Ron's readingtable

Richard Dawkins - The God delusion
Lars Wilderäng - Stjärnklart & Stjärnfall

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Has the world gone crazy??

I normally try to stay away from politics, megacompanies and the likes, but now they really are overstepping the boundaries. Who? The multibilliondollar companies and their owned political puppets.

These past few days I keep stumbling across information that will seriously geopardise our (natural) world and the freedom of choice of it's inhabitants. Two fundamental items are at stake here; water and plants.
There are reports about the EU planning to outlaw the multiplication of plantseed or the use of non regulated (and most likely genetically manipulated) seeds in your garden, for your own use!


Companies like Nestlé and Monsanto are trying to patent plants, making them the only legit users of that plant! Excuse me??? Since when can some one or some company claim to own a species of plants??


And as icing on the cake states one of the topbrass of Nestlé that water should no longer be an everyman's right, but should be privately owned... What??? So they can claim it, sell it and cash in even more???
Have they gone completely nuts or ar these insane bastards finally showing their deranged and arrogant faces and can we see them for what they really are??


Here are some more international links.

WAKE UP PEOPLE!
FIGHT THESE LUNATICS!!
SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Unless you are one of those "Conspiracy theory"-screamers or deliberately turning a blind eye-folks... In that case; sleep well, dream on and swallow this stuff like a good obedient minnion...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recalibrating heart, mind and soul.

Or maybe I should have called it "Moosing around"?

Today I purposefully went out for a walk again, for the first time in 2 months! I guess I led myself to believe that living out here in the country would minimalise the need to go out and roam through the woods.... How wrong I have been! So today I skipt the householdchores, left the garden alone and the firewood in peace. With the wife of to work and the kids of the school I took off.
I wanted to see what the woods around here looked like without the snow. Makes me feel a lot more at ease exploring new terrain without winterly conditions. I headed to the cliff or rockformation I showed in an earlier post at the beginning of the year. That was a referencepoint I knew and from there I would venture on onto new terrain. I kept to the "road" and paths. I'll have plenty of more opportunities to wonder off and get lost later. ;)  The "road" was almost entirely covered with natural debris, like needles, leaves, branches and mosses, but half way up to the cliff there was one patch of bright grey rock showing through and as I approached it I somehow could not keep my eyes from it and I could not just pass it by. I felt drawn to it and I had to get down and lay my hand on it... Touch it. Feel the land... reconnect. A shiver went through me as I felt the cold rock against my hand. Maybe my mind was playing tricks on me, but I felt different afterwards.
I passed the rockface I aimed for and a bit further up the hill the road split up. I kept left and immediately the underground changed. Allthough it was still recognisable as a wide, 2-tracked path, it became much more overgrown. The woods here are crisscrossed with loggerstrails, at least I guess that's what they are, and all of them are overgrown to some extent. Makes accessing the woods easier....
After a few meters I came across my first animaltracks for this day; if I am correct, these are the dropping of a western capercaillie or wood grouse, here known as tjäder (Tetrao urogallus)



Further on on the trail I found some more, but more decayed ones. eventually the trail led up to a sort of clearing. The only thing remaining war large pine, no undergrowth. I found my next animaltrack. Something had been digging up the grass...

These guys were bravely standing up
Beyond this clearing there was no more trail or path, so I turned around and retraced my footsteps. Just befor entering the denser wood again, a small opening in the canopy let in a beam of sunlight, setting this little scene ablaze. It was as if a patch of pure gold was lighting up in the sun....

I went further back, seeing moosetracks coming from one of those luggerstrails and went down the trail untill I reached the rockface again. It looked very different and I went to check it out more closely and I most say I was impressed by it! It wasn't just the view or the panorama, but the entire feel and atmosphere felt just right. I wondered around a little, marvelling at the accumullation of mosses and lichen, feeling excited (for no appearant reason) like a little child.


