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

Different ways of kayaking

Since Annika doesn’t have a kayak yet I use to paddle alone. Mostly it’s short tours as for example the day before yesterday. I paddled to the beach Bredviks havsbad to join the yoga group at 8:30. To my surprise it’s shorter to paddle than to take the bicycle or car and so I was 20 minutes early.

After yoga I took a small tour – first north and then along the coast of Obbola.

Then I took an early lunch at the boat harbour since I didn’t had any breakfast. The kiosk there has not only hamburgers but tasty dishes as hummus or ćevapčići and Annika and I eat there quite often. After lunch I slowly paddled home. Slowly, because (a) being stuffed with food, (b) being lazy and (c) the increasing wind from the front.

Yesterday afternoon Annika and I got guests. Corry and Mark from Germany have written on Facebook about the difficulty of finding good tenting places at Västerbottens coast. They have been on a long kayak tour that they started in Haparanda four weeks ago. A common friend commented on the post asking us whether we wouldn’t have a nice meadow for tenting in our garden. Well, we have, and we even have our own little guest house, that Mark and Corry gladly accepted after they had arrived here yesterday afternoon. Last weekend Svitlanda and Ebbe (almost) came by sailing yacht, now we got our first guests that landed by sea directly at our house. It’s fun to live by the sea!

We had a nice evening together with outdoor cooking over open fire and inspiring conversations yesterday. This morning Corry and Mark continued their sea kayak tour. I had the honour to join them a bit.

At 8:15 we started by setting in the kayaks and paddling south. Since they have inflatable kayaks they have to be more careful of rocks and shallows. So we paddled further away from the coast than I use to do. I got some technique tipps about paddling more effortlessly and I really enjoyed the company.

Anyhow I decided to say farewell after an hour. Mark and Corry started crossing more open water and I wouldn’t dare to return the same route alone. Thanks a lot, Corry and Mark for nice company!

While the adventurers headed for the horizon I circled the island Tarv and slowly headed back. To my amazement the whole tour took only 2½ hours; I’ve miscalculated.

Now I know, that there are many destinations to be discovered by kayak and that they are not far away. It’s fun to live by the sea!

Splendid Sunday sailing

It was last winter that Annika and I met Svitlana and Ebbe first. They were the wardens of the Gåsen mountain cabin in the mountains of Jämtland where we went on a ski tour. When they heard that Annika lived in Umeå they told us of their sailing trips and that they know the boat harbour in Obbola near Umeå.

Five months later. Annika and I have been living together in our freshly bought house in Obbola for three months. We already knew, that Svitlana and Ebbe have been sailing north for some weeks and last Saturday they arrived in the boat harbour Bredvik, just 3½ km away. We could even see their sailing yacht passing by from our house.

We hadn’t any time on Saturday but on Sunday we invited them for breakfast. At the same time, they invited us on a sailing tour which we eagerly accepted. The weather forecast was so-so but in the beginning the sun was shining. As soon Svitlana had motored the yacht out of the harbour Ebbe set the sails and gently we sailed southwards and soon passed our house. I had seen the house from sea before while paddling but it was the first time Annika could see if from this perspective. (And again we agreed in living in an extraordinary beautiful place.)

Then we turned left and sailed a large triangle on the open sea. As a matter of fact it was Svitlana and Ebbe who sailed. We did nothing beside of enjoying.

Already two and a half hours later we arrived at the harbour again but sailing with Svitlana and Ebbe was so fun that it felt like a complete holiday.

Already the day before we had learned a new Swedish verb: att bryggsegla. Literally translated to “to jetty-sail” it means to enjoy being on the moored yacht in the harbour. And we did enjoy both food and company.

Большое спасибо Svitlana, tack så mycket Ebbe for a wonderful day! We’ll meet again!

Photos in the rain

This morning it drizzled and rained and the summer colours seem to have vanished. So I took it a step further and started to take black and white photos today. I was not the only one outside in this weather. Two professional fishermen cruised in the mouth of the river Umeälven in their open boat followed by a flock of seagulls.

This is the beginning of a “rainy weather” black and white series. Let’s see how often I’ll go out and take photos in rain or storm.

And you? Do you like to take photos in bad weather or do you prefer the sun?

