Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A wintery bushcraft meeting

The weekend before last we had another bushcraft meet from the "local" branch of bushcraft Sverige. This time it was my turn to arrange things and I chose the charcoalkiln as a hostingsite. Given the time of the year weather might not be agreeable and there we'd have a roof over our head. Plus all the other advantages, such as a roomy firepit, a parking very close by and enoug woods to raom around in. I had chosen a subject for this meeting; warmth under difficult circumstances. I also was going to set them a challenge; the one match challenge. Make a fire with just your knife and one match. The weather cooperated nicely. The cold and frost had taken a step back. with temperatures hovering about freezing. Humidity was quite high and everything was icy, yet there was precipitation forecast.
At 10:00 I was on site, waiting for the others to show up. I did not need to wait long. I had given directions and marked the road with a bright pink air recognition panel. I got a fire going and hung a kettle with water over it to clean and boil it out.
By the time the kettle was clean, the first parfticipants started to come in, so time for coffee!!
Fortunately Olli had some more of his woodscoffee with him. He never lets one down.. ;) But I had a package myself too, so no shortages there! He also treated us to 2 cakes (you know Swedes and fika), but he also brought along some guests from work in order to introduce them to our way of outdoorlife.
More and more folks trickled in and by 11:00 we were complete

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Photo by Boel Engkvist
It was good to see a lot of familiar faces, but it was equally nice to meet new people. The group we have is steadily growing in size, which pleases me a great deal. That means somethig like this is needed and appreciated!
After the coffee and introductionround we set off to find material for the fires. And this is the main benefit of having a group. Not only can the chores be divided, you also have bundled knowledge and it always feels special, when you can teach someone your tricks and learn some new ones yourself in the proces.

Finding some fatwood or tjärved

Finding an entire stump of it!!

Dead, standing/leaning wood

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Picture by Salima Voloscuka
After this is was time for the task at hand; make your fire, using but your knife and one match. That means you have to have everything right, since you only got one chance. That means you have to focus on what you do and so, because you are focused, the proces gets stuck in your head, both failures and success. Preparing your fire is an essential skill, especially under these circumstances. Firewood is not readily available, getting it going is tough, but so is keeping it going! And your fingers get numb in this humid cold, so you have to watch out when handling your knife and that one match. It was great to see everyone so focussed, yet not all succeeded. Even the "old dogs" struggled and for me that meant a mission accomplished. Much was learned that afternoon and all involved realized the difficulty in it.

My wife paid us a short visit during this challenge, bringing along our oldest daughter and the dogs. And they too learned some lessons. For the dogs that meant dealing with a group of people and another dog! 
She tasted woodscoffee....
.....and they didn't want to go home....

After the challenge it was back to the firepit for some lunch, more coffee and more talk! Between bites, and there were many since not only did everyone bring their own food and Olli from Swetrek treating us to the earlier mentioned cakes, but Sali had brought a large pastery of dough and feta-cheese, whereas Boel treated us to some dark chocolate! 
We discussed all sorts of subjects, not just the one we tried. Marcus brought along some material to make charcloth like tins and cottonfabric. We tried flint & steel and as a bonus Olli showed us how to make a Swedish/Finnish torch. The discussion about its origins still rages on...!!

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Photo by Boel Engkvist
And then..... right at the end... we received an absolutely fitting encore! It started to snow. Big heavy flakes wafting down, immediately transforming the atrmosphere. All went silent and I am always amazed at the effect this has. It instantly creates a dreamy, almost failrytale-like atmosphere, yet with a chilling undertone....
Picture by Salima Voloscuka

Photo by Olli Niemelä
By 15:00 hours it was time to say goodbye. Some had a longer trip ahead of them and being on the road during snow, thaw on icy surfaces when dark settles in... It takes longer and a lot more effort.
I waited till everyone had gone, packed up my things, made a last round to make sure everything was as it shoukd be, stared into the fire a few more moments and then poured over the water from the jerrycans I had brought with me. A large column of vapour bellowed up through the trees and with that I thanked the spirits for granting us such a good time here.

A massive thank you to all that participated!
You made this day special!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Hochsensibele Männer - Tom Falkenstein

Once again a bookreview and once again in German. The English version will make up the second part of this post.
As I mentioned before Tom and I got into contact with one another by sheer coinsidence, him looking for men to contribute to the book he was writing at the time. A book about highly sensitive men. If you are interested in highsensitivity, think you are that yourself or maybe know someone who might be, please check out the following sites;
Tom Falkenstein's European Centry for High Sensitivity
Elain Aron's Highly Sensitive Person

