields are flowering rapeseed (canola/raps) and the farm house is in the old traditional Danish-Scanian tradition with straw roofs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Svensk design blog

I found a rather interesting Swedish blog,, that has some fun artsy entries. Even if you can't read the Swedish, you can look at the fun pictures. Ytlig means superficial in Swedish, but this is not superficial at all.

They have blogged about a great movie about typography, a pictures of 4 stories of chairs by Doris Salcedo, and some amazing sculptures made out of pencils by Jennifer Maestre (they look kind of soft, like muppet fur, but they are sharp!). I think the internet really has made it possible for smaller artists to be seen more, now when anyone can link and discuss their work. I imagine that this has revolutionized the marketing of lesser known artists, at least I hope so.

What are groundhogs good for?

We have a vegetable garden, a nice one that I spend a lot of effort on. It is enclosed by a deer fence, a rabbit fence, and should be rather safe from groundhogs. But it is not. This year, the groundhogs (at least 2, one that is a giant), has devoured all our bean plants, lots of lettuce, some pepper plants, an amazong amount of strawberries, and all the flower buds of the poppies (wonder if they got high on that?).

We have tried to trap them, but they have managed to get the bait and out of the trap before it snaps shut 4 times now! I don't understand it. We even tied the apple to the roof inside the trap so they couldn't just snatch the bait and get out quickly. Either the trap is broken, but then why does it snap shut after?, or the groundhog is too smart. This is turning into a major problem, I wonder what alternative methods that will work... Carbon monoxide poisoning, cat litter down the nest holes, smoke bombs, drowning in garden ponds? The large groundhog is one that survived our capturing attempts last year too, maybe he is ready to die of old age soon. Probably just wishful thinking.

Groundshogs are vegetarians so in our garden we don't need them (at least they could have eaten japanese beetles or voles). Also, they dig, dig, dig, and destroy the foundation to our barn, and my flower bed. Last year they decided to put their hole right were I had planted a new shrub. After a month, no shrub was to be seen, only a hole.

Facts: Groundhogs are a pest. Groundhogs belong to the squirrel family. Groundhogs can live anywhere, but not in our garden.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Optical illusion art

Jacek Yerka from Poland has done some amazing art filled with fantasy and optical illusion.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Impromptu poem of the day

Stress, paperwork
dollar signs, sweat
stress, oil change, heat
hot oil, hot blood
hot stove, grill, warm dinner
cool beer
one sip more
breath, oxygen
smile, breeze

by LS

Drawing with text (and music)

Turn on the sound, and then click this link as an example of typographic illustration.

Land of fire and ice- Iceland

...but also great green fields, black lavafields, enless shores and big volcanoes. I have always had a passion for this country, now AnS is going there this summer. I envy her a lot! Some stamps, unfortunately low resolution, but you get the general idea I think.

a geyser called Strokkur





Hverarönd at Namaskard, boiling mud!

Skeggi-mountain at Arnarfjord


Skaftafell- Vatnajökull

Herdubreid- mountain

Iceland birds

Icelandic postofficer! Maybe not nowadays but before...

by EH

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Stamps of the Day: Waterfalls

Here are three large waterfalls in three countries, in relation to AnS' post on her trip to the Swedish mountains and a big waterfall there.

Waterfalls are something special; they can really make you feel small and unimportant. These large masses of water that just come and come over the edge for thousands of years, and never stop. Waterfall are really timeless, or rather 'time-ignorant'.

Fjällresa i Dalarna

Fulufjäll och tjärn

Inger och jag gjorde en fjällresa en vecka i Dalarna. Vi gick på leden till Njupeskärsfallet. Alldeles stilla och över oss spelade en gluttsnäppa sitt flöjtande läte och bergfinken bräkte. Vägen till fallet slingrade sig genom en granurskog och längs en skogsbäck. Skönt inunder fallet i skuggan i den 30 gradiga värmen och med en svag fläkt. Jag målade akvarell. Leden tillbaka gick förbi en talusbrant genom en fjällbjörkskog och genom en tallurskog 500 årig. Med torra vresiga tallskelett mot skyn. En korp tog tre krickungar i näbben trots krickans ursinniga attacker. Genom en fuktig granurskog ner till naturummet.

