Sunday, February 28, 2010

History and Dinner Without Andre'

We received two very old pictures of this mill.  We were thrilled to get them.

The Mill Today.

Does anyone remember the movie "My Dinner with Andre"?  We saw it twice, found it so "different" and it became a fad of sorts. Wonder if Larry David saw it too, then used it as a model for the Seinfield series and Curb Your Enthusiasm?  You know a show about "nothing".

We did not have a dinner with Andre, but Andreas was here, along with his parents Helena and Lennart and his younger brother Johannes. They live at the very end of our little road. So far we had only waved at each other as they drove by.  It was time to get together I thought,  as I like feeling more connected with  my neighbors,  not so anonymous!

As it happens,  Lennart's brother Magnus is the man who started the renovation of this old mill.  Oh, way back 20-25 years ago or so.   Magnus and his wife Annika lived here as they started their family.  They worked on the renovation, removed mill stones,  removed and replaced rotten beams,  had no running water,  so lugged water up and down stairs.  All this while babies were being born. Their eldest son was born in January, they draped extra tarps around his bed and added an infra red lamp to use when they changed his diapers!  Talk about true grit, true pioneering spirit.  This was all told to us during an evening here, when we shared food and talked for hours............ there was much to learn........ much to cover and I now wished we had more time,  as we have many more questions to ask.

Lennart tells us he purchased his house and also did major renovations!  The roof was caved in and it was a shamble when he bought it.  He lived in one room, chopped wood in the kitchen when it was cold, so he too is one of those hardy souls.  Totally amazing guys!  The two brothers say they learned that work ethic from their Dad, who did room additions, built boats and remodeled houses in his spare time when they were little.  Nothing was impossible, you can do anything you put your mind to, was his motto. It shows what an amazing influence ones parents can have.  Hurrah for "The Power Of Parents"!

At a later date it would be fun to tell more about the history of this old mill.  As pointed out by Magnus, it burned twice and was reconstructed.  How these mills were built in the first place is rather remarkable, some of them three hundred years old.  Built with these heavy timbers, big boulders, heavy millstones, wings and big moving mechanisms.  No blue prints or drawings,  just raw knowledge.

Other historic notes is that 300 years ago yesterday the Battle of Helsingborg was fought.  The Danes came across the sound on ships in the night with 14,000 troops.  One of the bloodiest battles in Swedish - Danish history ensued.  More than 3,000 soldiers lost their lives along with countless horses and many, many more soldiers and horses were wounded.  The Danes lost the battle and returned home.

A 100 years later the Danes tried to take Helsingborg again while Sweden was occupied in a war with Russia,  again without success for the Danish army!  Since then there have not been any such battles. Sweden has not been intrenched in a war like that, for the last 200 years!

The snow has been melting in "rapido" speed!  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, people are out riding horses and bikes (not that they ever quit doing that even with the snow and /or the rain) on this lovely day with almost +45 degrees F.  According to predictions it should snow again within the next 
couple of days!  But, spring is getting closer, we can feel it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Today to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary we went on a picnic.  As you can see in the pictures there was a lot of snow.  The Winter here in Southern Sweden hasn't been this Wintery since 1980.  So the locals tell us.  Neta and I went on our Honeymoon to the wine country in Napa.  We remember that it was an unusually wet winter.  The rain was so heavy and furious that it was difficult to drive in.  So it is fitting that the weather has followed us here thirty years later.  It is an exciting time.

Söderåsen National Park at Skäralid
The lake is frozen and covered with snow.

Ralle also had fun.

I couldn't find a spot close enough to take a timed picture.
I tried a few times.  I just sneaked in on this one.

It was a fun time.

Ralle snuck in for a snack too.

It was an adventure.

Tonight we are celebrating with grilled salmon, saffron rice, and creamed spinach.  And we will raise a glass of bubbly.  Looking forward to thirty more.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Photos of Our Roundabouts

Sunds Square in Helsingborg

Inside Dunkers Culture Center

Dunkers view of Sunds Torget

Sofiero Castle

Sofiero Grounds

Sofiero Grounds with Danish Castle across the Sound

View from Top of Our Mill Facing East (Our Neighbors Home)

We thought we would share some photos of our local roundabouts. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Is Life like a box of chocolates or more like a Casserole?

February, WOW!  The month when light returns in earnest to this region.  An hour and 42 minutes per day will be added this month,  I read in the paper today.  As severe cold has held Scandinavia and large parts of Europe in a tight grip for some time now, it will be a welcome sign of change.  This, they say, has been the coldest winter in Helsingborg in 30 some years.  In Linkoping, where my cousin Gunn lives ( a 2 1/2 to 3 hr. drive north of here) the temps have dipped to -29 degrees C.   It has not been like that since 1942!!  Way up north in Sweden, well, you can imagine.

David has become obsessed with sorting photos!  We came here with boxes and bins, shoe cartons and folders, loaded with our history in pictures.  It has been fun to look back at some of the various stages of our life.  David also unearthed a "lost" cookbook of mine. This simple little spiral bound book was a gift from my early days in Oklee, Minnesota.  A collection of recipes put together by the women in the Oklee Chapter of the American Legion Auxiliary.  And that in itself is a mouthful!  The book was shuffled in with some photo albums during our move from San Jose to Mariposa.  During the 16 1/2 years running and growing the Oakhurst Feed & Supply Store I did not take the time to look for it,  even though there were many occasions when I missed it a lot.

Rediscovering this little jewel,  I realized how much more than recipes this book contained!  There is for example a handwritten recipe for Mandel Brod,  given to me by Florence Katz,  a customer of ours at The VIP Beauty Salon in Minneapolis,  where I worked.  Florence Katz is the woman who was instrumental in getting me the job at KQXL Radio,  doing the Scandinavian Music Hour.  She herself stood for the weekly Jewish program.

Then there is the recipe for Raisin Chess Pie from Carol Springer,  she was a neighbor in Windsor Green.  We always had this "Oh So Good Desert" at Thanksgiving.  This was always Francis Bradleys favorite!  Francis is my long time childhood friends husband.  There are recipes such as the "hot dish" made with Chow Mein Noodles,  ground beef,   tomato and mushroom soup, onion,  celery etc.  A dish the kids just loved!  The Deluxe Lemon Yellow Cake made with lemon Jello.  Mona Botes' recipe for Quiche Lorraine, given to me on my trip back to Sweden the year John turned one and learned to walk!

Then there was the Waldorf Red Cake.  A peculiar cake very popular long ago.  Black Beans in Tomato Vinaigrette,  another favorite of mine,  a recipe torn out of a newspaper, while Maria and I sat in the waiting room at the doctors office,  after Janice's horse broke Marias nose!

My children have doodled on almost every page in this book!  There are folded sheets of paper of drawings stuck in between the pages.  A pencil drawing of a picture of a horse with the words "eat a good breakfast and you will be glad-if you don't you will be sad-because you will be hungry" written in a balloon from the horses mouth............etc. etc.

You have no idea to what culinary highs one could bring a can of pork and beans?  Glorified pork and beans with sliced  Spam and a side of Tater Tots anyone???

What a journey through history.  Who would have imagined that this little book could bring forth all those memories!  Seegers Hardware Store,  Johnson's Jeweler,  Oklee, Minnessota,  Tunberg Ford & Mercury,  Thief River Falls,  where a few business'  that supported the  cook book.  Oh my!

Is life like a box of chocolates or more like a Casserole?