So if you follow my blog you already know about the big Easter xmas tree hunt if not you can look at this post The big hunt is on!
. Easter is pretty much the biggest holiday here, maybe more important than xmas. Last year they took my largest christmas tree as a “resegran” the base for the bonfire building. My trees were planted by my grandad, one for every child he had, although he sadly drowned at sea before the forth tree was planted. They have seen better days though and I have been worried every storm(and we have many!)on the island.
So Easter eve morning a bunch of rowdy xmas tree hunters in my age came by with a chainsaw and a truck and brought it to the mountain to to build the big fire.
After sweeping the road free off branches and rocks I cycled over to watch them rise it.
Later in the evening I was super excited as usual at Easter and ended up leaving way too early for the bonfire. My daughter came with me(because she felt sorry for me I expect).
By that time the weather had turned and it was absolutely pissing down and super windy.
So we sat behind a rock in the rain, with an umbrella that lasted for 2 min, for about an hour and a half(and the Mother-of-the-year award goes to..).
We almost gave up but finally more people came and as soon as the fire started we left for home and a hot bath. It was totally worth it!
So far I’ve planted chillis and tomatoes and multiplied most of my plants by taking little shoots. Now I am already panicking about where to put them all…
I swapped a very hardy basil plant at the last Plant and seed exchange day I had in my gallery, it looks a bit scrawny now but I have taken seedlings and they are growing like crazy.
Most of them fit under my three plant lights but soon they have to be replanted into larger pots. If you have any smart solutions please comment!
Last week my husband watered all the chillis with left over “whey”, he made tofu and used the water from the soya beans. At first I was a bit pissed off because he watered them from above and it seemed like there was a thin mold forming.
After a couple of days the plants almost doubled in size!
It seems like every weekend lately has been super windy and/or rainy but today was absolutely wonderful. I spent all day out with the best company one can have -chickens- We, I say we because they were a great help, dug up the weeds that had already sprouted even though it’s only March. I harvested some veg and realised that we don’t have to buy parsly ever, so much has survived “winter”.
My plan is to let half the lawn on the front side of our house to be a meadow and the other half for planting boxes. I somehow outdid myself ordering seeds this year..
Last year I didn’t plant any chilies or tomatoes but this year I am going full on, probably because I couldn’t remember the hassle of re-planting everything etc etc.
My dream is to have a huge greenhouse for chilis and tomatoes to make sauces and pickles and other stuff to sell. Also after visiting the Garlic farm on the Isle of Wight last summer garlic is my new thing. Last summer we sold out of all jam, cordial etc every weekend I had the gallery open so I’m trying to grow more berry bushes by taking seedlings, time will tell if it works.
Finally I got to pick some eggs as well! I suspect the chicks have been laying their eggs somewhere in the garden or maybe the magpies fly into the hen house but today I found five beautiful eggs.
Counting down to Christmas..
With the Christmas market coming up in the gallery only less than a couple of weeks to go I am super busy.
This is the busiest time of year for me but still find myself doing crazy things for free, like going swimming for a big travel company to take pictures. I am working on saying no to more things, and should work harder on it, but then every one of these meetings still give me something. Nice people and great memories(in this case quite painful ones).
I agreed to be photographed while going for a swim, which is something I do all year around, but then it was -can you you swim a bit this way and back? Can you go under once again? etc. More than 5 minutes in 7°C water and rain felt like an hour and it took all day to defrost but I’m still happy I did it and can’t share now but the pictures will looked great! (and yes it looks like it’s almost nighttime but that’s this time of year in Sweden for you)
Relaxing and gathering strength after Easter…we had a fantastic time! A little while ago we had an expert on trees out to look at our three christmas trees in my garden for a price suggestion. They weren’t pretty but I really wanted to keep them since my grandad planted them a very long time ago. He planted one for each child, he had four but didn’t plant one for the youngest before he accidentally drowned out fishing. During this year one of the trees died and the others looked dying. I would be very expensive to cut them down. I spoke to a neighbour about it and day before Easter three Christmas tree hunters(in my age) knocked on the door claiming to be tree experts and asking if they could take one of the trees as the centre piece for the big bonfire, how happy was I?? So they turned up in larger numbers on Easter eve morning, cut it down, dragged it behind a car and pulled it up the mountain!
I stayed for many hours watching everyone build the bonfire. All the trees that kids around the island had collected since Christmas where brought out in daylight and pulled up the mountain. It’s a huge family convention, kids from the age of 3 to adult help out and have a great time.
