Making pinn bröd

There are four basic ingredients in Pinn bröd; flour, salt, baking powder and honey.  I like to add some curry powder for added flavour

Pinn bread-1 (Large)

To each cup of flour I add a pinch of salt and baking powder and some honey to taste.  The honey not only gives taste but helps to preserve the bread, keep it supple and prevent it drying out and cracking while cooking.

Pinn bread-2

Mix the ingredients and add water until you achieve a ball of dough

pinn bread-3 (Large)

Divide the dough into pieces and roll out .  I  roll them very thinly and use as a wrap.

pinn bread-4 (Large)

They need to be cooked for about 20 – 30 seconds on each side and there are a variety of ways of doing this.  On the hob of a woodburning stove

pinn bread (Large)

in a dry frying pan over a fire or on an electric hob

pinn bread-5

or in this case on top of my woodburner

pinn bread-6 (Large)

I use a gauze (used to stop fat spitting from a frying pan) to provide an even heat.

And this is the end result with fried sausage, onion, leek, mushroom and dried tomatoes

pinn bread-7 (Large)

Four days is the longest they have lasted so far but that’s because I eat them before the 5th day ;>)

Lapland Spring 2009 – 5th June

This morning I cleaned and closed up my cabin for the summer.  Hopefully I will be returning for a couple of weeks in the autumn.  My friend Teres came to collect me late morning and we drove to Gallivare where I sampled some fast food Lapland style.  Shredded Reindeer meat with salad, Lingon berries and sauce in a bun…..delicious!

Lapland fast food (Large)

I spent the afternoon with Anki and Ingvar and having heard about a slaughter house and butchers in Gallivare I was keen to visit and buy some items to try.  In the picture below there is Reindeer and Moose salami, Reindeer sausage and  at the bottom “dunka” which is made from smoked Reindeer meat and is fantastic.

meat products from slaughter house (Small)

I also enjoyed this dried, salted Reindeer heart.  You cut very thin slices to chew.

Dry saltyed Reideer heart (Medium)

In the evening Anki and Ingvar’s whole family came to visit and Anki made a traditional Swedish food “Potatis palt”, which is grated potato mixed with flour made into dumplings and stuffed with pork fat

poatato palt (Large)

I enjoyed it so much and here is a recipe I have found for you.

Potato palt (816 x 612) (Medium)

At 07:30 the next morning I would be on a plane on my way back to England.  Here are the bird species I recorded during this trip with new species in bold.

Black-throated Diver, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Goldeneye, Smew, Goosander, Hen Harrier, Goshawk, Golden Eagle, Kestrel, Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Hazel Grouse, Common Crane, Lapwing, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Curlew, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Snipe, Cuckoo, Swift, Black Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Swallow, House Martin, Tree Pipit, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Waxwing, Redstart, Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Raven, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin, Bullfinch, Redpoll, Crossbill, Parrot Crossbill, Yellowhammer, Rustic Bunting, Reed Bunting and a possible Pine Grosbeak but not confirmed.

Lapland Spring 2009 – 4th June

I have had no more fish in the trap and today was no exception.  It was nice to see Marsh Marigold flowers open by the edge of the lake.

Marsh Marigold (Small)

Traditionally coffee is used to stain wood and help bring out the grain pattern so I decided to give it a go on both my using a very strong mix of instant coffee.  I only stained the outside of the large kåsa because I like the contrast between light and dark.

staining wood with coffee (Large)

I stained both the inside and outside of the smaller one.  The small cup is based on the design of this very old kåsa that I bought at Jokkmokk in 2006.

old saami kasa (Large)

Here is mine before I stained it

Teres kasa

and here is after staining

small kasa stained

You need to ensure you have achieved a very smooth finish, because the staining picks out any marks or sanding scratched.  Here is a piece of video of this one

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The large cup I coated with paraffin oil (liquid paraffin here in England I think), which is traditionally used here and which gave a smooth finish to it.

The smaller cup is a birthday gift for my friend Teres.  I wanted a nice Scrimshaw patter on the handle for her, but this is unfortunately beyond my skills.  However, Teres’ brother-in-law does some fantastic designs on items he makes and he agreed to design a pattern on the handle for me.  When it is completed I will put up a picture here……and here it is

1 (Medium)

Here are the items I have made while staying here

items made at cabin 2009 (Medium)

Tomorrow I move back to Gallivare and on Saturday fly back to England.  For my final evening meal at the cabin I found a 1996 tin of Corned Beef at the back of a cupboard and made a corned beef hash with dried potato, split peas and beans and dehydrated mushrooms.  Now I know what you’re think it looks like……..but it tasted great….honest!!!

corned beet hash (Medium)

Lapland Spring 2009 – 3rd June

Sunny and 19 degrees first thing this morning.