This it the kind of terrain I really feel at home in!

those colours....
 And then, suddenly, I found these..... Moosedroppings, right at the edge of the cliff! I had noticed a young birchtree being snapped off in a typical way, but thought nothing of it. After seeing these droppings I saw even more signs; moss being scraped off the rock, where the animal had treaded, young trees and shrub which had been grazed upon...
I dubbed this place "mooserock".

my wife thought this one looks like a painting...

After a while I returned to the road and into the woods. The wind had started to pick up again and the rockface left me quit exposed to it. The wind is still cold. I walked down the road again, untill I came to the crossing where the dalkarlsvägen meets the road. I mentioned that one, and this cliff too, in my first post of this year. But befor I reached that crossing I found yet another pile of moosedroppings and these were quit fresh! I also found fresh moosetracks, leading out of the woods, in the direction I came from. Fresh tracks and fresh droppings coming my way..... If I wes to follow them backwards I might find more.... So I went off trail, following the, to me, most logical route such a large animal would take and within 25 meters I came across a patch of grass, that was even more compressed than the grass around it. Allthough compressed by the snow, that stood up just a little bit more. This patch was firmly compacted. Could that be the restingplace of this animal?


Through the still open trees I could vaguely make out the road, so I went back again and followed it untill said crossing. It was still early (I always loose track of time fast, when out there) so I started following this trail for a while. I want to do this coming summer too, so a bit a scouting out the terrain is a good thing.
Within 50 meters I again came across moosedroppings, older ones, but I found others too. If I am correct, these are the droppings of a black grouse or locally known as orre (Lyrurus/Tetrao tetrix). 
there are 4 piles here


No idea what these are. Looks like something a bird might have thrown up. These balls were quit small, about 3cm in diameter and the greyish one was full of white hair.

I found some very unusual deformations on this shrub. Next to all stems had these bloated sections with small holes in them. No idea what these are or what caused them.
This is the trail, by the way....


Following the trail I came across many piles of moosedroppings, one after the other. Most of them older, but some fresher ones... and with different sizes. All in all at least 15 piles over a 3-4km stretch of trail! I also saw many young trees being broken in the typical way, when a moose feeds on them. Must have been a pretty big one, since some of the breaks where so high I could barely touch them and in some cases I could not! Some trees were a few cm's thick, so some force had to be used to bring them down and there was one area, a few 100 square meters, which had practically no young tree left standing....

 Another sign I found were yellow fungi, which only grow on places a moose had urinated, here together with droppings.

I kept following the trail, untill I came to another clearing, this time manmade, and as I stept away from the trees I was surprised by small blotches of colour everywhere.





And again some tracks. Hoofprints this time and fresh ones, too!

By now the weather had turned. The sun was gone, the wind had really picked up and I could feel that the rain was soon to follow. Time to head home again, which was a perfect excuse, because I was actually feeling quit beat after walking through the woods for a few hours. I'm in a pisspoor shape and I really need to work on that. The trail I followed was actually nothing more that a narrow path of grass and rocks between the trees and, given the tracks I found, I'm guessing it is more frequently used by moose than by man. These tracks are not made by one animal, judging by the varying size of prints and droppings. And given the large number of droppingpiles and broken trees this trail is being used very frequently; Moosealley.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weekend!

I wish you all a warm and colourfull weekend!!!



The season of the soggy socks comes to an end...

