Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Drottninghall – traces of the Bronze Age

View of Southern Bjäre and the Kullen peninsula from Drottninghall

Almost two years ago, my sis and I walked down to Drottninghall and I took some pics, thinking of telling you the story of the place, but because this was in August, other things got in between and I never showed the photos or told about Drottninghall. Now a comment on another post made me remember the pics and why not post them now at once so I don't forget about it another two years?

I went to school in Västra Karup and remember how many times made little trips around the village (and also further away on Bjäre, places like the island of Hallands Väderö and the dramatic coastline at Hovs Hallar). One of the places we went once was Drottninghall. Here, while gazing over the village and seeing Kullen peninsula by the horizon, we were told the story of the footprints. According to legend they were the footprint of a queen who passed by. What queen and why she left the prints vary. One version claims it was queen Margareta (or Margaret I of Denmark as she's known in english) and that she either stepped out to admire the view or fell out of her carriage. The cup marks (skålgroparna) are said to be the paw prints of her dogs. This story would explain the name: Drottning means queen and hall or häll a slab of exposed rock.

Other stories claim that the footprints come from a ghost whom the priest "läste fast" ("read stuck") on the rock after he had very loudly haunted the village of Västra Karup. The prints are the only thing remaining of the ghost and the cup marks are the marks of his tears. Of cause, there was also a general belief in southern Sweden that cup marks were fairy mills and that you could perform magic or wish for luck by placing items in the hollows.

You can read more about these stories – in swedish – here. There you'll also find a good photo of the carvings, filled in with red paint which have faded now and is covered in lichen, making it harder to see the carvings. You can also find photos of them here.

We school kids were only told the most child-friendly story, the story of the queen, as far as I can remember. And of cause we were also told about the real history beyond local folklore, about how the cup marks, footprint carvings and grooves (sliprännor) are bronze age petroglyphs carved by people living here a long time ago during the south-scandinavian Bronze Age (1 800 – 500 BC). Some of our oldest ancestors.

(By the way, the little droppings are from the sheep that graze the little wedge of pasture between two of Bjäre's many roads that converge just below Drottninghall. Two of the culprits can be found in the photo below.)

Apart from the carvings there's also a burial mound from the same age nearby – pretty much behind the house in the middle of the picture below. It's named Revhögen och Rävhögen, the latter meaning the Fox Mound. Bjäre in general have many mounds, one of the mound densest places in Sweden, and there are of cause much folklore surrounding them. I'm afraid I don't have a good story about this particular mound, though. No trolls (otherwise very common), no buried viking king (the second most common folklore surrounding mounds), no treasures that can't be salvaged without horrendous punishments from dark powers, no burials over mysterious english princes.

No one knows exactly why the petroglyph sites were situated where they were. They're concentrated to a handful of places on Bjäre and Drottninghall is one of them. One archaeologist have put forward the idea that they were created along roads between settlements where perhaps people met or safety was needed. Most likely they were used in rituals, but we don't know how ritual places were chosen. One thing about this particular place, though, is the view – you know, the reason why the queen stepped out of her carriage here (unless she fell out, that is). Because of the hilly terrain you can get some fab views of the landscapes every here and there on Bjäre and this is one of the good spots. Just see the photos below.

Drottninghall is one of the stops on the Bjäre bronze age trail that was created some years ago. It's two trails, the northern and the southern trail, which you can walk/bike/drive along to experience some of the ancient monuments here on the peninsula. The places along the trails are marked out with signs like the one below. The square symbol is a prehistoric symbol used in Sweden and other countries to mark a noteworthy places (often, but not always, an ancient or historic place/monument/ruin). The petroglyph boat with the stars is a sign for the trail, the star arc reminding us that the trails were created as part of an EU project (cf. the PCL logo).

Monday, 29 April 2013

Meowy Monday -- cat photos of the week

I'm slowly working my way through the BSBP reveals, but of cause I have to take a break and show some monday cat piccies. Which is just three random pics I found in the folders -- have focused on sunsets and flowers this months, much more compliant photo objects...

