Soon I’ve picked every berry in the garden! So far we’ve made black currant cordial, red currant jelly with mint, red berry syrup and red gooseberry marmalade. The husband has made “No mango sauce”, a hot sweet fruity chili sauce with lots of canned fruit but no mango(hence the name), and the traditional thai garlic chili jam Nam Prik Phao. It’s like Santas workshop in the kitchen. I’ve also been baking loads of cakes. Every weekend during summer we keep the gallery open and soon it’s time for the yearly “Art wave”. The busiest weekend for us of the whole year. We’re planning on selling plenty of cakes, garden goodness and hopefully some of my photographs as well. I’ve invited another artist to sell her glass artwork in the gallery. She thought it would be fun to combine our products so we did a little photo shoot of her glass vases and some of the little chicks. What is it they say? Never work with kids or animals…well we had a lot of fun but it sure wasn’t easy! I made some quick prints in the darkroom before the weekend, now they say it’s gonna rain for a week so I’ll have lots of time to make more without feeling guilty about missing out on the sunshine. The youngest chicks got rained on for the first time today, they weren’t happy at all! They all let me catch them without trouble to go under the heating lamp in the basement. Growing fast I’m pretty sure they can stay out in the henhouse with the rest soon but I’ll pamper them just a little bit longer…
Just got back from a two week holiday on another island, the Isle of Wight, and feel very rested for a change. I must admit I didn’t really want to come back home. I had this big dark cloud of “have-to’s” at the back of my mind but then my daughter asked -So mum what is it that you really have to do when we get back? Started thinking and realised that there wasn’t actually anything that urgent, it was all in my head. Now we’ve been back for a week and I’ve spent most of that time in the garden, not because I’ve had to but I’ve wanted to. Also the best thing I did before going on holiday was finishing the hammock! Tried it yesterday with a good book and it was perfect for doing nothing in. We have also extended our family. 7 new little chicks arrived a few days ago(sadly we lost one today) and they are irresistible! All different breeds so they will lay different coloured eggs, if they turn out to be hens. We’ve had a really bad turn out lately though. Peanut and Astrid we were quite sure were hens, then Astrid started cockadoodeling for hours day before we left so she got sentenced to the veg patch. Then gorgeous Peanut also started but at least he doesn’t do it that often so we’re keeping him on for now. The two younger ones Betty and Bert are great, so friendly! They come for us when Peanut bullies them and jump up on our laps or shoulders and fall asleep. Tomorrow we’re building a bigger chicken coop for the little ones so we don’t loose more. They are still too young to stay in the henhouse(this is Swedish summer after all) so we’ve been keeping them in the basement under a heating lamp apart from during the day when we’ve been taking turns keeping an eye on them(obviously not enough).
So, I began with a greenhouse, moved over to building a hammock and now I’ve started building a table. I really want the hammock finished but the table is essential for next week when I’ve rented out the gallery for a day. So my plan is to build at least one but preferably two. Now I keep the gallery open every weekend but it works out really well because I’m always out there all weekend anyways doing my projects. Today was a challenge though. I knew I was on a tight schedule. All week it’s poured down, yesterday we had a nice visit to Grötö with co-workers from the second hand shop and we missed most of the rain but mainly it’s been torrential! Grötö is still one of my favourite islands even though it’s true what everyone say, there’s not much there, no shops, no cars but oh so cosy. Norwegian weather(they are so much more accurate than Swedish weather that most swedes check yr.no instead) said sunny all day and rain tomorrow so my plan was to finish all my projects. BUT the cutest little chicks caught all my attention and instead I brought them out of the basement and, with my daughters help, built a cage so that we can move them outside without the other older hens pecking at them. Eventually it poured down but my table is almost finished. Now all I need to do in the week is cook a hell of a lot of snacks, cakes, bake bread(or buy? because my husband is still at work) and plan for 30 people eating on Tuesday and Saturday my neighbour has his record release in my barn, so counting at least 50 people then… I feel like YES has been the word of this month so wish me luck!
