Sep 20, 2009

Super Summer!

This summer we had so many wonderful things happen.  Here are just a few of them....
Manny graduated from high school in Sollefteå.  Elli was here visiting so she, Papa, Gustav and I all went.  It  was a wonderful day and we loved to see Manny all decked out in one of Papa's suits from the 70' fit him beautifully and he looked terrific! The sailor hat is the traditional Swedish headgear for the a mortarboard would be.  Manny also got his drivers license which was quite a feat.  You must be eighteen to drive in Sweden and also complete a separate roadtest for winter driving conditions.  Manny passed with flying colors!

Great going Manny!  We are so proud of your accomplishments. 

Hans has been making the most beautiful cheeses in our dairy on the farm since the cows went out in the Spring. When it came time for the village market in Junsele we set up a booth.  The backdrop was a large picture of our farm from the 50's in black and white.  In front was a table where we had samples of our cheeses, homemade butter and crispbreads. Then there was a cooling case of the products so people could choose what they liked.  It was lovely to wear the Edhegård linen dress and the Junsele scarf and Angermanland apron.  Gustav wore his white linen shirt and looked positively handsome.  I wondered how it would be since my Swedish isn't super good, but it was fine. We loved visiting with the people who came by and even met a young man who had been an exchange student in Cache Valley!  So fun.

     We had kids come to the farm from our Branch of the Church in Örnsköldsvik and also some friends of Manny and Gustav's from Southern Sweden.  We had youth from Africa, Cambodia and Sweden. They were good sports and had a great experience living on the farm.  This is Rasmus Bergström and Gustav after a hard day of chalking the small animal barn.  They lived through it and the barn was pristine when they were finished.  It was gleaming white. Chalking the barn keeps the insects away so the animals are more comfortable.  It looks wonderfully clean and bright.  Hooray for a good job done guys!

Processing the garden produce to put in the root cellar or freezer was a whole new experience this year when Hans thought of bringing out the butchering table and putting it by the pump house.  It was such a great idea. We had a fabulous work surface, running water, and best of all... THE MESS STAYED OUTSIDE!  Here is how it looked when we were doing some of the first loads of the spinach.  We couldn't believe how much easier it was to do it this way and the clean up was a snap. It will be good to see how it works with the carrots, turnips, parsnips,  etc. later in the Fall. Even the dreaded rhubarb went lightening fast from bush to bag, then into the freezer until it is time to make it into the fruit drink syrup called saft. 

   "When you live on the farm, you eat from the farm".  That is what the older people say here in  Eden.  It's been fun to see how well we can make the transition to more natural foods without preservatives. (Goodbye butter flavored Crisco...). I learned how to make a super flaky piecrust from half pure butter that we made from our own cream and half lard that we rendered out from our own pork last year. It was so interesting to work with the dough...I had to be quicker than usual and also lighter handed.  The dough had to be chilled thoroughly before rolling it out.  But in the end result, it was so flaky and flavorful that we all loved it.  I used to read recipes for piecrust that people had sent in and often it would say something like, "This is my grandmother's recipe.  Of course she always swore by lard.....".  And now I know why.  The taste was out of this world.  This was a beef and onion pie we had for dinner.

One of the things I love about our home is that there are so many windows on every side.  I experimented this summer to see which plants would do well on the north, south, east and west exposures.  We had great success and especially loved having the beauty of the living plants in the windows.  We will see how it goes when the colder weather comes and the daylight diminishes.  But we are on our third bloom cycle with some of them and they are all still going strong. 

The yellow begonia is in a north window in the kitchen, the pink geranium in a south window in the dining room (we have red ones in the south windows of the tv room), and the kalanchoe in both east and west windows in the dining room and tv room. You can see some of the new calves from this Spring walking by the dining room windows on their way to the feeding station. Hans says that this is the first time we have had living plants in the windows that have done well, so that was a nice thing to accomplish.
I will have to see what we can do when the Christmas flowers are in the windows.  I may be able to move these to some other locations upstairs or even in the basement if I can get the right exposure for them.  This has been the wettest summer on record in Sweden for fifty years, and that means there has not been a lot of sun, so we were thrilled to have these beauties do so well. All were smallish plants when we got them, and now they are Ramar of the Jungle!