I made some traditional Lapland bread called pinn bröd using the simple recipe  (more about that soon) that Anki had shown me.

making Lapland bread (Large)

Lacking a rolling pin to roll them out I improvised with a candle which worked just fine

rolling bread (Medium)

I cooked them on top of the stove for less than a minute and they were done to perfection

pinn bread (Large)

I decided to take the video camera and head out to one of my favourite spots again…..the shooting tower.

After 10 minutes sitting in the tower a Black Woodpecker appeared moving from tree stump to tree stump looking for insects and I managed to get some nice film.  Next a female Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus ) called and landed close to the tower, feeding on insects on the ground.  A Kestrel (a new species for my list) was perched on the top of a dead tree and from an area of forest in front of me a pair of Golden Eagles appeared, circling around to gradually gain height before heading off south (again I managed to get them on video).  Very quickly a strong north easterly wind began to blow and it became very cold.  From the mountains came dark clouds and within the space of a few minutes heavy rain began to fall, the wind became really strong and eventually the rain turned to snow and then to large pieces of hail.  I had no water proofs so just wrapped myself in a piece of material and tried to keep as dry as possible.

tower (Medium)

The storm lasted for about an hour and during that time the temperature dropped to at or below freezing.  Fortunately I had some wool clothing with me and although I was wet, the wool kept me warm.

As the storm eased I decided to make a break for it and head back to the cabin

cabin across lake (Medium)

I was only about 20 metres from the cabin when another storm hit.  Strong wind and very heavy rain again.

rain on window (Large)

By late afternoon I had to light candles to be able to see to work in the cabin


By late evening the storms had passed so I walked over to the marsh.  Bird activity had reduced but the marsh looks much more colourful than two weeks ago.

marsh in june (Small)

Bog Rosemary, Cloudberry, Sphagnum mosses, Cotton Grass and Dwarf Birch adding to the colour

colours of marsh (Small)

The Common Crane has a nest with three eggs.  The Dunlin sized birds I have been seeing and hearing flying over the cabin are a pair of Broad-billed Sandpipers (Limicola falcinellus )which were clearly not happy with me being there and I suspect have a nest.

Lapland Spring 2009 – 2nd June Part 2

Having cut the trunk into sections with the intention of floating them across the lake behind my boat I was concerned that lifting them out of the water and carrying them up the slope to the cabin would not be so easy, so while drinking my coffee I came up with a plan of action.

Firstly I cut a “V” into the Birch tree stump and then cut the long lever pole into three sections, lashed them together and incorporating the tree stump, made a simple saw-horse.

sawhorse-1 (Small)

Placing a length of trunk on the saw-horse

sawhorse-2 (Small)

I could then saw it into logs

sawhorse-3 (Small)

ready to load into the boat

sawhorse-4 (Small)

I rowed them across the lake back to the cabin in two loads

wood in boat (Medium)

This took most of the day, but by late afternoon all the logs were back at the cabin

logs at cabin (Small)

Some logs had sections of bark that I can use for projects to I cut the bark

cutting bark (Medium)

removed it and stored it for future projects

removing bark (Medium)

Nothing different in the way of birds and wildlife today.

Lapland Spring 2009 -2nd June Part 1

Now for me this is what it’s all about.  Using the items you have available, together with natural materials around you to achieve your goal (thinking outside the box is always a useful skill).  So often I hear asked “what’s the most important item in bushcraft”…….a knife, an axe, a cooking pot? Well for me it’s my brain.  It allows me to adapt what I have available  to create what I need or must do and I always enjoy the challenge.