And soggy socks we had!
After the warm spell earlier we we treated to a period of weather with temperatures continuously above freezing, but with the addition of a lot of rain and high winds, even storms! Sometimes the weather more resembled late autumn than the beginning of spring!
These winds and rains have swept the land clean. Practically not a speck of snow to be found anymore, except for the very shaded and sheltered places. Problem was that the water could not go anywhere, but the last few days have seen less rain and much wind, so it did dry up a little. But if you stomp your feet in one place for a while, you'll sink in....
Apart from the weather the animal kingdom has come to life, especially the birds! There are new species to be seen almost everyday and the ones that allready were here have increased in numbers, sometimes quit dramatically so. The bofinkar in our garden number at least 2 dozen now, but are probably more. Noicy little charactres and not a bit scared!
Speaking of noicy and numerous; today we were visited by a flock of rödvingetrast. There were about 2 dozen of them at least, but I'm only guessing here, since counting was not really possible. Talking about being busy! they still are at it as I write this, making our cats very nervous!
source; www.larslundmark.se
While I was looking at them, I heard honking to my rear. Turning around I saw a group of 8 swans, lifting up from the lake, flying northward, beautifully contrasting their whites against a grey sky....
Earlier this week on the 16th, I spotted a large group of tofsvipa or northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) . Beautiful birds, feeding in, again, a large group in a field, next to the road.
source; www.nt.se

Later that day, early in the evening, when my oldest daughter and I were at the lake, looking at the low sun casting its rays across the grey icesheet, we noticed some birds fluttering up and down, flashing their white bellies at each other and calling in a very distinct way. 
This youtubeclip is not mine, but shows pretty much what we saw.

With all these newcomers we also noticed some regulars had gone missing. "Our" bullfinches were gone! We did not see them for several days, but today they were back. At least 2 couples of them. Maybe they had sought shelter in the woods from the bad weather? This seems to be improving over the next couple of days....

In the meantime I have started being active in past hobbies and passions, one of which is another outdooractivity I did with great love; gardening. I loved doing that when we lived in Holland and now that we have a garden of our own again, I can and will spend many hours coming season working in the garden or just walk or sit in it, enjoying its gifts and daydream a little. But befor that can be done, there's a lot of work to be done. This patch of land has not seen any maintainance for more than 2 years, so there's a thick carpet of dead grass, branches and moss everywhere. Beneath a pile of branches I discovered a large anthill of forestants.... right in front of the house and in the place where the compostbins and henhouse are going to be. Someone had to move here.....
I collected a large pile of dead branches and brush and stacked that up. That will be our majbrasan or large bonfire in the evening of april 30th; Valborgsmässoafton. There isn't one in our village and this way the waste has a purpose. The thicker branches will be shredded and used as groundcover for the pathes. Many bushes have been or will be cut back. They have grown unchecked for many years and have started to overgrow pathes, the stairs and are blocking windows.... And I keep discovering small surprises all the time, like plants sticking their heads out of the ground and I can't wait what joy they will bring!
While I was working on the 17th, I discovered yet another returning visitor; a sädesärla(Motacilla alba) . It sat on the rooftop, singing and calling, flying into the trees and back.
source; www.nt.se

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's officially spring!!


Yes, we have official confirmation that spring has finally arrived here.
Thursdayevening, while being out with the scout, a couple of cranes passed over, calling loudly to one another. And last night, and to this moment, we are having rain; the first rain since the beginning of november. Thaw, rain and a frozen underground.... I think I know why the Swedes developped the BV206.
Not really outdoor- or enviromentally friendly, but it I guess it would be fun, driving one of those. Not to mention the practical uses given the seasons and terrain. It'd sure beat any 4x4, just not by fuelconsumption or sparepartprices..
 

Apart from the cranes the number of returning birds increases daily. We have seen swans, geese and in our backyard the number of finches increases, with a little added surprise; a female bergfink (Fringilla montifringilla)

We had a great scoutevening too last thursday, being out, trying to identify trees which still are without leaves. It was good to be able to share some knowledge about those trees, too. I now know a bit more about the the trees and their usefullness and I have the capabilities now to tell about it. At least I thought the others understood what I was talking about. The kids here take trees for granted or even see them as a nuisance. If I try to tell them how lucky they are and tell them about the place I come from, they look at me as if I am talking about another planet. They just can not imagine what it is like to live in a highly urbanised area.....
We roamed between the trees, trying to identify them by looking at their specifics and when we had an identification I told a bit more about the other benefits that particular tree had, like making a painkilling or high vitamin C-containing tea. Even the other scoutleaders had no idea. The sky was clear, the air fresh, a couple of cranes past overhead and all welcomed their sounds as they heralded the aarival of spring. You could see the faces of everyone light up... As icing on the cake we found a large, dead birch full of large horseshoefunguses. Again I told them what you could use these for and I collected one, so we can use it as tinder, when we will be doing traditional firemaking during camp in june.
We concluded the evening sitting by a small campfire, singing and listening to a story, read from a book. This is how I think it should be...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring cleanup!