Last entry spring had arrived but now it’s summer! Got back from a long trip, Malaysia, a few days ago. When I left we had 9°C and today it was around 20°C. Since I got back I’ve been trying to get back to Swedish time but keep waking up around 4-5 in the morning. I did worry because it’s the longest I’ve left the family ever but they survived and most of my plants did to. I was very excited for the chicks to hatch the 24th, Maggie has been cooped up in her nest most of the time. When she left the nest to eat I thought I would check on the eggs, there was none!! The crows and magpies have had a field day since I left and ate them all. So now we’ve ordered new eggs but we will put them in my neighbours egg hatching machine and I’m also getting a hen nest where the eggs roll down on a shelf you can pull out to pick them. The chickens, Astrid and Peanut, are keeping to themselves. The hens are really not very nice to them, even Nettie who adopted them is now picking at them as soon as she gets a chance. I think Peanut is an Iceland hen and Astrid i Wyandotte but most likely they aren’t pure bred because they both have feathers on their feet. It’s crazy how much the garden has grown in just over a week. The rhubarb I dug up half of what we had for the plant exchange day but now there’s a jungle out there! My green house is coming along nicely. I have to wait for the roof to be delivered so I started a new project today. Our hammock is completely rusted and broken, I am building a new one. Finished the main part of it now it’s just the legs and chains for having it, oh and oiling and painting. After all the sawing I was completely covered in saw dust so I cycled down the beach. They’ve put the jetty in now and the water was lovely. Summer is here!
Feels like spring has been going on forever this year. It got really warm and then suddenly snow, rain and cold winds. Always a nice surprise to see what I planted in autumn though. I’ve completely forgotten and now loads of pretty flowers are blooming. The little chickens we got have turned big. They follow me wherever I go because I’ve spoilt them rotten feeding them overtime I go out, they are so cute! Definitely not the breed we were told but we love them anyways. The little white&black one is called Astrid and the white&brown is called Peanut. We waited a long time to name the black one, it’s most likely a cockerel but we decided on Woody. Today Maggie decided she wants to become a mum so we’ve ordered some fertilised eggs. The garden is coming along nicely. I built a frame in the crazy-always-overgrown-by-weeds-veg-patch and planted loads of vegetables and made sure to make it chicken proof. Started building a greenhouse a while ago, put hours and hours into it then someone came along the other day and asked :Is there really going to be enough sun in there? …after a few days of thinking I realised that Nope it’s not. So now I have to move it. Oh well, start over do it right! Today was sunny but a very cold wind so I changed plans from going out in the nature reserve to staying home having a bbq for lunch and then watching movies and pretending it’s Friday.
One of those days! Started the morning going down the harbour to help out the Hönö Klåva second hand shop. A few times a year they have a lorry coming to pick up stuff to bring to Romania. They have been to Romania a number of occasions and everything is sent to a few families and then divided to other people in need. Today was the worst weather so far, it was grey, heavy fog and rain. Lucky me is only entrusted to count everything brought on to the lorry so I got to stand in a container watching all the guys carrying sacks, bags, boxes and beds.
Tomorrow is the first day open for my gallery this year and I have so much to do, left most things until the last day as usual. The weather miraculously turned around to sun and a warm wind. I cleaned out the barn/gallery for a few hours but then I had promised my daughter to go running so we did. -Hey lets jog around the corner to check out my hen-friends new hens. So we did and so one hour later we came home with the promise of three little chicks!
I did try to reason with myself but as always it just happened so fast… We picked up the little chicks and put them in a box in the hallway for a while until it got dark. One of our hens, Nettie, has been wanting babies for quite some time now so we let them into the catbox, where she’s been laying everyday for weeks, and covered it with a net. She seemed confused but happy and the little chicks snuggled up to her straight away. I really hope they are still alive in the morning! So tomorrow is the premiere for Camera exchange day in the gallery and at the same time I will have to build a cage or something to give the chicks more room and stop crazy hen Lottie getting to them. It seems my favourite motto should be “When you have loads to do best go out and find some more!”.
After having two weeks of snow suddenly sun appears, everything has melted and every time you turn around a new spring flower has popped up! Yesterday I did loads of necessary chores but took some time in the sun just hanging with the chicks. Today started foggy but eventually sun broke through. I said last week we have to buy a proper pancake or crêpe pan instead of our big frying pans, this morning I went down the second hand shop in the harbour and Voila! The perfect cast iron pan. Love it when that happens! I had a coffee because they have the best coffee and it’s also nice to just sit there and look at people. At home I immediately tried out the great find and me and my daughter had pancakes in the sun on the stairs. Then she helped me clear the veg patch, chickens came to help to. They are so social and curious. I’ve spoilt them rotten so every time I go in the basement they come to beg for food. When I planted peppers Lottie actually came inside but left as soon as she didn’t find any food. I promised myself to not go through another summer without a greenhouse, problem is I want a really big one to sit in. Planning the year I realise that it’s not gonna happen without a budget and a holiday so now I’ve decided to build something in the vegetable patch or possibly attached to the henhouse. The veg patch is my worst enemy. There’s ivy and nettles taking over everything. I’m tempted to leave it but it’s such a valuable patch of land, perfect location, enough sun, shade and shielded by the worst wind. Maybe if I put five minutes every day on weeding I’ll be able to keep it in check. Think of all the vegetables we can grow and use for events in the barn/gallery!