 This photo of Jinja is perhaps two weeks ago so all those blue scillas are in full bloom by now.

Potato fields seen from above

In this post, I probably mentioned how the fields of southern Bjäre looks this time of the year, after most farmers have finished or at least come a far way with their potato planting. How the white fibrecloth makes it look like the whole area is once again covered in snow. I've also shown photos where you can see the fibre cloth from ground level, but it's really from afar, say from Kullen peninsula or from the sky, that you realise just how -- well -- eye catching the use of these laborious "sails" are on a landscape scale. A few months ago my sis was on Google Maps/Earth exploring (or snooping on her penpals *lol*) when she took a look at some more familiar surroundings: home and the fields down by the shore where we work each spring. Laughingly we realised that the photos were taken just in time to get a snapshot of the spring white potato fields.

Now, it isn't that noticable in the pic above (where an eagle-eyed viewer can see that we aren't finished "weaving" -- as we call it -- our field), but just look below:

This is a pretty big pic as is the one below -- click on them for a better view.

That's our field (our as in the field we work in, not as in owning it -- our boss owns it), the one with the "island" in the middle. In the above pic you have a scale, but hopefully the houses and the orange-roofed shed help some with the scale here. Our field is somewhere around 260 metres long, I think, so while the strips of fibercloth might look narrow, they aren't. And more precisely they certainly don't feel narrow once the wind catches them while we're laying them out!

Edited to add: I finally got the plug-in to work on this computer too so I grabbed a few screenshots myself. With this monitor not being in widescreen format, I got a better size images and you can see even more of the covered fields. Like above, please click the pics for a larger size/better view.

(Yes I thoroughly enjoy satellite images and aerial photography -- love seeing the world from above! Says the girl who refuses to go near an airplane...)

Edited again to add: For anyone who wants to check out Bjäre peninsula on Google Maps, here's a link to guide you to the right place.  You'll soon spot that the covered fields are most common on the south side and up along the western coastline: that's the more plain areas, the other half of the peninsula is more hilly due to the Hallandsåsen ridge and better suited for smaller fields, pasture and woodland.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Bead Soup Blog Party 3rd Reveal

And so it's finally here, the third BSBP reveal. I signed up for BSBP again, not having joined for for a couple of rounds. Of cause that had made me very keen to participate again and I signed up -- completely forgetting that the dates could be in the middle of spring farming season. Oops! Of cause I couldn't know that the spring farming would start unusually late this year, but as luck would have it (for me), the reveal was postponed a couple of weeks so here I am, free from the potatoes and ready to show what I made with the lovely soup I got from my BSBP partner Noemi.

First, let's take a look on that spanish soup Noemi cooked up for me to work with.

You can read more about all the different ingredients here. It was a fab soup, but due to work, a workroom I couldn't work in (= no metalwork or techniques requiring a torch this time) and everything else that came in between, I still had my struggles with it. Mostly with getting ready in time with something I wouldn't be embarrassed to show anyone and that would make Noemi's soup justice. In the end, I ended up with four piece to show you today. Haven't yet used all the beads from the soup so there might be some "leftover posts" later.

First a quick (and hopefully enticing) sampler of what's to come below.

First up is the necklace made for the lampwork focal. I had matching fire-polished rondelles, but they were pretty tiny (as are most my beads, being used to working with dainty jewellery and seed beads) and there were only 30 of them. After going back and forth many times, I finally decided on just stringing them with dark green silk cord (in lieu of anything matching the chain) on a gunmetal chain.

Looking back at it, I should've added something to the last portion of the chain. Ran out of rondelles, but adding, say, some gunmetal beads would've looked better than just leaving it bare in the neck. Well, something to remember for next time, then.
And look at that wire wrapping -- you can tell I've almost only been seedbeading and embroidering these last couple or years!

