Category: Uncategorized

The barn has to go

The old barn was in a bad condition already when we moved here in 1991. First we thought it could be repaired, but soon realised it wasn’t possible. For a couple of winters our sheep and angora rabbits lived there in the winter, and later a neighbour kept their hens in it. But that part of the building was slowly turning dangerous, so this summer we decided to tear it down. Luckily for us, another neighbour has a business with sons and machines to do the job. It’s not quite finished yet, but we are impressed with what they’ve done so far. The boys have showed working skills ever since early childhood. But the times when they did construction work in the ditch next to our house are gone now, we had to confess. It seems like yesterday when I kept on eye on them so they wouldn’t hurt themselves or worse, drown in the ditch. Times pass so fast!

The roof tiles have been removed:

The stone walls have been removed. Some of the wood will be used for repairing the other barn that you can see in the background.

This used to be the hens’ nesting box:

Nostalgia at 7:30 pm a couple of days ago: so many animals have lived in this old barn ever since 1927, with a pause from the 70s until we moved here. That’s when the stone walls started to fall apart. So much work, so much stone! I remember the nights I spent with the ewes, waiting for the lambing to start. Their breathing, ruminating, and then – the labour. And then the lambs were born, mostly successful. A couple of times we needed the vet. I learned how to turn a lamb so it can be born with its front feet and head first. The wonderful sight of lively, curious lambs and content ewes. It’s several decades since we had a few pet sheep, but I still miss them. And I can still feel the smell and feel of a warm lamb in my lap.

 

The wooden half of the barn will be in use for many years still. It’s in good condition, but I fear for hubby who will build a new wall. The building is high, higher than our two story house! And he fears heights.

One plan is to plant berries here. Currants, gooseberries, perhaps one of the new berries that have been imported the last few years and found to survive here in the far north. And we’ll of course build a summer kitchen!

There was a LOT of stone in the barn. I think the heap behind the excavator is about 10x10x5 meter now. Some of the stone will be re-used for other purposes, but the heap is our new mountain! Hubby already dreams of a sledge slope. He isn’t quite grown up…

The beautiful, impressive crane birds are strolling in the fields on the other side of the house also this summer. I think they are young males, teenagers. Their dance looks more like capoeira than a proposal. But most of the time they just walk about looking for something to eat. Next year they will return with wives if all goes well. The grown up birds with families live in the woods behind the barn. We don’t see much of them until autumn when they gather for the long journey south.

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Lucet cord

I wanted to know what a cord made from an ugly, uneven hand spun yarn would look like. Well, it’s not beautiful, but I suppose I can use it for something one day.

I love making cords. I know, you don’t need lucet cords very often nowadays. But I still like making them. Every now and then I also find a usage for them.

The lucet is hand carved in cherry. I found it in a Swedish net shop many years ago. I don’t know what the fiber is, but a good guess is Finnish or Swedish brown landrace wool.

Crafter of the year, Årets Gunnar

I received a fine award this week – I’m the crafter of the year 2016 at Stundars, the museum and craft centre where my guild Björken is active. The award is called “Årets Gunnar”, “Gunnar of the Year”, after the museum’s founder Gunnar Rosenholm. I’m of course very proud and happy!

Årets Gunnar

Three of the diplomas on a wall in my spinning room are hand printed at Stundars’ printing museum. If I receive more diplomas I have to move the picture showing a part of the  Bayeux tapestry… it’s been with me for decades, an inspiration for a handspinner to spin fine and even threads for making art.

Left to right: Certificate of Achievement in Handspinning (Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers, UK) ; Gesällbrev, apprentice diploma (Stundars) ; Mästarbrev, master spinner diploma (Stundars) ; and the Crafter of the Year 2016 diploma.

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I got flowers, and I was interviewed in the local paper and radio station. Always nice to spread the word to a world that knows next to nothing about spinning!

