Chilly chili

First dip 2018!

After weeks of rain we had a beautiful weekend, cold but sunny. So we dressed in at least three layers of clothing and ventured down the beach. To be honest I haven’t been for ages and it was my daughter who said -we can’t call ourself winter bathers any longer, that made my mind up. 0.5°C in the water and one degree colder in the air. My fingers and toes ached for an hour afterwards but it was so worth it! There is nothing better to waken you up and get the happy feelings flowing.
Back home we planted the first chilli plants of the year. As usual I had decided to restrict myself to five different chilli types but ended up ordering eight and still feel like there are some missing. I need to build a bigger proper greenhouse this year, thinking of one of those tunnels but suspect that living on a windy island it would blow away after a week. Also my daughter has gone from becoming vegetarian last year to vegan just before Christmas, we’ve ordered loads of vegetable seeds. I must admit I was a bit scared that she wouldn’t get all proteins and vitamins her body needs. To be totally honest I have always thought I don’t trust people who doesn’t like cheese and especially not vegans…but have totally come around and actually enjoy the adventure. We have spent all Christmas watching cooking and baking shows and have spent hours and hours in the kitchen. It’s good fun to try new dishes and I’m sure my body doesn’t hate me eating tonnes more vegetables. The only one suffering is the almost adult teenage son, who sighs every time “vegan” is mentioned…

Planting chillies

Christmas market in Galleri Gårda

So last weekend I had a Christmas market in my gallery/barn. Day before any event I always think nobodie’s gonna come but Saturday visitors flooded in from opening time! Like last year I invited local people to sell their craft. Sheep fur from happy free grazing sheep, honey from bees buzzing around at Rörö one of the neighbour islands. They also sell locally produced meat. In autumn A lady I know had a cement workshop and I invited her for the market, she sold lovely lamps shaped like stars moulded with cement and old time looking lightbulbs plus loads of other great looking ornaments. Then we had Xmas decorations made of cans, christmas trees, chillies, pine cones, lace etc. As always we offered homemade cakes, coffee and warm glögg(Swedish mulled wine). The gluten free chocolate cake we made this summer sticks with us, it it sooo good and now we added crushed polka canes to it, perfection! The hot Indian daahl lentil soup and rosted tomato soup also sold out. All in all a fantastic weekend and 10 minutes before closing it started snowing like crazy! Perfect finish to a great weekend(although it took me a couple of days to thaw…)!

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.


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

Into the wilderness

IMG_4301So I usually don’t blog about anything not concerning the islands but this is definitely worth it! A week ago I read somewhere about the “Windshelter map” of Sweden and immediately decided to try it out. It is shelters built usually by the scouts where anyone can stay all around Sweden. Hönö is paradise and I could not imagine living anywhere else but sometimes I miss the forest, we have forest here but I’m talking about big forest where you can easily get lost. So I just picked somewhere on the map that we could get by train and not walk too far. Me and the daughter set off yesterday around lunchtime. As soon as I got on the bus off the island I realised the map on the mobile wasn’t showing where we were heading. Got some supplies in Gothenburg then got on the train. The traffic app showed completely the wrong times and we ended up taking some silly detours because of it, should have just brought a compass, map and watch. Anywho, we end up on a bus and get off where I recognise some of the street names from my research and carry on on gut feeling. We came to a lake with a small beach and jetty so of course had a swim. Such a strange feeling swimming in a lake now when we are used to salty water! We start walking around the lake through the woods and high grass but realise the road next it is the one I looked up at home. Happy to be on the right track we start walking, to be sure we ask the first person we meet if we are on the right track to the wind shelter. She says yes but it is quite a walk at least two kilometers. We say thank you and carry on, finding mushrooms, blueberries, lingonberries, raspberries, wild strawberries and loads of animals along the way. After an estimated 3 kilometres we ask the next person who replies: Yes you are on the right way but about 2 kilometres away… At this point it’s really hot and we are quite tired from carrying all the packing(otherwise I would have jumped into the woods at every turn to pick more mushrooms) but eventually we get there, and find a bus stop. Then we find the shelter and it is so much better than I expected! We make a fire, start food. The daughter chops potatoes and chorizo up with the mushrooms we picked, blend in some spices along with some locally produced honey we bought on the road, fry eggs and we have it with some of my husbands sourdough bread. Best meal I’ve had in a loooong time. Then we go on a hunt for more wood, knowing we want fried eggs for breakfast. I had visions of us sat around the fire all evening but seriously about 9pm we where fighting to stay awake. Then when we settled into our sleeping bags my mind started running wild. No chance of falling asleep so I borrowed my daughters book and read until it got dark about 10.30pm. As soon as it went dark the forest went quiet but of course then you start hearing every small noise as loud as a fire cracker. Didn’t sleep much last night but it was absolutely worth it. Going past the bus stop yesterday we had checked the buses, that run 3 times a day so decided to get out of there with the 8am bus or we would have have to wait until 3pm. As soon as we got on the bus the rain started to pour down. Tired and happy we made it all the way back without getting wet. One of the best things I’ve done this summer! Getting back to nature, picking food and berries, seeing all the animals and buying honey from an honesty box and last but not least having a holiday not costing more than the bus/train fare. This is the start of a new tradition for me.

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…

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!