Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A snowshoeing trip.

Our host Olli
picture; Boel Engkvist
Last saturday saw another meetup f our local bushcraft group. This time the goal was a snowshoeing hikeup the Gyllbergen, a rise in a natural reserve near Borlänge. The weather was hard to forecast, with all the changes, but in the end all went well.
Had some minor snowfall on the way in, deep, fluffy and powdery snow, especially around the top and a touch of sunlight every now and then. Temperature was around -7C with some windchill at the top. Some of us, including me, had never or very scarcely walked on snowshoes and I thought to bring my old (antique) ones for the occasion, accompanied by poles at least as old.
For the occasion I dressed up in my army woolpants, t-shirt, wool sweater and winteranorak. However, in my rush to get away from home I forgot my Finnish winterhat and my mittens, so all I had was a thin knitted hat and fingergloves. A pair of those without the tops with thin knitted ones below that. I had brought my LK35, complete with a thermosflask of hot coffee, an army shovel with snowblade, cookingset, food and 1,5l of water. Of course my winterbelt and my the first aid kit. I had thought of tbringing a fleece blanket, but figured in case of an emergency 2 emergency blankets would suffice.
Olli, who arranged this trip, told us about the history of the reserve and I must say it really was a completely different landscape from when I was here first last year. I had never seen anything like it. Magically transformed by the snow, fairytale-like sculpted trees and snowdrifts. I felt overwhelmed and touched to my core. 
On the way to the top I started experiencing problems with my left snowshoe, because its front strap kept slipping of my foot all the time. The walking on those snowshoes itself felt quite easy actually, but the fact that the rest used narrow, modern ones made the going on my wide duckfeet a bit cumbersome, because I kept stepping on the edge of their trail. As we started to near the first stop, being the cabin, I took off my mine. I was holding up the group too much. I clasped the snowshoes to my chest with the sternumstrap of the lk35 and kept going without them in the trail. The going was pretty tough! Despite the whole group breaking trail before me, I sank down at least 20-30cm with most steps. The flow of those old things was quite good in hindsight!
During the hike the disc of one of the staves came off too and I immediately noticed the difference, becuase the stave just disappeared into the waistdeep snow. I could not find it anymore. Of course.... Panting and sweating I arrived as last at the shelter/cabin. During the rest there Marcus lent me 2 straps, so I could fasten the snowshoes properly and after that the problems were pretty much over. At least until we found a place to "camp".

picture; Marcus Östlin

picture; Marcus Östlin

picture; Boel Engkvist

picture; Boel Engkvist
Our merry group of snowshoe-ers.
picture; Boel Engkvist
picture; Boel Engkvist

picture; Boel Engkvist

At the campsite, some started trampling the snow and 2 of us, including me, broke out the snowshovels and dug a pit, large enough for us to sit around a fire. Here my second gearfailure occured. The steel thermosflask I had brought made clear why it ended up in a secondhand shop for me to buy. It had leaked like a sieve and the coffee was nowhere near warm anymore. Lukewarm at best. Maybe the rubber seal was not attached properly and maybe an axtra insulating layer might have kept the coffee warmer.
Everyone had brough one of two blocks of wood up with them, so plenty if firewood was present. Now that fire did cause some irritation and hilarity..... The wood was not really dry, so it smoked a lot. On top of that it was pinewood, so pretty resinous. And of course I sat on the exact wrong spot! Together with Marcus we got out meat smoked pretty decently. Excessively was more likely. Tears ran down our face and we twisted and turned in every which way, but in the end had to move away just to breath. In desperation I brought out my emergency snowgoggles, a pair of those celluloid foldable ones. They look ridiculous (if the comments and laughter were anything to go by), but they worked at keeping the smoke out of my eyes..... sort of. They actually are intended to prevent snowblindness in case of getting stuck.
The mood was generally merry and the food and campcoffee only enhanced that. There was a deal of clowning around and the ladies provided an even better atmosphere by singing a number of folksongs.

I really like Karin's round bottomed, castiron frying pan.
picture; Jonathan Sälg

picture; Marcus Östlin

smoking a ciga.... sausage?!
I got dubbed Ron Guevara...
picture; Boel Engkvist
The goggles in question
picture; boel Engkvist

