Ok so I have not so far mentioned politics or world situations in this blog but I guess it’s unavoidable this year. My summer has been amazing but very weird like everywhere else of course. I kept the gallery open every weekend through summer, didn’t really feel comfortable to advertise but people kept showing up anyways. Most of them came across the sign by the end of the road but the significant difference in visitors were people from the islands finally finding my place! So nice and so many talks and “new” relatives, yes I am related to probably 50% of the island at least.. My husband made pizzas and they sold out again towards the end in an hour. Along with my photographs and products from locals on the island. All in all I do not know why I worried so much, everyone who came where responsible, kept their distance and all that. This summer was so packed with great swims, meetings and fantastic food now I actually embrace autumn and look forward to hiding out in my darkroom downstairs, no problem keeping a distance there.
So if you follow my blog you already know about the big Easter xmas tree hunt if not you can look at this post The big hunt is on!. Easter is pretty much the biggest holiday here, maybe more important than xmas. Last year they took my largest christmas tree as a “resegran” the base for the bonfire building. My trees were planted by my grandad, one for every child he had, although he sadly drowned at sea before the forth tree was planted. They have seen better days though and I have been worried every storm(and we have many!)on the island.
So Easter eve morning a bunch of rowdy xmas tree hunters in my age came by with a chainsaw and a truck and brought it to the mountain to to build the big fire.
After sweeping the road free off branches and rocks I cycled over to watch them rise it.
Later in the evening I was super excited as usual at Easter and ended up leaving way too early for the bonfire. My daughter came with me(because she felt sorry for me I expect).
By that time the weather had turned and it was absolutely pissing down and super windy.
So we sat behind a rock in the rain, with an umbrella that lasted for 2 min, for about an hour and a half(and the Mother-of-the-year award goes to..).
We almost gave up but finally more people came and as soon as the fire started we left for home and a hot bath. It was totally worth it!
So far I’ve planted chillis and tomatoes and multiplied most of my plants by taking little shoots. Now I am already panicking about where to put them all…
I swapped a very hardy basil plant at the last Plant and seed exchange day I had in my gallery, it looks a bit scrawny now but I have taken seedlings and they are growing like crazy.
Most of them fit under my three plant lights but soon they have to be replanted into larger pots. If you have any smart solutions please comment!
Last week my husband watered all the chillis with left over “whey”, he made tofu and used the water from the soya beans. At first I was a bit pissed off because he watered them from above and it seemed like there was a thin mold forming.
After a couple of days the plants almost doubled in size!
It seems like every weekend lately has been super windy and/or rainy but today was absolutely wonderful. I spent all day out with the best company one can have -chickens- We, I say we because they were a great help, dug up the weeds that had already sprouted even though it’s only March. I harvested some veg and realised that we don’t have to buy parsly ever, so much has survived “winter”.
My plan is to let half the lawn on the front side of our house to be a meadow and the other half for planting boxes. I somehow outdid myself ordering seeds this year..
Last year I didn’t plant any chilies or tomatoes but this year I am going full on, probably because I couldn’t remember the hassle of re-planting everything etc etc.
My dream is to have a huge greenhouse for chilis and tomatoes to make sauces and pickles and other stuff to sell. Also after visiting the Garlic farm on the Isle of Wight last summer garlic is my new thing. Last summer we sold out of all jam, cordial etc every weekend I had the gallery open so I’m trying to grow more berry bushes by taking seedlings, time will tell if it works.
Finally I got to pick some eggs as well! I suspect the chicks have been laying their eggs somewhere in the garden or maybe the magpies fly into the hen house but today I found five beautiful eggs.
This “winter” has consisted of rain, wind, more rain and lots more wind. Funnily enough most of the time perfectly timed with the weekends? Last was the storm Ciara.
This was an unusually sunny day though. We ventured out in the nature reserve with a bag full of cameras loaded with rolls of film.
I set out with a special place in mind, we met tonnes of bird watchers on the way. This place is very popular with bird watchers since a lot of unusual birds get blown in during stormy weather and there is a little hut built especially for watching birds.
The high water stopped us in our tracks though, where you can usually walk across there was now a deep ditch of seawater. After a brief discussion on responsible parenting me and the daughter decided to take our shoes and socks off and wade through the °5C degrees cold water, we do swim all year around after all..
It was so worth it! The waves were amazing, huge and we took lots of pictures. Until..a huge wave suddenly crashed over us and we got soaked so we had to head back before freezing to death in the cold wind. When I develop the develop pictures I’ll know if it was worth risking our lives.
Counting down to Christmas..
With the Christmas market coming up in the gallery only less than a couple of weeks to go I am super busy.
