Thursday, October 12, 2017

2018

The 2018 Celestial Calendars have arrived!

Great guide to all things astronomical and astrological for beginner or pro. All with beautiful, color astrological illustrations.

I have the Pocket Astrologer [4 ¼” x 5 ½”] in Eastern or Pacific time for $6.00 each. I have the Wall Calendar in Eastern or Pacific for $11.00 each. I have the Astrologer’s Datebook [4 ¼” x 6 ¾”] with both times zones in it for $9 each.

Shipping is $2.00 for 1st item and .50 for each additional item. Send money to: my paypal address which is valknot@juno.com.
I’m going to be in Ohio 10/24-11/4, so if I don’t receive your order before then, it won’t be shipped till November.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

8/15, Zolines

More reasons I adore this country! Found all this while I was researching Zolines for my blog.

This is a national holiday in Lithuania!

Where to celebrate the Grass? (Event Guide 2017) Author: Donatas Andrijauskas Posted:  August 14,

 Žolina is celebrated on the 15th of August.  Herbal - farewell to the summer and thanks to the Earth for the harvest festival. Through the Grass, either through the Christmas Eve or Easter, the family should sit down at the table of food and be together. This day in Lithuania is a day of unemployment, therefore there will be plenty of events in Vilnius and its surroundings.

Skaityti daugiau: http://www.madeinvilnius.lt/pramogos/renginiai/kur-svesti-zolines-zoliniu-renginiu-gidas-2017/ .

Here is an event guide: HERBAL HERBS, GREEN TRAKUES August 12-15 "Cemetery" and Trakai region and their artistic groups, the tradition of fostering games and other activities, the Cemetery festivity attracts a great interest of visitors from Lithuania and abroad.

LIVING ROOM Lithuanian Folk Life Museum on August 15 invites families, their friends and relatives to come to the Grass Festival! Aukstaitija village, at Rachkishki chapel, 12 o'clock . The masses, after which the annual harvest and flowers and grasses will traditionally be celebrated. The fair will be played, we play country games, we will have a delicious egg, iodine zaimateukai, and will introduce visitors to the healing properties of medicinal plants! You will enjoy ensemble, Liudvinas Theater "Green Garden" performance and even puppies circus performances! The Lithuanian Folk Life Museum invites you to celebrate the Herald together and keep in mind the good spirits and field flowers, fruit and vegetables grown in your gardens.

Free Herbal Sightseeing Tour "Summer Flowers" In the summer, when we came to life and dressed in the brightest colors and matured abundant crops, our ancestors chose to celebrate the Grass - a magical flowering, abundance and harvest celebration, thanking the lovers of the Earth, who were rewarded with a good harvest. It was believed that those who did not go to the Heritage Festival would not have rich and rich years. So, if you want to take care of your well-being for the coming year - on the 15th of August you are in a hurry to remember the Herbal Traditions along with Vivid Vilnius on a free excursion "Summer Flowers"! Vivid Vilnius invites the residents of Vilnius and the city to remember the most beautiful Heritage traditions and take part in the "Summer Flower" excursion free excursion. During the tour, let's talk about what is going on during the feast Herbs, and we will plant grass, flower gardens, gardens and other vineyards in several places in old Vilnius, meet the plants that Vilnius has once known and which are famous for today. We will also find out how our ancestors celebrated the Herbs, what are the oldest Herbal practices, what to do through the Grass, so that all the rest of the year would be rich and rich.
The excursion route follows the greenest and most picturesque places in Vilnius - the Sventaragis Valley, the Bernardine Soda, the Mountain Park and the coastline of Vilnia.

The Republic of Užupis publishes the freedom of grass The inhabitants of the zealous republic of Užupis celebrate the proclamation of the freedom of grass. The team winning Putin and Short kiss of Vilnius and "The party is over" will unveil a new street art sculpture near the Užupis Art Incubator, telling everything that is really about cannabis. From the controllers of the Windhoek, the dub will play, we will release the opening of the Baltic Shamans store. We will eat snacks from the Canopy, and the Angel of Užupis in front of the Punches will smell of plum smell. Event starts: 6pm.

8/15
Absolutely beautiful day for a festival. Spent the morning packing, cleaning, and eating ceburekai. Max was great at helping and moving things around for me.

