Hejdå home office

Hejdå home office – hejdå Obbola – hejdå Sweden.

This picture is from yesterday, my last day in home-home office. One “home” is for not being in the office, another “home” for working from home in Obbola, not in Tromsø.

This room was my home office for eight months.

In normal times you meet colleagues in real life and have landscape photos on your computer monitor as a desktop background. The last eight months it was the opposite: I met my colleagues digitally but the view of the Baltic Sea was real. And so were the sail boats, the screeching sea birds and the roe deer passing by.

While I write this Annika and I sit in the train to Riksgränsen that departed in Umeå at 2:08(!). In Riksgränsen we’ll get a private lift to Narvik crossing the Norwegian border and then take the bus to Tromsø. If everything works well we’ll arrive there this evening. After a week Annika will return home while I’ll stay in Tromsø to continue my work for the Norwegian Polar Institute on-site.

Eight months Annika and I had together in Obbola. I appreciated every single day of this unexpected gift caused by the COVID-19 restrictions and I’ll keep this time in my heart.

What the future brings? Too early to say.

Tramporgel

Harmonium or tramporgel are the Swedish words for a pump organ, an organ where you use your feet to pump air to the pipes. Yesterday such a tramporgel moved into the unheated uterum of our house.

I found the instrument on Facebook Marketplace some weeks ago. It was being given away. It took some weeks to organise a transport but good friends of us offered their help (including a large car with trailer). I was a bit afraid, that transporting the instrument uphills could be hard, but transportation was easier (and less heavy) than expected.

Some hour later the tramporgel had found its new place.

My thanks to S. for giving away this fine instrument and help with organisation and transportation.

My thanks to J. and M. for the transportation (and a real nice lazy day including bathing and lunching).

Now I’ll have six days to play and practise. Then I’ll travel to Tromsø to continue working there – probably for the rest of the year – and home will be many miles away. But that’s another story …

Three summer days in Råneå

(Oops, I’ve become lazy with blogging. This happened already a week ago!)

Last week Annika and I used our one-week holiday to visit friends in Råneå – 300 km from home, 100 from the Finnish border. Three days – three sections.

Thursday – getting wet

After a sunny morning a large cloud front approached Råneå, bringing thunderstorms, heavy rain and hail. It was short-lived and probably only some strawberries were harmed. (Or was it a snail that tasted them?). In the afternoon it cleared up and we spent some time by (and in) a bathing lake.

Friday – kayaking

We had booked the day before. Four kayaks (three single, one double) and a canoe. On tour: four children between 5 and 13 and five (more or less) grown-ups. We have booked for three hours and decided to paddle through a small creek and then take the Råneå river back to the boat rental by the sea. I have paddled quite a lot on the sea but hardly on rivers, streams or creeks. A great experience!

Saturday – open air concert

Annika and I had heard Daniel Wikslund before. On this day he played two open-air concerts in Överkalix – the first one on a large wooden raft on the river Råneälven. It was wonderful to listen to his folk-inspired music from the a small jetty, the water or even from the raft. It was his first concert since February 2020 due to the covid  restrictions. Hard times for musicians!

You see the wooden keyboard instrument? That’s a pump-organ (Swedish: tramporgel). We’re lucky to have such an instrument in our house soon. Today we’ll meet friends that will help us with the transport from the previous owner’s summer cottage by the sea up the hill to the gravel road and then to our house. Wish us look, that the transport succeeds.

A short promenade to a near swamp

Spåret is a fantastic motion trail just some 100 metres from here. It is 3.6 km long and good for skiing (if not too much snow), running and going for a walk. It leads through forests, over large granite rocks, over sandy bottoms and passes some small swamps. When I walked there with Annika last weekend I spotted some beautiful pond-lilies. Today I took a hike there to take some pictures.

The mosquitos and horse flies appreciated that.

From top to bottom, from left to right:

  • Sundew, a carnivorous plant. Can grow directly on mud.
  • Heath spotted orchid. Protected in Sweden and other countries.
  • Cloudberry, a berry growing on wet ground. Rich in vitamin C. Guarded by mosquitoes …
  • Sphagnum (or peat moss), the main building bog of peat bogs.
  • Cotton-Grass, a sedge that looks like wool. Loves wet ground.
  •  European white water lily, an aquatic plant with blossoms of great beauty.

The flower thread II – June 2021

This is post number  two of ny little hobby project: Looking for new flowers on bloom.

The most photos I made through a cheap magnifier because my macro lens is in Tromsø – out of reach for me here in Sweden. This explains the colour fringes, reflections and other artefacts on many of the photos.

I used the website Pl@ntNet identify for the most flowers for identification. Some classifications were done manually, so there is no guarantee that the names are correct.

The rules:

  • I check only flowers on our property and the marshland between our property and the sea.
  • I do not differentiate between wild and domestic flowers.
  • I do not wait for the most beautiful blossom. I just make a photo of the first occurrence.