This is the busiest time of year for me but still find myself doing crazy things for free, like going swimming for a big travel company to take pictures. I am working on saying no to more things, and should work harder on it, but then every one of these meetings still give me something. Nice people and great memories(in this case quite painful ones).
I agreed to be photographed while going for a swim, which is something I do all year around, but then it was -can you you swim a bit this way and back? Can you go under once again? etc. More than 5 minutes in 7°C water and rain felt like an hour and it took all day to defrost but I’m still happy I did it and can’t share now but the pictures will looked great! (and yes it looks like it’s almost nighttime but that’s this time of year in Sweden for you)
Wow I realise I haven’t posted anything since Easter…which is a good sign I think!
This summer has been awesome, kept the gallery open every weekend and was totally taken by all the visitors I had. Both tourists and islanders found their way to the gallery and I sold out of jams, homemade cordial, fika(Swedish word for cakes and coffee) every weekend. My husband tried out making pizza and it was such a success we carried out the rest of summer and the last day sold out in one hour!
Not only work though, we had time for swimming, buying kayaks and enjoying summer.
Relaxing and gathering strength after Easter…we had a fantastic time! A little while ago we had an expert on trees out to look at our three christmas trees in my garden for a price suggestion. They weren’t pretty but I really wanted to keep them since my grandad planted them a very long time ago. He planted one for each child, he had four but didn’t plant one for the youngest before he accidentally drowned out fishing. During this year one of the trees died and the others looked dying. I would be very expensive to cut them down. I spoke to a neighbour about it and day before Easter three Christmas tree hunters(in my age) knocked on the door claiming to be tree experts and asking if they could take one of the trees as the centre piece for the big bonfire, how happy was I?? So they turned up in larger numbers on Easter eve morning, cut it down, dragged it behind a car and pulled it up the mountain!
I stayed for many hours watching everyone build the bonfire. All the trees that kids around the island had collected since Christmas where brought out in daylight and pulled up the mountain. It’s a huge family convention, kids from the age of 3 to adult help out and have a great time.
The whole tradition is not only positive, there are a lot of break-ins and fights but overall I think it’s fantastic and hope it carries on for many years to come. In the old days they put a lot of tar, led and whatever they could find that burnt on the fire which caused toxic fumes but now it’s mainly trees and this year they used oil from the chip-shops.
In the evening we went to watch it burn, 1319 trees, lots of people and an amazing feeling! The day after we returned and my tree was still there, kept upright by metal wires, still smouldering many hours later.
Recently the sea has been absolutely irresistible. Still a bit chilly in the air but we’ve had some fantastic sunny days. Last week I went running and the water was like a mirror(this is quite rare living on a windy island). I ended up swimming in my underwear, the jog back home wasn’t as nice but it was definitely worth it! Then the other day my daughter caught the swim-bug to. She’s not been in since December, then she stayed in too long and got too cold which put her off. Now she was braver than me and dipped her head as well, even after me telling her not to(or maybe because?).
Yesterday I went out kayaking. Friluftsfrämjandet, roughly translated Outdoor association, invites people to come along paddling every Thursday and I jumped on the offer. The weather couldn’t have been better and it was gorgeous. Hard work though, I’ve only done it a few times so there’s probably a lot to improve on my technique..it looks so easy when everyone else does it? We paddled for about an hour, stopped for “fika” and then returned while the sun was setting. So beautiful!
My last post was bitter snowy winter…guess I’ve been busy. Now we’ve had a wonderful spring for quite a while. Lot’s of blossom and sunshine! I am terribly late with planting this year but plan to catch up soon. Spent a day re-building my veg-patch frames. I’ve added a huge one and I’m planning to add more. The less lawn to cut the better…plus more veg for the vegan daughter. As always the chicks are such great company. We take our lunch breaks on the stairs and they first start with cleaning their feathers then stretch out basking in the sunlight. I’m having conversations with Maggie, our oldest hen, noticed recently that everytime I say something to her she replies with a purring noise so I’m keeping it up. Also trying to make Oggy the cat to say hello(“Cats who say hello” on Youtube..) but we’ve been at it for at least five years or so and he’s not making much progress..
This year I’m mainly planting spinach, spuds, flowers, zucchini and herbs but added a few things recently. Someone tipped me off about the Sponge-cucumber so I had to order a bag and strangely 15 more seed bags made their way into the order basket.
I have also maximised the time outside doing photography in the sun. I have so many old photography papers that would not be of good use in the darkroom so I’ve used them for Lumen photograms instead and today I made wet cyanotypes with spring flowers. If you would like to know more about the techniques please check out alternative photography.com.