Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Year at Pieliekamais: A round-up of 2014

In honor of 2014, and some of the lessons that this past year has brought me, here's a Top 10 of 2014:
10. A tool you can use -
this year, Pieliekamais got a bit more user-friendly with the addition of the "search" function (you'll find it at the top of the page, below the Pieliekamais heading). Use it to search Pieliekamais for content. Thank you to my sister for the idea!

9. The most popular post at Pieliekamais continues to be
the oven-baked salmon. This salmon is one of my favorite dishes to make, and it comes out great every single time. I've recently experimented with lowering the oven temp to 175C and having the salmon fillets in for 20 minutes, and that also works out great.

8. One of the most fun recipes I've tried this year is
the "dirt and worm dessert." I experience a very happy sense of satisfaction when I look at this picture, because it cracks me up. Smiley.

7. The most ambitious project here at Pieliekamais this year has been
blogging for 31 days straight - joining The Nester's 31 Day Writing Challenge. My topic was 31 Days to More Abundance. In this post, which also contains all 31 parts of my series, I share the lessons learned, and a few surprises.

6. I'm the most pleased that I tried this recipe in 2014:

the nettle soup. I love that I can go to the woods close by and pick some nettles that moose and deer mamas and their calves (occasionally) trample on. Nettles in soup taste excellent, the leaves are meaty, like spinach. And there is no stinging.

5. Speaking of woods, I've been very happy that I could share some of
the goings on of the local forests. I learned from a friend that there are people in, for example, Paris, who miss being out in the woods and in nature. If I can bring you guys some fresh air from Sweden via Pieliekamais, that makes me very happy. I am so very grateful to have all this bounty almost on my doorstep.

4. What would the great outdoors be without animals -
here are some happy sheep. I wish for you, my reader, to connect with some being every day.

3. One of the best things in life is

moviesHere's a list of five very cozy ones, perfect for winter-, and most other, evenings.
Photo credit:

2. Pretty pictures - I was very pleased with how the photos for this carrot cake turned out:
And yes, I selected the flowers for my garden this year 90 percent based on how the flowers would photograph.

1. When in doubt, do dishes. Cooking is also almost always a good idea.
To you, my reader - thank you for being here this year! I hope you too are excited about a brand new year, a new leaf, a fresh start, a new beginning. Tomorrow morning, many things will be the same, but some things will be different. It is a new year.

For last year's Top 10 on Pieliekamais, head here (the post is in Latvian).

Also, for anyone who needs permission to change into pajamas and snuggle up on the sofa with a good DVD box - this is it. Happy New Year!

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais! See you next year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry and Bright

I am so happy to have woken this morning to minus 11 degrees Celsius, and
 an egg-yolk yellow sun rising. I love winter.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fourth Advent 2014: Eat

Updated with pictures of Mr.Wasp and a couple of closing paragraphs, on December 25, 2014:
Eat. Eat for energy, eat for nutrition, eat for grace under pressure. If you have only so much of a certain resource this Christmas, be it time, energy, or money, spend it to nourish yourself.
It is my intention to update this post with a picture of Mr.Wasp enjoying some honey (yes, he's still alive).
Here's an update on Mr.Wasp:
Can you tame a wasp? Maybe!
Mr.(or Ms.) Wasp woke up the other day and started buzzing around the place. I gave him some honey again (see the above two pictures) which he enjoyed for about a minute. Then he started buzzing around again.
He tried to knock himself against the window and he was buzzing so loudly that I cracked the window open to show him how cold it was out. The cold air made Mr.Wasp come to his senses and he promptly crawled in a warm space in the windowsill, right above a heater (radiators).
We repeated the "I'll show you how cold it is outside if you don't stop buzzing" one more time, and again, Mr.Wasp buzzed off to someplace warm (I'm guessing, because he got quiet and disappeared). This happened a week ago and I haven't sighted Mr.Wasp since. I checked the windowsill this morning, but he wasn't there. We'll see if Mr.Wasp buzzes out again at some point.
Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lupines in December

Frost and snow make everything so beautiful. I had never before noticed how
beautifully shaped the lupine plants are this time of year. If someone put this pattern, these shapes and lines on a wallpaper, I'd lust after it.

Happy to have found such beauty almost on my doorstep.

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Third Advent 2014: Air Pockets

Yesterday I finally insulated my flowerpots in the hope that maybe it was not too late, maybe I would indeed wake up one spring morning to
happy tulip faces on the balcony.
As I made many, many "air pockets" for my insulation project, I thought about trying to apply a similar principle to the sometimes ruthless pace of December.

A tiny pocket of "nothing", just some scrunched up old newspaper in a plastic bag. Working with what you have, as things are. And yet all these pockets put together, there is potential that they will create a warm, cozy, and safe place for my beautiful tulip bulbs this winter.

I'm tired, and that's OK. It is possible to create tiny pockets of rest, peace, air.

In conclusion, here's a neat story for you. I found a wasp among my gardening supplies yesterday. I was about to shove the wasp out of the way, when I realized that the insect's alive. The wasp must have crawled inside my makeshift insulation pack that I made back in October.

I put the poor bugger on top of a flower pot, and gave him (her?) some honey on a teaspoon. The wasp was barely crawling, but it's body was definitely moving, it was definitely alive. Then we went out to get a Christmas tree. When we got back, the wasp was gone. Really?

And whom do you think we found, angrily buzzing about the kitchen this morning? Yes, Mr.Wasp. I have no idea where he is now. I am a little touched that I apparently have this new pet. The wasp made me believe in my insulation project yesterday. I hope he finds some warm place to crawl into for the winter. I hope I get some of his resilience.

Last year on Third Advent I wrote about "last minute gifts" (in Latvian). I wish I could truly internalize the message of that post. I'm trying.

Happy Third Advent! I hope we can all revel in some pockets of air.

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Second Advent 2014: Ice Road Trucking

What happens when you get in a truck and drive North for two days straight?
Well, if it isn't Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, and Comet (what are you doing in front of that car, Comet?)!
For the record, both vehicles stood still until the deer decided to move off the road - no one was hurt. These photos were snapped on a wintry (albeit not an ice-) road in Northern Sweden, the E10, a few miles North of the Polar Circle, by M.S., a member of our extended Pieliekamais pack.
What am I thinking this second advent?
I'm thinking about how many roads there are in the world. They all lead somewhere to connect us. Enjoy the ride, and your fellow travelers this winter!

This time last year, we had a really interesting discussion in the comments (both in Latvian and in English) about prioritizing this time of the year. Sifting through the to-do list, is it hard work or should we look at it as a privilege (=I get to choose)? Here's that post (half Latvian, half English) and the comments.

Happy Second Advent!

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!