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Annual Spring Report 2017

It is interesting to look back on my previous spring reports to see how they vary from year to year. This year seems fairly normal.

Even though the crocuses were record early due to a mild winter, both March and April have been quite cold, so the pictures taken on May 1st is almost exactly like last year.

The woods have just the smallest hint of green to them, and this is mostly due to the last couple of days when the sun came out, and it is warming up. There is still snow in the mountains from the latest snowfall not many days ago.

The winter tyres have just been removed from the car, washed and are drying in the sun, and the summer tyres are on, – more than a week later than the general rules allow. However, they were needed just a few days ago.

The cherry tree has large buds, but no blooms yet. Just as well since there are few insects around.

The bulk of our daffodils are not out yet. The exception besides the early ones is the ones in sheltered spots and next to the south wall. The tulips by the south wall are also budding.

The flowering currant has been in bloom for some time, but the spiraea bush has just a hint of green around it, but no blooms yet. However, with the nice weather we are having now, it will not be long, I expect.

The sheep are enjoying the good weather too, although the lot in this photo were a bit worried. Someone with a dog, – on a leash, mind, as it should be this time of year, – was crossing the field below, so they ran for higher grounds. Lambs were separated from their mothers, so there was a lot of bleating and running around before the little ones got back to their respective guardians for a comforting suckle. Then all was well, and they could settle down and enjoy the glorious day.

 

And so do we. The weather forecast for the next week is glorious.

🙂

Eldrid

Lagre

Spring, or Winter, or Both

Or maybe we should call it “sprinter”?

Anyway, most of the winter has been quite mild, with a few cold spells in between. Lately we have had some nice weather with clear skies, frost, and some gorgeous evening skies.

sunset

Last week I took a look in our garden, and was very surprised when I saw these popping up everywhere:

crocus      I cannot remember the crocuses being so early before, – the sun had not even returned to our house and garden after the winter months when this photo was taken.

When driving to visit family this week, we also came across lots of these beside the road:

tussilagoColtsfoot (Tussilago) is a sure sign of spring.

On returning home in late afternoon, we had time to stop and take some photos as the sun was setting.

fyr2

tree

boatsThere were thin crusts of ice floating about on the surface of this fjord.

A bit later we came across this frozen lake:

hornelen

I went out of the car for a better view. It was our last evening of this spell of cold, nice weather. No wind, and all was quiet….

skating… except for a faint sound of a single pair of steel blades on ice, the occasional booming sound of the ice settling into the colder evening temperatures, and also peals of laughter ringing across the lake from the far shore where a group of people had fun on the ice.

skating2I was just able to glimpse some figures moving over there, – one is sitting on a kicksled, and the others skating along.

Now it is raining again, and the ice is probably gone.

🙂

Eldrid

Lagre

Lagre

Lagre

Annual Spring Report 2016

The photos below were all taken on May 1st, the date I have used to compare the progress of spring for some time now.

2016-0

The woods have just a hint of green, – most trees have only small buds, while a few early ones are sporting tiny leaves.

2016-0b

The pussy willow has been out for some time. There is still lots of snow in the mountains and temperatures have been quite low so far.

2016-1

Crocuses are mostly finished, most of the daffodils are budding, and so is the cherry tree.

2016-22016-3

 

Only the very early daffodils and the ones growing in the most sunny places are in bloom.

2016-4

The tulips along the south wall have large buds.

2016-5

The spiraea bush, – the very first bush that was planted in our garden nearly 40 years ago, is starting to sprout leaves, but no flowers yet. The rose bush to the right was planted about the same time, and will hopefully display its white roses in a couple of months.

2016-6

The field looks yellow and bleak, but there must be something green growing underneath since the deer turn up grazing there almost every day.

 

🙂

Eldrid

 

The Four Seasons Embroidered Frieze

This summer Kaffe Fassett’s exhibition “50 Years of Colour” has been on show at Hadeland Glassverk here in Norway. I finally got to see it during its last week, and it was indeed glorious. But I also got to see a lot more.

