• 29Jul

    Everyday that I’m in Sweden is a very special day, but here’s one that especially special!  But first I have to tell you what a fäbod is and it’s significance to the Anna Lena story.

    In the 19th century, farming was a way of life for most people in Sweden.  During the summers, they needed to let the grass in their fields grow up for hay that they could use to feed their livestock during the winter.  Therefore, they couldn’t let the livestock graze in the fields around the farm.  So, the animals were taken into the woods to forage during the summer.  Every farm in the village had grazing rights to certain areas in the surrounding forests.  Small cabins and barns were built and the area was called a fäbod.  There might be from five to fifteen families together at one fäbod.  It was the responsibility of the young women in the family (and sometimes the old grandmothers) to take care of cows during this time.  Their duties included milking twice a day, making cheese and butter, turning the cows out in the morning and bringing them back in the evening.

    When I was a girl and asked my grandma why her mother (Anna Lena) left Sweden, the answer I always got was, “She didn’t like taking care of the cows!”  It wasn’t until my first trip to Sweden that I learned about the fäbod and that was probably what she was referring to.  It was a lonely place for young girls.  It was also hard work.  And Swedish people had a lot of superstitions about things that lived in the forest!  I always wished I knew more about Anna Lena and the fäbod.

    Only last summer did I learn that my cousin Torsten knew where our family fäbod was!  In fact, he and his cousin still own the property!  This summer he was kind enough to take a day off from work to take Sally and me into the forest to see the area where Anna Lena would have spent her summers caring for the cows!

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    There was a lovely meadow.  Torsten explained to me that the cabin that belonged to our family had been torn down many years ago.  Now there are just two people who still have cabins at the former fäbod.  This is one of the cabins.

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    This one was built in 1885, just one year before Anna Lena came to America.

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    Torsten and me.  His grandfather and Anna Lena were brother and sister.

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    We peeked in the window.  I took a photo through the window, and while not a great picture, I was delighted that it turned out at all!  Inside was the typical built in bed from that era and the corner fireplace.  I imagine the inside of the cabin Anna Lena stayed in looked much the same.

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    I love the square logs.  Can you imagine hewing them by hand?

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    In the wonderful, traditional Swedish style, Torsten brought coffee and pastries for us to enjoy midmorning!

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    And to top off our day, I got to see the old fashioned method of haying.  I had seen this on my first few trips to Sweden, but I didn’t see it anywhere the last two times.  I thought perhaps no one did it this way anymore.

    It used to be that you would see lots and lots of poles like this in the middle of all the fields.  This is how they were “stored” for most of the year, as they were only used after the hay was cut and it needed to dry.

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    Here you see what they look like when they’ve been put together in an A-frame configuration and the hay pitched over the rails to dry!

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    Did I mention I love it in Anna Lena Land?

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  • 27Jul

    All the doors at the Green Hotel had something special painted on them.  We loved the long, skinny ones.  Remember that we’re in Dalarna, where they hold onto the folk traditions–and the paintings reflected that.  Gee, right up my alley.  I love life in Anna Lena Land!

    This was Sally’s favorite.

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    Sometimes you had to look twice to realize what it was–like a man’s leg in his suede knee pants.

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    This one is a belt.

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    Here’s the floral fabric that is used for a lot of the scarves that are part of the folk costumes.

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    And the tassels that are also a part of the folk dress.

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    Of course I loved all of the different Dala horses.

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    And, since we started with the woman and her daughter, we’ll end with the man and his son!

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  • 26Jul
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 4

    Poppy left for her new home with Tim and Dorothy today.  I didn’t think I could be here to see her go, but I was.  Tim gave me visitation rights.

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  • 25Jul

    I loved to walk around the little village in the evenings.  There are many things I’m drawn to–the fences, the houses, the flag poles, the windows and doors.  But in Tallberg, it was the chimneys that really caught my eye.  There must have been a very special, very talented man in the village whose specialty was chimneys.  Here’s a functional item that was made beautiful at the hands of a craftsman.  I enjoyed his work and I hope you do, too.

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    I  wonder if this craftsman wondered if people would notice the special care he used in making these chimneys.  I’m sure he thought no one outside the village would ever see them.  But now I can share them with people everywhere. How cool!

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  • 24Jul

    While city shopping may be fun, I love country shopping the best.  Here are our favorite signs!

    Hemslöjd means Hand Made Crafts and Öppet means Open.

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    Berit and Gunnar spent the day with us and we hit every shop we could!

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    By far my favorite was this one, Knäppasken, the basket maker.

