Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I may not roam the forests that much, but that doesn't mean I'm not busy with outdoorthings!
First of all I cured out my illness without the help of medication, antibiotics or any other medical assistance. Just putting my body and it's homedefences to work, assisted by Reiki-energy. What can I say, it worked. It takes a while, but it still is less then recovering from antibiotics. These wreak havoc on my body!

Spring has, once again, proven to be quit a busy time!
The first load of next winter's wood has been stored, about 5-6m³, but befor I can store more I'll have to build a place to store it in! There's 20 tons of gravel lying in the frontyard, waiting to be transferred onto our parkingarea, so the quagmire there will one day resemble something like a actual parkingarea (and I don't even have a wheelcart, yet!). But even the delivery of this load wasn't quit without challenges. The first steps in our foodgarden have been made too. We have (re)planted a good handfull of berrybushes and a couple of rhubarbplants and I found out we do not have the easiest soil to work with. It is almost claylike and it contains a lot of rocks and stones. We have to rethink the rest of our garden if we do not want to ruin our bodies. This means we will have to take gardening to a higher level literally; raised flowerbeds.
Nature is growing full force now and I have never seen grass grow so fast!! It has grown at least 30-35cm and when you do not have the tools to mow it (yet) it is almost terrifying! The nettles and other plants are even faster! I barely recognise our place anymore, so lush and green! But there is another, equially important feature in our little garden of eden; the smell. First the Hägg (Prunus padus) bloomed, filling the air with a sweet and soothing smell and a week later the lilies of the valley or liljekonvalj in Swedish  (Convallaria majalis) added their refreshing sweet scent to it. The wooded area here is carpeted with them! When the wind sweeps through the trees, making the birchleaves russle and you inhale this odourmix, it fills you with joy and leaves you with a relaxed, blissfull feeling. I really wish I could share that with you here, but elas.....

Another absolute spring highlight for me is this; ferns unfolding their leaves....
I have a huge softspot for these plants. They're one of my favorites.

I took care of one of the most important features in a garden for me; a fireplace. I used whatever I could find  in the garden to build it, stones, wooden planks from the old compostbin, pieces of treetrunk (an Asp (Populus tremula). I even reused the old steel nails. The treestump had to be debarked first and then fitted into place between the rocks. Later I found out that these strips of bark, once dried out a bit, burn quit well and give of a pleasant odour, when burning. Flying insects do not like that.

Why is this place so important?? For us it is a central place in the garden, where we gather as a family and socialise or sit alone and let our minds wander... What better way to relax, sitting next to a fire, maybe brew some coffee or tea, talk a little or just sit there quietly.

Apart from being active outside, I had a nerv wracking few days last week too. I was invited for an all-afternoonsession of jobinterviews! Meaning having jobinterviews, groupdiscussion, even a bit of roleplaying and all of it is Swedish.... If the nerves didn't kill me befor the interviews, the exhaustion afterwards did. But I did well! I think I really did, so now all I have to do, is wait for the results, which should come in within 3 weeks. 

Afterwards, when I drove home, I past a secondhandshop and I just had to stop. My mind was still so full I had trouble focussing on the wet road in the drizzling rain on the 35km trip home and I had to take a break. Conveniently this stop was about halfway. And what can I say.... I got rewarded for it. I found something I have been looking for for quit some time now; a pair of all leather boots, local style. The ones with the upturned tips, known as näbbstövlar, meaning "beakboots".
These were comfortably within the affordable pricerange (read dirtcheap!), so no more stomping around in heavy military boots for me! They are in very good shape, next to new Finnish lapikas (or so it says on the label).

By the time I came home, I was greeted by an overexcited daughter, who came storming in. No because i was home... No, because my son had caught a fish! Sven had gone out to the lake with his fishingrod, without any kind of knowledge or experience, except for the very basic ones, and now he had been succesfull!! My wife dashed off with the camera and I trudged after, exhausted and with a heavy, stressinduced headache. When I reached the lake, saw the ecxitement and pride on his face, that was forgotten! This episode has a quit a bit more to it, so I'll dedicate a separate post to that later.

Going back to the subject of garden and plants; my wife and I have learned another lesson; the profound impact of upbringing on the rest of our adult lives!
We noticed it, when Sven caught his fish. He had no hesitation handling the fish, cutting off its head or cleaning it. It was a natural and normal thing to him and we wondered why. The answer was as simple as it was enlightening. We had NOT told him it was NOT!
Why is that so important? Simple, all around us there's food growing. Nettles, dandelions, kirskål, (also known as skvallerkål or kers (Aegopodium podagraria)) even the budding twigs of spruce and these are just the plants that I know of. Yet there is a significant hesitation to collect and consume these plants. The reason has become painfully obvious. All my life I have been taught that these are weeds, not food and should be dealt with as soon as possible. You do not eat anything that just grows out there! You could get seriously ill!! Even though I now know this to be nonsense, there is this mental hurdle that is hard to tackle....... I have to re-raise myself the same way we are raising our own children.
Is there nothing I do with the plants? Ah, but yes. Off course! I have started to collect a number of them to be used in another way; dyeing of fabric! I still have that snowsmock that I want to dye, but I haven't figured out in what colour, yet. So I collected nettels and grass for green, goldenrodshoots for brown, dandelionroots for brown too, Allthough other sources claim it will give red. I was thinking about using the lilies for gree too, but since these plants are very poisonous, the dyebath created from them will be toxic. So I'll skip that. 
I'll get back to this subject in a later post as well.