 

A kayak course by the Umeå Kanotklubb

It’s the second week of Annika’s (and my) holiday and we are registered for a three-day paddle course which is carried out by the local association Umeå Kanotklubb. Two days we’ll be on the lake Nydalasjön in Umeå to learn the basic technique, the last day we’ll do a tour on the Baltic Sea starting in Holmsund. I’ve been paddling for almost ten years now but never learned any technique, so I was eager to join the course. Annika has paddled only a few times before and was interested in testing paddling before buying a kayak herself.

The first day. While the others sit in very short and agile whitewater kayaks, Annika and I have chosen sea kayaks, which are longer but much less agile. The others have it easier to make turns and bents, we have it easier to paddle straight ahead and are faster, too. In the beginning we learn the basic paddle strokes forward and backward. Part two is to capsize intentionally just to learn the feeling. Do we get wet? No – we are already completely soaked by the heavy rain, that is chattering down from black clouds above us.

The second day – same location as the first one. It’s not about learning something new but more about repeating and deepening the first day’s learnings. We do a short tour to the bridge Kinabron – hardly more than 700 metres away and then we train capsizing again.

Annika and I try kamraträddning – a rescue technique. We test on our own because the instructors are more into whitewater kayaking where you use completely different rescue techniques. While Annika succeeds in rescuing me I do a mistake and her kayak is flooded almost up to the rim within seconds. We do not have a pump with us but luckily we are only ten metres away from shore and can walk the kayak ashore.

Day three – for us the highlight because we want to make kayak tours on the sea and that’s what we do today. Using sea kayaks is quite different from using whitewater kayaks and so we have an additional instructor that tells us everything we need to join today’s tour. After the instruction we carry the boats into the water and start a tour to the island Lill-Haddingen which is 3–4 km away. There we make of course a fika – a break for eating, drinking, resting. The conditions are good. Hardly any waves, hardly any wind. It would have been a really easy tour for Annika and me if we hadn’t chosen a tandem kayak. It is quite challenging to steer together and to always paddle synchronously to avoid our paddle blades colliding. It is fun to test the tandem kayak but we prefer the single ones. After paddling back almost the whole way we are shown kamraträddning – the rescue technique Annika and I tried the day before but we do not train it by ourselves. It has become later than expected when we finish our tour but especially the third day was a fantastic experience. Thank you, Umeå Kanotklubb for the course! We come again when you offer a rescue course.

 

What is a Muurikka?

What’s a Muurikka?

A Muurikka is a Finnish frying pan for use over open fire. It‘s fun and easy to use and the prepared food is very tasty. Annika and I suppose, that the taste is so good because of the “Muurikka spices” (other people would call it soot).

Today we got a Muurikka from two couples of friends as a housewarming gift. We tested it immediately. It was such a great experience sitting on a bench by the fireplace eating the fried vegetables with rice under the blue sky of a warm summer evening. Even the mosquitoes seemed to respect that and stayed away.

Thank you, J. and M., C. and M. for the present. Another good argument to visit us more frequently. And yes – of course – all other friends are warmly welcome, too!

Solstice paddling

A kajak tour through the darkest hour of the shortest night

This night is summer solstice. So it is the shortest night of the year. That means that tonight is one of those nights where there is a sunset and a sunrise but it doesn’t get dark.

The weather was calm and warm, a good opportunity for a short midnight kayak tour. When the clock showed 23:30 I felt actually too tired to paddle, but I was able to pull myself together. And I am glad, that I did. It’s always pleasant to be outdoors and the colours of the first half of the tour were incredible.

When I started to circle the island Bredskär the light of sky and clouds became magic. Yes, I do like polar lights but the beauty of the translucent clouds lit by the invisible sun was at least of the same value.

I moored my kayak at a tiny beach on Bredskär and took a photo in the darkest minutes of the night.

Then I continued to circle the island. Now I had to concentrate on the waves and didn’t take any photos until I reached the sound between island and mainland where the sea was calm again. I moored my kayak another time – same island, but the other side. A nice place, but the magic of the light has vanished.

After some photos I entered the kayak and continued my short trip. The small promontory that is visible from our house was already in view and soon I arrived in the tiny, shallow nameless bay.

Home again!

 

Midsummer flowers 2020

All of these flowers – and a few more – bloom in our garden. I am way too lazy to look up all the names of the flowers. You are welcome to do it by your own.

Glad midsommar – happy midsummer!