Weekend Coffee Share

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Welcome to the weekend. How about some coffee? It’s late Friday afternoon in Sweden, but I know that many of you are just starting your day, so maybe coffee is the way to go? I just had some green tea with vanilla. Maybe I can offer you a cup?

How is your week? 

We celebrated National Kindergarten Day in Sweden yesterday. It was a blast. We prepared by making a large banner with the children earlier this week, that we hung up outside the school before the kids arrived yesterday morning. We also had tons of balloons to make it festive. In the morning we walked up a ski slope, and enjoyed a beautiful view and snacked on some fruits we brought with us. We had a marvellous picnic lunch in the forest as well. The weather was interesting, first we had sun, then wind, and later hail and snow! It is unusually cold for mid May. The kids had a great day yesterday, and I believe a great week with lots of exploring in the area around the school.

There are no real big news about the Corona situation. We keep social distancing, but attend school, and the essential businesses are open. I don’t own a lot of stocks, but I noticed yesterday that the ones I have had gone down with about 15% the past 4 months. Surely related to the pandemi. I thought about it a little but decided to not sell, but rather wait this out. It’s not a lot of money anyways. 

Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend? I’m planning on sleeping in, doing some chores around the house, go for nature walks, write some evaluations for work, and play chess with my daughter. It should be a great weekend. Thank you for having coffee with me today. Tell me what’s been on your mind this week. 

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – Spring Update, And A Visit To Falun Copper Mine

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It’s raining like crazy today, and I suggest that we have coffee on the covered porch. If you sit at one end of the porch, and I stay over at the other side we can still keep our distance. ..or we can just enjoy our virtual coffee date 🙂 How are things in your corner of the world? 

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The photos in today’s post is from a walk in the historic area around Falun Copper Mine.

How would you like your coffee today? Or maybe you would like some tea? I have a great variety, everything from English breakfast, chai, to soothing herb teas, and invigorating green ones. Speaking of tea. I read an interesting article yesterday about a woman on a limited budget who likes to drink a lot of tea, she thought that tea had become a too big of an expense for her, so she decided to start making her own. She picked herbs and special plants during the summer and dried them around her house, crumbled the dried plants into glass jars, and then she used her homemade tea the rest of the year. I’ve made tea out of fresh herbs, and tried drying mint a couple times, but when I read this article I felt like trying some new teas this summer. She mentioned drying pieces of wild lingon and blueberry plants, which we have an abundance of. Would you dare to try some homemade tea later this fall?

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Right now I am, enjoying coffee with the sound of rain gently, but rapidly falling on the roof. I like it a lot! Especially since my daughter and I spent the whole day outside yesterday, that’s why my post is late this weekend. We knew that it was going to rain, and maybe snow on Sunday. So we took advantage of the beautiful spring day yesterday. It started out sunny, and we went down to a nearby lake. Too cold to swim, but we enjoyed walking around there. We didn’t meet a single soul. We walked home and made Mexican food for lunch. My daughter and I used to have a Sunday tradition of getting Mexican food at a restaurant in California, and later in Las Vegas, now we make it together in our kitchen here in Sweden. 

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As we were putting the finishing touches to our lunch one of my colleagues texts me and asks if we want to go for a walk with her in a historic district of our town. Our town is known for its big copper mine. It’s a big uncrowded area (this time fo the year,) so we said yes. My colleague worked as a guide here before starting her job at our school, and it was wonderful walking around there with her. My daughter had already been to the mine with her school, but I had not. We only took the above ground tour, but I am looking forward to seeing the underground part when it is safe to do so due to the virus. There are Eagle-Owls nesting in one of the walls of the mine. We got a good look at one of them through binoculars. There are two adults and two young ones this year. We saw one of the adults. 

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“A tour of the Falun mine is a trip through history – it was once one of the world’s most important mining areas. The mine dates back over 1,000 years and at its peak in the 17th century, it accounted for 70% of the western world’s copper production. As the major producer of copper, Sweden exerted a strong influence on the technological, economic, social, and political development of Europe….Falun Mine was the world’s major producer of copper in the 17th century and had a large influence on mining technology across the globe. Many of Europe’s greatest buildings, including the Palace of Versailles, were roofed with Falun copper. The mine also helped Sweden become an economic powerhouse in the region….At its peak, 1,000 Swedish workers worked below the surface in the mines. At the end of the day, they would light fires which would burn overnight and help the ore break loose in the morning. It meant the deep tunnels were usually hot and dirty, creating a challenging environment for workers. They would move forward about one metre each month.” –  visitworldheritage.com/en

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Do you need a refill on that coffee? The rain is pouring down heavier and heavier outside. It’s so cozy! I love the sound of rain, and the promise of a green world. I have lost three seedlings (one cucumber and two tomatoes) that I put out too early. The nights are still cold, I thought the risk of frost was over, but then the cold came back after two “warmer” weeks. I have celery, beans, and peas that are doing OK outside. I’ve started them inside, and got them used to being outside a few hours a day, before replanting them in bigger containers outside. I partly covered the soil and plants with plastic bags that I clipped into fitting pieces. It seem to work. I have two tiny eggplant seedlings planted outside, I am not sure if they will make it. If not, it’s not the end of the world as I have several bigger inside, it was more an experiment to see how they would do. 

