Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Continue Discussion on Violence on Television-Explicit

Last week I discussed in a post about my observation on violence in American television and has it crossed or pushed the acceptable taboo boundaries. You can read about it here. 

"Just look at the flowers."

I mentioned that I have only started watching the HBO series "Game of Thrones." I am still not impressed by the books. One reason is the constant focus on inappropriate sexual relationships between the characters. Two of the main characters, who are not only brother and sister but twin brother and sister,  have a rather passionate incest relationship resulting in several children.  Apparently, one of these children becomes the King. 

Another set of characters are extremely young girls who are married off shortly after "their first bleed." These two characters are about thirteen. Ewwww! 

Khal Drogo and his 13 year old wife~ from Game of Thrones

Last Sunday, the two Twin Siblings, Jaimie and Cersai, have a "scene." Through out the series the sex scenes are normally consensual. Apparently, this wasn't the case. Jaimie, this time, despite Cersai's objections and "No" rapes her. 

Jaimie and Queen Cersai~ from Game of Thrones

First of all, this particular scene is NOT in the book! The author of the book series has shared his disappointment. Second- what was the point of this particular scene? I am sure there could have been other ways of showing Jaimie's decent into depravity then raping his Sister. 

What ever the case or reason the writers of this series chose this direction it has brought up a flurry of discussion. My favorite one you can read here.   There are over 165,000,000 results on Google alone on this one topic. Including, the Director's break down of the scene and their justification of the re-write.

I have to ask, "What was the purpose?" 

Unlike, the Walking Dead episode where Carol kills Lizzie- see previous post-  whose scene provoked a lot of deep thinking on the human psyche- this rape scene on "Game of Thrones" was pointless. Jaimie right out rapes his Sister!

Not only was the "Game of Thrones" scene pointless but it also shows how the writers really think of women. I am including the author of the series as well. In a time where as a world and a nation women continue to struggle to be seen as a whole and to be respected; why on earth do we still continue to have "entertainment" that portrays women in such a weak position?

Ladies and Gentlemen- Rape is a Rape. There is no partial, maybes, okay eventually it became consensual Bull$8it! NO! Means NO! PERIOD!
This shouldn't be even a discussion! 

Shame on you writers! Shame on you for perpetuating a myth about rape, degradation of women and children. Shame Shame Shame!

Child Brides- Modern Day

Combating Human Trafficking -"Second"Conference. 
It should be the 100th or None at All.

Google: Human Trafficking--- Watch and weep

I am going to finish Book 2 of the book series and that will be it. I feel that if I buy any further books or even support the series I am encouraging this behavior of the writers. 

This is my personal belief. 

Bless Bless

Friday, April 25, 2014

So You Want to Own Chickens

"Viking Mom, did the Vikings raise and eat chickens?"

Originally, no the Vikings didn't eat chickens. Chickens were introduced to Britain by the Romans. Apparently, chickens originated in the Mediterranean and Asia and as the Roman Empire grew so did the spread of chickens. The Roman author, Columella wrote advice on how to breed and raise chickens. His writings identify: Tanagrian, Rhodic, Chalkidic and Median (commonly misidentified as Melian) breeds. It is most likely it was one of these breeds that the Vikings, like Ragnar, would have discovered in Britain. Check out the following links for traditional Viking meals. 

Vikings Foods
What did the Vikings Eat?
Viking Pets and Livestocks

On the Viking Homestead we do have a flock of chickens and two turkeys. Before deciding to purchase the original five chickens we did our homework. Before deciding to purchase your own cute fluffy chicks please do some homework.

My Advice:

1. Check and Double check your Homeowner Associations, Rental Agreement, County, and City regulations for owning chickens- We have lucked out that in the county we can have as many hens we want but only 1 rooster. In the city of San Diego they have only recently changed the rules where a homeowner can have up to 4 hens and 1 goat but no roosters. Of all the pets in the world chickens are the hardest to find new homes, especially if its a rooster!

