Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Crab or Paradise?

For the first time since we moved in, our crab apple tree gifted us with dozens of tiny, burgundy apples. We saw the first months ago, but knew we had to wait, so we waited, and waited, and waited...until yesterday when they began falling off the branches:

Tiny apples the size of cherries:

Perfect for making pickled crab apples with sugar and vanilla (is it still called pickled if there is no vinegar?). I've never tried it before and these burst, even though I did the whole cold water trick. I looked up how to avoid this, and apparently I should have pierced them with a sterile needle before cooking. Not that it would have mattered since I over-cooked them slightly. Another thing to remember for next time - they cook faster than I think. *grin*

And voila. 5 jars of crab apples, plus one jar of juice to use for drinks and sauces. I tasted the left-over juice and it is sooo good! No wonder they are called "paradise apples" in Danish:

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Halloween

We don't celebrate Halloween in Denmark, but the shops have long since pounced on it like toddlers in a candy store - or should that be kids trick-or-treating? My husband brought home three pumpkins to carve, and here's my contribution:

Orlando meets Mr. Pumpkinhead

Mr. Pumpkinhead in the dark

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sunday Jammin'

Most farms in Denmark will have an elder bush growing somewhere because according to old beliefs, the elder-mother, the goddess Freja, lived in the elder and protected the good folk around her.

That the elderflowers and elderberries are said to be medicinal and a remedy against the common cold and other nastiness probably added to the popularity of the bush.

Our farm is no different. The elderberries and apples in the garden have been ripe for a while now, and today we decided to harvest:

...and:
...make jam:
...which tasted very nice on a cracker:

Elderberry and Apple Jam Recipe

- elderberries picked off their stems
- slightly tart apples peeled, cored, and diced
- sugar

In the weight quantities 1:1:1

Put the elderberries and the apples into a pot and bring to a low boil. Let boil for 10 minutes and then add the sugar and boil for another 10-15 minutes. Pour into sterile jars and seal tight.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Vacation.

My husband took a one week vacation and Mother Nature decided to show herself from her best side. We stayed home, but made a couple of excursions.

The first one was to Egeskov Castle on Fuenen. I snatched this photo from their website:



Our second trip went to the Scandinavian Animal Park, and what a treat it was. Even though not even a 450.000,00 squaremeter park can compare to the territories and areas roamed by the animals in the wild, it was nice to see them with space to move about, and of course the polar bear cub, Siku, was adorable. Here are a couple of photos taken by my husband:


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

I once won an award.

At university. For being "The only person able to get lost in a phone booth". It even came with a trophy, which I have unfortunately misplaced somewhere between my many moves. ;)

I had completely forgotten about the award until I had these conversations with my husband today:

Husband: Your left. Left. Your other left.

and

Husband: Behind you. Your other behind.

heh... in my defense I can follow a map and rarely get lost while out and about. And who knows, maybe the phone booth was the TARDIS?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Gustav Klimt

It is no secret that Gustav Klimt is one of my many favourite artists. Yesterday it was 150 years since he was born, and in celebration, I made this Klimt inspired easter egg. :)

Monday, 2 July 2012

Lost and FOUND

Fat doggy is back with her owner. Doggy's name is Blackie, she's 7 years old, and she had run approx. 9 kilometers away from home in sheer panic under the thunderstorm. I bet she spent the whole weekend sleeping and eating. ;)

Friday, 29 June 2012

Aww, frightened, fat, smelly, dirty little doggy.

Heavy panting outside our bedroom window woke me up at 03:45 this morning. A thunderstorm rolled overhead, but when I looked outside I didn't see anyone*. I then called "Doggy?" out the window, and behold, there was a doggy!

On with the dressing gown and rubber boots! I found a very scared, fat, and smelly doggy outside at the bottom of the cellar stairs. At first I thought it was scared of me, but when I turned to go fetch some treats it followed with a "Don't leave me!" expression and then it dawned on me. The thunder and lightning.

Doggy was too stressed for treats and just wanted to cuddle, which gave me the opportunity to check for a dog tag (none)**. Afterward I let it in the cellar where it immediately hid in the corner behind the old oil tank, only to rush towards me with a "Don't leave me!" as I headed back up to bed. Poor thing.

I did go back to bed though, and it weathered the night well. My husband said it still looked a bit scared when he checked on it in the morning, but when I went down 10 minutes later it was happy enough, maybe it was just the husband who looked scary?

A call to our neighbour, Christian, who knows almost all the people and dogs in the area did not yield any owners, although he made some calls on my behalf.

