söndag 29 juli 2018

Garden days

My partner has start working and the kids are gone with their other parents, so I'm home alone. It is nice but a bit lonely in the long run. I like use my time for different projects and hobbies, gardening is one of them.
On the south side of the house, the sun and the houses creates a warm spot for plants like tomatos, lemons, lavender, etc. I bought seeds of a chili called coffe this year. The plant looks nice with purple flowers and fruits black as sin, or coffe. But the heat is missing, I can use it raw in salads and people will beleive I have used tiny paprika. The purple flower is Ipomoea Purpurea (latin), I saw this growing wild in Greece and fell instantly in love with it.
I have a box on the south side were I intended to grow basil and cucumber. Well I got a pumpkin instead. If you lift the plate sized leafs and look underneath, you find the basil.   

Let's take a stroll to the backyard were my vegetable beds are.
Under the net curtain (Jill from Ikea) hides cabbage and cauliflowers. This is the only way to grow cauliflowers without larvaes.
Zucchini is my every year staple. I grow them from my own seeds. It has become expensive to buy seeds and the number of seeds in a package are reduced. So if you like to grow veggies like me, learn how to grow seeds as well. You can se some short corn plants to the left.

This is my bed of roots. But the one first in view , under the compost fence is salad, parsil and dill. I have a couple of deers living nearby who think this is a buffé of delicasies. The bed behind is beetroots. Swedish people love pickled beetroots. 
I also grow garlic, parsnips, challots and carrots. As we don't have any water restrictions, I water my vegetables shamelessely. But I save water from the tap and rinse water from the clothes wash for my plants.

The sad part of my garden.
The apple trees are bending towards the ground with so many apples, but they are falling because of the drought. I have cucumbers, borlotti beans and pumpkins in this part. I also have covered a part with a plastic cover, because lack of time in the beginning of summer.

The cucumber plants might look small but they produce nice pickle cucumbers. I made my first jar a couple of days ago. These are to die for. They are very popular among my friends.
Here's the recipe
In a sauce pan, bring following ingredients to boil.
150 ml of white vinegar (12 %)
500 ml water
500 ml sugar
50 ml salt
Rinse and slice the cucumbers (the kind for pickling) and put them in a clean jar. You can add dill flowers and mustard seeds if you like. Try to fill the jar as much you can.
Pour the boiling pickle juice over the cucumbers and seal the lid tight.
If it is air tight, the jar can be stored for at least a year.

I rarely take the time to rest. But sometimes I need to sit down and think for a while. An old rattan chair, that I got from my grand father is to rattly to use indoors, but fits perfect for short rests for me.

torsdag 26 juli 2018

Hot days

It is unbeliavable hot. We only had one rain shower in two months. We have huge forest fires going on both in my county and up north. Fortunately no deaths has occured. My thought goes to beautiful Greece and the loss of over 70 people in wild fires. I'm convinced that this is the cause of climate change. I try to save water, feed the birds and fill a pan with fresh water for insects and birds.
Running can only be done at sunset or in the morning. I'm so happy to have lovely surroundings, just outside our house. One of my tracks is a little more than 5 km and goes along the river.

I love this view.

The river runs just about 150 meters from home and after 9 years in this house, we dared to take a dip. The water is streaming and it is deep right here.

We have been avoiding this place because the children were a bit too young to go here alone.

We have been swimming here almost every day. Nothing can cool you off like a swim in the river.

tisdag 24 juli 2018

Cottage life June 13-15th

If your family have it's roots in Dalarna Sweden. You or someone in your family will likely have a "fäbod", a summerhouse. Our cottage belongs to Johan and his family. Small log cabins built in the 17th century have served as a summer home for cattle and mostly women for centuries. Because lack of pastures around the farms, these places in the forest served as houses for the people (women) who took care of the kettle and their milk. The kettle walked free in the forest but came back for the night and the safety at the stable.
Top photo, the cabin. Bottom left, the shed. Bottom right, the stable. 
After dinner and making the beds, we walked to the lake for a evening swim. 