2. Do your research on what kind of variety or breed you want- You will need to decide what the purpose of your chickens are going to be for you and your homestead. A discovery we made is the kind of environment you live in helps decide what breed is suitable for you. We live in the desert so a bird that has been bred for the snow most likely will not do well in the desert or visa versa. Check out BackYardChicken.com for an awesome resource. The library, feed stores, and book stores will have a plethora of books to chose from to aid you in your research. 
Certain breeds are also good layers, but bad brooders. Some are people friendly and some are a step down from a T-Rex. 
Roosters- this will depend on your local regulation. We are allowed roosters, or we call them "organic alarm clocks." We have had good luck with our roosters and we have had gentle and people friendly ones. This will also depend on the breed you get. 

3. Your Coop- Yes, you will need to build a coop. A coop design varies on the personality of each individual. Coop designs will depend on your climate and location.  Depending on your budget you can build a coop from $0-$1,000+. BackYardchicken.com has a link to "inspirations." Check out the local stores in the area for pre-made coops.  Now, keep in mind that you will have predators. Find out what kind of predators are in your location and you will want to build your coop with that in mind. We have coyotes, raccoon, eagles and hawks so our coop and nursery coop have been designed for that purpose. We just recently had a dog attack so we have had to also protect the chickens from dogs. This dog was also a family pet not a feral one. 

4. Purchasing your chicks. This will depend entirely on your and your comfort level. I have always had the "hee-bee-gee-bees" about purchasing chicks through the mail. It can be done and there are certified breeders that can be found. I prefer to go to the feed store and purchase them directly. That way you can examine them for health, color, and specific breeds. 

5. Food- This will be personal preference and will depend on the purpose of having chickens. Like the coops, you can spend from a $0-$100+ for chicken food. Our chickens are free ranged during the day. This means they have the run of the homestead during the day in which they can find all the grubs, seeds, bugs, small mice, snakes and critters they can catch and eat them. They will also eat and destroy about any living plant they can get a hold of in your yard. Perfect, for weed control- sucks if you are trying to maintain a garden. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. They will eat snakes, gophers, mice and small critters. Chickens are natural omnivore. They also eat kitchen scraps. As far as I know the only food item they are not allowed to eat is cat food, chocolate and salt. There is something in cat food that is toxic to chickens. 

6. Pet versus Food- This will be a personal choice. We do eat ours and we do eat the eggs. We do have two wonderful brooding mamas that sit on eggs for the 25 day incubation process. You will need a rooster to complete this process. This has allowed us to have several generation of chicks to be born on our homestead. We have not had the need to eat our hens but we do eat the excess roosters that have been born to us. One clutch yielded 5 roosters!
We have done our homework and Viking Dad actually learned to "dispatch" our "Chosen Ones" in a spiritual and kosher manner. No, the Viking Children have not been allowed to witness the process. ( I know! Not very Viking-esque. It's more of a modern 21st century decision and anxiety. This will be a personal and individual decision if you have children).  The Viking Kiddos are aware of it being done and they accept that the food on the table came from the Homestead. The Viking Kiddos take great delight having their "daily Easter Egg hunt" and its part of their chores. 

7. Something to keep in mind. Chickens are pretty easy to keep. They tend to be creatures of habit and self managing. However, they are also one of the hardest creatures to find a new home for if it doesn't work out. 

My most valuable resource has been BackYardChickens.com, the local feed store and one of my favorite garden shops. Back Yard Chickens have also started their own "Support Groups" so check out if one is local near you. Support groups help. Our flock has grown from 5 to 23 and two turkeys. 

Bless Bless

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's not Paleo! It's Viking!!! Skyr!

To our friends and family Viking Dad loves to tell the story on how I got hooked on Skyr while pregnant with Viking Monkey Boy. I couldn't get enough of it and it did ease my grumpy tummy. Especially, when it was cold. You can imagine how truly disappointed I was when I discovered that the United States didn't carry skyr, at least when I was pregnant with Viking Monkey Boy. In a hormonal, pregnancy craved brain I even tried to buy $300 worth of skyr and ship it to California. My Sister-in Law who lives in Husavik thought I had gone bonkers.  Viking Dad stepped in and said, "No." I eventually learned to make it for myself. This was before I found Siggi's Skyr at a local health food market-yeaaarrrrrsssss later. 

