Making squash

I purchased a second hand saft maja (squash maker) and decided to try it out last week.  I have drunk Birch leaf squash recently which was really nice and so I gave it a try.

I collected Birch leaves and put in the maja

The base of the maja you fill with water and put on the cooker to boil. The part to the right of the picture which collects the squash is then placed on top

The next part to go on, is the sieve that holds the Birch leaves & sugar and finally the lid goes on

As the water heats up and boils, the water vapour rises through; in this case birch leaves, but I used Lingon berries also and as they steam, the juices drop down and eventually the juice runs out of the rubber pipe into a bottle.

Here are bottles of Lingon and Birch squash, with Teres’ Sill Torte or Herring cake which is traditionally eaten at mid-summer.

Plant walk

Last week we had a plant walk at the nature center.

Wood Crane’s-bill (Geranium sylvaticum) Thank you for correcting me Elma.

Sidebells Wintergreen (Pyrola secunda)

Round-leaved Wintergreen (pyrola rotundifolia) – a decoction of the leaves can be used as an antiseptic wash or to treat skin complaints.

False Lilly of the Valley (Maianthemum bifolium)

Mountain Everlasting or Cat’s-foot (Antennaria dioica)

There were also many Mayflies emerging from the lake

and we found a Fen Raft Spider (Dolomedes plantarius) a rarity in the UK.

Natural Lore Gathering – We need you!!!

I must say that I am a little disappointed that only one person feels they have benefited from the information on my blog and has made a  donation to the nature center, but now you have the opportunity to be directly involved with the nature center project.

I am organising a Natural Lore Gathering from 12th – 18th September here in Lapland, which will cost 100 Swedish Krona (the price of a membership card to the nature center) and you must spend at least 4 of the 7 days helping with work on the project.  You must get to Gällivare at your own costs, but we will transport you from Gällivare to Dokkas.

We now own the old school in Dokkas

and Arthur Leidgrens house

Both require repair works, cleaning and decorating.

Accommodation will be basic; space to pitch a tent or and area of floor to sleep on.  We will supply SOME meals but there is also a shop in the village where you can buy food, drinks and other supplies.

There will also be some activities and workshops available (if you feel you would like to run a workshop, please let us know).

There are 30 places available and if you would like to participate, please donate 100SEK (about £10) via the “Donate” button on the site and email you details to me via

Out with the canoe

It was a beautiful sunny day last Saturday and so I convinced Teres to join me for a trip out in the canoe, on a large lake just outside Nattavaara.

I was hoping to get some pictures of Arctic terns, (Sterna paradisaea) which have taken up residence on the lake.  I was expecting to get a picture of one in flight, but was pleasantly surprised to find three perched on stones in the lake

We paddled closer and closer but the terns did not move

until eventually the canoe was resting against the stone

We found a nice shaded spot to stop for lunch

As  we paddled back we found two Common Scoter , but we could not get close to them.

A very very hot week!!

Last time I wrote that the temperature was 27 degrees, but everyday since then it has been 35 degrees (and probably even warmer at certain times)!  The downside to this is of course that there are many many mosquitoes now however, there are also many species of dragonflies, butterflies and moths appearing

Last weekend we stayed at my cabin and I was doing small jobs such as repairng the floor

We had another competition to build boats out of items we found in the cabin

and race then across the lake (I won for the first time)

At the nature center we have now purchased a Volkswagen minibus so that I can run nature safaris from the center

On Wednesday I helped with the stocking of fish in a local fishing lake.  The fish were transported to the lake in a water tank

We transferred the fish into large buckets and carried them to the lake

Here is a piece of video

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The two species of fish we introduced were Arctic Char and Rainbow Trout

The same evening there was a heavy thunder storm after, as the rain evaporated and the sun set (it doesn’t actually go below the horizon now) the forest was filled with a beautiful red mist

Summer is here!

Today it has been 27 degrees, the last bit of snow disappeared during last night and the trees now have leaves on them.

Last week I took three ladies out in the forest to learn some bird songs and calls

I have also located; a nest site for Siberian Tit (but this is the best photo I have taken so far)

a site where Black Grouse display or “lekk”

and a lake just outside Nattavaara which has several pairs of Smew on it

The Smew (like so many larger tree nesting bird species) is becoming increasingly rare due to the more intensive management of the forests here.  The consequence of this management is that the trees no longer grow to a sufficient diameter to allow birds like Black Woodpeckers to make holes in and so provide breeding for birds like Smew.  In an effort to help at least one pair of Smew I built a nest box and have erected  at the side of the lake.