There be snowgoblins in them hills!
Travellers beware!!
picture; Olli Niemelä
Then the sun started setting and it was time to pack up
And here it was that the troubling snowshoe failed completely. In an attempt to tighten the straps more, one tore off completely. The straps had become to old and brittle. I was now facing a 1,5km hike downhill in loose snow. But Olli came to the resque! He lent me hios modern snowshoes, so I could carry on. He was used to it anyway, he said, plodding through the deep snow. He's a bit taller then I am as well.
By the time we all were ready to go, my fingers had become real cold. Cold enough that I started worrying and I was eager to start going and get my circulation going. From experience I knew that that would pretty much solve my problem. Standing still would only increase it. Holding metal staves did not make things better, despite the grips, made from natural materials.
The way back was quite something too. At places steep downhill and a number of us got into difficulties, but managed to overcome those using non-standard solutions, so to speak.
It was only a few 100 meters to the skitrack, but it felt much longer. Same as the way in. I know it is wayyy shorter then it felt. Going under these conditions takes a lot, lot longer. The rest of the hike went over skitracks, which did hold a few surprises. Boel stepped into a deep hole and tipped forward. The kind of incident that might just snap your knee to pieces! Luckily she came away smiling. The snow simply gave way, despite the snowshoe.
In the end the parkingarea was reached with everyone in one piece and as far as I know I was the only one having experienced some trouble.

Picture; Magnus Brodén

picture by Olli Niemelä

The whole experience left me with an elated feeling! Not only the scenery and the fresh air, but also the feeling of belonging and of friendship made me feel..... human. It is those later feelings that I had missed those last years, but I really do feel we have a small group of people here that have found each other. Järngänget, as olli described it. The iron group or hard core.
Besides that the afore mentioned magical atmosphere and fairytale-like landscape really made this day special. A memory for life, even if it only lasted a few hours. My heartfelt gratitude toward all those involved and present for making this so!
What I also felt, was my body. Especially the lower half! For days!! Sore muscles, especially the inner thighs and I actually still do; my hipsjoints and right hamstring. A small price to pay, but I am actually less pleased by the gear failures. Those can cause some real problems. I need to go over it all and I have plans to redo the old, broken snowshoe(pair). The staves..... well, they will probably end up as staves when walking the dogs on icy roads.
But on the other hand I was really pleased to once more notice that my clothing-system held up. Despite having sweated a good deal I did not freeze, while others were forced to take off or even replace clothes due to sweating. They were wearing modern day jackets, that apparently had less capacity for ventilation. I was also pleased that the footwraps I tried held up in every way! They were comfortable and kept my feet warm, even during inactivity. And the shovel proved it's weight worth in gold. Not only was the area cleared pretty quick, but by making the blade angle with the handle, thrusting it into the snow and draping my sheepskin over it I had an in promptu seat, removing the necessity of sitting on the snow. Next time I'll bring a small foampad though, since my buttcheeks were a little sore afterwards. But the height is perfect for sitting comfortably!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Well..... that is done...

Winter solstice, christmas and New Year have passed. The season of festivities is coming to an end. Darkness is receeding, light is advancing with the lengthening of days.
We had decided to find new traditions, new ways for our family to spend these festive days. No more presents, no more christmas tree. Just qualitytime together with good food.
Wintersolstice I thought to honour by extinguishing all light in the house after darkness, build a swedish/Finnish torch, light it and then light one candle, bring that inside, have coffee and cookies and then spread the light through the house by lighting candles in all the other rooms. Or something along those lines....
But before the end of the year I saw 2 goals finally fullfilled; the acquisition of wooden sleds for the dogs and a foldable lantern for me.

But first things first......
The wintersolstice celebrations were cut short. I ended up working late, coming home tired with a bad cold developing.... After diner I just slumped in my chair and that pretty much was that, the rest of the household pretty much going about their usual business.
Christmas was supposed to be gift-, tree- and electronicfree..... Well, my wife broke the first idea by buying gifts still, albeit a small chest with boardgames, which is in tune with the idea I/we had. Plus some very small items for the kids. She did not want to leave them emptyhanded. My youngest daughter at first complained about it not being really christmassy without a tree, our oldest daughter agreeing. So the kids ended up with small, artificial christmastrees on their rooms.We did of course have some decorations, but lacked the time and inspiration or motivation to create some with actual sprucegreens. The absense of the scent of spruce proved to be a dealbreaker! Without it it just did not feel right. Amazing how a small detail like that works!
We still had good food and enjoyed being together, but somehow something lacked. I guess simply throwing overboard old things and introducing new things just doesn't work. It needs to grow.... and we need to pay more attention to details in order to make it work for all.
And the electronic bit..... I am afraid that only worked out, because of a seriously hampered connection, often being completely absent as the mobile network in our area failed. Having a powercut, most likely due to the combination of stormy weather and wet snow, snapping a tree somewhere during the evening of the 26th, in these parts of Europe still concidered to be one of the christmas days, helped "enforce" several intentions. It did however add to the general atmosphere... We had chicken in the over when everything went dark. Not a light in sight. And I remembered that years ago I got a gasfed grillplate as a christmasgift at IKEA. Had not used that at all. Untill now....
The evening was spent by candlelight, doing boardgames and reading and talking a little...

This powerout has me thinking down the prepping-line again. Something to focus on.

