When I finally seem to manage to keep the chickens out of the front yard… I’ve filled all the flowerbeds with new soil and planted some spring flowers. Started making a windshelter with old wood from the barn. The front of the house is rarely used because it’s always so windy there. My idea is to put up some wood or a net and plant lots of climbing flowers and peas. I’ve also planted a couple of small apple trees that I want growing along the fence and blueberry and black currant bushes. So happy to have at least half of the garden looking nice again and then my husband bumped into a deer early this morning going to work. All my tulips eaten. The deer isn’t naive to the island. A few of them walked on the ice(or swam?) and now they live happily here. I still think it’s kind of cool to see them running around late in the evening or early morning but not cool when they eat my flowers. Another thing they brought along are ticks, definitely uncool. In a (probably useless) attempt to keep them out I’ve hung some strips of white plastic on our gates and made little sticks with blood flour on and stuck next to the poor little springflowers that I have left.
Aaaah lovely sunshine again. I spent the morning warming up on the steps outside after my morning swim in the sea. Pidgey came running up and wanted to sit on my lap(well that could be an overstatement, she comes running up going baaaah-caacka and stares at me, I pick her up, she looks terrified but very quickly relaxes). She really enjoyed soaking up the sunshine and fell asleep. Woke up on and off and made some noises but absolutely no attempt to run away. Me as a very restless person find it very hard to sit still but as soon as the sun shines I feel drawn to the stairs and it’s like re-charging a battery. Half an hour will do it, I feel like a brand new person. There were some really strange sounds coming from the hens around the corner. I lent over carefully not to wake Pidgey and found all the other hens sand bathing and sun bathing in my flowerbed… My attempts to keep them out to at least get to see some of the spring flowers seems to be useless. Whatever the hens don’t dig up the deer take care of. In the end my mum showed up and I had to wake Pidgey. Finished painting my bench/outdoors sofa, second coat. Hmm one of the hens got to close to the new painted sofa. Tidied out the basement for a visitor who didn’t show up, but anyways good that I had it done. While I was painting my mum started clearing the closest flowerbed and after she left I got hooked. I had bought three garden magazines but ended up doing this years first gardening instead of reading. The hens were a great help! They followed my digging eating every little and big worm and spider they could find, happily clucking away. Not long ago I read an article about another hen owner. In the article they asked her what surprised her most with getting chickens. Her answer was -I never thought I would love them so much! That would be my answer as well. In the beginning I thought they were a bit creepy but now I love them as much as my other pets. They all have their own personalities. Plus they give you eggs. Now we are over-flowing. I sell two packets a week to regular customers and hand a lot out to neighbours but still we have plenty left.
While I was in the darkroom my daughter kept busy baking and cooking. She googled all the recipes and cycled to the shop and bought everything she needed. Dinner for her and her older brother was American pancakes with bacon and bacon grease. For dessert banana bread with Dulce latte, whipped cream and homemade banana-peanutbutter-nutella-icecream. Then she tells her three years older brother that he has to finish off with an apple after all the sweet they had! She is definitely in the same league as her father in the kitchen, boy am I a lucky one? She’s only eleven, somehow I don’t think she’ll have any problems looking after herself when she’s old enough to live on her own.
It did do the trick! For once I’ve been very methodic and done lots of tests for light leaks etc before actually exposing, turns out it was worth it. I’ve been so busy building that I haven’t had time for photography but now it’s like a floodgate has opened. Made a few wet plates and developed some film and today I’ve spent all morning in the darkroom printing copies of all those rolls of film I went through autumn and Christmas. I’m doing straight black&white prints but some of them are destined to be lith printed, that will be tomorrow. Maybe I’ll do some cyanotypes to. Why are there only so few hours in a day?
Started this morning with grinding up the chillies I’ve had hanging in my window, in my husbands coffee grinder. Note to myself: Remember to wash it out carefully. The plan was chilli flakes but turned out to be a powder. Looks great and smells great! Note to myself: Do not stick your nose to close to the jar of freshly made chilli powder and inhale.