What is skyr?

Skyr looks like thick yogurt, and the taste is reminiscent of it. But skyr is not a yogurt, it's actually a type of fresh cheese. It is made with skim milk, so the fat content is very low, allowing it to be eaten with real cream and sugar. It is also an excellent source of calcium.

The Viking settlers brought it to Iceland and are believed to have brought the knowledge of skyr-making with them from Norway, and developed it further after settlement. Since that time, the knowledge of skyr-making has been lost in Scandinavia. Skyr is prominently found in Iceland now. It can be found frozen, with fruit, without fruit and traditional. 

Making it takes time, but it's well worth the effort. If you are comfortable making yogurt this should be easy too.

Skyr Recipe:  Translated from an Icelandic Farmstead Demonstration

This recipe makes 16-20 servings, but can be easily reduced. 

  • 10 Liters/2 Gallons of skimmed milk. Preferably raw organic grass fed cow's milk.
  • 8-9 drops or  1 1/2 tablets of rennet. I use the white cheese rennet.
  • 10 grams skyr = þéttir  (if not available, use 1 tblsp. live culture sour cream or buttermilk. OR use Siggi's Skyr- plain)

1. Heat the skim milk up to 86-90°C/186.8°-194° F, and cool slowly for about 2 hours, down to 39°C/102° F. I use a cheese thermometer to help gauge the temperature and stay accurate.  Stir the prepared þéttir with a little boiled milk and mix into the milk with the rennet (if you are using dry rennet, dissolve in a little water before adding. Enough to make a wet paste). 

2. Remove from burner and close the cooking pot and wrap in towels or a thick blanket. (DO NOT LEAVE THE POT ON THE STOVE AT THIS STAGE!)
The milk should curdle in about 5 hours. If it curdles in less than 4 ½ hours, the curds will be coarse, but if it curdles in more than 5 hours, the skyr will be so thick it will be difficult to strain. When the milk is curdled, cut into the curds with a knife. When you can make a cut which will not close immediately, then you can go on to the next stage.

3. Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth or a fine linen cloth and pour in the skyr. Tie the ends of the cloth together over the top and hang over a bucket or other container so the whey can drip off. If the skyr-making has been successful, there will be little whey, and it will not float over the curds, but will be visible along the edges of the sieve and in the cuts you made in the surface. You can judge the quality of the skyr from the appearance of the curds when you pour them into the sieve. If the skyr is good, it will crack and fall apart in pieces, but should neither be thin nor lumpy. Do not put a layer thicker than 7-9 cm. into the sieve. Keep the sieve in a well ventilated room, with a temperature no higher than 12°C/53°F and no lower than 0° C/32°F. The skyr should be ready in 12-24 hours.

4. The skyr should be firm and look dry when ready. The whey can be used as a drink, to pickle food, or as a replacement for white wine in cooking.

Serve it with fresh fruit, raw sugar, fresh cream, jam, or just plain. I also store my skyr in glass jars instead of plastic. It takes on a whole new flavor. 

For more fun check out this cool blog..Breakfast in Bed(Stuy) adventures of a curious foodie in Brooklyn and beyond!

Eat Well Be Healthy

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Has Television Violence Gone Beyond a Stated Taboo?

I have a confession to make. Viking Dad and I watch television after the Viking Kiddos go to bed. We have many favorite shows including the Walking Dead, Elementary, CSI-Las Vegas and Criminal Minds. We do have shows that we watch that are much lighter, like Big Bang Theory and SyFy's Face Off.  

I know- I know- I know---- not very "Waldorfy."

I have only started watching Game of Thrown. I wasn't too impressed with the books so I hadn't immediately jumped on the "band wagon" to watch the HBO show. Plus, boob, sex, blood, some dialogue, more flapping boobs, more sex with more blood and dialog didn't immediately appeal to me. I can go watch the History Channel's The Vikings for that kind of entertainment and learn some history, too. Over Spring Break I did re-read Game of Thrown Book 1 and I have started Book 2. 

