Thursday, December 10, 2015

The least enjoyable period of the year has passed....

I consider november and the first part of december to be the least enjoyable period of the year; grey, wet, windy, dreary, cold and dark and I am always glad to leave it behind me, moving ahead to the warm, cosy and artificial and/or candle light filled days around the end of the year. Hopefully they will be lighter outside too.
Actually we did have a few nice days and a cold snap too. Temperatures dropped to -13C for 2 days and the lakes froze. After that the weather turned this way and that; frost, thaw, rain and wind. It has been quite windy these last few days... The roads have turned into wet, soggy and muddy sponges with a still frozen underground.

Therefore I was glad to have spent a long weekend at Matt's place in Finland. That nicely broke the dreariness. Another thing that is keeping me from hitting the novemberwall is the upstart of bushcraft Sverige, which is taking place right now. I am one of those that are "actively" involved (as far as my limited knowledge of club-structures, -rules and regulations, language and social network allows) in that and it is great fun thinking things out and through and communicating with others. Had my first digital meeting and that was quite labourious. Focussing on speech in another language when you can not see the other ones; 10 in total.
One of the cool things was that a few of those guys were attending a manifestation at the Wetterlings axefactory in order to promote the club. Turns out that that one is really nearby! Only 45km from here and I had no idea!
So I went out to visit the factory and meet the guys. It was great meeting them and equally fun to visit the factory, albeit that I could not help myself but comparing this one to the Gränsfors smithy. That one is a lot larger, fancier and more modern. The Wetterlings smithy is pretty small scale and has a much more cottage industry feel to it.
Of course I got to handle, feel a good number of axes and I'd love to do a comparison between the vildmarks- (which I have) and the äventyrsyxa, even if that horse has been beaten to death by now. Maybe throw in a Hultafors for good measure?

The grinding of the axeheads. They had this really neat contraption they used for that. A beam fastened to a spring with they sat on. The head got clamped and pushed down down, so they can alter the force on the head using their bodyweight and the spring.

 The atmosphere in the little "restaurant" was quite cosy with candlelight and a lot of decorations in the form of old tools.

There were also crafts(wo)men carving paddles. Fun to watch...

real heavy metal!!!
Other than that it is the same old story; all the work from summer has ended and I end up at home, doing household chores. Other (more fun) projects are stalled as usual due to lack of funds or uncooperative weather. Well, that does tend to happen around here in november. It is the month where every outdoorjob grinds to a halt.

Other remarkable similarities are on a much brighter side; we are again looking into giving another pooch a new home and much to our surprise we are nominated for a gift from a beneficiary organisation, the socalled Majblomman. This organisation sells loads of flowershaped pins, stickers and other items with the help of schoolkids in order to financially help children in Sweden that are having a tough time. And someone in our circle of contacts deemed us qualifying for that..... Go figure..
Now you might wonder how those 2 combine: no finances, yet still getting another dog. For us this is quite simple; we mostly skip the christmas presents and other ridiculous christmas expenses. We have all we really need, we do not indulge in excessive food and we feel that giving an animal in need a new home that much more rewarding. Plus it has been turning out more and more that it is a necessity too. Rex simply needs a companion. And 2 dogs of the same kind greatly enhance the possibilities of using them meaningfully.

And right after I wrote all this down a good week ago I got a phonecall; if I cared to come and sign a jobcontract at one of the places I applied! When? The next day? Sure!!
So I went over, went over the jobcontract, making me a employer on hour-basis I was asked if I could take the introduction day next saturday. Ehhh sure. What time? From 09:30 till 22:30. What? Ehhh sure. Within an hour of coming home I got another call. If I'd be willing to work on the following tuesday till wednesday too; a 23-hr shift from 09:30 till 09:00. And so I did. It was fun and something very different from what I had ever done. Taking care of and helping unaccompanied, teenage refugees ( those who left their country without family or parents or don't even have them anymore). Boys without any form of relatives in the ages from 16-18.
So I went there on saturday, working my first day. And I enjoyed it! Apparently so much that on sunday morning I got yet another call. They needed someone to hop in a.s.a.p until monday morning 09:00. So I ended up working 60 hours in 4 days. And after that I still enjoyed it. Looks like I finally managed to find something solid and good here!