Yesterday while out in my boat I noticed this Birch hung-up in a Pine tree, which will provide a decent amount of wood for my stove

hung up birch (Small)

I decided to take an axe, a bow saw and some rope in the boat with me and I cut a lever pole.

items carried (Small)

My first task was to use my axe to severe the trunk from the stump.  Initially my idea was to cut a piece of rope and tie into a loop, thread one end of the through the other, place the lever pole through this loop and then as I pushed the lever down the rope tightens, gripping around the tree, allowing me to roll the trunk out of the Pine tree.

levering the trunk (Small)

Unfortunately the Birch trunk was wedged between two branches in the Pine and I could not lever it out.  I experimented with “flip-flop” and “Finnish” winches to pull the trunk to get it out of the Pine but the trunk would not move.

winch (Small)

I cut a longer leaver pole to enable me to apply more leverage

longer pole (Small)

I placed the thick end of the pole under the trunk as shown below, pushing the end of the pole in the ground.  The with a lifting and forward motion of the lever I began to gradually move the trunk away.

levering trunk (Small)

After moving the trunk about three feet I used the longer pole to roll the trunk and this time the top rolled out of the Pine and fell to the ground!  Now it all sounds quite simple when you write about it but it took far longer and was a lot more work than you might think.

tree down (Small)

Using the axe I removed all the branches from the trunk

branches removed (Small)

I cut the trunk into sections with the intention of floating them across the lake behind my boat.

logging the trunk (Small)

When the trunk pinched the bow saw blade I used a lever to stand on to open up the cut

levering logs (Small)

It started to rain so I set up a piece of water proof material I carry, as a shelter

shelter (Small)

made fire and cooked some food

cooking (Small)

and made a brew

me having coffee (Medium)

Lapland Spring 2009 – 1st June

Cold with a strong NW wind this morning.

Every day I have had my fish trap in the lake but caught nothing.  I am told it is because of all the rain and melt water stirring up the lake.  After a couple of warm sunny days the lake has become clearer and this morning I caught fish.

fish in trap (Small)

Three perch or aborre in Swedish which are good to eat.

I had dismantled the tipi because heat from the fire was causing resin to run out of the poles into the parachute material and drip onto the occupants.  I had leaned the poles in a tree to dry but then noticed they were bending.  So I have now arranged them around the trunk of a tree

Tipi poles around tree (Small)

and tied them in position to leave until the autumn to dry

Tipi poles (Small)

I wondered around taking pictures  for the rest of the morning.  Here is the view from the tipi

scenery (Small)

and a view across the lake

scenery-2 (Small)

and here is a view of the lake now

view now (Small)

compared with the same view one year previous

view then (Medium)

Clearly showing how much more advanced the spring is this year!

While eating lunch I heard a crackling outside and rushed out to find that the remaining dead grass outside my cabin had caught fire (either from a spark from the chimney or from the bottom of a polished beer can left in the sun after making fire with it)!  The strong wind was fanning the flames and it spread very quickly.  I spent over an hour running up and down to the lake with two buckets until finally I put the fire out.

burnt ground (Small)

and another view

burnt ground-2 (Small)

After the fire had been out for a couple of hours I walked in the forest and on the marsh collecting plant specimens

These are the flowers of Bilberry (apologies for the quality of the image)

Bilberry in flower (Small)

This is Cloudberry Hjortron in Swedish (Rubus chamaemorus), in the same family as our Blackberry.  Locally it is used to make a desert sauce or jam and also a strong liquer.

Cloudberry (Large)

This next plant (when not in flower) can be mistaken for Labrador Tea but as a member of the Heath family, Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifolia – Andromeda because as sea water bathed her feet when chained to a rock in the sea, so the roots of this plant are bathed by fresh water from the marsh) is said to be poisonous.  It lacks the brown hairs on the underside of the leaf which Labrador Tea has.

Bog Rosemary (Medium)

Filled with enthusiasm from catching three fish this morning I spent the evening fishing

fish float (Large)

Regular readers will of probably already guest that I caught nothing!! And had to console my failure with a fish and dehydrated potato pie made from my catch this morning

Fish and potato pie (Large)

While out rowing I spotted a Birch tree which had broken in the wind and was now hung-up in a Scots Pine.  This would be useful fire wood for me and so I needed to plan how to get it down, logged up and back to the cabin, but more about that next time!

1 Whooper Swan landed on the lake just as the sun was setting, called a lot and then flew off


Lapland Spring 2009 – 31st May

3 Waxwings around the cabin all day.  A pair of Fieldfares have also appeared.  They always next in areas inhabited by people yet they seem to really dislike people; flying towards them giving their harsh rattling call and then crapping on them if their aim is good!!

