Monday, 26 October 2009

Remember Sniff?

Five montha ago Sniff ( and Dennis and Bianca) arrived at our house totally out of the blue. Luckily we were able to find them good and happy homes. Sniff is the only one I've seen since, and I see him pretty often, because he lives with our good friends Arild and May Sissel and Snorre their other dachshound.
Sniff is such a happy chappie, full of energy and enthusiasm. He and Snorre are best friends - more like twins. They race around the house chasing one another and pretend-fighting over their toys. They live like little princes, with lots of love and attention, long walks and the best of everthing. Dachshounds have an excellent sense of smell, and these little guys have been trained to track. They have both won prizes, and the local authorities call Arild if an animal has been injured by a car and run off into the woods. The dogs soon track them down so their suffering can be ended. Snorre has been hunting with Arild this autumn, and was responsible for finding several of the moose that the hunting-team were allowed to shoot. Sniff is a specialist when it comes to tracking deer.
I'm not really a dog person, but these two just make my day every time I see them - and isn't Sniff beautiful?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Feed the birds

In the first picture you can see all my bird feeders - or most of them. In the distance, by the fence, is a little wooden house that gets filled with mixed seeds. The platform at the front is a good place for crusts. The one with the green roof hangs on the kitchen window, which means I get a good view of my little guests while I'm standing at the kitchen sink. It has sunflower seeds, which attract finches and the tit family. The smooth-looking gentleman in the second picture is a nuthatch. He walks down treetrunks head first. I can't tell you how long it took to get this picture. He's a quick mover! The bright red one and the pretty yellow house we bought in Sweden are full of mixed seeds, so the bluetits and great tits (chickadees?) eat what they want and drop the grains of corn onto the ground below. This is handy for the yellowhammers, who prefer to feed from the ground. Also the robin - favourite of all english people, and featured on countless Christmas cards. I have two peanut holders, which are popular with nearly everyone, but especially the squirrels. That's why they're made of metal. Squirrels are rough little creatures who will drop the feeder from a height in an attempt to smash it open. We used to hang the peanuts up in their green plastic nets, but the little rascals would chew the bottom off the net and collect the nuts when they fell to the ground.
The norwegians have a lovely tradition that at Christmas they buy a sheaf of corn with the seeds still on their stems. This is hung up in the garden on Christmas eve so the birds can have their own Christmas feast.
Buying food for the birds for the whole winter is an extra expense, and there are a lot of sunflower shells to sweep up in the spring. They also show their gratitude all over the car, but these minor irritations are more than made up for by the hours of pleasure I get watching them feed, and the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that I'm saving little lives

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Auntie Solveig

This is Reidar's aunt Solveig, his father's eldest sister, and one of two survivors of a flock of six children. She was born in 1915, and has her 94th birthday in November. We went to visit her the other day, in an immaculate flat in Oslo, neat and smart and full of flowers. She lives alone and does all her own cleaning and cooking. She walks to the local shop to get what she needs, and jumps onto a tram when she wants to go downtown.

She served us an elegant lunch ( the butter was done in little curls on a cut-glass dish) with no end of dainty things to eat on bread, and we sat at the table for two hours. Later Reidar showed her some old photo albums and she was able to identify people that were dead before Reidar was born. So more coffee and home-baked cake. We were there over six hours and she never seemed to get tired. What a remarkable woman!