Tuesday, September 30, 2008

room i röstahammar

i walked into my room and realized that the contents on my table and windowsill were a perfect still life representation of all my activities at the moment. clockwise, the top left is a crochet hook i made out of birch, the slöjd part of my days. then stereo viewer and camera (been making many slides), knitting mittens, accordion, reading (currently slavoj zizeck, michael pollan, jerzy kosinski, keller easterling and john steinbeck) and flowers from ås trädgård.

polaroid of accordioning on lake störsjon, mobile book borrowed from slöjdhus.

a woven picture from a loppis (flea market) made in 1981

crochet hook made from birch, spoon, and antler necklace.

detail of spoon handle

detail of sawed antler necklace with braided cord.

close up of mittens

a still from my pagan carrot stop motion animation. (quick summary, all the twisted interesting carrots are fertility idols from freyr, and are worshipped until christianity comes to sweden in the form of standard carrots, reject the heathens and distribute carrot crosses. all made from leftover vegeatbles from the farm.)

had a lovely weekend, went for a beautiful hike with a beautiful picnic on saturday(curry, beet salad with goat cheese, bread and blueberry coffee cake) with lakes and everything growing on stone surfaces. also saw some 6000 year old viking petroglyphs of elk.

i also wrote my first story in swedish, perhaps i will reproduce it here later.

cant wait for finland, and following weekend i see rose and jesse!!!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

photos from last weekend

my view walking to the farm. an 80 year old man named gunnar picked me up and drove me there, for the price of one kiss on the cheek.

ekologiska grönsaker från ås trädgår

lars olsson, owner of ås trädgår
in the kitchen during lunch break

katarina and sofia in östersund

cunning calle

quiche i made and brought into the cafe

we went to the last night of the proms, very silly in general and even sillier outside of britain
but we got in for free because i asked nicely!

sunday, peter and i went to an auction in ås. his father is an antique dealer and he has been going to auctions and flea markets his whole life, and can date furniture or china pieces. apparantly the auctioneer at this particular place was voted the best in sweden. he was amazing, it was like rap (mainstream rap, rhymin bout money and material possessions)

cafe at the auction in an old dansband venue

amazing old dansband posters

i bid on a super 8 camera and projector, and a lace bedspread but didnt win.

the leaves are changing, its beyond beautiful. yesterday morning we had class at rickards house, ate blueberry cake and went on a walk to tibrandshögen, a viking burial site and old trade center in the 1600s. no pictures, but it was epic to say the least. we also went to see where the storsjöon joodjet has allegedly left some stool samples on the shore.

last night was a bonfire, wine and breeders sing alongs.

no bicycling to norway, because a storms a'comin, but today per calle and i are going to go on a hike and picnic.

next weekend going to lal lal lal festival 2008 in helsinki!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


its an amazing feeling to come somewhere with reasonably high expectations, and have them exceeded. on friday i went to jamtli, the local museum. (http://www.jamtli.com/english/) to enter the exhibit, you can either take the stairs, or go in the mouth of the Storsjöodjuret, the lake monster (who reputedly most often frequents the south east part of the lake, exactly the area where birka is) and down a slide, where you end up in the middle of a lappland scene of sammi knives, reindeer furs and faint sounds of joiking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joiking). i am going to try and go up north to see the reindeer and aurora borealis.

here are some excerpts from the museum website:


9000 years ago, the glaciers melted away in this region. Shortly thereafter, the first humans arrived, following the game into the new country.
During the following 7000 years, people lived as hunter-gatherers, moving around in small groups according to the changing seasons and the migrations of the animals.
The exhibition shows what a settlement could have looked like, what people ate, and how they adapted to life with tools and weapons. Perspectives on time and change may be challenged, as these archaeological finds are exhibited side by side with tools still used by different peoples around the world today.

We Built the Country

This is a series of exhibitions focusing on the life of the people who settled and cultivated Jämtland-Härjedalen in the centuries before the industrial revolution. The man and the woman had different responsibilities, and it was absolutely necessary to be a couple to manage a farm. They are shown amidst their daily chores, and the variety of skills and knowledge they needed to survive in the often harsh conditions is impressing. The farmers of Jämtland were also tradesmen. In wintertime, they travelled all the way to Levanger in Norway to the west and Stockholm to the south-east to buy and sell goods on the markets.