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    This is  Björn.  He makes everything in the shop.

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    And there was a lot!

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    I really wanted a couple of big baskets, but how to get them home?  Luckily, Gunnar said he would mail them for me.

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    We found lots more places to shop that day.

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    It was another wonderful day in Anna Lena Land.

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  • 21Jul

    In the heart of Dalarna is Lake Siljan.  The lake is surrounded by many charming towns, but one of our favorites is Tällberg, so we decided to stay there on this trip.  We stayed at the Green Hotel.

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    This wonderful old hotel sits high on a hill, so the views of the lake are amazing.

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    There are lots of small buildings with guest rooms.

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    This was the door handle on one of the above buildings.

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    I love how the late evening sun makes everything glow.

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    When we walked into the lobby, we were struck by the key cubby behind the desk!

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    Every room key was attached to a little green Dala horse!

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    There were wonderful painted doors.

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    And corner cupboards to die for.  I need one of these in my cabin!

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    And, of course, the traditional Mora clock.

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    We were in the main building, which is made of logs.  Our room was most comfortable.  Check out the artwork above the bed–a very close close-up photo of a woman’s necklace!

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    We had an ultra-modern bathroom.

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    And a rustic deck with two chairs hanging on the wall.

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    And amazing views!  It was great to be in Anna Lena Land once again.

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  • 21Jul
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 5

    Yes, Poppy is leaving us…..

    But, I want you to know that we interviewed these people extensively and I know they will love Poppy just as much as we did.  Here’s her new owner, Tim, saying, “She’s mine!  She’s mine!”

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    Just like Poppy was my retirement dream, now she’s Tim’s retirement dream.  Can you tell how excited he is?  Several people stopped by after we made the deal, and he wanted everyone to know that Poppy had already found a new home.

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    So here’s Poppy with her new owners, Tim and Dorothy.  Don’t they all look happy!

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  • 20Jul

    Whenever my Grandma Kennedy spoke of her mother, Anna Lena, coming from Sweden, she always said she came from Dalarna–the prettiest part of Sweden.  I never hear “Dalarna” that it wasn’t followed by that phrase, “the prettiest part of Sweden.”  And I must tell you, she was absolutely right!

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    It’s the part of Sweden that is known for it’s red houses–the paint is a byproduct of the copper mining that has gone on there since Viking times.

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    It’s where they make the Dala horses.

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    Including this one–the world’s largest!

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    And where lupine grows abundantly wild along the roadsides.

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    It’s the place where people still wear their folk costumes for special occasions.

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    There are charming villages.

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    There are beautiful lakes.

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    Old fashioned customs live on.  Can you guess what it means when you have two trees like this placed in front of your door?

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    My Great-grandmother was right–it is the prettiest part of Sweden–and I love it here.

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  • 19Jul

    Sally and I didn’t have much time for shopping while we were in Stockholm, but we did manage a couple of stops, like the NK Department Store, where we found some fun things.

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    Our Airstream, Lola, needs dishes, and I thought there were some great things to choose from here!

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    I even got new flatware for her.

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    And a couple of serving trays.

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    But the real reason for this post is Sally’s obsession with the “take a number” thing that is everywhere in Sweden.

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    It doesn’t matter if you’re at a department store, bakery or bank, you take a number!

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    As she took out her camera to take a picture at the money exchange called Forex, I jokingly said, “You’re going to get us arrested.”  Sure enough, just as she snapped her shot, a very angry clerk shouted, “NO PHOTOS!”

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    Sally even “helped herself” to piles of the discarded numbers!

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    Personally, I don’t see the fascination with this that Sally does, but she sure had fun.  Number please!

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  • 18Jul

    The day after the wedding we got to explore the island of Dalarö a bit.

    We stayed at the wonderful old Hotel Dalarö Bellevue.

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    This was the view from our room.

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    If you looked right…..

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    We spent the day with Sven-Eric and Anna & Mats and Lina and wandered around the island.  Good tourist that I am, I had my camera around my neck!

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    I’m used to seeing the little red houses I so associate with Sweden, but not here!

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    Houses were every color.

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    And had charming gingerbread.

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    Even the garages had gingerbread.

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    There was lots of lush greenery everywhere.

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    The Golden Chain trees were at their peak–and they were so big!

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    The houses took advantage of the beautiful views.

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    Here’s the church, which is very popular for weddings.

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    And instead of a steeple, this church had a separate bell tower.

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    This sign summed it up–Paradise!

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    And one last photo op before we left.

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    Then it was back to Stockholm and a chance to see Ulrica and Carl’s new apartment.

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