Hochsensibele Männer
Mit Feingefühl zur eigenen Stärke
durch Tom Falkenstein

Tom's Buch fängt an mit einem Vorwort, geschrieben von Elain Aron, ich schätze mal DIE Aurotität, wenn's geht um Hochsensibilität. Dann folgt eine Einleitung, geschrieben von Tom selbt. Das Buch besteht aus 2 Teilen; 1. Das Phänomen Hochsensibilität und 2. Hochsensibel (gut) leben.
Das 1. teil hat 4 Kapitel, in dem Tom auseinander setzt was Hochsensibilität nun eigentlich ist, aber er fängt an mit dem Thema "Mann sein" und deren Rolle in der Gesellschaft. Danach erweitert er den Begriff Hochsensibilität, wie es zu verstehen ist, was die Auswirkung im Alltag ist oder sein kann und vor allen was es nicht ist im Begriff zu psychischen Erkrankungen oder Probleme. Ein sehr wichtiger Unterschied!
Der 2. Teil besteht aus 5 Kapitel, in denen Tom erklärt wie man, und zudem Buchstäblich Mann, im Alltag mit Hochsensinilität um gehen kann, vielleicht sogar muss. Die ersten 3 Kapitel heissen; "Strategien im Umgang mit Überregung und emotionaler intensität", ein äusserst wichtiges Thema für all denen, die Hochsensibel sind und sich im gestressten und überreizender Gesellschaft behaupten und aufrecht halten müssen.
Die letzten 2 Kapitel wenden sich dan auf einem selbst und auf das Innern. Wie kann der hochsensibeler Mann mit sich selbst umgehen und vor allem sich selbst so mögen wie er ist! Dies ist mindestens genau so wichtig, denn viele Männer haben ihr ganzes Leben lang gehöhrt das etwas falsch an ihn ist, was aber überhaupt nicht stimmt!
Jedes Kapitel wird abgeschlossen mit einer kurzen Zusammenfassung und es gibt sehr reichlich mit Übungen, die mann machen kann um das Gelesene in der Praxis zu lernen oder zu üben. Darüber hinaus lässt er 10 Männer zu Wort kommen, die ihre Geschichte, Gefühle oder Einblicke im Alltag teilen, was ich selber als sehr hilfsreich und erleichterend empfand, weil damit bestättigt wird, das man nicht alleine ist.
Das Buch schliesst ab mit einem Interview mit Elain Aron, gehalten von Tom.

Was mir persönlich an diesem Buch gefallen hat, ist das Tom sehr klart macht das die Probleme, mit der viele hochsensibele Männer kämpfen, nicht an den Männern selbst liegen oder zu liegen brauchen, aber das sie verursacht werden durch ein ausserordentliches Falsches Bild, das die Gesellschaft hat von Männer und was von Männer erwartet wird. Ein Bild an dem hochsensibele Männer meistens nicht treffen können. Ein Bild von harte, emotionslose, starke, kontrolierende Führer und Krieger.
Dazu steigt Tom über die individuelle Ebene aus und witmet seinen Blick auf uns als Gesellschaft und schlägt vor eine soziale Revolution (kann es gar nicht anders umschreiben) zu starten in dem er sagt das es Zeit wird für eine Emapzipation des Mannes! Es wird Zeit das Männer auch so sein dürfen wie sie sind, vor allem wenn sie gefühlvoll, sensitiv oder introvert sind. Unsere Gesellschaft braucht Männer wie uns, wenn wir die Probleme, die uns bevor stehen, lösen sollen!
Ich habe dieses Buch mit sehr viel freude gelesen und werde es wieder lesen. Ich bin kein Anfänger wenn es um den Begriff HSP geht und ich habe vor vielen Jahren schon gelernnt was und wie ich bin, aber dieses Buch hat mich nicht nur viel Wiedererkennung gegeben aber auch Neueinsichten.
Ich kann Männer, die hochsensitiv sind oder die, die denken oder vermuten sie könnten es sein, nur raten dieses Buch zu lesen!! Eigentlich würde ich jeden raten es zu lesen, damit die von Tom gedachte soziale Revolution auch tatsächlich statt finden kann! Für mich ist dieses Buch genau so wichtig, wie die Bücher von Elain es damals waren.

Und Tom kann ich nur raten (habe ich auch gemacht) dieses Buch auf Englisch aus zu geben, damit viel, viel mehr Männer errecht werden können. Ich wage zu behaupten das dieses Buch zu wichtig ist, es nicht zu tun!!

Vielen Dank für das Buch, Tom!
Es hat mir sehr geholfen und ich hoffe, nein weiss, das es viele andere auch helfen wird!!

Tom's book starts with a prolog, written by Elain Aron, a person I see as THE authority, when it comes to highsensitivity. It is then followed by a preface by Tom himself.
The book consist of 2 parts; the first deals with the phenomenon highsensitivity and the second focusses on living (well) with it.
Part 1 consists of 4 chapters, in which Tom explains what highsensitivity is, but before that he addresses the issue of what it means to be "a man" and what their role in society is or should be. He then proceeds with explaining the term highsensitivity, how to interpret it, what effects it has on everyday life or how it is affected by it and last what highsensitivity is NOT, in regard to mental illnesses and issues. A very distinct difference!
The second part is made up out of 5 chapters, focussing on strategies on how to deal with overstimulation of the senses and emotional intensity. A very important issue for all those highly sensitive people, who are exposed to modern society's onslaught and who have to stay upright nonetheless.
The final 2 chapters then turn toward the highly sensitive person themselves and deals with how a highly sensitive man can and should deal with himself and more so, how they can and should like and love themselves for how and what they are! This is at least of equal importance, because many, if not most, of them have heard their entire lives that something is wrong with them, which absolutely is NOT true!
Every chapter is recaptured in a summory and there are exercises throughout the book one can do, in order to learn how to apply what has been read into everyday life. Furthermore the book has 10 stories of men, who share their stories, their emotions or give a glimpse of everyday life, which I myself found really helpful and have me a sense of relief, since it shows and confirms I am not alone in this.
Finally the book closes off with an interview of Elain Aron by Tom himself.

