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People often ask med “So tell me… how is a typical day at your house?” and then they want me to walk them through the day from dawn to dusk, hand in hand.

I often have a hard time answering the question because the days are seldom typical and furthermore absolutely coloured by the seasons, in the wintertime a typical day is one way, in the summertime a typical day is another.

Today I decided to document at typical summer day in our life (for my instagram profile).
As a writer I have been wanting to write a novel in “live time” for a long time (actually I consider my books kind of screenshots of reality, they are always PROCESS, they are never DONE, I´m not the same person anymore as I was when I wrote my first book). It fascinated me to try to experiment with this feeling of “live storytelling”.
If you were one of the people following me on instagram today I´d like to hear about the experience, also compared to the experience of reading the day as a blogpost (below)

Well. Enough about the words. Here´s me.
Since my camera broke the other day (seriously! This life and electronics!) I rely on this used iphone a kind friend gave us a while ago.

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I wake up before Jeppe and Sigurd.
I make my freedom coffee and I go drink it outside.
Today I spent a good time in the hammock whilst listening to two squirrels running around (arguing, fighting, mating)

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The others wake up. I make breakfast for us. It´s almost always the same, no matter the season

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Then it´s time for the daily chores.
Jeppe go feed the animals, fetch water from the well, he empties the bucket underneath the sink. I wash the floor-that-never-gets-clean (because we go in and go out of the house so many times during the day)

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And do the dishes, done!

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Then me and Sigurd went to pick chamomile because it´s ready now, we pick a little bit each day (important for winter tea!)

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And then nettle seeds (can be used kind of like chia seeds, I use them in bread (but beware, they affect consistency) and in salads and stews and stuff.

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Lunch is almost always the main dish during the summer days

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We call this “home school” (he learns a lot about numbers and quantities playing this game)

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We always have a solid break around lunch. Coffee and blueberrymuffins

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Then off to work again

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It is blueberry season. We´d like to collect around two kilos each day.

Today we went to a place we call Caribbean Bay to combine the berry picking with the weekly bath, this is our summer bathroom

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Picking berries, picking berries, later another resident of the forest (author Maja Elverkilde and her son) had the same idea, today was a good day for a bath. So they arrive and we hang out.
A lot of blueberrypicking took place before this picture was taken

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Then home. Some of the blueberries goes into the romtopf, others go on the drier whilst a lot is saved for tomorrows big marmelademaking day. We dry the berries (and the chamomile and the nettle seeds) on this construction placed above the wood burning stoves

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For dinner we just eat boiled eggs, carrots and peas picked fresh from the garden and then we hang out for a while around the camp fire

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We had marshmallows for dessert. We just did.

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I spend my evenings on this fur, writing, thinking and when it gets dark we go inside, it´s dark now, so we´re inside and I told you, didn´t I, I could instagram the fuck out of this life if I wanted to (but I didn´t want to because I thought it was important to acknowledge the pain and the sorrow too) (and the granate shock of changing reality as one does when one decides to run into the wild) smiley, heart!

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27 comments on “A typical day

  1. BeeHappee says:

    Well this is neat even though I don’t know what intstagram and romtopf is. 🙂
    I envy all your wild blueberries, we can only buy wild ones imported from Canada here and those are our favorites others grown here are not real blueberries. We used to take train to Belorussia and pick wild blueberries in the woods. Sitting with many many grandma’s with colorful scarves and full buckets of berries on a train.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. holy cow I wish I could have a picture of those babushkas on the train. Our culture is generally quite somber leftover from the day of puritans and calvinists and such. Other cultures are so colorful and I like that. Some people today are getting over the somber mindset. Some people are strutting their stuff. Piercing. Tattooing. Dyeing. I like that. (even though I don’t do it. Too expensive.)

      I don’t know what instagram or romtopf is either.

      This day of yours sounds lovely. It sounds like mine (get up, drink tea, feed the animals, water the garden, harvest fruit and vegs, make meals, go for a walk in the wild, take a trip into town to get the (something) fixed). I know you will record something else that happens each day. You have recorded it before. That is fear or uncertainty and dealing with it in the best way you (we) can.

      My cat stretches nearby. He has no immediate fear.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. What a wonderful image (grandma´s, scarves and blueberries). Romtopf (I´m not even sure I spell it right) is a giant jar- you place your berries in it continuosuly through the summer, cover them with rum – super way to preserve the berries! 🙂

      Like

      1. BeeHappee says:

        🙂 Oh, romtopf explains all your happiness. You got me, I am off to hunt for ingredients now.

