Since we moved to our house, Teres and I have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor, so I decided to make a wooden bed. I bought some off-cuts of Pine from a local saw-mill which cost me £20. To remove some of the bark from the off-cuts I had to build a shaving horse
I did a lot of shaping of the wood using my knife
Here is a series of pictures of the beds construction, beginning with the base of the bed
Teres has started carving name signs and has made one for the bed
Just to let everyone know, naturallore.co.uk is no longer working, but you can now find me via either;
Other work on my cabin has included building a new cupboard for food storage. You can see how work began in this picture the new cupboard will be to the right of the broom
Here is the cupboard now and it includes a worktop you can pull out when cooking on the stove ad slide back in when you do not require it. I just need to build doors now
Recently I wrote about collecting berries for the winter and while at the cabin I made some apple and blueberry fruit leather
You can read how I make it in one of my previous posts.
Ingvar caught 21 fish in his net so we decided to smoke them to preserve them. The fish were gutted and then salted (plus a little sugar added) and left for one day.
The next day we made fire in my smoker and added Juniper and Alder to give flavour to the fish.
Anki smoked the fish for one hour
and they tasted very good.
Before I bought the cabin, rain water had been coming in around the chimney and had caused considerable damage to roof timbers and the ceiling
With Ingvar helping, we decided to repair the ceiling in the kitchen. We had to remove the damaged material first
Rotten timbers had to be replaced with new ones
We covered the new timbers with hardboard to help stop cold drafts and a thick paper was put under the insulation, above the ceiling to also help reduce drafts.
We nailed up laths and then fixed tongue and groove boards to them and the new ceiling was completed
Here’s a picture as you walk in the door
The cabin will soon be available to hire.
I am back in Nattavaara now and unfortunately its looking less and less likely that the Reindeer slaughter will happen now until November/December. The family I will be working with have told me that the Reindeer start breeding at the end of September and at this time the meat does not taste so good, so now we must wait until after the breeding season.
And now back to the story of the Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula)…..
I walked out of my cabin at dusk and a pale coloured bird flew from a live Birch into the top of a dead Birch (it really is sitting in the top of that tree!)
After I took this photograph it flew to a large Spruce tree and after a flew seconds ATTEMPTED to fly away, but unfortunately its talons were tangled in some “Old man’s beard moss” and it ended up hanging upside down from the branch flapping its wings to try and get away.
I went to get a ladder and put up to the tree, but fortunately as I began to climb up, the owl managed to free itself and flew off. I was very surprised to see it back the next day!……I wonder how many Hawk Owls hang from the Spruce trees of Lapland as decorations????
The weather in the mountains has been very bad, forcing the Reindeers down into the forest and this making them very difficult to find and herd, so I am at my cabin doing more repairs and waiting for a phone call to move to the mountains.
I will write more when I can but for now here is a new bird for me, which flew out of a tree next to my cabin last night, but I write more about that incident when I get home. For now here are some pictures I took of it (a Hawk Owl) today.
The cabin repairs continued last week with work on the kitchen. As we arrived there were a large number of Waxwings feeding on Mountain Ash/Rowan berries
I had purchased some wood paneling to put on the walls.
It was much more work than I had expected because some of the wood needed to be planed and shaped with a knife
Here are some before and after pictures
and one extra of the new kitchen
When I have more money we will replace the ceiling so I cannot complete the work just now.
I have made a new, rather primitive looking knife, which I will be using next week when working with Reindeer in the mountains (I’m not so worried if it gets lost or damaged).
The two pieces of horn I used form the perfect shape to fit into my hand
The sheath I have made enables the knife to be withdrawn easily with one hand and it holds a firesteel in the front
The sheath also proved useful for holding my pencil while working on the kitchen
I have also now purchased a chainsaw from the local petrol station at a very good price and while at the cabin we collected some Birch nearby, which had been damaged by a snowplough during the winter
We carried the wood the trailer
and it was not long before we had a load to take back to the cabin, cut up and split
Hopefully my next post will be about working with Reindeer….
My friend Dirk called me one day last week to say he was sick and to ask if I could act as a guide for the group he had staying. Of course I agreed.
I took the group to the Polar Circle near to Nattavaara, where I talked about some useful plants for food and medicine, talked a bit about Sami culture and demonstrated making fire without matches and then of course we made coffee
The group were very friendly and keen to learn and have fun
We returned to Dirk’s where I demonstrated a variety of ways to make fire and tinders to use and two people were successful at producing fire with the bow-drill. We were planning to cook a meal in the ground so we built a large fire and put in rocks to heat them
I prepared a hole into which the hot stones and food would be placed
and after the fire had been burning for two hours the rocks were very hot and ready for cooking the food
The food to be cooked was Salmon, wild mushrooms and berries and herbs from the garden
The Salmon was cut into pieces and wrapped in Birch bark with berries, herbs and mushrooms
The parcels were tied up with Birch twigs
The hot rocks and bark parcels were then placed in the hole and turf put on top
While the parcels were cooking I demonstrated a primitive way of boiling water and cooking using some hot rocks in a Birch bark kettle I had made
After about 50 minutes the parcels were cooked and ready to be removed
and here is the end result
Last weekend I stayed at my cabin with my friend Hasse. We were there to finish the work to raise the back half of the cabin, to make it level with the rest. All the doors and windows had to be opened to avoid damage as the cabin moved.
We used an hydrological jack to raise the cabin and inserted pieces of wood on top of the pillars to keep it level.
The rear of the cabin had to be raised by 4cms and we had to make some adjustments to windows to make them close again.
We found an old piece of kitchen worktop when we moved to our house and this proved ideal to fit into the cabin kitchen
My friend Eric was at his cabin and was keen to show me a bears den not far from the cabins.
The bear had excavated its den under an old ants next (which apparently they often do) and it had removed some very large rocks
Here is a close-up of the entrance
and here is a picture inside the den
On Saturday evening we made a big fire, grilled sausage and drunk some bear and whiskey