Ups and downs

I went to the hospital to see a specialist yesterday about my back.  The good news is that he does not want to operate at the moment because there is so much positive improvement with my training (the operation would have been to fuse two of my vertebrae together).  However I have a degenerative disease; inherited from one of my parents which means that the tissue between the disks breaks down and eventually I will have to have the operation.

In the picture below the healthy disks are thick and have much grey colour between them.  The last three disks (especially the middle one which causes most pain) has almost nothing between the vertebrae.

back xrayLast week my employer terminated my employment because I have been sick so much and can’ do my job in my current condition.  I think it will be a challenge to find full-time employment again up here.

Last weekend we were at the cabin.  Teres wallpapered the veranda that I built a couple of years ago



I had left my fly tying equipment at home, but found a hook, some feathers left over from Easter and some fine fishing line and inspired by an article in the latest issue of “The Bushcraft Magazine” I decided to make a Pike lure.  I had no clamp to hold the hook, so improvised using my Leatherman Wave and a little vice

leatherman fly tying vice-1I was very pleased with the end result, and in fact we caught a 40cm Pike with it, but I dropped the fish before Emma could take a photograph!

leatherman fly tying vice-2

Emma kept both herself and Kelly entertained while in the forest, by crushing up Blueberries and painting stone art with the juice.

emma stone art lapland

emma stone art gallivare

blueberry juice fish

Kelly even made me a stone cake

kelly art nattavaara

On Saturday night the temperature dropped down to -6 C, the first frost of the autumn!



Solberget; Food and fire

The last day for our guests  was a day of  “food and fire”.

We began with my demonstration of different methods to make fire, and the different types of materials one can use to achieve fire.  I was really pleased because everyone achieved fire with the bow-drill.

solberget firemaking (Small)

After fire-making, we created a large fire and placed stones into the fire to heat them.  We dug a pit in the ground  and then when the stones were hot, we transferred them

cooking stones (Small)

into the fire pit.

stones in fire pit (Small)

We prepared food to put into the fire pit.

preparing food for fire pit-1 (Medium)

which included Salmon which we wrapped in wet birch bark.

salmon in birch bark (Small)

The packets of food were then placed in the pit with more hot stones.

food in fire pit (Medium)

and left to cook for a couple of hours.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures once the meal was cooked!!

The same day we had a number of House Martins leaving their nests and I managed to get one nice picture.

young house martin (Large)

Jokkmokk’s Historic Marknad 2013

Yesterday I was at Jokkmokk’s Historic Marknad (this is a small market held each year from Sunday to Wednesday, prior to the main market starting on Thursday), where I spent quite a bit of time demonstrating making fire with the bow-drill.

jokkmokks marknad 2013

fire making jokkmokks marknad

jokkmokk 2013

One Sámi man was really interested to see the bow-drill in use and I ended up giving him my bow-drill set so that he could practise making fire with it at home.

jokkmokks marknad 2013

Some snow and a wooden container

On Wednesday we had the first snow fall of the winter here in Nattavaara By.  The snow is only a couple of centimetres deep but it is better than nothing.  As you can see in the picture below (taken a midday yesterday) the sun is only just appearing above the horizon now, for about 1 hour.  Next week it will disappear completely for about 4 weeks.

Last week I wrote about a wooden container that my friend had made for and now I had had a go at making one myself, using some scrap pieces of wood I had lying around in my workshop.  Both the top and bottom are root bur from Sallow.

I made the top by glueing two pieces of wood together, one slightly smaller to fit inside the pot

I stitched the side together with sinew, but unfortunately as you can see below the side has split when it dried.

I am working on more containers with different designs and will put up the pictures when I have finished.

I already have some shops up here that will sell my Natural Lore Fire Sets, but interestingly they prefer the plastic container because it is easier for people to carry in their pocket.


Vuollerim 6000 years stone age museum

On Friday we visited the stone age museum in the village of Vuollerim.  The museum is called Vuollerim 6000 years

and is close to a stone age settlement that was discovered there in the early ’80s.  This is the site of one of several buildings that were found

The pits you see had a variety of uses, from storing food, preparing food or fire sites.

This is a reconstruction of the turf dwelling outside the museum

and here are three pictures from inside the building

and the kitchen area

There is a very impressive display of reconstructed items found during excavation of the area;

winter clothing (the climate here was thought to have been a couple of degrees warmer and so there were no Reindeer, instead the people were trading for skins)

clothing made from Salmon fish skins (tanned with human urine)

Some hunting tools

A nice birch bark arrow quiver


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 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.