• Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Life | Work in progress

    The original purpose of this blog was to document and share my journey as a soul-searcher. I think the main reason I haven’t done that lately (apart from the fact that our internet situation is still kind of a non-situation and I haven’t felt like staying at the office just so that I can spend more time by the computer) is that some things are still too new and fragile to share yet. I need to manifest and live them before I can share them. Does that make sense?

    But spiritual growth for me is nothing separate from physical growth, and I see our garden as a big part of what I want to accomplish in this life. So lately I have been thinking that I want to document that part more, even if it’s just to be able to see how things evolve from one year to the next.

    Last year, our first, felt like a struggle. I was working full-time, and often felt too exhausted to want to o anything at all after work. We picked the heaviest, most clayey spot on our entire land to grow vegetables on, and nothing much grew besides potatoes. This year we’re only growing potatoes on it – and we dug out another bed (much better soil) where we grow other veggies.

    We built a greenhouse last year, and the tomatoes and squash grew into a jungle. The cucumbers died, we watered them with cold water. I made tomato chutney and jam, and lots of squash cheesecake. At the end of the season I got hold of another (a „real“ greenhouse) through the Swedish equivalent to craigslist. The previous owners sold it for next to nothing because a storm had destroyed a lot of the glass. So this year we have two green-houses.

    The tomatoes I pre-grew all died because I didn’t think to harden them before planting them into the green-house. Luckily, a much more experienced gardening-enthusiast down the street sold their excess tomato plants. That way I even got hold of a couple of exotic specimens they had brought home from a vacation. No suqash this year, I simply forgot to pre-grow it. Cucumbers, though, and melons!

    We have been talking about chickens, too. Haven’t gotten further than getting books from the library, though. That’s one of the things that I like about gardening (besides lovely „free“, organic food): there will always be another chance, another spring, another summer, more time to grow.

  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Northern gardening lesson #1: Pregrow everything

    This is my second year growing stuff on actual soil, not just a balcony and a kitchen window sill. Last year’s lesson: pregrow EVERYTHING. I learned that one by not pregrowing anything except for tomatoes. And those still didn’t ripen fast enough before it got too cold. In my defense, we talked to our neighbors before getting started, and they all said that they never pregrow anything, they plant right in the soil. The rule of thumb up here is not to plant before the summer solstice (21 June), since it can still get below freezing before that (doesn’t happen often but still). That’s cold, man! And obviously summer doesn’t last longer around here just because it starts late, so … you get the picture.

    I label the seedbeds with washi tape. I’m even smart enough to mark the seedbed AND the lid, since, you know, you can put the lid on two ways but that don’t mean the seeds switch place, too …

    So yesterday I planted 192 plus seeds – melon, cucumber, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, egg plants, the works. Excited to see what lessons this year has in store for me. If I had to guess now it could be: don’t let your cats use the land you want to grow food on as a litter box during the winter if you don’t want them to do their business there during the summer … But hey, I might be wrong.

  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Harvest

    When  I was growing tomatoes on the balcony of our apartment in Gothenburg, I decided that I would call it a success if I could get just one tomato out of it. I even insisted on taking the plants with us when we moved. They survived, and we got more than one tomato (not a lot more but hey). So I tried to approach this first year growing on our land with a similar attitude: I wanted to be happy with whatever we’d get, and take it as a sort of reference point for next year.

    Our first greenhouse

    It’s a jungle in there …

    I am actually really pleased with the result, all things considered, and amazed by how much you get, even when you don’t put a lot of work into it, or sometimes not even any work at all. Like with all the lingon and rowan berries we picked and made jam from, or the two (!?) apple trees that produced so many apples this year that we couldn’t even process all of them.

    left to right: potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli & cauliflower
    Rönnbär – rowan berries – Vogelbeeren
    Lingon – Preiselbeeren

    I am beginning to suspect that this notion of scarcity is something less natural than I have been led to believe, maybe a result of the food industry as it is today. It seems to me that the natural state really is abundance. It might take me some time to get used to that, at this point I am pretty still mourning every single apple that’s lying on the ground, not being made into jam, sauce or chips …

  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Let it grow

    It has been quiet around here, I know. I think our slow internet connection at home is the main reason, but also I went through a rough patch where I didn’t feel like I had anything to share here. Things have turned around faster than I could have imagined, and I am feeling inspired and determined to breathe some life back into this blog.