 This flower bloomed everywere in the shallow water.

One evening we, me and the youngest boys walked up the mountain to check our spring. These natural springs are essential for forest farming. This is were we get our fresh water, it's mostly ok. If it has been raining or a moose have been there for a bath, the water from the tap turns muddy.
This summer has been extremely sunny, the temperature has been between 25-30 degrees Celsius, every day. So, during our stay at the cottage, we went to the beach every day for baths.

Our beach is over 1 km long and the sand is soft. This place is truly a hidden gem.

Last night at our stay in the cottage, I wanted to see the sunset badly. These photos are taken 12 o clock at night. Nordic summernights are magical, it is so hard to go to bed.
We lit a little fire on the wet sand. This was a risk, because there were warnings about fires and we have many forest fires going on. The day after the news banned fires completely. But as an excuse I can say that the fire is tiny and we were very cautious. We carefully put out the fire before we left.

The land on the left is Torsnäs, it's a Viking burial and ceremonial place.

This is how a relaxed and a well rested teacher looks like. Teachers work their butts of in the schoolyear, that is why our vacation is longer than everyone else. We deserve it!

I can say that during the week in Norway, I lost words several times and lost my focus a lot. 

söndag 22 juli 2018

There is no place like home, there is no place like home

Day 7 June 30th Leaving Norway
Leaving Lofoten and Vesterålen.
On the way back to Sweden we spotted amazing mountains with interesting geological textures.
Alfons says I have a fetish for mountains. Oh, I know I have.

 Happy to see the border to Sweden.
 And the soft mountains of Lapland. We stayed one night in Arjeplog in Lapland.
I bought some jewellery in Arjeplog from Sami designers. I bought the necklace in bone and wood at the hotel. The silver earrings (that already got some oxidation) was bought at the Silver museum. The museum tells the stores about how Swedish settlers lived and worked in Lapland but a great deal of the exhibition is about the Sami peapole, how they survived, their culture and their beautiful craftmanship and clothing. As many lived as nomads their clothes and their jewellery was of important economic value, apart from the reindeers.
If you are interested in the Sami people, I can highly recommend the movie Sami Blood. The story takes place in a quite modern time when young people of Sapmi was forced to learn everything in Swedish. The Sami people has been harrassed for a long time for their culture, religion and language. 
11 hours in a car in hot weather can be a challenge. We were so releived when we arrived home safe and sound 11 o'clock in the evening. The trip was an amazing experience and I'm so happy that my oldest wanted to join along with girlfriend. I can recommend you to seek those beautiful spots of the world to explore. Save your money, don't buy crap, and travel more.

onsdag 18 juli 2018

Reaching for the sky

Day 6, June 29th Another try to climb a mountain
Oskar wanted so badly to climb one of the tops so I bought a hiking map, hoping that it would be easier to find a way up a mountain. I decided a short car ride to Högfjellet and the top Durmålstuva 711 m above the ocean. Thought that it would be not a too hard climb. Johan and his son decided to go and visit a space center instead, so it was me and my kids only who took this challenge.
It was already in the afternoon when we started our hike. First and foremost, we didnt find a path. Maybe the red dotted line was only a suggestion for the best way?

We took many pauses, one reason because I was slow comparing to the young ones and one because the terrain was difficult.

