So the summer ended in an art bonanza. First The Artwave, when all artists on Hönö and surrounding islands open up their studios or homes. I shared my gallery for the weekend with a very talented glass artist but we hardly had time to see each other, on the Saturday we had a few hundred visitors! The weather on Friday when we set up was abysmal with torrential rain storms but the rest of the weekend was lovely. We sold lots of cakes and home made preserves and photographs on top of that. Then a couple of weeks later an exhibition with two photographers from another part of Sweden. They both do analog photography and a lot of the same techniques that I use. Great photographs and a lovely weekend! My husband smoked salmon and baked sourdough bread, I think I’m addicted to smoked salmon now, and we sold out most of the cakes on the second day. We were very generous with the opening times and I thought we would have to take turns or read books but the weekend past very quickly. On the last day it was more quiet and I took the opportunity to photograph my fellow photographers. Always nerve wrecking to photograph photographers but I hope I passed the test.
Smoking is my husbands hobby and he’s real good at it so I’ve had no reason to try it out. Now he’s hurt his foot and we have cured pork belly in the fridge for a week so I had to do the smoking. He told me how to build a “snake” of coal with wood on top and what the temperature should be. I actually got really excited and immediately started thinking of other things to smoke. I bought some fresh prawns and mussels from the fish shop and shoved on there. The mussels were a failure but the prawns were lovely! They caught flavour after just a few minutes, the bacon was on there for 2 hours. After checking on the temperature every 15 minutes or so I brought it inside, cut the rind off and fried a couple of slices. Guess it’s not nice to brag but…that’s darn good bacon! It even passed the husbands quality control, he gave me a 9 out of 10. The rest of the day I spent with the hens in the garden even though it rained but finally it’s getting warmer. By some miracle I got the lawnmower started after only about 20 pulls on the rope and cut the lawn for the first but not last time this year. After that me and my daughter picked rhubarb and attempted to plant peas and rose beans while the chicks were doing their best to eat them. Today is Walpurgis so we finished the day down the beach watching the bonfire and listening to people singing. Absolutely stunning with a light rain, sun setting and a double rainbow.
Feels like it was Easter yesterday but now it was a few weeks ago. Easter is always exciting on the island though. We had Airbnb guests staying upstairs and brought them along to the fire. This year we decided to break our tradition to go see the largest fire on Hönö. Since we moved here we have every year gone to “Hea”, after all the stories we heard about Hönö “röd” with fights, burning wheels rolling down the mountain and such we’ve chosen to take the kids to the more family friendly fire. So I must say I had some butterflies in my belly this year but turned out it was completely unnecessary. There were loads of people, adults, youngsters and children but most of them very well behaved. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsarah.lycksten%2Fvideos%2Fvb.651592990%2F10153638295007991%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560” target=”_blank”>Here’s a little video taken just after the fire was lit. This year the council had gone out with warnings saying that everyone starting a fire had to have a permit and if they found oil, tires or other things apart from Christmas trees they would take the fires down. Plus they said there would be more police on the Island than had ever been(to this my son replied -what, like three?). We had a nice time but next year we’ll be back at Hea, it felt more like “our” fire. We didn’t have any more guests over Easter, usually we have a big bash with new and old friends but this year apart from the airbnb’ers it was just the family. One week earlier I happened by the food shop on the next island and found them selling really nice pigs meat, perfect for bacon. So I bought some for my husband, he salted it, I rubbed and massaged it every day and Easter eve he smoked it together with some salmon. Homemade bacon, we’ve wanted to try that for ages. It was so awesome! So easy and so much flavour. Since Easter days have sped up. To the point that I’ve lost track of the days. I did get really enjoyed and sent an email to complaining about not having received my morning newspaper for two days. When they replied saying that according to their records I only have a weekend subscription I thought I would sink through the floor. This was on a Wednesday and I had worked over the weekend and because the kids had Easter holiday I thought it was the weekend…
