June at the cabin – Part 1

Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to either comment here or email about what activities would interest you here.  Everything you have requested we will be able to provide!

I have not posted recently because I have been at my cabin for almost two weeks (sometimes alone and sometimes not).

We are starting to make alterations/improvements to the cabin and I have been busy during my stay there.

Regular readers will know that the old wood cooking stove has had its problems and really isn’t up to the job of warming the cabin, so I bought a modern one and one of the tasks has been to install the new stove.

We began by removing the kitchen cupboards

and moving them to the other side of the kitchen (you can see the new stove waiting to be installed).

After the cupboards had been removed I could demolish the brickwork around the old stove to enable me to remove it.

It wasn’t easy with only a claw-hammer and two splitting wedges!

After the stove was removed, Ingvar came to help me repair the chimney and render the wall and floor ready to fit the new stove.

I had to fit a flue pipe and cleaning vent in the chinmey

One of the great things about living here is that you can often find the materials you need in the forest if you know where to look and for sand to mix with the cement, we did just that.  Here we are removing soil and stones from the sand

Last Thursday I fitted the new stove in place and tested it on Friday morning.

Everything went well and the stove looks and works great

It has a huge burning chamber which can hold a lot of wood and it has a glass front to enable you to see the flames.  The oven is also much bigger and has a very useful facility.

When the knob is pulled out heat goes all around the oven, but push the knob in and heat is diverted only over the top and this converts it into a grill.

Lapland autumn 2009 – 12th September

I began the day cooking breakfast and making a batch of pinn bröd dough

making pinn brod (Large)

Teres was keen to help me ;>)

Teres helping make bread

I cooked the breads on the top of my woodburning stove

baking pinn brod

My neighbours were at their cabin for the day and there grandson was collecting blue berries and threading them onto a grass stem.  Apparently many children do this and them eat the berries later.

threading blue berries on grass stem (Small)

We were due to eat food at Anki’s cabin in the afternoon and so we walked there through the forest.

forest view (Small)

I love this view at any time of year

forest view-2 (Small)

Teres’ sister Jenny and her husband Hasse were also there

family (Small)

We cooked sausage and later Anki cooked a meal for us.  Anki used to work as a chef and I always look forward to her cooking!

bbq at Anki's cabin (Small)

We went walking after our evening meal and although we saw no birds or other wildlife the autumn colours at sunset made up for it

evening view (Medium)

Birds seen today; 1 Redpoll, 1 Song Thrush singing, Raven, Redwing, Greenfinch, Siberian Jay, Willow Tit, Crossbill, Brambling, and 1 Willow Warbler.

The following day we drove back to Gallivare for a few days.

Lapland autumn 2009 – 11th September

I begin the day carving a plate from a piece of Birch and then I took my boat out and rowed around the lake to take some pictures.

cabin from boat (Large)

We collected some blue berries (although known in Lapland as Blue Berry they are in fact Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus) and with the addition of some apple moose I had bought in town I decided to try and make fruit leather

applae moose and blueberries (Large)

I briefly cooked the berries and then strained them through a mesh bag to remove skins and seeds

extracting juice (Medium)

I mixed the apple and blue berries together and placed the mixture on an oiled, Teflon sheet in a tray

apple and blueberry mix (Medium)

I placed the tray in the oven of my woodburning stove with the door propped open about 20mm

woodburner stove (Large)

After 10 hours the mixture had dried to the perfect consistency

Blueberry and apple fruit leather (Small)

I cut it into one inch wide strips and stored it in a container in the cold room beneath the cabin.

We spent the evening with Teres’ mum at her cabin.  We found this large mushroom which is one of the Boletus family

large fungi (Small)

I forget what it is called in Swedish but Anki told me that you remove the outer part of the mushroom and only eat the thin white layer beneath which is made into a soup.