The whole tradition is not only positive, there are a lot of break-ins and fights but overall I think it’s fantastic and hope it carries on for many years to come. In the old days they put a lot of tar, led and whatever they could find that burnt on the fire which caused toxic fumes but now it’s mainly trees and this year they used oil from the chip-shops.
In the evening we went to watch it burn, 1319 trees, lots of people and an amazing feeling! The day after we returned and my tree was still there, kept upright by metal wires, still smouldering many hours later.
Recently the sea has been absolutely irresistible. Still a bit chilly in the air but we’ve had some fantastic sunny days. Last week I went running and the water was like a mirror(this is quite rare living on a windy island). I ended up swimming in my underwear, the jog back home wasn’t as nice but it was definitely worth it! Then the other day my daughter caught the swim-bug to. She’s not been in since December, then she stayed in too long and got too cold which put her off. Now she was braver than me and dipped her head as well, even after me telling her not to(or maybe because?).
Yesterday I went out kayaking. Friluftsfrämjandet, roughly translated Outdoor association, invites people to come along paddling every Thursday and I jumped on the offer. The weather couldn’t have been better and it was gorgeous. Hard work though, I’ve only done it a few times so there’s probably a lot to improve on my technique..it looks so easy when everyone else does it? We paddled for about an hour, stopped for “fika” and then returned while the sun was setting. So beautiful!
Winter has come to the island! There was so much snow last weekend. I ended up showering snow until I had blisters on my hand, best work-out! I actually enjoy shovelling snow but by day two it wasn’t as much fun anymore.
This morning I had another visitor through the project Meet The Locals. Katerina from Greece came for a walk with me in the beautiful, wintery nature reserve. Luckily there was no wind. I usually take a longer tour and circle the reserve but today there was just too much snow. My poor guest ended up with snow to her knees and wet socks and shoes as a result so we went back to my place for hot tea and cake. I so much enjoy these visits! So far I’ve had guests from India, Singapore, Scotland, The Netherlands, America and now Greece. It’s always great to hear about life in their countries and also to see my island through their eyes. I did bring my analog camera along today but we were too busy talking to take any pictures(not counting the mobile then). I always offer to take my guests swimming but Katerina politely said no, think she got cold enough anyways…
This month has been so random. Rain, snow, wind, still days and above all…so many fantastic sunrises and sunsets. I’ve really gotten back into running and swimming in whatever the weather. Such a luxury living on an island!
I’d like to say that I’ve been all over Hönö, the island I live on, but the other day I was shown a place that I’ve actually never been to(for what I can remember). So amazing and now my new favourite place. We have a large nature reserve with fantastic nature and I visit frequently on my guided walks, on my own, for a run or for photography.
It’s so easy to get stuck in habit and take the usual paths. This “new” area is apparently very popular with people doing bouldering and I can see why. There are huge boulders and small caves. The rocks are covered in moss and so are the trees growing in shelter of the wind.
I tried out my new camera given to me by a friend at xmas and developed my first pictures of the new year. Some real keepers! It would be perfect for wet plate photography but just carrying all the equipment up the mountain would be a days work.
The last few weeks everything has centred around getting my Christmas market ready. This year I tried staying open for two weekends but sadly the weather wasn’t on my side. Rainy and windy, not many people dared to venture out to the island. Although, we still had a great time!
My theme this time was a different xmas market and I think that’s definitely what we had… First weekend I invited a tattoo artist, I got my first tattoo ever and the oldest customer also had her first one, she’s 78. I sold my analog photographs and invited a local to sell his fantastic lamps made out of old cameras. On top of that of course we had homemade cakes for sale and my husbands spicy Indian Daahl soup with freshly baked sourdough bread. We sold out of Nam Prik Phao(Thai chili marmalade) and xmas mustard. I made one quite spicy but the favourite was sweet, full of flavour, a bit of brandy and sooo nice!
The second weekend I invited a band to play, my son and students from his music school, to play acoustic xmas songs, it was so perfect in the barn. They were great!
Yesterday we got a Christmas tree from the harbour. My husband stood guard outside while I made space for the tree in our living room, apparently some kids started the big traditional hunt already(which is really not fare and totally against the rules) and someone got their tree stolen from their garden day after they bought it. If you are interested in what the Big hunt is all about check this link out: The big hunt is on! or read more about it at Easter!