Since we had travelled a long way for this, and stayed a couple of nights, we also decided to visit the nearby Blaafarveverket in Modum, as we had heard they usually have some good exhibitions there during summer.

blaafarveverket

On arrival we were presented with the options of buying discounted tickets for any two of three sites, or all three. We thought that we had time for only two, and when hearing that one of them had some embroidery on show, we decided on that one, in addition to the main site, – which showed paintings in blue colours and also lots of blue glass and china, linked to the former production of cobalt mined in this area.

nyfossumbarn

The second site, Nyfossum, used to be the director’s dwelling. The old house and gardens are being restored to former glory, while the log barn in the photo above has been turned into a gallery to house the annual summer exhibitions.

What a surprise to step into the barn and discover that the embroidery on show was actually THE Four Seasons Frieze, also called the Life Frieze, made by Torvald Moseid during the years 1961-1977. I had read about it in some magazine many, many years ago, and I think I also may have glimpsed it on tv at some time, but had never seen it in “person”.

Impressive is an understatement. It is 62 meters long and 58 centimeters tall, and all in one long piece of linen fabric, embroidered all over, mostly using the couching stitch with yarn spun from wool from the double coated Norwegian tail-less breed Spelsau.

The whole piece was hung around the walls in three separate rooms and a hallway. It was not possible to see all of it at once, – you had to move from room to room.

 

Below are more photos showing details from the frieze. I have put them into four groups, one for each season.

For every season there was also a small text explaining some of the scenes. As they were only in Norwegian I have tried to write up an English version, but I fear the poetry of the texts got lost in translation.

springtext

Spring
Early spring starts with naked trees and dead leaves.

The break through is like a powerful gust of wind. Flocks of migratory birds are carried by the wind. They fly with their heads stretched out towards the spring, and the wind is playing in groves and thickets.

The woods turn green, and flowers spring. The tree of spring spreads its glory like an open fan.

Flowers and plants are grown and tended to. Two who are enthralled with each other stand in the middle of them, as if they are part of the flowers’ beauty and vitality.

 

 

summertextSummer

Summer starts with the big wedding feast. Flutes are played, and in the flowering fields there are undulating rows of dancers.

The summer bride has got her finery on. She has a classic profile, she is pale, and a myrtle garland is tied around her brow. The summer breeze is playing with her long hair. A knot of glorious summer flowers is tied behind her neck, and the wind blows her bridal veil into the wedding feast.

The wedding feast is like a flaming bonfire which turns into cascades of colourful midsummer plants.  The midsummer sun shines in bright red and yellow.

Midsummer blooming has a boundless lavishness of shapes and colours. Large flower bowls are opening up, and children are playing with pollen stamens.

 autumntextAutumn

The birds bring the first signs of autumn. They pull golden threads across the earth. The threads turn into light, golden veils which are pulled over the woods.

Nature closes down towards the winter time. Colours and shapes change the trees and plants. Large, brown, knotty plants with filled seed pods are contrasting with the blue.

 

wintertext

Winter

The winter opens with the stormy wind hitting the trees, and dead leaves in brown, yellow, and red are blown into the air.

Through winter cold and frost the death rider on his wild horse charges into the night. Nature is desolate and silent.

The wind plays with light snowflakes, and they are dancing around like pearl embroidered suns.

In the darkness of the winter night a flaming ice rose shines like the fiery northern lights, filled with hope.

 

Needless to say I was above impressed when walking along the frieze, trying to take it all in, – and even more so now, when working with the photos for this blog post, and I really got to study the details.

One cannot help but wonder about the drive and stamina that the artist would need to finish a piece like this. And even so, when comparing the beginning and the end, one can almost get the impression that he did not want it to end, as the sheer masses and density of the stitches are ever increasing towards the end.

Still, the artist has produced two similar works of art after this one. His second frieze, the 50 meters long Orfeus and Euridike (1978 – 1985), was also displayed at Nyfossum in the neighbouring rooms, and was almost as impressive as this one, although a bit different.  I took lots of photos here as well.