For the next piece, I wanted to do something with the sweet little copper connectors and clasp, which are made by Noemi herself. Wanted to keep it simple in order not to overpower the connectors and this is what was finally settled on. Not the best chain to use -- if you want to try something similar, I'd suggest a small rolo/belcher or cable chain -- but the only one I had that matched the copper. As it was slightly boring with just the chain, I wrapped some dusky dark purple anchor embroidery floss around the links. Don't know if it made it better or worse! *lol* I do enjoy embroidery so threads and floss is something I like to add to my jewellery nowadays.

The chain was so uncooperative I almost gave up, thinking of turning the connectors into little charms with a bead dangle in one end (it would've included a maneki neko charm, sorry all catlovers who didn't get any cat jewellery here). But I persevered.

Third piece is a silk wrap bracelet. First I thought of altering the ribbon in some way, either embroidering it, smocking it or adding a beaded edge, but in the end it all came down to my wanting to try an idea. Now, I'll say right away that it's an idea that maybe looks nice, but wasn't as practical as intended.

The idea was to lose the clasp and use the rubber o-rings to tighten the ribbon ends, then tucking them under the ribbon as with other wrap bracelets. But the wrap part made it more cumbersome than practical -- next time I'll try it with a simple bracelet that doesn't wrap around the wrist several times. (Also, the focal was supposed to be black to match the o-rings, but I hadn't time to blacken it. Some of you might prefer the antique bronze colour it has now, though.)

And so, the fourth and last piece. I wanted to use those vibrantly coloured crackle beads, but couldn't think of anything fun to do with them last minute (made it yesterday). Ideally I wanted to keep them mixed with the fw pearls in the colour combo Noemi created, but some of my teal supplies kept trying to get my attention, wanting to play with the purple beads. Finally, I caved and created this simple leather necklace with beads dangling from waxed linen cord attached to the leather using lark's head knots.

That's all, folks! My creations for this year's edition of BSBP. Now be sure to visit my BSBP partner Noemi, who had this eclectic (and somewhat boringly coloured) soup to work with:

And of cause a huge thank you to Lori for hosting this great (in fabulousness and size) event once again! You're fab!


For a complete list of all participants in the 3rd reveal of the Bead Soup Blog Party, please visit Lori's blog here. As Lori makes her way through the blogs, she will replace the links with direct links to the reveal posts, making it easier for us who will take a long time going through all 200+ blogs in this reveal. 

You will also be able to find many of the creations from all three of the reveal on the official 7th BSBP pinboard at Pinterest.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Back from the potato fields

I've finished the potato planting for this year -- just in time for the BSBP reveal tomorrow. Wouldn't you believe we managed to be free on the days the sun shone and work the days it was windy, drizzling -- or both. Working indoors it would've been perfect, being able to enjoy the sun on the days off, but working outdoors you pretty much want the opposite. Especially when the drizzle wasn't enough to bind the soil, which sand blasted us when it started to get windy. On the first field, we have trees that stop some of the wind. Not so on this second field, which is much more exposed as it's basically on a hill with some bushes rather than a forest between us and the wind.

But I'm not whining too much: it's work and I desperately need the money. Partially to buy beads and supplies. And there are worse jobs. Good thing about manual labour of this kind is that at least your mind is free: my hands work and let my mind focus on whatever I like, e.g. design ideas, what jewellery or embroidery techniques to try next, ideas for new stories (though I rarely write fiction these days), planning the economy -- everything. Not all have that luxury in low-income jobs.

And some days there's time during the lunch to take a nap in the sun or go for a walk with the camera, which I did on the last day (wednesday). I'll show those pics after the BSBP. Haven't shown pics of that part of the neighbouring hamlets before so I hope a new view will be interesting despite the lack of greenery what with spring being so cold.

Since last blogging about sunsets and spring flowers (meowy monday tuesday doesn't count), I've also got quite a few photos of both from the last couple of weeks. That will hopefully also be something that'll appear on the blog soon. I'll leave you with a couple of photos I took the other day. Hope you like them.

View towards Västra Karup (which you can't see as it's downhill) with Kullen peninsula at the horizon.
Pond with a tiny island where the anemones are blooming.
The potato field with one of all the bronze age burial mounds in the background.

