Friday, May 1, 2015

Day of fire

Winter's gone. Spring has officially begun. The old has been burned to welcome the new.

I had a good day actually; being able to do it twice. The first time by myself, in daylight to literally remove the old to make way for new and the second time in good company, with songs and fireworks to say farewell to the old season.

At the hembygdsgården there were large piles of wood debris and clippings, cut down branches and trees. These had to be removed to make way for enlarging an existing grasscovered parkingarea and even more importantly to enlarge an neighbouring garden that will be well kept and give joy. Right now the entire area is completely overgrown and the apple trees therein are in a serious state of neglect. They will be taken care of, so they will keep on bearing fruit again for everyone to pick.
It was quite enjoyable, standing there, tending to the fire, piling up the wood- and plantremains, seeing it being consumed by the roaring flames. I guess it is the boyish joy of having a fire and to make it big... The crackling and roaring of the flames has a strange mind calming effect too and looking into the blaze I noticed something I never saw before. After a while, after the large centre mass of the pile had burned the main central flame became transparent and all along the edges, where the remains of the branches and such were not burned up yet, small, much darker flames rose straight up, encircling the large, almost gaslike flame. They hardly flickered or wavered, but were like small jetflames. Hard to explain, but a fascinating sight! Standing there I could not help but thinking what a waste it was too. Here I was, burning a lot of vegetational matter for no reason but to clean it up, while it could have heated a house for quite a long time too.
The heat was intense and I saw the reason for that after the pile had mostly burned off. A number of logs, full grown trees lay hidden beneath it all and now they were burning a bright red and white; glowing embers and ashes. I had fun for a few hours, until the fire reached the bottom of the pit 1-2 meters down and practically everything was gone. Surprisingly little non-natural debris was in that huge pile.

The fire at night was of a completely different nature; smaller yet brighter. This was a fire with a very different reason and nature. A fire deliberately made to see off the past season of darkness and cold and to welcome the new season of light, warmth and growth. A fire with a very social function with songs, laughter and chatter. Meeting people, coming out of their winterburrows and strengthening weakened social bonds.

In between those 2 events I busied myself with something very new to me; inoculating plants.
From one of the villagers we got a load of really good and tasty apples last autumn and I asked him if I could take some clippings from the appropriate tree.
Odd (Skaukraft) and I have been discussing the possibility of inoculating apples onto a rowan-base, so that's what I wanted to try. For safe measure I also made 4 cuttings from that tree and planted them directly, since I think it is a species, not a variety, so it should give a good tree. I do hope they will grow roots!
From another villager I received some plums root offshoots. The parent tree is several decades old and does pretty well in her garden. if anything I could later on use it as a donor for other cherry- and plum inoculations, but I hope for good fruit. I also received a few clippings from a pear, which should do well on rowan too, according to her.
Just to top things off I received 2 smaller marjoram plants and a handful of garlic and shallot bulbs, which had started to sprout and which, with any luck, will be the hosts for future crops of those. Speaking of which.... Much to my surprise the handful garlic cloves we planted 1,5 years ago resurfaced and are going strong! I'll leave them alone until autumn and then will see how much they yielded, before splitting them up and replanting them, along with the ones I got.

The apple:
I opted for a so called "crown" oculation, since the other rowanshoots I had selected were too thin. I'll leave them for future projects, since it is actually advised to take cuttings in autumn and keeping them buried over winter. We'll see....
It is a lot fiddlier work then I had thought, mainly due to the bark of the rowan not coming loose easy and me not having the right equipment. I made due with a pruning knife, ribbons cut from plastic bags and painters tape. I did get a blob of oculationwax, but read it can be made easily yourself as well by heating and melting spruce or pine resin and mixing it with beeswax. Here's a shot of one of the pear testcases amidst the upcoming lilies of the valleys.
You can see the terrain I am working in; Rocks, boulders, mosses lingonberries, although the latter never bore fruit since we lived here. Same goes for the junipers by the way.
Anyway I figured if rowan could take root here, it could also support a fruittree, since the roots have been established already. Planting a tree would be near impossible. So I am hoping to utilise this wild, unworkable piece of the garden this way. It now is home to 4 blackberries, gooseberry both white (1) and red (3), apple (1 double) and pear (2 single) if they make it, juniper (3 healthy ones) and lingon (all over) if they would bear fruit and all the while it just looks like a piece of forest with birch, rowan, aspen and birdcherry. I am told the rowanberry makes good winter chickenfeed, when dried.
And if all fails, I still have a piece of garden where roedeer like to roam and feed (might cause a problem) in winter. And that might create opportunities too some day....

Speaking of changing times and opportunities; I will be starting my seasonal job next monday and that will create an array of other possibilities. Temporarily our financial room to manoeuvre will expand considerably and I want to take advantage of that by doing my hunter exam, which will license me to acquire and have hunting (fire)arms and to hunt legally. The plan is to hunt small game and leave moose to others. There's plenty of roedeer and hare around here. Grouse too and even beaver, if the damage they did last winter is anything to go by. And boars are ever expanding their territory northwards and have reached our region.
Other things on the wishlist are schooling in the use of a chainsaw, because that means not only an accepted education here, but also the legal possibility to operate one anywhere and knowing what and how to do it. We also need to get accumulatortanks installed. We were kind of lucky with mild winters, but those tanks would mean a more equally spread and controllable warmth and warm water supply. I want to get a hydrophore installed too. That means having plenty of water at hand and a means to regulate temperature in the food cellar. I also want to see to it that our food cellar is fully equipped and stocked by the time winter comes. The same goes for the waiting wood fed kitchen furnace.
But for now I am mostly thinking about how to get that and the garden done AND do a day job. For the first time in a long time I feel like I am short on time. But still I am burning with anticipation and am pretty fired up about working again.....


  1. All over Northern Hemisphere people in the woods and in the country are busy developing plans and hard at work on projects. Your list sounds really Big but all fun. We're working on drip irrigation system because even though we have plenty of water right now we will not have plenty later on. Actually we will be out and we will have to have it trucked in.

    Hope your first day at work was a pleasant one! Can't wait to hear a report.

    1. They're big projects yes, but relatively low cost jobs as well. The accumulatortanks have been ready and waiting all winter. We "just" need to get them and pay for them, which really is more like a handout than a fair price. Much of the plumbing we can get for free as well as 2 pumps. Hydrophores can often be found lying around as scrap metal and I am sure I can find one where the owner is glad to get rid of it.
      And the woodstove is standing down in the garden, waiting to be hauled up into the house.

  2. I am excited about your hunting license! That will be nice for sure and looking forward to reading hunting adventures. Can your son join in with you?

    1. If I understand Swedish hunting- and gunlaws correctly my kids are allowed to train with firearms for hunting, when supervised by a licensed parent. How the actual hunting is regulated... don't really know yet.
      I will wait and see how will join me in the days to come.