Which brings me to my personal observations and comments. Now, if you are a Walking Dead fan and haven't watched this last Season-----SPOILER ALERT!! 


In light of the recent school shootings and tragedies the blame for this kind of violence is often directed at violent movies, games, music, books and television. This is still a hotly contested debate. 

What I am observing in the media is a crossing of a line from what is acceptable violence for entertainment and pushing a society taboo. 

Twenty-five years ago Tipper Gore and various mothers gathered together and created the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in which they asked the Senate to create a bill to force record companies to place warning labels on records, yes I am dating myself, that had violent and explicit lyrics and content. The turn out of musicians and artist to speak in front of the Senate Committee ran the spectrum. What caught many by surprise at the time was the folk singerJohn Denver walking in with punk glam rocker Dee Snider of Twisted Sisters. Sitting next to these polar opposite artists was Frank Zappa who had, at the time, a rather psychedelic performance style. Check out the photo gallery here.

Folk/Country singer John Denver

Twisted Sister's lead singer, Dee Snider

What finally come from this effort was a pared down version of the Parental Advisory labels and a clarified definition of the movie ratings. 

That was twenty-five years ago. The PMRC did create an open dialogue to discuss what would be considered acceptable violence and sex in entertainment that is used to this day. Many topics and images are still considered too taboo to show in entertainment. There are still Sensors in the entertainment industry that determine what is acceptable and what is not. In a recent article I discovered that television and movie writers are not allowed to show a murder in a bathroom, especially if a girl is being stabbed. The scene can lead up to it and the scene can be the aftermath of the murder. The real color of blood still can not be shown. Cannibalism is another taboo area as well in entertainment. The death of children is still a fragile and touchy area as well. 

The death of a child or children can be a fragile and touchy topic. It is even more startling when the child becomes a "monster."

~Spoiler Alert~

 In the case of the Walking Dead this season two little girls, Lizzie and Mika, have survived the initial apocalypse of zombies and even watched their father die. Actually, he was bitten by a zombie aka Walker, and Carol had to end his life or he would become a Walker.  The two girls have been adopted by another survivor named Carol. Carol, a once abused wife, who has lost her only child to the zombie apocalypse and has grown rather rigid and cold in her version of survival has decided to teach the girls how to survive. Initially, this doesn't seem to be a problem. Then the viewers start seeing Lizzie trying to make friends with the deadly Walkers. One bite from these Walkers and its instant death. In her mind they are "just sick" and need to be taken care of. She can't destroy a Walker. On the flip side her younger sister, Mika, sees that the Walkers are deadly, but struggles killing living things to survive; like a deer. This duality comes to a tragic conclusion when Lizzie is determine to show Carol and another survivor that the Walkers are "harmless" by killing her own sister. Carol comes to the gut wrenching conclusion that Lizzie can never be near living human beings or Walkers. In the real world she murdered her younger sister. In the harsh apocalypse world she presents a risk to everyone around her. 

The final scene is Carol making what she thinks is the best decision. She takes Lizzie out to a field of flowers and kills her. In a plush comfortable modern world Lizzie would be confined in a small "padded room." Its been shown that children who have gone to this extreme can not easily be assimilated back into the real world. 

A Child Soldier from Africa

Viking Dad commented (long winded sometimes) that rarely, if ever, do music and movies lead  society in a direction.  Instead, he says, that music and movies are the mirrors, and benchmarks of the state of the society.  Music and movies rise with the societies awareness like a wave.  They follow society.  The world becomes aware of an issue, then when the issue is already on everyone's TV News or magazine or newspaper, (dating himself isn't he), then the movies, dramas, and documentaries bring the issue to the front in full color.  Society can be looked back upon, and major changes identified dramatically in the content of Movies, Music, and TV.  But these media products are plucked from the breaking point of the wave, not from the starting driving surge.

