Solar illuminated bird feeder

Feeding wild birds or backyard birds is a great way to learn more about them. They are such fascinating and adorable little creatures. To be successful at the birds dinner table I have eventually learned what to give them to keep them coming.

Here you can see the tiny “solar panel” I mounted on the roof – the light bulb is inside under the roof. The birds don’t seem to be bothered by it at all, and this little great tit is the first guest this frosty morning.solar cell panel bird feeder solceller talgoxe tit kjottmeis feeding frost winter birds night illumintation kjøttmeis fågelmatare fuglemater

So, this autumn I put up various bird feeders, two of them with windows. I is really so cool to spy on the various visiting bird species and see what they are up to. You can be sure that if the “table is not ready and set” they know where to find me and remind me about that 😀

It’s for sure cosy to see the decorative bird feeders all day, but at night it is completely darkness out there ..almost… so I pondered on how to best enlighten the windowed bird feeders at night. I decided to buy some super-cheap solar cell bulbs (3 EURO each), and installed them with the solar charging “panel” outside on the bird feeders roofand bulb inside. It works like a charm! 

The relatively peaceful daytime bird feeders automatically turns into extra cosy bird cabins with slighty illuminated windows in blue, red and greene at night… like somebody is at home in there ... (oh, I think I managed to include the Big Dipper/Karlsvognen in the photo too, can you see it too?)bird house solar light solcell ljus fågelmatare nigth nattlysnordic arctic polar frost

Up here in the cold north we now only have a few hours of sun this time of year, so the solar cells charging time are pretty limited right now, but a solar cell illumination after dark for some extra hours is enough, and when the reflecting snow comes it will hopefully improve the charging conditions again.

Whenever I can afford it I use solar cell illumination. Now I have put up solar cell illumination both along my barn’s stairway and on two of my bird feeders outdoor, some additional small steps in the right direction. So far this winter we had -18 °C , and the solar cell still works!solar cell illumination bird feeder

More pip’s to come.. 😉

White frost river

Winter wonderland is here! Every day is full of beautiful frozen creations of nature – where dull and grey trees, branches and bushes are getting a revamp draped in new crystallized icing suites, looking their very best ever…

I know I should have used a tripod for better focus, but hey…have you ever tried to shoot at a steeper place… with a happy super energetic puppy on a leash?winter wonderland landscape ice frost waterfall norrland trail north sweden nature

Shot some frosty photos from one of me and puppy’s most visited walking areas. Near the waterfall and river the white frost and “cake icing” was covering almost everything – it just looked so darn delicious …or maybe I was just having a serious sugar craving 😀

This is absolutely one of me and puppy’s favourite time of year – not much snow yet, and not too cold either (-12 to -18 °C  in my area), so no frozen camera fingers or toes yet 😀  But I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before it’s getting serious and winter hell is on ..oh,my…

winter wonderland landscape ice frost icy river norrland trail north sweden nature

 

Here it was a lil’ bit steep, and I didn’t want to fall in to the ice-cold water. Puppy had to wait while I climbed down by the fence to shoot… so cool effect with the brown river water against the white frost and ice…

Crochet merino beanie with star and waistcoat stitch

Today’s hike took me and puppy up to and all the way around the half-frozen lake Rödvattensjön (377 masl). It is a really beautiful and peaceful area with lots of trails to discover for us. One of the trails* from here will also take you on a longer hike to Stockholmsgata.

rôdvattensjön lake hike sweden

 

Look at this beautiful frozen star moss along the trail – natures very own “star stitches” in mossstar moss stjernemose stjärnmossa natur biologi planter plants

 

So yes, as you can see I have been busy crocheting Christmas gifts lately (yeah, soft presents for everyone!), and some of the crochet “test pilots” I keep myself, like this beanie that turned out very nice from a beautiful wool yarn (100 % superwash merino) I had no clue what to make of due to the peculiar colour nuance.

Ok, so I took on the Grinchen look again.. but it is soon Christmas anyway.. moahahaa. Just want to show you the beanie front “in use”. 😀

 

Passing by a reconstruction of the Laplander Sjul-Persson’s lap cot (lappkåta) home…  (he is probable also the founder of the little village Rödvattnet) – and my happy curious puppy along the trail around the lake

For this beanie I focused on the “waistcoat” stitch and the adorable “star stitch” – and of course I made a ribbed brim.  No pattern was followed, I was shooting from the hip again, but it is a simple beanie to crochet and the result is a tighter stitched hat that keeps the wind out. The beanie protected my head very well today against the cold wind blowing over the icy lake.. and the pompom are still hanging on 😀

 

If you have any questions about the beanie, don’t be afraid to ask 🙂

 

Enchanted forest

Everything has its charm. Even the moist, slushy and gray days. We just had a period with this weather, and, even if it can crash your mood, it can also result in some cool nature experiences when the sun is trying to break through it all..