What I personally really liked about the book, was that Tom made it very clear that many of the issues highly sensitive people and especially men, deal with everyday, are not or need not be caused by themselves! They are caused by an inherently wrong image society has of them and of men in general, expecting them to be tough, resiliant, emotionless leaders and warriors.
Furthermore Tom lifts the issues above and over the individual level and takes a scrutinizing look at society itself and suggest to start a social revolution (I can not call it otherwise) in which men are granted the possibility to be as they really are and to be accepted as such, wether he is sensitive, thoughtful or introvert or not. Our society is in desperate need of such men, if it is to solve many of the problems it is facing today!

I truly enjoyed reading the book and will reread it for sure. I am not a novice, when it comes to highsensitivity, having read Aron's books many years ago, but this book not only retought me some very valuable lessons, but also provided many new insights. I can only strongly recommend any man, that thinks he might be highly sensitive or knows someone who might be to read this book. 
I actually would suggest everyone interested to read it, so that we can achieve this revolution! For me this book was of equal importance as Aronäs books years ago.

As for Tom, I strongly suggest he makes sure the book appears in English as well. I dare say it is to important to not do so!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Running out of steam

Seems like I have run out of steam a little lately.
At least writingwise. The blog has been rather quiet, I still need to do a bookreview and also writing my own "book" has taken a backburner. I just lost steam there. It is not that there is nothing to write about, when it comes to the blog for instance. many things are happening. Things like a job (finally!!), winter arriving.... sort of. The weather's kind of crazy these days. As if it can not make up its mind. Rain and thaw, sleet or thick, wet snow... and thaw. Or sudden dips in temperature. -12C lowest so far, but then it goes back to step one.
The kind of weather that makes one want to snuggle up in a blanket or next to the stove....
One of the things that happened was.... my wife radically cutting off her hair.... Stop sniggering!!
That mondane fact caused a mental landslide. That one act caused me to redefine the way I see her and thus my self. And subsequently us. It was actually my buddy Odd that opened my eyes, by refering to seeing people through a filter of memories. And I realised I had been doing that too. I still saw us as the people from when we married and my wife cutting her hair ripped that filter away! I confessed to her that I did not recognize her anymore and the filtertheory made clear why. It took some serious mental readjusting on my behalf.
Also the writing of my book, trilogi, story, whatever makes me go over all my views, opinions and ideas, based on the information I find or reread. Here too I challenge my self and here too I find I need to readjust. Fixed ideas get finetuned or corrected as I do more reading and research. But that also makes me feel like I am merely regurgitating stuff others have said or written before me, while trying to pour that into a story.

And then there are the practical changes. First of all I finally started my new job after a 2 month delay. Not only did it make me appreciate the stores and supplies we had build up as we used them up, due to low imcome, it also means that I am among people again. The isolation had become a more and more pressing issue since summer. However that islation also made me reconsider the things we do here on a homesteadinglevel. For now we have enhanced our flock of chickens by adding a new group to the already existing one. Well, actually I hope that we will have 2 groups coexisting. Right now we are up to 4 cocks and 23 hens. We need to reduce that to 2 cocks and 20 hens. Sirius is already destined for the block. He is plain brutal, when it comes to the ladies and Lucius appears to be much more alert of birds of prey and defensive against intruders into the henhouse. He's prettier too. ;) We need to redo parts of the henhouse, but otherwise we consider this part of our plan achieved.

The rabbit-part we will not pursue, but at the moment I am planning the purchase of new bees next year. The new job would make that possible and it might give us more room to spend a little more too. Which would make the purchase of Nordic bees a possibility. These bees are adjusted to our climate and indigenous and I feel that beekeeprs in these parts should work harder to maintain that species instead of just thinking about themselves and their harvests.
Question is will we go for a plit-off or a complete colony? We'd need 2 either way.