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There is a lot of experimenting this year since I’ve never had a garden in this exact area before. Learning by doing have always been my motto. Of course I do all the research I can, but at some point you have to get out there and try. As I said last week, I really like this area (Dalarna, Sweden,) and I see us buying a place of our own within the next couple of years and staying here. I like that we have four seasons, since I thoroughly enjoy them all. A greenhouse would enhance the gardening part, and eventually I’ll get one. Lots of people have greenhouses in their yards. If we go outside the city limits, there is less hoarding of products here, and historically speaking a big interest of managing on your own, growing food, foraging etc. There have been homesteads in this area since before the Viking era. Not that I have a homestead, but I am planning on having a big garden at my own place, within a couple years. Well, you already know that 😉 Do you need a refill on your coffee? 

How are you really doing? Work keeps me real busy. We still have outdoor school, and it works great. It’s naturally easier on warmer days, but it works even during the windy days that we’ve experienced this week. There’s also a lot of work preparing children to start a new school in the fall, its a big step for my 6 year olds as they are starting the real school. I’m also busy planning new groups/classes for the fall, together with the other teachers. I need to make a final evaluation of my current students, and present it to their parents. I also need to make introductions for my new students and their parents. And I’m working on an evaluation of the past semester for my boss. There is a lot going on in my head at the moment, but I do not feel overwhelmed, I thrive in situations like this. I feel great. 

It have been a little weird working when the rest of the world have been in lockdown, especially in the beginning. I do feel very good about providing a normal for the kids. Of course I am worried about the virus like everyone else. Sweden passed 3200 deaths this week, and of course that is worrisome. I decided that the only thing I can do is to take a cautious approach when it comes to interactions with other people. I feel grateful to have a job that I love, and that my daughter can attend a great school. How are things in your part of the world? How are you spending your days? Do you have everything that you need?

Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends in the US !! YOU know how fabulous you are! Last year this weekend we went camping in Death Valley National Park 🙂 In Sweden we don’t celebrate Mother’s Day until the last Sunday of May.

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – Coffee In My Neck Of The Woods

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How about having coffee in my favourite forest this week? This is a pine forest a few minutes from my house. If you take a closer look at the ground it gives a great promise of a delicious harvest of lingonberries and blueberries in a couple months. I love foraging in the forest. This is a pretty typical forest for my region Dalarna, in Sweden. This is the region I was born in, where my family comes from. I’ve spent a large portion of my life away, but about six months ago I found my way back, and I intend to stay. This is home.

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Blueberry plants – Blåbärsris

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Lingonberry plants – Lingonris

Speaking of the forest and its wildlife. In Sweden we have an estimated 300-350 wolves, around 35 is believed to live in Dalarna. It could be a lot more according to some sources. There is a large wolf habitat 13-20 miles from our house. This week they’ve been hunting down one wolf there for safety reasons. He’s been wandering in to a small town in the area one too many times. Occasionally there’s been livestock and dogs lost to wolves, but not on a larger scale. I’ve personally never seen one in real life. We also have bear in the woods, which I haven’t seen any in this region either. I know they are there. When I lived in Gold Country California I had black bears on my property and saw them daily. I’ve seen bears in other places in California on many occasions as well, but never (in the wild) in Sweden. 

There is one big difference. In the US you can carry a weapon for self defence, I did in areas where I felt that it was needed, it’s not like that here. I have adjusted my life to another model since moving back. I do not go far into the wilderness alone, since I don’t have my German Shepherd or my Glock. I also live in the outskirts of the outskirts of a town, and not by the end of a long dirt road, far from other people. I will one day, but then I will have a couple good dogs with me, and likely get a hunting license so that I can own a riffle. For now I feel rather safe from predators of all kinds, and I enjoy having walking distance to several forests and lakes. Do you need a refill on your coffee?

I finished reading Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living earlier this week. I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads. It’s a must have for anyone striving to live a selfsustainable life. It covers the basic of a great variety of subjects such as; gardening, cooking, canning, fermenting, candlemaking, soapmaking and farming. I really like the attractive design and modern approach to homesteading. The photos throughout the book are of very high quality and the descriptions very easy to follow. I really enjoyed reading it, and I know I will go back and try different ideas for years to come. It definitely earned a spot in my bookshelf.

It’s been a cold week, and I still have all my vegetable seedlings inside. Some are big now, and crave more sun. May 1st is a bank holiday, and we are enjoying a three day weekend. It is raining outside, the air smells very good, and I can only imagine how green it is going to be! May is usually a warm month, and I am looking forward to it. One of my favourite months in Sweden actually. I really like spring and fall, the temperatures, planting and harvesting – just good, happy times. How is spring coming along where you are?

How are you? I sure hope that you are staying happy and healthy in these crazy times. How are things in your corner of the world? Take a refill on that coffee and tell me about it in a comment!

Love,

Maria