Morning run in the glorious island nature, before school and work. So many wild flowers! It’s like a postcard every way you turn. Todays run was a bit heavy going after a period of slacking but we made 5km at least(with some walking). Then what can be better than to finish it off with a dip in the sea? The water temperature is still nice and cool, around 15°C is my guess, so you get that refreshing feeling afterwards. It kept me going all day!
Today we had the pleasure to go visit Risö(translates as “Rice Island”). Risö is what I thought was a tiny island outside Fotö but it was much bigger than what you can see from the opposite shore. Leif and Göte picked us up at Fotö with their boat and 2 minutes later we set our feet on Risö. I had pictured in my mind that there was a large group of people working there every day especially after seeing on Facebook the impressive things they have built. Turns out most of the time it’s just them two. It’s completely funded by gifts of material and no one is being paid. There’s a beautiful cabin with five bedrooms, a well equipped kitchen and a large dining room with Leif’s gorgeous photos printed on canvas decorating the walls. After a day out there I do believe him saying he has thousands of pictures on his phone, it was so beautiful! We got shown around the newly built house where they plan to house people doing work rehabilitation, the finished B&B and there’s an awesome area for barbecuing and even smoking fish or meat. The only signs of past life is left by the army. Risö must have been one of their most popular hide outs. I remember when I was a kid it was so exciting to go into the dark caves they had left behind all over Hönö but a few years back they blocked them up for the safety of the public. After the grand tour me and my daughter ventured out to look at the island. The view was stunning and we found loads of drift wood perfect for future artsy xmas presents. We saw a mink, so cute, jet black and fluffy! Although I know that they are hated on the islands. There used to be one or two mink farms at Hönö and after they closed down there’s a lot of them left in the wild. They eat birds eggs and even hens I’ve heard… After our adventure at Risö we stopped at Fotö and visited our old chicks, the lucky bunch, who we gave away a while ago when I thought I had too many. If only I’d known. But it was a happy occasion, they have a great new home! Vera, Buffy, Captain Pugswash and Reneé Biggs, a huge garden to forest in and the goose Gizmo for company. Not that they seemed too keen on each other. Gizmo was so impressive but my phone had run out of battery by then so I couldn’t take any pics. I did bring my analog camera of course so I’ll post some when they are developed.
We came home hungry and tired after two hours it felt like a whole day. Not the last time I visit Risö though. Now I really feel like building stuff again! I will go back to offer my hands and one day perhaps bring my wet plate gear with me.
What a lovely sunny day, feels like last day of autumn. Next week the temperature is supposed to drop below zero so I decided to make the most out of the sunshine. First I did some bike maintenance, my son somehow gets a flat tyre every other week. The hens kept me company. Nettie and Lottie are getting friendlier every day and Maggie seems to slowly get over her trauma from last weekend and isn’t as jumpy anymore. After that I took my daughter berry picking. We cycled to the cemetery and walked around the popular path in the nature reserve. There are so many sloes! At first we picked every berry we saw but soon got very picky and only chose the biggest berries. There is so much that the whole of Hönö could probably go out harvesting without finishing them off. Sloes are not the easiest berries to pick though, very thorny bushes, some thorns being a few centimetres long. Trying to get to the fullest bushes was like a game with death or at least like cuddling a very angry cat… After about 3,5 kilos we headed home to change and go swimming. To be honest I haven’t been for weeks, to the point where I’m ashamed to call myself a all-year-around swimmer. The sun was going down, no wind, absolutely stunning but freezing. As always we felt great coming out of the water and went home for a nice warm cuppa.
I set off to the Jesus cave or Kröckle kyrka(church) as they call it. It’s a little hard to find if you haven’t been there before but I have many times. The view from the top of the mountain is stunning, you can see Hönö, Öckerö, Björkö, Grötö, Fotö and the mainland from there. All over Hönö there are military caverns that we as children used to find very scary and mysterious, we
challenged each other to dare to go inside, now they are all blocked up or torn down. The cave is close to the top of the mountain. It’s called the Jesus cave or church because part of the rock on one of the walls looks like a portrait of Jesus(with some imagination). After taking some pictures I walked back through the forest and out on the rocks. I kept seeing faces in the pattern of the rocks. One of my favourite places on earth is what our friend call Planet of the apes, a lot of natives call the big rock Monkeyface. The rocks are all orange and the monkey head rock and puddles are probably one of the most photographed sceneries on Hönö but I never get tired of taking pictures of it. After three hours in the blazing sun without a drink and heavy camera bag to carry I was dead tired! Managed to make it home and after downing 2 large pints of ice-cold water developed a couple of rolls…just to find out that I’d wasted all the film from that day. I had managed to load the camera, that I had borrowed from a friend, incorrectly and so not one picture from the day. Think it’s time to choose a new profession soon, carpenter maybe? Anyways, I did have a lovely time so it was still worth it.
Today I went to Björkö with my daughter to show her the sheep. Only when we got there they had been moved. We said hello to the pigs who got very noisy, they could see the bag of bread we had brought for the sheep but we were unsure if we were allowed to feed it to the pigs so didn’t. Now there were chickens to! The best henhouse I’ve ever seen, very luxurious and huge. One cockerel and a few hens, very pretty and different from our own hens. We cycled on, on a mission to find Pjonken. I heard this name for the first time a couple of weeks ago and apparently it’s where you can find the endangered blue wood anemone, plus the surroundings are supposed to be very beautiful. We didn’t find it but found a lot else. After asking a native we found out that apparently where I said to my daughter -I think we should have turned in to that road, we should have but didn’t. What we did find though was lovely! We cycled through all the houses and big woods, on to a dirt road, through more woods and came out by the sea. Voila! There were a few houses and very old barns(looked older than mine), horses, chickens in every garden and so beautiful! We found the sheep’s summer field and there were signs saying that you are allowed inside just close the gate behind you. We did hear a Baaah but no signs of them. We carried on cycling through the woods on a tiny path, up and down until we came to a pond where we parked the bikes. I wondered what the signs that we had passed said, they were funnily turned the wrong way around but then we found out. Björkö used to be a military practise island, this is what the signs warned about. I still remember going to Hönö and seeing the sign for Björkö saying “No aliens allowed”. We carried on without bikes through a crevice between to huge rocks and a filled up military cavern, loads of moths so we ran through! And ended up where in the sheep pen where we had started. By this point we were starved and sweaty so we decided to hit the closest beach. Eventually we found one and it was only us there. We laid down almost fell asleep and then took a dip in the ocean. Tired and happy we made it to the ferry with a minute to spare!
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…
We went to one of Hönö’s two nature reserves to have a barbecue. There is a place where you can bbq next to the playground in the woods. Usually there is a grate on top of it but now it was missing so we had to put our hotdogs on sticks which is actually easier said than done. Two ended up on the ground, I tried a double stick technique with a burger but wasn’t very successful. The s’mores were good though! My son and his friend went bananas in the trees climbing and going on the rope swing while me and my daughter went looking for blackberries. We soon realised it was way too early, all the berries were red far from going black. Then suddenly I hear a mjaowing and a cat comes walking down the trail. It walks past but keeps looking back and my daughter starts following it. The cat speeds up and its belly is going flip-flap back and forth for every step, looks like it’s pregnant. She goes off the trail and my daughter follows until it jumps over a small ditch into a bush, lo and behold, there’s a blackberry bush with one black blackberry on it! She is so pleased with herself. Now I really want to find some myself but my daughter goes -Well mum you know it’s not gonna happen you have to find a cat first to show you where they are. Considering the odds, seems pretty unlikely it’s gonna happen twice in one day, so I give up and we cycle home.