Wednesday, February 13, 2013


You might have noticed an absence in outdoorposts here lately, but today I went for a walk  and my wife accompanied me. We both haven't been feeling to well lately and I think we have been glanced by the fluepidemic that is rushing over the country. We were effected enough to be out of business for a few days, but not severely enough to actually call it a real flu. So I figured some fresh air might do us some good. In hindsight it was good we went out for an hour or two, but that was about the limit. I felt re-energised mentally, but we were exhausted fysically. It wasn't all that cold, about -5, but out in the open there was a stiff breeze and the fresh snow was 20-30cm deep and powdery.
Quit at the beginning of our little walk, we found something odd hanging on the fence of one of our neighbour's gardens. It was a mink, curled up and frozen solid, yet it did not show any sign of injury. Why they had propped up the animal in the way they did I do not know, but since someone else obviously found it first, it wasn't ours to claim. Felt a bit special, though... seeing such an animal up close, while wearing the fur of one of its relatives around my neck.
It was a beautiful animal, which almost seemed to be smiling. Hard to imagine they're such fierce predators. Good for keeping the mousepopulation in check, not so good for the chickenkeepingplans I have for the future....

My wife being tactical.....

But my smock kept me out of the wind and thus comfortably warm. With just a t-shirt and wool sweater underneath  was neither cold nor sweaty. I already love this thing!

This country has its way of making you feel small and showing you your place...

I wonder what a skilled woodcarver could do with this;

I realised that, apart from winter and the increase in outdoorwork around the house, the main reason for me not going out much these last few months, is that I am feeling lonely and being alone in this very silent and sometimes overpowering winterlandscape magnifies that to an even more unpleasant level. I guess it is a phase many immigrants have to go through after leaving family, friends, job, language and known social structures behind, befor entering a new world. A world where people don't understand you and, more importantly, you don't understand them. Even after a while, when you start to learn the language it will not be enough for a casual social talk. Socially relaxing endevours are even more inhibited by different social habits. Making friends and meeting people with similar interests is very hard, so a strong feeling of isolation is with one each and every day.
Reading Dick Proenekke's One man's wilderness again, made me realise I could never do what he did; leave civilisation and society behind and live in solitude. When I left Holland I was more than happy to leave behind the pressure, noice and humans.... Now I find myself longing for some likeminded companionship and an occassional easy chat. There is a bright side to that, too. I have not developped such a strong disliking of human companionship as I at first thought and it shows I want to resocialise...
I have also come to develop a whole new understanding and respect for immigrants and refugees. The emotional strains and pressure they face are tremendous and it takes a lot of energy, willpower and determination to overcome that.

I did have some pleasant surprises, too.
As I was bringing up wood to the hopuse, a bright, arrowshape bird dashed overhead, across the garden, coming from one of the trees. Wings swept back, quit small body and fast. That is all I saw of it, so now I am trying to figure out what it might have been. There are 2 candidates; the first being the pilgimsfalk and the stenfalk, although previous one should not be living in this area, but much more northerly, according to my sources. The latter might, but that too would be a bit to far south.The colours and shape did match the pilgrimsfalk perfectly though. The foodsource, small birds, is plentyfull around here too, but that goes for candidate nr.2 as well. Any other possibility should have left the country in autumn......
Which ever one it was, I was quit excited to meet one here, so close by!

Pilgrimsfalk (Falco peregrinus)
Stenfalk (Falco columbarius)
The other surprise was brought to me by mail. Through the I was informed that someone in the US managed to get hold of a number of copies of the snow walker's companion written by the Conover's. I have had this book high on my wishlist for quit some time, so I cheched out this guy's homepage. You can still find this book accassionally, but the prices asked are more than ridiculous! This guy was selling them at reasonable prices, but I was put off by the high costs, mainly because of the postage, which showed up after I filled in my address. So I never completed the order nor did I pay anything. Yet yesterday there was a delivery from the US, which did not make sense to me. I opened the parcel and......

I was baffled and thrilled! But also a bit worried. After all I did not order anything, so I sent the sender an email and am awaiting an answer. Meanwhile I am enjoying it!!! I can now understand why it is so highly sought after! Look forward to a review soon.


  1. So yourer affected by the flue epidemic on your side of the border to. It is the same here.
    Better times will come Ron, just hang in there.

    1. I have no other options now, do I?

  2. While we aren't exactly sick with the flu, I think it's coming. Everyone seems tired and run-down here.

    I know exactly what you mean about being an immigrant, finding people you can communicate with etc. It can be tough. Just keep persevering, networking with local people etc. You'll build up a group of friends. I'm lucky these days because we live in southern Finland, and a good number of the online-active bushcrafters are not terribly far away from here. Have you looked for local groups and clubs?

  3. Sure, that's why I have become a scoutleader, but here too languagebarriers interfere with an active participation..... among other things. Swedes are a special kind of people....

    1. Hmmm, maybe Swedes are "special" in the same way Finns are special...