Rooms for rent.
Or even for free for the right kinds of tennants!
Hell, I'll pay for them too!
And I should be at work right now, but the car's dead. Had a real fight yesterday changing to wintertires. Nuts were a real bitch to get loose and a broke a socket wrench trying that. In the end it worked using copious amounts of lubricating oil and a wrench with extended shaft.
And today I was about to take the damn thing to go to work, but it would not fire up. Battery's dead now and there's no one around to help jumpstart it. So I guessed I would not be going anywhere anytime soon. My wife suggested to hook up the engine heater. Heck, what does she know about carmechanics? That would not charge the battery, only warm up the engine. But I did what any sane husband would do; I obeyed. After a while, having had some coffee, whilst browsing the interwebs I just went back and gave the key a turn..... Guess what....
It was snowing then. I don't think I have ever seen snowflakes that big! Took me almost half an hour to drive the 13 kilometers to work and on more then one occasion I feared to end up in the ditch. And just before reaching work 2 deer thought it smart to bolt right in front of my car. I missed one by just a meter or so, but I could not hit the brakes. Just thinking about it would send my car slipping and sliding into misery.
Having a job is good for me. It is already lifting my spirits. It will mean that I get into a workingmode again, keeps me busy and energizes me. And that, hopefully, will reflect in the ansence of negligence when it comes to the garden. That is planned to become the next project to get done and that will include a fenced off part for the dogs with a dog pen, a completed watering system, a dedicated berry- and herb garden and last but not least a lot of decorative plants.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Wir hier draussen - Andrea Hejlskov

This is a bookreview of Andrea Hejlskov's book "Wir hier draussen. Eine Familie zieht in den Wald". It is a translation into German from her original title "Og den store flugt" in Danish from 2013. And since this review is directed at a Germanspeaking audience, I will do this review in German first. The English version will be in the second part for those interested.

Also meine verehrte Deutsche Leser und Leserinnen, hier eine Rezension Andrea's Buch. Da Deutsch nicht meiner Muttersprache ist, bitte ich eventuelle Fehler zu entschuldigen.

Ich war fasciniert, gefesselt von diesem Buch und habe es innerhalb zwei Tage ausgelesen. Warum es mich so gefesselt hat? Vielleicht weil wir, als Familie, eine ähnliche Reise gemacht haben. Zwar nicht so extrem und hardcore als Andrea und ihrer Familie, aber ähnlich. Weil wir als Familie, aber vor allem ich, als Mensch die Gefühle, die Träume, die Angst, die Verzweiflung, die Erleichterung, die Enttäusschung und all das was zu einem solchen Schritt, einer solchen Flucht, dazu gehöhrt, selbst erlebt habe und genau wieder erkenne.
Vielleicht weil diese Emotionen roh an der Oberfläche kommen und Andrea nichts verhühlt, das überhaupt nicht einmal versucht. Keine Schönschreiberei, keine falsche Romantik, kein Halleluja...
Ich muss gestehen das ich an eine oder zwei Stellen sogar tränen über meine Wange rollen fühlte.
Selber habe ich Andrea's Blog eine Weile gefolgt, bis sie dort weniger Aktiv wurde. Leider. Und ich kenne ihren Stil, ihre Art des schreibens und ihre Art des erzählens und ich muss hier die Übersetzerin ein grosses Komplimang machen. Es ist ihr gelungen diesen Stil, diese Art zu behalten und den Lesern zu überbringen. Es sind zwar die Worte der Übersetzerin, aber es ist Andrea die spricht und erzählt.
Und Andrea versteht es sehr gut die einklemmende Gesellschaft, der erstickender Alltag, die verzweifelte Flucht und der Wald, der deren neues Zuhause wird, zu schildern. Den das ist, was sie macht. Sie malt eine Welt mit Zeilen, ein Bild mit Worten, ein Gefühl mit Buchstaben.
Sie beschreibt den Alltag in Dänemark, der ihnen zum Wahnsin treibt, die Gesellschaft in dem sie sich nicht mehr an ihrem Platz wissen, die Flucht in den Schwedischen Wald der Provinz Värmland, die Mensschen die sie dort begegnen und der Tagtäglicher Kampf eine neue existenz auf zu bauen.
Eine fascinierende Geschichte. Eine Beschreibung einer Alternative. Eine andere Art des Lebens, gelebt von Leuten, die ich als Krieger beschreiben würde. Sie haben gegen die Gesellschaft, aber vor allem gegen sich selbst gekämpft. Und gesiegt.

Vielen Dank Andrea, das du mir dieses Buch geschenkt hast!
Es hat mir persönlich geholfen

Der verlag selbst schreibt:"

Eine wahre Geschichte über die Abkehr von der Zivilisation und einen Neuanfang im Wald.


Andrea Hejlskov ist sich sicher: So kann es nicht weitergehen. Sie und ihr Mann sehen in den täglichen Mühen der Arbeit keinen Sinn mehr, die Kinder sitzen nur noch in ihren Zimmern vor den Computern, wirkliche Unterhaltungen finden kaum noch statt. Ihnen ist klar: Das ist nicht das Leben, das sie führen wollen. Sie entscheiden sich, alles grundlegend zu ändern und nach dem zu suchen, was wirklich zählt. Und sie wollen sie raus in die Natur, weg von der Zivilisation mit ihren Anforderungen und Eingrenzungen. Als ihnen eine Hütte in einem Waldstück in Schweden angeboten wird, wird auf einmal alles sehr real.
Doch die Familie muss die grundlegendsten Dinge des täglichen Lebens neu lernen, etwa wie man Holz hackt, eine Blockhütte baut, im Freien kocht, wie man sich verhält, wenn jemand sich verletzt oder krank wird. Manchmal sind die Probleme kaum zu bewältigen, manchmal denken die Eltern ans Aufgeben, manchmal machen die Abenteuer auch großen Spaß.

