Sunday, January 20, 2019

A birthday very much to my liking!

Last weekend, sunday 13th, marked the passing of my 48th birthday and since it was the only day off in a 10 day workingperiod I wanted it be well worth my time. So I invited the members of our outdoorgroup. What better day to spend a birthday with friends? Well, I figured out in the open with some hot food would be real nice and we could do that at the charcoal kilnsite.
The saturday before I drove up to the location to see how the road in was, because of a passing storm and snowfall in the days/weeks before. I also brought the dogs to walk them there. Y'know 2 birds with one stone and all.... The way in did not go entirely as planned. The road was covered in thick, fluffly snow, making it feel as if I was driving through whipped cream. No footing or traction at all and in one curve, a very slight right one going equally slightly up hill the car just went its own way. At a very slow pace it just slide straight ahead, right into the ditch, no matter what I did. So there I was; stuck. With 2 dogs in the back and no tools. Nothing but a wooden beam. On a narrow road. Goddamn! So I set to work with that beam, using it both as a shovel and board to drive out of the ditch. After much shovelling, spinning, swearing, more shovelling, spinning and swearing I eventually got out! Ever so gently I proceeded toward the kilnsite, parking the car, walking the dogs and enjoying the scenery and silence.

Later that night we prepared all we'd need to make some high energy food. We promised those coming in a proper hot lunch and decent coffee and I was a bit nervous, because it had been a while since I made that over an open fire. Unfortunately some were unable to attend, but the vast majority did show up and we had a good time. Lots of (gear)talk, laughs, hot food that turned out to be very well liked and even a new member to our group introduced himself and shared some of his food as well. My wife, who had come up with our oldest daughter, had baked 2 fruitpies, traditional from the area we come from and these too proved quite popular!

But before that I was given some presents! My buddy Marcus had promised me a splitting axe, originally intended for christmas, but now as a birthday gift, Magnus gave me a personally handcarved coffeescoop. I love that kind of thing! And then Karin handed me a flat, round package, saying I'd probably smash up the gift. I was taken back a little..... smashing up a gift? Never! Until I unwrapped it; a think slice of pine, containing a huge amount of resin! That will make a lot of fatwood for the firekit(s)! But the icing on the cake was the gift Johan presented me with on behalf of all attending; A Mora Garberg! But with a black blade with my initials, the year 2019 AND the Dalarna emblem engraved in it!!
I was speechless..... How do small kids say??

A huge thank you to all for your gifts, but you attending was the biggest gift of all!
You made this a birthday worth remembering.

Karin took the picture, showing the whole gang present!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

... and a moo-moo here... and a moo-moo there....

You all probably know "old Mc.Donalds had a farm"-song and at one point cows came into play. That also happened in my life. I got a job as a farmhand on a dairy farm! And that is exacty why my blog has been kind of dead these past 2 months. I am dead too, when I get home....
It is hard work; work I was totally unfamiliar with, but I am loving it! I like being around cows. Turns out I have a soft spot for them and by now I am pretty much used to being around and in cowshit all day. And that's no bullshit!

There is something deeply satisfying watching cows contently munching away...
During the past month or so I have experienced pretty every aspect working on a farm with livestock; the fun (wrestling with haybales) and the dirty (scraping the cows boxes and standing up to my thighs in manure for 2 hours), the joyous (witnessing calves being born and seeing them frolic about) and the sad (cows being sick, necessitating putting them down or witnessing a cesarean section, producing a hideously deformed calf. I'll spare you the details. Google schisosomus reflexus, but be warned! No pretty pictures!!) I love the diversity of tasks; from animal care to fixing plumbing or driving an old rickety tractor from a workshop back home for 2 hours on a cold, but wonderfull sunny day. Downside was the large glass window in the back was missing and I had to take bumpy backroads all the way....
And like I said, I like being around cows. I am amused to see all their own personalities, their nosyness, their pigheadedness, especially when they have to get up, when I need to clean their spot. I swear they even shake their heads at me! "No, I don't want to get up!" And there is one calf that has been born blind. I have a special place for her. Because she can't see, she is not as skittish as other calves and thus is easier to approach. When she smells me, she stretches her neck and wants to be scratched.
I also catch myself that I am constantly talking to the animals, whenever I have to move among them or are near them. I also next to always run a hand along a flank or neck, when I pass them. I think it is important to make such contact, but I noticed I do so without actually thinking about it. It happens automatically.

Just another view from the office.... Can't beat that!

And in the meantime winter decided to finally show up. It has been and still is unusually mild for the time of year (and for the first time i do not really mind), but we did have snow for christmas!