Renar på Nipfjället
Gick över mark täkt av blommande krupljung och lappljung. Hett och vindstilla. Småspov spelade och ängspiplärkan drillade i skyn. Stora renhjorder kom nära, nära. Badade i en liten tjärn på kalfjället.
Husvagnen på kalfjället vid Grövelsjön
Fortsatt värme. Vi gick till snön och kastade snöboll. Videt blommade och vresiga, knotiga fjällbjörkar. En sävsparv sjöng vid en porlande fjällbäck. Njöt.
av AnS

Saturday, June 16, 2007


A raindrop is just a drop of water to one person, but to another, its an abnormal world of curiosity.

Friday, June 15, 2007


recently i found a cool game were you play as an endangered species on an alien planet. here is the link. *tip* if you make webs on each level in certain areas, you may be able to chase something into your web and eat it.

Different kind of stamps

Handmade stamps

some lovely ones here....

Stamp of the Day: Personal Computer

Remember when computers looked like this? Remember those old floppy disks that could bend, the 5 inch ones? It is interesting the keyboard design hasn't changed at all, still the same since the type writers - I guess that is successful, functional design. And those dark monitors with text moving up and down and no icon to be seen anywhere.

Our Dad had the first PC in our house, not counting the XZ-81, or whatever it was called that you hooked up to the TV. I remember he had to load the operating system from a floppy disk every time he started up the computer, maybe it had no hard drive? When I was in seventh grade we had a computer class, and we had to learn MS-DOS and write a little simple program. This was for all students, mandatory. I wonder how many high school students today know what dir, cd, md, and / stands for on a MS-DOS command line.

This stamp is in a special collection celebrating the 20th century - I am sure there will be more stamps from this collection later about technological innovations, history, music, and movies, etc.

Clean your keyboard

Got a dirty keyboard? Just pop it in the dishwasher!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stamp of the Day: Woodpecker

Last night when out walking we heard a woodpecker drumming on an old tree in the forest. That reminded me of this stamp, which I think is the only one I have seen where part of the stamp is being destroyed by the animal on the stamp. Note how the letter are being hacked away by this efficient bird.

The stamp was published as part of the celebration of the Biological Museum (Biologiska Museet) in Sweden.

The bird (spillkraka) is similar to the pileated woodpecker of North America.

Time and travel

160000 years of mankind in a few (or many, depending how you see it) steps.

(Listening to while posting: Steve Reich - Six Pianos)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ick, tick!

I just pulled a big tick off my back, with the great Swedish tick picker (Fastingplockare Tick1). I could do it myself, one-handed far back over my shoulder because of this nifty innovation. This was especially good since everybody else is asleep in the house.

It wasn't a deer tick, which can give you Lyme disease (Borrelia), but it still gives me icky shivers. I just don't like things that crawls, slivers, and gets attached to humans, be it ticks, leeches, or mosquitos. Or those nasty horse flies (bromsar). But ticks are worst, they can get into unmentionable areas and they stay on and hide from you. I really, really, really don't like ticks.
Now I am itching all over, and I just got rid of most of my poison ivy.

A whole movie on YouTube?

Lord of the Rings anyone? Watch it on youtube to see all 3 wonderful movies! :D


Huuurdi buuh!

And now, the feature we all have been waiting for: The blog as the Swedish chef reads it! Bork bork bork!
All swedes realize that he says "bort, bort, bort" (away, away, away) before he tosses whatever he holds in his hands, but try to tell that to this english-centric world/internet... ;)


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Stamp of the Day: Beets of course

In honor of Borscht, Russians, and betalain-red plants. Need I say any more? Oh, there is some goat cheese and chives on the Swedish stamp too. Welcome to the world of food.

Vackraste svenska ordet har blivit korat:

Forsta plats (1st place): Sommarvind (summer wind)
Andra plats (2nd place): Solregn (sun rain)
Tredje plats (3rd place): Dagsmeja (no idea what this is in English)
as per this article.

I didn't even know that there was a phenomenon called solregn? Vad ar det? I love sommarvind of course. Dagsmeja (photo) is in the spring when the sun warms up the snow so it melts on top, just to freeze again at night. But I don't think dagsmeja is a very pretty word in itself, even if depicts a nice, pleasant thing.

Do you have any pretty English words? I love the words sunset and dawn, and also foxglove, because it is an unexpected combination of two words.

Snapshot: Борщ для обеда

Inspired by recent russian posts I made myself Borstj (russian beet soup) with sour cream for lunch.

Edit: Here is the recipe I used, should be enough for 4 (big, O.K.-sized) servings:

6 beets (0,5 kg)
3 potatoes
2 onions
1 l vegetable broth
salt, pepper
crushed caraway
1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Peel beets, onions and potatoes and slice them thin. Boil in broth for 30 minutes. After that, mix the vegetables with half of the broth to a smooth purée. Put back in pot and dilute with the rest of the broth. Add spices. Serve with sour cream.