On the 30th I went on a little roadtrip. I was to collect 2 large wooden sleds near Uppsala and a belanted christmas present, sent to me by a very generous swiss gentleman, going by the name of Pascal. He and I have never met in person, but it is the same guy that sent me that Swiss army canteen a while ago. And this time there was something waiting for me that I had my eyes on for years; a Swiss army folding lantern. That one would be waiting for me near the city Västerås. A good way to see how my "new" car behaves..... As I past the area of Sala, the world turned green. No more snow!
The sleds have been a logistical project that started januari 2017. Someone sold a good number of these and together with a guy from Uppsala a few of these were purchased for a very good price. Problem was just that these sleds were way in the south with no one really wanting to drive all the way. Via via they ended up with said guy and now I could go and collect mine in Heby, roughly halfway to Västerås. Then I proceeded toward the second destination, which was a bit hard to find but find it I did..... And then I had christmas in the car.... I opened the package Pascal had sent me, found the folding lantern....... and a package of matching candles!! And 3 slabs of Swiss chocolate!!
I was really moved and had to blink hard several times. This was way more then I had bargained for...

And all the while the weather continues to be irratic and hopeless. Short spells of frost and thaw, snow and rain continue to follow one another..... but improvement seems to be on its way in the form of real winterweather; freezing temperatures. And I do hope it will stay like that for a while!!

Another thing that really is going well, is my new job. A good month into it and I am really enjoying myself. I love standing behind the counter and chat with customers! Never knew I knew so many people around these parts! And as a bonus I get paid every month, so we can really start building this place into the place we want it to be. After we have taken care of all the things that lag behind.... Most of our clothes are pretty worn out or too small. The kids have grown like cabbage these past few months! Decent shoes and winterclothes are a must.
Sometimes my head spins, when we are talking about and planning what we need to do. So many projects have been lying in wait..... But when you break them down into minor projects it doesn't seem as daunting anymore. Still a lot of work though.....
For now I will settle for a seedcatalogue.....

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A wintery bushcraft meeting

The weekend before last we had another bushcraft meet from the "local" branch of bushcraft Sverige. This time it was my turn to arrange things and I chose the charcoalkiln as a hostingsite. Given the time of the year weather might not be agreeable and there we'd have a roof over our head. Plus all the other advantages, such as a roomy firepit, a parking very close by and enoug woods to raom around in. I had chosen a subject for this meeting; warmth under difficult circumstances. I also was going to set them a challenge; the one match challenge. Make a fire with just your knife and one match. The weather cooperated nicely. The cold and frost had taken a step back. with temperatures hovering about freezing. Humidity was quite high and everything was icy, yet there was precipitation forecast.
At 10:00 I was on site, waiting for the others to show up. I did not need to wait long. I had given directions and marked the road with a bright pink air recognition panel. I got a fire going and hung a kettle with water over it to clean and boil it out.
By the time the kettle was clean, the first parfticipants started to come in, so time for coffee!!
Fortunately Olli had some more of his woodscoffee with him. He never lets one down.. ;) But I had a package myself too, so no shortages there! He also treated us to 2 cakes (you know Swedes and fika), but he also brought along some guests from work in order to introduce them to our way of outdoorlife.
More and more folks trickled in and by 11:00 we were complete

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Photo by Boel Engkvist
It was good to see a lot of familiar faces, but it was equally nice to meet new people. The group we have is steadily growing in size, which pleases me a great deal. That means somethig like this is needed and appreciated!
After the coffee and introductionround we set off to find material for the fires. And this is the main benefit of having a group. Not only can the chores be divided, you also have bundled knowledge and it always feels special, when you can teach someone your tricks and learn some new ones yourself in the proces.

Finding some fatwood or tjärved

Finding an entire stump of it!!

Dead, standing/leaning wood

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Picture by Salima Voloscuka
After this is was time for the task at hand; make your fire, using but your knife and one match. That means you have to have everything right, since you only got one chance. That means you have to focus on what you do and so, because you are focused, the proces gets stuck in your head, both failures and success. Preparing your fire is an essential skill, especially under these circumstances. Firewood is not readily available, getting it going is tough, but so is keeping it going! And your fingers get numb in this humid cold, so you have to watch out when handling your knife and that one match. It was great to see everyone so focussed, yet not all succeeded. Even the "old dogs" struggled and for me that meant a mission accomplished. Much was learned that afternoon and all involved realized the difficulty in it.

My wife paid us a short visit during this challenge, bringing along our oldest daughter and the dogs. And they too learned some lessons. For the dogs that meant dealing with a group of people and another dog! 
She tasted woodscoffee....
.....and they didn't want to go home....

