Winter weekend in Kusfors

Annika and I used the weekend to visit good friends in Kusfors. While it was still autumn home in Obbola by the sea, the inland experienced an onset of winter with 20 cm of snow and frost below  -10°C. And so did we in Kusfors.

There’s a reason why it’s a good idea to change to winter tyres already in October.

Morning paddling in Obbola

I’m home in Obbola – 6:20 – it’s still quite dark.

The sky is clear – hardly any wind – frost at -4.5 °C. – my kayak lies at the shore.

A good opportunity to do some pre-work kayaking and watch the sunrise at sea.

 

Travelling from Tromsø to Obbola

Live from the journey …

Part 1 – written in Hotell Sørreisa.

Saturday 16 October at 12:17 my train to Umeå will depart. Not from Tromsø (no train station), but from Abisko Östra. From there the train to Umeå will take nine hours. Then it’s only twenty more kilometres to our home in Obbola.

From Tromsø to Abisko I’ve planned to take the car. And this was the forecast for the Swedish mountains four days ago:

Half a metre snow! Holy moly! Luckily you can rely on the fact, that these forecasts are unreliable. Now only some centimetres of snow are forecasted for tomorrow.

Wednesday

While some trees in town shed there coloured leaves the mountains are already clad in snow. The first photo is taken in the centre of Tromsø, the other one near where I live.

Thursday

I change to winter tyres, a must have for crossing the Norwegian/Swedish mountains. Due to unsure weather conditions I decide to start my car trip already on Friday and book a room with breakfast in Sørreisa.

Friday

Half past three I have packed my stuff (why is the large suitcase so heavy again?) and start my car trip TromsøSørreisaAbisko. The first fifteen minutes stop and go in town, then over the bridge and onto the E6 that I follow for round 130 km south. The temperature slowly drops from +3 °C to -2 °C and gradually snow is not something far on the mountain slopes but lies left and right from the road E6.

It starts getting dark quite early. Sun down here in is already at 17:20. Here, that is Sørreisa Hotell, where I’ll stay overnight. This hotel does not only provided affordable rooms but really good Thai food as well.

Part 2 – written in Kiruna, sitting in the train to Boden.

Saturday

The next morning my car windows were covered with frost and the temperatures were slightly sub-zero. I had enough time to avoid the main road and instead took road 84 that has both mountain and coastal stages. I can warmly recommend this detour.

The smaller lakes in the mountains were mostly frozen. To my surprise even parts of the fjord Sagfjorden near Sjøvegan  were covered with thin ice. I thought it would take longer to make the saltwater freeze.

After I joined the main road E6 I left it again to follow the E10 to Sweden. There was some snow on the ground, but it wasn’t snowing.

45 minutes later I arrived in Abisko Östra. Here’s a cozy cabin, where I had stayed several times to explore Abisko. The owners generously allowed me to park my car here for free, while I am in Sweden. Thank you, Anneli and Thomas! It was nice meeting you again!

In Abisko it started snowing. I bought some lemonade and then waited for the train to come. It came in time. I got into the train. Now it’s only round nine hours to Umeå. With the car it is 700 km to Umeå so taking the train is not only more ecological and comfortable but also faster.

Part 3 – written in the train between Kiruna and Gällivare

When the train arrived in Kiruna it was winter. Everything was covered with snow, it was windy and constantly snowing. We had a stay of half an hour and I went out to take some photos. My anorak was warm enough, the summer barefoot shoes weren’t. No problem, since the train was overheated I quickly got  warm again.

After we left Kiruna more and more snow sticked to the slightly warmer train windows until I could hardly see through the window anymore.

Part 4 – written in the connection train somewhere between Älvsbyn and Jörn.

In Gällivare and Nattavaara there was more snow, but then the train approached the coastal region where it uses to be slightly warmer. The ground was also snow covered but the snow looked wet and probably won’t last long.

Meanwhile it had started to get dark. We were late but the connection train in Boden was supposed to wait for us. And so it did.