    We finally finished building our greenhouse last week (no pix yet), and sowed a bunch of vegetables on the patch of land Peter has been preparing – with more help from his family than from me, ehem. I blame the long office days due to the commute … so, thanks Birgitta, Stefan and Felix! The patch shrank somewhat from our original megalomaniac outline when we had to face the reality of the hard physical labor involved when preparing the soil … Pix soon to come.

    Also, I seem to have found the holy grail (yup, once again) when it comes to health/nutrition. It comes in the form of two books (by the same genius authors, Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon), namely Nourishing Traditions and Eat Fat, Lose Fat. I know, the latter sounds like it’s just another dieting book but it is really more about health in general than (just) weight loss. Hopefully I can keep the momentum, and write an entry just about those (which is the least they deserve).

    What would a post be without some pix? Exactly.

    In May …

    … I was at a wedding in Germany,
    *
    I bought mint at a Thai food store. The branches will grow new roots if you put them into water. After a while you can plant the mint – like so.
    A friend gave me the tip to pre-grow tomatoes in milk cartons. One can just cut those open when it’s time to plant them in the greenhouse. Since we get our milk from the local farm, I had my colleagues collect the milk cartons in the kitchen at work. Thanks guys!
    … we had our first breakfast outside. Usually the spot by the barn is best for dinner, since that’s where the sun is going towards the evening.
    There’s fish in the little creek going through our land!

     

    In June …

    … Peter’s nephew turned five.
    He’s into chocolate cake and ninja turtles.
    We got him this.
    *
    These belong to Peter’s niece, and they reminded me of a project I had waiting in a drawer at home …
    Finished those yesterday.
    Very happy with the result. Don’t even care that I am being mocked with comments about circuses coming to town …
    *
    Lupines everywhere! Love them.
    *

     

  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Castration, crafts, and germination

    Totally not motivated to sit at office any longer on a Saturday afternoon, even less motivated after discovery that cute cat pictures still on camera, not computer. No other recent pictures, so words only. Bear with me (hate blog posts without pix, worse than posts with only cute animal pix).

    Writing about cute animals instead. Cats, ours. Minus one penis, luckily not holding a grudge – phew! Enough about cute cats.

    Officially a member of Stöde Form now (only took 6 months, not due to elaborate application process but to simple procrastination process). Working at the store/café once a week and getting lots of tips and inspiration on gardening and mushroom picking. Great stuff!

    Purchased seed starting set. Want tomatoes and peppers, need greenhouse, though. Planning on planting tomato and pepper seeds tomorrow as motivation to build greenhouse.

    There. Update in 150 words or less.

  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Göteborg

    Indestructible | Plant life

    The deal with the house has felt so right and so real the whole time to me that making the down-payment (this past Monday) doesn’t even seem like that big of a milestone. The house has felt like ours the whole time.

    Not even the fact that we’re still waiting for an appointment with a chimney sweeper (who, we hope, will tell us that everything is OK because otherwise things could suddenly take a turn towards pretty pricey …) can change that. Like I’ve been saying: I have come to the conclusion that I’d rather be excited about things than worried even if not everything is settled yet. If everything works out, then great – I did not waste any time worrying. If things don’t work out – then at least I had those moments of excitement and happiness. Anything can change at any time anyway, so.

    The plants in our apartment, which we once again abandoned for a trip up north, remind me how powerful and amazing life is. If these little guys can bounce back like that, so can I if for some reason things with this house don’t turn out as I imagine …

    Tuesday night …

    … this morning (Thursday).

