So I decided to make the most out of the day and started off with running down the harbour. It was breathtakingly beautiful. I spotted a seal(if you look closely at the top left picture you might see it…)! I know there are tonnes of seals just a bit further out from the harbour but still get childishly happy overtime I see one. After the run I got my swim clothes and cycled down the beach. It was so still, not one person around and the water temperature was actually warmer than at land. We’ve had frost at night now the last couple of nights but still 10°C in the water. For lunch I bought some prawns and a crab claw from the fish shop. The crab was freshly cooked and still warm, yummy! I had a conversation with the fish shop owner about why most islanders are such chickens when it comes to swimming, they only do it in a pool or when they go on holiday in Thailand. She told me it’s because most people in the old days couldn’t swim. There was a fishing boat outside Knippla(one of the surrounding islands) in 1800 something that sank. 6 out of a crew of 8 drowned, the only two survivors couldn’t swim so they held onto bits of the boat to stay afloat while the others swam for shore, got tired and drowned. Herself hadn’t been in the water for 5 years!
After a few hours I started to feel a bit frozen so I went outside and did some digging. Not easy with the whole flower bed full of chickens. I put all geraniums in winter storage and planted pots of tulips fro spring. My plan is to bring them into the barn at night when they start to flower so the deer doesn’t eat them. Although, if the deer doesn’t eat them the chickens probably will but it’s worth a try.
Oh and the rain, yep it came, just as I planted my last bulb.
Arnes family home, picture taken 1906
Arne with his dad and granddad
translation: the plate is kept for more copies
My neighbour is 98 years old. His mind is clear, perfect eyesight and he still cycles around to the shops or down to his boat in the harbour. Sometimes I’ll see him up on his roof adjusting the tv antenna or on a ladder cutting his trees. Then I never dare say hello, in case he would fall down. He did actually fall many years ago, from the roof(he’s a tin-smith) in to a flower bed and broke some ribs. Every now and then I go over for a glass of wine and some great stories. This evening we were a bit slow starting conversation but then he brought out his photo albums. Can’t believe I’ve never thought to ask him before! So many great pictures from the island but also from north of Sweden where he did his military duty. I sometimes joke that it’s age playing up when I can’t remember where I put my keys but this guy, he remembers all the names of everyone in his class when he was 10 and their parents names and where they were born. He claims the key to old age is never trust doctors or lawyers and eat a lot of fatty fish.
Peanut the cowardly cockerel
Betty with her big side burns, an Aracuana, my absolute favourite
Waiting for treats
Well now our “little” chicks are about 2 months old and they have grown so much! We sadly lost two of them the first week we let them out, a neighbour cat that wasn’t scared of anything but after chucking a bowl of cold water over him the others have been left alone. I hope it is one cockerel and the rest hens but you never know how it turns out. The little black Ayam cemani chick is everyones favourite. She was a runt from the beginning and I didn’t think she would survive but she/he is shaping up. Her name is Lilja/Lilly and she is gorgeous but really stupid. She keeps getting lost from the others and spend most of her days desperately calling out to the other chicks, even if they are just around the corner. There is one sure cockerel. Tiger, the orange one, I thought of as cockerel but now I’m not so sure because they are different breeds that we haven’t had before. The two older ones that hatched in May, Bert and Betty, are pretty much surely hens. Bert looks like a cockerel but after asking on Fb everyone said he is a hen, a Maran. The only two I’m sure about are Gullan, the white chick (named after my grandmother) and Scilla a Maran hen. They have been so spoilt that every evening now they come up to the door next to our living room squeezing for food and even trying to jump up on the window sill. One thing for sure, if Lilly turns out to be a cockerel the whole family will be heartbroken. On the more positive side if she turns out to be a he we can probably sell him on because it is such a rare breed. The other evening I had a great photo session with them. Started out with my mobile but ended up bringing my proper camera and shot 2 rolls of film in 15 minutes. Tomorrow I will develop the films and hopefully soon have real pictures to post!
The Heritage cottage(or however it translates) had an open house so I paid a visit. It’s a collection of very old houses kept like a museum. One part is for tools, barn equipment, an old classroom, a grocery shop and a lot more. Sadly they are having trouble finding people to help look after it but I think it is so valuable to carry it on for the future. All the small buildings are very low to the ceiling, I’m not that tall but bumped my head at least once. Luckily my son who is almost 2m tall wasn’t born in that age! You really get a feeling of how it was living in that age of time, what clothes they wore, how they slept and did their cooking etc. Such a lovely place, I will definitely try to help out in any way I can in future. They have courses in how to bake proper Hönökaka and sometimes have open house. They have some frames with hair art, this is something I had never heard about until a couple of years ago watching the antiques show on telly. It’s such a weird thing but I’ve understood that it was quite common in the days, a bit freaky I must say. But it took a lot of willpower not to bring the lovely old school poster of chickens back home…
As usual I haven’t had much time to spend in the garden but today I made an exception. There are loads of butterflies around! Especially under the pear tree, feeding on the juices of all the pears fallen on the grass. I am so happy about the yellow flowers. They used to grow in a flower bed at the back of our house (then it was my grandmothers house). There were also loads of nettles and a helpful relative dug everything up and let the grass grow. I’ve missed them ever since and a year ago I asked an old lady down the road what her flowers were called, since she was the only one with those kind of flowers. Next day she rang my door bell and gave me a whole bag of plants. I planted them back where they used to grow and now they are thriving! My gran also used to have a grand collection of geraniums and I’m trying my best to look after them but apparently the chickens share my love for them….
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).