After the challenge it was back to the firepit for some lunch, more coffee and more talk! Between bites, and there were many since not only did everyone bring their own food and Olli from Swetrek treating us to the earlier mentioned cakes, but Sali had brought a large pastery of dough and feta-cheese, whereas Boel treated us to some dark chocolate! 
We discussed all sorts of subjects, not just the one we tried. Marcus brought along some material to make charcloth like tins and cottonfabric. We tried flint & steel and as a bonus Olli showed us how to make a Swedish/Finnish torch. The discussion about its origins still rages on...!!

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Photo by Boel Engkvist

Photo by Boel Engkvist
And then..... right at the end... we received an absolutely fitting encore! It started to snow. Big heavy flakes wafting down, immediately transforming the atrmosphere. All went silent and I am always amazed at the effect this has. It instantly creates a dreamy, almost failrytale-like atmosphere, yet with a chilling undertone....
Picture by Salima Voloscuka

Photo by Olli Niemelä
By 15:00 hours it was time to say goodbye. Some had a longer trip ahead of them and being on the road during snow, thaw on icy surfaces when dark settles in... It takes longer and a lot more effort.
I waited till everyone had gone, packed up my things, made a last round to make sure everything was as it shoukd be, stared into the fire a few more moments and then poured over the water from the jerrycans I had brought with me. A large column of vapour bellowed up through the trees and with that I thanked the spirits for granting us such a good time here.

A massive thank you to all that participated!
You made this day special!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Hochsensibele Männer - Tom Falkenstein

Once again a bookreview and once again in German. The English version will make up the second part of this post.
As I mentioned before Tom and I got into contact with one another by sheer coinsidence, him looking for men to contribute to the book he was writing at the time. A book about highly sensitive men. If you are interested in highsensitivity, think you are that yourself or maybe know someone who might be, please check out the following sites;
Tom Falkenstein's European Centry for High Sensitivity
Elain Aron's Highly Sensitive Person

Hochsensibele Männer
Mit Feingefühl zur eigenen Stärke
durch Tom Falkenstein

Tom's Buch fängt an mit einem Vorwort, geschrieben von Elain Aron, ich schätze mal DIE Aurotität, wenn's geht um Hochsensibilität. Dann folgt eine Einleitung, geschrieben von Tom selbt. Das Buch besteht aus 2 Teilen; 1. Das Phänomen Hochsensibilität und 2. Hochsensibel (gut) leben.
Das 1. teil hat 4 Kapitel, in dem Tom auseinander setzt was Hochsensibilität nun eigentlich ist, aber er fängt an mit dem Thema "Mann sein" und deren Rolle in der Gesellschaft. Danach erweitert er den Begriff Hochsensibilität, wie es zu verstehen ist, was die Auswirkung im Alltag ist oder sein kann und vor allen was es nicht ist im Begriff zu psychischen Erkrankungen oder Probleme. Ein sehr wichtiger Unterschied!
Der 2. Teil besteht aus 5 Kapitel, in denen Tom erklärt wie man, und zudem Buchstäblich Mann, im Alltag mit Hochsensinilität um gehen kann, vielleicht sogar muss. Die ersten 3 Kapitel heissen; "Strategien im Umgang mit Überregung und emotionaler intensität", ein äusserst wichtiges Thema für all denen, die Hochsensibel sind und sich im gestressten und überreizender Gesellschaft behaupten und aufrecht halten müssen.
Die letzten 2 Kapitel wenden sich dan auf einem selbst und auf das Innern. Wie kann der hochsensibeler Mann mit sich selbst umgehen und vor allem sich selbst so mögen wie er ist! Dies ist mindestens genau so wichtig, denn viele Männer haben ihr ganzes Leben lang gehöhrt das etwas falsch an ihn ist, was aber überhaupt nicht stimmt!
Jedes Kapitel wird abgeschlossen mit einer kurzen Zusammenfassung und es gibt sehr reichlich mit Übungen, die mann machen kann um das Gelesene in der Praxis zu lernen oder zu üben. Darüber hinaus lässt er 10 Männer zu Wort kommen, die ihre Geschichte, Gefühle oder Einblicke im Alltag teilen, was ich selber als sehr hilfsreich und erleichterend empfand, weil damit bestättigt wird, das man nicht alleine ist.
Das Buch schliesst ab mit einem Interview mit Elain Aron, gehalten von Tom.

