Christmas trees

Myself and a neighbour have been out with snowmobiles in the forest looking for  a couple of Christmas trees.

We have been having some very strange weather here for over a week now.  The temperature has been above freezing for over a week now and it has been raining.  This makes it a little more difficult to drive the snowmobile because it sinks in the snow, we managed to get around without getting stuck.  We found two nice trees on land that we own.

We saw a group of Reindeer that seemed to be on their way south to the Arctic Circle!!!!

Delivering firewood to the Arctic Circle Portal

Malmensvägen (Iron ore road) is a ski, snowmobile & hiking trail along the road once used to transport ore from Gällivare/Malmberget to the coast at Strömsund, using both Reindeer and horses. If you follow Malmensvägen, you pass the Arctic Circle Portal, where there is a place to rest and overnight cabins.

Part of my job is to keep the wood store full for people staying at the cabins.  With help from firends in Nattavaara, we delivered a load of wood there yesterday.

We first loaded the wood on a trailer and drove 30kms from Nattvaaraby to the Portal.

Two friends have driven there by snowmobile and with their help we tranferred the wood from the trailer to a pulka and then they drove it to the cabins

It took 5 trips to get all the wood transported and then we stacked it in the wood store.

After the work was completed we made fire and cooked lunch and coffee in one of the cabins.

I first visited the portal as a tourist in February 2008

and at that time could never had imagined that I would leave the UK and move to Nattavaara and work there as a tourist guide.

The guy sitting in this picture is the person who’s job I have now, after he retired!

No interenet

We currently have no internet at home and have not had for over a week now.  Net1 (our provider) is very good when things are working, but not good at fixing problems.  And to make matters worse, their customer service telephone system isn’t working!!

Yesterdays dinner guests

I was at work yesterday, but Teres was at home and took some pictures of some guests that arrived for dinner and spent most of the day at our house.

reindeer in garden nattavaara lapland kevin warrington

There was one almost completely white reindeer with them.  He had a bell around his neck which helps to locate the reindeer when they are in the forest.

white reinddeer nattavaara natural lore

This is a mother and calf that are digging in the snow to locate food

reindeer nattavaaraby

and this animal is fitted with a GPS collar as part of a project to study bear predation on reindeer.  When a bear comes within 100 metres of the reindeer, the collar activates and begins sending a signal to the researches.  They have found that 60% of reindeer calves are taken by bears!

reindeer with gps collar nattavaara

Birch bark container tutorial

I was hoping to get out and about this weekend and do some stuff for the blog, but Teres was taken into hospital on Thursday and now I have bronchitis.  So I have made a tutorial for making Birch bark containers.

I begin by cutting out two identical wooden disks to use as the top and bottom of the container and then role the bark around and mark and cut out a piece of bark.  This particular piece measured 30cm x 9cm.  On the outside of one end of the bark I thin the bark down to a wedge shape and I do the same on the inside of the bark at the other end.

Then I make to lines of holes in each end, about 5mm between each hole.

Form a tube with the bark, making sure the end thinned down on e inside sits over the end thinned down on the outside.  I use a clip to hold the two ends together and then use sinew, false sinew or dental floss to begin sewing the bark together.

Now draw a line around the side of each wooden disk (use your finger as a depth gauge)

Then draw a line around the underside of each disk

Use a knife or sandpaper to remove the wood between these two lines to give an angled edge.   This makes it much easier to insert the top and bottom disks into the bark tube.

You may find that one of the disks is a little too small and does not fit tightly into the bark tube.  In this case you can take a thin layer of Birch bark and glue around the edge of the disk (use an elastic band to hold the bark in place while the glue dries).

Use a knife or sandpaper to remove excess bark and it should look like this when completed

Put some glue around the edge of the bottom disk and push into the bark tube and then push in the top.  To help strengthen the top and bottom, cut two strips of bark (I use a pair of serrated scissors that I bought from a Dollar Store to give a decorative edge, but I have also done this using a knife) and glue around the top and bottom.

Drill two holes in the top and thread a piece of leather through and tie a knot on the inside of the lid.

Now the container is completed.

10 days in England with the family

Yesterday we returned from a 10 day visit to England for my dad’s 80th birthday.

Emma was keen to do some fishing in England, but never actually caught anything!

We had my dad’s 80th birthday party at a local pub

and Emma and I baked a cake for him

We also visited a local military airbase to watch aeroplanes taking off and landing.  This is an F15 Eagle.

We also had time to visit some friends and family (congratulations Liam and Phoebe!), including John and Val Lord.