Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mortensaften /St. Martin's Evening.....

Mortensaften / St. Martin's Evening
Mortensaften 10. November is celebrated in memory of the bishop Martin of Tours, who really did not want to become a bishop and hid himself in a goose sty.  This meant death to the noisy geese!

Morten Bisp/ Martin of Tours:
Martin of Tours, fresco, Elmelunde church, Møn/foto:gb
Martin of Tours lived in the 300s in the Roman Empire where he was born ab. 336 by Roman parents. He joined the Roman army when he was fifteen and came to Gaul, where the legends about him soon began to flourish. He helped the poor, healed the sick and woke up the dead, he became famous and was considered a holy man. When Martin was twenty years old, he left the army and became a monk. He returned to Hungary to try to convert his countrymen, but the story tells that he only succeeded in converting his mother. He was persecuted and droven back to Gaul, where he settled down in a monastery at Poitiers. He lived a pious and quiet life and won the reputation of being a good and holy man.

geese/ foto:gb
He was so popular that the people of Tours wanted to elect him bishop, but Martin was not interested. When the inhabitants of the town came to elect him, he hid himself in a goose sty, but the geese did not like this visit. They were cackling and screaming and Martin was revealed and forced to assume office as bishop of Tours. He had now the power to arrange a revenge: All households had to  - once a year - to slaughter at least one goose and eat it on the day where he was revealed in the goose sty. He got his revenge on the big-mouthed geese.

Martin was also called the apostel of Gaul. He died in Candes in France 8 November 397 and was buried in Tours 11 November. A big church was built over his grave and he was later canonized. His death date became his Saint's day, which is still celebrated all over Europe.

The story about Martin of Tours and the geese was printed in Denmark for the first time in 1616, a long time after the reformation. The St. Martin survived the reformation with a new Danish name: Morten Bisp. The night of 10th november, now called Morten's Evening, was appropriate, because November was perfect for a party, since the slaughter period in November was one of few times, where people had fresh meat before winter. Else they had salted food for months.

Goose was food for rich people :
Medieval feast/ wikipedia
The traditional food on Morten's Evening was goose or duck in the old days. The goose was not an ordinary dish in Denmark, it was rich people's food - and common people started eating other poultry instead. The story about Martin of Tours and the geese is probably much earlier than the traditional November-goose. In Germany and France the wine harvest is celebrated in November, which also is a slaughter-month since the animals are fat after a long summer's good food. Martin became the Saint of the wine growers, and gradually the roast goose and the wine drinking were connected to the Martin's festivals  - and a good story like the story about Martin and the geese is not to be scorned.

Italian kitchen,Ferrara 1549, Runeberg

16th century: The goose is one of the earliest domestic animals and one of the most important slaughter animals, although it was always food for the rich. The ordinary farmer's family might breed geese, but they sold them in the next town after having taken wings and feathers (for brooms and quills) and the down ( for duvets and pillow stuffing). They also kept the head, neck and craw to themselves for a good portion of giblet soup. If they kept a whole goose, the breast meat was removed and smoked as a cold cut for guests.

But according to the advertizing from the supermarkets no one eats goose today. There are lots of Morten's Ducks in the cold counters, but no Morten's Goose.  So the popular roast Mortensand, which we enjoy on Mortensaften 10th of November, was once a Morten's Goose.

Velbekomme - Mortensand

copyright grethe bachmann

source:;; Dagligt liv i Norden i det 16. århundrede,; 2640 online portalens almanak og kalender.  

photo: grethe bachmann; 
photo copies from wikipedia
drawing: Italian kitchen Ferrara in 1549, Dagligt liv i Norden i det 16 århundrede,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nørre Snede Village and Rørbæk Sø, Mid Jutland.

The sky was black and the rain was heavy. This really did not look good! We were on our way to pass the newly inaugurated highway bridge in Gudenå River valley at Funder, a bridge which had been discussed politically and among everyone years before they started the building.