As far as the huntingcourse is concerned; I decided not to take the exam. I did about a dozen pretests and I passed none of those. No use in spending an exam fee, cartrips and pasport photos on something I had very little chance of succeeding in. I could blame that on my new job, since I missed the first exam on tuesday night and was too tired on wednesday night. Truth be told; I think I did not have the drive it takes to successfully go through it all.
I guess one of the reasons was the language, rules and regulations. Sometimes I would simple misread or misunderstand a question or a given answer. And to be honest I did not master the theoretical bit either; gun-and weaponcalibers, dogspecies, rules and regulations; these were the main hick-ups. I did this course for all the wrong reasons, like testing myself and my languageskills, obtaining a firearm legally and getting out and meeting people. I was not hellbent on becoming a hunter either.
And it all is just as well. I did learn a huge amount of stuff, not just about animals, nature or hunters, but about myself as well. One of them is that I do not have that drive to be an active hunter. Plus getting all the equipment means handing over a very large amount of money. I also feel I do not fit into the local hunterscommunity, I do not share their ways, ideas and visions, which would inevitably have lead to conflict. Not owning any land, means even more extra expenses and I do like to shoot animals, but rather with a camera.
This way I will be able to focus on things that I do want to and can do; homesteading, keeping and enjoying animals before killing and eating them. Growing crops and keeping bees. Shoot a bow with the family. Maybe even dogsleading or tracking down the road. Not having to spend 1000's (or even a 0 more) of SEK on permits, a gunsafe, guns, sights, ammo and other stuff will mean that that gets to be spend on things I can use year round. Becoming a year round, modern day hunter would require too much of a change in interests and routines and finances, even before I'd have a single ounce of meat in the freezer. And if I fancy a bit of moose, boar or deer meat I can always trade or barter for it with one of the local hunters.
Does that mean I will not hunt? Well, not now and not with a firearm just yet. No..
Not becoming a hunter will also help going back to plan A(griculture) and stay with that.

And speaking of trading/bartering; I finally did manage to obtain a tool that will allow me to make something to barter with; butter.
At long last I found a good, working and above all affordable butterchurn!! And now the set is complete; I have containers, one or 2 good places to get fresh, right off the cow, milk and a churn.
And as it so happened I came across a free downloadable version about a book on making butter. It is a legal download by the way, put online by the author himself and it was enough to whet our appetite for it. A printed copy might just end up here as a christmas gift or birthday present.


  1. Butter is really easy to make. You probably have tried it by now. I made some butter the other day. We have an old fashioned churn but no dasher so until we can around to making a dasher I make it in the Cuisinart I bought years ago when I was gainfully employed.

    More later. Really enjoyed this post!

  2. What a cool axe workshop! Would love to go there myself! Congratulations on the interesting sounding job. Tell us more, please.

    1. Hej René, the smithy was a fun visit for sure and my job is too.
      It means I have to take care, accompany or help those kids in their way to become independent citizens here, when they turn 18.
      That means showing them the ways in Swedish society, helping them with their lectures and language, preparing meals for and with them and be there for them, when they need someone. It also means socialising with them.
      I get paid for watching movies on the tv with them and having potatochips! :)
      But I also had some really interesting conversations with some of them and a good deal of them do show socially inappropriate behaviour, like a total lack of trust or consideration for another. Sometimes the levels of egocentrism are staggering.
      I am sure I can teach them a thing or 2 and I am sure as heck they will teach me too.

    2. What a fantastic opportunity! Knowing you I would think that all you have to do is be yourself and by being yourself another example for how to be in the world or be with it will be shown to these kids. Do the people who are having you do this give you psychological training to help you do the job? Or is it not like that?

  3. Ron,sounds like an interesting few days. The job sounds necessary and rewarding. The axe factory looks delicious. Good luck with the dog. We talk a lot about getting a companion for Holly. But keeping a dog is expensive in the UK.

    1. Hi Andy, they sure were! And I am already looking forward to my next day of work, which is a good thing.
      Having dogs in Sweden is by no means cheap either, but some things can not be measured in money. We thought we could never afford a dog like Rex, but we "simply" shifted some priorities. Now we need to do that again...