The rest of them returned from Lativa around noon. They said they had a great time and saw the guildhall with the ‘Cats on the Rooftop’ - yes, believe it or not, that Lettish song is at least 500 years old!

Inija is now quite successful at performing traditional rites of passage. Max came back and told me there was a wedding in the temple, but when we went over to see, we were told it was a private ceremony. Good for Inija. We could easily hear the singing.

Before the fest started, I had all of us celebrate the grasses and flowers by making wreaths. Daniel made one for me, and we all wore ours to the rite. The guys were told that men didn’t wear the wreaths to the rite. [My bad! - I was supposed to tell them to give them to a woman, but they looked so fine, and I was distracted on my way to the stone circle.]

Our Zolines rite was a celebration of bread and grasses. Afterwards, we said our goodbyes. I introduced the rest of Max’s family to the metal smith, and Max thanked him for his teachings, and the smith thanked Max for his help and said he was very strong.
We left within an hour of the rite and headed to Kaunas for three days.





Saturday, October 7, 2017

8/14 Zolines Eve

8/13 footnote
Forgot to add that we went to Zemyna’s kankles concert in the temple; the acoustics are wonderful and she played many selections from her CD [which I have in stock.] Another thing I forgot was how horrid the mosquitos were. The weather was lovely; 70-80 degrees, rare rain, but vicious mosquitos 24/7.


8/14
Today we worked on projects. Left Max to hammer away with the smith and hang out with all his new friends. I spent the day catching up with a lot of my friends. Around 2 pm, Inija informed us that the ‘Foreigners’ were in charge of preparing Dinner for everyone that evening.
Zdenak on drum in the temple


Zdenak [my Czech friend] was livid. Why had no one told us sooner? He could have made Czech food, but with less than 4 hours to prepare it, it wasn’t going to happen. [It takes at least an hour to go shopping, and at least an hour to boil a cauldron of water.]
I gathered all eight of us together, and raided the cupboards at Inija’s. I sent the guys off to build up the fire and fill the cauldron and boil the water.
Foreigners hard at work
My instructions for the cauldron were almost medieval: Take 50 pounds of pasta + 5 pounds of chopped up carrots and add to a huge cauldron of boiling water.
Zdenak had said he’d take me to the restaurant in Sariai about 3 km away for ceburekai. And he was in such a temper over dinner, I thought the excursion would do us both good. The lady who makes them is very talented. They are basically a thin, crispy fried dough stuffed with meat or cheese or both. They cost 1.3 euros and are so good. We ran into some others from camp enjoying cold beers, and had one with them while we waited for our order. We each had one on-site, while the cook made me three more cheese ones for later to go.


When we went to check on the foreigners around an hour later, I had them dump out a third of the water or it would have taken hours to boil. I had set all the women various chopping tasks; one did the carrots, one chopped and fried up three different onion sides; one with mushrooms, one sauteed, and one caramelized. They were all delicious.

We had good bread and butter,  two bowls of grated cheeses, sour cream, and a lot of spices and condiments to add to your taste. We actually had all of it ready to serve just before 6 pm. Inija was astonished. She said it was the first time ever that dinner had been served on time.
Several of the ‘foreigners’ complimented me on my organizational skills. Almost everything was eaten. There were only about two pounds of the carrot/pasta mix left over.


No time to rest on our laurels. Tonight was the Talent Show in the ‘Conference Center‘ [an old barn]. I’d signed up for #4. It was quite sophisticated for its rustic setting. Spotlights were muted with baskets which soften the glow on stage. There were even footlights [held up by hand].
Note the basket lamp in front of the wheel


The first act had shared the stage with me before: A man who played the didgeridoo. There were about 10 performers. The photos of me were taken by others, including Max,





video

but I managed to take one of Lithuania’s newest TV star, Vetra, the youngest
Vetra on the left
daughter of Inija and Jonas Trinkunas, who appears on “The Vikings” with two of her BFF’s.


The highlight of the evening for me was my Belgian friend and his daughter [I let them camp  and park - they drive to summer camp from Belgium - on my property every year. He read an apology  [this kind:
a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.:
"a specious apology for capitalism".
synonyms: defense of, explanation of, justification of, vindication of, apologia for]


explaining why Lithuania ‘pledges allegiance’ under [the] Sun, instead of under God. Very enlightening, and I could write an entire essay on his explication. Brief version: there are many gods and religions in Lithuania, but there is only one Sun, and so, the Lithuanian government kept 'under Sun'. [Note: Lithuanian does not use articles; a, an, or the, but they are implied.]


