Monday, April 18, 2016

Weekend 36

April 17 was Organic Day here in Denmark. It's the day when all of the cows on organic farms are let out of the barns for the first time in about five months. It's almost a holiday. All of the organic farms have the event on the same day, and people go to see the cows dance as they hit the open air.

We arrived a little early. There was a small pen of sheep, including two adult sheep and several small lambs. The staff took one out of the pen so we could get a closer look, which Svea thought was fantastic. She kept saying "hi, sheep!" over and over again.
 There was a sign on the pen; the sheep weren't just there for fun. You could sign up to order your lambs for later meals. We passed on that.

 Inside the barn, all the cows were lined up in neat rows eating lunch. The head of organic farming said that he's pretty sure the cows know what's up when all sorts of people arrive -they know it's the day they get to go outside.
 The kids all had a great time jumping on and off hay bales, and in these massive piles of dried grains.

 Svea's favourite part was just looking at the rows of cows. She was fascinated with them! Kept waving and saying "hi cows!"
 Jeff and the boys walked through to see all the new baby calves. The path through there was too narrow for the stroller, so Svea and I watched the big cows instead.

 This was about an 8-foot drop from the top of the hay to the pile below, though it got to be less and less far the more people jumped, since the hay piled up at the bottom. The boys had so much fun! Several of their friends from school were there too.

 Since it's an organic farm that provides a lot of the organic dairy products in this area, they were giving out milk and yogurt for snacks. Anders doesn't care for yogurt -though he did try it- and it was a bit tart for Torben. Svea and I really enjoyed it, though! Pear-banana is a common flavour of yogurt here, and I really enjoy it.
 Just before noon, the head of organic farming in Denmark spoke -the farm we were at was the one being promoted this year!- and talked about the importance of organic farms, and then they gave new boots to two farmers who are converting to organic farming in this area. At noon, they led the cows out. My pictures don't do the scene justice -I needed a much faster shutter speed! But it was fascinating!

The night before we went, Anders was in a bad mood about, well, just about everything, and I was trying to convince him how fun it would be to see the cows dance. He wasn't buying it. He said there was no way they could dance on two feet. I informed him that I was pretty sure they did the waltz, and then I hummed the Blue Danube and practiced a waltz in their room. He didn't believe that's what the cows would do, but he laughed in spite of himself and turned his bad mood around!

They didn't quite do the waltz. But they do hop and skip and run. I've never seen cows so happy!

 Even if they were just walking out to the grass, there was a lilt in their steps.
 Here, this one is just about to do a little hop. And the one just coming into the right side of the frame is thinking about it, too.

 They also got very excited about playing with the bales of hay in the middle of the field. Scratching their faces, or burying their faces in the sweet hay.

 A few decided that it was time for some head-butts. These two actually got their feet tangled in the microphone cord -the hay bales in the field were what the owners were sitting on to do the presentations- so that was interesting.

 Here's this one just starting to run. It's quite like skipping, really, when they run across the field.
 And this one decided to sing.
It was a really fun morning! Svea loved seeing all the cows, and the boys had fun watching them running around too.

The weather looked like it wasn't going to cooperate for this, and we'd heard stories about past years where the cows didn't really dance because of the rain and cold. so we were hopeful that the bad weather would hold off. It was beautiful! The sun was shining, and though it was a bit windy, it wasn't too cold to be outside. We got home and had some lunch, and then all the clothes went straight into the washing machine! There was so much dust from the kids jumping in the hay and grains!

Anders lost his third tooth this weekend. He was so proud! We thought for about three days that it was going to come out any minute, but it hung on for a long time. He still hasn't put it under his pillow, though. It's interesting to me that they aren't all that excited about doing that. Torben hung on to his for months before putting them under his pillow. And at home, Anders never did put his first two out for the tooth fairy. He wanted to save them until Grandma could see them, and then we couldn't find the baggie before we left to come here. So, he's hoping we will find them when we get home.
 After dinner and showers, it was fun to sit and relax on the couch with the kids. I love how much they like to sit together under a blanket and enjoy each other's company. I hope they all continue to be good friends as they grow up.

