Sunday, August 16, 2015

The end of summer...

...and summer finally came...

The end of summer is closing in. The summervacation is practically over. Kids are going back to school on monday again. Of course this is the time that the weather changed and we are experiencing summer in full force; clear blue skies, max. sunshine and temperatures higher than we had all summer. Which is not that hard concidering it practically never went over 20c. It gets dark at night again and we can see the stars again... occasionally. Autumn is on its way. Sometimes it already feels like that with chilly, foggy mornings and even the birdcherrieleaves have started to change colour and are falling... In a few weeks my summerjob will be over and I'll be harvesting potatoes again.

I did forget to mention a few items with the previous post, so I thought to catch up and blend some new stuff.
First of all.... My wife made a killer good rhubarb juice!
I do not want to start sounding all housewifey 'n shit, but this one... I just had to share the recipe.
Here it goes:
3kg rhubarb
2 sliced lemons
1 teaspoon natriumbenzoat (it's a preservative)
4 liters boiling water

Toss it in a clean bucket, pour the water on top of it and let it sit for 5-6 days with some form of lid on it.
Strain it through a piece of clean cloth.
Then you need to warm it and dissolve 300gr. sugar per liter juice.
It doesn't keep longer than a few days in the fridge, but can be frozen without losing taste.

The gardening system I am experimenting with is called "raised beds" not covered growing or some such shit. Sorry for any misunderstandings here. The idea behind it is that worms take care of the organic matter and at the same time loosen the soil. The cardboard is meant to suffocate the grass and weeds and their parts will add to the amount of organic matter. A large part of the garden destined for growing edible things is starting to take shape pretty well. No less thanks to a machine. It is a purpose designed woodshredder, not a compostshredder. It does cut up branches and such by crunching and munching them into pieces. Greens come out pretty undamaged..... I bought this piece of equipment 15 years ago and has served me very well over the years, chewing up many a big branch or small tree with stems up to 3,5cm thick. Much, if not most of the branches used to feed the shredder come from the unused april bonfire pile and are moist and do not break up easily.

Because of my job I was feeling like I was missing out on a few wonderful opportunities to be outside. The weather for one made for beautiful subjects to use our "new" camera.
But when at work I see many wonderful things nearby. The morning dew evaporating and wafting away in the morning sun. Small critters showing amazing patterns and colours. What a man seeks is often right under his nose... comes to mind.

The morningdew, caught in a spiders web, appearing like strands of pure light in the rising sun.

We are having quite a bit of issues with slugs, but when I look closer at them I can not help but marvel at them. That little speck on its side is its breathing opening and it opened and closed as I was watching it.

Itsy bitsy spider, bright white, red flashes and a icy blue egg cocoon. And tiny yet superbly detailed.

We found these two in our garden one morning, at the same time. I put them on a piece of wood and we studied them. Ever noticed the fluffy fur on a bat? Or the thin, yet strong skin of its wings? Did you ever see the sun as it shines through the wingfeathers of a bird??

I will have a moment of fame in Orland, CA!
The pastel painting Renée did of me will be on display at the Orland art center. I really hope it'll pay of for her.

And the volvo performs equally well as a mobile toolshed and as a woodcutdowntreeshrubhauler too.
I use the car regularly to keep the tools I am working with dry and in one place. Simply open the truck and toss in all the stuff I need; hammers, nails, cablereels, shovels, gardeningtools, you name it.

In the period since the last post we also lost an old friend.....
He was the partner of a dear friend of ours back in the Netherlands who had helped us a great deal in times of hardship. Too bad the contact was lost since we moved, but still the news made a vicious impact.
He was a loveable guy, always good for a laugh and with a love for life, despite his illnesses or maybe just because of them. He will have left a huge gap.... and I surely hope that I will remember his message. Enjoy.....

I also got to deal with a bit of a personal crisis the other day.
I became painfully aware that I inherited a trait from my father, that I really wish I did not have; envy.
It was a hard and bitter lesson, given the fact that I had been on the receiving end of this "quality" in my childhood years, when I experienced the full wickedness of it. And I panicked.... It took a great deal of energy to overcome it, since it is like a virus. It infests your mind, spreading through your system, multiplying....
It is a completely useless, negative emotion. Utterly (self)destructive if let reign unchecked.
If there is one emotion worse than hatred it must be this one, because it makes you hate the ones you love. Being aware of it makes it easier to deal with it. And in my case I sat down and wrote.... Wrote down everything that went on inside me. I then read it, rewrote the text, slowly eradicating every blaming, fingerpointing piece after thoroughly examining the how and why. It surely helped letting go, seeing in writing how ridiculous and unfunded some things actually were.
However this episode also brought to light a few issues that had been lurking beneath the surface for a long time. Dealing with those will be a priority.

On a completely different note;
Despite the fact that I tend to demonise social media, they do have their uses too.
That is if you see them as a tool to keep and expend real social activities, such as meeting people for the first time and meeting them face to face.
On such medium is facebook. I really do not like it, but it gives me the opportunities to do just that; getting to know people, meeting them and keeping in touch.
Through said medium I got into contact with a Swedish bushcraft group and through that group Varavild. And they are organising a meeting up at Idre, Dalarna and even if it is an almost 4hr drive I can not pass up this opportunity to go back to the roots of this very blog; bushcrafting, but also to meet people face to face for the first time. And maybe make some more new friends or at least contacts.
So what does any decent outdoorsman do? He goes preparing and checking over his stuff to see if it still is functionable and above all what to take.
At first I planned to take the shelterhalf Skaukraft gave me when he visited me, but then I recalled the experiences I had when trying to sleep outside during one summer; mosquitos! So I order a mosquito cot-net, one of those things that go over an entire singlepersonbed, at Varusteleka.
Turns out, as expected, the shelter and the net do not match. Not even close. I wonder anyway on how to use the shelter, since it offers little space. Love the green colour of it though, but it is beyond me how an army can provide its troops with a shelter that blends in well and then outlines it with shiney metal buttons!! Looks like a neonsign in the woods!

So I took my old Dutch army shelterhalf and started fiddling with the cot-net, sticks and bungees...
I worked sort of and I already have plans on how to alter it, but that will have to wait. This setup will have to do for now with a little tweaking later on possibly. Depends on the sleeping area.


  1. Your image is still on display at the gallery. It pays off because I enjoy doing what I do and that is payment enough! I have had no commissions from any of my work. I get compliments. That is happy. But I'd do what I do even if no one complimented me. Same with my writing. I get payment for working here on this ranch. I hope that will be enough when I get really old and decrepit.

    I love the spider! (I don't like spiders but I can love them if that makes any sense at all). They frighten and fascinate me at the same time. Same with snakes. They are such beautiful creatures. Sometime soon I'm going to post pictures of the amazing tomato hornworms I found on my pepper plants the day I left for Colorado.

    Had to laugh when you said camouflage tent with glaring metal rivets. Somebody said "Ooops!"

    Struggle with your "legacy". Boy I sure do struggle with mine. The sins of the father are visited on the sons (and daughters!). Being aware is the first step to cure it (or at least get it under control!)

    Love your volvo! I loved mine! Volvos are hard to come by around here out in the wild. They're only found in cities around here and I mean the big cities like San Francisco.

  2. Ron, this one made me laugh "I do not want to start sounding all housewifey 'n shit" :) Hej, what is wrong with being housewifey.
    And why are you killing birds and bats. Strange you found both at the same time, as if they smashed at each other. Or I would be all paranoid about government waves killing birds and bats. :)