And despite the economically challenging times there were some amazing gifts for us, which I'd like to share with you. For our first weddinganniversary (We have two, since my wife and I remarried) my wife and I received, among many other things, a handmade wooden box with hinged lid. In the lid are our initials carved and the number of years we are married, R.E.20. He also made me a wooden nametag in the shape of a moose. Our oldest daughter had hand sewn a small heartshaped pillow and a christmastree, complete with decorations and our youngest one gave us some butterflydrawings. For christmas my son made me a handcarved bowl, too! I am so very proud that they went through the trouble of actually making something themselves, instead of just buying gifts and when I look at what they made I am equally proud of their craftingskills! They enjoy themselves so much doing this, that I am sure these crafts will not be lost, here.
We have sighted a new species of bird in our garden, a Hämpling (Carduelis cannabina), which, according to the books, should not be here, this far inland.
We heard 2 species of owl; Kattuggla (Strix aluco) and Sparvuggla (Glaucidium passerinum), their distinct calls giving them away and quit near too. Thanks to the previously mentioned book.....
New neighbours; a couple of nötskrika (Garrulus glandarius), which are very wary of us and the activity around the house, in sharp contrast to all the other birds around.
There's even a hare that comes to feed from the deerfeeder, sitting on it's haunches, so that it's head can reach the feedingtray easily. It doesn't even run off everytime it sees movement in the house!
And we now have visual confirmation that we are being visited by 2 deergroups.... Well.. groups... If you can call 2 female deer a group and than there's a small group consisting of a young buck and 2 deer. The buck is already showing his growing antlers! We also noticed that the 2 deer are slightly bigger than the buck and his harem. They are taller and beefier, but do seem to be the same species. We saw those 2 groups visiting our deerfeeder within minutes of each other, so had some good references.
This was the third time I saw a moose, apart from a few quick driveby's. The first time was when we moved to Sweden and we experienced some cartrouble, while moving our stuff. Because we had to drive very slow, we spotted 2 young bulls, right next to the road, watching us snail past.... The second time I saw one, was when we moved to this house. That moose was standing in a field and it, too, just watched as we drove past, not too fast, because of the loaded truck.
And now we had this encounter.... on a moment when things are about to change again. We are changing employer, because our old one has sold the company to them and that might have some serious implications for us. Seeing this moose, I believe it will be for the better.... A good omen, if you will.
In hindsight I know I've been lucky in more than one way. if the animal would have moved onto the road, I would have never been able to stop or avoid it, given the winterly conditions... Hitting a fully grown cow in a VW Golf at 70km/h would have been catastrophic.... for me.
the picture of the moose actually isn't mine. I found it and used it, because I think it is a beautiful one. It comes from Svahn's fotoblogg and you should check it out. The guy's got wonderfull wildlifepictures!
We did encounter another natural fenomenon We had never seen befor; a vertical "rainbow". Appearantly these occur, whenrays of sunlight hit a wall of icechrystals in the air, effectively acting as a mirror. We're told this is called refraction..... Whatever it's called, it is an awesome sight to see. It looks like a vertical beam of light, coming from somewhere on the ground, shooting up.
And than there is the change I talked about. It is in the air.... A sort of, I don't know... anticipation, a weakening of winter, a lack of winter's ferocity, a softness or gentleness in the air.... I don't exactly know how describe it, but it's there. By no means does it mean winter is nearly over; far from. It is snowing as I write this and quit hard too, actually. We're also facing a good many more frosty days and nights, but everyday I look, the weatherforecasters are adjusting their predicted temperatures up. All we need is a shift in the wind and Kung Bore will still bite us, but somehow....
I also noticed a small, yet clear change in the behaviour of the many small birds, which accumulate aroubnd our house. They're starting to sing. It no longer is the short kind of squeeks they produce, but longer, multi-toned calls. I can here it all day. They also no longer squable just over food. They are fighting and bickering about locations, places within the trees; the large pine in front of our house in particulair.