Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thunderstorms and butterflies

source; Nillas blogg
Last night we were treated to our first, real, genuine, countryside, at the end of a valley, between hills, summer thunderstorm!
Actually there were 2 in quick succession. It was an awe inspiring experience. It took a while for the first one to build up and roll in, but we could hear it coming for a while. The wind was steadily picking up, thunder rolling in the distance, a few flashes and then..... It was there. Thunder rolling down the hills, across the valley and then being echoed back. I never heard thunder rumble this long uninterrupted! Next came lightning with some very clear bolts flashing down and some others reflecting across the sky, turning the clouds a bright pinkish purple. A curtain of rain came sweeping in, cascading down from the heavens as if there was no tomorrow. So much for a shortage of rain this summer! The raingutters just could not keep up and created a curtain of water on their own.
Tried to take a picture of that, but that did not work too well. While doing that I was startled by a large lightningbolt on top of the hills, right in front of our house....
Within 10 minutes after the storm passed right over our house, another rolled in, but not befor the sky had cleared to reveal the darkening blue of the sunset. It was a strange experience and we were treated to a smaller version of the first.

This brought a slight change of weather and my oldest daughter an I had made plans to go out on a dayhike today. The forecast was nice and cool, dry and slightly overcast with some sun in between. So we packed our stuff and were off. The plan was to visit the rocky outcrop I showed earlier, do some learning on tree identification, make a warm lunch and just suck in some woodair. We also prepared to collect berries, so took along a couple of small buckets with lids and a berrypicker.
As we set out, it was grey, but windstill and quite comfortable, temperaturewise... Everything around us was still soaking wet, though. Airhumidity was very high and even between the trees the temperature was not below 20°C, meaning we were sweating conciderably soon. 

She saw something.......                                                                   Should've known......

We found many, many raspberries, thick and juicy, but unfortunately little or no bill/blueberries (but some seriously purple droppings) and very few lingonberries. We did not see a single mushroom either. We did find a lot of juniperberries though!

After we hiked to the rockcliff we sat down and looked around, catching our breath and trying to dry up a little. It did not feel like a Scandinavian pine- or birchforest down there, but more like a central American jungle!

As we sat there, we noticed that we already had worked up an apetite. It was just 11:00 am! So we started to "set up camp"... But we noticed we forgot something; cutlery! So we sat down and made some ourselves first. A bunch of forks for handling the bacon, some spoons for stiring and eating and we're good to go!

Here's where I had a little nasty surprise. In order to bake bacon and eggs you need a fire. I had brought along my canteencup hobostove kind off thing, but could not get a fire going. I tried it all; shavings, dead standing wood, birchbark.... None of it would burn. The harvested birchbark was damp and would curl up into a lump, when lit, thus extinguishing itself. There was no spuceresin to be found (no spruce, just pine) and the used shavings and twigs would just hiss, blow and glow....
I was a bit baffled at first, but kept going and at long last after an hour or so I got my stove going. What went wrong? A couple of things, I guess. I should have started collecting birchbark and laying it out in the more and more appearing sun or put it in my pocket, so it could dry out a little befor using it. Same goes for the woodshavings. I also forgot to split or peel the small twigs befor burning them, thus exposing the drier wood on the inside to the flames. But I think the main problem was the small area available within the stove. It is not possible to properly build up a fire and then have it big and hot enough to dry and ignite the rest. Even during the cooking I had to regularly blow it back into flames, which was made easier by the few coals present.
Biggest thing achieved was a lesson in humility. I had to go through all the beginners steps instead of "just" light a fire.

first bacon with red onions on bread.....

being prepared by my daughter....

then scrambled eggs with onions to fill up any left over openings in the stomage
By now the sun had come out and the temperature started to climb again, rapidly. Even to such a degree that we felt uncomfortable on that exposed cliff. So we packed up, cleaned up and checked up, left our packs for a while and roamed around the clifftop and between the trees. Feeling the breeze, smelling the air, listening to birds and animals. We heard a bunch of magpies and crows being alarmed by something, heard a larger animal move between the brush somewhere beneath us.

seeking the last strip of shade on the clifftop....

no words......

After a while we decided to break camp and move on. So we headed back down between the trees, intending to go  and look at another location.... But within 15 minutes we both knew that that was not going to happen. It had become really warm, the backpack had become uncomfortably heavy for her and she was just getting tired.... That meant heading home....

Our trip together had been wonderfull, but apart from the qualitytime, there was a very special "gift" she left me; butterflies! Whenever she came across one, she'd stop and look at it, amazed, thrilled, even enchanted. I look at them to, but never gave them much thought, other then noticing their colours or presence. She showed me the wonder in these small, delicate and delightfull creatures by forcing me to stop and look at them, really look at them, even to the point of getting on my knees and up close.
It takes the eyes of a child to see the wonders of the world....


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful scenery and a nice day out with your girl. Hard to beat it. :)