Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nedre Strandkær, Mols Laboratory, East Jutland

Nedre Strandkær/Molslaboratoriet

Nedre Strandkær/Molslaboratoriet

The first mentioning of a farm at Strandkær is from 1487, but the buildings at Nedre Strandkærgård are 3 generations old, dated to about 1730. In the old stable were found rests of monk bricks, with a probable origin from Kalø castle. A sister of Karen Blixen, Ellen Dahl, bought Nedre Strandkærgård in 1924. She handed over the rights of scientific use of the land and the small-holdings in 1941-45 and in 1951 also Nedre Strandkærgård with adjoined land of 120 hectare to the Naturhistorisk Museum in Århus.

The areas were listed in 1941, which also meant that the agricultural sections must be run as traditional heath-farming. This was also the beginning of the scientific research of the Mols Laboratory. The research has since the 1940s been comprehensive and deals with faunistic, floristics ethologi and ecology - and nature management. Furthermore the Mols Laboratory functions as an education/course-center, where rooms, kitchens, course-rooms are available to scientists and students. It is among others Århus University, which holds courses in zoology/botany/ecology and geology here.

The farm Nedre Strandkær is also called Molslaboratoriet. It belongs to Naturhistorisk Museum in Århus and is placed in a beautiful nature scenery in the middle of Mols Bjerge National Park and EU habitat 186 in the southern part of Djursland. The area is about 150 ha and has some valuable nature types like heath, pasture, untouched hardwood forest and grazed forest. In these areas have since 1941 been made a comprehensive ecologic research. Here are fine research facilities available for Danish and abroad -scientists and students.


There are several paths from the Mols Laboratory

One is "Den italienske sti" (The Italian path), which begins at Nedre Strandkær. It is 3 km long and has been used for more than 100 years. The name is said to origin form the first guests in the area, who meant that the place reminded about an Italian landscape.

Cattle at Strandkær:

I want to have my photo taken too, if you please!

I've got a very soft spot for cows ! Therefore you have now seen a few pictures of some Hereford cattle from Strandkær on a lovely summer's day. The Hereford cattle breed originated from Herefordshire, England, perhaps as early as the 17th century - and more than five million pedigree Hereford cattle exist now in over 50 countries. The Hereford Cattle export trade began from the United Kingdom in 1817, and today this pretty cattle dominate the world scene.


Some grazing is done by 25 cattle from the tough Galloway-race. They are some charming fellows who can stay out all year and keep down the growing vegetation. They ar popular nature-keepers in the National Park-area. The Galloways have their origin in the southwest-Scottish land Galloway. They origin from a dominant, polled race who has survived as wild cattle in Great Britain until the beginning of the 1800s. They are probably related to the polled cattle of the Scythians (485-425 B.C.). Their arrival to the Bristish Isles are before the written sources, it might be at the same time as the immigration of the Celtic tribes. But the prototype has been spread in Middle and North Europe. The cattle in the Galloway-district are mentioned several times in historical sources, which trace back to the Skoto-Saxian period ( 400-800 A.C.)

In the Galloway-district is said: "The sheep provide the bread, but the Galloway the butter and jam".

A small collection of plants:

Harebell/ Blåklokke/Campanula rotundifolia is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. In Scotland it is often known as Bluebell. The flowers are pollinated by bees but can self-pollinate. In common with other Campanulas, all parts of the plant exude white latex when injured or broken. Harebells flower in late summer between July and October, sometimes into November, and are found on dry, nutrient-poor grassland and heaths in Britain, throughout Northern Europe and in North America. In Roman-Catholic communities, the Harebell is dedicated to Saint Dominic.

Harebell leaves can be eaten raw in a salad, and the plant is known to have beneficial properties. These include a remedy for earache that can be made from the roots and a wash for the treatment of sore eyes. Other conditions Harebell is said to cure include depression and if the root is chewed, it may help to treat heart and lung complaints. A professional herbalist and physician should always be consulted to make an exact diagnosis and to recommend correct usage.

Yellow rowanberries and the pink corn cockle

Common Corncockle/Almindelig Klinte/Agrostemma githago - also written "corn cockle" and known locally simply as "the corncockle" -, is a slender pink flower of European wheat fields. In the 19th century, it was reported as a very common weed of wheat fields and its seeds were inadvertently included in harvested wheat seed and then re-sown the following season. It is very likely that until the 20th century, most wheat contained some corncockle seed.

All parts of the plant are reported to be poisonous, but it has been used in folk medicine to treat a range of ills, from parasites to cancer, but it may produce chronic or acute, potentially fatal poisoning. There are no known recent clinical studies of corn cockle which provide a basis for dosage recommendations, however doses higher than 3 g [of seeds] are considered toxic.

Lady's Bedstraw or Yellow Bedstraw/ Gul Snerre/Galium verum) is native to Europe and Asia. It is related to the plant Cleavers or Sticky Willy (Gallium Aparine). This species is sometimes confused with Galium odoratum, a species with traditional culinary uses.

In the past the dried plants were used to stuff mattresses, as the coumarin scent of the plants acts as a flea killer. The flowers were also used to coagulate milk in cheese manufacture and, in Gloucestershire, to colour the cheese Double Gloucester. The plant is also used to make red madder-like and yellow dyes. In Denmark, the plant (known locally as gul snerre) is traditionally used to infuse spirits, making the uniquely Danish drink bjæsk. ( snaps)

Frigg was the goddess of married women, in Norse Mythology. She helped women give birth to children, and as Scandinavians used the plant Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum) as a sedative, they called it Frigg's grass. Later when Christianity arrived, the heathen goddess Frigg was thrown out of the good Society, and the name was in Denmark changed into "Jomfru Marias sengehalm". ("Virgin Mary's Bedstraw").

A few butterflies:

Common Blue, underside

Common Blue and Small Heath

Scarce Copper and Burnet

Our butterflies and other insects are in trouble. Besides the usual dangers from extended farming, the fallow fields have been diminished or almost disappeared in the Danish farmland during the latest years. I'd like to refer to my article in Thyra-blog: Take Care of Our Insects

(click to enlarge the small photos)

Wart-biter/Vortebideren/Decticus verrucivorus is Denmark's largest grasshopper It is native to all denmark and large parts of europe, it lives in sunny mkheaths and meadow. The wart-biter is a predator that eats other grasshoppers and lesser insects, but also green food like grass, heather and other plants. It has some strong jaws and can deliver a painful bite, but it usually does not bite through the skin. It has long wings can be used in flight situations. By the help of the wings it can jump more than 20 meter and also manoeuvre through air.

In the old days: The wart-biter got its name because it was used to bite warts of the foot. It was also said that field -workers used it to bite blisters.

A horse carriage drove up the Italian path........

and the Herefords were very curious.....

Walking the dogs upon the Italian path

photo Strandkær 2006/2007/2008/2009: grethe bachmann


Wanda..... said...

Lovely photo of the Italian path with the cows and the carriage disappearing over the hill.

I enjoyed reading the interesting facts about
poisnous corncockle growing with the wheat and the use of Lady's Bedstraw and Wart-biter.

You have a lovely landscape, full of butterflies and flowers!

Thyra said...

Thank you for taking time to read it. I think it's fun to see how curious the cows are. They are not passive but really interested.

The Wart-biter is a terrifying insect. Don't walk barefoot in the grass!! *_*

Kind regards