Bliss and Bounty

This exhibition focuses on the prosperous century from 1750 to 1850. People met and fell in love in those days too, and the need for celebration was just as great as it is today. The point of departure is a wedding party, and the most beautiful items from the museum’s huge collection of dress, textiles, drinking-vessels and furniture are on show. In the folk music and language room, folk dance and music is presented in a suggestive slideshow. There is also a collection of 900 different recordings of folk music, Sámi joik, fiddler’s tunes and shepherd songs. For visitors with a special interest in language, it’s possible to have a few lessons in jamska, the dialect of Jämtland.

it was all in swedish, but i understood some, and the exhibits were really interactive and child friendly (you can crawl through teepees into dark caves where there are flashing wolf eyes.) i was able to recognize a lot of things from my scandinavian mythology class, such as the story of sigurd the dragonslayer when he had to play harp with his toes to enchant a pit of adders so they wouldnt kill him (though in the end, he gets tired and dies). jämtlis main attraction however, is the worlds oldest intact viking tapestry.

they also have a park called "history land" where they have farms and buildings from the 1600s to 1800s. during the summer, there are historical reenactments as well as music and food. in december they have a christmas market, ice sculpture workshops and sleigh rides! the museum was filled with amazing knowledge and handicrafts, as well as the exact mittens i am currently knitting! i am going to go back and use it as a resource to learn more about local handicraft and folk traditions. i want to see if i can have academic access to their research libraries. i also want to investigate possible linguistic connections to jämtli, the local dialect, and the folk music traditions that i have been learning. ethnomusicology div iii?

tomorrow i begin making a zither, and next week i am going to bicycle to norway. more soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

an unchronological mess of plural details


swedish parties, boat trips, sing alongs, saunas, cold evening lake, church concerts, ciabatta, danish beer, picking tomatoes at the farm, towers of organic lettuce, townes van zandt mandolin duets, riding bikes with no hands, writing letters, polskas, picking flowers, shortcuts through wet fields, white zithers, moving roofs, enduring innocene by keller easterling, music in birch hill park, romantic inclinations, potato leek soup, nu orden, lakeside accordion, stereo photos, late day sun, knitting mittens, recording geese, broken shoes, folk music ensemble, slöjd.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

lördag i östersund

röd svampar by lake storsjön

saturday was wonderful. i took a long bike ride at 9 am, then our class went into town for polska and schottis lessons before the folk dance. i was the example for one of the dances, which involves turning and high fiving the the couple to your right and left, but when i went the dance instructor kissed me on the cheek. everyone laughed, i am pretty sure i turned bright red. for lunch, i had the wackest salad i have ever received at a restaurant, but i am sure it was better than the tex-mex taco place that kristoffer went to across the street.

pripps blue (pbr relation?) light beer

julia och jenny, les francaises

at least they had blankets for sitting outside

wackest "avocado" salad (sandwhich meat rolls, black olives, a pile of bermida onion, cottage cheese, pasta, 5 slivers of unripe avocado)

news, bar och kök (never again)

we went to the dance around 6, a lot of people from birka came and we all learned the steps together. later, we played two polskas and two waltzes, not our best, but people danced. its an amazing thing to look up and see people dancing well to the sounds you are making! i achieved, if not surpassed my goal of wearing my designated swedish folk dance dress and dancing with old swedish men. i danced all night.

polska example

fiddler duo

my favorite was a schottis norwegian style, which i danced with a short old man wearing a striped shirt and glasses (he plays accordion as well). i took lots of stereo photos, hopefully they will turn out. i plan on going every thursday so i can master the different polskas. my teacher rickard and his wife astrid played as well. after i went to a dark, wooden candlelit bar called the brun callon (sp?) with per, calle and others. there was a rowdy group of drunken men who were falling all over and singing loudly with all the 90s hits coming from the speakers. i shared a bacon cheeseburger and swedish beer, and attempted to speak as much swedish as possible. östersund is hardly the culinary capital of sweden, but any sort of bacon cheeseburger is good in my book. sleep at 2am, woke up to sun and knit to satie and npr. i went out to skip stones and met a slovakian girl who had a mushroom dictionary.


tomorow i start at ås trädgård, the organic farm on the main road.
very excited.

store at
ås trädgård

i miss everyone.