This fact is clearly illustrated in the Walking Dead, The Hunger Games, and Taken. Recently, we watched Omega Man with Charleton Heston. It is based on the novel, I am Legend written by Richard Matheson. In the 1971, movie Omega Man the screen writers believed that vampire apocalypse would be too terrifying for the population. Instead, they used a mutant subculture called the "Family." The fear of the time was germ warfare which was a real threat. In 1971, China and Russia were in the midst of a boarder war in which they were using early biological weapons.  In the 2007, remake and renamed I am Legend, society readily accepted a vampire plague as a reasonable possibility. The vampire causing agent was genetically modified genes that were designed to cure cancer. This is the current fear. 

If one accepts our premise that US entertainment is a reflection of our current societal views then how disturbing that the child brides and massacres in Game of Thrown is acceptable entertainment. What is the box office income from the Hunger Games?

 Our society continues to push the boundaries of established taboos. 

Just my two cents....
Bless Bless.....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Break! Happy Easter Happy Eostre and Happy Spring

The Viking Homestead and Hus Drekka-lundr will be on Spring Break and a very well deserved vacation this week.

In the meantime enjoy a past post I posted on my other blog
House Drekka-lundr

Did the Vikings celebrate Easter or Eostre or Spring?
Check it out here. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Final Easter Dinner Menu- Gluten Free and Paleo!!

It is final. I have finally created a gluten free and paleo Easter Dinner!! 

Here it is:

Pineapple and Mustard Ham- see previous post

Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole- courtesy of Paleo Leap
Roasted Asparagus-  courtesy of Our Paleo Life aka Kendra. I may be visiting her sight more. She has some family friendly recipes.
Fresh Fruit Compote courtesy of our local CSA
Deviled Eggs- 

and for dessert----

Chocolate Cranberry Pie courtesy of Paleo Leap  
The only change I am going to make with this pie is I am going to use Lingonberries instead of Cranberries. 

Many Blessings from the Viking Homestead.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Viking Paleo Easter Ham-OMG! Yum!!!

I was searching high and low, through the fjords, over the mountains, down the road to Damascus and through wind, rain and sea to find the perfect Paleo Easter Ham. 

I discovered that we had our own right in our humble homestead. My husband WOW'd me several years ago with his baked ham. It is made with fresh pineapple, the juice, a touch of mustard and real whole cloves. My Grandmother informed me that day that if I didn't marry him, she would. It was that good. 

Let me share with you Viking Dad's  Viking Paleo Easter Ham


  • 1 whole fresh pineapple. Cored and sliced into rings. Save 1/2 cup of juice. 
  • 1 Tbs dry mustard
  • 1 4.5 lb butt end ham ( or ham cut of choice)
  • 1/4 cup whole cloves

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F degree.

2. Cut pineapple into rings. Save 1/2 cup of juice. This juice will become the glaze that will baste the ham. 

3. Whisk pineapple juice and dry mustard in a bowl until mixed thoroughly. 

4. Place ham in a roasting pan with cut side down and arrange pineapple rings onto ham; secure with cloves. Baste ham and fruit with pineapple juice. 

5. Bake in the pre-heated oven until "glaze" from the juice has baked into the ham, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Baste every 30 minutes. (If using a different size ham or cut follow the recommended cooking time instructions). 

6. Turn on the oven's broiler and brown the glaze for 5 minutes. 

Please enjoy the instruction video on how to core and slice a real pineapple. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What Are You Planning for Easter?

To be honest with you I haven't even started thinking about Easter. My planning tends to start about when the Viking Kiddos and I start Spring Break.  I have a whole week to play and have fun with the Viking Kiddos which also means Viking Mom needs to come up with an activity plan. 

So, here is what is kinda of sort of on the agenda next week. 

1. The famous hand dyed Easter Egg Extravaganza. This year I am sneaking in quail eggs to see what they do. We also use natural dyes for the eggs we do find from our beloved chickens that are white. 

2. Plant our Spring Garden! Its Time!!

3. Build an Easter Egg Tree. This is a new one for us this year. Apparently, you just string up pretty colored eggs on the lonely branches of a tree. This is Viking Lady Bug's idea.

4. Grow a tray of grass. We acutally started this a couple of weeks ago. It will be ready for our special lambs, birds, bunnies and other secret little friends. All these are child-made from felt.

