More About “My” Farm

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

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Wild Brussels!

Forêt de Soignes - Brussels' Oasis.

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