I spent most of last weekend painting all the wood work in the cabin with a white wash (oil and white paint mixed).
I rained a lot over the weekend but between the rain and painting I had time to build a shelter with Emma, using branches from a Spruce tree that we had felled the previous weekend.
Not much more to report I’m afraid……..apart from the mosquitoes!! It’s the worst year for many years for mosquitoes. There are so many and when you are outside doing something you are covered in them! I wonder how much blood I lose every day?
The Siberian Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes ssp macrorhynchos) is still alive and visiting our bird table most days
I have seen it eating Sun Flower seeds, fat and bread.
I decided to add a bedroom to the snow shelter I built with Emma. Firstly I removed all the fresh snow from the back of the shelter and then piled new snow on the back and allowed it to freeze. Once frozen, I cut a hole in the back of the shelter from the inside
And hollowed out the new snow to make a second room large enough to sleep in.
The bed is raised so that cold air sinks below the level of the bed and the small distance between the bed and shelter roof help to trap warm air.
I have been teaching Emma how to make a snow shelter
I am not going to write about how to build one here because I have done it before here.
Here is Emma in the completed shelter or igloo as she calls it
I added a window by putting 4 cms of water in a bucket and leaving it to freeze overnight
I cut a hole at the top of the shelter with my knife and put the window over the hole
Here are Teres and Emma in the shelter at night
Here is the window by candle-light
and here is the shelter by candle-light
I have just purchased a Tentipi Zirkon 15cp (15 person) tält kåta.
It comes in its own rucksack and weighs 19kgs.
You can set up the tipi on snow but first it must be compressed down (I used my snowshoes)
It took about 15 minutes for me to set up the tipi on my own
I plan to have an open fire when using the tipi
The vent at the top of the tipi can be opened to let out the smoke.
I am thinking to organise a Tentipi gathering here next year.
We are about to put a woodburning stove in our house, so just before the snow arrived I was out in the forest harvesting wood from the land that we have.
The first task of course was to make fire
It was a very cold day so the coffee pot was cooking all the time
and of course it was nice to get warm by the fire
As I felled the trees I stacked the branches for use in shelter building
and the timber I have stacked against trees to dry and I will collect them with the snow mobile later in the winter
Some of the Pine I used to build a bed
I covered it with a layer of small Birch and then covered the Birch with a thick layer of Pine.
I was hoping to build a shelter over the bed before the snow came, but did not have time.
We walked up a rocky slope, through Mountain Birch forest to join the trail
We walked for about 1km and then took a short break to talk about this new section of Rådjebalges/Gränsleden
In the middle of the afternoon we stopped to make coffee and eat some food.
Per-Erik explained that Sami people remove their boots whenever they stop to allow both the feet and boots to breath and dry, reducing the risk of blisters.
We located two old burial sites but I decided not to photograph them. We also found sites where would have been staying and milking the Reindeer. Here is one
The pale area of ground on the left of the picture is where the kåta would have been situated and on a flat area of lush green grass in the top right corner of the picture they would have milked the Reindeer. It was over looking this area that we decided to set up the laavu and make camp
The laavu was soon up and water gathered from a nearby spring
Within a hearth made of stones a fire was made and we made coffee and cooked food
and here is the view from the laavu as I prepared to sleep
More and more open water is appearing on the lakes and rivers
and more birds are arriving/passing through.
On Thursday evening I drove to an area near to Porjus, where I left my car and walked the short distance to the Luspen Bird Tower
As I walked to the tower I found a Chiffchaff feeding on the ground in undergrowth under some small Birches.
Even before I had reached the tower I could hear Common Cranes and Whopper Swans calling.
The tower overlooks the Stora Luleälv (älv means river in Swedish) which is an important migration route for birds breeding further north.
There are two levels inside the tower, the upper being accessed through this trapdoor
and there are large windows which open and allow 360 degree viewing.
I saw; 47 Whooper Swans, 24 Common Cranes, 4 Pink-footed Geese, 1 Kestrel, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Curlew displaying and as I returned to my car a White-tailed Sea Eagle flew low over the trees.
It was great just to sit in the tower and watch and listen
On Friday I saw my first Fieldfare and Redwing returning for the summer to breed and yesterday morning there were many Fieldfares around and some were already singing.