It was also the night before Zolines [second harvest festival dedicated to Zemyna the Earth Mother and her grain, specifically, rye.] That meant there would be a ‘pirtis’ [a wet sauna for ritual and personal purification]. I’d seen smoke from the chimney while we were cooking. I’d explained what it was to Max and we grabbed towels and headed over. The guys were dumping hot coals on the grass near the creek that feeds onto the lake. The pirtis wasn’t quite ready. I left Max with the men to learn its mysteries and went back to my place and was just falling asleep when Max returned around midnight. He was so excited; he told me he’d taken a pirtis four times! It was now cooled down enough for the women, but it was too late and too dark for me.



When I first came to our village last century, and we would fire up the pirtis house, the men went in first to fill the iron hot water tank and build up the fire till it was very hot and steamy inside. When they were done they would all jump in the creek, and return to the main house for food. The women and children were next, and I started out on the floor with the kids. There was no plumbing in the village at that time, so this was how we were all able to bathe and have hot water for dishes and laundry; it’s a very efficient system. The next day, the old folks came in to bathe. I guess I’m one of the old folks now; I went over around 6 am when I arose and had the place to myself. Washed my hair, washed myself, soaked my feet in birch leaves and herbs. Did NOT throw myself in the creek, but felt wonderfully prepared for the rest of the day and all the packing and cleaning yet to do.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

8/11-13 - Summer Camp

8/11
Wizzed to Kaunas from Bergen on WizAir for about $100 each. Plane was packed like sardines, and seats didn’t recline, and there was no first class, but it was only about an hour and a half flight.
Kaunas is the old capital of Lithuania and is an art deco lover’s dream. The airport arrivals area was basically a new quonset hut set up to receive people while the Vilnius airport was closed for two weeks. Daniel had rented an SUV that was a tight fit for the five of us, but we fit! Daniel kept trying to drive to downtown Kaunas, but I kept telling him there wasn’t one. There’s Old Town and ‘Centrum’. Anyway, I was familiar with the road he was on and as we passed a Cili [pronounced silly] Pizza, I told him we should go there. Besides a huge menu of Lithuania and European dishes, they also serve good pizza which the guys enjoyed. In Lithuania, they have strange ideas about pizza, and they serve them with a bottle of ketchup and a bottle of garlic mayo on the side! The tab for the five of us was 45 euros. Daniel said he’d paid that much for lunch for himself in Norway yesterday.
Kaunas is a little like Cincinnati; if you keep trying to drive downtown, you’ll wind up in the Ohio river. So after lunch we headed back to the highway and off to village. Stopped for groceries and supplies and arrived just in time for the communal dinner which was macaroni and cheese from a huge cauldron.
I was pleased that my house had been swept and cleaned, and Max and I retrieved bedding for everyone from Inija’s house. Sadly, the family found my rustic abode too rustic and dusty and left to find a hotel around midnight. [They had to go all the way to Vilnius - about 70 miles.] I was half asleep when they left before I could tell them that I could go back to Inija’s and borrow ‘freshly harvested mattresses.’ Max stayed with me and we had a great time at summer camp, while Dan, Kim and Dylan returned the next afternoon and decided to go to Riga until the 15th.

8/12  Saw lightning at Vakarene [singing down of the Sun]. Started a new sewing project -still working on a cut-out applique herb bag project. Visited and sang in the temple. For lunch, there is a sign-up sheet and you sign up the night before and pick numbers on a menu. I ordered Lithuania pancakes with meat, Max ordered chicken, and I picked up everything + extra chips and munchies for Max.
Although I have the best out house in the village, perhaps that’s another reason Max’s family might have sought out better amenities. I’m used to ‘roughing it’ for the few days I’m there every year.

