Tag Archives: julbock

Back in the Blogging Saddle

I was reminded yesterday, when I pointed my sister-in-law toward my blog to access my cherry chocolate cookie recipe, that it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I last posted anything, so, some bits and pieces from the last few months …

We finished the pool in mid-August and managed to find a few fair-weather days to enjoy it before it started to rain endlessly from late August right through the fall.

The Albacore – I’ve not made any progress since my last post about it and I have to confess that the wind has sort of gone out of my sails (pardon the bad pun) on that one. The past summer’s keelboat sailing is pulling me hard in that direction. The typical two-foot-itis that afflicts so many boaters is ten-foot-itis in my case! A 26-footer is now the dream! I’ll take the winter to decide how best to deal with the Albacore – I’m not sure whether to finish refurbishing prior to selling or list her as is in the spring.

Life got in the way of making more cider this year however I entered last year’s cider in the local small-town (Carp) fair, where it took second place! Then a few weeks ago I found our neighbours across the street pressing a truckload – a whopping 800 pounds – of apples in their driveway. Turns out they own the press and I’m welcome to use it, so I have cider plans a-plenty for next fall.

Winter’s settling in around here. We had freezing rain two days ago, topped with a dusting of snow, but I’ve still successfully managed to avoid wearing socks (hate them!) up to now. I rediscovered an old pair of Haflinger wool felt clogs in the closet just as it was getting too cold for sandals. OK, not the most fashionable thing, however, I have problem feet and those cork-bed clogs are amazingly comfortable! Even my lovely, wonderful Blundstone boots, which I’ve worn both outside and in every winter for the past six or so years, feel like crap after the clogs. I’m not happy at the prospect of parting with the clogs but don’t think I’ll have much choice for much longer – outside, at least …

So here we are at the end of November. The silly season is in full swing – that one where Christmas decorations, commercials and carols debut way too early and serve only to annoy me and most everyone else I know. Is there anyone who really enjoys this stuff in November? Do they really make people shop more, or earlier, than they would anyway? I have strong doubts (and even stronger ones about ‘the reason for the season’, but that’s for another post sometime).

I did buy something seasonal – another IKEA julbock! It’s a Yule goat made of straw, a traditional Swedish thing. I took one in to the office last year, where fun was had my many, endlessly stealing it over the days leading up to Winter Solstice. The rule was that anyone could successfully steal it if they weren’t caught before getting it back to their office. The lucky person who had possession of the goat at noon on December 21st got to keep it and take it home. Last year’s fun was open to about twenty-five people and this year that number has doubled so we’ll see what happens – the game is set to begin on December 1st.

Oh, another purchase – after years of wanting one, I finally bought a ceramic baking dish for making shortbread biscuits. I may use it to bake for my annual cookie exchange this Friday, though I’m leaning toward the chocolate cherry cupcake cookies – or maybe both?

There, I’m caught up again, in broad terms at least. Hopefully, I’ll do a better job of it in future posts. Cheers!

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A herd of Julbocken!

Flock of Bocken (OK, herd, but flock sounded better)

About a year ago, I read about these Scandinavian julbocken (the plural form of julbock) and immediately wanted one. Never having seen one here in Canada though, I didn’t think it would happen.

Then, a few days ago I walked into IKEA … and stumbled upon an entire crate of them – and, like most things IKEA, the price was right. I immediately bought two as they’ll make great Winter Solstice decorations. And yesterday I went back for more!

I’m only keeping two of them though; one, I picked up for someone at work and another will also be going to work with me but won’t be coming home again. You’ll just have to check back to hear why, which I’ll explain it sometime soon …

Anyway, here’s what they’re all about:

The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and northern European Yule traditions and is a customary decoration or gift in Scandinavian homes.

In Sweden it is known as a Julbock, in Norway, a Julebukk (Yule Buck) and in Finland, an Olkipukki (Straw Buck). They are made from braided straw and wheat ears and are bound with red ribbons.

The Yule Goat derives from the ancient Norse legend of Thor/Odin/Ukko, the God of Thunder, who rode across wintry skies in a chariot drawn by two goats.

In earlier times the Yule Goat was burned as a sacrifice to Thor. In more recent times, a popular prank was to place the Yule Goat in a neighbor’s house without them noticing; the family successfully pranked had to get rid of it in the same way. Nowadays the purely decorative Julbock/Olkipukki is often placed near gifts to protect them.

… and that’s all well and good but I just love the way they look! Especially all four of them together. Hmmm.