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.


5 thoughts on “Lapland Spring 2009 – 30th May

  1. Labrador tea is known as Skvattram here in Sweden and is mostly used as a mozzi repellent. Try by rubbing the leves on your skin, it has a really strong smell.

    Never heard of it as tea or that it was posionous, as they say: Every day is a school day =)

      • Johan/Marina, Remember that people from all over the world view my blog and I do not refer specifically to Sweden, and that Labrador Tea occurs throughout the Boreal Forest. Mors Kochanski taught me many Boreal Forest plants when I was in Canada and he stated that in Canada it is important to ensure this plant has brown hairs on the underside of the leaves. Hope this helps?

  2. Yes, the flora and fauna are different on different continents. I was bit by a fly in the harbour of Boston that looked like flies here in Europe. However, my foot swelled so much that I could not put on my shoe later.

    Also, here in Denmark some refugees from Vietnam collected some mushroom that looked similar to edible mushroom in Vietnam. Here they are poisonous and they were taken to hospital.

    Virtually yours,

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