Classical Sunday: Traditional Scandinavian Folk Songs

Something to celebrate the cold season with. Enjoy.

Traditional Swedish Folk Songs

Here’s what they say concerning this video on YouTube:

The Music of Sweden shares the tradition of Nordic folk dance music with its neighboring countries in northern Europe, including polka, schottische, waltz, polska and mazurka. The accordion, clarinet, fiddle and nyckelharpa are among the most common Swedish folk instruments. The instrumental genre is the biggest one in Swedish traditional music. Swedish folk songs are dominated by ballads and kulning; the latter was originally used as a cow-herding call and is traditionally sung by women. The fiddle is perhaps the most characteristic and original instrument of the Swedish folk tradition.

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Cultured Wednesday: von Drasche-Wartinberg’s Im Tiefen Winter

Here’s a winter landscape painting by a 19th century geologist.

January, just the time to have a closer look at paintings of winter landscapes.  Here is one by Richard Freiherr von Drasche-Wartinberg:

Richard Freiherr von Drasche-Wartinberg: Im tiefen Winter (In Deep Winter)

Richard Freiherr von Drasche-Wartinberg (born 18 March 1850 in Vienna, died 3 July 1923 in the same place) was the son of the brick maker who turned the Wienerberger Ziegelkonzern into the leading company of this kind in Austria during the Gründerzeit.  The company is known today as the Wienerberger AG, by now the world’s largest producer of bricks and clay roof tiles.

Painting was not Richard Freiherr von Drasche-Wartinberg’s main occupation, in fact, he was rather known for his published geological studies and he traveled and researched a lot.  But for the moment, we are more interested in his painting.  That’s what winter is supposed to be like…

Cultured Wednesday: Macara’s Winter Fun

Andrew Macara travels extensively gathering images for paintings from around the world, but his native Derbyshire continues to feature in many paintings – particularly the Winter scenes.

In fact, I think Andrew Macara painted a lot of pictures that portray ‘Winter Fun”.  This one was featured in our online Advent calendar, and we are thankful to have been introduced to this contemporary painter who, at this time in his life, endeavors to ‘tread a fine line between the figurative and the abstract’.  Enjoy!

andrew macara winter fun
Andrew Macara: Winter Fun

“Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire, / Some say in ice.

fire and ice5

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

~ Robert Frost

fire and ice1


There is something to say for silent new-year’s nights.

It was a magical night:  Bitterly cold, with the almost full moon shining brightly on the snow that lined the black tree branches, and it was very, very quiet.  At the passing of the old year and the dawning of the new, I was enchanted with the silver stars shimmering through the trees like jewels in an otherwise unusually dark sky.  Old friend Orion greeted me from over in the south, and Sam’s line from his Song in the Ork Tower came to mind:

“… and swaying beeches bear / the Elven-stars as jewels white / amid their branching hair”

There is something to say for silent new-year’s nights.




The longest night of the year is behind us – get out the seed catalogs!

Winter solstice, Yule, Midwinter, the Feast of Sol Invictus, call it what you will – the longest night of the year is behind us, and from midday on (our time), the days will get longer again.  The Sun (or is it the Son?) is victorious, the cycle begins again.  Get out your garden planning notebook and the seed catalogs!

Below you can see where our garlic is sleeping atm.

garlic sleeps here

Deserted Summer Homes

With the leaves gone, we spotted some deserted summer homes around the yard.

cardinal nest from dog hair

With the leaves gone, we spotted some deserted homes around the yard.

The construction on the left, material sponsored by our German Shepherd dog, served to raise baby cardinals earlier this year.  Now it sports a snow hat bigger than itself.

Featured you can see the summer abode of bald-faced hornets.  It is hanging from a tulip poplar branch about 25 ft off the ground, and looks quite battered by now.

The picture beneath shows what is supposed to be a nice condo for birds, but in fact, the chipmunks have used it as a store room for years now.  Maybe next spring we will clean out the thousands of acorn shells and make it available on the bird housing market again.

store room

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