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?
I worked on Friday which was a bank holiday here in Sweden, so I took Monday as a bank holiday instead and had three days at the cabin. There isn’t that much to write about really because most of the time was spent inside the cabin completing work in the living room.
We have a corner now where we can wash and clean our teeth.
I have made wooden architrave frames around the windows
and cut and fixed up architrave around the ceiling and around the top of the panel. This wasn’t easy because nothing is square in the cabin and I could not just cut 90 degree angels in the corners.
My neighbours came to help me remove some tree roots from in frint of the cabin
and we felled a large Spruce tree that had become rotten in the centre.
The morning started with me sanding cups and Teres sewing leather bags
The temperature was -2 degrees and it had been -7 in the night but at least it was sunny
After cleaning the cabin (as it would be our last day there) we decided to go walking in the forest, to the peak behind the cabin.
The forest is so quiet for birds at this time of year but is very peaceful listening to the wind in the trees.
and from time to time we could see back across the lake
As we walked further we noticed that the berries and leaves had been stripped from the ground flora which is apparently typical of bear feeding. A little further on I looked to my left and saw a fallen spruce with the root plate raised vertically
at the base of the root plate was a large hole in the ground which was a bears den (bjorn ide in Swedish).
I got to about 30 metres from it but could not get a clear photograph and unsure if the occupant was at home I was unwilling to get any closer!! You can see part of the hole slightly right of centre in the picture below.
I used some Birch bark in the Spruce branches and my firesteel to get the fire going. The resin in the dead branches makes them burn well.
I melted a small amount of snow in my cup and then continued to add snow to the water to melt it.
Once I had a cup full of water I put the cup lid on and waited for the water to boil.
While sitting enjoying a hot cup of chocolate I had the idea to carry my Crusader cup in my soft leather possibles pouch but unfortunately it wouldn’t quite fit in so I decided to make a larger pouch once I got back to England…but more about that soon!
As I headed back it was almost dark and so peaceful.
There are many adaptations for the lean-to shelter, depending on the circumstances and materials available.
In this case I used a horizontal ridge pole supported by two trees at either end with dead leaned against it and a piece of parachute material secured over to wick away any rain. The bed is made of spruce boughs.
Here we used Spruce boughs as thatching for the roof and this created a very effective waterproof cover. The bed is again made of Spruce boughs. The two logs across the front of the shelter prevent the occupant rolling into the fire when sleeping.
Here we are using leaf litter as covering for the roof, held in place with a second layer of dead wood.
The most effective type of fire-lay for this shelter (particularly in cold weather) is the long log fire.
With this lean-to which I used on a survival course in Canada, I have incorporated a raised bed, lined with Spruce boughs. In this case I was sleeping in this shelter at -22 degrees, without a sleeping bag.
Today I’ve been experimenting with different methods of removing the outer sheath of Spruce roots. By far the most affective and simplest method was to find a reasonably strong branch and placing the Spruce root over the base of the branch, pull the root from side to side while applying downward pressure. It is incredibly quick and easy.