His third and last work of this scale, is the 70 meters long frieze based on Draumkvedet, a Norwegian medieval ballad often compared to Dante’s Divina Commedia.  This was finished in 1993. I should like to see that one as well, – maybe I will be so lucky some time in the future.

🙂

Eldrid

ps

“The Four Seasons” and “Orfeus and Euridike” will hang at Nyfossum till the middle of September this year. There are still two more weeks to get to see them.

Annual Spring Report 2015

May 1st has come and gone, so my annual spring report is overdue, but here it is.

spring15a

I guess there is no such thing as a “normal” spring, but if there were, this would be close, I think. At least this is very close to my memories of what spring used to be.

spring15b

Since we were going away on May 1st, I took these photos in the evening the day before, and nothing had changed much overnight, so I think they count as May 1st photos.

We have had a relatively mild winter with little snow here on the coast (inland dwellers will tell a different story), but the spring has been quite cool, especially April. The leaves on the birch trees have just started to come out, but very slowly.

spring15d

 

spring15e

The daffodils are budding, and a few are in bloom.

spring15g

The exceptions are the ones by the walls facing south, they have been blooming for some time. The crocuses are all finished, unlike the very cold spring 2 years ago, when they were still in full bloom on May 1st.

spring15c

The flowering currant bush is also in full bloom, ….

spring15f

…. but none of the rhododendrons have shown their colour yet, – not even the early ones.

spring15h

The tulips by the wall are ready to bloom, and were opening up when we arrived back home two days later.

spring15i

The rose bush has got some green leaves, but the spirea bush only has a hint of green on it.

spring15j

No leaves on our old rowan tree yet, but it is budding. We still have snow falling now and again.

As we travelled into the fjords on May 1st, we could see that there was still a lot of snow in the mountains, and the greenery varied from quite green to none at all, depending on whether the slopes were facing south or north, and on the altitude. Some high lying farms inland still had their fields covered with snow.

 

 

🙂

Eldrid

Annual Spring Report

It is interesting to look back on my previous spring reports and compare between the different years.

This year beats all the previous ones in terms of early blooming.

springreport2014t

We have had a very mild winter with next to no snow, and then the last part of April was exceptionally warm, …..

springreport2014b

…….so the woods turned green record early, and everything was suddenly in bloom.

springreport2014a

On May 1st. when these photos were taken, a little bit of winter had returned. Showers of snow are coming down from the north.

In between the showers, the sun comes out, and everything looks like summer again, ……

springreport2014g

…. but it is quite cold when venturing outside.  I love the colour of new leaves when the sun filters through.

springreport2014c

The white wagtail  (motacilla alba)  has returned from Africa, and is busy patrolling our veranda bannister, hopping and flying up and down outside the windows to catch insects hiding between the wall boards.

In between he rests on the telephone line.

springreport2014i

The cherries and plums are in bloom record early. During the warmer days earlier, a few bumble bees were busy visiting the flowers, but there are not a lot of other insects around yet.

 

All the narcissuses have been out for at least a week, and hopefully they will last a bit longer now the weather has turned cold again.

 

Hopefully that will also be the case with the rhododendrons and tulips as well, – some of the latter being nearly finished already.

The strawberry bench is in good shape already, and the blueberries have been blooming for two weeks. I cannot remember seeing blueberries in bloom in April before.

springreport2014v

It is even earlier than the spring of 2011, which was the best one before now, since I started taking photos in 2009.

Spring has been really good this far, so I will not complain about a little cold and snow, even if it is May.

(As long as there is no real frost, that is.)

🙂

Eldrid

Annual Spring Report

It is time for my annual May 1st update on spring.

springreport1

This year spring is very late compared to my previous updates since 2009.

springreport2

It is even later than it was last year.

Not a hint of green in the woods, the daffodils are not blooming, but a few of the earliest ones are sporting large, yellow buds.

springreport5

 

springreport4

Even though there are no green leaves yet, the pussy willows are in bloom.

springreport3

So are the crocuses, and have been for a couple of weeks. However, they got quite beaten down by the hail a couple of days ago.

The winter has been long and cold, and the ground has been frozen until recently.

springreport6

The snow keeps falling still.

🙂

Eldrid