Before we reached the bridge we passed a fauna bridge. There are various types, some lead above the road, others under the road, some are dry or wet passages. The highways are dangerous to animals, there are investigations of how the fauna passages work in Denmark and abroad. Some animal species avoid completely the open areas of roads and railways, other species try to cross the roads with risch of being hit. Putting up fences can prevent the large animals in getting on the road, but this also increase the barrier. It's not easy. Many areas, which earlier functioned as a habitat and a spreading corridor for wild animals, are reduced or have disappeared.

It's a long bridge, the longest bridge across land in Denmark, about 740 meters. ( the photo of the bridge seen from a hill is from 2010) There was not much to see this of the landscape below because of the rain - so we went on to Nørre Snede where we wanted to see how things were going with the "Heart Path" (Hjertestien). It's a path which runs around the village in Nørre Snede.
here was once an Iron Age village.
relief dog, Nørre Snede church.

I wanted first to see the church which is being renovated. There are some funny reliefs on the wall, especially the dog is fine. The heart path has a view point on a hill in a pasture area from where you can overlook a fine landscape. Downside the hill was in ancient times a village, a so-called classical Iron Age village, which via the excavations has told much about people's lives in Iron Age.

Upon the hill is a low viewing-place with planches and drawings of animals, birds, insects, plants which are seen here, and a description of the Iron Age village etc. It is also meant for school children when they are out on tour. (if you enlarge you can see the raindrops on the planche). The "heart path" leads to many other places on the tour through the village of Nørre Snede, which actually is a big village, but the signs with the heart had not been placed yet along the road. They will probably be there before next season.

It was as if the sky was a little lighter somewhere up there, the sun made a fresh attempt to shine through the clouds - but not yet. Maybe later.  It's necessary to be an optimist when it's about the weather in autumn, and now we are soon close to winter! Now coffee break at Rørbæk Sø (lake). The water was like a mirror. Literally. It was not a cliché.  Not a movement in the water, except if a bird came by. And the sun began shining through and the light became golden like it is in a summer's late afternoon. It was worth gettting out that day just to see this.


photos: 14 October 2012: grethe bachmann
drawings on planches: stig bachmann nielsen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sea Buckthorn/ Havtorn

Hippóphaë rhamnoídes

When you pluck the orange berries of sea-buckthorn here in October they are crushed easily and the bush bites you with little thorns. The sea buckthorn grows in the sandy soil in the tough wind and the sea fog on the western coast of Jutland, the fine and healty orange berries are very popular in the Nordic kitchen. It is   a little pearl among wildgrowing Danish fruitbushes, and it has got many names like the Danish sandtorn, strandpil, sandtidsel, ørkenbusk, klintepil or klintetidsel and the  English sandthorn, sallowthorn, or seaberry.

The common sea-buckthorn Hippóphaë rhamnoídes, is by far the most widespread of the species in the genus, with the ranges of its eight subspecies extending from the Atlantic coasts of Europe right across to northwestern China. In western Europe, it is largely confined to sea coasts where salt spray of the sea prevents other larger plants from out-competing it, but in central Asia it is more widespread in dry semi-desert sites where other plants cannot survive the dry conditions. In central Europe and Asia it also occurs as a subalpine shrub above tree line in mountains, and other sunny areas such as river banks. They are tolerant of salt in the air and soil, but demand full sunlight for good growth and do not tolerate shady conditions near larger trees. They typically grow in dry, sandy areas. In China the sea-buckthorn was used for production of medicine for more than 1200 years and it has been traced in Europe back to the 1500s. Plants were used primarily for medicine in Europe against diseases like fever and stomach pain.

Hippophae salicifolia ( willow-leaved sea-buckthorn) is restricted to the Himalaya, to the south of the common sea-buckthorn, growing at high altitudes in dry valleys; it differs from H. rhamnoides in having broader and greener leaves, and yellow berries. A wild variant occurs in the same area, but at even higher altitudes in the alpine zone.It is a low shrub not growing taller than 1 metre.

