Archive for February, 2009

Sportlov

February 28, 2009

In general, Swedes put great importance on getting outside and doing stuff.  The week-long school holiday, Sportlov, provides a winter opportunity for families to go out and play.  We had great plans to go north, rent a cabin and ski, but these plans fell apart and we stayed in and around Arvika.  This allowed me (Kurt) to work for three days but we were still able to get out for three days of winter fun.

VASSVIKA

Betsey’s previous post included one aspect of our Sunday at Vassvika.  Here is more…

The Vassvika warming and gathering house.  A child's ski race is getting started on the left.

The Vassvika warming and gathering house. A child's ski race is getting started on the left.

As with just about any outdoor activity in Värmland, there is a fire over which korv (sausage) is grilled. The little three-sided shelter is always a popular hangout spot for kids.

As with just about any outdoor activity in Värmland, there is a fire over which korv (sausage) is grilled. The little three-sided shelter is always a popular hangout spot for kids.

"Straight down" is the instruction given to young skiers on the race course.

"Straight down" is the instruction given to young skiers on the race course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot mammas (Betsey and Elisabet) cooking hot dogs.

Hot mammas (Betsey and Elisabet) cooking hot dogs.

Elias proudly mastered the little challenge course at Vassvika.  Mamma, Elisabet, is spotting him.

Elias proudly mastered the little challenge course at Vassvika. Mamma, Elisabet, is spotting him.

 

5

Lily

 

 

 

6

Yarrow

 

Our group anticipates the trip down the sliding hill.

Our group anticipates the trip down the sliding hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yarrow and Lily on speed.

Yarrow and Lily on speed.

Elisabet and Lily

Elisabet and Lily

Mathias and Lily

Mathias and Lily

Elisabet and Elias

Elisabet and Elias

12

Elisabet and Mathias

 

Betsey and I made one run on this sled.  It was my butt, not Betsey's, that punched through the sled after the first small jump.

Betsey and I made one run on this sled. It was my butt, not Betsey's, that punched through the sled after the first small jump.

Välfjallet 

On Wednesday, we and Patric’s family drove about 40 minutes to Välfjallet, a smallish ski hill.  There are three t-bar lifts, the longest of which must go about 1/2 a mile up the hill.  My friend, Magnus, joined us in the afternoon.  I did not get many photos as it was very foggy and wet.  Despite that, the skiing was quite good and we had a great time.

Lily and Yarrow are both quite accomplished skiers and would gladly ski every day, if they could.

Lily and Yarrow are both quite accomplished skiers and would gladly ski every day, if they could.

Elina (about 2 years old) just started skiing this year, with a little help from her pappa, Patric.

Elina (about 2 years old) just started skiing this year, with a little help from her pappa, Patric.

 

Elina, Simon and Julia all love to ski.

Elina, Simon and Julia all love to ski.

 

 

Ängsjön

On Friday, Ulf invited us to go ice fishing with him.  The girls complained mightily about being roused at 6 am when they didn’t have school.  It was a warm, bright, sunny day with no wind.  Ulf and I each caught one röding, Yarrow and Lily read alot, Betsey actually fished a bit and we all grilled sausage over a fire.  After fishing we visited a nearby cross country ski resort and had coffee.

The lake is called Ängsjön.  A low fog literally poured onto the lake from the surrounding forested hills.

The lake is called Ängsjön. A low fog literally poured onto the lake from the surrounding forested hills.

Lily tried her hand at "pimpeling".  She lasted longer than I thought she would!

Lily tried her hand at "pimpeling". She lasted longer than I thought she would!

 

Look for the book in Yarrow's lap.  She only fished when I asked her to hold the rod as I got my camera out of my backpack.

Look for the book in Yarrow's lap. She only fished when I asked her to hold the rod as I got my camera out of my backpack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am quite pleased with this photo of Ulf.

I am quite pleased with this photo of Ulf.

 

The beautiful, native röding is closely related to the North American brook trout.

The beautiful, native röding is closely related to the North American brook trout.

 

The "Arvika Skid Sport Stuga" is a warm, comfortable place to hang out, warm up, and have a coffee or hot chocolate.  It was established in 1940.

The "Arvika Skid Sport Stuga" is a warm, comfortable place to hang out, warm up, and have a coffee or hot chocolate. It was established in 1940.

Not surprisingly, there is a little shelter, the Grill Hus, set up for the sole purpose of grilling sausage.  There were over 40 cars parked at this resort in the middle of the forest, from all over Europe.  Besides ski trails they have a wonderful sliding hill that was crawling with small children when we were there.