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Waiting for Wednesday

I’m waiting for Wednesday – I’ll leave early in the morning, and in the afternoon I’ll be in Orkney! On Saturday I’ll be in Shetland. I’m not sure if I can post from there, but will post when I’m back home if not earlier.

This yarn is spun from Kainuu Grey wool and mohair from Sanski’s goats that I mentioned in an earlier post. Delicate like Sanski’s handspun yarns, which is a bit odd as it’s spun in a mill. I love it! Light, light grey.

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Autumn has come, and with it the frost. It’s still sunny and quite warm every now and then. The green beans and some of the herbs have frozen, but some flowers have survived. Wonder if I should save the pelargonium. It’s bright red, and there’s buds.

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Nettles

It’s almost too late for nettles, but luckily they’re still young and fresh thanks to the rather cold May we’ve had. I love nettles! I think it’s one of the most tasty vegetables we have, and for free, which isn’t a bad thing at all. In the 50s my grandmother grew nettles in her town garden. People thought she was a bit odd, but nowadays they’d think she was wise. This is super food! Lots of vitamins and minerals in these. There’s plenty in our back garden. I use rubber gloves for picking them. Later they will grow new smaller branches, that can also be used if the the insects haven’t eaten them first. There are many who think this is a fine vegetable.

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Nettles in water. I soak them in cold water for a few minutes, then I rinse.

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I boil them less than one minute, just so the colour turns bright green, which tells me most of the oxygen has gone, and they will preserve well and look gorgeous in my dishes. I put them in cold water for a couple of minutes, and then I press out as much moisture I can with my hands. There are several ways of preserving nettles depending on how you’re going to use them later. This works for me and I’ve done it for decades.

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The kitchen machine takes care of the chopping.

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I use small plastic bags for storage. You could also freeze them the size of ice cubes, and keep them in bigger bags. I take as much from the bag that I need for my soups, sauces, bread, pancakes etc. One little bag contains enough for 3-4 dishes in our household of two grown ups. I started with three liters of fresh nettles, and now I have six small plastic bags that I need to put in a place in the freezer where I can find them during the winter. That’s the hardest thing of all!

I’ll pick and preserve more nettles another day.

Oh yes, I’m well aware of the fibres in nettles! I’ve tried a couple of times to use our common stinging nettle in a yarn, but I don’t have the patience to do it properly. There’s a lot of work before you get even a few fibres from those stems. The fine cloth you can spin and weave is called “nättelduk” or “nettelduk” in Swedish, which tells that the Swedish work “nässla” is the same as the English “nettle”.

Bowl

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This used to be my grandmother’s salt bowl. She kept sea salt and a stone to crush it with in that bowl. It was in my parent’s cellar for decades, until my brother found it and asked if I wanted it. Of course I wanted it! It was in bad shape, dry and dirty, but it stirred a memory: I knew I’d seen that bowl long ago.

My brother also found the stone.

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I think it’s from the Gulf of Bothnia. The people from my grandparents village used to go fishing Baltic Herring in the autumns, when the fish has the best quality. They then salted it in big barrels. You can see one in the right upper corner of this photo showing a fishing boat that was typical for the coast of Ostrobothnia. There’s a fantastic museum in Malax: Kvarkens Båtmuseum.

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Fishing boat, Kvarkens båtmuseum.

I didn’t do anything to improve the bowl for many years. One evening when I was feeling bored and didn’t want to knit, crochet, or spin, I took linen oil and thought I’d fix the bowl. Was it thirsty! Oh my, it drank half the bottle of oil in a blink, and then I hadn’t even started with the bottom. I left it to dry for a couple of weeks, and then tried bees wax and canola oil. The bowl loved it, and all of a sudden there was a shine to the wood, and you could see wonderful details that had been hidden.

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I love this bowl! It sits on a small table next to my chair. I keep small things and my big note book in it. I love the note book cover just as much – my brother made it for me.

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The beauty of everyday things! My caffe latte mug is from Iittala, the café au lait cup is handmade and a gift from a spinning friend.