And as an icing on the cake I want to tell about an event we visited last sunday; the medieval fair in Leksand.

What can I say about it..... It was sunday, wonderfully sunny, temperatures around 20, so..... crowded!
But what an absolutely wonderfull daytrip it was! We have been to a number of similar fairs in Holland with castles, knights in shining armour, fully equipped footsoldiers, canons, the whole circus. Did we expect that here too? No not really, since the middleages here were different from mainland Europe. We also knew that Swedish fairs and markets are not as elaborate as Dutch ones, but afterwards I can say that many a Dutch fair could learn a thing or two from this one!
There were knights, but not in fullplated, shining armour, which makes sence, considering Swedish wintercircumstances. They mix badly with metal and human skin. The knights here wore more wool and leather. The focus of the fair lay with crafts! And that what I was looking and hoping for. The kids had their knights, horses and a few orcs to interact with, the Mss. could feast her eyes on a lot of jewelry, both medieval and gothic/fantasybased and I saw lots of leather, woodworking and even hidepreparation and flinktknapping!
A visual impression;
There were a number of blacksmiths present and I am amazed with what they made, given their tools. I had hoped to be able to find a strikersteel to go with my flint, but did not find any. There weren't that many usable items anyway. Apart from a few vikingcloakpins and some cutlerysets, the vast majority was focussed on decorational items or items for indoor use, like candleholders and such.

I really loved this ingenious, yet basic lathe. A footpedal connected to an axle in the middle and going up to the tops of the sticks. The man treaded down, making the axle spin and the sticks on the sides pulled to rope back up again, causing the axle to spin in the other direction. Treading down again etc.... cutting the wood with each downward tread.

This women was working a beaverpelt, flesh and membrane still attached! It was hard work, but this pelt would make a fantastic hat or mittens! Other women had other skins and pelts in various stages of working. You can see and feel those if you wanted to, but most bystanders commented with an "eeewww"-like respons....

At the end of the day I found this guy, tucked away between other, larger stand. You can see his entire stand in this picture. Unfortunately I could not spend much time there. Those who have spend a day with kids on a fair in warm weather know why. He had a lot of beautifully knapped blades, arrowheads and other objects and as he was talking to another bystander, he showed how he did it in an almost casual way.

"You take this piece of stone and a piece of antler and then *peck* you knock a piece of....."

As said there were many stands selling leatheritems, ranging from necklacestrands, to pouches, boots, shoes, underarourgarments... the whole range. Some were basic and simple, some were..... a bit more elaborate! 
But there was one item that stole my heart!!!

There were also numerous stands selling woolitems, such as medieval clothing, garments, sheepskin and even backpacks. Unfortunately these stands tended to be quit crowded.....
All in all I was very pleasantly surprised with this fair. For me the sheer volume of craftsmanship and the high standard of it, was very welcome. In size it was a quit large fair with dozens of stands and people in appropriate clothing. But one of the things that surprised me most, was the level of  thinking that had gone into it all. There were a good number of foodstands, all with more or less appropriate food, prepared in a non-modernfashion, meaning open fire. The food we had was certainly good! The only downside was the lack of possibilities to acquire drinks, which on a warm, sunny day like this, would have made a lot of difference. I also noted the absence of certain things we often ran into on similar fairs; modern conveniences. meaning no stands with modern types of food or beverages, no electrically powered icecreamstands (there was one, keeping its cream cooled with iceblocks!) and next to no plastics to be seen anywhere! There was one stand selling some plastic weapons, but even these had a sort of wooden look to them. Even the cutlery you got on the foodstands was cardboard for cups and plates and wood for knives and forks!!!
And there was no litter to be found anywhere!!!

What did I get out of this day? One satisfied wife, 3 satisfied kids, with one being happy she chose this instead of her children's birthdayparty one satisfied me, being glad we went out and enjoyed a sunday as I think we should.
The loot for this day? A large leather hairpin from beautifully worked leather and bonepin, 3 thick leather bracelets for the kids, with their names stamped into them and for me another item I have been looking for for quit some time..... A woolfelt hat!


  1. Very glad to hear you are feeling better, Ron!

    Looks like a nice grilling area you have there. Do you have a lot of woods on your property?

    Those boots look really comfortable. "Cheap" is a great price, too. :)

    And that fair! I wish we could find something like that around here. Nice hat, by the way. ;)

    Crossing my fingers for your getting a new job. Good luck!

  2. Your garden sounds great. Do you have that fireplace area inside of your yard? That´s fantastic!
    Your gardenproject sounds JUST like ours "we do not have the easiest soil to work with. It is almost claylike". :)
    Our yard is like complete clay when dig any deeper, so I have built several raised flowerbeds and banks. I was lucky to get used woodmaterial from nearby construction yard more than 20 tons delivered home and for price of case of beer. It was a lot of work to separate usable stuff from trash (firewood) and remove all the nails, cement etc.
    That medieval market looks great. We also have a few here and next is on August in city of Hämeenlinna (bit more than 100km from my home). Also that hat isn´t bad either, looks better than military boonies etc. that I used to use on bushcrafting.

    Enjoy your summer in your garden!

    - Finnman