In Sweden we have Sportsweek holiday week 7. We are probably the only family on Hönö that doesn’t go skiing. Not that I don’t want to, I have warm memories going along with other families to the north of Sweden and to Norway. Also memories from being kicked out of pubs, getting some poor guy beaten up and my friends parents forbidding her ever to contact me again. Lets not talk about that. Sooo we have had a nice lazy week but in some ways very productive. Today started with me mixing chemicals for the wet plates and husband doing a new batch of the chili marmalade Nam Prik Pao. This thai chilli marmalade is my absolute favourite. It goes with just about everything, especially nice with prawns or cheese. Also on Knäckebröd(Swedish crisp bread) with butter. It is so lovely, tasty, addictive but so stinky while you make it. Nam Prik Pao ingredients are: Fried chillies, fried onions, garlic- all ground together. Return in the oil with shrimp paste, tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar. Yesterday we had Focaccia with mozzarella, chillies, basil, garlic and serrano ham. Today sourdough pizza, the dough rested in the fridge for 2 days, with calabrese, mozzarella and Nam Prik Pao. If my husband was home all the time I would get so fat. He is set on baking mode so we’ve had to give bread away to neighbours, no more room in the freezer, and tomorrow I’ll do a round with eggs because the chickens have been very productive as well. I’ve been spoiling them with food so everytime I go outside so they come running up and run after me wherever I go. A little bit scary hearing their little claws and they peck more at my fingers than the food when I feed them but still nice to have company out there. I sat down in the hammock outside with my daughter and said -I hope it doesn’t collapse. Sure thing it did! It had rusted so badly on one side of the hammock that it just broke off but we stayed sitting there pretending we where sat in a ski slope. Fed the chickens corn and popcorn. This afternoon I re-planted all my chillies to larger single pots and moved them downstairs because we are getting Airbnb guests upstairs next week. The majority of the family took a walk down the beach and we chose a direction that me and my daughter discovered last week, full of mystery, great photo opportunities and not too long. Great to have lived on this Island for 6 years and still have parts to discover!
It’s been a while… I decided to switch off for Christmas holidays. No Facebook, email or blogging. Now I still haven’t decided wether to get back into it or not. I did so much and so little! Relaxing, eating fantastic English and Swedish xmas food, board games, read 4 (yes four!) books and plenty more. Almost finished knitting a huge blanket, tidied(didn’t happen before xmas) properly, fixed my moped with a new exhaust pipe and lots more. Facebook and other medias are so important for marketing but personally I could do without it. That said when I look back at my blog I am so happy with it, as a means to keep track on all the great things about living on Hönö, disasters, failures and last but most important to remind me what a mountain I climbed to get the barn up and going as a gallery. I guess the answer to my own question is there already.
With the little chicks almost grown up it feels like the whole garden is a hen farm. We did get rid of Vivienne who got really good a cock-a-doodle-doo-ing. It was much harder than last time. He was so fluffy it felt like killing a cat. The morning after we woke at 5am to a loud Kuckeli kuu! My husband goes -But we killed him!? Turns out it was Esme again who had snuck up in the cherry tree when all the others had gone in to the henhouse the night before. Apparently she likes to live dangerously. On the other hand if she only does it once a month or so it’s not the end of the world. Now I always check if she’s in the house before I close the hatch. There are still too many of them and I am planning to sell two of the older hens and two of the silkies. It’s taken a lot of thinking and discussing to decide on selling Bugget and Scruffy. It is so hard when they all have different personalities. I would sell Esme in a heartbeat but the kids won’t let me. Not for being noisy but she is quite mean and picks on the silkies a lot. I wonder if the kuckeli-kuing adds to her value or deflates it? With the silkies we are keeping Punken, now re-named Sookie, and Ronnie Biggs/Bigsy, now re-named Zappa. I spent the morning in the garden with them trying out my new stick grinder. The advert stated it would grind branches up to 40mm, turns out it’s more like 4mm before it squeaks and stops. Terribly noisy to! Also it only works with fresh sticks so my big pile from cutting the hedge this summer will not shrink at all. It will help me cut down most of the big cherry tree branch that I accidentally broke off in my wild chase for Esme(dressed in my morning robe). I’d forgotten about the greenhouse for a while, thought all the plants would be killed by the cold and wind but there is hope yet. A nice little colourful harvest and the chilli plants seem to be doing ok!
