Thursday, July 18, 2013

daily doings.... some deep impressions

And the canoe is ours!!!
That aluminium canoe I spoke about a few posts before is now ours. Last sunday, while my wife and I were checking up on our wooden boat, the eka, we were joined by an older man, who happens to have a summerhouse near the lake. We started talking about our boat and how we were going to fix it. The boat is watertight on all sides, but has openings at 3 of the 4 corners. We need to fix that befor we can use it. It also lost an "eye", meaning of the circular marks a branch leaves in the wood. And that happens to be right in the middle of the bottom.....
I asked him if he knew who the owner of the canoe was and it turned out he was. We could have it if we wanted to...... We sure did! He told us he had gotten it as a gift himself, so he just gave it away too. He told us he had not used the canoe for years, since he had gotten to old, but it should still be watertight.
Happy as a kid on christmasmorning I went home. The not so great day for me came with a happy end.

Today we went back, just to take a closer look at the canoe.
As you can see the paint has worn off badly. The canoe is also seriously dented at the bottom, so earlier this week I bought myself a small rubber hamer/mallot. There are no paddles, so we need to get those too, but first things first. The thing had to be taken home for inspection and fixing. Together with my wife I hauled the canoe home. It is a hefty s.o.b.! I didn't know they were that heavy! After hauling it across the field we came to the "path" to our home. Well.... actually it is a strip of land that isn't being looked after, so rocks, old tracks and high grass and weeds. After hauling it for 10 more meters we put our laod down. This was going to be tough.... For no appearant reason I pulled the rope that was still attached and the canoe slid through the vegetation.... Hey.... wait a minute.... I pulled again..... and again.... and then I put my back into it, while my wife pushed. This worked a lot better! We only had to lift when we came across rocks and stones... We got it home, but needed a rest afterwards. This whole portagee-thing I read about suddenly seemed a lot less romantic and easy!!!

At home we examined the canoe up close. We discovered that the bottom had been fixed (plugged with 2 large lumps of epoxyputty is a better description), so that needs some closer inspection. Also one of the riggers is not original and quite rudely installed. There is a slatted insertbottom, which we thought was clever, since it'd keep everything above the water that will inevitably get into the canoe. That is untill we weighed everythning. The canoe itself weighs 25kgs empty. This is without the wooden slats. They weigh another 20!!! No wonder we had to work so hard! The total length is 4,60 meters.
It has no seats at all, so we need to look into that and it comes with 2 separate aluminium boxes at the ends. I guess they are meant as floaters. They fit quite badly, though.
The paint... well.... It looks as if there are 3 layers; a light green one first, then a blue one, which rubs off when handled and a rough brickred one, which I expect to be the same paint that is used on the houses here. I'll need to take it all off, befor I will repaint it.... in bronzegreen or RAL 6031. Love that colour! Below the waterline I am thinking about adding a layer of rubbercoating, which might help limiting the damage with all those rocks in the water here.

The weather has been pretty warm these last few weeks and we barely had any rain. This means that everyting is bonedry and for our entire region we are haveing a level 4 forestfirewarning, meaning no open fire what's however is allowed, except for the barbecue in the backyard. For me it is no fun going out, since I have problems coping with temperatures above 25°C. Makes me lazy and slow and kills any aspirations on fysical activities.
We had one night with some serious rain, though and that brought an immediate change in the garden. All of a sudden there was a large amount of birdactivity going on! There were birds everywhere; in the trees, in the bushes and on the ground.

It doesn't mean I lay around in a hammock all day, however. A few things still need to be done in and around the house, but clearing the roof of a thick carpet of moss is not something I enjoy doing, during the day, so that gets done in the evening. Still plenty warm and dusty up there...
And the day after the nightly showers was nice and cool, so I went to visit a blacksmith there, just to see how they work. I wasn't really impressed by it though. The guy "working" there did not make the brightest of impressions nor did he seem to be the most industrious of persons. His work can be distribed as "basic" and as soon as he started banging his work with a hamer on the anvil I was quite sure that, again, metalworking is not for me. My ears rang a while afterwards and I felt the blows go through my tissue..... Yet, I still want to give it a go, one day. Just to try it out.
We also completed the kolmila (charcoalkiln) It is now completely covered and it will be lit on the last saturday of august after which it will, hopefully, burn for 2 weeks and give a lot of useable charcoal!

