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!
After having two weeks of snow suddenly sun appears, everything has melted and every time you turn around a new spring flower has popped up! Yesterday I did loads of necessary chores but took some time in the sun just hanging with the chicks. Today started foggy but eventually sun broke through. I said last week we have to buy a proper pancake or crêpe pan instead of our big frying pans, this morning I went down the second hand shop in the harbour and Voila! The perfect cast iron pan. Love it when that happens! I had a coffee because they have the best coffee and it’s also nice to just sit there and look at people. At home I immediately tried out the great find and me and my daughter had pancakes in the sun on the stairs. Then she helped me clear the veg patch, chickens came to help to. They are so social and curious. I’ve spoilt them rotten so every time I go in the basement they come to beg for food. When I planted peppers Lottie actually came inside but left as soon as she didn’t find any food. I promised myself to not go through another summer without a greenhouse, problem is I want a really big one to sit in. Planning the year I realise that it’s not gonna happen without a budget and a holiday so now I’ve decided to build something in the vegetable patch or possibly attached to the henhouse. The veg patch is my worst enemy. There’s ivy and nettles taking over everything. I’m tempted to leave it but it’s such a valuable patch of land, perfect location, enough sun, shade and shielded by the worst wind. Maybe if I put five minutes every day on weeding I’ll be able to keep it in check. Think of all the vegetables we can grow and use for events in the barn/gallery!
In Sweden we have Sportsweek holiday week 7. We are probably the only family on Hönö that doesn’t go skiing. Not that I don’t want to, I have warm memories going along with other families to the north of Sweden and to Norway. Also memories from being kicked out of pubs, getting some poor guy beaten up and my friends parents forbidding her ever to contact me again. Lets not talk about that. Sooo we have had a nice lazy week but in some ways very productive. Today started with me mixing chemicals for the wet plates and husband doing a new batch of the chili marmalade Nam Prik Pao. This thai chilli marmalade is my absolute favourite. It goes with just about everything, especially nice with prawns or cheese. Also on Knäckebröd(Swedish crisp bread) with butter. It is so lovely, tasty, addictive but so stinky while you make it. Nam Prik Pao ingredients are: Fried chillies, fried onions, garlic- all ground together. Return in the oil with shrimp paste, tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar. Yesterday we had Focaccia with mozzarella, chillies, basil, garlic and serrano ham. Today sourdough pizza, the dough rested in the fridge for 2 days, with calabrese, mozzarella and Nam Prik Pao. If my husband was home all the time I would get so fat. He is set on baking mode so we’ve had to give bread away to neighbours, no more room in the freezer, and tomorrow I’ll do a round with eggs because the chickens have been very productive as well. I’ve been spoiling them with food so everytime I go outside so they come running up and run after me wherever I go. A little bit scary hearing their little claws and they peck more at my fingers than the food when I feed them but still nice to have company out there. I sat down in the hammock outside with my daughter and said -I hope it doesn’t collapse. Sure thing it did! It had rusted so badly on one side of the hammock that it just broke off but we stayed sitting there pretending we where sat in a ski slope. Fed the chickens corn and popcorn. This afternoon I re-planted all my chillies to larger single pots and moved them downstairs because we are getting Airbnb guests upstairs next week. The majority of the family took a walk down the beach and we chose a direction that me and my daughter discovered last week, full of mystery, great photo opportunities and not too long. Great to have lived on this Island for 6 years and still have parts to discover!
Every autumn I think next year I’ll calm down a bit with the planting but by the time xmas is fading my fingers start to itch. My first chilies are popping up and I’ve ordered some veg seeds and flower seeds who need an early start. A little while ago I received the new seed catalogue for 2017 and skipped happily towards the front door only to glance at the flower bed at the front of our house. 3 happy chickens sand bathing in where they had dug big holes in my flower bed. My happiness was momentarily quenched but now I’ve decided to not go through another summer without a green house and that makes me happy again! Just need to build one. As well as extending the henhouse and building a smoker. 2017 bring it on! Same with photography, I always switch off over the holidays but now new ideas are popping up like mushrooms without me even trying to think. Still haven’t spent any time in the darkroom since before xmas but today I played around with my phone, taking pics of the chillies(yes, all the people who know me as the most analogue person out there are laughing their asses off right now) with my xmas present. It’s a macro lens that you attach to the mobile with a little clamp. I must say I am quite impressed with what the phone can do with just a little add on and it’s a lot of fun. Only problem is keeping the phone still, never thought I’d say this as I don’t even own a digital camera but maybe I’ll have to invest in a phone tripod…
Esme in the tree
Time to make up for neglecting the garden and the chicks! I bought 250 kilos of soil from the shop with my bike trolly and emptied the compost. This year I will try to be a smarter gardener(so I say…). The downside of planting allover the place is that it will need a lot of watering. The pump partly broke just after we moved in, it used to turn itself off at a certain level and then come back on again automatically but now it just switches off and I have to go in the basement to start it up again every 5 minutes. So now I will ditch the veg patch/potato field and plant a mix of flowers that are good for the soil, let them grow, flower and then cut down before they spread their seed(I already know that I will forget about that last step but it can’t get much worse than the weed that already takes it over every year). Of course I do want spuds but I’ll plant them closer to the house in bags or buckets. I’ve also decided that whenever I go to the garden shop I’ll buy three of a kind instead of the usual one of each. My final goal is to have so many perennial flowers and berry bushes in my garden so that the hens don’t have room to dig away the flowers. Right now the chicks aren’t my favourite animals. Every evening Esme makes me climb the top of the cherry tree to get her down, if I don’t she’ll make a racket in the morning and wake us up at 5am. A couple of days ago I lifted Sookie up, who has been stuck in the nest wanting babies for a month, and there were loads of hopping bugs! Hen fleas! Yuck! I sprayed the nest with soap and vinegar and this morning after being woken up at 6am by the hens making a huge racket I took the nests off the wall. I tucked my jeans into my socks, apparently they go for humans to and if your not careful they follow you into your house. It does explain the bites that my daughter has been getting because of the cat sleeping in her bed… I brought everything in the henhouse out and then sprayed and scrubbed and chalked everything. Now the henhouse looks like new again and I also put in a new nest while I’ll be re-painting the old ones. Funny thing is, while cleaning I didn’t see one flea! The rest of the day was spent in the garden, digging, sowing, clearing and hanging with the chicks. If it wasn’t for the crazy weather, snow, hail, sun, wind and rain it could almost have been a summers day…