Finland

Myself and Kelly have just returned from a three day trip to Finland.

We visited the Santa Claus village in Rovaniemi where kelly got to meet Santa

kellly and santa

and his reindeer and calves.

 

We then travelled to Ranua to visit a wildlife park.  The wildlife park has many animals and birds from Northern Europe including;

Brown Bear

europeanbrownbear-kevinwarrington

Wolverine

wolverine

Grey Wolf

europeanwolf-kevinwarrington

Muskox

muskox-kevinwarrington

Honey Buzzard

honey-buzzard

and it’s the only place in Europe (and possibly in the World) where polar Bears breed in captivity

polarbear-kevinwarrington

We had a great time and fantastic weather and will be visiting Finland again.

 

Preparing for winter

Over the past few weeks both at home at at work in Solberget Vildmarksbyn, I have been preparing wood for the winter.

Birch that is already cut and split

wood pile

must be taken under cover and stacked both for ease of storage and to help it dry.

wood stacked

Of course at Solberget the reindeer are always close by to see that the job is done properly.

2reindeer

Reindeer calf marking

Yesterday reindeer were gathered up into a corral to mark the calves.

calf marking lapland

Each calf has a unique series of cuts made into it’s ears to show who owns the calf

reindeer calf

Some of the reindeer are already growing a nice set of horns ready for the breeding season in the autumn.

reindeer

Some of the reindeer were tame enough to feed.

feeding reindeer

As usual we made fires and grilled sausage and cooked coffee.

coffee braek-2 coffee break

A reindeer stuck in a tree!!

A German woman telephoned me today from Wildnisdorf Solberget. She could not speak Swedish and her English was not so good, but I understood her to say “there has been an accident and a reindeer is stuck in a tree!”

She was living there alone so I agreed to come straight away and help her. These pictures show what I found when I got there.

20141104_103055 (Medium) 20141104_103108 (Medium)

The reindeer had been laying there all night.

With help from a local reindeer herder, we felled one of the birches and then lifted the reindeer up and released its leg. Once it had got the feeling back in its leg, we were pleased to see that it started to walk around and soon after started feeding.

Back working at Solberget again

During the time I was unable to work, I changed my job.  I now work part-time in a General Store here in Nattavaara and part-time in Solberget Wilderness Village as a tourist guide.

Working in the General Store and looking after Kelly means that I do not have much spare time to make and do things, and so it is getting increasingly difficult to find things to blog about and so I am now considering the future of this blog.

Fortunately this week I am working as a tourist guide, so will have some things to write about.

Yesterday we took 25 guests out on a days wandering with four of our Reindeer, up to the top of Solberget (Sun Hill).  I talked about the wildlife and history of the area and talked about medicinal uses of some of the plants that we found.

walking on solberget (Medium)

Once we reached the top, we made fire and cooked sausages over the fire, before making our way back down again.

lunch on solberget lapland (Small)

Today we ran a leather handicraft workshop, where our guests were able to make a hole range of items from Reindeer leather, including pouches, armbands, knife sheaths and necklaces.

leather handcrafts workshop solbeget lapland (Medium)

Hot weather

For over two weeks now, we have had really hot weather with temperatures over 30 degrees and one day the temperature reached over 40 degrees!.

We have had one male reindeer around the cabin who is being driven crazy by the heat and biting insects.

reindeer

I have been working up on the metal roof of the cabin where temperatures must have close to 50 degrees.  I have made a sheet metal collar around the chimney stack to prevent rain leaking in.  I have to improvise a clamp to hold the sheet metal and bend it into the desired shape.

improvised clamp

I then rendered the brickwork above the collar to help protect it.

chimney stack

A new sheath for Emma’s knife

It is a very cold spring we experiencing. Today it has only been 1 degree C, with snow showers. There are not many summer migrant birds that have arrived, though just now we do have a lot of Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) in the garden.

brambling sweden lapland

I am still not working a currently await a date for an operation on my hernia. While at home I decided to make a new sheath for a knife I made for Emma a while back.

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Emma designed the sheath herself and helped make it.

20140424_142226 (Large)

20140424_142213 (Large)

A working weekend

Had to work over the weekend so there was no visit to the cabin.

I did manage to get some time on Saturday and Sunday to do a bit of fishing

fishing (Small)

Apart from Perch I did not catch anything.  It’s now over three weeks since I last caught a trout and I do not understand why.  I caught many last year at this time but I am using the same equipment and baits but they are not biting.  I am beginning to wonder if someone has used a fishing net in the lake to remove the fish?

Many birds have fledged their young now and have left the area, so it is very quiet in the forest.  At the lake where I fish a pair of Wryneck (a member of the woodpecker family)

http://woodpeckersoftheworld.blogspot.se/2010/10/genus-jynx.html

have bred in a nest box.  The books show that they do not occur this far north.

We also have a pair of Honey Buzzards in Nattavaara, but I have not located the nest site.

We have a friendly Reindeer around also.

reindeer eating birch leaves (Medium)

5 days at my cabin – day 5

I had left my Little Acorn camera out overnight at the cabin to see if any animals came to visit.  I was surprised next morning to see that a Reindeer had been to visit in the middle of the night.little acorn camera reindeer

Myself and Erik walked in the forest.  We eventually decided to stop and make fire,

fire in the forest (Small)

and cook coffee and some lunch.

lunch in the forest (Small)

Close to where we made fire, we found a couple of really nice Birch burs.

birch bur (Small)

Later during our walk, we found a site where a fox had killed a Capercaillie.

fox kill (Medium)

I could not understand why there was a lot of mouse droppings in one are, but then realised that this was actually the crop contents and that this bird had recently been eating Birch leaf buds.

capercaillie crop contents (Medium)

We spent the afternoon fishing but again did not catch anything.

At 6pm we loaded our kit in the valp and Erik gave me a lift to my car.  As we drove along the track I had walked to the cabin on, I spotted fresh bear tracks.

brown bear tracks

The tracks were from the previous day and it was not a particularly large bear that had made them, so if we had travelled in the opposite direction the previous evening we might of seen it.

brown bear tracks-2 (Small)

Testing my reindeer horn ice fishing rod

On Saturday I went ice fishing with my neighbour Folke.  The snow is very deep and it was not easy to travel with snowmobiles.

folke with snowmobile

It was 12kms to the lake where we intended to fish and once we arrived there we started boring holes in the ice to fish through.

ice fishing

After only a few minutes of fishing (using a worm and a piece of shrimp for bait) Folke caught an Arctic Char!

arctic char

I was fishing with my Reindeer horn fishing rod

fishing with reindeer horn rod

It took a little longer for me to catch my first fish; a Rainbow Trout

trout and reindeer horn rod

We made fire and cooked some coffee

coffee break

We then continued fishing.  Folke caught 2 Arctic Char and I caught 2 Rainbow Trout and 1 Arctic Char.

days catch