birds

Butterfly summer

Well if all the experts are to be believed, this summer in Sweden is going to be a scorcher!

Yep, according to the butterflies it is going to be hot, hot, hot.   Folk-lore reckons that the very first butterfly you see in the year can predict the weather.

Not literally, obviously; but apparently if the butterfly you spot first is light-coloured, then the summer will be good:  if you set eyes on a dark-coloured butterfly, then the prospect is gloomy and a bad summer is on the cards.

So, if Swedish butterfly intuition is to be believed, things are looking good; as the first two butterflies I saw yesterday, busy checking out my newly planted pansies, were creamy white. http://wp.me/p4kEQ0-9F

Like most predictions, the butterflies and I have a 50/50 chance of accuracy.   Though I am a bit inclined to hedge my bets, as there is another piece of Swedish folk-lore regarding the Rowan (or Mountain Ash) which is not exactly foolproof.  Tradition has it that, if the Rowan tree is full of red berries in the autumn,  the ensuing winter will be hard.  Last October, the Rowan here were heaving with berries; so much so that bird-lovers were busy picking and freezing them as winter bird food (great idea if you can be bothered).

By that reckoning, we should have had an awful winter: it was, however, one of the mildest on record.

Still, ever the optimist, I’m busy digging out my sun cream, mosquito repellent and sunglasses in the hope that we get a butterfly summer.

 

 

 

 

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Post code envy?

Dancing Cranes

Dancing Cranes

So I´ve been busy rifling through my sock drawer in preparation for my next diary date.  It’s been looming fast and I still can’t decide what would be best: sports, bed or over the knee.  What would they prefer?

In just under 2 weeks, I’m expecting one or two rather special guests, and I want to get everything just right.

It appears that I seem to live in an area of post code envy.  No, really.  Well at least as far as my visiters – the Cranes – are concerned.  (I did say right at the beginning of this blog that I led a very hum drum life).  Never mind that it’s MILES away from town, or that I spend most of my time communing with the trees and going stir crazy.  This is a Des Res.  It’s all location, location, location to these fickle birds as they  restrict their Home Visits to only a very few areas in the South East of this region – visiting here, not there and definitely nowhere else.  You see my guests are arriving for the annual Crane Day on 25th March.

Which is all fine, I’ve hosted parties before..  But, how do you welcome a visiting crane?   Following a tip from a friend, I’m currently on the look out for drawings of Cranes to put in all the bedroom windows.  Not quite sure what that’s all about.  Maybe it’s the nearest a crane gets to a selfie?  Or just a little something to make them feel at home.   They’ll also be expecting a window left ajar, just to let them know that I’m around.  And then there’s the problem of the socks.  They’ll apparently be expecting to find a sock at the end of my bed.  Or alternatively on a bush in the garden, which from the point of ease of access I can understand as they’re not the smallest and nimblest of birds.

But it’s the sock etiquette that’s got me in a bit of a flap.  If I’ve been good, the cranes are supposed to leave some sweets in my socks.  And, choosing the right pair showing just the right amount of restraint and modesty is a nightmare.  The last thing I want to do is to appear greedy, and somehow roomy boot socks seem a bit optimistic…..   Just HOW good have I really been for the past year??   The approaching Crane Day is turning into a bit of a moral dilemma.

Still, it’s kind of nice to feel like one of the chosen few.  I, for one, will be tucked up in bed on 24th,  in hopeful anticipation that the Cranes will pop by.  According to tradition, they’ve been doing so since the 1500’s and I can see no reason why they should stop now, do you.

And no, it’s not a flight of fancy.

NOTE TO SELFIE:   For those feeling excluded from this pretty select event, check out The Crane Dance at Lake Hornboga in South west Sweden, early April.  No invite needed.

Goose stepping!

Goose Stepping

Goose Stepping

So you’d better watch your step. It’s March, it’s Sweden and it’s Goose Time. Yesterday Barnacle, Canadian and Grey Leg geese launched themselves here with a general whirring of wings, raucous noise and clamour.  Today, they’re quietly snacking in the local fields – and pooping.

Obviously, one way of avoiding the poop is to tread to carefully.   Or (and this is my preferred course of action), just stay indoors and avoid walking in the fields altogether.

Alternatively, you could get hold of some lifesize plastic models of dogs from the Minnesota-based company,  Watch Dog Goose Patrol.  And no, I’m not barking!  This is exactly what officials did last year in a town near Stockholm.  They put large models of German Shepherd dogs in the town’s public parks in an attempt to keep the geese out and fouling the area.

They might just as well have erected a sign, “No Geese Allowed”.