April bead soup palette

Well, the month is almost over, but I still have a monthly palette to show. Nothing special this month as I had my focus elsewhere, but hopefully still a nice mix.

This is one of those simple mixes where you start with beads with a multi-coloured finish. In this case, I took a strand of dark purple and silvery beads and added more silver. I then also added some light vitrail rizos to show yet another violet-and-silver bead finish. The vitrail beads adds some pastel tones to the mix, but you can also omit them for a darker mix as done below.

Of cause you could pick up some other tones than silver and purple from the magic violet. Looking closely you'll see a rainbow of colours accompanying the purple: blue, fuchsia, gold and even a smidgeon of green.

Promise you something nicer and more thought-through next month. Can already now tell you it will include purple. Of cause.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Meowy Monday on a Tuesday --- again!

So, the week didn't begin with cats here on the blog as I was busy working to produce food for people (said like that, farm worker sounds like the most important job in the world -- we feed people) and then "busy" sleeping as the cats had kept me awake half the night. And today I'm trying to catch up on blog feeds and e-mails neglected yesterday so this week's Meowy Monday is another one with just one pic.

That's Uggi almost all the way up the telephone pole. Because you can't see the whole pole it might not look that high up, but it was at least 3 metres. I was taking some photos of the sunset and he had a lot of energy, running back and forth trying to catch my attention. Which included first running up the pole, then down again and up the ash tree you can see in the background. He got very high up in that too, higher than on the pole. He was like a little kid on a sugar rush.

Ok, I have to show some pics of that sunset too. It was a perfect clouded sky with a gentle rain/drizzle, which created this fantasticly coloured sky. At times the sky was like a watercolour painting.

Ooops... Sorry, should've made them a bit bigger. Next time, maybe. I've got several days of sunsets worth showing some day.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Enjoying the weather and baking

We're waiting for the next field to get ready to be cultivated, which means some time off. Unfortunately, while it have given me time to read blogs and pin stuff, I've not really given myself time to answer e-mails or be online doing anything requiring actual brain activity. Partially because I'm catching up on things I didn't do while spending all day in the company of potatoes (like working on my BSBP pieces -- thank god the reveal is postponed until next week!). And partially because we've had lovely spring weather -- I'll hopefully show some spring flower pics soon -- the last four days of so. Not today, though. I wanted to spend those days outdoors rather than sit in a dark room in front of a computer screen.

I also wanted to bake a little since I haven't done that since before Christmas. First because there was no room in the freezer, then because of work. And I like to bake. Not always, but a little every now and then. Sure, I've done many a chocolate pudding instead these last months since I discovered how easy it was to make (from the simple cocoa+sugar+corn starch+milk to chocolate and coconut milk pudding). Why haven't anyone told me how quick and easy it is to make a simple chocolate pudding from scratch?

Anyway, this is one of the things I baked, kokostrianglar (coconut triangles: you might notice that they aren't triangles: the name comes from how the rolled lengths of dough are shaped in the recipe). One of my favourite non-chocolate cookies with toasted coconuts for that little extra coconut flavour. Not the very best cookie dough (of cause I eat dough, sometimes dough is better than baked cookies!), but very nice to eat nonetheless.

I'm thinking of writing down the recipe for my almost forgotten (by me) recipe blog that's in swedish. Let me know if you want it in english too and I'll publish it here too.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Meowy Monday: Cat photos of the week

It's the second day of spring here, at least if you go by the temps. And I saw a flock of wagtails (in the potato fields) and a brightly yellow butterfly (in the garden -- sadly it wouldn't sit down in its vain attempts to find flowers so no pics). These cat photos are from yesterday when it was also a nice, warm afternoon.

 Guess who was in his most playful mood? Actually, Julle was too, but no one can be as energetic as a kitten on a vast field full of other playful cats and two merry humans.

 That's how my attempts to take a few photos of Knatti ended. Move it, Julle!

Jinja was with us too, but I didn't get any photos of her because of... erhhh... well, guess because of whom:

A blurry photo of Jinja trying to flee from Uggi.

She gave up and ran home.
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