Thursday, May 1, 2014

Exploding spring and venturing into new fields.....

We just had the most wonderfull easter/springbreak with spring hitting us full swing! A full week of sunshine and temperatures even reaching 20C at the end of the week....
Of course this meant practically living outside! Besides my continues work at the glasshouse, if I can call it work, and the ongoing gathering, cutting and splitting of firewood, I also spent a good deal of time in the garden. The grill got cleaned up after a winter of gathering rust and I also cleaned up and sawed a lot of thin, dead wood and branches, part of which I stacked last year for the wintermeet that did not materialise. Now there is a nice pile next to the fireplace.... which saw some use as well.

A test of adding videoclips...

There is a small episode regarding the fireplace. 
One night I was having some real trouble sleeping. Woke up for real at 03:15, tossed and turned untill I got up at 04:30. The sun wasn't even up yet. As not to disturb the rest of the family I made the sacrificial decision to make myself some campfirecoffee and watch the sun come up. Things did not go quite as planned though.... First I used some quite fresh wood to start the fire, which resulted in a serious disruption of the inhalation of the clean fresh morningair... *cough*..... Secondly I used a grind of coffee I am not used to, so that did not turn out to good either. Thirdly, in a blaze of optimism due to the good weather that week, I had cut my hair really short..... only to find the morningair to be just above freezing. Did wake me up properly though and after I got my jeepcap to keep my nogging warm, I enjoyed watching the sunrise, while hearing the birds wake up too, one after the other, as if the morningchoir was tuning in to one another. There was not a single manmade sound, other than the occassional russle of my anorak.

The rising sun's rays illuminating the scene
I enjoyed it all, untill the morningpaperdeliverer drove by in his car and my neighbour's wife came out to take care of her horses, banging with the stabledoors, after which she went to get her dogs, who loudly greeted her, before she marched down the gravelroad to get the newspaper with the sound of grinding gravel beneath her boots... She gave me this strange look, when she spotted me.

Our son refreshing his fishingskills... 
and it allmost feels like summer!
They spotted this spider. It was as long as his indexfinger, which matches my ringfinger!
When he touched it, it shot under the branch, into the water.
Spring does have its disadvantages too. My youngest daughter fell victim to the first mosquiteattacks, we "harvested" the first ticks off the cats and my son found one on his thumb, still crawling around. We also had the questionable pleasure of having new neighbours; Loads and loads of forestants! The lawn was literally moving as they travelled across it. We backtraced them and discovered their nests; 2 new ones and one from last year! All within 10 meters from the house, on the north side...
We are fully aware that those creatures serve a purpose and a good one for us too, but this near is too near. How to get rid of them without using pesticides or other contaminating chemicals? We foubnd the answer in sugar and salt! 1 part powdered sugar, 1 part sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), mix them well, sprinkle liberally around the nestarea and within 24 hrs. all were gone... We don't know if they died or just relocated. We did not find any antbodies on the previous nestsites.

I can also cross off one project from my to-do-list; making a storagechest for the wintergear, so that at least all the woollies get stored away mothfree!
I started with this one a long, long time ago. Actually the first picture is from september 2012.... Shame on me...
The basis is a, I think, Swedish surplus military insulated chest, made out of thin plywood with metal reinforcements around the corners. The inside was filled with an aluminium pan, imbedded in a cast foam filling. The pan itself was glued to a wooden frame around the edges, which in itself was tacked to the wood. Getting rid of this all required quite a bit of force, labour and swearing! But those who prevail, triumph!!

I could not do it without causing quite some damage and there still remains some foam, which is very hard to reach or remove. I had to reinforce the edges with wooden beams again and to protect the clothes from the remaining foam(dust) and splinters I decided to add an inlay of protective cloth..... which I did not have....

But since I am a thrifty person (I hate to think of myself as a cheap person) I saved some of the old clothes my kids wore out, of course all in greens and other subdued colours. You just never know when and how those might come in handy... So I used those, after removing the non-subdues colours or oftherwise non-useable items, like buttons, seams etc.

The 2 camouflagecircles are actually the tops of 2 of my old outdoor/workcaps, both in what I call touristcamo. The green strip on the sandcoloured background comes from a t-shirt and reads "on duty". Thought that was a neat feature... All my winterstuff fits in.... if only just.
Now is my chest tacticool or what?!

And today we got to meet some very nice people, who introduced us to some breeds of animals we are planning on having in the very near future.
Tough guy bottlefeeding the lambs...
It all began when I started researching some old Swedish breeds of sheep. No, not really.... I started with sheep in general and stumbled across some old, Swedish breeds of which I like the look. I read a little more and I found this club that actively promotes the preservation of those old breeds, since they are getting less and less in numbers. The advantage of these breeds are that they are hardy and bred for the climate we have. A hint of chauvinism made that I looked at some locally bred breeds, one of which is the socalled Svärdsjö-sheep. It originates from a town/village some 35 kilometers from here. A small, gentle breed with fine wool, which could be very usefull to my wife's woolworking.
So I contacted the club to see if they could give me the details of someone in the area with such sheep and after I got those, I contacted the people in question. We were quite welcome to come and see and learn about the sheep and that showed today! They had 1 male, originally 5 females, but 2 had to be put down due to problems when giving birth to this year's lambs, and 7 lambs. What a social, nosey and glad looking breed these sheep turned out to be. It made us all, even our grumbling, bored teenage son, feel good and glad!
Unfortunately the sheep had just been shaved, so we could not get a good look on the adults when wearing their woolcoats, but we got to see the wool that they gave; a very gently curled and finefibred wool. It would probably make great wool for the Mrs.!
We talked a little bit more to the owners, who loved to talk btw, and we found out they had chickens too. We talked a bit about our plans and it turns out they keep the same breed of chickens as we want to keep; Hedemora-ckickens! These are also a local breed, so will fit in with our plans perfectly.

The lady of the house looked at us sideways and jokingly asked if we were interested in having some horses some day and we responded that we wanted to, but maybe in about 5 years or so...

and that we would like to have a Swedish breed as well; Nordsvenskar. Guess what she had standing in a nearby stable..... We skipped looking at those this time, but I am confident that we will be in touch with them again soon. She told us all this years lambs were spoken for, but that we could have a reservation for next years lambs. We ended up spending a few hours there and our kids turned out to be as enthusiast as we by the time we were going home and we all felt that there indeed was something missing at our places; animals.....
I'll be in close contact with a few thousand of them soon.... I'll be starting on a beekeepers course may 11th.... and it is a hands on kind of course.
Reading and rereading, buying and loaning....


  1. your last post reminded me of this...

    may be you no longer need a beekeeper course... :P

    1. That!! is extremely scary!
      I just do not believe technology can take over nature's primal tasks, like polination.