What a difference half a day makes

DSC_0180_01.JPG

Normally when I travel to work instead of working from home, I’m away for a total of twelve and a half hours. And normally I try to actually work all that time on the bus and the train, so as not to waste it. Needless to say, I’m exhausted when I come home, and there’s nothing of the day left. All I have time and energy for is dinner, an episode of a TV series, and bed.

Today, inspired by the new insights my bullet journal is giving me, I decided to change it up. I mean, is it worth it to run myself into the ground just to be able to shave off a few hours on Friday? No. So today I worked an ordinary eight hour day instead, and the results were amazing.

DSC_0058_01

DSC_0052_01

DSC_0134_01.JPG

I had so much time! I could photograph, and edit, and write, and all sorts of creative stuff that really is my lifeblood. And as if to cheer me on, the sun came out the moment I came home, and it stayed out while I strayed through the woods and snapped my photos. It felt like I was out there for an eternity, and yet only two and a half hours have passed!

DSC_0086_01.JPG

No matter how tired I am, the forest always manages to rejuvenate me.

DSC_0176_02.JPG

DSC_0157_02

I can never get enough of these seeds!

DSC_0232_01

DSC_0255_01

DSC_0193_01.JPG

I’ll be honest: once I got home again and started loading all my photos into the computer, I did feel a teensy bit tired again. I mean, I did wake up at 4.30 this morning. It’s just that I forget about being tired while I’m out there in the forest, crouching in the moss to capture those backlit leaves.

DSC_0223_01.JPG

But being tired is fine, because you know what? Tomorrow I’m changing it up again and taking the 8.40 bus instead of the 5.35 one and staying later at work.

Variatio delectat!

Preparing for Christmas

One of my favourite desserts at Christmas is lingonberry preserve with whipped cream, and it’s the easiest thing to do. You just need a day in the woods and a mason jar. That’s it!

DSC_0267

DSC_0225

We’re not the only ones who love lingonberries. Apparently a bear beat us to one patch..

DSC_0190

DSC_0167

DSC_0200

DSC_0213

Everything is aflame now: the last burst of colour before it all dies. Nature does not go gentle into that winter night, and the dew weeps for the departing souls.

DSC_0388

DSC_0392

DSC_0397

DSC_0408

DSC_0411

DSC_0413

DSC_0260

After a few hours, this was our harvest, and it’s enough for a whole week of yummy jam and one mason jar of lingonberry preserve.

DSC_0234

Bread is life

First, a note: I feel guilty for posting anything remotely normal. It’s too early, it’s too meaningless. I should be living in a cave for a year to honour the dead.

On the other hand, I feel more obligated to LIVE than I have in a long time. Like I’ve been reminded how precious this world is, and what’s the point of being left behind if you don’t make the most of it?

So tonight I did something I haven’t done for twenty years: I baked.

DSC_0297

Hubby had cooked vegetables in chicken stock for dinner, and I used the left over broth for my bread. Managing my resources in a way that connects me to the rest of human history.

It’s a funny thing about autumn – I get this primeval urge to gather, to put away, to stock up on things. Normally I just go for ready-made preserves, but tonight it felt right to do something with my hands.

DSC_0306

DSC_0316_01

Bread. The symbol for life.

In the days after news of a death, it’s impossible not to feel like you’re making a statement.

DSC_0329

Riches of the forest

DSC_0181

Many people I know wax lyrical about chanterelles, but we prefer boletus. Every year in August and September, we go for a drive in the forest and pick them.

1 (11)

DSC_0063

This Saturday was a perfect day for it. Warm and sunny, just a faint breeze that brushed the fair from my face as I sat staring at the slowly passing forest floor, looking for that special kind of bready brown.

DSC_0066

DSC_0076

It’s a miracle that anything manages to grow here at all – it’s so dry, and the landscape is quite rough. The firs love it, though!

DSC_0098

Not only boletus grows in this sandy earth. Lingonberries are ripening now too. Perfect for preserving in water and a little sugar. Nothing else is needed since they contain natural preservatives, and the result is delicious with wipped cream. I’ll have to make a post about that some day!

DSC_0086

DSC_0093

Hubby went back to a place where he found sheep polyporus last year, and I abandoned the fungus hunt for a while to explore the nearby stream.

DSC_0111

DSC_0124

Back home we surveyed our ‘catch’. Luckily most of it was okay (fresh and without too many wormholes).

DSC_0189

Yum.

1 (4)

1 (8)

After dinner, what better end to the evening than taking a walk up the clear-cut? Contrary to expectation, the hewed forest has actually expanded our world. We never went up there before, but now it’s almost mandatory.

 

DSC_0365

DSC_0377_01

There were lots of crowberries up there, a berry that’s considered sort of boring and not very tasty. I have seen people sell crowberry jam at markets, but I’ve never tasted it. Maybe this will be the year?

DSC_0404

DSC_0406

DSC_0426

Heading home in a cloud of tiny winged creatures. 🙂

DSC_0445

My whole world

DSC_0138

No matter how small the creature, it’s always at the centre of its own world.

DSC_0132_01

Hubby and I sometimes talk about this in relation to spiders and flies: how they must view the world so differently from us – not only because they have more eyes, but because they hang upside down from tent ceilings and windows. Wonder how this garden looks from their perspective, we say. Do they even have a concept of it, or do they just see their immediate surroundings and ignore the rest? Is the ant’s world comprised of the blade of grass directly in front of it – an obstacle to overcome – or do they think about the ant hill and dream of reaching it faster than yesterday?

DSC_0049_01

Every single organism is at the nave of its own universe. It’s the receptacle for sun and rain, for wind and weather. Everything that happens to it happens in relation to their unique self.

DSC_0044_01

DSC_0182

DSC_0214

DSC_0219

Even in a field of endless waving grain, every seed is an individual.

DSC_0228

DSC_0234_02

But what about fungi? Their self resides under ground, and the bodies we see poking up through the forest floor are only satellites revealing a larger presence beneath the surface.

DSC_0100

And we humans – can we see beyond our immediate surroundings? Can we grasp the concept of the garden even though we can only see the blade of grass that blocks our way?

Are we individuals, or a seemingly unique expression of something else – something constant, something whole?

DSC_0081

Making a museum

DSC_0006

One of the perks of living in an old house is that you never know what you will find. In attics and basements, in outhouses and barns, you can discover old junk that someone stored there ‘just in case’. Things that first lost their value in the onslaught of the modern, but since then have gained another kind of value through the romantic tint of Olden Stuffe.

DSC_0029

During our latest stay at the cabin, we started cleaning out an old barn in order to display some of these old things in a museum-y way that heightens that value. You only have to put something in a frame or a context to make people see it in a more positive light. What looked like rubbish just now, lying thrown in a dusty corner, is suddenly a relic, an artifact. Like these old cake tins.

DSC_0032

It takes some doing to brush away the filth of the decades, but it’s very refreshing to survey the result.

DSC_0015

And windows that sit in the cracked old concrete walls of a barn where cows were once kept can suddenly become picturesque just because you put some ancient paraphernalia in them.

DSC_0134

DSC_0135_01

DSC_0162

Pretty, isn’t it? So let’s ignore the piles of still-unsorted junk right outside the frame…

DSC_0164_01