TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Tue, December 13, 2016 22:07:55
We spent a
week in October at Malvarina Agriturismo, an organic farm that also has cozy
accommodation and a fantastic restaurant. The farm is run by a family and a few
employees; it is really genuine and breathes calm and peace. (No TV in the
room!) It is a wonderful oasis on the slopes of Monte Subasio, where a brisk
walk through olive groves takes you up to the Mt Subasio national park and a
wonderful panoramic view over Umbria.
offers genuine old-fashioned Italian diet, completely built on their own
organic products, adapted to the seasons and availability. Their prosciutto crudo is heavenly, mouth watering just
thinking about it! And their freshly pressed olive oil, early pressing, emerald
green and smooth as velvet! An experience which should be on everyone's bucket
served at 20.00, then you eat and socialize, drink good local wine (the best
was the one who actually had no name), dish follows dish, one tastier than the
other. The meal lasts until towards midnight, when you rounded off with a cappuccino
and a little grappa. After a week of partying on the Mediterranean diet, I have
lost more than 1 kg! (Try to do so at a hamburger menu!)
week there were only two things that did not taste me, and it was not due to
the kitchen, it was because of me. I hate liver! It did not help that it was
cooked in a pear; it just tasted even more liver.
the thing with the snails. I love French snails in garlic but the herbs in the
Italian did not suit me. Or size, fully grown specimens, giant monsters who
must be forced out of the shells. As large recalcitrant arionidae, who must be
cut into slices to be swallowed. But this is like saying a parenthesis; Malvarina
is fantastic and well worth a visit. Try it!
Everyday lifePosted by Uncle Henry Tue, November 29, 2016 16:17:34
to develop proficiency in English continues. I have previously read; How to Be
a Woman by Caitlin Moran, and loved it. When I strolled around in a bookstore
in Windsor, and discovered that they had her latest book; How to Build a Girl,
I could not resist buying it. And I do not regret it, it was hilarious.
told, but with insight, warmth and great love, both in terms of everyday,
working-class, urban neighborhoods and teen years. It was a fantastic trip,
although I must admit that the language was different than what I'm used to.
wank, hymen and knackers not belong to my everyday language ... And if I would
put it in Swedish, I would fucking blush like a baboon's ass! So I do not. (But
in English I might dare and then it enriches my language) You have to dare, or
as Caitlin writes at one point in the book, and I have not yet managed to find
the meaning of ... Go on! Stuff it up the cow!
do not understand everything I read. I do not have full control of the concepts,
"Poxy bunch of suites" or "They've gassed The Hive".
Although I might have a clue. However, it is extremely interesting for a
Swedish ornithologist to hear about the gloom that probably comes from
Hebridiean ancestors with puffin - strangling DNA!
Maybe not a
Christmas present tips for your gift for grandma or grandpa, or eh heck, why
not! If nothing else, read it for yourself.
Everyday lifePosted by Uncle Henry Sat, November 05, 2016 12:39:44
We had a wonderful time in Italy, in mid-October, and I was about to write a
blog post about it, when suddenly it was the first of November and the snow
pouring down! Life goes so fast sometimes.
Tracking season got a flying start, suddenly needed miles and miles of gravel roads to be searched over in pursuit of traces of wolves and lynxes. Being first
on the road, with a new yet untouched snow, is a great satisfaction that I
think I share with all my colleagues. It's exciting. The day is still a blank
good tracking day, with a lot of tracks and samples collected for DNA analysis,
ended the day at Bastutjärn. The freeze begins on the little lake and the track
of the wolf pack disappears towards the Norwegian border.
Everyday lifePosted by Uncle Henry Sun, September 11, 2016 20:28:37
It was midsummer.
We ate our herring with new potatoes, chives, sour cream and everything else
related to the weekend. We enjoyed cold beer and schnapps. Then swoosh, the
autumn was here! What the heck happened?
I remember that
long beard lichen was inventoried, and we actually found a new location, which
is quite unusual. That was nice.