As usual me and puppy are out discovering new trails, and this day we ended up in an older forest near a little half-frozen tarn. The fog made it all a bit elf-struck, and my mobile phone managed to snap some nice moments from the hike.

My supermodel dog princess – posing so naturally by the little beautiful tarn. We discovered this place by following a tiny trail the wild animals use. Misty fog enchanted nature landscape old forest tarn finsk lapphund dog

 

Fresh traces of moose and deer was gossiping about their ramble along the forest road ( sometimes we also get a glimpse of them). Here and there game birds took a sudden flight when we where passing,  so we where absolutely not alone in the forest.

Misty fog enchanted nature landscape old forest tarn finsk lapphund dog

 

I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of walking on swampy ground, especially not on a wet day, but so glad me and puppy decided to do just that this day.

 

The sun is trying hard to break through the thick fog…  a beautiful battle… trollsk natur tjärn tjern lake forest skogstur mist tåke dimma

 

Now we are waiting for the frost to come… please… 😀

Licence to sweep

Last year I got my licence to chimney sweep/soot and clean my own wood-fired heating boiler.  Feels really nice to be able to do this job myself, as I learn more how my house’s heating system works – and surely I also save some bucks by doing it myself.
sotarverktyg viska chimney sweeper lod viska feier skorstein
After measuring the chimney’s diameter I could order this chimney sweeping equipment (including a soft whisk (thankfully)) from a professional company,  suitable for my chimney’s inside material (this can vary, be sure to check it).
I attended a packed course (I was the only woman there) at the fire station where we for the most part focused on fire safety. Very interesting and informative, and a bit scary (and sometimes funnily) to hear storys about what happened when fire safety was ignored. How to actually sweep the chimney and clean the heating boiler was mostly up to myself to find out, but it is not that difficult at all, it is actually pretty easy when you have done it once and developed a routine for it. So the easiest and fun part was to get up on my old roof, find a safe position and do the chimney sweep.  The dirty part was to afterwords go down to my basement and clean the whole heating boiler and channels inside by scraping, brushing and vacuum clean it all.
egensotning sotarverktyg viska chimney sweep lod viska feier skorstein doityourself
It’s a dirty job alright, but what a good feeling when the whole heating system is cleaned and ready to be filled with dry wood to warm up my house on chilly days… yess indeed, it’s a priceless feeling when you have experienced how grisly and uncomfortable a cold house really is.
The winter is coming and I need our house to be warm and cosy like this again. At every startup with good fire wood some smoke will come out the chimney as you can see, but when it gets hot enough you will hardly see any smoke up there. Hopefully the old heating boiler will survive this winter too 🙂 

Biking, Hiking and Fishing Tour from Norway to Sweden

For the third time I was ready to start my lil’ solo bicycle tour after finishing my seasonal summer work in Tafjord, Norway. This year I planned to bicycle from Tafjord to Östersund in Sweden. I had a final date to keep to be home, but to avoid stressing  (after all this was my little vacation this year) I started wheeling with an open mind and no rigid plan to follow.

On the road I think my personal highlights was once again to be back in lovely Åndalsnes (where my father came from), downhill Trollstigen and climbing the new Romsdalsstigen Via Ferrata , I also had the pleasure to try the new Dovre bicycle route over Dovre mountain range (someone later called it Tour De Dovre ), tested out my good fortune in fishing in Vålåsjøen lake and hiking Mehøe. An evening in beautiful Røros museum area and then somehow ended up in a very nice fish-camp in Storsjön, Sweden. 

I met a lot of nice people, got lots of good memories, and would like to share my map and photos for travel inspiration to others who want to do a similar route. And, don’t be afraid to ask if you have a question regarding this.

I have created this map on Google including my travel photos and some travel information/advice:

 

You can view all the map photos above in a collection right here:

 

 

Chill-out in the chill

For days the car did a frozen silent protest, in minus 24 degrees it just refused to start at all, and in addition to this my dear cross country skis suddenly denied to go forward, they simply had hair-raising days not suitable for frozen ski tracks … can’t fight the chill, then chill down..