Evolutionary beliefs in America...

A new Gallup poll shows that fewer people believe in evolution in America now than a decade ago, and it is strongly linked to your political beliefs and how often you go to church. What an abysmal failure of logical thinking and education. Logic needs to be taught - look at this result of the study:

About a quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution's explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago.
25% believe that you can have it both ways? How is that working, logically?

I generally dislike the use of 'believe' when it comes to evolution. We don't say we believe in gravity, electricity, sound waves, and atoms, but that is the same thing.
I am in awe at every little and big creature and plant here on Earth, I find the diversity amazing! Like these jellyfishes by Ernst Haeckel.

A collection of Cape May houses

Here is a collection of some houses (buildings) that EH and I saw in Cape May, NJ, last week. Architectural diversity is also a trademark of America, even if it is hard to believe when you see acres and acres with newly built and ugly 'McMansions'.
Cape May is famous for its Victorian Seaside houses, many built in the late 1800s or early 1900s. City people took the train from Philadelphia to the shore in the summer, where it was cooler and less smelly and noisy than in the summer city. Photo by EH.

This Victorian house is being renovated, quite drastically. On the door there is a sign that says CLOSED. Photo by EH.

Strip malls don't need to be ugly flat boxes - here is one based on the Victorian style. Photo by EH.

Light houses and bird houses, there is a study in size differences. The purple martins love in colonies, and these multiple birdhouses are popular here. They are always white. Purple martins are a kind of swallow, nearly black. This is Cape May lighthouse of course! Photo by LS.

Some other animals need housing too, like this hermit crab we found on the shore. I read that there is a lack of shells of the right size for hermit crabs so some designer are making fake shells and spreading them out on beaches. This crab found the right thing! Photo by EH.

Picture of the week history

red stamens by LS

Paddan Paddy by EH

smooth birch bark by LS

Anemone nemorosa Vitsippa by EH

Red-winged blackbird by PP

Fjädertofsspinnare (butterfly larvae) by EH

Do you feel deflated? by EH

Wet crocus by PP

Kajak 2007 by EH

Summerfield 2007 by EH

Roller coaster by LS

Snow blanket by EH

Caught. [O.K.]

Digitalis from Wij gardens 2007 by EH

Calla from Longwood Gardens by LS

Teide and a boat by EH

Wasp on Morinda flower, Dominican Republic by LS

Famous old tractor seat, Adriance Buckeye by LS

(Toot) [O.K.]

First snow by EH

(Jump) [O.K.]

Santa Fe fence by LS

Green and brown autumn by EH

Magnolia in Paris by EH

' Garden peace' by LS

Green berry fart (bärfis) on pink stuff (E.H.)

Need needles? Or are they needless?[O.K.]

Red and blue by EH

Oil & brass [O.K.]

Sandy Hook lighthouse by LS

It's a fact! [O.K.]

Anemone blurr by EH

Ant on peony bud, by AREA

Talvia's hairdo [O.K.]

Sunset on Lake Michigan, USA, by LS

Donacia sp. by EH


Eye by EH

Migration (O.K.)

Climax locomotive #3 in Cass, West Virginia, by PP

Eggplant by O.K.

Vedbod och uthus (Swedish woodshed and outhouse) by LS

Toes by EH

Mjölkört (milkweed) by EH

(actually, it is 'fire weed' in American English)

Far away- Iceland -98 by EH

Close beaver encounter in Gryckån, Hälsingland by EH

Midnight sun in Abisko, by LS

Chihuli glass, by O.K.

Dinner salad at T J Buckley's, Brattleboro, Vermont, by LS

Red Spotted Newt in Molly Stark State Forest, Vermont, by LS

American Snack by LS

Hearts of the Katsura tree by E.H.

Turtle in a box - a box turtle in NJ by EH

Islamic mosaics at Gur Emir Mausoleum in Samarkand, photo by LS

Propeller flower (Phlox), photo by EH

EH asked for some kind of linking to earlier pictures of the week. I am afraid that it has to be a manual thing though. So my idea is to refer to this post that we have to update when a new picture is added every week.

How to add a new picture to this post:
Right click on the picture of the week in the sidebar. Choose "copy image location", add picture from the web and paste in the link. Use small size, centered. Done!
When editing the sidebar text leave the html ending the line as it is, it contains the link to this post.