The summerweather certainly has one advantage; we swim a lot!!
Last week we went again, quite spontaniously, because this time I wanted to go, instead of the kids. So we packed our things and headed out to our "neighbour" bathingplace. We had it all to ourselves and when we came to the water I noticed a white plastic jerrycan, floating about 20 meters further out. That wasn't there 3 days ago.... Maybe the wind blew it there, since we do have a lot of wind these past few weeks.
We went swimming and when we came out again I saw a gull sitting in the water, next to the jerrycan. I didn't give it much thought and I stood there on the pier, letting the sun and wind dry me up. The gull was still sitting there.... Hmmm.... And then I saw that, when it tried to fly away, it was held down! It had caught itself in something. Could there be a line attached to the can?? I watched the bird try to get up again and again and it clearly was entangled in a wire. The poor thing was getting tired and near drowning. What to do??
I told my wife I was going to the bird, hoping to be able to use one of the rowingboats on the other side of the bay. There is another pier there and there are some boats tied to it. I quickly got dresses and walked around. All the boats were moored with chains and secured with a padlock... all, but one! I loaned a couple of oars from another boat, unhooked "mine" and rowed out. 
a socalled tackel;
2 triplehooks, joined by a piece of metal string
When I reached the gull I was shocked. The gull was indeed hooked. Literally!! It had a triplehook in its beak with on hook sticking out of a nostril and a line wrapped around one of its legs, with another hook sticking through it! Some S.O.B. had been fishing with baited hooks atached to a floater and the jerrycan and has tossed that in the water and left it unattended. I tried to grab the gull, but it fought back. It had strength it its wings and I have a healthy respect for the beak! Also the wind pushed me out of position time and again, at one point pushing me on top of the gull, so I had to manoeuvre all the time. My wife had swam towards me, but realised she could not be of help that way. I had gotten hold of the bird, but it was in to much of a panic and far to strong. My wife was hanging onto the boat, trying to keep in in place with one hand and remove the hook from the beak with the other. Her reward for that was a nip in the finger! So she swam back and was on her way over land to come and help me, but all we had was our caremergencykit. 
While she was on her way over, I hauled in the jerrycan and floater and dragged the gull behind the boat towards the pier, hoping it would not drown. I could keep and eye on it, while rowing and when we reached the pier, I tied up the boat and tried getting the bird out of the water. By the time my wife arrived and had the carkit ready I managed to grab the bird "chickenstyle", pushing its wings against its body and holding it, so its feet and beak were free. Despite being exhausted it struggled and tried to bite us. The head can bend down to reach any holding hands easily! During the struggle the hook in the beak/nostril came out by itself, thank God. It would have been an unpleasant business getting it out of that beak! It did bleed however, so we were hoping nothing to serious. 
My wife simply cut all the lines. avoiding that pecking beak and as the bird was nearly freed, it got a shot at my fingers, too. I had to release it. Luckily all hooks and wire were loose and the birds managed to shake everything off, befor it took off. After a short while it was able to fly away and we felt releaved.
It would have been a horrible ending for the bird. We looked over towards the swimmingpier and got a cheer from our kids. It felt good having done this, even if it was "only" a gull. Because, while we were busy, I got a good up close look at the bird and found it to be actually beautiful. This usually noisy and bold bird was also quite delicate yet strong, slender shaped and gracious and nowhere near as dull coloured as I had thought. Its white was as clear and bright as white can be and the greys were noy pale, but had a deeper undertone and all of it was finished off with a bright yellow beak with bright red patches in the corners. The black and white tail almost seem to of another bird.
We packed our things, left the can, floater, hooks and string for their owner and went for another swim, recapturing our rescuemission. Afterwards, as I swam in the lake, I stopped and looked around, capturing the beauty of this place. The sun was out, the sky deepblue with with dots of clouds. The sunlight shimmered across the water towards me, colouring the land around me in variuos tones of green. There were some patches of brightgreen birch, some darker ones from aspen and maple. Other patches were even darker with spruce and pine and on the other side, towards the sun were brightgreen fields with grass with a red house next to it. The watertemperature shifted with every stroke I made, from pleasantly warm to refreshingly cold.... 
And then, as a grand finale, I got the chance to swim up to 3 storlomchicks and came as close as 10 meters befor they swam off, but without diving! They were obviously startled but lacked the experience to dive and be gone. I could see their silhouettes against the glistening sparks of sunlight on the water...

I felt so alive!


  1. Awesome score Ron. That's going to be a fun project. Canoes are just awesome. I can't wait to see it finished and some happy paddling faces in it.

    1. Already discovered 2 surprises; one large and badly fixed hole in the middle and 2 cracks in the bow.
      I can't wait either.

  2. Nice canoe, bud. Well, nice FREE canoe which can use some work. ;) I'm sure it'll come out a beaut when you're done with her.

    Great job freeing that gull, too. :)