Sure, I felt a bit disappointed and COULD have gone for a run or two …or a freeeezing bicycle ride (hell no!) .. but for once I chose to just chill it for days… and do other stuff that was screaming for attention, to be fixed or cared for, in slow motion. ..  and to just potter around indoor in our warm and cosy home… I still had to go outdoor now and then to quickly walk the dog and carry lots of firewood etc, so no panic ..like taking the bad with the good..ish.

One of my favorite spots along the 10 km skiing track by the rivervinter landskap örnsköldsvik skitur cross country skiing

My lil’ “secret” is that I am actually rarely or never bored in my own company, there are a billion things I am up to and want to do – when the MUST-DO’s are done.  I can’t entirely understand people who often get bored … just a lil’ lack of curiosity, creativity and inventiveness? I mean… holy moly – think about all that stuff you CAN do in this world!!   

skiløype cross country track winter wonderland norrland örnsköldsvik

..but of course you understand why these winter scenarios are great for both mind and body …  just have a look at these photos from skiing trips during last week… I have discovered this nice prepared ski track in Kubbe, not far from my home, and it usually stretches about 10 km (round-trip) along a river, and most important – it is allowed to bring dogs too!

A windshield/gapahuk along the ski track with firewood, fireplace and a nice view to the river .. and a lil’ red outhouse nearby with the classic red heart on the door.. if you have to go you have to go – no pee in the snow! 😀gapahuk shelter wind shield finsk lapphund snow landscape axe river bredbyn

…so now we are longer longing to get out there again .. no more worry that both my car and skis have died for good..  cuz today the temperature dropped to just -3!  ….and everything worked like a charm again… and we where of course back on (ski) track again today wiihaa! 😀

Another beautiful spot on the track…fäbod skidspår cross country skiing sweden landscape bredbyn örnsköldsvik sport cardio

Snow heaven and hell

We probable all agree to that a snowy frozen landscape are sooo beautiful and also gives us the chance to enjoy sports like cross-country skiing,

and ice skating. Personally I think that, just as being smart and eat seasonal food, we should also welcome the chance to vary our workout by the seasons.

Yes, I still run and use my bicycle all year around, but giving it a break to embrace the chance to enjoy other sports helps me to not fall into a somehow monotonic and boring workout regimes that could also wear and tear body and soul.

snow landscape farm house sweden norrland bredbyn shoveling frost lapphund hardwork workout

As you can see in my blog that I am very grateful for being able to go out skiing these days, every day if possible, but, yes there is a lil’ BUT too…. sometimes winter can be a little hell too ..ha..ha.. especially if you have to do everything yourself, get up early to carry firewood from the barn and fire up the old firewood pan when it is freezing, keep the air pump de-frosted when it gets covered with a thick layer of ice  …and finally do a one-hour sweaty snow shoveling morning workout.. and repeat it all again in the evening… if the snow gets wet and heavy HELL is on for real..  so I still don’t need to renew my gym card ..ho..ho!

If it was just this simple path to my door I had to shovel, no problem at all, but to get to the barn for firewood and to get the car around the trees and out to the main road  – well, that’s when the real workout starts…. but it looks cosy doesn’t it?   winter night wonderland scandinavia path snow shoveling lights farm house norrland

Most of the established people around have machines or more modern solutions for everything that need any kind of body work …. but as long as I am healthy and strong enough to do things manually when it is possible, I will… – hell, we are not chickens are we? …and by the way ..on the news they just said the snow blower machines are sold out – so I guess I don’t have much choise 😀

Resting between carrying firewood and snow shoveling today – my dog are hiding behind a snowdriftwinter wonderland sweden ornskoldsvik snowing shovel hardwork cardio outdoor life

Now folks, if you will excuse me, it is time for me to go out to do some evening snow shoveling workout as the snow have been falling all day long… see you all soon, take care 🙂

Winter Wonderland skiing Christmas

The latest days have offered absolutely super skiing conditions with sparkling sun, 7 -8 minus degrees and lots of snow everywhere. So this is how I will celebrate Christmas, cross-country skiing outdoors while enjoying this magic winter landscape ..together with my lapphund dog of course .. you know, gotta get out and workout after som delicious old-fashioned traditional Norwegian Christmas food (I will show you some more of it soon) 😉

Trying my very best to show you the magic I see out there… not that easy managing the dog, the camera and the cross-country skis at once with frozen toes and fingers – but it is absolutely doable if you want it enough ..ha..ha..vinter landskap fores winter landscape skiing scandinavia nature outdoors

 

My finnish lapphund dog Jenta is doing so well learning to run with a “skiing leash” – but sometimes she find it so much more easier (and smarter) to free-ride on my skis right behind my legs when the snow is too deep.. I fully understand her.dog lapphund cross country skiing skitur

 

Just stop, imbibe the view and silence – hoping that the wonderful feeling this gives will be burned-in to my soul .. this is my way of healing..  

