This is the view that greeted us when we arrived home from England last week.
Today is the first day it has not snowed since we returned, but now the temperature has dropped to -17 degrees. While we were in England the temperature here in Nattavaara dropped to -22 degrees.
Yesterday at about 15:00 it started to snow
Emma was pleased and was quickly outside to make her first snowman of the winter
Someone slid off of the road and into the ditch outside our house and I’m sure there were many others who had the same problem.
Fortunately, this morning most of the snow had disappeared but I’m sure it will not be long before more returns!
Many people here believe that you can only see Northern Light during the winter months, bit we saw Northern Light on 25th August at around 23:00 and again on 3rd September at 21:30. Here are a couple of pictures from 3rd September, taken from my house.
While I can’t get out and about, I thought I would write a little about the weather and the season.
Last year by now a lot of the snow had melted and there was much open ground, and many summer migrant birds were returning.
This year; in early March the first migrants bird species to appear was Redpoll, then Greenfinch and after Greenfinch Chaffinch arrived.
During the second half of March the weather was relatively warm and the snow was melting, but then in early April and especially during Easter the weather turned colder with temperatures at night dropping as low as -20. This made the snow surface very hard and easy to walk around on, but for predators such as owls and foxes, these conditions are not good, because the voles that live under the snow and they really on for food were now inaccessible due to the hard surface.
After Easter there came more snow and yesterday (Saturday) we had 10cms during the day. On Friday I had seen a pair of Common Cranes flying over the house and I suspect they are regretting returning here just now. Brown Bears that have been marked with GPS collars in this area are also awake now and out of their dens.
I am hoping that my back injury will be much improved by the time the weather improves and more summer migrants start to arrive.
The last 5 days have been sunny and although night time temperatures can still drop to -20, daytime temperatures have been reaching up to +6 degrees and the snow has started melting.
Great Tit, Willow Tit Bullfinch and Siberian Jay are singing during the day and at dusk Tengmalm’s Owls are singing.
We were out yesterday to enjoy the warmth and sunshine
and of course we made fire, cooked coffee and grilled sausage.
Last year I failed to reach my cabin during the winter because the snow was so deep and powdery, but this year I had no problem……..because my friend Erik (who has a cabin near to mine) was there to plough the track to our cabins with his Swedish Military Valp. He has built an hydraulic plough attachment that fits on the front and is very effective at clearing the snow.
Erik ploughed to about 1km from our cabins and Erik’s family and I drove behind the plough
The final kilometre was not ploughed (making it impossible for others to drive there), we all climbed into the valp and drove through the snow to the cabins
There was 80cms of snow on the roof
and it was dark by the time I had finished removing snow. I was working following morning so unfortunately could not stay at the cabin.
On Wednesday night between 10 and 11pm there was a fantastic display of the Northern Lights; the best many people can remember here!!
I stood in my garden watching the beautiful colours and patterns in the sky, coming from every direction (even in the south). After some time I realised I should be taking some photographs but unfortunately by the time I had fetched my camera and located my Gorilla Pod the best of the display was over. However, here are the best pictures I was able to take
In this final picture the light was so bright that it is actually over exposed with a 15 second exposure!
Yesterday was the first day we have seen the sun since early December.
Today while out on a ski trip with some guests I took these pictures on Solberget hill.
Here are some pictures I took from the top of the fire-watching tower
Here is the cabin where we ate lunch
Although the sun no longer appears above the horizon, we still have dawn and dusk here. Dusk is at around 2pm just now
and dawn is at 9am. It took this series of pictures this morning when the temperature was -23 degrees.
and behind me the moon was shining over the trees
Here’s a short atmospheric video I also made.
On Wednesday we had the first snow fall of the winter here in Nattavaara By. The snow is only a couple of centimetres deep but it is better than nothing. As you can see in the picture below (taken a midday yesterday) the sun is only just appearing above the horizon now, for about 1 hour. Next week it will disappear completely for about 4 weeks.
Last week I wrote about a wooden container that my friend had made for and now I had had a go at making one myself, using some scrap pieces of wood I had lying around in my workshop. Both the top and bottom are root bur from Sallow.
I made the top by glueing two pieces of wood together, one slightly smaller to fit inside the pot
I stitched the side together with sinew, but unfortunately as you can see below the side has split when it dried.
I am working on more containers with different designs and will put up the pictures when I have finished.
I already have some shops up here that will sell my Natural Lore Fire Sets, but interestingly they prefer the plastic container because it is easier for people to carry in their pocket.