5. Egg Shell Garden

Egg Shell Garden

Supplies Needed:
Eggshells (colored or plain)
Pieces of Sponge
Grass Seed

Place a piece of sponge inside of the broken eggshell. Add a small amount of water to the sponge to make it moist. Sprinkle grass seed on top of the sponge. Each day water the seed lightly. In approximately one week you should see the grass growing.

Happy Easter Everyone!!


Kind hearts are the gardens;
Kind thoughts are the roots;
Kind words are the blossoms;
Kind deeds are the fruits.
And sunbeams of love in these heart-gardens glow,
That put out the world's darkness, and make Easter
buds grow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

History Channel's "The Vikings" Is it accurate? Part I

"Viking Mom, is the new History channel show, The Vikings accurate?" 

We have been asked this question a lot since the History Channel moved their new hit series to Thursday night this season. 

Well first, let me share a bit of my credentials before I share the inaccuracies and accurateness of the show. Viking Dad and I are living historians in which we put on historical demonstrations to show how a particular time period lived. In our case its the Viking Age. The Viking Age is from 793-1066 A.D. During this time, the Vikings, also known as the Northman and the Norse created settlements in Norway, Sweden, South of Finland, Denmark, Greenland and Iceland. They also settled in Ireland, Faroe Islands, Normandy (courtesy of Charlemagne), Scotland (ever heard of the Clan McLeod?), Russia (The Rus!) and Anatolia. 

The Viking Family 

Our established persona, or story, is that Viking Dad is a Northman living in Iceland after serving fifteen years as part of the Varangian Guard. On his way home North after serving his time with the Varangian Guard he met me, his Saami, and we decided to leave with our household and live in Iceland. It was not uncommon for a Northman to travel with a Saami. To put on this kind of story one must study the historical records, the Sagas, the languages, archaeological papers, anthropological papers and finds. It does help to also have a background in anthropology in which I do. We do participate in the Society for Creative Anachronism but we have also branched out into other historical groups interested in telling an accurate history of the Vikings. I will also provide a list of common resource materials at the end of this post.

1. Who was Ragnar Lodbrok or Ragnarr Lothbrok, Ragnar "Hairy-Breeks", Ragnarr Loðbrók?

King Aella receving news from Ragnar's sons. 

Ragnar Lothbrok/Lodbrok is a prominent character and hero in 9th Century Norse History. He can be found in many of the sagas including his own "Rangnar's Saga" and the Anglo- Saxon Sagas. He is more legend, like Beowulf, then history. Like many legends, Rangnar is a combination of many warriors and possibly kings. He is the example of a great warrior, leader, and the proverbial boogy man. Rangnar was known as the "Scourge of Paris." He died in a snake pit by an English King, possibly the King Ælla of Northumbria. 

Like many colorful legends, Ragnar seeked for a better life and was known to be after the Danish (Juteland) throne. It is said that he held the throne for a short period of time. He was known for his raiding prowess into England and France. Some sagas say that he even went up against King Charlemagne. It is documented that is most notable raid was against Paris in 845 A.D. He spared the sacking of Paris for a heavy ransom of 7,000 pounds of silver. 

According to the sagas, including the Völsungasaga and the Gesta Danorum Ragnar was indeed married three times. He is linked to two famous shieldmaidens, Lathgertha in the Gesta Danorum, the Warrior Queen Aslaug in the Völsungasaga and the noblewoman Þóra Borgarhjǫrtr

The saga Ragnarssona þáttr tells that Björn was the son of the Danish/Scandinavian king Ragnar Lodbrok and Lagertha. It also tells that he had brothers named: HvitserkIvar the Boneless and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and the half-brothers Eric and Agnar.  Much of what is written about Ragnar are from the adventures and sagas of his sons. According to the television series, Ragnar fears that his son's would eclipse him in fame. Based on the sagas, they did achieve this foretelling. 

2. Were there Shield Maidens? 

I love the Viking Age. A time where women could pick up a sword and shield and kick some butt! Well, at least that is what the myth says we could do.

