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

Weekend Coffee Share – Finding Normal In A Crazy World

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Welcome to another virtual coffee date. Yesterday I tried a new type of coffee, I already forgot the fancy name. . you whisk together equal parts of sugar, hot water, and instant coffee. You whisk it for a long time until it becomes very fluffy. I tasted it at work in our break room, and it was really good. Tasted sort of like a creamy espresso. My colleagues enjoyed it with milk, I thought it tasted better without milk. A very small amount of this very potent coffee gave me tons of energy that lasted all afternoon yesterday. I’m sure I could whisk some together if you’d like to try! How hard could it be? Would you like to try?

Speaking of work, this was the first week of only outdoor activities. It was fun, intense, and the kids really enjoyed themselves. The days consisted of a lot of exercise; soccer, playing tag, nature walks, different playgrounds, science experiments, maths, building shelters in the wood, music, gymnastics, and fun games. We are working on a way to make meal time smooth outdoors. This week mealtime worked out good for the kids, but was a lot of work for us teachers. The kids aren’t allowed to take food themselves because of Corona, and they were naturally very hungry with all the outdoor exercise. There was no chance to sit down and enjoy the good food (that wasn’t exactly outdoor friendly,) there was only running around serving the kids. Of course we are there for the kids, but I am hoping to be able to have time to eat a little more next week, with all the extra exercise everyone really needs that. We talked to the kitchen about more outdoor friendly food for the coming weeks. Food that we can bring along on adventures, not having to come back to school to eat every day. The kids love to pack their backpacks with food, and go somewhere. We have plenty of amazing nature within walking distance and we are taking advantage of that. 

The weather was lovely in the beginning of the week, and got a little cooler by the end. Next week we’re suppose to get snow two days! I am waiting to take my seedlings outside. Lesson learned, next year I’ll have to start them later. I’ve actually never had a garden in this particular area, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, I just read everything I could online. I could set things up better inside, get some growing lights and make the season longer that way. I think I’m going to invest in that. In mid May I’ve been back in Sweden 6 months. I’ve been acquiring new gear, furniture, and household items as needed these past months, now I feel that I’m caught up with most things. I don’t like buying things just to get everything society demands that I need, I’d rather evaluate my real needs first, and avoid debts. 

The minimalist in me don’t want to hoard stuff, but definitely get good quality things that my daughter and I really use. I talk a lot to my daughter about wants, needs and goals. I’ve included her while planning my finances since she was very little. She knows how to make a budget and keep it. We’ve had many great conversations this week. I really want her to think longterm, and see more than what’s right in front of her. Our goal is to either build, or buy a small house with plenty of room for a garden within the next 3-5 years. It is within reach. With my new position at work I can choose to get all summer off every year, starting next year, this summer I get one month vacation (July.) This will be wonderful both for my relationship with my daughter, and for our garden. I am so grateful for this. 

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

Weekend Coffee Share – Spring In The Air

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It’s already weekend again! We’ve had a four day work week here, Monday being a red day. It’s been windy all week, and around 40F. I’m doing laundry, and hanging it outside today, for the first time this year. Spring is in the air. We are suppose to get temperatures in the 60’s next week. 60’s and 70’s are perfect temperatures, if you ask me. How would you like your coffee today? Or maybe you prefer some tea? Weekend Coffee Share is a small(ish) virtual coffee date, with participants from around the globe taking place every weekend 🙂

Part of this weekend is going to be dedicated to writing educational plans for the rest of the semester. Starting Monday we are going to be outside. Parents are going to leave the children with a teacher that are meeting them outside, we are going to have our activities outside, and parents are going to pick the children up outside. Most meals are going to be served outside as well. Parents can not enter the school buildings as we just had a new code lock installed. Everything is going to be sanitised and we are going to try limit close contact between people (students/teachers/parents/other staff) by being outside. It’s going to demand some extra efforts from everyone, but I believe it’s going to be great. 

Corona is getting a little more personal now as I have several friends with loved ones that are fighting the virus. There are more cases in the town where I live. It’s not the worst area, but the virus is more widespread than previously. Some people are really worried now and do everything they can to limit contacts (I’m in that category,)  others are letting go of restrictions and ignore them completely; College students having parties, and younger children having playdates organised by their parents.

Sweden, where we live, is around the same size as California, where my daughter was born. Meanwhile, the population of California is 39 million people, approximately 29 million more people than in Sweden. There have been at least 29,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in California, according to a New York Times database. As of Saturday morning, 1,050 people had died. Below are Swedens numbers for today. Most people believe that numbers of people that have the virus are much higher than confirmed cases, as most people with symptoms aren’t tested. 
Confirmed
13 216
Deaths
1 400

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My daughter and I are limiting everything outside school/work to zero. The photos in this post show two of the things that have kept us the busiest lately, chess, and spring planting 🙂 How are you doing?

Love,

Maria