After finally conquering my fears and finishing painting the house I’ve had a hard time slowing down to relax. Today is Sunday and even though we’re not believers I do try to live with Sunday being a day for rest. When my grandmother lived here she would never let us cut the lawn on a Sunday and there are still a lot of people who think the same way. I think it’s nice to have one day in the week where no lawnmowers or builders are making a noise. It’s not so easy though when you have loads of stuff waiting to be done, like the hedge being cut etc. So after feeling restless all day I took my daughter for a walk. We chose little roads between the houses where we rarely go and ended up down the harbour choosing a trail that I’ve never been up. We found some wild strawberries, my daughter saying what a shame we didn’t bring anything to put them in and I said when we were kids we used grass straws. Wow what a pleasure to see a child lit up with joy over something that is so obvious to me! She firmly decided that we weren’t leaving before the straw was full. After an hour we had four straws full with little berries. What a very happy proud girl! Perfect start of the summer holidays and for me the start of a two week holiday. On our way back we walked past a pond with some kids dressed in life jackets fishing in the pond. A mum filled us in with information and after a few minutes there where crayfish in the bucket! Apparently someone has planted them in the pond along with some red and yellow fish. The kids feed them bread, fish them up and let them back in every day. Tomorrow we will head out to my favourite place where we went as kids, for more berries and adventures.
Since I moved to Hönö I’ve made it my longterm plan to bring more animals to the island. There used to be a lot of them in the old days. My grandmother had pigs, cows and hens. Every morning she cycled down the seaside to milk the cows, called Rosa and Malin. It used to help clear the land but now it’s all overgrown and some plants are in danger of being extinct. I heard they have both sheep and pigs at Björkö, one of the other islands in the Northern archipelago, so I decided to pay them a visit. 14 sheep greeted my with an ear-deafthening BAAAAH! The sheep are taken care of by 5 families as a cooperative, they take turns looking after them. Next to the sheep there were pigs, also a cooperative with 5 families and two families who look after both pigs and sheep. The whole cooperation is run smoothly, everyone share the costs and workload, mainly feeding the animals and building new fences. Some of the wool is taken care of to make slippers and such but most of it is thrown away, which is apparently what most farmers do. All the leftover bread from the island shop is fed to the sheep and the pigs get leftovers from the Hönö beer brewery. Must be some happy pigs! Anna-Lena who greeted me answered all my questions and some. She’s always dreamt about sheep and made her dreams come true by starting the cooperative with some friends about two years ago. I was surprised by how much work it was, feeding them twice a day and of course shaving, culling and when there are lambs on the way they need attention at least three times day plus at night. They are also starting up a chicken cooperative soon. It made me realise that this is nothing I can do on my own but the cooperative way seems to work very well and they’ve had no problems finding families who want to join. A couple of cows would be nice as well…
…the snow never stays very long. It’s all rained away now. You know you live on an island, well especially an island in the northern archipelago in Sweden, when everywhere you go there are bits of Christmas trees and little (and big) boys in overalls biking around day and night. I talked to one of the fishermens’ kids the other day. I’m so curious of the tradition(read more here, The big hunt is on! if you’re curious) and a bit jealous, if I’d grown up on Hönö I would definitely been out chasing trees! So I ask why they all smell like smoke when they come in the shop, maybe there’s some part of the tradition I don’t know about. He says, well we start small fires here and there, mainly around where the big bonfire will be. I ask why? Because it’s fun! (well duh!) And to clear the ground and in spring everything will grow up pretty and green. Apparently they carry on until they get a warning from the fire-department and a threat to outlaw the bonfires, then they lay low for a while until the week before Easter. I also asked how the hunt was going and he said they have about 50-60 trees which is about average but expect they will loose at least half before the bonfire is built. Another perk about living on an island is fresh seafood! The other day my cousin knocked on the door, well he didn’t knock out here they all open the door and shout -hello, anyone home? Two kilos of fresh prawns straight of one of the boats. So now I’ve had prawns everyday in soup, on toast, with pasta and probably half a kilo while I was peeling them…
The last few days have been absolutely glorious! We had the first night frost and in the morning I ventured down the beach to pick rosehips and take some photos. It was crisp and still apart from the occasional noise from birds flying to a warmer destination. Not a huge amount of rosehips left, the birds have eaten most of them, but I collected enough for some nice homemade rose hip soup. The water is down to 9.5°C just cold enough but not painful. Bliss!