Much of what we know of the shield maidens is written in the sagas and by ancient historians. Archaeologically, there have not been any women graves found with weapons and shields. Some have been found with arrows and small axes but none of the "warrior" weapons. From a physical historical point of view there still is only circumstantial evidence that there were female warriors, or shield maidens. What we have are what is described in the sagas. 

Various sagas and Saxo Grammticus, the author of History of the Dane written in the 12th century, reference a number or women warriors. These include Sela, a woman warrior and accomplished pirate. Lathgertha, the wife of Ragnar. She is described as having the temper of a man in a woman's body. The sagas also tell that she bailed Ragnar out of trouble twice because she loved him fiercely despite his marriage to other women. There is something to be said about women's temper in the Viking Age. Hetha, Visna and Vebiorg fought in the great battle of Bravellir where Harrald the War-tooth lost his nephew Ring. Hetha survived and was given a portion of Denmark to rule. Leif Errickson's sister Freydis, while not named a "shield maiden" is said to have defended her homestead against raiders with only a sword, an axe and one boob exposed. Check out the Greenland Sagas Freyds was a force to be reckoned with back then. Freyds is the only grave ever found of these powerful women. 

Written in the Byzantine history is an account of a 971 A.D. battle in Bulgaria where the Varangians, Viking warriors hired to protect the Byzantine Emperor, suffered a rare defeat. It came as a great shock to the Victors to find armed women among the dead. 

Where there Shield Maidens? Yes and No. Where they like the ones in the television series? No. There are no physical evidence found, to date, to prove this fact. Did Lathgertha exsist? Yes. There were many powerful women in the sagas that may have not picked up a shield and sword, but defiantly could defend their home, their family and themselves. 

3. Did they really wear clothes like one would see in the television series The Vikings?

It needs to be made clear that the producer, Michael Hirst, who wrote the film "Elizabeth I" and HBO's "The Tudor's" also created " The Vikings."  Michael Hirst, while uses history for his stories, likes to sensationalize the elements of his stories. The Vikings series has received the same treatment as the Tudors and Elizabeth I. This is particularly noticeable in the costume designs. 

First of all. The Scandinavian countries are COLD!!! 

Clothing established status, wealth and location. The Scandinavian countries have harsh winters and clothing was designed for functionality and warmth. What we know about the garments the Norse men and women wore have been discovered in archaeological finds. The Norse loved colors. Clothing was made from wool predominately but linen, silk and leather were also used. Cloth was meticulously woven and very tightly woven. The burlap look seen in the series would have been worn by slaves, only. Cotton was a very rare item and very expensive. Wealth was expressed through jewelry and the quality of jewelry. 
Check out Hurstwic here.  and check out The Viking Answer Lady- What the Vikings Wore here. 

Ragnar and his family.


Viking Garb- 
The Norse wore layers of clothing to keep warm but also to show status. All were held together by brooches, pins, and belts. Hair was kept long and tidy. A married woman wore her hair in a cap and tide back and away from the face. 

The Viking series is not Michael Hirst's doctoral thesis. He wants to entertain us and that is fine. The movie has inspired and made an impact on press coverage of Viking Archaeology. A recent topic is the Viking navigational technology. How did they find their way to England, Ireland, Iceland and even North America? 

That is in the next chapter.....

Bless Bless

Resources:  A teaser!!!
The Viking Answer Lady 
Shield Maidens True or False
House Drekka-lundr: Bibliography

Friday, April 4, 2014

What does sustainability mean?

I found this post from April 2011--- eeeek gads! Have I bee blogging that long?

It seems relevant today as it did three years ago.

What does sustainable mean?

In the media recently the word "sustainable" has been used extensively. It is heard in phrases like "sustainable economy", "sustainable agriculture", "sustainable farming", sustainable forestry/logging", "sustainable energy", "sustainable environment" just list a few current phrases. But, what does this word actually mean?

According to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
1: to give support or relief 2: to supply with sustenance: NOURISH 3: Keep up, Prolong 4: to support the weight of: PROP; by hope 5: to support as true, legal or just 8: to support by adequate proof: confirm (like in a testimony) ~ sustainable (adj).
I went to one of my favorite sources Mother Earth News to find a clearer definition and how it relates to our current society in the 21st Century. Sustainability is viewed as a long term maintenance of well being, which has environmentaleconomic and social dimensions.

