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