Mit bemerkenswerter Ehrlichkeit berichtet die dänische Autorin Andrea Hejlskov von einem radikalen Entschluss – einem wahnwitzigen Aufbruch ins Grüne, aber eben auch ins Ungewisse. Es ist die Geschichte einer Familie, die ihr Leben radikal verändert – und dadurch ganz neu zusammenfindet.

Übersetzt von Roberta Schneider."

Zum Buch selbst;
ich erhielt eine gebundene Ausgabe und ich mag die Gestaltung sehr. Das Buch hat eine Retro-ausstrahlung. Das Bild und die farben der Vorderseite, kein Glanzpapier, sonder fühlt sich an wie Leinen. Sogar die farbe der 292 Seiten passt mit ein cremefarbiges Weiss. Das Ganze atmet Qualität.

Ich kan Euch nur raten, Euch dieses Buch zu zu legen. 

I have to say that this book fascinated me, caught me and I read it from cover to cover within 2 days.
Why did it catch me the way it did? Maybe because we ourselves, as a family, have mde a similar journey. Not as extreme or hardcore and she and her family have, but similar. Perhaps, because we, but especially I as a person recognise those feelings, those dreams, the fear, the desperation, the relief, the disappointment and every other emotion connected to such a move, such a flight. I recognise them, because we have gone through them ourselves.
Perhaps because all these emotions come to the surface, raw and Andrea does not polish things up. Doesn't even try. She doesn't make things prettier than they are, no false romanticism, no bliss and I have to admit that I felt tears running down my cheeks on one or two occasions.
I did follow Andrea's blog for a while, until she stepped down her activities there. Unfortunately. I did recognise her style, her way of writing and telling her stories. And I have to pay a compliment to the translator here. She managed to keep this style and to present them to the reader. The words are hers, but it is Andrea who is doing the telling.
And she is quite good at painting the claustrophobic society, the suffocating everyday life, the desperate flight and the forests, that are to become their new home. She paints a world with sentences, an image with words and emotions with letters.
She discribes everyday life in Denmark, driving them mad, the flight into the forests of te Swedish province of Värmland, the daily struggle to build up an new existence.
A fascinating story. A description of an alternativ. A different way of live, lived by people I consider to be warriors. They fought society. They fought themselves. And triumphed.

thank you Andrea for giving me this book!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bushcraft Sverige Region Mitt - first meeting

Last weekend saw the first meeting of the Bushcraft Sverige Region Mitt.
A few folks, myself included, felt it was about time we started to get together and go out, meetig others with similar interests and just hang out, share stories, knowledge, a fire, food, company and /or coffee. Since Sweden isn't exactly a small country and driving for hours to meet people defies the purpose, the start up of a local group under the banner of Bushcraft Sverige was initiated. 
And with great success!! What a kick off! 
Olli, from Swetrek had arranged a paddlingtour on the Hinsen lake with our destination being the islands in the middle. Unfortunately some people had to back out at the end, but we ended up with a group of 9 and a dog. The weather could not have been any more perfect; very calm, next to no wind, sunny with a hint of clouds.
In order to support our efforts the mother association had kindly sponsored us with food and drink. (For which I am very grateful!! I had forgotten to pack my food..... )
After Olli had run through the basics, we got into the canoes and casually made our way toward our destination. Magnus had brought his own kajak, Jonathan, caroline & Diesel had their own canoe and the rest teamed up in pairs; Olli and me in one, Karin and her friend Eva in one, followed by Boel and Mikael. A few people I knew, a few I met for the first time and that was pretty much the same for the rest of the group, but it clicked just like that!
As we had landed at our destination, the first thing that had to be done, was make a fire and get coffee going! Olli had brought some of his wonderful forrest coffee with him and it has been my favorite, ever since I first tasted it at the bushcraft festival. He also knew quite a bit about the area, since this area is his seasonal job! That must be awful!
There was no fixed plan for this day, but somehow it all focussed on coffee, food and fire. We were free to paddle at will, but none did! There always was coffee, there were the obligatory sausages ad bread, but the best was Karin baking kolbullar, outdoor pancakes with bacon and lingonjam, some of the best I ever had and Olli steaking mushrooms with cream and spices. On bread if one so desired. And by the end of the day he treated us to blueberryjuice. Warm juice, boiled over the fire with fresh blueberries, a liberal amount of honey and a dash of water. Just heat it over the fire and let it warm you from the inside out. Since that's what it did. It didn't just taste good, it warmed. A thick, rich flavour, superbly in tune with the day and the season.
Activities focused on making fire, from making charcloth, to the bowdrill and flint&steel. On this occasion I managed to get my first flint&steel fire going!! And it was captured on film, right at the end of it! Ahh, you think. What a splendid day! But wait! it gets better. As always Olli had brought his Dan Andersson-book and that seemed to have inspired Boel and Karin to sing. I am no familiar with Swedish camp or outdoorsongs or poetry, but that really was the cherry on the cake.
I will no longer bother you with my ramblings and I want to share this day in a more visual way too.
But before I do, I just want to thank everyone involved. This was a day I will remember for a long time!
Tusen tack allihop!!