 

Now I want to wish you a lovely merry Christmas, I hope you don’t stress it too much… there are so many things we don’t need to celebrate Xmas.. enjoy what is most important in life.. deep down you already know what that is… see ya very soon folks… behave.. and drive carefully!

vinter landskap nordic forest winter landscape skiing scandinavia nature outdoors

Baking Nordlandslefser in wood fired oven

Yesterday I spent an interesting and fun day in a baker’s hut surrounded by beautiful winter wonderland. I hired the hut for a symbolic amount as I wanted to try baking Norwegian traditional “Nordlandslefse” or “Tjukklefse” in a real wood-burning baking oven. I’s a kind of griddle cake my mother used to serve us, and those days we always ate them with delicious chilled “rømme” (sour cream) on them as my mother loved all kinds of milk products.. yeah..she always did her own cottage cheese too, and still doo.

The super cosy baking hut I hired for a day. It was pretty cold outside, so firing up the baking oven and some candles made it really nice, warm and Christmas-ish…  örnsköldsvik bagarstuga vedfyrt vedeldad lefser tunnbröd stuga cabin

So, I started out making a little fire in the middle of the oven, It would take at least an hour to get the oven hot enough, so in meanwhile I prepared everything I needed on the baking table and finished the dough.

The baking hut also offered a great baking-board with hight-adjustment, but I just loved this wonderful outdoor winter landscape view and stayed working on the ordinary table by the windows – you fully understand don’t you?gottne bagarstugan lefsebaking winter view wood fired baking oven hut norwegian traditions food

When the firewood was turning black-ish I divided it carefully into smaller parts and spread it around the baking griddle for more heat, when hot enough I used an ovens scrape to push the red-hot embers aside to make place for baking, finally I took a blow pipe to blow away any rests of ash – ready to bake!

Sifting the flour to get a lump-free dough – and waiting for the firewood to turn into an ember baking paradise

The first thing I learned yesterday was to be very generous with the flour, if not you will have a living hell rolling out and handling the griddle cakes in the oven .. and just don’t be too generous with the salt of hartshorn, I was pretty close to the limit here, but the great taste overruled it ..thank God!

This female grinchen hobbit is very satisfied with the result from the first time with wood fired “lefsebaking”

The last pair of “Nordlandslefser” are getting baked in the slowly dying ember – I must say that the feeling of baking in a real wood-fired oven really boost the joy of baking.. I want more!Bagarstuga lefsebaking wood-fired baking Norwegian tradition scandinavia

I really had a great time baking “tjukklefser” here, I would have stayed much longer.. but needed to be home before my son got back from school.. so, this was certainly not the last time I rented this baking hut, the lessor also dropped by for a quick visit to taste the Norwegian griddle cakes, and wished me very welcome next time… looking forward of course, I already know what to bake.

Filling up with more firewood after baking – my lil’ dog has been a real doll today too, so patient indeedörnsköldsvik bagarstuga vedfyrt vedeldad lefser tunnbröd stuga cabin

 

The recipe for Nordlandslefser (Tjukklefse) – shot directly from the hips (so approximately):

  • 250 g melted butter
  • 1 cup white baking sirup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2-3 cups cultured milk/kefir
  • 2 eggs (fresh from Gottne äggbod)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon salt of hartshorn
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Ca 1 kg white flour

This is how I proceeded:

Basically I mixed the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. I used a big flour bolt and sifted the dry mixed ingredients into the wet ingredients, blended everything slightly (don’t knead the dough too long) and adjusted the amount of flour to get a “non-sticky” dough.

I divided the dough into “buns” and rolled them out as thin as possible with a rolling-pin using flour both under and over. Before I used a wooden oven spatula to move the cakes into the oven, I “patterned” the griddle cakes with a “naggkavel” – a sort of knotted rolling-pin. The oven baking itself was the easy part,  the heat was perfect and I baked the griddles quick on both sides, moving them around a bit in the oven so not to stick.  I let them cool down on the net shelves and packed them in plastic bags.

