Today I took a beginners course in kayaking. Now I only need to learn how to drive a boat(get the boat in the water) and build an outdoor kitchen with an oven and smoker and I’m done with this summers bucket list. We met up this morning in blazing sunshine, got instructions on land, “fika” then set out to paddle. We learnt how to paddle, stop, turn, paddle backwards and more “fika”. As the finish of the day everyone had a chance to try to “save a friend!. I was the first one to put my hand up. I still have this very big fear of the ocean even though I love it. That’s one part of why I swim all year around, I like to conquer my fears. First try I felt really nervous actually turning the kayak over but as soon as I’d done it once the fear disappeared. Second I over turned and got back into the kayak without any help and as soon as I got in I leant too much the other way and fell over again! Apart from that I was surprised how steady the kayak was and am now all set to buy a couple for the family. I am very happy I took the course to get all different techniques in. You really use so many muscles! Not just the arms but back, legs and stomach. I’ll sleep very well tonight that’s for sure.
So the tradition on the islands are still going strong. There is nothing else as controversial if you don’t count “build a bridge vs keep the ferries”. I try to not let my personal views out too strong in this blog but I do love the xmas tree hunting. Comparing to the old days it is so much healthier now and since one or two years ago, the council put some effort in to it trying to stop people using car tires and petrol etc, now we’ve had the cleanest bonfires since probably like ever! We went up to the nature reserve to watch them build the fire earlier today.
This year we went for the largest fire on the Island. Since we moved here we have gone to Kanonberget but this year there was a big landmark for boats put up right where the bonfire usually is and I also think that fire will die out soon because of lack of interest. So we went to the biggest one, in Rö(Hönö Red) we have all heard lots of horror stories about that one, people being put in hospital, burning tires chasing people down the hill and a four wheelie being overturned into the fire. But this year we came away with the feeling that we miss the usual bonfire. There is usually at least one crazy person shouting, a few people letting off fire works in the crowd and the happiness when you actually make it up the mountain through all the shrubberies and cliffs. Comparing to the big crowd, lit-up way to the top, our usual fire felt much more intimate and fun. I hope they will start it up again next year!
So there’s been rain, storm and snow one after the other and then more of everything. What to do on this opposite of summer paradise island? Actually plenty. The last two weekends I’ve been to two exhibitions at the next door island Öckerö. One with a painter and a local ceramic artist, I just love his ugly fish! Also quite funny that most people compare them to the politicians running the islands… Last weekend a photographer had a vernissage. The exhibition was called Iphone diary and consisted of pictures taken with his mobile, the complete opposite to my work but I loved it. I would have like to buy a picture but realised I would never be able to choose so I opted for three of his little books instead.
Now there’s a very successful business man on the island and apart from starting up the biggest company on Hönö he’s bought the gym, the bowling hall, a restaurant and conference center and now he’s opened a cinema as well. Soon there’s no need for us to ever venture into “town”(which is what us Islanders call Gothenburg). It’s a great experience with red carpets, 50 seats and of course popcorn and stuff. Then the very best thing, no 1,5 hour travel home after the movie only a 10 minute walk!
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…
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…)!
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!
Feels like spring has been going on forever this year. It got really warm and then suddenly snow, rain and cold winds. Always a nice surprise to see what I planted in autumn though. I’ve completely forgotten and now loads of pretty flowers are blooming. The little chickens we got have turned big. They follow me wherever I go because I’ve spoilt them rotten feeding them overtime I go out, they are so cute! Definitely not the breed we were told but we love them anyways. The little white&black one is called Astrid and the white&brown is called Peanut. We waited a long time to name the black one, it’s most likely a cockerel but we decided on Woody. Today Maggie decided she wants to become a mum so we’ve ordered some fertilised eggs. The garden is coming along nicely. I built a frame in the crazy-always-overgrown-by-weeds-veg-patch and planted loads of vegetables and made sure to make it chicken proof. Started building a greenhouse a while ago, put hours and hours into it then someone came along the other day and asked :Is there really going to be enough sun in there? …after a few days of thinking I realised that Nope it’s not. So now I have to move it. Oh well, start over do it right! Today was sunny but a very cold wind so I changed plans from going out in the nature reserve to staying home having a bbq for lunch and then watching movies and pretending it’s Friday.