Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Reporting for duty from a new location!

Thank God out housemovingdays are practically over!
As far as we're concerned, this was the last time we packed our stuff and changed house. Personally, after about 15 times, I am fed up with the stress, chaos and hassle of such events and looking at our current place I know that only very serious reasons are going to get us out of here!
Anyway, as we are settling down, Mother Nature decided to give us a little preview of what we can expect over the next few months. we've had temperatures of -7 degrees, followed by about 8cm of snow (which has unfortunately started to melt already). But I'll treat you to some frosty morning-pictures first.
the view from our livingroomwindow/balcony



Here I am also treated with another small bonus in the form of a large birdpopulation. For instance I saw a large woodpecker in the large birch right in front of the kitchenwindow, some 3 meters away. I was also able to identify a male domherre (pyrrhula pyrrhula), a nötväcka (Sitta euroaea), blåmes (parus caeruleus), a talltitta (Parus montanus,) and a talgoxe (Parus major). All these were in the direct vicinity of the house and are very common birds, but I thought not bad for a "day's work".
So yesterday I rushed to get some feedingfacilities, which the previous owner left us, for our feathered friends ready. I put them all on our balcony, thus creating a catfree place. This way the birds can get used to those befor winter will hit us for real. It gives me the great opportunity to study them up close, with a distance of barely 1 meter from window to feeders. Our cats are more than fascinated!

While we moved in, I discovered some more nice surprises the previous owner left us. Besides a large outdoorkettle, 2 pairs of wooden ski's and 2 sparks, he also left me a knife with leather sheath and a sharpeningstone.
a spark
Here's a shot of those. No idea about make or something, but the knife handles nicely after some sharpening.

And what could be better after a day's work of unpacking than drinking some hot tea or coffee, reading a book on the couch and hearing the crackling wood in the fireplace....

 
And in the meantime my son, my oldest daughter and I have been officially accepted into the scoutgroup we attend. We all got our shirts and marks and the kids have taken their scouts vow, too.
That was the morning after we moved our belongings, so we were a bit knackered...
 
 
 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Saying goodbye.....

Today I went out again, but on my own this time. It was a real autumnday; grey, wet, windy, but not cold yet. I wanted to do one last round through the woods around here, cleaning up some things and visiting some of the regular places. First of all I went to my semi-permanent basecamp. I will not be using it anymore, so I tore it down and cleaned it up. I had to remove my "wardrobe", my "bed", the fireplace and woodpile. Now it's just an opening in the woods with a lot of sticks scattered around......Appearantly the bugs are getting desperate, now that winter is approaching. I was constantly fighting off ticks and deerkeds. Because of my regular tickchecks I managed to flick off 8 of them from my pants and I grabbed at least half a dozen keds from underneath the edge of my cap in my neck.
And if they weren't bothering me, I had to keep my eyes on the ground to see where I was putting my feet! The very generous amounts of rain we had lately turned the forestfloor into something resembling a very thick and very wet sponge. Fallen branches and mossy rocks, covered with leaves made the whole thing even more treacherous. My boots, socks and pants were soaking wet in no-time and at one point I decided to use a loggerstrail across the terrain, because the other option would be to find my way through at least breasthigh bracken and all the hidden surprises therein. That trail, however, was covered in treedebris and the tracks themselves were filled with kneedeep water. So keeping to the middle wasn't a walk in the park and on more than one occassion I nearly took a dive...literally. And I was actually enjoying myself! I really was.... There is something to a forest in this time of year and under conditions like today that gives the place that little something extra to make it even more special. The colours, the smell, the whole atmosphere..... I wasn't planning on doing anything perticular, not watching birds, not tracking, just being out on my own. Yet I found myself hearing birds and looking for them, seeing animalstracks and signs all over.... At one point I came across a small open patch next to the track, with tall grass, treesaplings and -seedlings and I stopped, because from a corner of my eyes I had seen movement...... There was a group of robins whizzing from tree to tree, I guess at least 10 of them. Maybe they are gathering to start their migration?
the track I took
 After a while I came across a hunters' stand/chair. You know, one of those small towers. I decided to take a breather here, to just sit there for a while and look around.
the view on one side....

and on the other.....

 
After I had walked through the woods and across that track I came onto the dirtroad, leading up to the lake we so often visited. I headed in that direction and after a while noticed that there was a sound that was starting to irritate me. It took me a few moments to realise what that sound was; it was me! And more specifically me feet and the pace in which they were moving. I was marching up the road as if I was in a hurry...... I tried to slow my pace, but that only worked once the road ended and turned into a foresttrack again.
 
After a while I reached the lake and I took a brake and looked around. There's just so much to see..... but I also noticed some things that I did not see. The waterbirds had all gone. No gulls, no loons, no swans.....
I enjoyed the autumnscenery; the colours of trees and grasses, the low clouds and fogs rolling in, listening to the wind and the water..... And as I stood there I couldn't help but think of all the good times my family and I had here over the last 6 years. Everytime we visited Sweden and my wife's parents, we visited this lake and I have been here alone on many walks too. I can still remember how my wife carried our youngest one on her belly here and how our other 2 tried to push over a large bolder, which looks as if it could tip over any time.... We spent many happy hours here, relaxing, letting go of the stresses of everyday life and creating memories together...... And now here I was again, but for the last time...... We probably will not be coming back any time soon.....


I started to walk along the shore of the lake, making my way to another landmark here. I came across a few surprises, like 2 very large cantharelmushrooms with their very saturated orangeyellow colour, an aokseedling with no oak for miles around.... How did it get here??
And right across the lake there was this large golden birchtree, surrounded by darkgreen spruce, making it look like it was alight...


 
As I reached the cabin I was heading to, it was about lunchtime and that suited me just fine. The weather had taken a turn for the worse. The wind had picked up, it had started to rain and this made the temperature seem a lot lower than it actually was. I was starting to get cold, allthough the thermometer on the cabin indicated a temperature of 8 degrees..... Nothing than a good hot cup of tea and some food to get you warm again!


 
After lunch there was something I had to do. There was this little voice in the back of my head, this strong feeling saying, that I had to give something back for all the things we received over the years and I knew exactly what that should be....
Just befor we moved here I bought this stone pendant in the shape of an axe and I had worn it since than. It is a fluorite-pendant, which is said to have certain healingpowers (yes, I do believe in the power of those socalled gemstones) and this stone had served its purpose with me. So after lunch I packed up and walked to the very place where my outdoorlife had begun. There I took off my necklace, removed all the manmade fittings, leaving nothing but the stone. Than, as a thank you-offering I left the stone there and said my thanks. Maybe I am being silly, maybe I am becoming a sentimental old fool or maybe I am even turning pagan, but this just had to be done.

After that I took my gear and headed home. Because of the winds I was regularly treated to what I call "golden snow" (not to be mistaken for yellow snow or golden shower!). This simply means that the winds blows of large amounts of the yellow birchleaves at once which whirl downwards, creating something like snowflakes in yellow.....


So today was a good day with a fair share of mixed emotions, but it was also a bit of a sad day and not just because of the weather. It felt like saying goodbye to a good friend.........