Thursday, February 27, 2014

Traditions of Shrovetide

Shrovetide and its traditions. Due the Christian tradition people ate pancakes (and a holiday was also called a 'Pancake day') or special rich foods, salted meat and peas, or green pea soup and pastry. It was 'fatty' day before the fasting season of Lent. Some days one could see street processions, famous pancake race and fancy dresses. This year the Shrove Tuesday is on March 4th.
I've read the Marian's post 'Peter Bruegel' and I've found his painting 'The Fight between Carnival and Lent', 1559. I think it's interesting to examine people, every details, food, drinks, clothes, etc and to learn more about Shrove Tuesday traditions in 16th century.

click to enlarge

Orthodox Shrovetide is on Sunday March 2d this year. In Russia people often cooked pancakes during a week before Lent. The famous samovar was used for making tea. Mostly families have electric samovar now and they boil water for tea in samovar in Shrovetide week. If you wanted to boil water in any old samovar you would need burning coals to put in its center pipe.
Another old Russian traditions were a scarecrow burning, tobogganing and tug of war. Years ago it symbolized the end of winter, cold season and the start of spring, sunny and warm days.
I'd like to show you the painting 'Shrovetide time' by Leonid Solomatkin, 1867.

click to enlarge

I believe that the irony which both artists Bruegel and Solomatkin have depicted people celebrating Shrovetide brings these two paintings. How I did my scarecrow burning last year I wrote here

What do you think about these old traditions? Do you cook special food in Shrovetide?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

GBBD in February, 2014

The winter continues, raining and the snow melts in my garden. What is blooming in my garden? Nothing outside. 
But indoors in my cold room that I call my “Winter garden” I enjoy my plants in bloom. I had a new orchid as a birthday gift in January and this beauty is still flowering. It has many buds that open every week. Another little orchid lives one year in my cold room and started to flower in February. It has soft yellow-lime color flowers, lovely! My both orchids are phalaenopsis.
Two weeks ago I'd been to Garden center and found some dry Amaryllis bulbs dumped in a big box 'For sale'. I bought one Amaryllis and I think it was thankful me having now three sprouts with four flowers each! These days my “Sweet Lilian” Amaryllis decorates the 'winter garden'.
The Poinsettia that was purchased for Christmas in mid-December is growing too and some new red leaves appeared. I love it and don't want to throw it now, I think to bring poinsettia in my garden greenhouse in spring.

I do hope to show you some garden flowers in March, when first vernal sprouts are seen.
Bye for now, have a nice week!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Recollecting Summer in a Wintry Day

'Recollecting summer' I mean my new finished embroidery. 
During cold snowy months December and January I had been doing my favorite work in winter, it's the cross stitching. This is my new picture 'Portofino' (designer John Clayden). When I had seen this pattern I loved the sunny landscape, colorful houses, shining sea. It reminds me the Majorca island where I spent my vacations last summer.
Here it is:

January was cold and snowy. 
Now in February there is snowing almost every day. The garden and woods near my summer cottage are white and calm. I took some photos though my camera battery said it was dissatisfied with frosty weather.

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.

I think the poem 'Winter-Time' by Robert Louis Stevenson goes well to these photos, doesn't it?


The titmice and magpies are often visiting  my garden, they love my feeders.

What do you prefer doing in cold snowy or rainy day when is dark and frosty outside?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Strolling In the Nymphenburg Park

                 When I see landscape photos in your blogs or in magazines I always pay attention to the layout and shapes of the elements there. Although my garden is small, for me the shape of the lawn, flower beds or pond is important. I always try to take pictures when I visit any parks as well as many of my friends bloggers do to learn interesting ideas. In this post I want to tell about the unusual landscape park in Munich.
It was a rainy but warm day when I visited the Nymphenburg park in Munich last fall. Of course, the weather was not good for walks and even more so for taking pictures. Meanwhile the rain ended, and the sky a bit cleared.
I walked down the alley that connects the Botanical Garden and Nymphenburg park bypassing the main entrance at the Nymphenburg Palace. 

Along the canal alley, I went to a man-made square island. Must say that this square island was specifically created with the construction of the Nymphenburg Palace in the late 17th century. That time park had symmetrical garden sections, carefully designed parterre on the square island which was limited to channels from all four sides. Pavilions, castles, cottages were built, they were designed to entertain the court of Munich. A central axial channel had been traced to extensive forest near the park.

In 1800 the landscape of the Nymphenburg park was redesigned. Parterre was diminished, one more channel with paths on both sides, trimmed shrubs and trees, a fountain, a cascade appeared.
I climbed on the balcony of the Nymphenburg Palace to photograph the fountain and a beautiful view of the parterre and the main axial channel was opened.

Later it was decided to make an English style park, and elements like natural-looking hills, lakes, meadows, forests, streams, islands and elegant winding paths were added. When I came there I saw a large forest with glades and paths
extended up to the park fence.
An interesting contrast between two park parts: in the woods, luxury Nymphenburg baroque style park gives way to the seeming simplicity of the English style landscape.

The weather continued to be rainy and I went back to the Palace, passed through its foyer, came out and saw a large lake with flower beds in front of the Palace. 

Among the flowers a large flock of geese, ducks and swans rested before flying south. They feel at ease, tasting all growing flowers and were not afraid of visitors. 

I'm glad that this fun walk in the Nymphenburg park took place despite the autumn weather.