Wednesday, February 28, 2007

March 2007

The flower for March is violet.

March is the third month of the year according to the Gregorian calendar, which is used in almost all the world today. It was the first month on the early Roman calendar and was called Martius. Later, the ancient Romans made January 1 the beginning of the year, and March became the third month. March has always had 31 days. Its name honors Mars, the Roman god of war.

March brings in spring and ends the winter. Spring in the northern half of the world begins with the vernal equinox, which occurs on March 19, 20, or 21. On this day, the center of the sun is directly over the equator.

March can be both wintry and springlike. Blustery, windy days occur as frequently as mild, sunny days. In the Northern Hemisphere, many animals end their hibernation, and many plants come to life again, during March. Sap flows in the trees, and green buds begin to appear. The first pussy willows and wild flowers can be found in the woods. Most frogs lay their eggs. Hibernating animals, such as bears, chipmunks, and woodchucks, leave their winter sleeping places. Wild geese and ducks begin their northward flights. In March, people begin to look for the first robin as a sign that spring has really come.

The Irish celebrate March 17 as the feast day of St. Patrick.

The flower for March is the violet. The birthstones are the bloodstone (a variety of chalcedony) and the aquamarine.

There are many superstitions about March. We often hear that "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." This means that the first day of March is often stormy, and the last day is mild and warm. Another saying is, "April borrowed from March three days, and they were ill." This refers to the first three days of April, which are generally rough and blustery like March. A third saying calls the first three days of March "blind days" because they are "unlucky." If rain falls on these days, farmers supposedly will have poor harvests.

Photo: grethe bachmann

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mossø in the Lake District of Mid Jutland.

View to the lake from the southern road.

Upon the other side of the lake are among other things idyllic villages and the ruins of Øm kloster, which was established in 1172 by cistercienser monks from Vitskøl kloster. Here is a museum for the medieval culture of the monasteries.

View to the lake from the southern road

Mossø is the fourth largest lake in Denmark. It has the richest and most varied fish stock in the country with 22 species of fish, among others pike, perch, zander, sea-trout, whitefish, eel, tench, smelt, bream, roach, gudgeon and more.

Denmark's biggest population of the beautiful, but rare Black-necked Grebe (sorthalset lappedykker) is living by Mossø, and the Great Crested Grebe is also common. The water courses streaming to the lake are habitats for Grey Wagtail (Bjergvipstjert) and Kingfisher (Isfugl). The White-Throated Dipper is common in winter by Klosterkanalen, a 1.300 meter long channel by Klosterkær, digged by Benediktiner monks from Voer Kloster in the late part of the 1100s. The kingfisher breeds by this channel. Klosterkær is a delta, formed by sediments from Gudenå River, the longest water stream in Denmark.

Late summer the lake is an important moulting place for the Lake District's population of Tufted Duck, and in spring and autumn the Osprey is resting in the area - and several White-Tailed Eagles spend the winter by Mossø.

Between Mossø and Salten Langsø is a museum (Gudenåmuseeet) and exhibitions with flint tools from the earliest inhabitants in the area. Furthermore there are findings from glass production in the neighbourhood.

Other special places in the neighbourhood of Mossø:

On the little peninsula Lindholm a path leads to a gazebo.

By Klostermølle are some fine old buildings and watermills. In the Middle Ages were corn and cloth production and in the 1800s production of papermass.

Højlund skov
is a pretty forest in a hilly terrain, and from Sukkertoppen (The Sugar Top) is a splendid view over the Gudenå River Valley.

By Hem Odde is a possibility for a fine walk to the area on the land tongue with a beautiful view over Mossø. Here is also a camping place and possibility for canoeing and fishing.

Alken and Boes are two idyllic villages. Boes with many pittoresque half-timbered houses with little front gardens along the village road. A cosy and very popular little restaurant 'Kaffehuset'.

photo 030207: grethe bachmann
Flooded Fields

A couple of swans have found a temporary Swan Lake in a flooded field

Flooded fields along the roads in Eastern Jutland in the month of January, but it was much worse in the lower parts of the country - along the coasts and by Limfjorden. The weather is still mild, king Winter has not arrived - yet.

photo on a dark day in January 2007: grethe bachmann