tisdag 31 maj 2011

Good Morning!

Greetings from my Gotland garden (at 6.30 AM, Tuesday) foaming with cow parsley!The first rays of this splendid day are filtering through the canopies of the old oaks.
The smells from a numer of different kinds of lilacs are heavy..
So is the sweet fragrance of the cow parsley. The cockoo is repeating its promising chants
in a distance.

With no neighbours I feel free to stroll in my nightie with my camera at this early hour..
Fragrances, fragrances, fragrances..
"Here comes the sun.."
Wood cranebills are promoting the upcoming midsummer! In Swedish they are called Midsummer flowers.

söndag 29 maj 2011

A tale of a very old house..

”The natives were jovial, courteous and humane.”
In 1741,
Carl Linnæus visited Gotland:
Carl von Linné

Yesterday, I had a chance to enter a very old house, situated on my neighbour´s grounds close to their beautiful Gotland farm at Nygranne, Gotland.
No one really knows when it was built but a guess is during the end of the 17th century. Very few interventions have been undertaken as to resturation measures - proving the quality of the materials and the methods of the old days..
Layers uopn layers of old wallpapers depicts the trends (and economy) through the years....
The building used to house an inn with lodgings a sort of half-way-hostel 1,5 kms from Visby for travellers heading towards Gotland´s northern coast.

The entrance door..
The tavern..

The surroundings..
Now, one of the historically interesting parts around this old inn is that Carl von Linné - the Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature - once made a stop here for the night. He was en route on his famous botanical trip to northern Gotland. And he spent the night here on the upper floor of this building. And most probably some food and a "Gotlandsdricku" (see video below on the traditional brewing in Gotland. Swedish only) in the tavern downstairs..
Carl von Linné, Alexander Roslin, 1775.
Oil painting in the portrait collection at
Gripsholm Castle.
Carl von Linné is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the father of modern ecology. It is said that he was dead tired upon arrival after having spent some 14 hours on horseback from Visby; the principal town of Gotland.
Actually, he spent some time by my garden too. There is a sign by my fence about his explorations here of the impressive biodiversity of this area.
(The one I´m priviledged to enjoy every day - especially now in the month of May!)
More on Carl von Linné..

God Grief how complicated!
In May 1741, ten days after he was appointed Professor, he undertook an expedition to the island provinces of Öland and Gotland with six students from the university, to look for plants useful in medicine. First, they travelled to Öland and stayed there until 21 June, when they sailed to Visby in Gotland. Linnaeus and the students stayed on Gotland for about a month, and then returned to Uppsala. During this expedition, they found 100 previously unrecorded plants. The observations from the expedition were later published in Öländska och Gothländska Resa,
written in Swedish. Like Flora Lapponica, it contained both zoological and botanical observations, as well as observations concerning the culture in Öland and Gotland. And finally, as a curiosity: In this book he made a note about the living conditions of Gotland farmers as being:
"Good, orderly and well-arranged".

söndag 22 maj 2011

Out of the blue..

..and a dear childhood friend (with whom I haven´t had any contact with for some 30 years) called me the other day to inform me that one of my paintings from 1961 was now hanging on his wall. (I hade given the painting to his mother long ago and he had now inherited it)
It´s a rather large painting and one I hardly remember. He was kind to send a photo and here she is the lady-with-the-golden-locks! A premonition of the upcoming psychedelic era?
He said he was quite fond of it!
Can you belive it?!!

torsdag 19 maj 2011

The garden in a May sunset..

Having been away for a week from Gotland, I returned to my garden yesterday. This paradise garden with its many seasonal faces never ceases to amaze me! Summer is just about to explode and the fruit trees are all in bloom. So I went into my haven with the camera just before supper and had to share..
(Just hate to have to travel and leave this timeof year but alas! sometimes you just have too)

All the blackbirds that I had fed through the harsh winter were singing happily and my almost tame phesant was proudly strolling around in his sparkling outfit..(he refuses to get within range of my camera though..)

There are plenty of orchids in the garden and the amount is increasing after the clearing of some trees and bushes last fall.

Soon the rapeseed field in the back will be full of poppies - a sign of ecological agriculture, I guess.
My small veggie garden where I planted Jerusalem artichokes and tomatoes today.

The old cherry tree that almost reaches into my bedroom on the upper floor must be almost 100-years old. It´s time in bloom is very short - just a week or so. I enjoy every minute of it and you can easily see it is hard to leave this little paradise this time of year..

onsdag 11 maj 2011

The Till Tale. Or The Tale of The Tilted Tub..

My only neighbour here in Gotland is an old but vital farmer whose mother was the sister of one my predecessors in the house I bought. They are all cousins and and related one way or the other here in the parish where I live.
Getting to know them is getting gradually to know my old house´s history.
Yesterday Rolf payed a visit and having often played in the house as a child, he felt quite at home and stormed into my small bath room and exclaimed "Aha!"
"Do you know why it is so small in here? Do you know what is in the area behind the wall?"
No I didn´t for sure..
"When they decided to renovate the old bathroom and to get rid of the old bathtub, it turned out that there was no way to get it out without breaking a wall or two.."
So they simply tilted the tub and built a wall to cover it!
So now I know. I have a big stand-up bathtub built into the wall between the livingroom and the bathroom! Great!
The things you find out..
Anyway, my neighbour came by the other day and tilled and ploughed and harrowed a strip of land for me. So I have now ordered maize seeds and now dream of maize of the "Sweet Nugget" kind!
Keep your finger crossed I will succeed! Please.

I haven´t grown any maize since my African years. But then again, then you relied on a lot of help from experienced gardeners. I remember so well in Tanzania the way my gardener repeated:"Mbili, mbili" while sowing and planting, which meant "Two, two" at the same time.
(If one seedling should die or not succeed.)

So I will surely hum "mbili, mbili" when planting.
And maybe a little of my favourite Malalaika-tune in Swahilii too:

Nakupenda Malalaika..

torsdag 5 maj 2011