The Hippóphaë rhamnoídes /sea buckthorn grows in Denmark primarily upon banks and dunes at the sea since it needs sun and calcareous soil. The fruits are small orange berries, and contrary to many other fruits the berries sit on the plant even when ripe. This makes harvesting difficult, not at least because of the thorns.
The fruits are not easy to get hold of - and when you've finally got a hold they splash out among your fingers. There is a method:  put a cloth under the bush and shake the plant. Another method: cut some branches with many fruits and put them in the freezer for half an hour and the fruits can be beaten off.

The taste of the orange fruits is sourish, but after frost they are milder. During starvation periods the sea buckthorn was a valuable vitamin supplement for a poor family. In the old days people in the country eat a mix of milk, syrup and buchthorn.The berries give also a fine taste to a spice snaps, and they are fine in marmalade and porridge. Cremes and lotions are made from oil pressed from the kernel.

Glatved strand, Djursland, habitat for sea-buckthorn.

The bush is very hardy and thrives well in an infertile soil. This is possible because it has a coexistence with actinomyces fungi which in the root tubers are able to bind the free nitrogen from the air. This means that the bush can survive in clean sand. The flowers in April are very insignificant, and the plant needs both male and female flowers in order to make fruit. In September the bush shows lots of orange fruits. It is a grand sight and the fruits are very healty. The berries have an extremely high content of C-vitamin, in average 400 mg pr. 100 g. Compared to this it is recommended that an adult daily takes 75 mg C-vitamin, but the berries also contains other vitamins, A-, B-, E-, and P-vitamins.  And also antioxidants, Omega 7 fatty acids and dietary fibers.

The sea buckthorn is easy to recognize among the other plants in the landscape with its narrow silver shining leaves. If it gets much light it will become a very broad, dense, thorny bush, since sea buckthorn forms root suckers. It can fill large areas with an inaccessible thicket - and this is a paradise for the birds. The fruits are an important winter food ressource for some birds, notably fieldfares, but also pheasants eat them. Leaves are eaten by the larvaes of lepidoptera-species. The bush is useful in shelterbelts, game depots or as a slope protection in loose and sandy soil. 

In Denmark scientists have began to do experiments with the buckthorn as a medicine which might have a beneficial effect on stomach ulcer.

Folk Medicine:
Different parts of sea-buckthorn have been used as traditional therapies for diseases. As no applications discussed in this section have been verified by science and sufficient clinical trial evidence, such knowledge remains mostly unreferenced outside of Asia and is communicated mainly from person to person, therefore falling into the category of folk medicine. Grown widely throughout its native China and other mainland regions of Asia, sea-buckthorn is an herbal remedy reputedly used over centuries to relieve cough, aid digestion, invigorate blood circulation and alleviate pain. Bark and leaves may be used for treating diarrhea and dermatological disorders. Berry oil, taken either orally or applied topically, may be used as a skin softener. For its hemostatic and anti-inflammatory effects, berry fruits are added to medications for pulmonary, gastrointestinal, cardiac, blood and metabolic disorders in Indian, Chinese and Tibetan medicines. Sea-buckthorn berry components have potential activity against cancer.
 Sea-buckthorn is distributed free of charge to Canadian prairie farmers by PFRA to be used in shelterbelts.
When the berries are pressed, the resulting sea-buckthorn juice separates into three layers: on top is a thick, orange cream; in the middle, a layer containing sea-buckthorn's characteristic high content of saturated and polyunsaturated fats, and the bottom layer is sediment and juice.
Sea-buckthorn fruit can be used to makepies, jams, lotions and liquors. The juice or pulp has other potential applications in foods or beverages In Mongolia, it is made into juice, with concentrates also available. In Finland, it is used as a nutritional ingredient in baby food.
To overcome high acidity, juice made by adding five-parts water to one-part sea-buckthorn and sweetened to taste, put through a blender and strained, is said to taste like orange or peach juice. 
Sea-buckthorn leaves, dried and shredded, can be made into teas.