And I know
that the haymaking was good, we had perfect weather throughout the mowing
season. (I forgot to photograph this year, the picture is from 2015.) Do not
worry if you forgot the knife to the snack bread, it goes equally well with a
It was a
great summer for strawberries, flower meadows, butterflies - and gnats. I
remember them very well! Gnats and other biting insects are really a plague
during work in the forest during the summer, as terrible as butterflies are
gorgeous. The biting should I forget but the memory of the butterflies is to be
cherished and enjoyed on cold winter days. I had the most, nearly a hundred
butterflies swarming along the spice garden, where I sat and tried to think
We have had
the first frost, the leaves have begun to change color but the heat persists.
It's still summer warm during some days. Perhaps it will be a long and warm
autumn, which in recent years. Beautiful, but it can easily become too much of
a good thing, both nature and wildlife trackers have to get a real winter to
feel good. But why be in a hurry! We enjoy autumn's high and clear air, the
rich scents of everything that has matured, melancholy strophes from migratory
birds and heat as long as it is offered. Have a nice autumn everybody, enjoy
TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Mon, July 04, 2016 21:19:50
We have stayed at
many peculiar places around the world, Mary-Ann's Polarrigg in Longyearbyen, is
definitely one of them. Old miners' barracks assembled into a small hotel, with
mining tools, coal and driftwood lying in the corners and images of half-naked
ladies on room doors. And with a polar bear in the corridor which reminds you
of the importance of being able to defend yourself in the Arctic.
rarely freeze ass off, neither this one. It has its rear end in a wonderful
conservatory, also the dining room, where you can have breakfast with the whole
nature panorama outside the window. (Maybe you will see a drooling arctic fox,
a glowering Svalbard reindeer or any other exciting thing ...)
If you suddenly
need a beer (Longyearbyen has the world's northernmost brewery) or any other
strengthening, the pub has open until 02:00. It's just tiptoe away in stocking
feet (No shoes indoors in this village!) sneak through the kitchen, say hello
to the chef if he is there, pass slugger bear and swish you're there.
The beer is very
good! The place is quite charming and the style really relaxed! Go there, be cool.
TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Sun, June 26, 2016 18:16:01
The chance or
risk, depending on how you see it, to encounter a polar bear near Longyearbyen
this time of year is probably as good as non-existent. But only almost! They
have four legs and like to hike, so you can never be absolutely sure, suddenly stand
exception there breathing down your neck. Therefore it is best to stay within
the safe range, at least without armament.
This year we
wanted to do something extra on the summer solstice, it became kayaking in the
Arctic. Only a small day trip, but still, pretty awesome! Advent fjord in
Longyearbyen is located at 78.13 degrees north, so it's a bit of traveling but
it was really worth it!
The landscape is
wild and enchanting beautiful. Northern Fulmars glide past on stiff wings, only
a few meters away from the kayak, eider and long-tailed ducks resting in the
coves and snow buntings sing intensive from the beach. A quite long and
enjoyable observation of an adult ivory gull, round off the day.
The beaches are
full of driftwood from Siberia, a lot of plastic waste from the world's oceans,
aircraft remnants from the war and rusty relics from abandoned coal mines.
Nothing to come before 1946 may be moved or removed, it counts as cultural
A fantastic day
trip with MS Langöysund gave, among other things, steep bird cliffs, bearded
seal, a large family of Beluga whale and not the least; a loud popping ancient
piece of glacier ice in the whiskey!
Svalbard reindeer, a separate subspecies of reindeer that overwintered the last
ice age in the islands, is a charming and quite fearless little chubby thing
that you suddenly can meet on the street, when you go to shop in the village.
supermarket provides gun cabinets directly inside the front door; they do not
want anyone carrying weapons in the store, civilized in any way ;-)
Nature ConservationPosted by Uncle Henry Sun, June 19, 2016 20:24:33
middle of Sweden and north, you can now see a gray-brown butterfly patrol
around the sunlit pine trunks in the mire landscape. It's the Baltic Grayling (Oeneis jutta), a species in the subfamily
Satyrinae with a circumboreal distribution. It occurs in bogs and tundra in the
north of Europe, the Baltic States, the Urals, Siberia, Northern Kazakhstan,
the Russian Far East, Northern Mongolia, Northeastern China, North Korea and
North America. (In Canada it occurs from Newfoundland to British Columbia.)