Bird species for the day were; 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Willow Tit, 4 Mallard, 9 Crossbill, and 1 male Wigeon

Fruit leather

I found a large number of Crab Apples on the ground and decided to try and make use of them.

fruit leather-1 (Small)

I placed them in boiling water for five minutes and then pushed them through a fine sieve to remove the peel and pips.  Then I did the same with some Blackberries but boiled them for a little longer.  I mixed the two together with a little honey and spread the mix about 1cm thick on grease-proof paper in a shallow baking tray.

I placed the baking tray on an oven shelf on top of my woodburning stove and placed a roasting tin on top to trap the heat while allowing air to circulate.

fruit leather.2 (Medium)

I only put a small amount of wood in the woodburner and left it to burn for 10 hours.

The fruit had reduced in size and thickness and was dry to touch but not brittle (it could be rolled up).

I cut it into strips to carry with me and it should last for several months in a cool dry place.

fruit leather.3 (Small)

Woodburner surprise

The other evening I noticed that the glass in my woodburner stove was very dirty and having been told that the white ash is good for cleaning the glass, I thought I would give it a try.  I wetted a piece of cloth, applied some ash and began cleaning the glass.  While holding the door as I cleaned I felt something brush against my hand. As I pulled my hand away from the door…..this fell onto the hearth!!!

pipistrelle bat-1

It’s a Pipistrelle bat.

I can only assume that it decided to roost in the flue

bat in stove-3

and had then dropped down and eventually crawled in to the stove.  I had not used the stove for about three weeks, but the bat could not have been there more than a couple of days  because it would have very quickly died of thirst.

It was not very lively, but I put some water on my finger and it lapped it with its tongue and for about 15 minutes it remained motionless.

pipistrelle bat-2

Then it started to look around and crawled around on my hand and finally launched itself off and flew into some trees.


Making pinn bröd

There are four basic ingredients in Pinn bröd; flour, salt, baking powder and honey.  I like to add some curry powder for added flavour

Pinn bread-1 (Large)

To each cup of flour I add a pinch of salt and baking powder and some honey to taste.  The honey not only gives taste but helps to preserve the bread, keep it supple and prevent it drying out and cracking while cooking.

Pinn bread-2

Mix the ingredients and add water until you achieve a ball of dough

pinn bread-3 (Large)

Divide the dough into pieces and roll out .  I  roll them very thinly and use as a wrap.

pinn bread-4 (Large)

They need to be cooked for about 20 – 30 seconds on each side and there are a variety of ways of doing this.  On the hob of a woodburning stove

pinn bread (Large)

in a dry frying pan over a fire or on an electric hob

pinn bread-5

or in this case on top of my woodburner

pinn bread-6 (Large)

I use a gauze (used to stop fat spitting from a frying pan) to provide an even heat.

And this is the end result with fried sausage, onion, leek, mushroom and dried tomatoes

pinn bread-7 (Large)

Four days is the longest they have lasted so far but that’s because I eat them before the 5th day ;>)

Woodburning stove

I had a woodburning stove fitted into my living room just before Christmas and having used and experimenting with it for almost a month I think it is one of the best purchases I have made.


The stove itself was £270 but the flue and labour to fit it all to meet building regulations, brought the total cost to nearly £2000!  However I do not have to use my electric heating now or my kettle (as I boil water on the stove top) and my electric cooker is rarely used because I cook on the top as well.

I use my cast iron dutch oven as an oven and for making stews


and my frying pan for such things as pancakes


Outside I have made a lean-to where seasoned wood can be stored


and I’ve made a saw-horse for cutting up logs


which folds flat and can be stored up under the lean-to roof, as you can see here


It has taken quite some time to discover a way to keep the fire inboth at night and when I am work.  When staying outside and using a campfire I can often find glowing embers deep inside the pile of ash, so I took the ash from the ash tray in the bottom of the stove and covered the fire with a thick layer and this has proved very successful.  I can in fact keep the fire in for 10 hours.