Weekend Coffee Share; About Self-Sufficiency And Our Ecological Footprints

The weather is still nice enough to have our weekly coffee date outside. What would you like today? Some hot coffee? Or tea? There is some homemade kombucha as well. I’ve tried the raisin/cardamom, and the vanilla kombucha. I am very happy with how they turned out. I haven’t tried the cinnamon kombucha yet, but it should be ready. Maybe you want to try some? In case you missed the post about how to make your own kombucha, here is the link to the recipe.

How is your week? My week have been a bit different, since I have been at home with a sick kiddo. They called from my daughter’s school on Monday around lunchtime, informing me that she has a fever. I picked her up as fast as I could, and have been at home ever since. Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day she was completely without a fever. We are going to stay at home the rest of the week, hoping  that she is fit to go back to school Monday morning. 

I’ve spent a lot of time reading out loud to her in Swedish. She prefers English, and we speak English at home, but she attends a Swedish School. Since she did not go to school this week I saw it fit to replace her regular Swedish lessons with some Swedish at home. She is actually doing really well, and I’d say that she understands at least 99% of what people say to her in Swedish, but she feels somewhat uncomfortable speaking Swedish. At home she can pick up a chapter book in Swedish and read it without a problem. She thinks the book they have their reading homework in is for babies. To be honest, it’s the kind of book we did for kindergarten, but that was in English, and I keep telling her that she should see these simple books as an opportunity to perfect her Swedish. Motivation is our biggest challenge at the moment. 

We’ve had many great conversations this week, among other things we’ve discussed ways we could lower our ecological footprint, and what things we do in our every day life that affects our ecological footprint, in the long run affects the wellbeing of this planet and everyone on it. It’s been very interesting. We decided that we are going to try to live without a car for a while longer. Maybe we don’t need a car? I sold my car in July 2019, so it’s been more than a year. Yes, it would have been more fun and convenient to have a car, but we have been doing alright. I know that if we had a car we would use it, probably every day, and we don’t need that. I’d rather rent, or borrow a car for special occasions/trips. Many destinations in Sweden, and Europe don’t even require a car. You can take a comfortable train to most cities and small towns, you can even take a train to the mountains and go hiking/skiing right from the train station. As a young adult I loved having an inter-rail pass during the summer, a pass allowing you to go by train wherever you wanted in Europe (or for the area you purchased your pass,) making stops wherever you felt like, sleeping at a cheap hostel (or go camping) and continuing to the next city the next day, stopping a few days here and there, maybe renting a car to explore if a place seemed extra interesting. 

Under the same topic of our ecological footprint we talked about consumerism, where we both thought we are doing pretty good, having lived a minimalistic lifestyle for several years now. We also talked about food, thinking that we are doing pretty good, but agreed that we can do better. We do grow some of our own food, and want to grow more. We do not waste much food (hardly any,) we make something out of our leftovers all the time and are good at composting, using vegetable scraps to grow new vegetables. We save seeds of our favourite heirlooms. My daughter agreed to be brave and try more new vegetarian dishes. She has a few she LOVES, but are often hesitant in trying new ones. We are not vegetarians, but our diet is mostly plant based. We purposely eat less meat, and try to eat only local, organic meat when we do eat meat. Eating local, organic and by the season is a priority. We are pretty good at it when it comes to meat, and vegetables. We are going to try to be better when it comes to fruit. It can sometimes be challenging and very expensive to find, and purchase fruit that are locally sourced here in Sweden. One way to get around this is of course to grow fruit yourself, something we definitely want to do. 

Stubborn old me need to challenge my gardening skills to the max and grow figs..naturally.. I put these containers out in the weather on purpose, they need to loose their leaves before I can ‘tuck them in’ for winter. If you keep figs indoor, and they don’t get any chill hours at all, you’re not very likely to get any fruit next year. I will put blankets around them during the coldest months, and they will be in a protected area then. Speaking of growing. I’ve been washing my pots, and containers, and organised them a bit this week. It’s a little sad that the growing season is over here. To make up for that sadness I’ve been watching inspirational YouTube videos about container gardening in small spaces. There is so much you can do! My head is full of ideas of garden spaces I want to create, both indoors and outdoors. 

