Christmas coming up!

IMG_5566Long time no blogging, feel like it’s hard to beat my last blog post, the Island doesn’t get much more beautiful than that…no who am I kidding, it is a small paradise whatever the weather. That said I’ve spent most of today indoors baking. Second of advent I have a Christmas market in my gallery/barn and there is so much to prepare! Last year the gallery looked great but I didn’t put any xmassy decorations in our home until a few days before Christmas. Today I washed all the windows, put the traditional lights up and also had time to pimp the barn a little bit. I’ve started baking already, the traditional Swedish Lussebullar or Lussekatter as most people say. The are buns with lots of saffron, decorated with raisins and we also put sugar on top. We also made a ginger cookie and white chocolate cheese cake which tastes very promising!

The weather this winter has been as usual varied…we did have heavy snow for a day but then it rained away. That morning with the snow the chicks were so funny. They all queued to get out as usual but froze in their tracks and then desperately dove back in. Before when we’ve had only Hedemora(a traditional Swedish heritage breed) they haven’t minded it too much but this mixed race bunch did. Only Lilja(Lilly) dared to get to the food outside and then dove back inside. He(we hoped that is was a she when we named him) is so gorgeous, pitch black and the tail feathers are growing by the day. I had to kill two cockerels last week and it was the toughest  so far because they were so big and strong. Now we are hoping that Lilly will get to stay all depending on how load he will be. Peanut the other cockerel born in spring is doing great, he is so goofy but still manages to keep the flock at peace. We caught him chasing his own tail feathers one day…but if any of the hens are mean to another hen he is right there to brake it up.

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Peanut with his posse

 

Artsy fartsy

So the summer ended in an art bonanza. First The Artwave, when all artists on Hönö and surrounding islands open up their studios or homes. I shared my gallery for the weekend with a very talented glass artist but we hardly had time to see each other, on the Saturday we had a few hundred visitors! The weather on Friday when we set up was abysmal with torrential rain storms but the rest of the weekend was lovely. We sold lots of cakes and home made preserves and photographs on top of that. Then a couple of weeks later an exhibition with two photographers from another part of Sweden. They both do analog photography and a lot of the same techniques that I use. Great photographs and a lovely weekend! My husband smoked salmon and baked sourdough bread, I think I’m addicted to smoked salmon now, and we sold out most of the cakes on the second day. We were very generous with the opening times and I thought we would have to take turns or read books but the weekend past very quickly. On the last day it was more quiet and I took the opportunity to photograph my fellow photographers. Always nerve wrecking to photograph photographers but I hope I passed the test.

wet plate, sweden, analog, photography, tin-type

Christer and Sibylla Törnkvist

Garden gold

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…

Went for a run and came home with…

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!”.

 

Green fingers

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!

Santas workshop

Preparations have been going on for weeks baking and making pictures to sell. Last weekend we had a xmas market in the gallery and this Saturday it’s time to do it all over again. I baked loads of cakes, biscotti and meringues. My husband made Daal and surprisingly it was a best seller! We had potato and leek for the less adventurous visitors but most people still chose the spicy Indian Daal. For this weekend I’ve baked mini meringues (chocolate, vanilla and liquorice) and some more cake. We will do the Daal and also a tomato soup with focaccia. I’ll be making wet plates of visitors that they can buy if they are happy with the result. This morning I took a break from all preparations and helped out for some charity. Sometimes when you have so much to do your head is spinning it’s nice to just take some time off and do something else, the world will seize to exist. So for two hours I sat counting how many sacks, boxes etc that the second hand shop in the harbour Hönö Klova Second Hand have collected for Rumania. They do this 2-3 times a year but before xmas it’s a bit special. They send off boxes of food that the generous islanders have given, this year 63 food boxes. On top of that sacks of clothes, furniture, beds etc. Everything is named with either the names of the families who will receive it or villages. It’s all very organised and I think it’s good to know that all the help will actually reach the goal. I did feel a bit sorry for everyone carrying everything(while I sat counting), my guess is the average age is above 60 for all of them(hope I don’t offend anyone!). In spite of bad backs, shoulders etc they had after two hours packed a huge trailer with 200 sacks, 120 boxes, 14 beds, a freezer, 3 hospital beds, a wheel chair and a lot more. Very impressive I think!

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Kombucha vs Bulletproof coffee

There’s been a fight for the Kombucha lately. My husband has been cultivating it since this summer and our son has asked to try it every day for a week. His reaction has been -yuck every time until suddenly one day he liked it. I keep buying juice and it’s gone in a day, same with bread and cereal, everyone who has a teenage son will probably relate to this. So I could understand the look of fear in my husbands eyes. He took swift action and adopted my 6.5 litre large drink bottle with a tap, that I bought for selling lemonade in the barn, and divided the scoby. We now have a small Kombucha factory in the kitchen. I’ve tried the Kombucha but can’t get over the fact that the Scoby looks like a placenta so I leave it alone. Instead I decided to try a “new” thing this morning. This week has been crazy with preparations for the xmas market I’m having in the barn/gallery this weekend and I always when I get into my creative mode I forget to eat. Last night we watched an episode of Quarry and they drink Bulletproof coffee. Apparently it keeps you full for hours so I thought I’d try it. So far I can’t recommend it to anyone. Coffee with butter for breakfast does, not surprisingly, make you feel slightly sick…maybe I’ll try it again for lunch.