it flies from early June to mid-July every two years, so you could not see it
last year and will not be able to see it next. It flies only in even years, so
take the opportunity; the next time will be in 2018!
butterfly often starts at the root and then flits rapidly upwards along the
stem, sometimes up into the crown of the smaller pines before popping down to
the next pine and continues.
season varies in different places in the world. In Canada, for example, Baltic
Grayling flies from late May
to mid-June in eastern Ontario, from late June to late July at Churchill, and
into August in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is biennial, flying in even years
in southwest Manitoba and the west and mainly in odd years from southeastern
Manitoba eastward; at Churchill and in the Mer Bleue bog near Ottawa it flies
Nature ConservationPosted by Uncle Henry Sat, June 18, 2016 15:05:30
seems to be a pretty bad year for the golden eagle, at least in the central
parts of Sweden. In Värmland, we have only found one successful breeding so
far, in which a fairly large and nice kid has been ringed.
to weighing and measuring, takes bird ringers now also blood sample for DNA
analysis. Here is the “Lord of the Rings” in place in the nest for sampling.
and sharp claws, they have the resources, yet they are surprisingly calm and
kind while they are handled.
WolfPosted by Uncle Henry Sat, June 11, 2016 16:57:02
of year, nature is like one big nursery. It is a lovely time to gently roam
around. Listening and watching, with all senses open to impressions.
point during the nineties, in the middle of June, I ended up by chance only a
few meters from two wolf pups. They were quite busy, playing with a bone from a
moose calf, the adult wolves left with them. They quarreled almost silently and
very gently, the only sound that could be heard was a little panting breathing
and occasional, puffing snort sound.
One of the
puppies discovers me almost immediately and sneak away, the other continues
energetically its struggle with the bone. It pries and hauls snorts and puffs
but barely manage to dislodge the bone without the other's help.
It tire of
after a period of struggle and put a sudden course straight toward me. Detects
me; at first frightened, then curious. Thinking whether I’m friend or foe, and
then strolling slowly away after the sibling who had disappeared under a dense
… Yet still
unaware that within a few months it turns into a bloodthirsty beast; hated and
persecuted by humanity.
TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Wed, June 01, 2016 14:05:36
When the guide
locks the massive steel door behind me, I feel the claustrophobia creeping like
an iron band around the chest. It ceases, however, immediately when she
knowledgeable and committed invites us in an amazingly beautiful world with
stalagmites and stalactites from floor to ceiling. 13 km caverns and halls in
different levels and only one who has the key to the doors – I know who I will
hold in, if the light suddenly goes out!
We got during
our drive through southwest France the opportunity to visit the Grotte de
Villars, something that can really be recommended. It is an amazing and
unforgettable experience. There is forbidden to photograph, therefore I borrow
here some of the resort's image and hope for forgiveness, given how they are
more known caves, such as Lascaux, where the paintings are of a totally awesome
and unique quality. But if you are content with simpler paintings, so is the
Grotte de Villars a good option. Plus, you get to see the originals, at
Lascaux, you make do with copies. Because of e.g. fungal infestation are
caverns with paintings closed; only a few researchers are permitted to visit
them. The visitors are now referred to the caves with cave painting replicas.
after cave bears that once scratched out a sleeping place from the soft clay.
man painted with manganese oxide mixed with animal fat. Paintings, that still
remains 19,000 years later. With time, however, they will disappear because the
calcium deposits slowly covering them. In the Grotte de Villars is the famous
"man - bison" picture, one of the very rare pictures where man
depicted in pre historic art. (One of two sites in France) I have no good
picture of it so it got to be a small horse instead.
no photos available in the souvenir shop, which nearly describes the experience
that rests in my mind after our walk in the cave system. It must be
experienced. Both my wife and I agree the visit to the cave to one of our
absolute greatest experiences so far in life.