In Älvsbyn I took the last out-of-the-train photo today. It was dark and mostly I took photos from my own reflections, not from the outside.

I’m glad when I can leave the train. First of all I’m tired and want to arrive home. Then the train compartment is strongly overheated, too. I’ve been in saunas colder than this!

Part 5 – written from home on Sunday.

There’s not much more to tell. Leaving the town Vindeln behind I could see less and less snow until soon no more snow covered the ground. At 21:09 the train arrived in Umeå where Annika already waited on the platform. Half an hour I finally was home.

Today, after a rich breakfast:

I’m so glad to be here. At more than two weeks I’ll spend home in Obbola until I’ll take the same way back to Tromsø in early November.

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.

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.

Breakfast to go

About transporting breakfast in a wheelbarrow and hunting kayaks by the sea.

Some of you may remember the picture taken three weeks ago:

Martin’s answer in the comment was right: We have two kayaks now! Annika bought hers three weeks ago, a new, bright yellow one. Since then it has snowed several times – last time six days ago but today the weather promised to be calm and sunny. Because of Ascension Day Annika and I had a free day today and as usual we started it with a breakfast. Almost …

We didn’t put the breakfast on the terrace table, but in a wheelbarrow. In addition to food and drink there was a camping mat, clogs, sun glasses, caps, my camera and a sponge. While I pushed the wheelbarrow to the shore, Annika took two paddles, for today we would kayak to a beach on the island Bredskär and take our breakfast there.

The air was warm but the sea is still icy cold, so we both were dressed in drysuits. Gloves and such however was not needed any longer.

We paddled counterclockwise along the island Bredskär. Wind as sea were calm and the sun warmed us. We circled a small stony cape and then we turned sharp left to enter a small bay with a sandy beach. There we got out of our kayaks and dragged them up the beach.

Almost 11 o’clock. Both of us were hungry and eager to start breakfast – or better said brunch. We carried the food up the rocky cliff of the cape that we just had gone around by kayak. Time to roll out the camping mat, pour orange juice into the plastic cups and start our brunch.

After eating bread with cheese, egg or herring in mustard sauce and some chocolate (Marabu with salted almonds) we just sat there and enjoyed. We watched the agile terns fly, we spotted three tiny sail boats leaving the shore. We heard a loud HOOOO! from the air horn of a ship, but we couldn’t spot it. The three sailing boats headed for the open sea getting smaller and smaller. And finally we saw the cause of the air horn: The Wasa ferry to Finland that at time docks in the industry port and has a bit of longer way to the sea. Slowly it approached and passed our observation spot.

The waves of the Wasaline ferry came nearer and nearer. No problem – we sit on land.

I cannot remember whether I heard the waves running into the sandy bay or if I saw them. Anyhow, I turned my head and could watch the waves that had reached our kayaks and started to pull them into the sea. I climbed down the cliff with my cheap plastic clogs as fast as I could, ran over the sand and waded into the water to fetch the first kayak I could reach. It was mine. Now I was a bit more relaxed. We could use my kayak to fetch Annika’s that already has been pulled out into deeper water. Annika however had still her drysuit on and waded to her kayak until she could grab it. Now the waves had started pushing her kayak back and soon both were on dry land again.

2 people: ✔︎ / 2 kayaks: ✔︎ / 2 paddles: ✔︎ – good luck!

To our learning for today: Even when the sea is calm – put your kayak on land properly! Now with the kayaks being save again we returned to the cliff, we sat down onto the camping mat again and watched the ferry on its journey to behind the horizon.

There we sat for a while, but then we put our things together, entered the kayaks and paddled home. After less then 2km of paddling we landed at the shore in front of our house where the wheelbarrow waited for that food that we hadn’t eaten. I still feel being extremely privileged, that I may live at such an outstanding place together with Annika.

Later that day we were in town where we got the warmest day yet: Up to 23 °C (or 24? I don’t remember) were shown by the car thermometer and when we bathed in the lake Stocksjön it was no winter bath any longer. Yes, there is still snow in the forest and even a larger patch of it beside the house but this will not last long.

Springtime!