The clean-up continues....
Still sugarfree and doing good! And when I do eat or drink something that contains (a lot of) sugar, my tastebuds get an unpleasant surprise. Stuff like applejuice, fruitjam, chocolate..... It tastes awefull!!
So the next step has been made too; snacks like potatochips or those peanuts with a coating are gone, too.
These changes made me realise that I had actually developped something like an addiction, similar to smoking! The habit is hard to break!
Another clean-up was a digital one. I have been spending (wasting is more like it) way to much time online, visiting the forums that brought me into contact with what is so populairly known  as bushcraft. Regrettingly those have mostly degraded into geartalk and -showoff.
Recently I have become involved in a series of discussions in some online outdoorcommunities that made me realise I should seriously limit my time there. These discussion tend to be about values and beliefs and whenever someone makes comments showing his/her interest in such things, there's bound to be some people telling them off or ridiculing them. Somehow I always get drawn into these discussions, only to find proof that Einstein was right; the stupidity of mankind is infinite....
Everytime I start to believe that there still is hope for man, some idiot(s) come along and prove(s) me wrong and I wonder why I even bother. People just do not want to see beyond their artificially created niche of the world. Keeping running after the next best goodlooking person with a smooth talk or song, keep buying that latest and greatest gadget, because they're so programmed to follow commercialism or just sticking their heads in the sand, putting their fingers in their ears, yelling "I can't hear you... I can't hear you...." if the truth (what ever that may be) becomes to ugly to contemplate.
After some thought the answers became clear; for one I use(d) these discussions to (re-)check my own points of view, to see if I am not becoming alienated or to learn new points of view. I also try to show people that many things may not be what they seem to be.
All I know is that I refuse to just give up, retreat into my little corner of the world and let those idiots take even more control and destroy even more than already has been destroyed. I will stand my ground and fight, but unfortunately you just can't beat stupid. Argueing with idiots is futile, because they'll drag you down to their level and beat you by experience..
Will I ever learn to stop being a Don Quichote?? Idealism is a killer.... or maybe it's just me being the idiot here.

Talking to others about this and further looking for answers I came across a German site, where someone else had asked questions about the intelligence of the masses. Someone else commented with a piece of text, which summs it up very well!
Written by someone called Soana:
"Ich denke, dass das Problem darin liegt, dass Feigheit ( Verantwortung und Konsequenzen für eigenes Denken, Verhalten ) in der Masse vorhanden ist. Dies wird von Mächten wie Glaubensoberhäuptern, Konzernen und vor allem Politikern schamlos benutzt. ( beginnt in den Schulen: Wissen soll in den Schulen gespeichert werden - selbstständiges Denken wird nicht mehr zugelassen). Daraus ergibt sich Dummheit. Und "Dumme" lassen sich spielerisch manipulieren. Es ist ja auch sehr bequem, wenn man für sich selbst, sein Denken und Handeln keine Verantwortung mehr übernehmen muss, da sie abgenommen wird. Traurig! und diejenigen, die es wagen zu denken und danach zu handeln, handeln sich nur Probleme ein - einige reihen sich dann in bestehende Machtkreise ein und werden dadurch zu "Tätern".Die meisten resignieren. Der klägliche Rest (idealistische sarkastische Menschen) versucht zu überleben und die Masse zu verändern, was schwierig ist, die Masse ist bereits zu ... degeneriert, manipuliert..."
Source der Einzelne schlau, die Menge dumm