After that I called the police, who told me I was the third person to call that morning to report a found dog, probably because of the thunderstorm, and they arranged for the shelter to pick it up. I also posted in the dog group (where members reposted to numerous other places) and on facebook. Also called the local vets who are ready to take calls and help owner reunite with doggy.

When it found out I had treats, it sat and shaked (both paws, clever thing). It also sat immediately when I took out the leash and held still until it had been clipped on.

We then went for a walk, with three squatting pees which made me think doggy was a girl, and then finally a pee on three legs which made me think doggy was a boy.

While doggy was friendly enough, it wasn't comfortable with me checking it, so I did not want to search through all that fur for an indication of gender. I did manage to check its ears for ID tattoos (none), though.

A guy from the shelter just came to pick up doggy, he was disgusted and angry about its weight, so I am guessing doggy diet starts today. Hopefully the owner will claim it. It is a friendly doggy, and maybe around 6-7 years old, so even if no owners turn up, the shelter might put it up for rehoming. This happens after 3 days after the police has put a notice in the local papers. The other option is, unfortunately, euthanasia. :(

I will call the shelter tomorrow to hear if there is any news. Hopefully doggy will have a responsible, law-abiding owner and be microchipped.***

______________________
* It's quite bright here at 03:45
** Required by law here in Denmark, but of course it could have dropped it
*** ID either tattoo or chip and a registration in the Danish Dog Registry is also required by law



And here are some photos of the poor thing:



Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Writing.

I have not spoken much about my writing here lately, not because some advise against publicly talking about the submission process*, but because nothing much is happening.

Most of the time, I wait.

And then wait some more.

So far I have gotten 2 rejections for Arvingen - one standard rejection, and a very positive personal rejection where they encouraged me to send in more manuscripts, but in other genres. This made me almost as happy as had the manuscript been accepted... almost. ;)

Arvingen has now been sent to a 3rd publishing house, which, like the others, have a 6-8 week response time, so I wait again.

A snippet I posted to the OWW from my work-in-progress, Sister, got chosen for an Editor's Choice and got a stellar review, which had me jumping up and down in my office like a 2-year-old in a candy shop. The notification of the Editor's Choice and the personal rejection arrived within 30 minutes of each other, so that was a really good day.

Also, I put all my novel work on hold to write a short story for a vampire anthology competition. I sent it in almost 14 days ago, but have been too busy with real life to get any resemblance of a serious word count on my novels.

I did, however, dust our bookshelves...and found a couple of un-read books! It's like Christmas in July, well...June, but you know what I mean. ;)

________________
* I personally don't see anything wrong with that as long as you are being professional about it, like you would be in any other line of business.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Sick

Fighting against some kind of virus, which had better be over soon since I don't have the time to be sick. Of course when does anyone ever have the time to be sick? It's not like we go through our time-managers and exclaim "Oh look, there's a good time to be sick". :p

Anyway, thought I would show you what was inside Isabeau's monster egg:



And yes, it was very tasty indeed. ;)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Isabeau and the monster egg.

We have old Danish farm hens. They are extremely hardy, but not as prolific egg-layers as other breeds. Their eggs are generally smaller as well.

Elora, the lowest ranking hen, lays the most and the biggest eggs. Her eggs are almost the size of the regular organic eggs you can buy in the supermarket, and she'll usually give us 4-6 a week.

Yvaine is the queen and the boss. Her eggs are slightly smaller than Elora's, but she's a good girl and lays 3-5 eggs a week.

Isabeau... Isabeau lays eggs when she feels like it. Usually 2-4 a week. Her eggs are smaller and more oval than the other two's so there is never any doubt about which eggs are Isabeau's. This week, however, she's laid the tiniest eggs, they are so small that they won't even fit into an egg holder. We began joking that Isabeau must be half sparrow.

Here's one of the small eggs, next to one of Yvaine's:



Well... Isabeau must have heard us because today she took revenge with a giant egg! Look at it next to the same egg of Yvaine's:



And here are two of Isabeau's eggs together, the small and the large:

Friday, 25 May 2012

Country Living - Spring!

Spring has finally arrived in Denmark! I wanted to take some photos earlier, but I've been busy planning lessons and teaching a short watercolour course. I had some lovely students, and it is definitely not the last time I'll be doing a 4-day course like this.

But! On to the photos, Here area few snapshots from our garden and field. The white puffs on the field? Yeah, dandelions. The field was quite stunning last week with all the yellow flowers.

At the far edge of the field are leverets, but we are careful not to disturb, and all we "see" of them is mom coming to feed them.