Was mir persönlich an diesem Buch gefallen hat, ist das Tom sehr klart macht das die Probleme, mit der viele hochsensibele Männer kämpfen, nicht an den Männern selbst liegen oder zu liegen brauchen, aber das sie verursacht werden durch ein ausserordentliches Falsches Bild, das die Gesellschaft hat von Männer und was von Männer erwartet wird. Ein Bild an dem hochsensibele Männer meistens nicht treffen können. Ein Bild von harte, emotionslose, starke, kontrolierende Führer und Krieger.
Dazu steigt Tom über die individuelle Ebene aus und witmet seinen Blick auf uns als Gesellschaft und schlägt vor eine soziale Revolution (kann es gar nicht anders umschreiben) zu starten in dem er sagt das es Zeit wird für eine Emapzipation des Mannes! Es wird Zeit das Männer auch so sein dürfen wie sie sind, vor allem wenn sie gefühlvoll, sensitiv oder introvert sind. Unsere Gesellschaft braucht Männer wie uns, wenn wir die Probleme, die uns bevor stehen, lösen sollen!
Ich habe dieses Buch mit sehr viel freude gelesen und werde es wieder lesen. Ich bin kein Anfänger wenn es um den Begriff HSP geht und ich habe vor vielen Jahren schon gelernnt was und wie ich bin, aber dieses Buch hat mich nicht nur viel Wiedererkennung gegeben aber auch Neueinsichten.
Ich kann Männer, die hochsensitiv sind oder die, die denken oder vermuten sie könnten es sein, nur raten dieses Buch zu lesen!! Eigentlich würde ich jeden raten es zu lesen, damit die von Tom gedachte soziale Revolution auch tatsächlich statt finden kann! Für mich ist dieses Buch genau so wichtig, wie die Bücher von Elain es damals waren.

Und Tom kann ich nur raten (habe ich auch gemacht) dieses Buch auf Englisch aus zu geben, damit viel, viel mehr Männer errecht werden können. Ich wage zu behaupten das dieses Buch zu wichtig ist, es nicht zu tun!!

Vielen Dank für das Buch, Tom!
Es hat mir sehr geholfen und ich hoffe, nein weiss, das es viele andere auch helfen wird!!

Tom's book starts with a prolog, written by Elain Aron, a person I see as THE authority, when it comes to highsensitivity. It is then followed by a preface by Tom himself.
The book consist of 2 parts; the first deals with the phenomenon highsensitivity and the second focusses on living (well) with it.
Part 1 consists of 4 chapters, in which Tom explains what highsensitivity is, but before that he addresses the issue of what it means to be "a man" and what their role in society is or should be. He then proceeds with explaining the term highsensitivity, how to interpret it, what effects it has on everyday life or how it is affected by it and last what highsensitivity is NOT, in regard to mental illnesses and issues. A very distinct difference!
The second part is made up out of 5 chapters, focussing on strategies on how to deal with overstimulation of the senses and emotional intensity. A very important issue for all those highly sensitive people, who are exposed to modern society's onslaught and who have to stay upright nonetheless.
The final 2 chapters then turn toward the highly sensitive person themselves and deals with how a highly sensitive man can and should deal with himself and more so, how they can and should like and love themselves for how and what they are! This is at least of equal importance, because many, if not most, of them have heard their entire lives that something is wrong with them, which absolutely is NOT true!
Every chapter is recaptured in a summory and there are exercises throughout the book one can do, in order to learn how to apply what has been read into everyday life. Furthermore the book has 10 stories of men, who share their stories, their emotions or give a glimpse of everyday life, which I myself found really helpful and have me a sense of relief, since it shows and confirms I am not alone in this.
Finally the book closes off with an interview of Elain Aron by Tom himself.

What I personally really liked about the book, was that Tom made it very clear that many of the issues highly sensitive people and especially men, deal with everyday, are not or need not be caused by themselves! They are caused by an inherently wrong image society has of them and of men in general, expecting them to be tough, resiliant, emotionless leaders and warriors.
Furthermore Tom lifts the issues above and over the individual level and takes a scrutinizing look at society itself and suggest to start a social revolution (I can not call it otherwise) in which men are granted the possibility to be as they really are and to be accepted as such, wether he is sensitive, thoughtful or introvert or not. Our society is in desperate need of such men, if it is to solve many of the problems it is facing today!

I truly enjoyed reading the book and will reread it for sure. I am not a novice, when it comes to highsensitivity, having read Aron's books many years ago, but this book not only retought me some very valuable lessons, but also provided many new insights. I can only strongly recommend any man, that thinks he might be highly sensitive or knows someone who might be to read this book. 
I actually would suggest everyone interested to read it, so that we can achieve this revolution! For me this book was of equal importance as Aronäs books years ago.

