Today myself, Teres and Emma have been to the cabin.
There was a lot of heavy snow on the cabin roof (105cms in depth) which had to be removed!
While we were on the roof clearing snow, Emma was busy making things out of wood
We had a break for lunch and sat outside enjoying the sunshine.
It took us about 4 hours to remove all the snow from the cabin roof. Here’s how it looked when I first arrived…
and here it is after we had finished.
The temperature was -22 on Saturday, but it was a lovely clear blue sky, so I decided to head out on the snowmobile.
In the forest and along the rivers edge the sun was shining on the tops of the trees
On the marshes the sun was shining brightly!
On Sunday it was cloudy, but only -6 degrees, so we decided to go ice fishing.
It was also a chance for Emma to try out the new kelka I am building, so that she can come with us when we go out on the snowmobile
It’s not yet completed because I do not have enough money the buy all the materials and so the back section in made from scrap pieces of wood.
The inside is lined with reindeer skins so that it will be warm inside. I will write more about it once completed.
This was also a chance for me to try out my homemade ice fishing rod
Emma also fished and Teres made fire
We cooked coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches
I learnt a valuable lesson while fishing……I actually caught a nice sized Arctic Char, but I picked it up to remove the hook I dropped it and watched helplessly as it disappeared back down the ice hole!!!! The lesson is to move the fish away from the ice hole before doing anything with it!!!
Up on the hill in Nattavaara we can now see the sun for about one hour around midday.
It will be at least another week before we see it at the bottom of the hill.
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!