Sunday, August 14, 2011

A bucolic nature walk

JenniferIt's true that the 'summer feeling' has gone from the air now, but even so the weather can still be quite nice, so yesterday we went for a little walk in Hågadal, the nature reserve near our apartment. Hågadal is not really pristine wilderness, as it includes several more-or-less ancient human monuments, such bronze age burial mounds and a runestone. The valley is the bottom of what used to be an inland sea, which is not too hard to imagine, as you stand on the rocks at eastern edge and look down and out onto the cultivated fields and pastures and forest fragments. It is a very pleasant place to walk on a sunny day. And on this walk, we were treated to an unusual amount of animal life as well.

First, we checked on the goats that were in charge of keeping the lawn at the soldier house short this year; last spring's kids have quite grown up. We then walked down past the horse barns to the valley, where a small spring seeps up and provides a bit of habitat for water-loving plants and insects. There's a river at the bottom of the valley, the mighty Håga (well, perhaps it's more of a creek), and after you cross the river, you come to a pasture. Yesterday, the pasture featured sheep and a shepherd (see picture above), and three sheep dogs in various degrees of training. It's really fun to watch dogs herd sheep, and one of the dogs was quite good; another one, though, tended to get overexcited and would not always obey orders from the shepherd, which finally earned it an order to "Sit!!" followed by a stern lecture and some finger wagging from the shepherd.

On the way back up, we paused to admire the plant life and try to harvest some morning glory seeds to grow some on our balcony, but they're not ripe yet. While at the morning glory patch, we were passed by two young girls leading their ponies up the path, and then, following nonchelantly, their barn cat (who I know is Swedish because he avoided eye contact and looked away, startled, when I said hello to him). The last creatures we encountered on the way up were two Highland cows (or 'kyloe' if you're a purist) in a small forested pasture; they are the cutest, shaggiest bovine beasts I have ever seen. Honestly, they look like they are wearing big fake fur rugs or something. How I managed to miss seeing these rather large Chewbacca-like critters the first time we passed them, on the way down, remains unexplained.

Edit, several days later... Just in case anyone doubts the bucolic nature of Uppsala, I would like to add that this morning on the local traffic report, which usually concerns itself with train delays or car accidents near Stockholm, Uppsalabor were advised for several hours to be careful if driving towards Enköping this morning because of "risk of cows" (apparently some fences were down somewhere).


  1. What a great walk! I loooove all the animal spotting and the Highland cow does look quite wonderful. I still periodically think of that person walking her (singular) sheep. *sigh*

  2. I know, I do too. Wouldn't it be fun to have a pet sheep you could take for a walk?