The video was shot by Mikael klöfver, who permitted me to use it here.
Tack Mikael!!

The following images are mine. These are the most useable ones, since my phone is quiting on me;

The next pictures were taken by Boel Engkvist and she permitted the use of them, here;


A picture that captures the atmosphere very well indeed!

Our merry little gang

The final image is by Karin Haulin and I am allowed to use it. It pretty much shows the essence of this meet in one single image.

She has her own site as well; Hå Be sure to check it out if you're interested in outdoor activities in Västmanland and Uppland.

This superb day however did have one negative side to it. During the drive home the phone (and gps upon which I relied) died and allthough I roughly new where to go, I took a wrong turn, ending up driving over a road that had been "fixed", meaning the surface had been scraped an leveled. That also means large rocks lying everywhere and allthough I managed to avoid the majority of those, I did hit one.
When I came to the car on sundaymorning to attend a scale modelling gathering I found this;

Turns out the tire had 2(!!) holes, one in the middle and one on the inner side. No fixing that....

Thursday, October 12, 2017

an october morning

A thursday morning in october; grey skies, pattering rain, leaves of aspen and birch blowing about in the wind, coming in over the lake. Daylight struggling to give some form of illumination to this day, that doesn't seem willing to wake up. A fire crackling in the fireplace, a mug of hot coffee, the dogs asleep on the couch and I catch myself stroking my beard. It needs trimming....
I like mornings like this, starting slow, taking my time. These are the times where the minds wanders. A time where ideas are born. Not that I have a shortage of those. No, not these days. It is more that there are so many and a few of those have taken root.
One of those ideas has taken and still taking form; I have starting writing. Not being hindered by any form of knowledge, I am scribbling away, hammering the keys. These days a notebook and pen (yes, the old fashioned versions!!) are always with me. providence has provided mankind with cargopockets on military pants for a reason!
No idea if any of it will materialize into something tangible. Something solid. But for now I am creating microstories, bits of a puzzle that has been forming in my head for a long time. My fingers hardly can keep with what my brain is spawning. And I am being swept away! It feels like a dam has burst, images, scenes and characters bursting forth and I am having a blast! It is fun, it feels liberating and I can do whatever I want! Well, not whatever I want, since I still limit myself to some level of reason. It all has to make sense, fit and be plausible. No idea if I can even shape it all into a cohesive form. But if it does, it would be in the form of a trilogy. That is another idea that has taken root and looking at the microstories I have created so far, that only seems to make sense.

And speaking of books, another idea that spawned was triggered by one. The one I talked about earlier; the book on hoghly sensitive men and our society. A few days ago Tom Falkenstein's book landed in my mailbox, but even before it did I had started making connections between this subject and the subject of bushcraft or even outdoor activities in general. But to me, there seems to be a difference between bushcraft and the other activities; a lack of or a much lower level of maleness. In bushcraft these seems to be far less urge to show oneself, a lot less cockyness. In bushcraft there seems to be much more focus on achieving knowledge, of reconnecting, iof being a part of instead of a bystander. There seems to be far less need for penisenvy or macho behaviour, even though there still is plenty of it. But I started wondering if maybe amongst the men, which are very dominant within the discipline itself, there might be an overrepresentation of highly senstivie men, simply because of the mentioned features. It would make perfect sense that this kind of man would be naturally drawn to it.
I talked about this to Lisa Fenton, who did a thesis on te subject of bushcraft and who allowed me to read it. And what I read seems to support that idea. Many, if not all, the marks are there. The solitude or avoidence of society/groups, the use of the senses, the inner connection.... She agreed that I might be on to something, so more looking into it will be done.
In the meantime I got Tom's book as said and while browsing through it, one thing almost immediately struck me. All of those who were quoted, mentioned a struggle with themselves and the surroundings, because of the social unacceptance of highly sensitive men! All of them mentioned the very aspects I stated! There has to be a connection there! It needs ifurther investigation. So Tom's book has moved onto the first spot on my "still-have-to-read"-list. I have a small pile of books waiting..... More reading.... Damn... ;)
I most certainly will get back on all these things!!
And an in-depth review of the book of course will be among it.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bushcraft Sverige - basic bushcraft course

