Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Flowers

We've had just the right amount of rain this summer, something never said about Minnesota. It rains every few days, then nice days of sun. My plants are doing well. I should also give credit to my neighbor Betty, who watered for me when I was gone this summer.

Fledglings in the grass

I was out mowing today. I trudge slowly when it's this hot and humid, and frogs have a chance to hop out of the way. But twice, once on each side of the yard, I miraculously spotted baby birds hunkered down in the grass, sitting very still, within inches of the mower. I'm glad I saw them. After moving the first one to safety, I did see later that it was chirping away and the mother bird was feeding it bugs. Later, on the other side of the yard, the same scene repeated itself. I love the beak. It makes this little guy look cranky.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rute Stenugnsbageri

The New York Times recently featured a travel article about Gotland.
One of the places mentioned was the Stenugnsbageri (Stone Oven Bakery) in Rute. Chuck and I had lunch there with Ingvor and Christer. It was a very warm day, but we enjoyed our sandwich and rhubarb dessert at a nice table in a shady spot.

This labyrinth was in front of the bakery.

Rauks, Caves and Cliffs - Ancient Coral Reefs

After the weight of the ice age glaciers receded, Gotland has raised up from the sea. The limestone that makes up the island has eroded at different rates. Coral reef limestone was the hardest, so remnants of those Baltic reefs remain as rauks, cliffs and caves. This rauk was near Lickershamn, north of Visby. Ingvor noted that it has the typical Swedish potato nose. After that we could see profiles in many of the rauks.
This is Chuck in front of Jungfru rauk at Lickershamn. It is about 12 meters high, and 20 meters above Baltic sea level. Translated from the website link: The "Maiden" rauk has gotten its name after the tragic story about the Maiden Öllegard and her beloved Helge, which ended with them throwing themselves into the sea. (Which reminds me of a pun: She threatened to jump off the cliff, but it was only a bluff.)
In June, Andrea, Haylie and I toured Lummelunda cave. This is the photo of the original cave opening, which only skinny kids could crawl into. Since then, they have built an opening for tourists (and grandmothers), and an interpretive center. They showed this video before we went into the cave, about the three boys who discovered it.
We took a nice hike at Högklint, just south of Visby, where Haylie and I explored a shallow cave.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Burgsvik Limestone

Sundre, in southern Gotland, is the location of a limestone quarry, rich in fossils. It is used for floors, window sills, table tops, sculptures, counter tops, patios. The limestone and sandstones come from the Burgsvik beds, located near the town of Burgsvik. Here is a palm sized chunk of limestone that shows some of the fossils: coral, sea lilies, sponges, shells. Some of the layers have a pink color to them.
The quarry at Sundre.The blocks of limestone are sawed into slices with diamond tipped sawblades, lots of water, and very slow progress. Some of the limestone after slicing, but before polishing or cutting to size.

An Evening Walk

I try to walk every day when I'm at Lake Ida, either to the north or south. I saw this mailbox with a surprise inside, a paper wasp nest. That'll keep the mailman from delivering junk mail.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fika - Swedish noun and verb meaning coffee break

l-r: Stefan, Andrea, Haylie, Göran, Anita, Taryn

Morning and afternoon coffee breaks (fika) in Sweden are an important part of daily life. Gotland in summer has so many wonderful outdoor settings to fika. We stopped at the parish farm at Vamlingbo in southern Gotland, which now features a museum about Gotland nature, an exhibition about the Baltic Sea, an art gallery of Lars Jonsson, and a cafe.

The church is from the 1200's, the parish manor house is from the 1700's. The red arrow indicates Vamlingbo parish.
The website for Vamlingbo Prästgården (parish farm) is found here:

The painter Lars Jonsson has exhibited his paintings at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Painting with Haylie

I like painting. It's the prep work I'm not so crazy about, scraping and such. But painting new wood is fun.
Do I sound like Tom Sawyer? It looked so fun to Haylie that she had to paint too. But we still had time to "go in a-swimming" too! It was beach weather the whole time we were on Gotland.

When Tom Sawyer had a huge fence to whitewash on a beautiful day, Mark Twain wrote:
“Say - I’m going in a -swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther work - wouldn’t you? Course you would!”

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:“What do you call work?”

“Why, ain’t that work?”

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know it suits Tom Sawyer.”

“Oh, come now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth - stepped back to note the effect - added a touch here and there - criticized the effect again - Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”

Somewhere in the middle of the process.

Gotland Traditional Games in Stånga, Gotland

Gotland Games are held every summer in Stånga, at their athletic fields. In this video a Swedish girl shows how to throw the pole (caber in Scotland), which has to make a turn in the air to land correctly.

Another game might prove the adage, "Age and treachery will overcome youth and speed". Unfortunately, the gray haired gentleman lost his match.