I spent most of last weekend painting all the wood work in the cabin with a white wash (oil and white paint mixed).
I rained a lot over the weekend but between the rain and painting I had time to build a shelter with Emma, using branches from a Spruce tree that we had felled the previous weekend.
Not much more to report I’m afraid……..apart from the mosquitoes!! It’s the worst year for many years for mosquitoes. There are so many and when you are outside doing something you are covered in them! I wonder how much blood I lose every day?
I worked on Friday which was a bank holiday here in Sweden, so I took Monday as a bank holiday instead and had three days at the cabin. There isn’t that much to write about really because most of the time was spent inside the cabin completing work in the living room.
We have a corner now where we can wash and clean our teeth.
I have made wooden architrave frames around the windows
and cut and fixed up architrave around the ceiling and around the top of the panel. This wasn’t easy because nothing is square in the cabin and I could not just cut 90 degree angels in the corners.
My neighbours came to help me remove some tree roots from in frint of the cabin
and we felled a large Spruce tree that had become rotten in the centre.
Last week I spent two days at Jokkmokks Marknad as part of my job as a wilderness guide at Solberget Vildmarks Byn.
My first day at the marknad was on Tuesday at the old, traditional market where I was fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time with John Stokke, a Sámi reindeer herder who has his own chapter in the Sámi book of fire “Eld, Flammor och Glod – samisk eldkonst”. The chapter is about the “Nuorssjo” and it was this fire that he was demonstrating at the market (he is in the centre of this picture).
Photographs by Mike Lenzner
The Nuorssjo is a fire used for two people to sleep next and will burn for 14 hours with very little maintenance. 20cms of Spruce branches are put on the ground as insulation to lay on.
In addition to translating his life as a reindeer herder for our German guests, I also spent a lot of time discussing fire making with him. He even cooked coffee for our guests to drink.
He wanted me to return the next day to talk more and show him how to make fire with the bow-drill but unfortunately this was just not possible, but I have promised to do it next year.
Fire making with flint and steel was also being demonstrated, and visitors were able to try for themselves.
Yesterday we had the first Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) singing in the garden and a Common Crane (Grus grus) flying over the house calling. We also had the first Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) arrive and a Woodpigeon singing, which is a very rare bird up here. It’s interesting that we only have male Chaffinches here just now. They are busy singing and making territories in preparation for the arrival of the females.
We have two Tengmalm’s Owls singing close to the house just now. I used my compact digital camera to record them singing.
Tengmalm’s Owl 1
Tengmalm’s Owl 2
They start singing between 9 and 10pm (it gets dark here at 10pm now) and they are still singing at 4 in the morning (it gets light at 3pm). I have read on the internet that birds singing all night now have not yet found a mate.
I have been out during the day trying to find the owl perching in a tree
bit I have not found one so far. I have also made some nest boxes for the owls
and fixed in trees near to where they have been singing
There was a full moon two nights ago when I was out listening to the owls.
I have not had time for staying over t the cabin recently, but have been there for some days.
The clothes drier is now completed
The mosquito’s are out in force now and we use many different methods to try and keep them away (the beer isn’t one of them!)
I have put a metal kitchen sink in the cabin so that it is easier to wash clothes and do the dishes.
I have seen pictures of Russian Birch bark craftsmen using a tool called a “sochalka” to remove complete cylinders of bark from the tree to make seamless containers. I purchased a cheap, stainless steel, long-bladed fish filleting knife from the Dollar Store to experiment with
It was surprisingly easy to cut around the inside of the bark, but I found impossible to remove the piece of wood from the centre. I will let you know if I succeed with this method.
The Black Spruce Picea mariana look fantastic in bright sunlight now with bright red new cones forming on the ends of the branches.
Labrador Tea (Skvattrum in Swedish) is now in bloom on the floor of the forest
and last week a pair of Swallows appeared and commenced building a nest in my boat house. And yesterday their presents proved very rewarding to me as their alarm calls alerted me to a Northern Hawk Owl Surnia ulula flying low over the cabin. Unfortunately it disappeared over the forest and dispite searching I was unable to locate.
The morning started with me sanding cups and Teres sewing leather bags
The temperature was -2 degrees and it had been -7 in the night but at least it was sunny
After cleaning the cabin (as it would be our last day there) we decided to go walking in the forest, to the peak behind the cabin.
The forest is so quiet for birds at this time of year but is very peaceful listening to the wind in the trees.
and from time to time we could see back across the lake
As we walked further we noticed that the berries and leaves had been stripped from the ground flora which is apparently typical of bear feeding. A little further on I looked to my left and saw a fallen spruce with the root plate raised vertically
at the base of the root plate was a large hole in the ground which was a bears den (bjorn ide in Swedish).
I got to about 30 metres from it but could not get a clear photograph and unsure if the occupant was at home I was unwilling to get any closer!! You can see part of the hole slightly right of centre in the picture below.
While out in the woods one weekend I was making stinging nettle and potato soup and wanted to whisk the potatoes and nettle leaves. I considered lashing a handful of twigs around a stick but then came across a fallen Spruce. I cut the very top out of the Spruce, peeled the bark away and this is what I ended up with.