The statistics:

New flowers in April: 1 — New flowers in May: 19 — New flowers in June: 39

The flowers in June

4. June: Globeflower | Trollblume | Smörbollar | Ballblom – small wildflower meadow by the house
4. June: Buttercup | Hahnenfuß | Ranunkel | Soleie – amidst the strawberry field
4. June: Iris (Dwarf iris?) | Schwertlilie | Iris | Sverdlilje – on top of the left stone wall

7. June: (Common) Sorrel | Sauerampfer | Ängssyra | Engsyre – by the house
7. June: Moss phlox¹ | Polster-Phlox | Mossflox | Vårfloks
7. June: Wood crane’s-bill | Wald-Storchschnabel | Midsommarblomster | Skogstorkenebb – behind right stone wall

8. June: White clover | Weißklee | Vitklöver | Hvitkløver – between the grass on the lawn
8. June: Garden strawberry | Gartenerdbeere | Jordgubbe | Hagejordbær – strawberry field
8. June: ? – behind the sauna

8. June: Small cow-wheat² |Wald-Wachtelweizen |Skogskovall | ? – behind the sauna
8. June: Cow parsley | Wiesen-Kerbel | Hundkäx | Hundekjeks – behind the left stone wall
8. June: Moss phlox¹ | Polster-Phlox | Mossflox | Vårfloks

8. June: Lesser spearwort(?) | Brennender Hahnenfuß | Ältranunkel | ? – small wildflower meadow by the house
9. June: Ashy cranesbill | Grauer Storchschnabel | Silkesnäva | ? – by the guest cottage
9. June: Field forget-me-not³ | Acker-Vergissmeinnicht | Åkerförgätmigej | ? – behind the sauna

11. June: ?
12. June: Alpine knotweed | Alpen-Knöterich | Alpslide | ? – by the stone/greenhouse
12. June: Lupin | Lupine | Lupin | Lupin – by the stone/greenhouse (destroyed, since it is an invasive weed)

12. June: Columbine | Akelei | Aklej | Akeleie – by the stone/greenhouse
13. June: Marsh Pea | Sumpf-Platterbse | Kärrvial | Myrflatbelg – behind stone wall
13. June: Germander speedwell |Gamander-Ehrenpreis | Teveronika | Tveskjeggveronika – in front of left stone wall

13. June: Red clover | Wiesenklee | Rödklöver | Rødkløver – by the bbq place
13. June: Thyme-leaved Speedwell | Quendel-Ehrenpreis | Majveronika | ? – in front of left stone wall
15. June: May lily | Zweiblättrige Schattenblume | Ekorrbär | Maiblom – behind the sauna

15. June: Lily of the valley | Maiglöckchen | Liljekonvalj | Liljekonvall – in front of left stone wall
15. June: Common yarrow | Gemeine Schafgarbe | Röllika | Ryllik – between the grass on the lawn
19. June: Bird vetch | Vogel-Wicke | Kråkvicke | Fuglevikke – by the bbq place

19. June: Bloody crane’s-bill | Blutroter Storchschnabel | Blodnäva | Blodstorkenebb – between the grass on the lawn
19. June: Hawkweed | Habichtskraut | Hökfibbla | Sveve – gravel by the garage
19. June: Norwegian cinquefoil⁴| Norwegisches Fingerkraut | Norsk fingerört | ? – behind the sauna

19. June: Grasslike Starwort | Gras-Sternmiere | Grässtjärnblomma | Gresstjerneblom – miscellaneous places
19. June:  Meadow vetchling | Wiesen-Platterbse | Gulvial | Gulflatbelg – behind stone wall
23. June: Common speedwell | Echter Ehrenpreis | Ärenpris | Legeveronika – between the grass by the house

24. June: Cuckoo flower | Kuckucks-Lichtnelke | Gökblomster | ? – wetland by the sea
24. June: Marsh-bedstraw | Sumpf-Labkraut | Vattenmåra | ? – wetland by the sea
24. June: Tufted Loosestrife | Straußblütiger Gilbweiderich | Topplösa | Gulldusk – wetland by the sea

24. June: Poppy | Mohn | Vallmo | Valmue – by the garage
24. June: Valerian | Baldrian | Vänderot | Vendelrot – by the bbq place
26. June: Biting stonecrop/Wallpepper | Scharfer Mauerpfeffer | Gul fetknopp | Bitterbergknapp – by the garage

___

Names are in English, German, Swedish, Norwegian. The name can be the species, family or genus. Especially in English there are many different names.

¹ or another phlox
² or common cow-wheat
³ or another forget-me-not
⁴ or another cinquefoil

Great diving beetle

Today I discovered a special guest in our garden, a Great diving beetle. It looked tired and so I brought it to the nearest fresh water brook where it directly used its large back legs to swim away and hide in the mud. Hopefully I chose a good place.

The photo: iPhone and plastic magnifier since my macro lens is unreachable in my tiny room in Tromsø.

Translation:

EnglishGermanSwedishLatin
Great diving beetleGelbrandkäferGulbrämad dykareDytiscus marginalis

The flower thread – April and May 2021

This year I started a small hobby project. Since I saw the first blooming flower – a crocus – on 17 April I have been outside almost each day and looked for new flowers in bloom.

