Some bad news and some good…..

Unfortunately Teres had a miscarriage at 8 weeks, but we console ourselves with the thought that its natures way of telling us something was not quite right.

However, thanks to my mum and dad buying me a very early Christmas present, I now have a new camera.  A Panasonic Lumix FX60 and arrived just in time for me to photograph an experiment I was involved with last week to extract Pine Tar from “Fat Wood”.

An oil drum was filled with Fat Wood; which is resin rich heart wood from the centre of a Pine tree roots/stumps which have often lifted out of the ground after the tree has fallen over and become so rot resistant that they remain long after the rest f the tree has decomposed.

A fire is made around the oil drum to heat the fat wood and the resulting liquid runs out of the bottom of the drum via a pipe.

As the wood heats it initially releases a lot of gases (which used to be inhaled to relieve chest congestion)

On a couple of occasions the gases ignited

Eventually a watery brown liquid starts to run out and this can be applied to the skin to treat a variety of skin conditions.

After this the much thicker and darker brown Pine Tar begins to run out

Traditionally it has been applied to timber as a preservative but has many other uses.

Gathering food

Here’s one prior to my camera stopping working…..

August is the time that the berry collecting season gets underway,

beginning with Clouberry (Hjortron in Swedish).  Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) is a member of the same family as Blackberry, but grows close to the ground and only bears one fruit.  But not all plants bear fruit as some are male and some are female.

The fruit is orange/yellow in colour and has a distinctive smell which travels for some distance when the fruit are ripe.

This is a typical area where Cloudberry grows.

Once home, the Cloudberries are cleaned and divided up into small bags for use during the long winter.

The Blueberries will be gathered next and shortly after the Cow Berry/Lingon.

We are also harvesting our potatoes now after our first frost last week.  The first ones we harvested were at the cabin

There was a surprisingly good crop from ten plants, which were set in June.

We store the food in a cold store in the cellar.

We found this while out collecting

So thanks to Jonas we now know that this is “gul parasollmossa (Splachnum luteum) which is Norrbottens landskapsmossa”…..Thanks Jonas :>)

After the good news, now for a little bad news!!

Thank you so much to all of you for you congratulations.  We appreciate it very much :>)

And now on another topic I have some bad news…..

Unfortunately the focus on my Panasonic Lumix FX33 digital camera has stopped working and so I cannot take pictures.  I am afraid that at this time I am not in the financial position to purchase a new one making it difficult to continue blogging, so…….. I am wondering if any of my readers have a working Lumix that they no longer use and would be willing to send to me?

You can email me at



Rådjebalges/Gränsleden Guiding Course – Part 7

Hundreds of mosquito’s came into the laavu during the night.  I was fortunate enough to have a piece of insect netting material to put over me, but the others were not.

We awoke at 7am, made fire and cooked breakfast

After breakfast we were soon packed and on the trail again.  Very soon we located an old camp with an old fire site from in a kåta, defined by a ring of stones

The camp site was located in an area surrounded by rock on all sides and so sheltered from the worst of the weather

We also found an old turf kåta and discussed the idea to repair it as shelter for people walking the trail, where they can either sleep or just make fire and cook coffee.

Late morning we encountered a heavy thunderstorm and heavy rain.  The rain continued when we stopped for lunch and so it was challenging conditions to make fire.

Per-Erik demonstrated that a piece of Juniper stem split into quarters and the centre which has a high turpentine content removed

can be ignited very easily, even in the wet.  And it was not long before we had a small fire going

We arrived back in Ritsem at 7pm and for me it was a great relief as I had been suffering with pain in my hip and back.  I am now seeing a chiropractor who found that my pelvis was twisted and had to be re-aligned with my back.  This may unfortunately mean I cannot attend the second week of the course from Norway back to Ritsem…..we shall see.

The soul of my boot also split along the route and so I had to buy new boots when I arrived home.  Per-Erik has used many different makes of boots and his recommendation was a pair of Viking Hunters

At least when I arrived home Teres had some good news for me……..I’m going to be a dad/pappa!!!!!….:>)

Rådjebalges/Gränsleden Guiding Course – Part 6

We walked up a rocky slope, through Mountain Birch forest to join the trail

We walked for about 1km and then took a short break to talk about this new section of Rådjebalges/Gränsleden

In the middle of the afternoon we stopped to make coffee and eat some food.

Per-Erik explained that Sami people remove their boots whenever they stop to allow both the feet and boots to breath and dry, reducing the risk of blisters.

We located two old burial sites but I decided not to photograph them.  We also found sites where would have been staying and milking the Reindeer.  Here is one

The pale area of ground on the left of the picture is where the kåta would have been situated and on a flat area of lush green grass in the top right corner of the picture they would have milked the Reindeer.  It was over looking this area that we decided to set up the laavu and make camp

The laavu was soon up and water gathered from a nearby spring

Within a hearth made of stones a fire was made and we made coffee and cooked food

and here is the view from the laavu as I prepared to sleep

Rådjebalges/Gränsleden Guiding Course – Part 5

My project in the evenings while staying at the cabin had been to make a bone needle from a Reindeer rib bone I found near to the lake shore.  I used an old nail from a piece of wood I found nearby to score the bone and remove a small piece.  I used a flat stone to abrade the bone into a needle shape

I used the tip of my knife to make a hole in the needle

There was much Cotton Grass along the shore

and as expected this proved to be incredibly good for firelighting with firesteel.

At 11am we boarded a boat at Ritsem

to travel 20kms up the lake, where the boat dropped us on the lake shore

we then had to walk a short distance to join Gränsleden and walk back to Ritsem along the trail.  But first we made fire on the lake shore and made coffee

After a short break we were soon on our way.

Rådjebalges/Gränsleden Guiding Course – Part 4

We also found Rosenrot (Rhodiola rosea) which was referred to as natural viagra for the Sami people and has many other uses.

Can you guess what family this little plant belongs to…

Its a willow and  the Latin name is Salix herbacea and its English name is Dwarf Willow and it has adapted itself to the harsh life in the fjalls.

We also found a Lemmings burrow

but the old droppings outside suggested it is not currently used

One reason for this may be a Rough-legged Buzzards (Fjällvråk in Swedish) nest that we found near by.  We also saw Golden Eagle, Golden Plover and Ring Ouzel.

This pile of stones is a typical way marker for old Sami trails

and although not as obvious in this picture, a well worn trail was clearly visible

Lunch was a chance to chat

and take in the views

At the end of the day it was back to the cabin to pack and prepare for two days away walking the first 20kms of the Rådjebalges trail.