Ingvar came to help finish repairs to my chimney.

repaired chimney (Medium)

We spent some time splitting logs and talking about different splitting techniques and the safe use of an axe

Ingvar splitting logs (Small)

I finished sanding the two kåsa’s I have been making, and decided to glue on the Reindeer antler handle to opposite way up to what I had originally intended to act as a stand for the cup.

Reindeer antler kasa

Here is a view from another angle

Reindeer antler kasa-2

I used Cascol PVA glue to stick the horn to the wood.  Both surfaces have to be wetted before applying this glue.  Cascol is traditionally used locally for glueing knife handles and other craft items.

Cascol glue

This is Teres’ kåsa for her birthday

Teres kasa

It took a lot of work to reduce the wood in the handle so that the cup sits flat and does not tip back

Teres kasa-2

I walked to the marsh later where there were 16 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 12 Wood Sandpiper and a small Dunlin sized wader with a distinctive call that I could not identify.

I spent the evening splitting and stacking more logs.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Lapland Spring 2009 – 30th May

There was a lot of dead grass around the cabin presenting a potential fire risk, so I raked the whole area and bagged up the dry grass for firelighting demonstrations in the future.

raking grass (Small)

Even after the heavy rain of the last few days the air is so dry that everything dries incredibly quickly.  As another example of how dry the air is compared with the UK I can leave packets of biscuits open for months and they do not go soft.  Try that at home and they will usually be soft in about a week.

I had been invited to Anki and Ingvar’s cabin for lunch.  I’m not so sure that Emma was so pleased to see the mad Englishman again!!

food with the family (Small)

The family had brought with them some curtains to put up in my cabin to make it look “more homely”

Kitchen curtains

and to also make the cabin looked lived in when I am not there.

room curtains (Medium)

I went walking in the evening and took this picture to write about.

Labrador tea (Small)

The dead leaves of the Tussock sedge you can see in the background are very good for making fire.  They will easily ignite with the sparks from a firesteel.

The plant in front of the tussock is Labrador Tea (Ledum palustre).  There are similar poisonous plants so it is important to ensure there are brown hairs on the underside of the leaves.  As the name suggests it can be used to make a refreshing tea which is incredibly high in vitamin C.  The tea can also be applied to the hair as a treatment for head lice.

Labrador tea (Large)

The leaves can be used as a substitute for Bay Leaves in stews.  The flowers however should be treated with caution.

Labrador Tea (Large) (577 x 768) (Large)

The sent has been described as a narcotic and falling asleep in a patch can produce an intense headache in many people.  The plant should not even be dried in a confined space as the fumes can cause problems.  The leaves are also high in tannin and are used to tan leather.

A new bird species today was two Swifts flying west giving their characteristic “screaming” call.

Lapland Spring 2009 – 29th May

I began the day by washing some clothes

washing clothes (Medium)

and just like in the UK……shortly after it started raining!!

Raining (Small)

By late morning the rain had cleared and using my carving axe I continued to shape the second kåsa.

axing kasa shape

I had been given a Bug Band, designed to repel biting insects such as mosquitoes without the use of deet to test during my trip.

insect repellar (Medium)

Up to now there had been few mosquitoes but after the rain there were several around so while sitting outside carving I thought I would test it out.  Unfortunately as you can see in the picture below it was not very effective as there is a mosquito biting my knee!

mosquito repellar (Medium)

Two years ago my friend Jon was staying at the cabin, helping with repair work.  One of the tasks was to repair a leak around the chimney using Flash Band flashing which I had brought with me from England.  Flashing around a chimney prevents rain water running down the chimney brickwork into the cabin, and instead diverts it onto the roof.  Unfortunately the Flash Band was not designed for the extreme temperatures of Lapland and the water was getting in again.

Ingvar was keen to get the leak repaired and so had purchased the required materials (capable of withstanding extreme temperatures) and arrived to help repair the chimney.

Ingvar repairing chimney

Very quiet for birds today.  This Great-spotted Woodpecker was one of the few birds I saw around the cabin

Great spot (Medium)

So I headed over to the marsh for the evening

marsh again (Medium)

As I walked on the marsh I was struck by how much greener it was now looking.  Species such as this Cotton Grass were now growing and adding colour to the marsh

Cotton grass (Small)

Bird species on the marsh included displaying Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, lekking Ruff and Lapwing.  The Common Crane was busy feeding and had started to construct a nest.