Swedish Midsummer

IMAG2131

An unexpected guest who loved the sea!

Dancing around the Midsummer pole

Dancing around the Midsummer pole

Midsummer picnic

Midsummer picnic

Every year we have people over for Midsummers eve but this year we decided to give it a break. There’s just been too much on recently. I felt very mean when I told my cousin No, we don’t want anyone to come here. Although happy that we are adults and can be honest enough to say what we think. We ended up having an extra guest anyways, Tucker! He’s staying the night be are more than happy to look after him. My daughter wakes up earliest at 10am now as school’s out but she got up at 8am after being woken by a bark. We took Tucker down the beach and first thing he did was jump in the ocean, he loves water! My son and husband caught the man-cold so me and my daughter went to the Midsummer dance with Tucker. We sat down on a blanket and said at the same time We should have brought a picnic! Ended up being fed both strawberry cake and coffee so we left happy and full. It’s kind of tradition that it rains on Midsummer but today wasn’t too bad. As we were out the husband hadn’t recovered from the man-cold but felt awake enough to start on tonights meal. A traditional Midsummer meal is herring of all kinds and flavours, salmon and fresh spuds. We had homemade sausage rolls, Baconpuffs and Lemon meringue pie. A new tradition in our house I think!

bacon puffs with cheese and a béchamel sauce

bacon puffs with cheese and a béchamel sauce

Lemon meringue pie

Lemon meringue pie

Sausage rolls

Sausage rolls

Epic

Rockin’ on crutches

Rockin’ on crutches

I remember the old days when people used lighters, not phones, but it was still very pretty

I remember the old days when people used lighters, not phones, but it was still very pretty

So today some friends came out to help me finish turning the barn into a gallery. Of course it’s not finished, things always take more time than calculated but I am so happy! I myself was quite a wreck since after going to bed at 2.30am. I took my soon to be 15 year old son and his friend to the Foo fighters concert in town(Gothenburg). Their first big concert and it turned out to be epic(quoting the boys)… We came to the huge arena Ullevi and sat in blazing sunshine for three hours waiting and listening to Ghost, the support band. The Foo fighters come on, play one song and then starting the second song, the singer Dave Grohl falls of the stage and breaks his foot! After a lot of laughs, chock, drummer taking over the show, lots of people leaving and Dave promising to come back to Gothenburg we think it will turn in to an early evening and I feel so sorry for the boys. Then the big screen TV zoom in on a chair and we all know what’s coming. The singer comes back with his bandaged foot and plays for the rest of the evening, only to pause for having a cast on his foot and then carries on. I usually don’t blog about things that happen off the island but this was one of these evenings I won’t forget. Just like today. Woke up early and painted the fascias (thank you for the translation fellow blogger Snail of happiness, I didn’t know the word for it in English!). After a few hours I started to despair, thinking no one would show up but then everyone came at once! The barn got emptied out, the fascias put up and the floor rainproofed from the outside. Plus a lot more. It felt so good to have more hands and the main thing to have more brains. Little things can grow so huge when you mull over it over time and when you ask someone else they have the easy solution straight away. It turned out to be the perfect combination of talents as well. All of a sudden I had a project leader, a handy man, a cook, a fine carpenter and a painter at hand. We also had time for a fantastic lunch of my husbands smoked salmon, barbecued veg, grilled halloumi and sallad. At the end of the day I was knackered but still filled with new energy for the gallery project. It felt like removing all these hurdles gave me more will and strength to carry on. Also I’m overwhelmed with my friends goodwill and effort!

Pidgey helping out

Pidgey helping out

On the island it rains horizontal but now the floor is saved!

On the island it rains horizontal but now the floor is saved!

New fascias!

New fascias!

A well earned lunch

A well earned lunch

How to calculate with your bra

Old wood coming down

Old wood coming down

lots of be-hives but empty luckily!

lots of be-hives but empty luckily!

The Smyg vinkel and measuring rod

The Smyg vinkel and measuring rod

Yesterday I took the wind boards (or whatever they are called in English?) down from the front of the barn. They were hanging loose so I thought it better to take them down than having them fall on my head. Most of it was completely rotten, dust, wood and rusty nails rained down. So far I’ve done everything on my own but now I’ve actually asked for help. This weekend some friends will come out and help me finish building the gallery in exchange for food and gratitude. So I want the new wind boards to be cut and painted before then. Luckily my neighbour came by and told me to ask his sons to lend me a “smyg vinkel”, gosh I learned so many new words and ways yesterday. I knocked on the door to the smith workshop, well actually out here no one knocks, they barge in and shout hello! He showed me a very easy way to measure an angle, where the boards meet in an angle, using a measuring rod and a spirit level. He also lent me the “smyg vinkel” that his dad had made 50 years ago and gave me a lesson in how to calculate the area of a triangle. Now I will always think of my bra whenever I see a triangle. Apparently you take the base times the hight and divide in two. In Swedish a bra is called BH= base/hight and 2 boobs. I measured and cut the boards and hopefully I’ll have time to paint them before Saturday. Ages ago I ordered old fashioned lightbulbs and fittings from Hongkong and now they arrived. I put some of them together and hung in the barn just to see how it will look eventually, pretty cool I think! The plan is to have spotlights for the pictures but have 6-10 lights hanging in various hight from the ceiling. I will of course have an electrician look it over at some point to make sure the barn won’t burn down. Oh and another thing I learnt of my 95 year old neighbour is that “there’s nothing like an old house and a young woman to keep you busy”.

My homemade lights

My homemade lights

Fluffy butts

IMAG1901-2 IMAG1898Finally the rain cleared and I decided to finish off the hen yard that I set to improve the other day. Quite enjoy the fact that I have learnt so much about DIY, now when I look at what I built a year ago I see so many ways to improve. I replaced most of the wood in the hen yard and also oiled everything twice. A simple thing like adding support for the corners made such a difference for the whole structure! I also built a large net door which is the best improvement, now we don’t have to hunch sideways through “the door”. Kind of hard to work with all nine hens and 6 chicks running around my feet though. They are so curious and love when something new happens. The little chicks are growing rapidly and even though they aren’t supposed to be able to fly they love jumping from things and flapping their little wings. They get more confident and independent by the day. 4 weeks old today!

Captain Pugwash and Bigsy

Captain Pugwash and Bigsy

Fluffy butts!

Fluffy butts!

Waiting for summer

Spicy harvest!

Spicy harvest!

The last few weeks it’s been raining heavily on and off combined with strong wind and the occasional hailstorm it hasn’t been very summery. Our last Airbnb guests came for a football tournament on the island and they had to wring their clothes out and hang to dry. They were still happy with their stay but I felt sorry for them. Then in between the sun will come out and it reminds you that it’s supposed to be June. Well at least people have something to talk about. Everyone complains about the weather, the other day in the shop this old lady came in and swore and said “Skid vurna!!”. If I hadn’t had islanders as work colleagues I would never have understood what she meant but now I knew she was saying Shitty weather. You can also say “Weer”, which makes much more sense. I love learning Islandish! Because of all the fishermen the Hönö dialect is a broad mix of English, Welsh, German and all sorts. I still feel a bit conscious about using island words but the other day one actually slipped out without thinking and it made me laugh!
The chili plants on the window sill are giving lots of fruit and I had my first proper harvest. A handfull of Jalapeno, Purple ufo and one type I don’t know what it is. There is plenty to come. The hens aren’t bothered by the weather but the little chicks get cold quite easily. Good job they have two mums to keep them warm!IMAG1795 IMAG1799-2