Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Café Alrø - a funny Café upon a small Island...........

Café with Menu, Museum, Galleri and Summerflowers.

Upon the small island Alrø is a quite special café and restaurant. The island lies in Horsens fjord with two other islands Hjarnø and Vorsø nearby, Hjarnø has a ferry to the nearby little harbour Snaptun and Vorsø is a protected island with no public access.

Alrø has a dam to the northern coast of Horsens fjord at Sondrup. There is one trafifc road through the island and the café lies in the western end near the ferry place with a little ferry to Snaptun, only meant for  hikers and bikers.

The Café Alrø has been established by some very creative people. It's an entertaining place to visit with various funny and interesting things The café is also known for its good menu. One special dish is extremely popular, it's and old Danish dish, tartlet with chicken in asparagus sauce. Sold portions are counted each year. Upon the island is another restaurant, a gourmet restaurant by the traffic road, "Møllegården". Café Alrø and Møllegården open in the summer season. See the links.  

Café Alrø 

Restaurant Møllegården

The owners love cows - here is the red -white..... actually  Dannebrog
the café seen from entrance
seven young artists have decorated the island and the café.
 - and here's the old black-white race.........
a Highland cow made by paper bags.
singing rock
people playing krolf!

old couple on the bench are models of a married couple from Alrø
keys in small museum
old weight -  in Denmark's smallest museum
old washing roll
rusty bike with scenting lathyrus

artificial swallowtail kept flying (not tethered) with solar energy.
singing rock etc. at the yard
summerflowers were everywhere.

voliere with canaries.

girl playing with ring game.

photo August 2013: grethe bachmann

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rhinanthus - Rattle/ Skjaller

Rinanthus, Viborg 2009


Rhinanthus = Rattle/ Danish: Skjaller is a genus of annual hemiparasitic herbs. The genus consists of about 30-40 species found in Europe, northern Asia and North America, with the greatest species diversity (28 species) in Europe

Rhinanthus is seen everywhere in Denmark. The species is connected to ligth-open habitats with a neutral soil, it tolerates drought but the plant also cope well in moist meadows and it is often seen in dunes and meadows, beach meadows, pastures and heaths. There are only two species of wildgrowing Rinanthus in Denmark:
1)  Rhinanthus minor = Yellow Rattle or Cockscomb /Liden Skjaller and 2) Rhinanthus serotinus = Rattle/ Stor Skjaller. Both species have several sub-species.

The stems are square and without hairs, and the leaves are opposite. They are lancetshaped with a serrated edge. The flowers are in a cluster and the fruits are capsules with many seeds. The root system is rather tenous, it is a taproot with side roots which establish contact with suitable host plants (esp. grasses) which they such for water and minerals. The parasitisme of the Rinanthus species affect the surrpounding plant-society in a negative way. 

The fruit is a dry capsule, which contain loose, rattling seeds when ripe; the plant's name refers to these. Children had in the old days fun shaking the ripe plant as a rattle. The plant was also called rattle flower, but also money herb since the dry seeds sounded like paper money. The dry stems caused troube when the farmers were beating hay. The rattle and especially the subspecies rye Rattle (rugskjaller) might have been introduced with the rye cultivation and was in many districts a feared and troublesome weed. In  1688 a district in North Jutland had a rule in their city laws that the rattle and the corncockle (skjaller og klinte)  had to be hatched from the fields and be brought at home at once and burnt.

The rattle is in 1778-1850 mentioned as the worst weed in the western section of Jutland, and the farmers tried to fight it with hatching before blooming, the rye was also unsalable if it was contaminated with the seeds. The farmers expected a bad year for the hay if the rattle grew in numbers in the meadows. If the rattle was found en masse in the corn it removed the crop from the seed and made the bread almost black, the rye flour got a bluish colour and a sweet taste - and the bread was indigestible. But if rye was cultivated at the same place several years in a row the plant became almost extinct.

New Research. 
Research at the UK'sCentre for ecology and hydrology has shown that encouraging Yellow Rattle to grow in hay meadows greatly increases biodiversity by restricting grass growth and thereby allowing other species to thrive. The seeds are spread very effectively by traditional hay-making practices.

Ancient Harvesting Warnings
When the rattle was ripe the hay harvest started. When the seeds were ripe and the capsules dry the farmers could start beating the hay. This was also said upon the Faroe islands.

Folk Medicine.
The plant is mentioned as a means for the cattle's bloody urine.
The essence from the flowers or from the whole plant used as a drink or as a bath of wounds, pains in the joints and intestinal worms. 

At the Faroe islands: People used to put the plant into the nose to stop nose bleeding ( 1789).

Source: V.J. Brøndegaard, "folk og flora", Dansk Etnobotanik, bd. 4, 1979 
Danmarks flora/ wikipedia. 

photo Viborg 2009: grethe bachmann

Friday, August 23, 2013

Butterflies in the Park in August.