The most photos I made through a cheap magnifier because my macro lens is in Tromsø – out of reach for me here in Sweden. This explains the colour fringes, reflections and other artefacts on many of the photos.

I used the website Pl@ntNet identify for the most flowers for identification. Some classifications were done manually, so there is no guarantee that the names are correct.

The rules:

  • I check only flowers on our property and the marshland between our property and the sea.
  • I do not differentiate between wild and domestic flowers.
  • I do not wait for the most beautiful blossom. I just make a photo of the first occurrence.

The flowers in April and May

17. April: Crocus | Krokus | krokus | krokus – marshland
22. April: Crocus | Krokus | krokus | krokus – marshland
23. April: the same crocus as the day before

13. May: Dandelion | Löwenzahn | maskros | løvetann – lawn near the house
15. May: Lingonberry | Preiselbeere | lingon | tyttebær – beside the garage
15. May: Marsh marigold | Sumpfdotterblume | kabbleka | bekkeblom – marshland

15. May: Alpine penny-cress | Gebirgs-Hellerkraut | backskärvfrö | ? – lawn
15. May: Mouse-Ear Cress | Acker-Schmalwand | backtrav | vårskrinnebeblom – stone wall
16. May: Viola | Veilchen | viol | fiol – between stones by the house

16. May: Hairy woodrush | Behaarte Hainsimse | Vårfryle | ? – beside the sauna
16. May: Coltsfoot | Huflattich | hästhov/tussilago | hestehov – by the stone wall
19. May: Cowslip | Echte Schlüsselblume | gullviva | marianøkleblom – lawn

21. May: Viola | Veilchen | viol | fiol – different places
23. May: Wood sorrel | Waldsauerklee | harsyra | gjøkesyre – behind the sauna
24. May: Bittercress | Winterkresse | sommargyllen | vinterkarse – lawn

25. May: Elephant’s ears |Bergenie | bergenia | bergblom – flower bed
25. May: European blueberry | Heidelbeere | blåbär | blåbær – behind the sauna
26. May: Red campion | Rote Lichtnelke | rödblära | rød jonsokblom – by the bbq place

27. May: Wild strawberry | Walderdbeere | smultron | markjordbær – by the old tool shed
28. May: Arctic starflower | Siebenstern | skogsstjärna | skogstjerne – between stones by the garage
28. May: Grape hyacinth | Traubenhyazinthe | Pärlhyacint | Perleblom – by the guest house

29. May: Heath dog-violet | Hunds-Veilchen | Ängsviol | Engfiol – by the bbq place
31. May: White rocket |Raukenähnlicher Doppelsame | Vit mursenap | ? – between stones by the garage

The last photo is a June preview:

31. May: Globeflower | Trollblume | smörboll | ballblom – lawn

___

Names are in English, German, Swedish, Norwegian. The name can be the species, family or genus. Especially in English there are many different names.

Gratulerer med dagen from abroad

Today is syttende mai (17th of May), the Norwegian national day. On 17 May 1814 the The Constitution of Norway that declared Norway to be an independent kingdom was signed. That’s why Norway turns 207 years today. Gratulerer med dagen – Happy birthday!

The first time that I was in Norway was the turn of the year 2003/04 together with a friend. Although the weather was really miserable – storm and rain – I was so fascinated by that country, that I travelled there one month later again to find a job as a developer.

Well, I didn’t find a job. I couldn’t speak Norwegian, didn’t have much programming experience and the dot-com bubble was still present.

2005, one and a half year later I visited Tromsø for the first time of my life after a week of hiking on the Hardangervidda. I had less than two days to discover this town but since then it has been my favourite town in Scandinavia.

Anyhow I didn’t think about moving there. The same year I had been in Northern Sweden twice and preferred the colder winters there. In addition to that I was a bit scared of mørketiden – the seven weeks in winter, where the sun stays below the horizon. Five years later I moved to Sweden.

This year however I was sure that I will be in Norway for syttende mai, since I’ve been working in Tromsø since last October.

Well, at least on the papers. Due to Covid 19 we were strongly advised to work from home, which I can better in our house in Obbola/Sweden than in my tiny room in Tromsø. On 22 November 2020 I took the plane to Oslo, another one to Stockholm and a third to Umeå. Since then I’ve been working and living home in Obbola. In five days I’ll have been here for half a year.

It feels a bit like a dream. Did I really work in the office of the Norsk Polarinstitutt in Tromsø? Together with others? Walked the 1.7 km from my shared flat? Enjoyed the first snow in the mountains? Took a kayak course?

Only when I miss my down sleeping bag (in Tromsø), my macro lens (in Tromsø), my rain parka (in Tromsø) I realise that I still have my flat there. And of course when I have to pay the monthly rent. And that’s a lot because it is ridiculously expensive to live there.

At time I’m forbidden to travel to Norway even though I have a job and a shared flat there. It’s unclear when I’ll be allowed there again. Until then I have the blog articles as memory of my two months in Tromsø to remember, the knowledge that I’ll be there again but most of all a wonderful time home.