8/13 - We both slept in late till around 10 am. My German friend who has moved to Lithuania to be a farmer, Kevin, lectured in English on the Viking Age in the Baltic Sea. We both had ordered potato pancakes for lunch and Max took mine with meat by mistake. The day before he’d said he wanted plain, but today he wouldn’t trade me back, but it was okay. I was thrilled he was adjusting and enjoying Lithuanian food. I grilled onions and just picked mushrooms to put on top of my plain pancakes. After lunch, I introduced him to Stashiss [phonetic spelling], the metal smith who usually stays in the front room on the straw bed that Dan and Kim didn’t like, and he started hammering away on a piece of bronze. He came back later and asked if I could help him with a runic inscription?
Sure, I replied, “What do you want to know?”
“I want to know how to carve F. . . OFF in runes.”
Max is so endearing. I showed him the runes and added that three fehu runes and an odalaz rune made an excellent runic inscription on a ring.
Max made the ring and was very enchanted with it, although I’m not sure his parents were.
There were actually two smiths at camp this year. The younger blacksmith brought a portable forge:
village smithy.jpg

The communal meal that night was buckwheat. We politely had some and then went back to my home for some more of our own food.

Monday, October 2, 2017

8/10, Part 2


The train left us at the Mall of Norway in Flam [which is short for flim-flam] which was like Disneyland without the rides and lots of overpriced trinkets. Their amber was 10 times the price of what I sell mine for.
While we waited, Daniel cajoled me to Aegir’s Brew Hall.


Family note: Please notice that the last beer is named Lynchburg - but I doubt it's from our Ohio village.
Norwegian Bar Fly

After a 5 beer sampler tray,
Daniel drank the dwarf under the table

we were feeling much better,


and had a nice chat with a couple from Oregon.
We wandered back to the loading area and Kim and the swains were 2nd in line, so we managed a really nice table by the window on our tour of fjords from Flam to Voss.
Endless waterfalls

Gorgeous views





Sailing away
Twins
From the ferry
we took  another wild and scary ride on a bus
More waterfalls on the wild switchback road to Voss.

to Voss to catch a train to Bergen.

Daniel put the kids, the luggage and me in a cab to our Bergen digs. The cab driver dropped us off at the wrong address around 9 pm. It was about two blocks away, but several people helped us find it, and the swains managed to maneuver it all. The taxi was 420 kronen [about $50] Daniel and Kim bought groceries and took their own cab. Daniel made burgers and sweet potato fries, but we were almost too tired to eat them. Showered, packed, and passed out.
View from our Bergen airbnb

Left around 8:30 am for our 10 am flight. Ordered a large cab to take us to Bergen airport the next day. Off to Lithuania.



Norway in a Nutshell

I remember sitting in Dan and Kim's living room months ago discussing our itinerary. I believe it was Kim who found the Norway in a Nutshell tour. It was great but grueling; a real endurance test. We were up for it.


What a long strange trip it was. Up and out of our flat by 5:30 am and down the hill with bags full of damp clothes [my jacket didn't dry out till Bergen] to catch a tram to the train station for our long, long train ride
Railroad Museum

across the top of the fjords,

but we didn't really mind as we were thoroughly entertained by the alien landscape.
This is where we caught the Flam train [Myrdal].

Gello

Fjord top

We reached  Myrdal where we caught a train that zig-zagged down the fjord to the sea at Flam.
bikes and glaciers.jpg
Bikes & glaciers
more bikes.jpg
More bikes
Daniel tried to hire a bicycle to ride down,
but they were all spoken for, so we enjoyed our wild ride hugging the fjord all the way down,
View from the train
and at one waterfall we stopped and had a photo op with a singing water maiden perched near the fall with amplified music.

local color
Top of the World
rocks


train fall view

fjord bottom

Had to wait for hours for our 2 hour ferry tour

of the fjords which was breathtaking and worth the wait. We all had ‘eye burn’ from looking at hundreds of waterfalls. Yosemite [and I love Yosemite] is lame compared to the Norwegian fjord falls - they’re 3 times as high!
Have to go to a part two on this. Too many photos for some of my e-mails.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

still more photos

More follow-up photos to go with the  Oslo travelogues:
Dylan.jpg
Dylan and Max ready to go at it.
Max.jpg
The above were in Horten.
Next up: some of the lovely sculptures in the park up the road from out apartment.
sculpture.jpg
sculpture1.jpg
sculpture2.jpg
And two more from our day at the museums in Oslo.
Max and Volund.jpg
Max & his patron, Volund.
valkyr.jpg
Valkyrie from the mead hall.

And finally, my favorite from the Mead Hall in Horten.