September 2010


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I spend quite a lot of time in Southern Sweden in a small 300 year old house. All

around me are fields and trees, trees and, erm, trees. Well there were lots of trees. Apparently the Swedish Government have given permission for logging companies to go ahead and cut down whatever they want to. Originally it was cut a tree down you replace it with another, but it seems that’s gone out of the window, around here anyway.

On the way to the next village which is 3 kilometres away there are swathes of trees from pine to silver birch. As you can see form the first 2 pictures it’s very thick which is a haven for all kinds of wildlife. It was here last year that we saw a Ural Owl by the side of the road scavenging. That owl was huge and wonderful but it wouldn’t hang around while we took a picture.

Now on the other side of the road:

It seems they have cut down MOST of the pine trees and left some of the silver birch standing, BUT also cut down lots of smaller trees.

It really is sad to see all those magnificent trees cut down and taken away on those large logging trucks. They seem to work day & night too which is a nuisance when you are trying to sleep.

It’s not just this area where they are cutting down the trees. All over this area they are going into once wonderful forests and cutting them down. They seem to cut from the inside out, maybe that’s just me though.

Today I was checking my Twitter account (@SensibleLiving) and someone I follow posted a link to a website that is trying to get Europe to STOP this ILLEGAL logging. @stephenfry the wonderful comedian, philosopher and general wonderful man posted this link on Twitter:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_trees_not_tricks/?vl

PLEASE follow this link and fill out the form. It only takes a few seconds BUT could make our Governments take notice and action against these Governments which are ILLEGALLY cutting down our beautiful forests for their gains.

Do you really want to go from this:

To this:

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I am fortunate enough to live in an area where there are a few lakes nearby. Actually you aren’t far from a lake no matter where you are in Sweden.

1 lake in particular is called the Övden. Its a small lake when you compare it to the likes of the Åsnen which is also nearby and a quite impressive 150 kilometres long.

Nevertheless its a popular lake with locals and visitors alike but at one time it was a hidden gem with only the locals and a few curious holiday makers who stumbled on it. The lake itself is situated just of the 126 road just past Lönashult. To get to it you have to drive down a 1 kilometre road which is only wide enough for 1 car most of the time. All along the road are pine and silver birch trees lining the road and you get the sense you are driving into a large forest and can be a little intimidating. At the end the road opens up and you are presented with a glimpse of the lake in front of you and a rather large car park.

As I said Övden was once a hidden gem around these parts but now during the summer there are lots of tourists from Denmark, Germany and other parts of Sweden, all clambering to get the best spot so they can sunbathe after taking a dip in the rather warm water. We love to come here as well and soak up the warm summer sun and get our feet wet. Well actually I don’t always go for a swim. Why? Well I like to sit and watch the world go by, write and maybe read while the boss swims.

In summer there’s a jetty which allows swimmers to go quite far into the water before jumping into the water. Diving in isn’t recommended in any lake in Sweden as underneath the water lies hidden obstacles. I am talking about stones and large ones too that have been left over from the last ice age. It seems Sweden was a dumping ground for these rocks as the ice age slowly moved Northwards. They are everywhere, even in the farmers fields and my garden.

And yes there’s also a small beach which is a firm favourite with kids.

There are some amenities too including a toilet which doubles as a changing room, and a BBQ area. The BBQ is popular with the local kids around here and during summer they like to have BBQ’s and drink a few tinnies. Of Coke and Fanta not alcohol, this is Sweden after all!

Don’t expect the loo to be comfortable with soft clean towels. Instead it’s a portaloo inside a wooden shed but Hey! Most places in Britain don’t offer you a rock to sit on!

There was once a phone but it seems it doesn’t work anymore. Actually it’s been removed but they left the box.

 

 

 

 

 

I love coming here around this time of year, early autumn. It’s peaceful and calm with only a few birds making a noise. I love to walk through the woods that surround the lake and take pictures with my trusty Kodak Z730. Also at this time of year there are lots of mushrooms and toadstools growing and I love to take pics of them, but I will post that another time.

 

 

 

 

One thing that could be a problem when I go traipsing off into the woods, hunters. I don’t want to get shot by some half a sleep hunter who thinks I am worth shooting! I always think of the film Hot Shots! and the hunter scene!!

 

Soon the lake will be frozen and snow will lie all around as another Scandinavian winter arrives. But until then I am going out and enjoying the early autumn. It truly is a wonderful and magical time of year.

If, like me you live in the middle of nowhere with the nearest shop being 3 kilometres away and only open during certain times of the day, you realise the benefit of making your own things like bread, cakes and biscuits. Now I love “proper” bread or cakes and biscuits brought from the shop or supermarket but I also love to bake them too. The smell of fresh baked bread wafting through the house is a wonderful smell and gets the taste buds working overtime I can assure you. But sometimes I get fed up of making the dough and leaving it somewhere warm to rise and then to knead it and go through the whole rigmarole again and again, so I make some little biscuits that are easy to make, have no yeast in them and you don’t need to let the dough rise either.

Ingredients

Method

  1. Put the oven on 200C or gas mark 6.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder and margarine in a mixing bowl and mix until the texture is like breadcrumbs. You might want to use a mixer for this, I do.
  3. Slowly add the milk as you mix until the dough starts to clump together. If you use too much milk just add more flour.
  4. Take a 6 hole patty tin and grease the holes if needed. I use one which is silicon so I don’t need to grease them.
  5. Take some of the mixture and squeeze together to make small balls, a bit smaller than a tennis ball. Simply plop them into the patty tin then bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until they are brown.

One good thing with these small rolls is that you can add things to them. I have added garlic, onions, peppers and cheese in the past. All you do is add the extra ingredients before you add the milk. As for how much, well that’s up to you, I usually make a handful and add it but you can use more or less.

One thing is certain though: They taste stunning and are a great “alternative” to bread when you just can’t be bothered. In fact they are wonderful even if you can be bothered! In fact if you are having a chilli or bolognaise then these are perfect “on the side”.”

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