Finally!! April the 23:d 2013 I started the adventure Starting on the barn turning the dump of a barn into a gallery. Leading up to the premiere I’ve been so stressed fixing the last things, painting signs, advertising etc etc that I’ve hardly eaten or slept for weeks. It was worth it though. I opened Friday and there were more people than expected and Saturday people absolutely flooded the place from opening and carried on until after closing. The photographer that I had chosen for the opening is called Karin Berglund. Karin has been working as a journalist for thirty years and she’s written and photographed a number of garden books. Every year she goes on numerous garden trips around the world for inspiration, to write stories and photograph. I was flattered and surprised that she said yes when I asked her. Karin’s pictures, gum bichromates and photo gravures, brought the walls to life and I think the other way around as well. I wished to sell at least one picture to make it feel even more worthwhile for her but ended up selling three! I had so much positive respons and praise during the two days that I’m overwhelmed. While talking to one guest and explaining how much work the whole transformation has taken I surprised myself by almost crying. Silly I know but it’s been such a journey with real blood sweat and tears. Now it’s done and I am very much looking forward to future happenings in there. A friend of mine who’s a photographer, her name is Eva Brandin, sent me some pictures she took so I’ll post them here because I think she really managed to catch the beauty of the new gallery. Now I’m going to bed very happy but very very tired.
Yesterday was one of those rare days on the island when it wasn’t windy, completely still and beautiful. Looking at what the wind did to our flag explains a lot about how windy it gets out here. The flag tied itself around the pole in the beginning of summer and I’ve been looking at it since dreaming of taking it down. Finally we did! It wasn’t an easy job the pole is huge and from the end of the war. It last came down 30 years ago and you have to take it down into the road(or the house). It didn’t occur to me until someone said that the risk of it breaking off when we are underneath is very big. Six adults, a rope and a ladder, we managed and now it’s down waiting for a lick of new paint. After the opening of the gallery. It feels like everything is being put forward to life after the opening, only a few days left. Nice to get out in the nature reserve to clear my head. I picked more blackberries and some rosehips. The water was like a mirror. I couldn’t run with my bag of berries but walked as fast as I could across the mountains and I was soaked by the time I got around to where I started. Felt like a warm summers day!
Wow what a difference a couple of weeks holiday can do! I came back from England a week ago and feel so motivated. Yesterday I built a wind breaker in the front garden, a nest for the chicks and painted the window seals on the barn. I also improved my “greenhouse” because it was on it’s last legs. The plastic was just flapping in the wind and no silver tape could fix it so I added a wooden frame to keep everything in place. Before I left I filed a builders permit application, not that I’m changing much in the barn but I apparently need a “change of use” permit to open the gallery. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be ready end of summer… Now I have lights for the barn, I will try to put them up but will pay for a professional electrician to come out and have a look before opening. I’ve decide to paint parts of the inside, not the actual gallery space but in the “garage part”, probably just a chalky see-through white. Need to give it a very good tidy and clean. I cut one of the old beams that was part of the old floor and will try to use it as a support for the main beam which is splitting a bit. I also have to fix the side doors. I really like the old hinges but they are too weak to hold the doors so I will buy new strong ones and put them on the inside. There will be a ramp as well, wide enough for wheelchairs and prams. After that it’s done! Saying that I think the Gallery will never be “ready”, after opening I will keep improving on the place. That’s fine though, as long as I get it started. Then I can go on to my next projects: fixing the windows of our house, the railing, the roof, the gardening, extending th henhouse and building a greenhouse etc etc. I’m like an energy ball craving new jobs but I know it won’t last for long so I’d better prioritise what I want to get done and right ow it’s the Gallery. I sometimes think that our cats are smarter than us going out for short moments and then coming indoors to sleep and relax most of the day. Can’t ignore the chicks though. While we were away in England sadly our favourite chicken died, the white one called Kiki. We suspect foul play involving a young child but don’t have any proof so I’m leaving it at that. So sad though because Kiki was the most tame one and so pretty. I love the hens but right now I feel that 9 hens and 5 chicks are a bit too much for the garden so I will try to sell off two of the hens but it is sooo difficult to choose.