Lapland Spring 2009

As you may have guessed I have been in Lapland again for three weeks.  The ability to schedule posts to appear and having Jeremy as a guest blogger have filled my absence.  Many thanks to Jeremy for some very interesting and informative posts.  I hope he will be providing more soon :>)

I will be writing about my trip as soon as, and when I can but please be patient as I have some health issues and have to undergo some tests in hospital over the next few days.

I also took a video camera with me this time, and will again in the autumn with the intention of making a film about the nature and people of the area.  I just need to find someone to help me edit it all together!!

Here’s a picture to give a feel of what’s to come…

sunset

Willow bed

A couple of winters ago,after a basket making course run by Fenlander, I collected some cuttings of osier (Salix viminalis) to create my own willow bed or ‘holt’ in my garden as a handy supply of rods for future projects.IMG_3725The cuttings were 8-10″ long and about finger thick.The top is cut flat across and the bottom angled. This makes pushing them into the ground easier and helps you get them the right way up!To make the holt I ,firstly,laid layers of cardboard on the ground held down and edged with logs.Holes were made through the card and the cuttings pushed in.The whole area was then thickly mulched with bark,wood chippings,sawdust and grass clippings. As the bed is next to my firewood processing area it receives regular top ups- however it has still needed occassional weeding to help the willow establish.

IMG_3720Here is the holt in its second spring. I’ll make my first cut this winter and hopefully next year the stumps will throw up multiple stems which I can use for basket work.

IMG_3711Here are two frame baskets, which I made on Fenlander’s course, and a couple of simple trays/pot stands.

Honey and Walnut Soda Bread

Ingredients: 200g. shelled walnuts

200g. honey

300ml water

500g. wholemeal flour (or half wholemeal/spelt,half white for a slightly lighter loaf)

4 tsp. baking powder

10g. salt

Place a dutch oven over the fire to pre-heat. Crush half the walnuts to a rough powder in a pestle and mortar or bash/roll with a log inside a bag. Break the rest of the walnuts into largish chunks.Heat the honey and water gently until the honey has dissolved and set aside to cool slightly.Combine the flour,all the walnuts,baking powder and salt in a bowl.Pour in the ‘honey water’ and mix to a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and shape into a rounded loaf.Place into the oiled and pre-heated dutch oven, cutting a deep cross through the top.Put the oven lid on and cover with embers.

Check after about 20 minutes but it shouldn’t take longer than about 30 minutes.IMG_3240_sThis recipe makes a lovely, rich and filling loaf which is best eaten straight away or within a day.

I’ve given all the measurements for the ingredients here but  I’ve found,over time, that it’s useful to adapt recipes to proportions and get to know how much your particular bits of kit hold,eg. my kuksa holds 1/4pt (150ml) of liquid and just over 4 oz (100g.) of flour.Don’t let precise measurements hold you back from experimenting!IMG_3244_s

A wayside salad

Recently I foraged for a ‘wayside’ salad for my lunch in the woods. I wanted a light meal that required minimal preparation and cooking as I needed to crack on with some craft work projects.

My salad consisted mainly of small leaved lime leaves with the leaves of hawthorn,wild strawberry,hedge garlic and hairy bittercress and the leaves and flowers of honesty plus a scattering of primrose and violet flowers. I added 2 hard boiled eggs to the bowl and drizzled a simple dressing of rapeseed oil and balsamic vinegar over it.Yum!IMG_3588_s