5 days at the cabin in April 2010 – Part 2

I was hungry so decided to make an oat cake

I used; 2 cups of oats (which are best soaked in water) 2 cups of flour, pinch of baking powder, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk powder and a little oil and baked for 40 minutes.

I was amazed at how few birds there were around the cabin.  There were a pair of Great Tit, a pair of Willow Tit

and a Chaffinch and Crossbill singing.  The Brambling, Redwing and Fieldfare have not yet returned and there was no sign of any other summer migrants.

5 days at the cabin in April 2010 – Part 1

I have just returned from a five day trip to my cabin and will be writing about it here over the next few days.

I was hoping I would catch the beginning of summer migrant birds arriving back to breed and with a Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
being the first bird I heard singing when I parked my car to walk the 4km to my cabin, I was sure I would have an interesting few days.

As I walked to the cabin I saw 11 female Capercaillie together in Spruce trees and 1 male a little later along the trail.  I also disturbed a pair of Hazel Grouse but saw no small birds at all!

I eventually arrived at my cabin

and my first task was to collect snow and boil and filter for drinking water

22nd April 2010

Yesterday there were 17 Whooper Swans on the open area of water, where I had seen the pair before and from our flat I watched a pair of Golden Eagles displaying.

We have been out listening for owls and Teres gets cold quickly so we have a fire

and make coffee

I have been making a new knife and horn sheath but I will be writing more about that soon.

and tomorrow I am going to try to get to my cabin for a long weekend break but with ground conditions as they are now, it may not be easy.

18th April 2010

I seem to have so little time to write here at the moment with learning Swedish 4 days a week and searching for a house.

Due to the relatively warm weather we have been having here recently, the Reindeer hearts and meat have only taken three weeks to dry.  The meat has turned out better than I expected

and the Reindeer heart tastes really good

As we were driving to look at another house today we passed a small area of open water and on it were this pair of Whooper Swans (Sangsvan in Swedish), the first ones I have seen this spring.

Picture by Hasse Mickelsson

This afternoon we have made fire and grilled sausage with the children


As you can see in this picture below, spring has arrived!  The ice has gone from most of the roads now and the snow is disappearing very quickly.

So recently I have been out and about in various locations looking

and listening for owls both in th day and at dusk

in the forest and particularly in forest clearings

but as yet I have not seen or heard anything!

Easter weekend – Part 2

We spent the next day at Hasse’s mothers cabin in Sammakko .

Emma and Pontus were playing on the snow

and Sebastian was practicing his fire making skills

and we spent the day enjoying the sun, riding snow mobiles, drinking coffee and grilling sausage

These trees outside the cabin are Lodgepole Pine (Pinus concorta)

it is native to North America/Canada and I can remember Mors Kochanski talking about the introduction of these to Scandinavia when I was working with him.  In America they grow long and straight and have been traditionally used by Native Americans as tepee poles, but here in Scandinavia they have grown very differently and are not good as a harvesting product.

Easter weekend – part 1

We spent the weekend at the small settlement of Sammakko (meaning frog in Finnish) with Jenny, Hasse

and the children where we hired two small cabins for the weekend.

On Saturday we were joined by many other people who had come to watch or participate in the annual snow scooter drag racing competition.

The competitors have to race two at a time from a standing start along a distance of about 50 metres.

The winner goes through to the next round until finally 1st, 2nd and third place winners are achieved.  Each competitor pays 300 Swedish Krones to enter and this is the prize fund.

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In the evening myself and Hasse went out with the snow scooter for a couple of hours at dusk, listening for owls in the forest.  Hasse heard an Eagle Owl call briefly but I heard nothing.

Påsk (Easter) in Lapland

Young Birch; which are called Ris here are collected and decorated with feathers and eggs rather like I would have decorated a tree in England at Christmas.

This also represents the coming of spring.

You will not see chocolate eggs here in the shops, but instead the children are given large plastic eggs filled with candy on Easter  Saturday.   The eggs are brought to them by the Easter Hare. Another tradition at Easter here is for the children to paint and decorate eggs

The eggs are then eaten for breakfast the following morning

2nd April 2010

Spring is certainly here now.  As we drove around today looking at potential properties to buy, the snow was melting and avalanches of snow were descending from some roofs.  The roads have a combination of thick slush and ice on them now which makes driving challenging to say the least.

Another sign that spring is here, are the small flocks of Snow Buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) we have been seeing in various locations today; including some feeding at bird tables and some in the forest.  These Snow Buntings are returning from their wintering grounds further south and are now making there way either further north or up into the mountains.