Kilde: Louise Lundgren Berg, Professionshøjskolen Metropol ; Jens Thejsen,Jordbrugets uddannelsescenter; Wikipedia.

photo Glatved strand, Djursland September 2012/ fieldfare Horsens Nørrestrand January 2010 : grethe bachmann

Monday, October 22, 2012

Red Sand from Sahara.....

A hot wind blew up over Denmark with degrees of 22 celsius - and it brought more than heat, also fine desert dust. Many cars were powdered with dust the night between Friday and Saturday  and there was extra activity in the wash halls at the service stations.

The weather institut describes that there was a special weather phenomenon in some parts of the country - a special wind in Sahara made sand swirl high up in the atmosphere. It was brought by winds to North and Northwest Europe -  and it could only come down if it was raining. Since it has been raining each day the sand came down! The little fine layers of dust on the car window is a little reddish. The rain is called blood rain. The whole car was covered in this fine dust.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Those lovely Cows ..... a little about the Jersey's

jersey cows and apple trees in May

I love cows, those gentle peaceful animals with the lovely, friendly eyes. It's a long time since I had some photos of cows here on the blog, but here are some pretty jersey calves and some cows for you, all from the month of May. The jersey cattle are so pretty with the finest light yellow-brown colour, they look like they have been fed up with butter. I don't see the jersey's in the fields as frequently any more.

The jersey cow is small. The jersey cattle origin from the island Jersey in the British channel, and the only cattle race on the island are the jersey cattle, there has been a prohibition towards import of other cattle races for the last 150 years. Supposedly the jersey cattle existed in England since 1741, under the name alderney's. The jersey cattle came to Denmark in 1896.


When I - as a child - was on vacation at my grandmother's out in the country, both in the school and winter holidays, I fetched jersey milk for her sometimes from a farmer not far away. It was a very "thick" milk. There was a lot of cream to take from it for whipped cream - and it was almost yellow. I thought it was too fat, but it was healthy, said my grandmother- so I had apple pie with whipped jersey cream - having round cheeks when I came home to mom and dad in the city..

I see now - in the informations - that the milk actually contains more fat and more protein compared to other cattle races and more minerals and vitamins - also more than other cattle races, so my grandmother was right although she never knew Google. And the milk is good for making cheese too. What kind of cheese I wonder?

If you are more interested in the jerseys then here's a link:

Jersey cattle

photo: the calves are from south of Vejle, the cows from Borremose, Himmerland: grethe bachmann

Friday, October 19, 2012

What Children say.............

When the driver stopped the school bus to pick up Chris for preschool, she noticed an older woman hugging him as he left the house. "Is that your grandmother?" she asked. "Yes, "Chris said. "She's come to visit us." "How nice," the driver said. "Where does she live?" "At the airport." Chris replied. "Whenever we want her, we just go out there and get her."

The mother returned from the grocery store, and her small daughter pulled out the box of animal crackers she had begged for. She spread the animal-shaped crackers all over the kitchen counter. "What are you doing?" her Mom asked. "The box says you can't eat them if the seal is broken," the girl explained. "I'm looking for the seal."

A man was pushing a cart in the supermarket - the cart contained a screaming, bellowing baby. The gentleman kept repeating softly, "Don't get excited, Albert. Don't scream, Albert. Don't yell, Albert. Keep calm, Albert." A woman standing next to him said, "You certainly are to be commended for trying to soothe your son Albert." The man looked at her and said, "Lady, I'm Albert."

A three-year-old girl went with her dad to see a new litter of kittens. On returning home, she breathlessly informed her mother, "There were two boy kittens and two girl kittens." "How did you know that?" her mother asked. "Daddy picked them up and looked underneath," she replied. "I think it's printed on the bottom."

