Hope everyone has an enjoyable Christmas……we certainly did.

It is one year since I slipped a disc in my again, and at the time I thought I would not be able to get out and about in the forest during winter again, but that is fortunately not the case.

I do not feel secure enough on skis, so I am now using snow-shoes.


I have only been on a couple of short walks around where we live, but I have already discovered some old buildings that I did not know existed (I wonder who used to live there?).


As of the 31st December I am unemployed again, as my three month job as project leader has finished.   I have applied for several jobs, but have been unsuccessful.  Everyone one wants you to have qualifications, and because I chose to leave school at sixteen and begin work in the field of nature conservation, I do not have a degree or such.

I am considering starting up my business again and running 5 day  wilderness courses at my cabin, so that people can have the same experience as I had when I first came to Lapland.


Thermarest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot review

I have been experimenting with different set-ups for my new “Thermarest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot”.  The instructions that are included show two alternative set-ups; the first is a lightweight set-up for people up to 79kgs and the second is a standard set-up for people up to 127kgs.

thermarest-cot-set-upI weigh 85kgs and found with the lightweight set-up, that I was laying on the poles underneath the bed.  The bed was under so much tension in the standard set-up, that it was uncomfortable for me to lay on, so as per the instructions on the Cascade Designs website;

Customize your cot to your needs

You will notice there are more pole holes than there are poles in your LuxuryLite®

Cot. This design allows you to place a single bow, a double bow or no

bow in select holes as needed to customize your cot. For the lightest possible configuration for your needs, start with the four required single poles, then

add poles where you feel you need the added support. LuxuryLite Cots provide the most adjustability of any cot

I decided to customise the set-up for my needs.  This is the end result (head at the top and feet at the bottom);


Note that I have used a “double twist bow” at the foot end to give sufficient support.

I have found that my Mountain Hardware combination open and closed cell sleeping mat

mountain-hardware-mattis more comfortable that an inflatable mattress


Last night was the first night I have slept on the cot and I was pleased to find it really comfortable……HOWEVER, when I dismantled the cot, I discovered that one of the poles is already bent out of shape, which is really disappointing considering the amount of money you pay for this item.

thermarest-cot-bent-poleI have today emailed the distributor here in Sweden, to ask if this is a common occurrence and will post their reply here when I receive it.

Granitbiten the distributor has replied to say that if I return the damaged pole, they will send a replacement.  

A little bit of luck

This is as close as we get to seeing the sun at the moment.


The weather has been very strange for the past week, as it has been above freezing and temperatures have even been as high as 9 degrees C, with some rain.

I was working up on the house roof over the weekend, designing and building a platform for the chimney sweeper to be able to inspect the flue we have put up.

chimney-platform-2 chimney-platform

I was incredibly lucky because on Monday all the snow came down from the roof and if I had still been working on the roof at the time, I would have gone with it!


The stove installation is now complete and we used the stove for the first time yesterday.

new-woodburnerI made cheese and pickle toasties for everyone, in the oven (tonight it will be pizza’s).


I have constructed a wooden box, which I have mounted on to a plastic sled, to use for fetching wood from the shed.


On Tuesday the missing poles for my Thermarest cot finally arrived.  I thought I would at least receive an apology for the inconvenience, but the only thing in the packet was the items and a business card.

thermarest-cot-cascade-designs  For the first time, I have tried using a sewing machine to make a leather bag and I was pleased with the end result (hand sewing is much more relaxing though)

reindeer-skin-bagFinally, I would just like to wish all my friends and readers….


Thermarest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot UPDATE!!

Granitbiten, the Thermarest distributors here in Sweden, have contacted me yesterday and informed me that this issue lies with them and not OutdoorExperten.

Today they have again emailed me and said that the missing items have already been sent from Cascade Designs in the USA to their production factory in Ireland, and now they will be sent directly to me from Ireland, so hopefully at some point in the new year I will be able to write a review.

