My last post was bitter snowy winter…guess I’ve been busy. Now we’ve had a wonderful spring for quite a while. Lot’s of blossom and sunshine! I am terribly late with planting this year but plan to catch up soon. Spent a day re-building my veg-patch frames. I’ve added a huge one and I’m planning to add more. The less lawn to cut the better…plus more veg for the vegan daughter. As always the chicks are such great company. We take our lunch breaks on the stairs and they first start with cleaning their feathers then stretch out basking in the sunlight. I’m having conversations with Maggie, our oldest hen, noticed recently that everytime I say something to her she replies with a purring noise so I’m keeping it up. Also trying to make Oggy the cat to say hello(“Cats who say hello” on Youtube..) but we’ve been at it for at least five years or so and he’s not making much progress..
This year I’m mainly planting spinach, spuds, flowers, zucchini and herbs but added a few things recently. Someone tipped me off about the Sponge-cucumber so I had to order a bag and strangely 15 more seed bags made their way into the order basket.
I have also maximised the time outside doing photography in the sun. I have so many old photography papers that would not be of good use in the darkroom so I’ve used them for Lumen photograms instead and today I made wet cyanotypes with spring flowers. If you would like to know more about the techniques please check out alternative photography.com.
Earth skipped spring and went straight into summer instead. The garden is absolutely exploding with blossom! Last weekend I had the yearly Plant and seed exchange and it was an even bigger success than past years. Loads of people both Saturday and Sunday. Some show up to trade plants, others to give, some to buy plants and some people turn up just for the fun of meeting others and fantastic home baked “fika” of course. Since my daughter turned vegan at xmas we had gluten/lactos/vegan rhubarb pie with soy whipped cream and a lovely chocolate cake. For the none-vegans we had the traditional Tosca cake and sandwiches made of my husbands sourdough bread and home smoked salmon. I ended up with some very interesting obscure tomato and chili plants and lots more.
For the weekend I had a local woman selling her traditionally weaved carpets, she was lovely company and did really well selling her carpets.
This time I tried not to get stressed out before hand and not to expect anything but I was over whelmed with all the people who turned up and had so many nice conversations!
So yesterday I decided it was spring. I can’t believe this year, the sun has come out waking the spring flowers and then next day temperature goes down to -10°C, again and again. So I started indoors and planted more veg, re-planted most of my geraniums and other indoor plants. I ordered 15 bags of soil from the local flower shop. Can’t believe I haven’t done that before, not owning a car I’ve been time and time again on my moped. My plan is to add 2 more planting frames for vegetables in the impossible patch. I have now given up any hope for getting rid of the weed and instead covered the whole patch with black cloth. I reckon I will need at least double the amount of the soil I ordered now that I’ve started using the bags… With a vegan teenager in the house I now feel much more prepped for growing veg, so my plan is to be self sufficient over summer at least. The chickens are helping with loads of chicken poop but they have started digging up all my spring flower bulbs which have left me covering all the flower beds with netting. I love them to bits but they are such a pain sometimes.
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.
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…
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!