I have been busy making items for Solberget Vildmarksbyn.
Some Birch bark containers, a kåsa and a large knife.
The knife handle is made from Birch bur, Moose horn and sheath leather.
and the cup is also made from Birch bur. A local reindeer herder gave me 10 out of 10 for the quality of this Kåsa which pleased me greatly!!
Yesterday I was at Jokkmokk’s Historic Marknad (this is a small market held each year from Sunday to Wednesday, prior to the main market starting on Thursday), where I spent quite a bit of time demonstrating making fire with the bow-drill.
One Sámi man was really interested to see the bow-drill in use and I ended up giving him my bow-drill set so that he could practise making fire with it at home.
About 10kms outside Nattavaara today we had the annual Renskiljning.
The Reindeer are herded into a handling facility and each Sami family removes their own animals from the herd to feed and care for during the winter.
Here are a few pictures from today;
I was at work yesterday, but Teres was at home and took some pictures of some guests that arrived for dinner and spent most of the day at our house.
There was one almost completely white reindeer with them. He had a bell around his neck which helps to locate the reindeer when they are in the forest.
This is a mother and calf that are digging in the snow to locate food
and this animal is fitted with a GPS collar as part of a project to study bear predation on reindeer. When a bear comes within 100 metres of the reindeer, the collar activates and begins sending a signal to the researches. They have found that 60% of reindeer calves are taken by bears!
This is one of the home remedies that we learnt about while in Karesuando. It is a hair tonic and shampoo made from Birch leaves and when used regularly, it treats scalp conditions, promotes hair-growth and generally conditions the hair.
It is very easy to make.
You collect Birch leaves in August in Karesuando (so maybe during September in the UK) put them in a jar with an air-tight top.
You then add warm (NOT HOT) water and leave to cool for about 8 hours, shaking periodically. After 8 hours you remove the leaves and it’s finished.
You only require a small amount in your hand when you wash your hair, but it does not lather!!
On Saturday morning we travelled to Karesuando to spend a day with Teres’ relatives.
Unfortunately a 26km section of the E45 which runs from Karesuando – Gela in Italy.
The road was very rough to drive which wasn’t so good for my back and it was not always so obvious exactly where to drive!!
Teres’ dad Ingvar came with us to tell us about the area and it’s history and stories of things he did when spending summers there with his parents and family.
The village is actually just outside Karesuando and is called Mertajärvi. The old house on the left of this picture is where the family used to live (built in the late 1800’s) and then the new house was built in the 1950’s.
We spent a lot of time talking with Ingvar’s aunty and traditional remedies for various ailments and illnesses and I will be testing and writing about some of them in the future.
It was also hemvändardag (I can’t translate this word but the event is about people who have lived there, returning gathering to see friends and family).
The event was held in the school where there were many pictures of family and relatives (the family name is Gunnare)
and Ingvar enjoyed talking with people about the family history.
We also drove across the border into Finnish Karesuando
There were some wonderful chainsaw carvings in a field next to the border
Thanks to all the family for a great day!!!
Fortunately, yesterday evening there was a reindeer calf marking at a location where we could drive with the car and I only had to walk a couple of hundred metres.
We took Sara and Mona with us who are two girls from Germany, spending their summer working here at our summer café here in Nattavaara.
Preparations started at 7pm, with each family making a fire, cooking coffee and grilling reindeer meat or sausage over the flames and children playing.
After this it was time for the work to begin. First the number of calves was counted
The animals were not at all stressed and many calves to the opportunity of a quick meal.
Unfortunately I could only stand outside and watch but Emma enjoyed being involved
People were busy identifying and catching their calves to mark the calves ear with the individual owners mark.
The work continued long into the night, but unfortunately we could not stay. I really enjoyed being able to get out again!!