I’m really hoping that this cot will be the solution for my bad back, that allows me to start sleeping out again in the forest…….we shall see!

Thermarest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot

I have some parachute material that I bought a few years ago and I decided to use it to make a 3m x 3m tarp.  A friend here in the village agreed to sew the three sections together and I now have a nice, lightweight tarp, that I will be using as a tent (but more about that another time)


I also ordered a Thermarest LuxuryLite Ultralite Cot, to use in conjunction with my new tarp

from a company called “OutdoorExperten” here in Sweden.  I received the cot after a couple of weeks, only to discover that all the poles that go on the underside were missing!  This picture shows the items I received


OutdoorExperten were not so helpful; blaming their supplier for the error.  I then contacted the Thermarest distribution company here in Sweden, called “GranitBiten” and explained what had happened.  They informed me that the cot should come in a box, but mine was only in a plastic bag.  They asked me to send an email listing the parts that were missing, and they would then post them to me.  “What fantastic customer service I thought”!!

However, they are now saying that OutdoorExperten should be supplying the missing parts, and OutdoorExperten are blaming their supplier and I have received nothing and don’t know when or if I will!!!  I always think it is wrong that it’s the customer that suffers in these situations and companies just aren’t concerned about customer service!!

Last weekend we finally began installation of our new woodburning stove.


The flue unfortunately had to go through the wall and into the utility room, before going up through the garage roof.


We will continue the construction of the flue next weekend, and then on Tuesday, the chimney sweeper will come to approve our work, and after that, we can start to use it.

Splitting wood with a knife

It is very easy to slit pieces of wood with just a knife as long as the piece of wood is not too thick.

Place the knife on to the piece of wood to be split and hit the back of the knife with a baton to drive it into the wood


Once you can no longer hit the back of the knife, you hit the protruding tip instead


until the knife is sufficiently far down that the wood splits in two


A few weeks ago someone was making a spoon and had selected a piece of wood the was almost the same thickness as her knife, and so one the back of the knife had been driven in to the piece of wood, there was no tip protruding to hit (it was -25 today when I did this tutorial and the Birch was frozen and so too easy to split for the demonstration)


I tried to free the knife from the wood and attempted to drive if further in, but it was not possible.  Eventually I can up with the idea to drive the little bit of blase tip that was protruding in to a block of wood


and then I hit the bottom of the piece of wood to be split with a baton. driving the wood against the knife blade and this worked really well


I’m sure this isn’t the first time people have used this method, but it is the first time I have come upon the idea and I will be using it again.

Morakniv Adventure 2017

Unfortunately SEAT do not see condensation in an engine as an issue, and refused to do anything with my car.  Googling I see that many have had the same problem with the VW diesel engine that I have, so I’m sure this will not be the end of the problem!!

Some positive news is that I have just secured a place on the Morakniv (Mora Knife) Adventure 2017.

As I write this post and link to Mora’s site I see that the event is already fully booked!!

This is the programme for the event…

Day 1, Thursday May 18:
We start our adventure at the Morakniv factory with an exclusive factory tour that will take you on the path from steel to finished knife. Thereafter a transfer will take us to the Adventure Base Camp.

Day 2, Friday May 19:
Basic skill day! Join in on the workshops held by our ambassadors and take part of their great knowledge. Dave Canterbury will show and teach various bushcraft must-knows, Johan Skullman will teach you what you need to know to explore and survive in the outdoor, and together with Jögge Sundqvist and Beth Moen you get to learn the art of woodcarving.

Day 3, Saturday May 20:
Apply day! Time see if you picked up any useful information yesterday. This will be a day filled with surprises, so at the moment all we can say is that today will be adventurous, fun, and just awesome.

Day 4, Sunday May 21:
Sunday will end with a common camp breakfast before we pack up our gear and close the camp. Busses will be departing back to the original pick-up locations approximately 10:30