As for Tom, I strongly suggest he makes sure the book appears in English as well. I dare say it is to important to not do so!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Running out of steam

Seems like I have run out of steam a little lately.
At least writingwise. The blog has been rather quiet, I still need to do a bookreview and also writing my own "book" has taken a backburner. I just lost steam there. It is not that there is nothing to write about, when it comes to the blog for instance. many things are happening. Things like a job (finally!!), winter arriving.... sort of. The weather's kind of crazy these days. As if it can not make up its mind. Rain and thaw, sleet or thick, wet snow... and thaw. Or sudden dips in temperature. -12C lowest so far, but then it goes back to step one.
The kind of weather that makes one want to snuggle up in a blanket or next to the stove....
One of the things that happened was.... my wife radically cutting off her hair.... Stop sniggering!!
That mondane fact caused a mental landslide. That one act caused me to redefine the way I see her and thus my self. And subsequently us. It was actually my buddy Odd that opened my eyes, by refering to seeing people through a filter of memories. And I realised I had been doing that too. I still saw us as the people from when we married and my wife cutting her hair ripped that filter away! I confessed to her that I did not recognize her anymore and the filtertheory made clear why. It took some serious mental readjusting on my behalf.
Also the writing of my book, trilogi, story, whatever makes me go over all my views, opinions and ideas, based on the information I find or reread. Here too I challenge my self and here too I find I need to readjust. Fixed ideas get finetuned or corrected as I do more reading and research. But that also makes me feel like I am merely regurgitating stuff others have said or written before me, while trying to pour that into a story.

And then there are the practical changes. First of all I finally started my new job after a 2 month delay. Not only did it make me appreciate the stores and supplies we had build up as we used them up, due to low imcome, it also means that I am among people again. The isolation had become a more and more pressing issue since summer. However that islation also made me reconsider the things we do here on a homesteadinglevel. For now we have enhanced our flock of chickens by adding a new group to the already existing one. Well, actually I hope that we will have 2 groups coexisting. Right now we are up to 4 cocks and 23 hens. We need to reduce that to 2 cocks and 20 hens. Sirius is already destined for the block. He is plain brutal, when it comes to the ladies and Lucius appears to be much more alert of birds of prey and defensive against intruders into the henhouse. He's prettier too. ;) We need to redo parts of the henhouse, but otherwise we consider this part of our plan achieved.

The rabbit-part we will not pursue, but at the moment I am planning the purchase of new bees next year. The new job would make that possible and it might give us more room to spend a little more too. Which would make the purchase of Nordic bees a possibility. These bees are adjusted to our climate and indigenous and I feel that beekeeprs in these parts should work harder to maintain that species instead of just thinking about themselves and their harvests.
Question is will we go for a plit-off or a complete colony? We'd need 2 either way.

Rooms for rent.
Or even for free for the right kinds of tennants!
Hell, I'll pay for them too!
And I should be at work right now, but the car's dead. Had a real fight yesterday changing to wintertires. Nuts were a real bitch to get loose and a broke a socket wrench trying that. In the end it worked using copious amounts of lubricating oil and a wrench with extended shaft.
And today I was about to take the damn thing to go to work, but it would not fire up. Battery's dead now and there's no one around to help jumpstart it. So I guessed I would not be going anywhere anytime soon. My wife suggested to hook up the engine heater. Heck, what does she know about carmechanics? That would not charge the battery, only warm up the engine. But I did what any sane husband would do; I obeyed. After a while, having had some coffee, whilst browsing the interwebs I just went back and gave the key a turn..... Guess what....
It was snowing then. I don't think I have ever seen snowflakes that big! Took me almost half an hour to drive the 13 kilometers to work and on more then one occasion I feared to end up in the ditch. And just before reaching work 2 deer thought it smart to bolt right in front of my car. I missed one by just a meter or so, but I could not hit the brakes. Just thinking about it would send my car slipping and sliding into misery.
Having a job is good for me. It is already lifting my spirits. It will mean that I get into a workingmode again, keeps me busy and energizes me. And that, hopefully, will reflect in the ansence of negligence when it comes to the garden. That is planned to become the next project to get done and that will include a fenced off part for the dogs with a dog pen, a completed watering system, a dedicated berry- and herb garden and last but not least a lot of decorative plants.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Wir hier draussen - Andrea Hejlskov

This is a bookreview of Andrea Hejlskov's book "Wir hier draussen. Eine Familie zieht in den Wald". It is a translation into German from her original title "Og den store flugt" in Danish from 2013. And since this review is directed at a Germanspeaking audience, I will do this review in German first. The English version will be in the second part for those interested.

Also meine verehrte Deutsche Leser und Leserinnen, hier eine Rezension Andrea's Buch. Da Deutsch nicht meiner Muttersprache ist, bitte ich eventuelle Fehler zu entschuldigen.