    They actually looked a lot better already a few minutes after watering them.

    I just didn’t really bother to take any more pictures until this morning.

    ***

    If I can just get one tomato from these I’ll be happy.

    ***

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    Yes, that is a plant pot with the O’boy logo painted on. Don’t ask.

    ***

    More like mourning glory …

    … morning glory!

  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Göteborg

    Let it grow

    Our little oasis.

    While we are spending more and more time dreaming about our new home, and especially the prospect of being closer to nature, we still do enjoy our balcony. Especially now that the plants are growing more and more, and you can see a change every day.

    The nasturtium is blossoming, …
    … the morning glory is spiraling its way up along the string I put up, …

    … and I wonder how far they will make it until it is time for us to pack.

    We’re not there yet, though, so in the meantime …

    … we make the best of it. Like delicious, colorful salads.
    The blossom came from our own nasturtium, the little flowery sprinkles you see are an herb mixture by Sonnentor. Love!
    Even when it’s hot outside, I like to drink my „lupin latte“ – also with sprinkles from Sonnentor (Flower Power). I guess that’s what the Swedes call „Adding a gold rim to the everyday“.
  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Göteborg

    The great indoors

    Basilicious

    While I have been dreaming of the real deal, these little guys here on our window sill and dining table have plotted a plan to take over the kitchen. Looks like they’re succeeding, too.

    ***
    To think that an itty-bitty little seed i put into the soil would grow into something like this!
    Yeah, I know: should have gotten some sticks or something to tie these puppies to so they’d grow nice and straight up. They seem to manage though.
    Since we had a really long winter this year, I was late prepping. They’re only blossoming just now but I haven’t given up hoping they might turn into tomatoes before the end of the season …
    Read that planting tomatoes and basil together makes for a good combination, they complement each other or something. Well, They’re not technically planted together but this is working out just fine, don’t you think?
    I smell pesto!
  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Göteborg

    Midsommar

    So much is going on, and frankly I feel like I am going to burst if I can’t tell you soon. There’s just a few people I’d like to tell in person before I put it up here – and also, everything isn’t quite settled yet, so it’ll have to wait a little longer.

    What I can write about, though, and post a few pix of is Midsommar (summer solstice), and our visit to Peter’s family in Sundsvall. Not too many, I’m afraid, since I took mostly pix of people and as you might have figured out by now, I am not too much into putting those on public display. Anyway.

    Peter’s family had rented a house in Dalarna where we all met. I don’t think it gets any more Swedish than spending Midsommar there. It was beautiful, even the weather was mostly great.

    We went to a local bear park with leopards, and tigers, and bears – oh my!

    Neat to see these beasts without having to worry about getting eaten. But I always feel bad for these guys, and a little guilty for going to these kind of places …

    We checked out a waterfall called Storstupet. On our way further north, Peter and I stopped to see a second, even bigger waterfall, called Helvetets vattenfall (hell’s waterfall). It was amazing – and I was camera-less, sorry.

    One of the things we did in Sundsvall was visit Peter’s mom’s cousin, who lived in a really nice house with a gorgeous view of a nearby lake.

    She had an adorable nine-week old cat that  just looked like a black blur in every single pic I took (didn’t want to freak him out with the camera flash). I managed to get a pic of the dog, though.

    And there were lupins everywhere on the side of the roads.

    Incidentally, I have been „addicted“ to lupin coffee ever since I discovered it at my sister’s (she bought it because it’s caffeine- and gluten-free, thought it tasted awful and gave it to me – thanks, sis!). I wonder if I could make some myself …

    Not finding any recipes so far, but some interesting articles:

    About the lupin bean

    A Modern Herbal on Lupins

    Funny: one of my thoughts when seeing these flowers way up there in the north was that they reminded me of the Mediterranean region – without having any recollection of having seen them anywhere I’ve been there. According to these articles, they do have their origin there.

    Anyone know how to make lupin coffee? Lemme know, please!