Half way up and we are soaking wet. Mind you that the temperature is 9 degrees, but higher up the temperature drops to only a few degrees above freezing point.
The forests on the hills are so beautiful, there are lots of flowers  in the grass. We also stumbled upon several heaps of bear poo. I know how it looks but Alfons repeatedly said it wasnt a bear, like he was scared to meet one. Not likely because we were noisy. 
We discussed the best way up several times, the sight wasn't the best and with no path it wasn't easy.
When we finally reached above the tree line and only had 50 m of climbing to the first top, we took a rest and ate our sandwich. We had climbed for 3 hours, we were soaking wet and Johanna admitted that she had a fever.
While we sat there, a thick fog swept in and hid the view (the photo below is before that). We only had 30 meters of sight. We knew that we could find our way up and down anyway, but since Johanna was tired and the fog put us in risk, we decided after some afterthought to walk downwards. 
So, instead of reaching Durmålstuva at 711 m we almost reached Småtindan (little top) at 600 m. The higher top was completely covered by clouds, and to climb all the way, would be too dangerous.

Me and my sons on the photo below. Forgive me my stupid face, I was cold, soaking wet and had a adrenaline rush.
As you can see the land that we had to pass was water soaked, no shoes can stop this except rubber boots and they are not fit for this kind of hiking. Wool socks is the only way to keep you a little warm.

Another photo that gives you a hint of how hard this hike was. I became so proud of my sons, they showed me how good they are in team working, caring for each other and me and Johanna. We came toghether really well this day and I'm thankful for sharing this challenging experience with my children. I can be sure that they will handle any obstacles well.
Almost back on the gravel road. Can you see were the mountain dips a bit on the horizon? This is were we turned and walked back. Of course everything on a photo looks flat and like a walk in the park, I can tell you that it was steep, rocky, swamping wet and quite cold.
Alfons had so much energy left, he's hyper active. At 22 o clock in the evening Alfons wanted to take a dip in the sea. With a wet suit and clothes on, he manage to dip twice before rushing up from the cold water. 

lördag 14 juli 2018

A blue sky and Whales

Day 5 June 28th A day on the Atlantic ocean
Finnaly, we had a day with a little blue sky. The view from our windows is amazing. The eyes are continuosly drawn to the view and one just sits there and try to grasp the fact that places like this really exist. I don't have a photo of it, but when eating breakfast we saw a sea otter diving for clams.

We packed our car with rainboots and warm clothes and headed towards Andöya, but we didn't get far. Just after a couple of minutes driving, we urgently needed to stop to take photos.
The view over our neighbour-fjord, Hognfjorden is stunning. Simanestinden, Mortendalstinden, Middagstinden stands in a row. Every little mountain-top has a name here, and there are thousands of them.

Hognfjorden and Sörfjorden. The mountains are Durmålstinden, Middagstinden, Meraftatinden and Trolldalstinden. 

 So as the header says, our goal for the day was a whale safari. Andenes at Andöya is a sleepy little town that seems to live by whales and fishing.

There were quite a lot of houses for sale. For example this one. If  you are a fan of Hitchcock movies and loves the sea, this house is perfect. It is very picturesque with a  lot of patina and bird song, literally. :-D
We jumped in our winter wardrobe, rain boots and borrowed some kind of overall suit that made me feel like a stuffed snowman. It was only me and my sons on this event. The others were a bit worried over sea sicknes, deep water and so on. We travelled fast with RIB-boats out on the ocean. During the bumpy ride we saw flocks of puffin birds, diving in the sea. It was impossible to take photos of the birds so heres a photo from wikipedia.
Isn't it cute? I have always wanted to see one in real life, ever since I was a little child.
We waited for a wery long time, almost two hours before we found one. My boys are very impatient and it is hard to sit still and just wait.
Suddenly a small fountain is visible in the waves.
A sperm whale is sighted.

This whale is 16 meters long and the weight is 40 000 kg, a heavy dude. The sperm whale dives relatively deep and can stay under water for 2 hours, before it needs to reach the surface to breathe. After about 15 minutes of breathing it dives again.

I think it was wonderful to see the whale in it's natural habitat, and share this experience with my sons. 
We came home late that evening, again. But as you can see, it's never dark here. The photo of the bog, mountains and the sky is taken 22:41.
Let me offer you a fitting soundtrack of my photos.