Random days

I have not had time for staying over t the cabin recently, but have been there for some days.

The clothes drier is now completed

The mosquito’s are out in force now and we use many different methods to try and keep them away (the beer isn’t one of them!)

I have put a metal kitchen sink in the cabin so that it is easier to wash clothes and do the dishes.

I have seen pictures of Russian Birch bark craftsmen using a tool called a “sochalka” to remove complete cylinders of bark from the tree to make seamless containers.  I purchased a cheap, stainless steel, long-bladed fish filleting knife from  the Dollar Store to experiment with

It was surprisingly easy to cut around the inside of the bark, but I found impossible to remove the piece of wood from the centre.  I will let you know if I succeed with this method.

The Black Spruce Picea mariana look fantastic in bright sunlight now with bright red new cones forming on the ends of the branches.

Labrador Tea (Skvattrum in Swedish) is now in bloom on the floor of the forest

and last week a pair of Swallows appeared and commenced building a nest in my boat house.  And yesterday their presents proved very rewarding to me as their alarm calls alerted me to a Northern Hawk Owl Surnia ulula flying low over the cabin.  Unfortunately it disappeared over the forest and dispite searching I was unable to locate.


7 thoughts on “Random days

  1. I can’t think of any sure way of getting the bark off.
    It could perhaps be boiled to see what happens, or just beaten – I’ve seen this recommended for small branches.
    Maybe drilling some holes into the wood would reduce the tension.
    Finally, choosing a branch with different tapers may change things too.

  2. What a neat clothes drier! I’ll have to make one of those some day. And congratulations on seeing a hawk owl — you don’t see those at the bird feeder every day.
    Re another recent post: why do you skin grayling? I’ve always cooked them over a fire with the skin on, and found that the skin, with its thick, “beaten silver” scales, peels off easily once they’re done. Do they taste better (perhaps they absorb the savor of the foliage you cooked them with better?), or are Swedish grayling thinner skinned than ours in Alaska?
    John McConnaughy

  3. Hi again:
    Out of curiosity, I did a websearch on sochalkas, and found an illustrated demonstration of two methods of using them in “Plaited Basketry with Birch Bark”, a book by Vladimir Yarish, Flo Hoppe and Jim Widess.
    It showed two methods used in Russia, one with the log in long sections, the other with the log cut into small pieces the length of the cylinder you want (as shown in your post). It looked like it would be easier using longer logs, because you can fix the log firmly, then twist and pull the cylinder from it. However, I haven’t tried either method.
    Hope that’s helpful.
    John McConnaughy

    • That’s the exact same book I have and yes I agree with what you say, but unfortunately it is rather late in the season now.

  4. Kevin, would soaking the whole log after the cutting process, help remove the bark? As when it starts to dry out everything becomes a bit tighter. Just a thought, keep up the great work (and blogs) out there. Regards Wayne Stevens

    • Getting to your place in Swedish Lapland.

      Kevin who do you fly with?
      So far I have found London Gatwick to Stockholm Arlanda, then Stockholm Arlanda to Gallivare and it would be about £280+.
      Do you have any ideas on your price for staying / attending your course? And if you need a guinea pig… I am your man.

      Regards Wayne Stevens

      • Hi Wayne, We have just bought a house (about 60 miles from Gallivare) but it will be some time before we are ready to accept quests. The good news is that the train from Stockholm stops three kilometres from the house. I will let you know when we are ready to test some ideas.


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