In the tree right across from my office window is a magpie nest and I've been following the construction work and can now see the adults pop in an out during the day. Judging from the sounds, there are babies in the nest already.

And...my office is a popular place. Yesterday a pair of barn swallowes decided to start building a nest on the balcony outside of the office, or rather on the wall right above the window, and while I am writing this, one of them even popped inside to say hello, taking a quick look around before flying out again. They are funny little birds, and often sit on the balcony railing while having long conversations with each other. I keep trying to get a photo of them, but while they are not afraid of me nor the cats, they aren't keen on the camera.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Confirmation

Spring is confirmation season in Denmark, and we've been to two this year. Yesterday was for a boy, whom I've known all his life. His theme colour for the party was spring green and digging through our old photos, I found a baby photo of him wearing the exact same colour, which resulted in a home-made card:

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Bird Seed Cookies

First post since Blogger changed their lay-out. This will take some getting used to, I think.

Anyway! Back to the cookies. They are obviously not called bird seed cookies, but that's what we called them, and since they are almost impossible to find in Denmark, I decided to make my own and have my husband blind-test them.

These are the originals:

His verdict: "You are close, they almost taste as they should."

This one is mine:

His verdic: "This one is by far the best."

Success! Even if it is not as pretty, and I even picked the prettiest one for the photo. :p

I used a standard recipe for flat oatmeal cookies, added slightly more flour, and substituted 90% of the oatmeal with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped almonds, and dried cranberries.

The original cookies have sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oatmeal, hazelnuts, honey, raisins and condensed milk. Of course finding condensed milk in Denmark is almost as diffcult as finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Friday, 6 April 2012

"Pysanky" 3rd - 5th attempt.

If at first you don't succeed, then try, try again...

I'm getting better but still making lots of mistakes.

Traditionally pysanky are made as gifts so I'll attach one of these to a beaded cord and give to my mother for easter. :)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Second Attempt

A bit better than the first, but I am still struggling to get straight, even lines. Luckily Elora laid another egg today. :)

Thursday, 15 March 2012

"Pysanky"

Today I gathered one egg from the chicken coop, laid by Elora:



And made my very first "pysanky" easter egg. Controlling the kistka was difficult, and the egg did not turn out as pretty as I'd hoped, but I had a lot of fun and I cannot wait to make more and get better! :)

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Perfect Outfit.

I generally don't do fashion blogs, but I'm going to do a rare exception, the first, I think in more than a decade of blogging because I just love these clothes and shoes.

The perfect outfit for an evening out, would be this dress from Ecoture by Lund:



And these shoes from Chie Mihara:




Both companies have more really cool shoes and clothes:

Chie Mihara

Ecoture by Lund

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Rejected.

My manuscript was rejected, as expected I was not among the 0,1% who got through the eye of the needle. Received a standard rejection per e-mail today. Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And a response time of 4 weeks is good. Not so fast that I worry they took one glance at it and went "yuck!", but fast enough not to waste my time.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Onward to the next publisher on my list. :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

February!

I know. I need to post more often! So what has happened since I last checked in?

- I started teaching the spring season art classes

- My car got stuck in the snow!

- Our washing machine broke and with the help of Google, YouTube, and a German online store, we managed to fix it ourselves for just 160 kr., saving us approx. 3000 kr. for a new machine, since our machine is 8 years old and it probably would not have paid to call out a repair man.

- I finished a manuscript and sent it to a publisher. Their acceptance rate for unsolicited manuscripts is below 0,1%, so I am not getting my hopes up, but on the other hand, if I don't try, then it's 100% guaranteed that I will not get published. So I figure I have nothing to lose. ;)

With the 3000 kr. saved on a new washing machine, my 100K project is down to 92K. Still a long way to go, but there's time yet.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A New Year!

...and so full of potential. I can feel it in the air. My brain is buzzing with project ideas, and I've spent most of the January working on them. I don't have anything to show you just yet, but I should have something ready by the end of this month.

Tonight I start teaching art classes again. I have two evening classes this spring. Pencil portrait painting for beginners, which will start tonight, and pencil portrait painting for intermediates, which will start on Thursday. Almost all the students on the intermediate class are from my beginners class last year, and I am looking forward to seeing them, if I know them right, they will have loads of new drawings to show me. :)

And in other news...my husband cut my hair last night! He did a really good job considering this was his first try ever, and that all he had to work with was instructions from YouTube, a plastic comb, and a dull pair of scissors. I'm very pleased with the result, and it saves me a trip to the hairdresser.