Building things

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!

Summer is here!

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!

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!

Esme reicarnated

It is pretty quiet in the garden with only three chickens which is both good and bad. I love planting but the chickens sadly doesn’t see the difference between weeds and flowers… But as sure as I’ve already ordered new seeds I’ve started looking for eggs to buy. I am really happy with Hedemora and whatever mix race the new hens are but we’ve decided(well my daughter did) that we will be shallow and order fertilised eggs from hens that lay different coloured eggs. So now it’s just to wait for one of the hens to become broody. I paid a visit to Fotö where the 4 hens live that we sold before the fox came. So surreal, I think of them all gone, so to see Buffy, Vera, Captain Pugwash and Renee Biggs is like they’ve come back to life. They are very happy over there though! Sharing their home with the wild goose Gizmo. Gizmo was found as an egg(yes I know it’s illegal to pick eggs from wild birds but a kid found it and if they had put it back it would probably have been shunned). They hatched it in an egg hatcher and we saw him when he was just 2 days old, tiny fluffy thing with flippers. Now he’s huge! They are not friends but tolerate each other. Gizmo must like his home thought because his wings aren’t clipped and sometimes he’ll do a tour of the island but he always comes back.
I am naturally very careful with closing the chickens in now after our fox visit, they usually head inside as soon as it starts getting dark but the last two nights that I’ve gone to close the hens in they have still been outside. Tonight I watched Lottie try to fly up in the cherry tree but she failed. She is definitely Esme reincarnated! I know that in a few weeks when it gets warmer I will have to climb that cherry tree every evening to collect her. Wouldn’t surprise me if she learns how to cockadoodeldoo as well as Esme did.

Harvest frenzy!

IMAG5566 We started the day with going to a friends place around the corner who just got chickens. Well they actually got a hen and some eggs for their sons preschool so all the children had the fantastic opportunity to watch the whole “from egg to chicken” and then all the young chickens were brought home to their garden. They reckon 3 cockerels but I guess 4, I’m not claiming to be an expert so time will tell. I wish all children would have the chance to experience this in their life but I think sadly enough that there are too many rules and “allergies” for it to happen.
IMAG5571 IMAG5575 IMAG5590Today the whole family helped(not counting the teen then busy being a rockstar) harvesting the berries in our garden. In one hour we picked red and black currants and cherries, 7 kilos all together! A record of cherries this year though, after picking a bucket full it looked like I hadn’t touched it and there are still more on the tree to ripen. The other day I ordered more pretty jam jars and they will arrive any day now so I’ve frozen most of the harvest apart from the cherries that I’m now turning into cordial and a first to me, cherry jelly. Tomorrow or when I have more time I will make blackcurrant jelly and then cordial of whatever is left. I feel like I haven’t written about the chickens for quite some time now but they they started eating my geraniums and that’s when I had enough, they seriously crossed the line. I started to have them closed in most of the day, well it’s a very big hen yard but I still felt bad about it. Now I pay the price. There are some strawberries but we still haven’t tasted them, the slugs are too fast. That’s the downside of my recent decision to close the chicks in more often. There are more slugs and snails than last year, so it’s a win-win(for the slugs!) or maybe lose-lose situation? I guess I’d rather have happy chickens eating my garden than slimy slugs so ok I give in…

In Sweden we say

cyanotulips

Cyanotype tulips

“Man tager vad man haver”, which means You use whatever you have. The expression comes from Kajsa Warg who wrote cookery books and also author of “Guide to Housekeeping for Young Women” published in 1755. It’s an expression I like to use a lot and I also use as an excuse for my hoarding, saving whatever and whatnot just in case it might be useful one day… My big wooden camera that I use for wet plates is falling apart and so are the holders. Sick and tired of having so many plates ruined by light leaks I’ve decided to let it retire. Until I can afford to buy another one I’ll have to make do with the smaller format and fished my Sinar 4×5 out of the closet. Oh, it was such a joy to work with! Not having to pull and tug the holders and worry about the bellow or lens falling off. Now only problem was that I didn’t have any plates the right size. I decided to sacrifice some old picture frames and used the glass to cut glass plates the right size. Glass cutting is not one of my finer skills I must admit but at least I managed to cut about 15 pieces, raggedy and sharp, but usable. I was planning to use the negatives for printing and toning but released that I was out of fixer so I chose Cyanotype instead. Cyanotype is also great because it can be exposed in the sun which means hanging with the chicks at the same time!

really cool to watch the wet plate negative turn positive in the sun as the cyanotype coating darkens underneath!

really cool to watch the wet plate negative turn positive in the sun as the cyanotype coating darkens underneath!

Pidgey is such a lap-hen

Pidgey is such a lap-hen