Mar 13, 2011

"Two for the Snow!"

The main road through Eden as you approach our farm from the East.

If we thought it was cold in December,  
January was even worse!
It snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed.
In the week after Maxie and Kiki left for home the thermometer hit -37 degrees and hovered there for days on end.
It was such bitter weather.

Little did we know we were about to get a warm-up of a different kind.

This darling girl saw us on the web and wrote asking if she could come to the farm from mid-January until the end of February. 
 She was from Germany and had grown up on the Baltic Sea in a small village. More recently she had been studying in Berlin, Germany
 and  Zurich, Switzerland.  
 24 years old and a  fluent English speaker, she was close to finishing up her degree in International Business and had a six week break between internships.
We were so taken with her first letter which said in part:

"I would like to introduce myself to you and would like to offer my help.
 Most of my childhood years I lived in a small village surrounded by animals and trees.
Ever since I have moved away from my home village to a big city such as Berlin and Zurich, I miss the peace one can only feel by being outside in nature.
I don’t mind dirty, hard, work.
If I could work for you, all I am asking for is a place to sleep, free food, nice nature surroundings and friendly chats with you."

Oh you think she sounds nice?
We wrote back immediately to make all the arrangements
and picked her up a few weeks later at the train station in Långsele,
about an hour away from us.
And she was even better than we could have imagined.

She loved the animals and they loved her. And the part about "I don't mind dirty, hard work"?  She certainly didn't.  She pulled her weight and more in the barn morning and night.
Her name was Laura Hase...and we loved her instantly!

But our blessings were about to increase again!

Just a little while before Laura was scheduled to arrive we got a thrilling
 e-mail from our 24 year old daughter Elli, in Utah.
With a break in her work schedule, she planned a trip across the Atlantic to come to the farm for some "quality time". 
It meant they would both be here together.

And these two were a force to be reckoned with...

They worked inside cleaning out and filling up the wood cavity in the basement of the main house.  They scaled new heights as they worked on the tractor garage ceiling - filling, taping, masking, and painting.

They worked outside moving the new cheese-waxing machine "under roof" so it would be out of the elements, and they worked in the threshing barn getting the straw ready for chopping.

 While Laura burned off the calories shoveling the never-ending snow, Elli flexed her muscles loading the woodbox for the pannrum furnace.
Between them they put the Energizer Battery Bunny to shame.
They gave us so much help and so many laughs.

And on the fun side.....

 they shopped it up in Örnsköldsvik,

they went cross-country skiing in Junsele,

 Gustav borrowed some equipment from a friend and taught Laura how to snowboard, (she learned it so fast!) and Laura made Gustav breakfast after breakfast after breakfast of her fabulous omelets.  Both were delighted.

When Elli wasn't involved in father/daughter projects with Pappa or out on the slopes, or in the barn working with Gustav and Laura,
  she was in the kitchen whipping up her famous kanelbullar (cinnamon buns), made extra-delicious with a hefty helping of mandelmassa (shredded almond paste) inside. 
They were melt-in-your-mouth goodness!

The days were so happy with the two girls here, 
we all loved it.

By the time they had to go - Elli first, to visit friends in other parts of Scandinavia before returning to Utah, and Laura next, to start her internship in Växjö -
it was the end of February.

The day Laura left I was on the bus trying not to be too emotional when I was saying "good-bye", and it started to pull away!
I had to call to the driver to stop  so I could hurry and jump off.

Maybe that was just as well... 
 I felt so much gratitude for all they had done on the farm and for the happy spirit that they brought to our home during the weeks they were with us.
Elli and Pappa had the quality time together they both longed for.
Laura will always be a part of our hearts and our home and our family, and we hope she will come to us again soon and always keep in touch.

They were a "Terrific Twosome" and they brightened our winter days!

For this post only we are adding a food and non-food pictorial trailer, complete with captions/quotes,  from the six-week-stay...

"Gustav..would you mind if we put blueberries in the oatmeal this morning?  We used to eat it that way when I was an aupair on the East Coast."  (It was REALLY blue, but we all loved it, especially with lingonsylt.)

Laura's first ever try at a custard and fruit flan.  It turned out to be absolutely beautiful and tasted creamy and so fresh and fruity.  We were impressed with her "go for it" approach.

On the left one of Laura's favorite dinners from her home in Germany - boiled eggs and potatoes in a creamy mustard sauce.  It was absolutely heavenly and we thought it must be the German answer to comfort food. On the right a braised, stuffed red pepper with meat filling and boiled potatoes like her father used to make.  Also so tasty and satisfying.

Gustav in two snow-filled when he was snowboarding and one beside the snowmobile.
Elli on the left carrying boards that a gymnast would have a hard time balancing, but she is the Co-ordination Queen.  On the right, balls of fabric strips cut from old clothing, ready for the weaving loom. You can see Elli and Laura in one of the pictures in the post above working on the cutting in the kitchen.  This was a project we had wanted to get started for years and years, and they made a great dent in it.

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