After a very cold summer we now have a huge heatwave, finally! The chillies are coming along great and I harvested all the fruits on my Cascabella plant. They do go red but I picked them pale yellow because I had decided on a pale chilli powder(don’t ask me why) and added three Hot lemon chillies. The Cascabella is actually my very favourite so far. I used my new food dryer for a few hours and then grinded the chillies in my husbands coffee grinder, note to myself wash it out properly. Wow, I tried not to put my nose in it straight away (but still started sneezing) the smell of it was fantastic! So fruity! I think this will be my new thing. There is one that I can’t remember the name of but the plant and the fruit is black apart from the back of the leaves which is green. I also bought a see through pepper grinder that I am going to load with different coloured chillies. It was fun this year to try so many different kinds but next year, well this autumn, when I plant new ones I will (try) to stick with only a few kinds. To sum up, the plants from autumn are doing great but so are also the ones from spring. The secret weapon is definitely extra lights and big pots. My Peter pepper/chilli willy is doing great with loads of fruit but so is every plant that I put in the 10litre big buckets. I might even try to go bigger next year… Yes I know by now you’ve probably noticed I can’t work out how to spell so I alternate chili with chilli. If you know please enlighten me!
Yeay I have a greenhouse! At least until the next storm. A friend was about to chuck out their old one and I asked if I could have it. No glass or plastic only the metal frame left. Me and my daughter picked it up. We put one end on the bike trolley and I carried the other end, we had a lot of funny looks on our way home. Afterwards I kind of regretted it when I googled how much new glass or hard plastic would cost. Then I thought about all that builders plastic I had in the barn when I built the new floor. So I put the frame in the old strawberry patch, which the hens have completely ruined, and started wrapping the plastic around it. A lot of thick tape and great help from my tall son and suddenly I had my first greenhouse. It aint pretty but does the trick! I put a few of chili plants out over night to see if they would survive. The day after I built some shelves and moved out the rest of the plants. Now we can use the kitchen and living room table again. I will reinforce the house with some wood and maybe put some light fabric up to stop the plants from burning in the strong sun. Suddenly I feel much more motivated to build a proper one out of wood and old windows…
Started this morning with grinding up the chillies I’ve had hanging in my window, in my husbands coffee grinder. Note to myself: Remember to wash it out carefully. The plan was chilli flakes but turned out to be a powder. Looks great and smells great! Note to myself: Do not stick your nose to close to the jar of freshly made chilli powder and inhale.
Went on to mix some chemicals for my wet plates. I haven’t done any wet plates in ages. Sometimes it’s nice with a break and now I start to feel my fingers become trigger happy and missing photography. So I mixed the Collodion and the salts I need and fresh developer. Also important not to stick your nose to close. I try to take every pro-caution I can, wearing a mask and avoiding the strongest chemicals if they can be swapped for something else. This time I decided to try out Frances &Scully Osterman’s recipe. The collodion looked like cloudy lemon juice when mixed but I’m sure it will clear eventually. I also did a light proof test with the few film holders I have left. They take such beating from the silver. The test showed I have two left to use which was more than I thought I had. Also light proofed the camera. The bellows are so riddled with holes it’s a miracle that I’ve had any plates done with it. Now it ain’t pretty no more but it will hopefully do the trick!
They have actually been wanting to flower for some time now but I’ve been snipping the buds. Feeling very mean while doing it. Now I will let a few of them flower. The first one out was Purple ufo, beautiful flowers! The fruits look really cool to from what I’ve seen while researching. I spent an hour at the library and printed out labels for all the chili plants and some of the flowers that I plan to sell/swap at my yearly Plant- and seed exchange day. Well to be honest, I don’t know all the chilies I’ve planted, there are too many of them and some of the labels have come off but I’m sure I can tell when they grow their fruits. I’ll try to not make the same mistake as last year when I sold lots of plants saying they where Czechoslovakian black(because of the blue-ish leaves) and then when the day ended and I switched off the red heating lamp, realised that they where the wrong kind… The ones I planted in autumn are doing very well though!