A Mom tells this: While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my four-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"

A five-year-old boy and his playmates had found a dead robin in the yard. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they got a small box with cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The five-year-old was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he had learned in Church. He said: "Glory be unto the Faaaather. And unto the Soonnn.......and into the hole he gooooes."

A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!"

The children in Sunday school class were being taught the concept of getting to heaven. Teacher asked them, "If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?" "NO!" the children answered. Teacher asked them, "If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?" Again, the answer was, "NO!" Teacher smiled. "Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, would that get me into Heaven?" I asked them again. Again, they all answered, "NO!" The teacher was just bursting with pride for them. "Well," she continued, "Then how can I get into Heaven?" A five-year-old girl shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD."

Mary Anne: No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.

Michael: Never ask your three-year-old brother to hold a tomato.

Allison:  You can't trust dogs to watch your food.

Jonathan: You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.

Steve: The best place to be when you're sad is Grandpa's lap.

Source: Kids say the darndest things.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Since 1962: My Name is Bond - James Bond ........

Sean Connery and the Aston Martin

Roger Moore and the Lotus Esprit

It seems I have ended up in a little corner of entertainment. Today it is 50 years since we saw the first James Bond-movie! 50 Years! Danish TV has been celebrating Bond a little this morning. While watching TV I had my porridge with blueberries and strong black coffee without sugar. Not Dry Martini with olives - shaked not stirred! No, not in the morning anyway.

Well, they had brought three fabulous Bond cars out in the open in front of the railway-station in Copenhagen: What a sight. I know that those cars are not good for the environment. But they are beautiful. What a design! The present owners of the cars represented them and told a little about them.

1) The owner of the Aston Martin  had bought the car 27 years ago, and he had paid about 72.000 kroner'
( that's about 10.000 dollars for it then). Now it's much more worth. He had just been on a holiday in England where he was driving it through the countryside and people recognized it. The Aston Martin was the first Bond-car, used in Goldfinger with Sean Connery. The Aston Martin was also in fx Goldeneye, Casino Royale etc.

 2) The Lotus Esprit was used in The Spy who Loved me  (1977) with the elegant Roger Moore. The Lotus Esprit was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and was featured in a long chase sequence converting into a submarine.The Lotus Esprit was also in For Your Eyes only.
Pierce Brosnan and the BMW

 3) The BMW from films like Tomorrow Never Dies with Pierce Brosnan, also in The World is not Enough etc.  .

We always see pretty models in bikinis sitting on the cars, but I think you should see three handsome guys instead - leaning up three beautiful cars. 

Congratulations James Bond - here's your Dry Martini!

Since I have started this Bond-talk, you might as well have a list of the Bond-movies:

Official James Bond films
  1. Dr. No (1962-Sean Connery)
  2. From Russia With Love (1963-Sean Connery)
  3. Goldfinger (1964-Sean Connery)
  4. Thunderball (1965-Sean Connery)
  5. You Only Live Twice (1967-Sean Connery)
  6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969-George Lazenby)
  7. Diamonds Are Forever (1971-Sean Connery)
  8. Live and Let Die (1973-Roger Moore)
  9. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974-Roger Moore)
  10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977-Roger Moore)
  11. Moonraker (1979-Roger Moore)
  12. For Your Eyes Only (1981-Roger Moore)
  13. Octopussy (1983-Roger Moore)
  14. A View to a Kill (1985-Roger Moore)
  15. The Living Daylights (1987-Timothy Dalton)
  16. Licence to Kill (1989-Timothy Dalton)
  17. GoldenEye (1995-Pierce Brosnan)
  18. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997-Pierce Brosnan)
  19. The World is Not Enough (1999-Pierce Brosnan)
  20. Die Another Day (2002-Pierce Brosnan)
  21. Casino Royale (2006-Daniel Craig)
  22. Quantum of Solace (2008-Daniel Craig)
  23. Skyfall (November 2012-Daniel Craig)