Now, that makes more sense...

When my Viking Husband and I decided to head down the path of "going off the grid" we made our decision based on several criteria. 
1. Food and Utility costs! We are a gluten free family and the cost of food is high! After looking at our power bill one summer we were aghast at the bill. Even with energy conservation items in the house the bill was out of the Universe.(Economics)
2. We wanted to provide organic and positive ethically raised foods for our children. We have all heard of the horrors of the factory farms (Environmental). 
3. As we journeyed down our path towards organic foods and going off the grid we discovered a community of people that had similar goals and like minds as to us. We found that living a similar and simpilar lifestyle, communing with nature, and sharing it with others of like minds we created an inner peace within our family. We also found that sometimes to change a global outlook one must also start at home. (Social Dimensions) Are we totally 110% sustainable. Of course not! Are we becoming more self reliant and creating a more sustainable lifestyle. You bet!

So, where do I start you wonder? I know that question! I asked it myself. My very patient Viking husband and I discussed the same question as I held a plastic bowl. I was trying to decide to toss it or reuse it. The cost can be very prohibitive if not budgeted.

Here's my advice where to start.
1. Start a garden. Choose food that you and your family like and will eat. As you become comfortable gardening start exploring how to build and maintain Victory Gardens. Then start freezing your foods. When you become brave enough... try canning. It is easy!It is really easy to convert to organic gardening as well. I have listed books on the Sustainable Subsistence page.
2. Recycle. I will admit! We are soda junkies in our family. But, every can we use is recycled. Find a local recycle center and find out what they will take in recycle materials. You will be surprised what is recyclable and you may make some money. Goodwell Industries will also take computers, T.Vs et al. Believe it or not with a bit of time management and organization we have reduced our waste to one can. I think Waste Management is confused with our home.
3. By your food locally. Check out Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in your local areas. Now, with CSA the produce you receive are seasonally grown. You may need to re-learn to cook, can, freeze or like produce you have never tried before. But, with CSA produce they are all organically, and locally grown by farms in your community. Many of the produce grown on these farms are also heirloom varieties with no weird genetic alterations. This aspect really appealed to me since I also do Historical Cooking Demos. Regarding meats, dairy and eggs. This can be a challenge and depending on your area may not be available. Some states it is illegal to purchase whole unpasteurized cow and/or goal milk. Except for the eggs my rule of thumb is to keep dairy and meats local. In my case in the state of California.
Of course all meats I purchase are locally, grass fed and organically raised.
4. Check out your local Farmer's Market. These are fun places to explore. It also satisfies the locally grown or provided produce/items. I once had home made gluten free pasta from a Farmer's Market that made a jar of Classico spaghetti sauce taste out of this world! Depending where the Farmer's Market are located they can provide just about everything one may need. In January, I read an article about a Woman who got so fed up with the grocery chains that she went on a boycott. She used her local Farmer's Market circuit and CSA for all her needs. She said that the first couple of months was rough, but after a year she said she would never go back to a grocery chain.

Try these steps first and see where your path leads.

Bless Bless

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Paleo Easter Meal Planning

I am on a quest. I am on a quest to find the perfect gluten free and Paleo Easter Meal that will honor my Grandmothers, stay in budget and be delicious. 

But, where do I look??

Here are the first of my finds- let me share with you as I journey down this road to Rome... I mean Easter.

  1. Happy Easter from Nom Nom Mom ( Love her!) Check her out here.
  2. Paleo Easter Menu from Paleo Leap ( Down to earth and real food). He even includes breakfast and lunch in his menu planning. Check him out here. 
  3. Preparing for a Paleo Easter by THE Paleo Mom. (She's family first and friendly). Check her out here.

My goal this weekend is to explore my various cookbooks to find family favorites and ideas. Then I will pull together a menu.

Any suggestions will be gladly accepted.

Bless Bless,
Viking Mom