To Björkö with a mission

My daughter ordered a t-shirt online and somehow the parcel got sent to Björkö, one of the other 9 islands surrounding Hönö, so we thought why not make a day-trip out of it?
She wanted to go running, it was so windy we took my moped there, crossing on two ferries and 45min later arrived at Björkö harbour. Björkö is actually really close, if we had the boat in the water we could have gotten there in five minutes. Picked up the parcel and Lo and behold! They had the vegan ice-cream she wanted to try all year! So we had ice-cream in the sun down the harbour, warm like a summers day when out of the wind. We decided to let the ice-cream melt a bit in our bellies and went for a walk with my camera. We found so much to take pictures of, I kicked myself not bringing more film and spent my phone battery(mainly on photographing swan butts and jellyfish). After the walk we got really hungry and decided to go back home to cook but of course we couldn’t pass the sheep/pig/hen cooperative!
We last visited a year or so ago, then the hens were in a yard but now they ran free and had quadrupled if not more! No sheep around but the pigs where basking in the sunlight and the mud. On the ferry we decided on three recipes to cook(vegan of course, since my daughter turned at xmas) and getting back we realised we’d forgotten all about running(well maybe I didn’t forget…). All in all it was a fantastic day, Björkö is so nice and feels good to have made the most of these last Indian summer days.

Hunting sheep

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“Beware of playing children and whimsy chicken, drive slowly!”

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Alone on the beach

IMAG4815 IMAG4809 IMAG4801 IMAG4793Today I went to Björkö with my daughter to show her the sheep. Only when we got there they had been moved. We said hello to the pigs who got very noisy, they could see the bag of bread we had brought for the sheep but we were unsure if we were allowed to feed it to the pigs so didn’t. Now there were chickens to! The best henhouse I’ve ever seen, very luxurious and huge. One cockerel and a few hens, very pretty and different from our own hens. We cycled on, on a mission to find Pjonken. I heard this name for the first time a couple of weeks ago and apparently it’s where you can find the endangered blue wood anemone, plus the surroundings are supposed to be very beautiful. We didn’t find it but found a lot else. After asking a native we found out that apparently where I said to my daughter -I think we should have turned in to that road, we should have but didn’t. What we did find though was lovely! We cycled through all the houses and big woods, on to a dirt road, through more woods and came out by the sea. Voila! There were a few houses and very old barns(looked older than mine), horses, chickens in every garden and so beautiful! We found the sheep’s summer field and there were signs saying that you are allowed inside just close the gate behind you. We did hear a Baaah but no signs of them. We carried on cycling through the woods on a tiny path, up and down until we came to a pond where we parked the bikes. I wondered what the signs that we had passed said, they were funnily turned the wrong way around but then we found out. Björkö used to be a military practise island, this is what the signs warned about. I still remember going to Hönö and seeing the sign for Björkö saying “No aliens allowed”. We carried on without bikes through a crevice between to huge rocks and a filled up military cavern, loads of moths so we ran through! And ended up where in the sheep pen where we had started. By this point we were starved and sweaty so we decided to hit the closest beach. Eventually we found one and it was only us there. We laid down almost fell asleep and then took a dip in the ocean. Tired and happy we made it to the ferry with a minute to spare!

Feeling sheepish

My relative with the cows Malin and Rosa

My relative with the cows Malin and Rosa

Since I moved to Hönö I’ve made it my longterm plan to bring more animals to the island. There used to be a lot of them in the old days. My grandmother had pigs, cows and hens. Every morning she cycled down the seaside to milk the cows, called Rosa and Malin. It used to help clear the land but now it’s all overgrown and some plants are in danger of being extinct. I heard they have both sheep and pigs at Björkö, one of the other islands in the Northern archipelago, so I decided to pay them a visit. 14 sheep greeted my with an ear-deafthening BAAAAH! The sheep are taken care of by 5 families as a cooperative, they take turns looking after them. Next to the sheep there were pigs, also a cooperative with 5 families and two families who look after both pigs and sheep. The whole cooperation is run smoothly, everyone share the costs and workload, mainly feeding the animals and building new fences. Some of the wool is taken care of to make slippers and such but most of it is thrown away, which is apparently what most farmers do. All the leftover bread from the island shop is fed to the sheep and the pigs get leftovers from the Hönö beer brewery. Must be some happy pigs! Anna-Lena who greeted me answered all my questions and some. She’s always dreamt about sheep and made her dreams come true by starting the cooperative with some friends about two years ago. I was surprised by how much work it was, feeding them twice a day and of course shaving, culling and when there are lambs on the way they need attention at least three times day plus at night. They are also starting up a chicken cooperative soon. It made me realise that this is nothing I can do on my own but the cooperative way seems to work very well and they’ve had no problems finding families who want to join. A couple of cows would be nice as well…

the cutest piglet!

the cutest piglet!

all the ladies

all the ladies

Kettil, the big boss

Kettil, the big boss

waiting for food

waiting for food

Björkö

Björkö Food and Bar

Björkö Food and Bar

Icehouse filling the fishingboats with ice

Icehouse filling the fishingboats with ice

Nets

Nets

Ferry

Ferry

Todays souvenir

Todays souvenir

It’s funny how I spent every summer on this island and we’ve lived here for two years but I haven’t been to all the neighbouring islands. Today we felt adventurous and took the bikes on the ferry to Björkö(Birch island). It’s almost as large as Hönö but only a quarter of the population. We had fish n’chips and Guiness at Björkö food and bar, an ice-cream in the harbour, spotted a seal and then we went home. Worth another visit though!