I have been continuing to develop my work-shop and I have completed to transition of the bunk-bed, into a work-bench. I began by taking the bunk-bed apart and then re-used the various parts to begin constructing the work-bench
The project did not take long to complete
and I am very pleased with the end result.
Hopefully my workshop will be completed next week and I will be writing more.
We currently have 4 Pine Grosbeaks (Pinicola enucleator) feeding in the garden
and today I have been watching Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) coming to a small hole in the river ice, to drink.
It should be feeling a bit more like spring now, but night-time temperatures are still below -20 and day-time are only at around -10. This is the first winter since I moved he, that the temperature has not been above freezing during the whole winter.
I visited Jokkmokks Marknad both on Thursday and Saturday. While travelling to Jokkmokk on Thursday, a juvenile Sea Eagle flew up from the side of the road.
and landed in a tree, but it was a bit too far away to get any decent pictures.
There were many people at the market. So many, that it was difficult to take photo’s.
There was a Sámi women was very good at making Birch bark containers.
There is a also a Finnish house building company that has moved to Jokkmokk, and they will be selling timber houses from 2019 and they had a sauna at the market to demonstrate to quality of their work.
I bought a couple of tanned reindeer skins for making coffee bags and a thicker skin (not sure from which animal) for making pouches for my new equipment belt. The fork in the picture below, I use to make the holes for sewing.
I wet mould the leather to achieve the required shape. I had made a pouch for my Leatherman Wave, a pouch to hold a tobacco tin and one to hold my Petzl Tikka head-torch + three spare batteries in the bottom of the pouch.
While driving to work on Tuesday, I saw a male Capercaillie standing in the middle of the road. He wasn’t bothered by vehicles passing at 90kms per hour, but as soon as I slowed down to take a photo, he ran away. I did however manage to get one reasonable photo of him.
As you can see, the snow has been falling. Last night there came 6cms more snow and yesterday morning the temperature went down to -19 degrees C.
I returned to Hoddesdon this weekend and Danemead Scout Campsite. Originally I was going to be teaching a small group of leaders, but for various reasons some people cancelled and for most of Saturday it was only me and my friend Stuart.
As I arrived and got out of my car there was a large party of Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests moving around feeding in the trees. As I was watching I heard the short, loud, distinctive “tsu-weet” of a Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus), a bird which breeds in Siberia and Russia and migrates to Asia and has wondered off course. Each Autumn this uncommon vagrant arrives in varying numbers for a brief stay as they make their journey south. During my years of serious birding I spent many ours chasing around looking for them. This bird called several times and then departed with the tit flock and I did not hear it again for the rest of the weekend.
There is a brief piece of video of a Yellow-browed on YouTube here
Stuart had purchased a Tentipi (made not that far from my cabin in Sweden) and was keen to get it set up and try it out.
Here is a view from the front.
After erecting the tipi, we cut and split some logs for fire wood
and then got a fire going and put the kettle on.
Another surprising find, especially for mid November was this Comma butterfly
It gets its name from the white mark you can see on the underwing.
To be continued!!
Heavy rain most of the night and this morning, then sunny for the rest of the day.
I went walking around the marsh today to look for birds.
The marsh was very quiet apart from one Whooper Swan.
The marsh is covered with Cotton Grass. This picture was taken by Jon Pickett last year
I stopped for a brew mid morning
Making a fire is so simple here. I collect an armful of the lower dead branches of Spruce and Pine and put some Birch bark into them
and then spark into the Birch bark with the firesteel and with the help of the resin in the dead wood you quickly have a good fire.
I used some larger pieces just to rest the pot on.
Other birds on my walk included 2 Goldeneye and the Grey-headed Woodpecker again. I returned to the cabin and after lunch finished some of the items I had made from antler. Here are some examples of things I made.
From left to right; sewing needle, necklace bead, toggle and finally an awl.
Anki returned to stay at her cabin this afternoon and while we were chatting we met a guy from the Swedish Forest Company who told us that they have decided to preserve a large area of trees behind our cabins. Quite a lot of these trees are large and old, and unlike those in the managed forest, are of suitable diameter for woodpeckers and owls to nest in. This si really good news!!
Overcast all day today.
Spent most or the day birdwatching around the cabin today as there were lots to see. 1 Grey-headed Woodpecker (a rare bird in Lapland) was moving around from tree to tree associating with a Great-spotted Woodpecker. There was a Reed and Rustic Bunting feeding around the cabin plus; Fieldfare, Redwing, Waxwing, Goldcrest, Redpoll, Chaffinch, Brambling, Greenfinch, Raven 1 female Goldeneye on the lake and a noisy Jay. There were also a family party of 7 Siberian Jays feedling on a piece of pork I put in a tree. I spent about 3 hours photographing and filming them.
They are such a beautiful bird.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I slit some logs this afternoon
spent a bit of time fishing but still caught nothing!!
Filtered some more water
and then I made a “Moose caller” for Anki’s grandchildren.
You can use a plastic cup or cut the top off of a bottle
then make a small hole in the base large enough to get a piece of nylon cord through (the inner line from parachute cord works well)
Now wet the string and pull gently between thumb and forefinger
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Rowed to the far end of the lake this morning to do a spot of fishing. A Golden eagle lifted from trees at the lake edge, circled around and then as it gained altitude, drifted away. As I rowed back to the cabin a Sparrowhawk flew across the lake (which is a new species for my list there). I also noticed that all the Waxwings have gone today….presumably on the next stage of their migration.
I washed my clothes after breakfast.
then added another set of legs to the saw-horse
then spent most of the day cutting logs
I decided to make an apple and blueberry crumble for my evening meal.
Lined a tin with apples and then blueberries
and crushed digestive biscuits
then covered the alternate layers and apples and blueberries with the crushed biscuits
I baked it in the oven for about 40 minutes and this was the end result…..BEAUTIFUL!!!
As I rowed to the far end of the lake again this evening to watch the Moose, 62 Pink-footed Geese flew over calling, on their way south for the winter.