Ich war fasciniert, gefesselt von diesem Buch und habe es innerhalb zwei Tage ausgelesen. Warum es mich so gefesselt hat? Vielleicht weil wir, als Familie, eine ähnliche Reise gemacht haben. Zwar nicht so extrem und hardcore als Andrea und ihrer Familie, aber ähnlich. Weil wir als Familie, aber vor allem ich, als Mensch die Gefühle, die Träume, die Angst, die Verzweiflung, die Erleichterung, die Enttäusschung und all das was zu einem solchen Schritt, einer solchen Flucht, dazu gehöhrt, selbst erlebt habe und genau wieder erkenne.
Vielleicht weil diese Emotionen roh an der Oberfläche kommen und Andrea nichts verhühlt, das überhaupt nicht einmal versucht. Keine Schönschreiberei, keine falsche Romantik, kein Halleluja...
Ich muss gestehen das ich an eine oder zwei Stellen sogar tränen über meine Wange rollen fühlte.
Selber habe ich Andrea's Blog eine Weile gefolgt, bis sie dort weniger Aktiv wurde. Leider. Und ich kenne ihren Stil, ihre Art des schreibens und ihre Art des erzählens und ich muss hier die Übersetzerin ein grosses Komplimang machen. Es ist ihr gelungen diesen Stil, diese Art zu behalten und den Lesern zu überbringen. Es sind zwar die Worte der Übersetzerin, aber es ist Andrea die spricht und erzählt.
Und Andrea versteht es sehr gut die einklemmende Gesellschaft, der erstickender Alltag, die verzweifelte Flucht und der Wald, der deren neues Zuhause wird, zu schildern. Den das ist, was sie macht. Sie malt eine Welt mit Zeilen, ein Bild mit Worten, ein Gefühl mit Buchstaben.
Sie beschreibt den Alltag in Dänemark, der ihnen zum Wahnsin treibt, die Gesellschaft in dem sie sich nicht mehr an ihrem Platz wissen, die Flucht in den Schwedischen Wald der Provinz Värmland, die Mensschen die sie dort begegnen und der Tagtäglicher Kampf eine neue existenz auf zu bauen.
Eine fascinierende Geschichte. Eine Beschreibung einer Alternative. Eine andere Art des Lebens, gelebt von Leuten, die ich als Krieger beschreiben würde. Sie haben gegen die Gesellschaft, aber vor allem gegen sich selbst gekämpft. Und gesiegt.

Vielen Dank Andrea, das du mir dieses Buch geschenkt hast!
Es hat mir persönlich geholfen

Der verlag selbst schreibt:"

Eine wahre Geschichte über die Abkehr von der Zivilisation und einen Neuanfang im Wald.


Andrea Hejlskov ist sich sicher: So kann es nicht weitergehen. Sie und ihr Mann sehen in den täglichen Mühen der Arbeit keinen Sinn mehr, die Kinder sitzen nur noch in ihren Zimmern vor den Computern, wirkliche Unterhaltungen finden kaum noch statt. Ihnen ist klar: Das ist nicht das Leben, das sie führen wollen. Sie entscheiden sich, alles grundlegend zu ändern und nach dem zu suchen, was wirklich zählt. Und sie wollen sie raus in die Natur, weg von der Zivilisation mit ihren Anforderungen und Eingrenzungen. Als ihnen eine Hütte in einem Waldstück in Schweden angeboten wird, wird auf einmal alles sehr real.
Doch die Familie muss die grundlegendsten Dinge des täglichen Lebens neu lernen, etwa wie man Holz hackt, eine Blockhütte baut, im Freien kocht, wie man sich verhält, wenn jemand sich verletzt oder krank wird. Manchmal sind die Probleme kaum zu bewältigen, manchmal denken die Eltern ans Aufgeben, manchmal machen die Abenteuer auch großen Spaß.

Mit bemerkenswerter Ehrlichkeit berichtet die dänische Autorin Andrea Hejlskov von einem radikalen Entschluss – einem wahnwitzigen Aufbruch ins Grüne, aber eben auch ins Ungewisse. Es ist die Geschichte einer Familie, die ihr Leben radikal verändert – und dadurch ganz neu zusammenfindet.

Übersetzt von Roberta Schneider."

Zum Buch selbst;
ich erhielt eine gebundene Ausgabe und ich mag die Gestaltung sehr. Das Buch hat eine Retro-ausstrahlung. Das Bild und die farben der Vorderseite, kein Glanzpapier, sonder fühlt sich an wie Leinen. Sogar die farbe der 292 Seiten passt mit ein cremefarbiges Weiss. Das Ganze atmet Qualität.

Ich kan Euch nur raten, Euch dieses Buch zu zu legen. 