Friday saw me grabbing my gear in a hurry!
I had been quite negligent  the days before, but had a pretty good idea on what to bring. There was little or no need for equipment like cooking sets and such, just some basics like spare clothes, eating utensils, a knife and other standard bits 'n bobs. I also promised Tobias, one of the organizers/instructors to bring my army tent. There were 2 guys that needed a place to sleep, possibly one more person, besides me and Olli. And when I bring the tent I need not watch the extra weight and room, so my field cot came along as well. Temperatures were looking to be higher than on the festival, but there was a forecast of rain on sunday.
Unfortunately a few hours before leaving, Olli contacted me and told me he had to cancel his attendance! That meant driving south for 4,5 hours alone and back home again. Plus the costs would be all on my head. Damn. And as usual I was starting to get cold feet. I always have the tendency to back out in the period prior to such an event, but once I get going, that is no longer an issue. Certainly not as much as it used to be, so I am making progress there. What ensued was a long, tiring drive. It was countryroad to about halfway, where I would pass the city of Örebro and from there on much motorway. I hardly recognised the country we had passed through 20 years ago and large parts reminded me of the Netherlands; flat countryside with occasional buildings, industrial or shopping sites or residential areas. Not until the final stretch did the view change back to forests and country
I arrived late afternoon and after the initial greetinground I set out to raise the tent. I was assisted by one of my new "roommates", Mikael, who was so kind as to show me how to properly set up the damn thing! I had managed so far with reasonable success, but it turned out it was not the entirely correct way. Now we had much more room on the inside and taught panels, since the sides sloped out somewhat as well instead for being straight and floppy. Tack Mikael!

More and more people started gathering around the campfire as they started arriving and at about 19:00 (guessing here) the official kickoff was given. Our hosts/instructors welcomed us and gave a quick rundown of the programme in the days to come. The evening was meant for getting to know each other and for discussions on bushcraft and allemansrätten. Such discussions are a good way of getting a feel for one another. Also Elle from Elles utematwould attend and supply us with an array of snacks during the evening. I had met her at the festival and was already looking forward to those treats!! She has a great knowledge on mushrooms as well, which she would be sharing with us both piecemeal and on a tour.
The rest of the evening was spent mingling, talking, discussing, having a drink or 2 (or a bit more), lots of laughter and just having a good time together. I ended that day far later than I had anticipated and slightly more intoxicated than I had hoped.

Picture by Morgan Borén

Picture by Salima Voloscuka
Saturday; before breakfast I made a little tour around the site. A wonderful place....
I had slept relatively well, but got woken by an alarm, probably from a telephone, going off somewhere nearby. Not once, but twice with a longer interval. Since the planning was that breakfast should be done at around 07:00 and we be ready by 09:00, I figured I might as well get up. Making breakfast would be a solo affair for me, since the options given, like the classic oats porridge, most certainly did not appeal to me. All I would be using would be some hot coffee and a warm, boiled egg. The morning was chilly and very damp, making it feel even colder still.

This was a day that mainly Johan did the talking. The subjects were basic skills on knife and saw (no axes on this course), some explanations and instructions on some very basic other skills; fire, camp and gear.
The first subject was the proper use of a knife and carving techniques. He demonstrated us how to do things and why, after which he set us the task of carving 2 tentpegs. He had shown us how to take down a sapling thicker than a thumb and how to process that into said 2 tentpegs, using different techniques. Also the use of a bowsaw was taken up. Some techniques I already knew and use practically daily, but another one was new; setting the bow on the ground and using it to cut short pieces. During class a stiff, chilling breeze had picked up and I noticed a number of attendants freezing. Scarfs, hats and gloves came out and I had put on my buff, the one I had gotten at the first national meet. I was not too pleased with its performance, since it rolled up into a roll, exposing the neck, with the wind blowing down it. Useless.....
Picture by Salima Voloscuka

While everyone was working there was time for other things as well.
Some inevitable geartalk, like me asking Andreas all about the fjellduken.
Picture by Salima Voloscuka

Or clowning around with instructor Tobias....
For this course we were given new Mora knives in this year's colours, as can be seen dangling from a cord around Marcus' neck.
Picture by Salima Voloscuka
Picture by Morgan Borén
Picture by Salima Voloscuka

After everyone was done, he proceeded on the subject of firemaking, covering everything from using a match to a firesteel and even flint and steel. By paying close attention (very close) I was able to see what I was doing wrong in getting the sparks to land of the tinder. Now I need to practise!! He also addressed several firestarters both natural and manmade and we got plenty of opportunity to test and practise.
What an immaculately timed picture!!
Picture by Salima Voloscuka

Picture by Salima Voloscuka

Picture by Salima Voloscuka
By now it was getting around lunchtime, so time for a break.... Elle had whipped up a very tasty meal, containing vegetables and mushrooms.
All that social activity is demanding and the wind was kind of cold.
What better way to relax then to rest in the sun?
Picture by Marcus Östlin

After lunch Johan picked up where he left.
Now he turned his and our attention to basic camp skills; how to pick a spot, what to pay attention to when having a fire plus some easy DIY projects like a packframe, a bowsaw or a bucksaw. After this lecture he took us on a planttour, showing some edibles, finished off by an explanation on how to purify water, using a cloth and chemicals. You could spend a whole day on either of these subjects and not be done with them, but these were just the very basics.
He emphasised the importance of selecting and preparing your fireplace, always lining it with rocks to prevent the fire to spread into the underground and enhancing the flow of air from below at the same time. The issue of making fire on bedrock was addressed, since I brought that up. Had gotten into a bit of a discussion about that and Johan explained that it not only is not ethical or unacceptable in Sweden, but that it even is prohibited by law. Many of the foreign guests visiting this country for outdoor activities either do not pay attention to it or simple do not know about it, causing damages on a regular basis.