The ever increasing annoyment about the vast majority of these online communities (well, actually all of them) only discussing their toys or showing their latest purchase or how they walked their dog, whilst bringing their tarps, ESEE-knives and karrimorbackpacks in order to brew coffee on a hobostove doesn't motivate either to keep revisiting those sites. The growing distance between what those places now propagate and what I believe in is increasingly difficult to bridge. Too bad, really, as they used to be of a different nature and I learned a lot on them. I guess they have become something like elementaryschoolclasses which I have outgrown.
I also noted that some of the earlier members, who happened to think along similar lines like me, have been actively participating less and less, too. I had hoped to create some lasting contacts within that community, but elas.... In order to counterbalance this commercial onslaught and decline of actual skills and values I started a forum of my own, specifically prohibiting the purchase- and showoffthreads. This forum is all but dead, since there is no activity..... Maybe people interested in those skills and values practice what they preach, instead of hammering away on a keyboard or these people are much more to themselves and like to keep it that way. Who's to say?

Well, cleaning up the doings that waste my time makes time available to use for usefull doings again. Time to get those creative flows going again. Time to use my brain for processing sensible information, such as learning (language, handcraft, plants, homesteading etc...)

Bottomline; if you want to read me, reach me or keep track of me, this is the place.

In doing so, you might learn about the increasing number of returning birds, like a handfull of bofinkar  (Fringilla coelebs). We spotted the on sunday april 7th in front of our kitchenwindow. There were about 7-8 of them, both male and female. Later that days and in the days to follow, their numbers increased and I lost count.
Later that night we saw one of the hares running across our garden, the road and the fields around us. His nose was as ig glued to the ground, his frontlegs seemingly way to short for his hindlegs. It was a funny sight, but I am always surprised to see how big these animals are! However big he is, he does not like horses
Not much later we saw him coming again.... only it was not him, but another one, much darker in colour! 2 males sniffing out females??
On tuesday april 9th, my attention was drawn to our garden in front of our house. a number of birds were creating quit a lot of noise! To my surprise I found a large number of greenfinches calling. I guess somewhee between 15 and 20 of them at least.



As I stood there I caught movement in the corner of my eyes. A copperred dash moved through my field of view; one of the resident squirrels. He moved at ease across the grass, towards the large birch in front of our house. He then moved onto the pine, came down, sat in the grass, nibbling at something and then moved on to the few stairsteps, hopped up into the elderberrytree, knibbled somemore and then moved off, hoping and jumping over the boulders strew around. I saw the sun shining onto and through his red furry coat, making it light up like a lantern. It had by no means that smooth, furry tail we associate with squirrels, but it looked more as if the hair was charged with static electricity, making the hairs stand out sidewards. I also noticed that he could freely through the pine, while the birds sat in there too and where in no way alarmed.
Later that night my wife and I heard a fox bark and much to our surprise these barks were answered quickly and nearby! Great to hear this animal. We know he, or they, were here by their footprints.
fox' sound

Friday, April 5, 2013

MEDIA - springdepressionmedicin!

Came across this one on BCUK
Don't like the band, don't like the song, but the vid's great!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Things are stirring....

Spring has definitely found it's way here! Daytime temperatures remain above freezing and it's thawing hard! Downside of that is that the ground's still frozen, so all that meltwater can not sink in.
I use my free time mainly by walking over our little patch of land, planning what has to be done and where, looking at what we have etc.
As I was wondering through our backyard I came across all kinds of little surprises being revealed, now the ground is warming up. I found plenty of hare- and deerdroppings, Nature's free fertiliser. Nature really is waking up, showing signs of new life all over the place. Flowers and plants are poking their noses above the ground and start to show their colours.



I am almost crawling across the ground, nose in the grass and, apart from staring the plants out of the ground, I found more nice things. Small spiders hurrying through the grass, impossible to capture on photo. Lots of snailshells, most of them smashed and plundered. But some were not.