Dining Al Fresco

Last Monday, Jeff and the boys were outside riding bikes and scooters in the parking lot across the street, which is right next to Bolette's house. When they came back inside, Jeff mentioned that we'd been invited for dinner in a half hour. What fun! We were already planning to eat at home, because the folk school students were all on their trip to Scotland and there wasn't really a lot going on in the dining room this week anyway. The boys were very excited to have fruit salad for dinner, so we decided to bring that along. Quickly the boys helped me chop up all the fruit (without any cuts in our fingers like had happened last week when I was trying to demonstrate how to cut carefully and sliced by own finger open). It was a gorgeous day, and turned out to the be the first day for the season that they were going to eat outside!

There was a small table set up on the patio for the twins -hers and ours- and the adults and Svea were going to sit at the table inside the greenhouse. What a splendid idea! I'd never considered using half of a glass greenhouse as a protected area for a picnic table. It might be very hot some times in the summer, but you'd be able to eat out there even if it was raining! Maybe I don't need a screen porch at home, maybe just a greenhouse...but I digress. Svea thought the small table should be for her, and she kept carrying the chairs back and forth between there, the big table, and the playhouse. Their trampoline is quite far above the ground -over her head- so she couldn't jump on it with the bigger kids, so she amused herself in the playhouse instead.
 Here is Jeff making sure the food is all set for eating. We had quiche with potatoes and bacon and chives, and quiche with just bacon and chives. Quite delicious! Also green beans, carrots, and cucumbers and the fruit salad we'd brought along. It was a delightful time spent with friends.

Weekend 35

We took a short trip to one of the locks nearby this weekend. It was pretty amazing to see just how far the view goes from atop the hill when all the land and water is totally flat. There was a small summerhouse neighborhood on the side of the river that was created by the lock. They are such quaint little places. Quite close together, but you could tell that they all feel very cozy and relaxing.
Such a beautiful sailboat waiting for its next adventure!
 Even though it was only about a half-hour in the car, the boys were excited to get out and run once we arrived. The lock is there in the background, the bridge across it was for cars to continue. People could climb the steps and walk across a very narrow bridge just to the left of the watchtower.
 I thought I'd taken a better angle of all the summerhouses along the left side of the river, but it appears I did not. There were about thirty or so, maybe more. Two rows deep, so one was right on the river, and the other was back behind it, facing the opposite direction. A small stone path divided them. We walked down the path for a bit, to see if it went anywhere, but it was just the back doors of summerhouses.
 This series of signs explained the entire process of building the lock here. It took about 4 years, between 1911 and 1915. I'm not sure if we can read them or not! The text at the bottom in the grey boxes is in English, but it might be too small and out of focus.

 It was interesting that they told you not only how and why it was created, but how it works. It really is meant to inform people of how the systems work.
 Svea wasn't quite as excited about it as the boys were. But she enjoyed the warmth of her hat and blanket! It was pretty windy here.
 This is the view from on top of the structure. It just seems to go on forever!
 Anders had fun climbing the stairs to look from the top. They were quite steep and narrow, though, so we didn't take Svea up. Torben went up, and promptly came back down again.
 Anders and Jeff crossed the footbridge and came down the other side.

 From this side of the river, you can see the restaurant. Jeff took a picture with his phone, and got a message saying "here's the restaurant, why don't you tag it in your picture" so obviously the GPS works!
 After we crossed the river, we took a short walk down the road, just to see the scenery. The boys enjoy being out in nature, and it was a nice -albeit breezy- day for a walk.

 Quite a breezy day, in fact.
 Here's Anders on one side of the footbridge, with the entire public viewing area behind him, including the little suspended footbridge. It was very narrow, and swung when you walked across.

 It was a very nice and calm place to visit! I'd be interested to see what it is like when the weather is warmer and brighter, and people are staying in the summerhouses and eating in the restaurant. I imagine it's a bustling little place.
These pictures seem like Svea was talking a long walk in the woods, just as spring was starting to emerge. I hope we will still be able to get a picture of the boys and her together on this trail before the trees all start blooming. It seems sort of story-book magical.

 The lenses have long been lost from these heart-shape sunglasses, but that doesn't stop Svea from wanting to put them on everyone! Anders was slightly perturbed at this picture, but I think it's cute. Usually when she puts the glasses on me, they are upside down and crooked.