Picture by Morgan Borén

Picture by Marcus Östling

After this the concentration of the group pretty much was used up as an incident during Johan's filtering lecture showed. One of the attendants had spotted a crayfish in the river and had picked it out of the water. It was as if a group of elementary school kids had been shown something exciting. Everyone flocked toward the place where the crayfish had been released, scouting out the bottom to see if it was still there.... So Johan did the wise thing and called it a day.

This evening we were supposed to make dinner ourselves. There was a basic array of ingredients, pots 'n pans and we were pretty much left to our own devices. There was beef in cubes, carrots, pasternak, onions, white cabbage, broth cubes, quorn, herbs and spices. I decided I would make a stew, having done that before and in comparable quantities and so I did, using the beef, carrot, pasternak, onion, flavoured with laurel, salt and black pepper, seasoned with the distinct flavours of open fire woodsmoke and being-outside-appetite.
I thought it turned out pretty ok, got one confirmation, no complaints and the stew was gone in no time. Also the stir fried cabbage and vegetable stew without meat were pretty much gone. No idea about the quorn really. Not exactly my area of interest. It was remarkably quiet during dinner, actually....
What made things a bit more challenging was that we had to make a multiple dish dinner for a large group (20+) on an open fire. That did require a good deal of coordination, adaptation and improvisation.

Together with Henrik and Johanna
Picture by Marcus Östling

....tasted better than it looked!!!
After this everyone was pretty much done for. Most gathered around the fire once more and Henrik treated us to a real campfire story. It's been a long time since I heard one of those and it always creates a special atmosphere, I think. Something many of our ancestors did as well, creating a connection to those roots.
I had a good long, heart to heart talk about my blog and writing with Ric Nagualero, an outdoor enthusiast and artist, whose paintings I previously had admired at the festival. He rattled my cage. He stated I had the talent, but that I was held back by my own resistance. That resistance either being fear of failure or fear of success...... The night did not last long. before 22:00 there were but a few remaining at the firesite, the rest having retreated for the night already. I retired early too, but with something to think about.

Picture by Salima Voloscuka

Sunday; once more I woke early this morning, but not as rested as the day before. Somehow I had had a wrong sleeping position, waking up with aches in shoulders and neck, causing a splitting headache. It took 2 painkillers to get rid of that, before I could get into the car and head back home.
But before that there was breakfast and I followed the same routine as the day before, eating my own food and sharing some tastingsamples of some of the Dutch goodies I had brought, like cheese and applesyrup. The first chemical physical condition enhancer went down with the first coffee and a little while later the agony lessened.
Johan continued his lectures with one final one; knifesharpening. He showed us the techniques he uses. He also brought materials for us to make our own sharpeningblocks, containing slabs of plywood and several grid sandpaper plus double sided tape. I still have the one I made at the first national meeting and found out that the more I use it, the better it works. So I made another one....
After this lecture Elle was taking everyone for a dedicated mushroom walk, which I skipped. Still not feeling "top o' the world" and I had my packing to do, including that large tent. I took my time and by the time I had to take the tent down, the group was back again and Mikael lent me a hand. A final round over the campsite and everything was done.
The morning was concluded by the official handout of the diplomas and badges, after which many of us made one last round over the entire campsite, picking up pieces of scrap that had been missed. I said my goodbye's and around 13:00 I returned home, having downed the second painkiller. After 4,5 hours on the road I was glad to be driving up my driveway. Tired, but satisfied.....

Picture by Morgan Morén
The badge with the blue edge is the course badge

Picture by Salima Voloscuka

A big thank you to all who attended for making this a successful event. And an extra big thank you to Nenne Thorin, Tobias Karlsson and Johan Forsberg, acting as instructors. (But not only for that!!) Well, the first 2 mainly as observers, but with a special reason. This course is the first step to becoming an ambassador for the association with 2 more courses to go, before you can apply for that ambassadorship. In which case you need to do an extra course/exam, when they deem you suitable for that position.....
If I understood correctly.

In hindsight I have to say that I pretty much knew much of the basics, but still I learned quite a few new ones or enhanced/refreshed my knowledge of them. It never hurts to go over the basics, because it shows what you have forgotten or have started to do in a way that needs improvement.
It, surprisingly, was also fun to help and show others that were struggling with things. To show them tips and tricks or give them suggestions is rewarding in itself. And I was taught that if you can explain it to someone else, you have learned it yourself too.
I guess my social skills are improving as well, but after such an event I still feel exhausted.

Picture by Salima Voloscuka