I have to say that this book fascinated me, caught me and I read it from cover to cover within 2 days.
Why did it catch me the way it did? Maybe because we ourselves, as a family, have mde a similar journey. Not as extreme or hardcore and she and her family have, but similar. Perhaps, because we, but especially I as a person recognise those feelings, those dreams, the fear, the desperation, the relief, the disappointment and every other emotion connected to such a move, such a flight. I recognise them, because we have gone through them ourselves.
Perhaps because all these emotions come to the surface, raw and Andrea does not polish things up. Doesn't even try. She doesn't make things prettier than they are, no false romanticism, no bliss and I have to admit that I felt tears running down my cheeks on one or two occasions.
I did follow Andrea's blog for a while, until she stepped down her activities there. Unfortunately. I did recognise her style, her way of writing and telling her stories. And I have to pay a compliment to the translator here. She managed to keep this style and to present them to the reader. The words are hers, but it is Andrea who is doing the telling.
And she is quite good at painting the claustrophobic society, the suffocating everyday life, the desperate flight and the forests, that are to become their new home. She paints a world with sentences, an image with words and emotions with letters.
She discribes everyday life in Denmark, driving them mad, the flight into the forests of te Swedish province of Värmland, the daily struggle to build up an new existence.
A fascinating story. A description of an alternativ. A different way of live, lived by people I consider to be warriors. They fought society. They fought themselves. And triumphed.

thank you Andrea for giving me this book!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bushcraft Sverige Region Mitt - first meeting

Last weekend saw the first meeting of the Bushcraft Sverige Region Mitt.
A few folks, myself included, felt it was about time we started to get together and go out, meetig others with similar interests and just hang out, share stories, knowledge, a fire, food, company and /or coffee. Since Sweden isn't exactly a small country and driving for hours to meet people defies the purpose, the start up of a local group under the banner of Bushcraft Sverige was initiated. 
And with great success!! What a kick off! 
Olli, from Swetrek had arranged a paddlingtour on the Hinsen lake with our destination being the islands in the middle. Unfortunately some people had to back out at the end, but we ended up with a group of 9 and a dog. The weather could not have been any more perfect; very calm, next to no wind, sunny with a hint of clouds.
In order to support our efforts the mother association had kindly sponsored us with food and drink. (For which I am very grateful!! I had forgotten to pack my food..... )
After Olli had run through the basics, we got into the canoes and casually made our way toward our destination. Magnus had brought his own kajak, Jonathan, caroline & Diesel had their own canoe and the rest teamed up in pairs; Olli and me in one, Karin and her friend Eva in one, followed by Boel and Mikael. A few people I knew, a few I met for the first time and that was pretty much the same for the rest of the group, but it clicked just like that!
As we had landed at our destination, the first thing that had to be done, was make a fire and get coffee going! Olli had brought some of his wonderful forrest coffee with him and it has been my favorite, ever since I first tasted it at the bushcraft festival. He also knew quite a bit about the area, since this area is his seasonal job! That must be awful!
There was no fixed plan for this day, but somehow it all focussed on coffee, food and fire. We were free to paddle at will, but none did! There always was coffee, there were the obligatory sausages ad bread, but the best was Karin baking kolbullar, outdoor pancakes with bacon and lingonjam, some of the best I ever had and Olli steaking mushrooms with cream and spices. On bread if one so desired. And by the end of the day he treated us to blueberryjuice. Warm juice, boiled over the fire with fresh blueberries, a liberal amount of honey and a dash of water. Just heat it over the fire and let it warm you from the inside out. Since that's what it did. It didn't just taste good, it warmed. A thick, rich flavour, superbly in tune with the day and the season.
Activities focused on making fire, from making charcloth, to the bowdrill and flint&steel. On this occasion I managed to get my first flint&steel fire going!! And it was captured on film, right at the end of it! Ahh, you think. What a splendid day! But wait! it gets better. As always Olli had brought his Dan Andersson-book and that seemed to have inspired Boel and Karin to sing. I am no familiar with Swedish camp or outdoorsongs or poetry, but that really was the cherry on the cake.
I will no longer bother you with my ramblings and I want to share this day in a more visual way too.
But before I do, I just want to thank everyone involved. This was a day I will remember for a long time!
Tusen tack allihop!!

The video was shot by Mikael klöfver, who permitted me to use it here.
Tack Mikael!!

The following images are mine. These are the most useable ones, since my phone is quiting on me;

The next pictures were taken by Boel Engkvist and she permitted the use of them, here;


A picture that captures the atmosphere very well indeed!

Our merry little gang

The final image is by Karin Haulin and I am allowed to use it. It pretty much shows the essence of this meet in one single image.

She has her own site as well; Hå Be sure to check it out if you're interested in outdoor activities in Västmanland and Uppland.

This superb day however did have one negative side to it. During the drive home the phone (and gps upon which I relied) died and allthough I roughly new where to go, I took a wrong turn, ending up driving over a road that had been "fixed", meaning the surface had been scraped an leveled. That also means large rocks lying everywhere and allthough I managed to avoid the majority of those, I did hit one.
When I came to the car on sundaymorning to attend a scale modelling gathering I found this;

Turns out the tire had 2(!!) holes, one in the middle and one on the inner side. No fixing that....