Not surprisingly, there is a little shelter, the Grill Hus, set up for the sole purpose of grilling sausage. There were over 40 cars parked at this resort in the middle of the forest, from all over Europe. Besides ski trails they have a wonderful sliding hill that was crawling with small children when we were there.

Skogsmulle

February 23, 2009
Skogsmulle

Skogsmulle

 

 

mulle-cutout

 

Sunday  afternoon we met the Skogsmulle (Forest Mulle), Sweden’s ambassador for the forest.  The Skogsmulle foundation was started in 1987, with the intent of “raising children in the spirit of care, love and respect of nature.”  Goesta Frohm is the author and creator of the concept and apparently there are books written that feature Skogsmulle.  Skogsmulle meets with the youngest children, of kindergarten age and introduces them to the forest.  Skogsmulle has three siblings, each designed to introduce children to a different part of nature; the sea, the mountain, and an imaginary planet.  They are not as well know as Skogsmulle.  The concept has spread to other countries; Finland, Norway, Russia, Latvia, Japan, Great Britain and Germany.  The following story describes how skogsmulle was born and is from the website www.skogsmullestiftelsen.org.

WHEN SKOGSMULLE WAS BORN

 

It was a wonderful day in the forest; the sun was shining and the wind in the trees sounded like music. Suddenly, there was a tremendous rush of wind through the tree-tops, causing the branches to bend that they nearly touch the ground. A dark cloud slid a cross the sky and thunderbolts echoed between the hillsides, all at once rain started to fall heavily and densely. On the lake waves became increasingly strong and crashed against the shoreline rocks causing the foam to fly high. All of nature shook and the ladybugs clinging their blades of grass could hardly hold on as the grass swung to and from. Just then, when nature was at its most turbulent, Skogsmulle was created. “Kollikok! Kollikok!” could be heard around the forest. The rain stopped and with that the clouds and fog dispersed, once again the sun was shining. .”Kollikok! Kollikok!” came from a small creature lying in the moss laughing. “Kollikok! Kollikok!” he said again.

 

There was a little fellow with curly hair who looked as if his name ought to be Skogsmulle. The cry was heard throughout the forest and far away amongst the hills, the echo answered. “Kollikok ! Kollikok!”

 

The animals on the ground, birds flying in the air and fishes swimming in the water, all stopped and listened. The news about Skogsmulle moved like a breath of wind through the forest, everyone wanted to see who had called “Kollikok” and they hurried over to meet him.

 

To their surprise, Skogsmulle did not have any clothes on and as if of one mind, everyone started working, each in his own way to give Skogsmulle something to wear. The birds collected leaves from trees in the forest, spiders hurried to spin threads and the ants brought long pine needles. All waterspiders (called “taylors” in Swedish) were helping with the sewing. Soon Skogsmulle could put on a wonderful soft moss green suit.

 

The moles and mices gnawed roots to make a super tail with a tassel. Skogsmulle needed a tail to help keep the nature clean, but how could they attach the tail? .Then came the earwigs who cut a round hole in the seat of his pants. Skogsmulle was very happy and proudly mirrored himself in the nearby creek.

 

A small piece of bark had fallen from a birch-tree and in no time at all Skogsmulle made himself a birch-bark-hat. The blackcock who was watching, flew past and dropped a feather and when Skogsmulle tried to catch it, the feather landed in a puddle on the ground. “Oh no”, cried Skogsmulle and wiped the feather clean on a cranberry bush, some of the old cranberry fruit became c rushed and coloured the feather red. “Look, its become even more beautiful, it matches really well with my white birch-bark-hat.” said Skogsmulle.

 

Skogsmulle started to wander through the forest. Every no and again pricked his bare feet. It was not easy to walk barefoot in the forest. “I will get used to it”, he thought.

 

In a Crofters house located on top of the hill, lived a family with two nice children, Sten and Anna. When the children heard “Kollikok ! Kollikok !” they sneaked out to find what had made the noise. Both were astonished when they saw Skogsmulle and for a long time stood there watching him. Finely they said hello, and asked for his name.

 

Anna said “Sten, couldn’t you give Skogsmulle your lapman pointed shoes, so that he doesn’t get thorns in his feet”? Sten hurried home to get them and gave the shoes to Skogsmulle. Now Mulle was ready and he wanted to show all the children everything which exists in the forest, to teach them how important it is to take care of the forest.