This looks like it is a forreststrawberry and there are many of them here! Along with the lingonberryshrubs I found and all the raspberrybushes we have I am hoping for a nice harvest. Is there anything that can beat the taste of freshly picked berries??


There is also a very large birds' nest. I saw that befor, but now that it is snowfree, you can really see how big it is! It is a good 75cm across at least and about 30-35cm thick. And I'm just guessing here. Could be bigger.

As I stood there, nose in the sun, listening to the calls of the birds, daydreaming a bit, I caught the sight of a brownish grey something, smashing into a (suspected) dead juniper in a corner of our backyard. It was the falcon I had seen befor and he (don't know why I call it a he, jus feels like it) granted me the honour of actually witnessing him hunting and killing a prey. It caught a blåmes, as I could tell after he lept out of the juniper onto the brach of a nearby birch in order to grab his prey in a better way and biting it. Then he flew off again, leaving all the other birds around highly alarmed. Their calls had changed totally, giving off high pitched, singletone calls. A bit too late, I'd say.
It felt as if the falcon had come out of nowwhere, but looking at the terrain I think I might know why it suddenly appeared. I think it had approached low, using his colours as a camouflage against the backdrop of trees and shrubs. ( And this event is actually the main reason for this post all together)
sceneshot
Our easterweekend was a relaxed one. It was quit different than last year's. The snow had gone by the first of march bthen, but as you can see we still had quit a bit left. We also had some wonderfull and "warm" weather, melting away snow and ice at speed, but instead of going out, visiting here, seeing that, we stayed at home and had some familytime.

We enjoyed the sun, soaking up that ever so vital vitamin D,

kids playing like kids should play...


We were not the only ones enjoying the sun. Some insects started to show too, like a few moths, which were caught and eaten by our black cat. The flies were still slow, too. Slow enough to pick them up with my fingers, if I wanted to.

 This couple of pilfinkar (Passer montanus) was so preoccupied with each other that I could approach them to within a meter of three and yet they remained in place, even after having seen me.


And my wife spotted a large bird, circling through the skies, above the hills in front of our house. Through my binos I was able to see some very clear details, like the very clear white outerparts of the wings. I could identify this bird as an ormvråk (buteo buteo). So that means they are coming back, too! Apart from that one I also spotted a second blackbirdmale and a female.

http://www.kofnet.org
However, there still is work that has to be done. We rechieved the first loads of firewood allready. Our neighbours have stopped heating their home with wood, so we could buy their surplusstock. I'm glad we could! The wood is bonedry, we do not have to pay for and handle a large load in one go. It also means that we have about 5 that is ready for use. No cutting, sawing and splitting involved, just hauling it up to the house.

Another task I have started it cutting the grass..... redneckstyle! Our little corner of the world has not seen any maintanance for a year or 2, prior to us moving in, so we'll have some catching up to do. There's a lot of long, dead grass everywhere and by burning that off now I can get rid of a lot of it, without having to risk a fire getting out of control. Only the very top is dry enough to burn and there are small patches here and there with snow in between. A weedcutter would very likely get entangled in this and I do not have a scythe... yet. And even if I had one I would not want to risk it, with all the stones and bolders strewn around.


And this time of year has many more surprises in store. The clock has been reset, so we now have summertime, meaning an hour more daylight in the evening. The days have allready lenghtend by more than 7 hours of daylight since the wintersolstice! With christmas it would be dark at 16:00 and now that is 20:00 and by midsummer another 3 hours will be added at least. My internal systems have a hard time coping with that! But I feel strangely nervous, restless, anxious....

The setting sun casts a red glow over the land and forest, making the still leafless birchtrees lighting up with a deep, rich copperred, in sharp contrast with the white snow and treetrunks amidst the deep green, but red tinged spruce and pinetrees. In the shadows the temperatures drop fast....


and the frost carves it's patterns in the mud once more....