1./2.: Painted Lady
Holly Blue
White and a flying bee

Together with the warm weather some of  the butterflies finally arrived. There is a place in the park called "Rømerhaven" where the gardeners plant some fine beds with perrenials each year. In another section are buddleias and the butterflies love them. There were some of the pretty Painted Lady and lots of Peacocks. The Peacocks are really seen in large numbers this year. I haven't seen many Small Tortoiseshell - and there was no one  that day. There are also lots and lots of the White everywhere. They must fly in millions all over the country. In one photo of the White is a flying bee.
There was a fine little Holly Blue in another section of the garden. The Holly Blue is often prowling around and seen outside its permanent breeding habitat. It has for some years been common in many places in DK.

Source: Michael Stoltze, Dagsommerfugle i Danmark , 1998, Fugle og Natur, Felthåndbogen , 2013.
photo "Rømerhaven", Mindeparken Århus, August 2013: grethe bachmann 

Holly Blue

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Præstø - a cosy Provincial Town at the Coast of Zealand.

Præstø, the city square, photo: stig bachmann nielsen,

Præstø is a small cosy town with a pretty situation along the southeastern coast of Zealand, the largest island in the Danish archipelago. The town was founded upon an island and the connection to land was a bridge from the west. The bridge existed up till 1804 where it was replaced by a dam. The old part of town is still demarcated to the south by a green wedge around the river Tubæk, and the western terrain rises almost like a bank around town.

The first town probably emerged in the early Middle Ages,  in the 1200s, as a harbour from where corn was disembarked to the Hanseatic merchants. The inhabitants had also a good income from fishing - they took part in the yearly herring fishing and in the herring market at Skanør (in Skåne). The town got its municipal rights in 1403 from the newly appointed king Erik of Pommern - and in 1470 an Antonite-kloster was founded in connection to the church. The area of the Antonite kloster was called "The Priests' Island",  from where the name Præstø origins. In the church is still seen the unique Antonite cross, called the Tau-cross. Today are seen two visible Antonite crosses in the church, one in the loft at the organ and another in the back of the northeren nave.

The Tau cross depicts a crutch and was a symbol that the monks of the Antonite-order took care of sick and needy people. The kloster was demolished after the reformation. In 1672 a manor, Nysø, was built northwest of town, which meant that the developement of the town stopped to the north.

Præstø has no old medieval buildings. There were several city fires from 1641 till 1757 - and furthermore the town was plundered by the Swedes in 1657-1660. The famous Gønges fought the Swedes in the region in this period. Their leader was Svend Poulsen, called Svend Gønge. He and his men were called the Snaphaner. In a park in Præstø, Frederiksminde, stands a statue of a Snaphane.

In 1872 a flood razed the town, but the old city has however kept some harmonic sceneries with modest, but wellkept house-rows, especially around the church and the city square. The developement of Præstø was modest and stagnant for long periods, but it had a Renaissance in the 1800s because of the export of corn to England. The harbour was modernized in 1827, and the railway came to Præstø from Næstved in 1900. It was closed down in 1961.

Præstø is first of all today a pretty trading town with cosy cafés and a lively harbour environment. Many places conform the history of the old town, a town with small cobblestones in the streets and the coherent pastel-painted houses. Today's town is cosy with crooked streets and the almost unspoiled urban environment, the quintessence of the idyl in a Danish provincial town. Præstø been used as a setting in several Danish films.
Jungshoved 2003/gb
The landscape around Præstø fjord is very worth seeing. It varies between forest and meadows. At a place Broskov are rests of an ancient road, which earliest section is from Iron Age. Upon the peninsula Jungshoved east of the city is the castle bank of Jungshoved castle, known from the novel "Gøngehøvdingen" by the Danish author, Carit Etlar. By the castle bank lies Jungshoved church very beautifully situated, close to the waters of the fjord.

* The Antonite kloster in Præstø was a branch of the mother kloster Morkær in North Germany. The monks took care of people who were afflicted by Sct Antonius-fire, a sort of gangrene, which was one of the worst scourges in the Middle Ages. The disease was caused by bread-corn, which was poisoned by a  fungus (Claviceps purpurea) The Antonite klosters were very important for sick people, like the hospitals of Sct Jørgen )Sct George) were for the leprous.

Præstø has a museum for the fire protection history: Dansk Brandværnhistorisk Museum, with a collection of horse-drawn fire pumps, the earliest from 1761 - and with a historic collection from the fire teams and from local history. A museum, called "Den lille By" (The small Town), has a collection of over 200 dolls from 1790-1930. 
The pottery Rødeled west of the old city section was established in 1898 and is the oldest pottery in Denmark. It is today both a museum, a workshop and a boutique.
Nysø (wikipedia)
The manor Nysø is an architectional pearl from the 1870s. It was Denmarks' first manor in Baroque style, and it was a homestead of both H.C. Andersen and Bertel Thorvaldsen, who lived here for the last six years of his life. The manor was at that time owned by baron Stampe and his wife, who built an atelier for Thorvaldsen. The Thorvaldsen collection can still be seen at the Manor Museum. The park is open for the public all year.

Source: Danmarks Købstæder, Søren Olsen, Politikens forlag 2000.

photo 2013 : grethe bachmann