Sunday, September 2, 2012

OUT - a forest-related weekend out with the family

Wohow... I'm on a roll here!
My previous shortage of "greentime" is being made good and this weekend was an absolute high. The first event we had planned was the socalled "skogsdag", meaning woodsday. That is a manifestation of several companies, associations and other groups, which are related to the forest, like loggingcompanies, scoutgroups, protectionfoundations, government in various ways etc. For my oldest daughter and me this meant we went full circle, since this was the first event we went to together, when we moved here. How much has changed since than! Now we could talk to people, understand what they were saying and we met people we know. Afterwards we'd go up to the charcoalkiln together, again and spend the night there.

We were about to learn quit a few things on "familylogistics"....
There was plenty to see and learn. We paid special attention to the stand with all the fungi; edible, poisonous and even quit a few you can use to dye wool and clothes. We collected a large number of flyers on several subjects, so we can both practice the lamguage and learn something on a, for us, important subject. We got to special little books; one on treespecies here, so I can learn about them and learn what they're actually called and one on butterflyspecies in this area. A good way to spend extra time with the girls.
Riding a loggers' horse and cart. This baby showed us up close how a horse dumps a load, while working....
I'll spare you the details.

I also had the opportunity to learn about some things I was very keen on learning. We met a group of reenactors from the vikingera. They brought with them a horsebow and some flint and steel strikers. Because I have fysical limitations I can not use a longbow or related bows for a length of time. After shooting a few arrows, my shoulders stop playing ball. I had gotten some advise on trying a horsebow. They are much shorter and put much less strain on your body. Now I had the chance on trying that! And it worked wonderfully! I had the opportunity to shoot, feel the bow and especially NOT feel my shoulders afterwards. I also learned that there is an archeryclub in the town next to ours, about 8km away... Yes!! Guess what I'll be doing shortly!
They also had some flint and steel there and I had to opportunity to try those as well. The guy this belonged to explained to me how it worked, but only managed to knock of some splinters from his stone. After a few strikes I was able to get sparks and even some longer glowing ones, which would have been able to get some tinder going. He looked at me with a face that was clearly saying:"You did this befor, right?".... wrong..... I just read about it carefully.
My oldest daughter having a go with the bow

Another thing I learned about was making and collecting pinetar. I had the proces explained to me, they showed me what wood was best to use and how easy it actually was.... as long as you know what you're dong and take your time doing it.

All in all it was a very informative and pleasant day. A few hours very well spent!
Afterwards we headed to the kiln. I mentioned befor that here in Sweden on each and every possible occassion people grill saucages and hamburgers. I believe that spending a weekend outdoors requires more substantial food, so I brought my kettle and my wife had loaded up the ingredients for a decent outdoormeal. I did get quit a few surprised look at first.....
One of the teammembers we were about to relieve. He and his wife did stay for the rest of the night though, allthough they were relieved shortly after we arrived.

Yep... that's me cooking...

three pretty blondes on a row

The work continues around the clock. Every 2 hours the first few days, but now it was about every 3-4.

This picture explains exactly how the evening was....

Our "camp"... at 06:30 AM

yep... me cooking again..... Bacons & eggs this time.
Kids playing as they should; building shelters, climbing trees and running around in the woods.

Befor we left this morning, some work had to be done. The kiln had to be closed up completely, so it can smolder for the rest of the week. It has to be done by coming saturday, for than we will be opening it and spreading the charcoal to cool off. I'll get pretty black than......

Found this flying insect too! The three fingers are mine, so you can get an idea of its size!
All in all this was a weekend with every hour very well spent! Wonderfully relaxing; no tv's, radio's, cellphones or gameconsoles. Just being out there with wonderfull sunny weather during the day and a full moon in a clear sky at night, with the sounds of the wind in the treetops, the crackling of the fire and the laughter of the kids. Enjoying good company, good food, hot coffee and occassionally something a little stronger.....
We learned a lot, made quit a few new contacts, deepened the ones we have, were outside for the better part of 36 hours and above all had a very good time together as a family. And for all this I am very gratefull. Life can be so wonderfull in all its simplicity.....
Some short notes on a practical level;
We really need to work on our familylogistics. We forgot quit a few things and found out other things did not work as we had hoped.
My homemade bedroll, while keeping me warm, needs to be completely redesigned.......................
Our sleepingmats are to thin to be used on a rough forestfloor...........................................................
Our tents are simply to small for us and for our stuff in less than sunny and warm weather..............
Our cookingset needs to be finetuned and upgraded with a few little things.......................................
Plastic tents and dito sleepingbags make an awefull lot of noice in a silent, nightly forest..................
I need other footwear. Those high boots I wear prove to be a disadvantage on this kind of terrain......
Make sure your firstaidkit is up to standards! Kids + knives = a serious cut sooner or later.................


  1. Man, that's the way to spend a weekend!

    It may seem like you have a lot of things to figure out or work out now, but before long you'll have smoothly working systems for all that stuff. :)

    BTW, your Swedish must be pretty good these days, Ron. :)

  2. I have all winter to work on this, Matt. And it will be a constantly evolving process, because we evolve. But we do need to find some sort of routine, when going out together. That's for sure.

    And my Swedish? Well, that's coming along allright too, I guess. How's your Finnish?? ;-)

  3. Sure, of course it will evolve and such. I think it's great that you are always working to improve things like that.

    My Finnish is...well...I understand a good deal of basic stuff, but I need to actively speak more. The fact that I don't work in a Finnish-language environment and also speak English at home (so our son learns English as well as Finnish) doesn't help matters. But slowly, bit by bit, I am learning.

  4. Awesome Ron! That's great family time there. Yeah taking the whole family out is a totally different experience than by yourself. Good notes on your gear at the end of the trip. I don't think a trip goes by that you don't realize something to change or add, or leave home next time.

  5. This was some great outing, and hats off for what you do with your kids. The pics really make me wish I´d been there!