So today some friends came out to help me finish turning the barn into a gallery. Of course it’s not finished, things always take more time than calculated but I am so happy! I myself was quite a wreck since after going to bed at 2.30am. I took my soon to be 15 year old son and his friend to the Foo fighters concert in town(Gothenburg). Their first big concert and it turned out to be epic(quoting the boys)… We came to the huge arena Ullevi and sat in blazing sunshine for three hours waiting and listening to Ghost, the support band. The Foo fighters come on, play one song and then starting the second song, the singer Dave Grohl falls of the stage and breaks his foot! After a lot of laughs, chock, drummer taking over the show, lots of people leaving and Dave promising to come back to Gothenburg we think it will turn in to an early evening and I feel so sorry for the boys. Then the big screen TV zoom in on a chair and we all know what’s coming. The singer comes back with his bandaged foot and plays for the rest of the evening, only to pause for having a cast on his foot and then carries on. I usually don’t blog about things that happen off the island but this was one of these evenings I won’t forget. Just like today. Woke up early and painted the fascias (thank you for the translation fellow blogger Snail of happiness, I didn’t know the word for it in English!). After a few hours I started to despair, thinking no one would show up but then everyone came at once! The barn got emptied out, the fascias put up and the floor rainproofed from the outside. Plus a lot more. It felt so good to have more hands and the main thing to have more brains. Little things can grow so huge when you mull over it over time and when you ask someone else they have the easy solution straight away. It turned out to be the perfect combination of talents as well. All of a sudden I had a project leader, a handy man, a cook, a fine carpenter and a painter at hand. We also had time for a fantastic lunch of my husbands smoked salmon, barbecued veg, grilled halloumi and sallad. At the end of the day I was knackered but still filled with new energy for the gallery project. It felt like removing all these hurdles gave me more will and strength to carry on. Also I’m overwhelmed with my friends goodwill and effort!
Gosh and the food yesterday… My husband smoked salmon on the barbeque. He used a new seasoning for it and added a pinch of nutmeg, allspice, bayleaves and cloves to the usual sea salt and sugar. He let it soak in water for an hour before smoking so it wasn’t as salty as it sometimes has been. Best one so far! We had it with Pancanella which is a salad made out of roasted veg and roasted bread croutons, eggs, cheese and broccoli pie. Sourdough bread, crackers, a lovely selection of cheese and finished off with Banoffee pie. Oh and on top of that a tonne of easter sweets and crisps. Today we went for a dip in the sea (surprised we didn’t sink!) and tonight we will have homemade Cumberland sausages on new baked bread. I love the fact that we can produce so much of what we eat instead of buying ready made stuff. Not only does it taste so much better but it’s cheaper and I’m sure healthier to.
I’ve felt festive for at least a month. We’ve had advent times three, Lucia, got a Christmas tree and now I can’t believe it’s only a few days until Christmas! The husband got started on the Christmas food today, he planned it weeks ago. With the weather being totally unreliable with sun, rain, wind and hail he set the electric smoker up in the barn. Now there’s salmon smoking away out there and next ham and cheese. Mmmm I can’t wait!
Fourth time for me at the Artwave. During one weekend artists open up their studios or homes for the public. On our island Hönö and 8 more there are 93 artists participating this year! That’s a lot considering the small population. I’ve been bragging to everyone around me about being out in good time and not procrastinating, usually I leave everything until the last minute, but finally when it came down to it I woke up two hours before opening and got soooo stressed out for everything left to do. With a strong wind I hung most pictures inside the barn. My plan was to have the floor ready(or was that for last year?) but so many things have come up in between, chickens, henhouse, bigger henhouse, workshops etc etc. As always though I think and act best when I’m stressed and used an old window as picture fram and then string and cloth pegs. We broke the record in cake sales(or Fika as we say in Sweden) and almost sold out of home smoked salmon on Graham’s sourdough bread. Tomorrow we are doing it all over again.