Thursday, September 6, 2007

More retrospectives. . .

Catching up again! :o)

A couple of random (non-date-specific) notes:
  • I've been admiring the cattails that grow here and there in this area of Sweden. I don't know if they're any different from the cattails that grow at home. . .
  • Last week (or so), this part of Sweden-- and maybe all of it, for all I know-- had colder temperatures than normal for this time of year. It even got down to freezing in spots, a couple of nights. I was glad I'd packed plenty of "chilly weather clothes". Now (today, at least), the weather is a bit milder.
Saturday, Sept. 1st
  • Donald got Ingela to check out a couple of library books on Norway, and he also borrowed a few maps from Jocke (who goes to Norway on a fairly regular basis, for fishing/boating).
  • We stopped at a second-hand shop in Säffle and found a few little knick-knacks, as well as an old suitcase to fill with any extra thing we want to bring home with us. Thanks to a "CHINA" sticker on its side, we will appear to be very well traveled. ;o)
  • Saturday was a festival day for this part of Sweden. "Skördefest på Värmlandnäs"-- a "harvest feast/day/party". Several farms and other sites hosted visitors. I believe some old mills were "demonstrated"and some sheep sheared. There was lots of food and various wares were for sale. There were really too many sites to visit in one day, so we only stopped at a few places.
  • We stopped first at Jonsrönning-- the farm where Donald's father grew up (and where some of Donald's family still live, including his farmor and one of his uncles). The folks there sell raise lots of plants all year, which they sell at this festival, so that was the major attraction at that stop. There were many attractive plants-- lots of succulents. I saw a few I wouldn't have minded taking home, myself, but of course that wasn't possible. Someone was grilling burgers, so we had lunch there.
  • As we were leaving Jonsrönning, Donald returned a missed call and arranged to meet up with his parents and Thorbjörn at another place. I'm not sure what the place was. A dairy farm, maybe? In any case, there were lots of cows. (g) Some of them were looking at us with wild from windows, probably wondering why their usually quiet spot was suddenly overrun with strangers. (If cows are capable of that much thought... ;o)) Let's see. . . what else was there? Lots of locally grown potatoes for sale. . . Tiger the Milko cat was there-- in the flesh, er, fur-- much to the delight of a few kids. A few vintage tractors were on display, including an old John Deere that seemed to be the main attraction. ;o) At one point, it drove round and round in a circle, all by itself. (With no-one driving it, I mean. (g) ) There were also other booths and things I didn't see very well, because we were really just using this spot as a place to meet.
  • Finally, we went to another farm where you could buy handmade jewelry, hand/loom-woven fabrics (tablecloths, maybe rugs...), fresh vegetables, local honey and the like, and more food. It was time for our second lunch. ;o) The meal focused around an unusual turkey recipe. I think the turkey (which was chopped into small bits) was smoked and marinated, but I'm not sure. It tasted kind of like taco seasoning, but not quite the same. . . Not "Mexican", really. Anyway, it was unlike any turkey I'd ever eaten before. The vegetables weren't different from the vegetables we eat at home and so aren't worth describing ;o) but the nacho chips were unusual. They tasted kind of like the white cheddar-flavored chips you can get at home, but I'd never seen that flavor of nachos before. Oh! And I was amused to find that the brand of cola they served was RC Cola! (A nice, homey blast from the past. (g))
  • The weather for the day was supposed to be mild and pleasant. It started out that way, but was steadily deteriorating, growing cloudy, windy, and chilly. While we stood in line for our turkey meal, scattered drops of rain began to fall, and by the time we sat under an open tent to eat, the wind was threatening to tear off the tarp from its frame. Fortunately, we managed to finish eating without being blown away entirely. ;o)
  • We stopped by Sandmon on our way back to Säffle to borrow a few things for the trip to Norway-- an ice chest, warmer coats, gloves, hats.
Sunday, Sept. 2nd
  • The main event of the day was going to a christening for the new baby of one of Donald's cousins. (The cousin is Susanne-- the new baby is Louise.) It was a pretty long drive, so we carpooled with Ingela and Thorbjörn. (Donald's parents and mormor-- because this is her side of the family-- rode in another car.)
  • I don't know the name of the church-- and Donald's not here to ask-- but it was up on a fairly high hill-- windswept and dramatic on that cloudy day.
  • This was my first time (that I can recall) to witness a Lutheran church service. (I'm not sure how much Lutheran churches vary, between those in Sweden and those in the US. . .)
    • I think the "sermon" was shortened to make way for a death announcement and the christening. (If not, then the sermons in Sweden must be very, very short.)
    • As I expected, from what I've heard from Donald on the subject, I found the format much more formal and structured than what I experienced in a Baptist church. There are texts that the minister (or whatever the proper word would be) reads, and there are prescribed answers that the congregation speaks in response. The hymnals dictate at what points the congregation should stand. Sometimes you stand for only portions of a song, though not in any of those selected for this service.
    • There was also much more ornamentation-- painted ceilings, an organ (though it remained silent while a pianist played the hymns), a special pulpit in the corner of the church (raised slightly above the pews), etc.
    • The pews were quite narrow, with slanted slats of wood for foot rests just above the floor-- and with little gates at the aisles.
    • On our side of the church, right in front of us, was a painted wooden sculpture of Mary holding baby Jesus on her lap, with her feet on what looked like a small dragon (representing Satan or evil in general, I imagine). Later, Donald read that it dates back to some very distant time. The 1500s? Or was it even the 1300s? I can't remember. Either way, wow!
  • The christening was much as I expect christenings usually are, though it's the only one I've been to. Louise wore a long gown with many names embroidered on it in blue and pink-- a family gown with the names of the babies who've been christened in it.
  • There was a reception afterwards with "sandwich cakes" ("cakes" made of layers of bread and various fillings, which are cut into slices for serving) and dessert cake with raspberry (?) filling, etc.
  • When we got back to Säffle, we stopped to see Jocke's new boathouse and boat. The boat was still on land, but we were able to climb up and take the tour. It was shipped to Säffle from Lake Michigan. As an older model (though in very good condition), it was a bargain by Swedish standards, even after the expenses of shipping it here.
And that'll have to do for now. Time for lunch!

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