More or less about 20-25 newly baked thick and tasty “Nordlandslefser/Tjukklefser – maybe not with a perfect rounded look, but as good as it gets firs timelefser lefsebaking tunnbröd äggboden gottne örnsköldsvik västernorrland baking nordlandslefser tjukklefse

Tips!

If you dont have access to cold delicious “rømme” (sour cream) -these Nordlandslefser/Tjukklefser will also taste great with a creamy mix of butter, sugar(sweetener also works) and cinnamon, just mix it and smear it on.. yummy especially for the children.

Brown cheese/Norwegian goat cheese (brunost/geitost ) also works like a charm here … and if you want to shoot further from your hips for Christmas – you can do as I did, put some saffron in parts of the dough.. holy f… 😀

Cross-country skiing weekend

These days it feels absolutely right to replace my running shoes with a pair of cross-country skis now and then. There are plenty of snow up here now, so in addition to getting a lot of exercise shoveling snow in my court-yard and driveway frequent, me and puppy also gets outdoor for skiing in beautiful snow-covered landscape and strengthen our cardio further.

A favorite turnaround place for me and puppy – I absolutely adore this abandoned old cabin ..yesterday the mist started to thicken on the lake as you can see…and so did the chill..brrrwinter cabin frost lake skiing skitur längdskidor bredbyn örnsköldsvik nature

This weekend we just enjoyed the forest roads covered with lots of snow, I did my own ski track, which can be tough when you sink into the deep snow, on the other hand, I grew up skiing without any prepared tracks in Norway, and a big advantage is that Jenta can run freely here, so there you go..

Yes, I did a track here a couple of days ago, and made it so much easier to go skiing today, well, parts of it, as some lazy christmas tree hunters used it as a walking trail.. norrland winter wonderland landscape cross-country skiing skitur längdåkning längdskidor skiddpår track snow

A new challenge for us is also to get Jenta used to wear the expandable leash connected to me skiing … not an easy task indeed, but fully doable alrighty as she is talented.. I am the one who needs to get a grip on this ..ha..ha. I mostly let her run freely now, but when we want to get ready go to a prepared track where she will need to be leashed.

oh.. my happy face probable froze in the cold mist during a smile, but it could have been worse cabin lake bredbyn örnsköldsvik skitur lapphund kari traa cardio

Today I met 2 persons that also was skiing here, they thanked me for making the skiing track..ho..ho ..feels cool that someone helps out with the tracks here like they did.. Who knows, this place could become an alternative skiing favorite for people with dogs that don’t need everything prepped and glazed for a skiing trip.. or maybe not  .. anyway, see you later for moore skiing adventures...

.. so darn beautiful winter wonderland ..and so darn cold – not a good idea to stand still, time to go home before dark.. in the middle of the day..cross country skiing skitur sweden örnsköldsvik winter wonderland lapphund lake frozen snow skispår track sunset bredbyn

 

Lappmarksvägen winter hike

lappmarksvägen lapphund winter forest trail hiking örnsköldsvik anundsjö

Best time of the year to hike certain trails are right now, when the ground is a bit frozen, most of the greenery are bowing down and som light beautiful snow have just fallen.. no pestering insects, no soggy grounds and no clinging bush… just a frozen nature going to sleep. (Another good example when to best hike a trail is Bruksleden in Västerås when I lived there, the summer hike was  horrible, but early winter just awesome!)

I will let my puppy Jenta show you some remaining parts of the old and “endless” Lappmarksvägen trail  – through some nice conifer and birch forest landscape. We have hiked parts of this trail right before the snow came too, then still very nice, green and beautifully mossy, but a frozen winter wonderland is hard to beat!

Running and jumping around.. so much to see and discover for a little girl

 

Walking right into a winter wonderland adventurewinter landscape forestsnow hiking trail vandringsled västernorrland

lappmarksvägen bredbyn trail hiking vandring lapphund dog winter landscape photo liss myras

 

Jenta is waiting..just as eager as I am to discover what’s around the next corner… more forest perhaps?

 

lappmarksvägen vandringsled vinterlandskap winter örnsköldsvik

 

I usually start at point 7 (Seltjärn) on the map below. Here you can park your car/bike and take a look at the maps (it is possible to enlarge the map pics below):Lappmarksvagen map karta trail vandringsled bredbyn kubbe sweden

 

HAPPY HIKE!