Do you need a refill on that coffee? Do you have any fun plans for this weekend? What’s your two cents about ecological footprints? If you are interested in calculating your own ecological footprint you can do so for free here. I calculate my footprint on a regular basis. The first time I did it, about 13 years ago I wasn’t very happy with the result. To be honest, I was a little embarrassed. I am happy with the result now. Take the test! Go ahead and tell me about your thoughts in a comment.

Love,

Maria 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 114: Negative Space

Having a little extra time on my hands this week I decided to do something I wish I did more often, join a photo challenge. This Lens-Artists photo challenge is open to everyone that wishes to participate. There is a new theme every week. For a while I participated almost every week, but lately I haven’t, I’m going to try my best to change that. Photography is something I am very passionate about. It’s been a big part of my life since I was 5 years old, and got my first camera. I would go as far as saying that photography makes me happy on many levels; capturing special moments (of course,) forcing myself to slow down and see the details, as a way to practice gratitude, and live in the moment.

This week’s theme is Negative Space. I would describe a negative space in photography as a calm, quiet area around the main subject. When there is a quiet space around your subject, all the attention is focused on your main subject. Sort of like the minimalistic way I like to decorate my home. When things aren’t cluttered we tend to see the beauty in details in a different way, without being distracted by less important things (clutter.) I looked through the gallery of photos I have on my laptop, looking for the perfect landscape photo to show my point here…but found a completely different photo that screamed that it wanted to be shared.

Corb Lund Live in Las Vegas

This is a photo from a Corb Lund concert (one of my favourite artists.) The concert took place in Las Vegas, December 2018, as a part of the opening to the National Finals Rodeo. If you want to see more of my photos from that concert, I wrote a post about the concert here. I think the calm, quiet space around the artist in this photo, combined with the lighting creates the perfect negative space around him, forcing us to give Corb Lund all of our attention, like if he needed any help with that besides his excellent music, but I think you get my point. I also like that the “out of focus band member” in the background is looking away from the camera. I took this photo with my Canon EOS 6D Mark II, and the Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM. What do you think of this photo? Constructive criticism is more than welcome.

Love,

Maria

Unexpected Break

Yesterday I got a call from my daughter’s school, that she had a fever and wasn’t feeling well. I left work to pick her up, and she was indeed not her usual self. She did complain in the morning that she was tired…but it was Monday morning, and morning is not her favourite time of the day. She still has a fever, and is feeling poorly. I am grateful that I can stay at home with her when she isn’t feeling well, but at the same time it was really bad timing since we are short on staff at work, and there is so much to do. I am going to stay at home until my daughter is feeling well, but I cannot help but to think about letting my awesome colleagues and kids at work down.

The photo above is the current view from my bedroom window. It’s a grey day outside, but the green/yellow/orange/red colours makes it kind of beautiful. I’ll spend the day reading to my daughter, and telling her stories, and feeding her lots of healthy food and vitamins. I’ve ordered groceries to be delivered in a couple hours, all her favourites, and then some, to make her feel good faster.

At breakfast we started to talk about the region around Åre (Sweden) where I grew up. I showed her some clips on Youtube from the area. I wanted to take her there this summer, but with Corona in town I decided to postpone the visit. I am eager to share all my favourite nature places with her. It really is an amazingly beautiful area, and I want to spend time there with my daughter; snowboarding in the winter and hiking the rest of the year. It’s a mountain region and it never gets too hot there. This is where I grew up, about six hours from where I live now.

I did not make this video, or have any connection to the maker of the video, I just thought it was one of the best, short ones out there. I really love this area, and would love to have a vacation home here. Maybe a tiny house? Or an RV? The main reason why I left was that it was very difficult to live in the middle of Åre and have a normal day job, both due to the noise level of partying tourists, and then it was friends from all over the world coming to visit you at all times. Åre is a party town, but I am not a party girl. I’m more into enjoying nature in a more mindful way. I love having friends over, but not every week of the year, it’s kind of hard to manage having a balanced life then. Looking back maybe I should have taken the time to find a place outside town, which is what I would do today, but back then I was so tired of it all that I moved to a completely different place. I am grateful for all the experiences that move brought into my life. Some of my childhood friends never left, and I can understand that as well. I hope your new week got off to great start!

Love,

Maria