On the weekend of May sixth, I took part in a fishing expedition! I was invited by Hilde’s parents, both members of the Jøa Kystlag, or local coastal organization. On Friday evening, amid glassy waters, the eleven other crew members and I set out aboard the Straumingen (a 1955 fishing boat that the Kystlag keeps in working order). Our destination? Nordøyan, a tiny island three hours away. We were to shelter in the harbor at night and fish during the day. (Of yore, thousands of fishermen arrived from far and wide to fish in the rich waters surrounding the island. They sold their catch on Nordøyan, before heading home). Ship life proved novel and thrilling. My previous boating experience was limited to very small motor boats or huge ferries. This was something different entirely. I had my own fisherwoman outfit and life vest, and slept below deck in a dear little berth.
The mighty Straumingen.
Nordøyan general store.
A seagull escort.
All decked out.
Old wooden structure from which the fishermen would hang their fish to dry.
The “Fiskarsheim”, or Fisherman’s Home, where the fishermen could seek refuge, read the paper, pick up their mail, eat a warm meal and attend religious services.
The famous berths!
Allison at the wheel!
Perhaps not such a dear berth… Continue reading
Perhaps a little more about the farm is in order. Brakstad Gård [pronounce Brack-stah goar] belongs to Hilde and Peder, a couple in their thirties. They bought it from Hilde’s parents three years ago. The farm has been in the family since 1910 (when it was sold by the previous childless owner) and has been organic since 1980. Brakstad Farm lies 500 meters from the sea, with only one neighbor to disturb the peace of the surrounding fields, birch woods and mossy mountains.
In addition to the humans, Brakstad population counts 120 sheep and 160 lambs—meat being the main production—, three cows and two calves, two pigs, two horses, two sheepdogs, twenty-or-so hens and one solitary peacock.
The two calves are new arrivals since my last visit, as are the ponies, Jasmin and Jasper. The sheepdogs, both still in training, differ strongly in character. Jappi is crazy and excitable while Freia, bearing the burden of extra years and wisdom, is of a more serious, melancholy and yet stubborn disposition. As to the pigs, they have coarse, very curly hair—a far cry from the likes of Piglet. They’ve moved to a larger field since March, so that now, when I walk up bearing their breakfast Continue reading
April 29, 2016
Gamboling, bouncing lambs!
Lambing season is well underway. Two thirds of the 120 ewes have already given birth. The lambs dash and spring and leap sideways. They frisk and cuddle and bleat. Some even nestle on their mother’s back. In the evening, the barn is a scene of cosy bliss. Curly white forms lie snuggled down in the straw — sometimes all in a jumble —, eyes closed, mouth half-smiling. How cute!
April 25, 2016
Intrepid explorer, I find myself presently in the airport of Trondheim Vaernes, Norway, awaiting my next mode of transportation.
I’ve been absent from this blog for quite some time, so a little catching-up is in order. In February and March, I spent three weeks Wwoofing on an organic sheep farm on the Norwegian island of Jøa. I am now headed back for an extra month. Continue reading
Aah, another book by the talented Georgette Heyer*! Mom and I discovered her a few months ago at the secondhand bookstore. We both enjoyed that first find (Friday’s Child) so much that one of us was quasi doomed to receive a Heyer for Christmas. Continue reading
The time is ripe—or it was when I started this article in December (!)—to take a literary look back at 2015. Here, then, in no particular order, are my four favorite reads of the past year.
My Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary
The beloved creator of Ramona and Beezus recounts with humor and wisdom Continue reading
Hello everyone! I’ve submitted my cat drawing to Minted‘s Drawing and Sketching Art Challenge. Click HERE to vote for me (until January 20)!
(You will need to create an account in order to rate my submission).
The winner receives a prize and the votes also determine which pieces Minted will sell on its online platform.
The Brussels Cat : My submission for Minted’s Drawing and Sketching Art Challenge.
Forêt de Soignes – Brussels’ Oasis.
Brussels is a city of unexpected wildlife. In the space of two days, I have seen both a lone fox and a colony of bats (also a documentary about swifts, but that is irrelevant). Though these sightings are not the stuff of safaris, to me they feel exotic. Amid cobblestones, cars and buildings, animals enchant me; their encounter is a step into a fairytale.
As I was saying, on Monday evening I met a fox on luxurious Avenue Louise. He waited for the green light and crossed ahead of us pedestrians. As the approaching tram 93 caught him in its headlights, Continue reading
Here is my drawing for this week’s Illustration Friday challenge. The word of the week was “whimsical”.
This sketch – entitled “How to Survive the Flood” – was inspired by the image in which Winnie the Pooh shelters on a tree branch with all his honey pots for company.
I liked this drawing too.
Aaah! This week I scanned my drawing too late to make it onto the Illustration Friday website. But that’s no reason not to share it here. So voilà my interpretation of the word “bouquet”.
I was inspired by a favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail. In this delicious classic, Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) speaks of bringing Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) “bouquets of sharpened pencils“. I find that image beautiful (I’m the kind of person who could spend half an hour blithely buried in the office supplies aisle).
Below are some sketches.
And here is my final sketch.
Illustration Friday: Bouquet of Sharpened Pencils.