One of Jeppes old friends has 8 children and a recording studio in the outskirts of the Motherland. Being self sufficient is not so much a lifestyle choice as it is a necessity. A while back she sent us seeds. Special seeds. Seeds she had gotten her hands on. Like the “Subarctic Plenty” tomatoseeds. Apparently they stem from the military base in Thule, Greenland.
I love that people like her still exists and I love this gift economy that we have more or less consciously entered. There´s a subculture of people, there´s a parallel world, I´ve been telling you for years now!
Today the Subarctic Plenty began to sprout. Three of them. I suspect the rest will follow shortly. So to me this is an important day. This is the beginning of the seasson- never mind the minus 20 and the “covered in snow”.
These are the first sprouts!
Normally I would never leave the soil open like this, like a wound. Normally I would protect the soil by adding grass thus both allowing the soil to keep moist and increasing the temperature/protecting the seedlings. But the grass is not really available right now.
Last year I did hugelkultur window farming and it works really well just don´t plant thyme and rosemary in a wet bed (like I did) and know that ants like moist forest material (ants can be pretty good as a pest control though)
I´m still experimenting with the window farming not only because it´s cool but because i´m concerned about the short growing season in this climate. Window farming seems to hold some potential for not only expanding the season but also provide us with green during the white.
Cutting up milk cartons and using them as planters works very well. This year I´m feeling particularly artsy so I wrapped the cartons in shiny pages from a second hand magazine.
I´m also always reusing the scrap roots from celery, lettuce, leeks and such. Just soak the cuttings in water for some days and plant them you´ll be surprised how many times you can regrow the same vegetable.
They´re the surest sign of spring.
Other sign exists though.
Like the sound of chain saws.
See, the first thing you need to do in the spring- before doing anything else- is to secure the firewood for next winter (the firewood needs to dry all through summer)
I like that you need to begin the season by preparing for the end of the season. There´s a kind of cycle in that and it makes sense.
You need firewood and you can never get enough. Being that the majority of Swedes (in the area) heat their houses with firewood the sound of distant, distant chainsaws is a sign of spring.
Our chainsaw broke down more than half a year ago and it was a big catastrophe. We havn´t had the money to buy a new but Jeppe came up with a business idea and he actually sold the prototype- for a chainsaw.
It´s a mofo badass chainsaw and the man is happy.
He´s outside most of the days, opening the forest, securing the firewood and the building material for the projects we need to finish this season (a sauna/a heated green house/ a henhouse/ a workshop… combined)
I´m outside too. Spending time in the forest has awakened me from this weird hibernation cabin fever state of mind I was in.
I´m tingeling. I´m quivering.
I´m an animal. Eyes alert, my hearing has improved, I sense my surroundings again and it makes me so profoundly happy in ways I cannot ever describe. The wind in my face, the smell of trees and the way the pine and spruce needles give me acupuncture when I cut the branches off the trees.
The birds. The birds are a very sure sign of spring. I´ve seen the raven again, it lives around here, it used to fly around above our cabin but during hard winter I never saw it but then again… I didn´t spend a lot of time outside. I was a bear.
I hear the eagle almost every day. The woodpecker. All the small birds flocks around our house because I feed them… in the humble wish that they will eat the mosquitos come summer.
The fox runs back and forth between the forest and our compost (yeah, I need to fix that, the compost). And the light. Oh, the light! The way the sun warms up certain spots until the snow melts and you can see the moss and the grass underneath. And when you sit in the window, legs hanging out on the other side… the way the sun heats up the cabin logs and the dry smell they deliver as you sit there, soaking up the sun.
Yeah. It´s spring all right.
I don´t care what they say (like “there´s a giant snowstorm heading your way, prepare and secure your house”)
The Subarctic Plenty is sprouting and the world has come alive. I sense it.
A few minutes ago I stepped outside to pee. The chilly night air, the depth in the dark, the stars and clear crisps noises. I´m alive!
The feeling you get inside… that´s the surest sign of spring. Because the inner world and the outer world is really not all that seperated. We just forgot.