Went on to mix some chemicals for my wet plates. I haven’t done any wet plates in ages. Sometimes it’s nice with a break and now I start to feel my fingers become trigger happy and missing photography. So I mixed the Collodion and the salts I need and fresh developer. Also important not to stick your nose to close. I try to take every pro-caution I can, wearing a mask and avoiding the strongest chemicals if they can be swapped for something else. This time I decided to try out Frances &Scully Osterman’s recipe. The collodion looked like cloudy lemon juice when mixed but I’m sure it will clear eventually. I also did a light proof test with the few film holders I have left. They take such beating from the silver. The test showed I have two left to use which was more than I thought I had. Also light proofed the camera. The bellows are so riddled with holes it’s a miracle that I’ve had any plates done with it. Now it ain’t pretty no more but it will hopefully do the trick!
Today I took the moped to the mainland and bought paint. Usually I try to buy everything I need on the island. I think it is important to support local business but when it comes to paint it would have cost me more than three times as much on the islands and I am on a tight budget. Since I passed the flowershop I bought some rose soil for the chilli plants and accidentally picked up some spuds, anemone bulbs, spring flowers for outside, hen net and bone flour… Took a little detour in Torslanda to see a friend. What I like about the moped is that I can easily explore new places, go down little roads where I haven’t been before. She lives in the oldest house in her neighbourhood. It had so much charm and felt so homely. We have a lot in common with our interest in photography but as it turns out she loves woodwork to. She built the wooden seat where we sat having “fika”. Also a lot of built-in shelving instead of wardrobes. It gave me even more ideas about what to build next!
A beautiful day. A bit chilly in the wind but lovely sunshine. Started the day by bringing all my wood to the neighbour who kindly let me use his electrical saw to cut all the pieces for the rest of the fence and another sofa/bench. Piece of cake but I got cold to the bone working in his woodshed. Came home and thought about warming up on the sofa with a tonne of blankets. I stood in the hallway and heard a little kaaaakaaka and opened the front door, there they were all the hens! The sun was actually really warm when I sat on the stairs where the wind wouldn’t reach me. So there I sat and thawed with a hen(Pidgey, she’s turned into a lap-hen) on my lap, all the others around and then Oggy the cat laid down on the top of the stairs. We all sat like that for probably half an hour, I almost fell asleep. Great company and I think I got the first tan of the year. Then a fellow photographer turned up and we took a walk down the beach. He brought a whole backpack of cameras of all kinds. It was just stunning and also interesting to see my everyday environment through someone else’s eyes. Not that I will ever take it for granted living in such a fantastic place but it’s a reminder of how lucky we are.
They have actually been wanting to flower for some time now but I’ve been snipping the buds. Feeling very mean while doing it. Now I will let a few of them flower. The first one out was Purple ufo, beautiful flowers! The fruits look really cool to from what I’ve seen while researching. I spent an hour at the library and printed out labels for all the chili plants and some of the flowers that I plan to sell/swap at my yearly Plant- and seed exchange day. Well to be honest, I don’t know all the chilies I’ve planted, there are too many of them and some of the labels have come off but I’m sure I can tell when they grow their fruits. I’ll try to not make the same mistake as last year when I sold lots of plants saying they where Czechoslovakian black(because of the blue-ish leaves) and then when the day ended and I switched off the red heating lamp, realised that they where the wrong kind… The ones I planted in autumn are doing very well though!
I paid a visit to Hönö konsthall, the art gallery on the island. They have the most beautiful paintings but also a fantastic garden. The gallery is also built in an old barn but since I’m doing everything myself on a non-existing budget I don’t expect it to look the same. Also it will probably take ten years longer, at least. They have also now added a greenhouse in the garden. Mainly built out of wood that people have thrown away, it looks great. I want one! I really liked the cemented flower bed and they had added heating to make it warm and cosy already. There are 7 hens of various breeds. I brought some of our eggs and comparing to their eggs ours are miniatures! It’s always nice to go see other galleries, hen-owners or just about any people with the same interests to get some new inspiration.
I spent the weekend in London and while I was away my husband found a new hobby, fermentation. He’s bought a book The art of Fermentation and so far there’s three jars of veg and a jar of kimchi on the kitchen table. Apparently you can ferment all sorts of things. It’s also very healthy and a good way to use up the fruit and veg in summer. Next thing he will try is making mead, of course.
Spring is here and I washed off the London fumes in the sea this morning, now 5°C in the water. Spring flowers everywhere and sunshine! I love living on the Island but going away to a big city makes me appreciate it even more.