Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Soggy Walpurgis Night

image borrowed from Souls of Sweden on Tumblr
Hey, it's Walpurgis Eve; let's light a bonfire! Except, here in Minnesota, all the wood is wet, and so are the fire pits.

If I was really in tune with my northern European roots, I would have planned ahead, I suppose, and covered my wood pile to keep it dry for the occasion. 

Walpurgis Eve, or Walpurgis Night, is a festival celebrated on the eve of May Day with bonfires and community in Sweden (where it's an official holiday), Finland, Germany, Estonia, and other parts of northern Europe. It's considered the true beginning of spring, and many of those bonfires are fueled by the shrub trimmings and other debris of spring garden cleanup (according to How convenient.

Since Minnesota boasts a strong Swedish and German heritage, I'm a little surprised I hadn't heard of this holiday before. Perhaps those New England Protestants who preceded the Swedes here managed to suppress this particular remnant of paganism, which happens to fall exactly six months after Halloween.

Although the occasion is named for an eighth century German abbess, Saint Walpurga, whose feast day is May 1, it holds nothing in common with Christianity other than its name. 

But with more rain in the forecast and temperatures dipping into the 30s again tonight, I think I'll observe the occasion indoors. Perhaps I'll turn up the thermostat.

Monday, April 7, 2014

April Snow Showers and Flowers in the House

April 4, 2014 -- no kidding! There's a garden under there somewhere.
Just last week a long winter's worth of snow was nearly all gone, and then on Friday we got dumped on with six inches of the heavy wet white stuff! But today, as I was out riding my bike and wearing a cotton sweater and no gloves, I noticed that it's all gone, again. Isn't April just a barrel of fun, though?

So I'm delighted that another floriferous blog tour has rolled around courtesy of Flower Jane so I can look longingly at the lovely blossoms plucked from people's gardens, even as I bloomify my home's interior using my frequent excuse that I'm supporting a local independent business, while eyeing my patches of dirt for any sign of emerging life.

I've had this sweet little orchid since early February, when I brought it home from the co-op, and I'm so pleased that it's blossoms are so long lasting. I think it must like this cool spot on the buffet in a north window.

These daffodils, which I bought today, aren't really ready for their closeup yet, but I'm guessing they'll open up and look quite cheery and bright by the weekend, when we're supposed to get another round of slushy snow.

Tres (the big white-and-gray cat in the window) eyes the daffodils.
And orange tulips! What fun! I placed them in a heavy pitcher and set that in a big ceramic bowl, hoping that will be sufficient to keep my three bad kitties from knocking them over.

The daffodils in their little glass tumbler cut from a Carlsberg beer bottle I may need to move to a safer spot, though.

Bad kitty! (This is Phinney, about 9 months old.)