        Babushkas with scarves, well actually your images from the woods, Andrea, brought back some cool memories that I had forgotten. Russians built this railroad that would take us 4 hours on the train to go 50 miles from my grandma to the capital, because they decided to lay the tracks out of the country and through Belorussia woods, so babushkas with chantrelles, blueberries, cranberries, lingonberries etc would be able to get into the city to sell them. So we’d sit on these wooden worm benches on the train – or stick out heads out the windows to watch Belorussian huts and cows passing in the pastures – back when you could stick half your body out the train window and windows use to lower down. Russian guys playing cards n the train, like Thunderboy. 🙂 Babushkas talking in three different languages.
        Somehow these instagram pictures of yours bring back smells and memories of those woods. Thank you!

        Like

      2. Oh, of course! Rum Top!

        Like

  2. nicoleaugust says:

    When people find out we homeschool, we also get questioned about “what do you do all day ?!”. I can never think of a good short answer except ” we live”. Blueberry country is a few hours drive north of us in this part of Canada, so we have to make do with the cultivated kind. Maybe it would be easier to get my kids to take a bath if we had a lake :). Hope your good weather continues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BeeHappee says:

      Nicole, I feel like giving myself a medal, I was able to bathe my 4 yr old last night, first time in 6 weeks probably if not longer. 🙂 When I tell him he should take a bath, and his sister warns him he will soon have bugs crawling on him, his theory is: “I have a special body, when I see creatures crawling on me, I just shake them off.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. nicoleaugust says:

        That’s a good line about the bugs ! I’ve got to young teenagers who are still coming up with excuses :0 ! We should all be bush hermits I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Martin says:

      Is there not a school i a town near by the kids can use?

      Like

  3. Tricia says:

    You live a life that I want to live. It looks so beautiful and alive, everything alive. What is there to do in block houses? Consume and entertain yourself, and that’s what people do. But in nature, you’re alive. Thanks….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chris says:

    Moses supposes his toses are roses but Moses supposes eroniously 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ncfarmchick says:

    Looks a lot like one of our days, too, this time of year if you change blueberries to blackberries and grapes. A couple of my cousins are visiting now on their way home from the coast. They live in a pretty big city but are outdoorsman (in a city kind of way.) After supper, we watched a doe, her twin fawns and her yearling buck graze behind the house while the light began to fade. My cousins were quiet a moment and said, “Yeah, I can see why you have no interest in TV.” My husband calls it the Nature Channel and will sometimes look out the window and say, “Oh, I’ve seen this episode. It’s a good one.” Tricia, I love your comment above. Alive is just the word for how we want to feel – the whole range of emotions and experiences in this life. Not removed from our human origins but right in the whole dirtiness of it. I sleep better with a little dirt under my nails, I think (or blackberry-stained fingers!) Love the pictures and, while I have heard of instagram (but not looked at it), have never heard of romtopf. A good thing, maybe?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love that you say outdoorsman “in a city kind of way” because I know EXACTLY what you mean 🙂

      Like

  6. Lin Johansson says:

    Hej hej! What is your Instagram handle? I can’t find you.
    Blueberry season is both wonderful and laborious….but, like with the holy chanterelles, totally worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here I am: https://instagram.com/andreahejlskov/
      (getting ready for chantarelle season but it´s not looking too bright with the chanterelles this year, last year was an amazing mushroom year this year is a berry year I suspect) 🙂

      Like

  7. I follow you on IG and I love to see your pictures in my feed, BUT it feels more intimate to read your blog with all your thoughts attached to those pictures, then seeing them passing through the IG feed 🙂 I hope it makes sense. I feel – as a reader – that a blog is so much more. IG is just a quick glimpse and then I’ll forget all about it. I have to put more effort in to follow your blog, than just push like at make a smiley in the comments.

    Christina

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear andrea
    This is going to sound priggish, but I feel too great a contradiction between my values and these artifacts of contemporary culture such as instagram, to partake of them. to me they are part of the problem, although I realize I might be “cutting off my nose to spite my face.”
    You have managed to rationalize this disjunct: your need to leave–what horrified you about contemporary Denmark–and the life you are carving out for yourself and your family in ” the forest.” would love to read more from you about how you view these conflicting ironies.
    One of the very real trends in my country is that Americans are becoming functionally illiterate. Reading and vocabulary skills are not very well taught, and plus, so much is presented through the visual cortex that other functions atrophy. (And of course, visual imagery, with it’s immediacy, is a great tool of propaganda.)
    All best,
    ~ abigail

    Like

    1. Chris says:

      TWEET DU JOUR — @HillaryClinton: “How does your student loan debt make you feel? Tell us in 3 emojis or less.”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Tina says:

      I know what you mean but I see no contradictions. Instagram, blogs, internet. It’s just communication. I really like that Andrea is using modern ways of communicating. She is living in the wood, not the stone age 😊.
      I know there are problems with datamining etc. It’s impossible to live a ‘pure’ life no matter what we do. I could not imagine living without the internet. I love the internet, it’s like living in a giant library – knowledge and inspiration ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Dear Abigail.
      You comments are always really thoughful and respectful so never hesitate to ask me- anything!
      Here´s what I think:

      1. I don´t think technology is the problem. I think we have developed a strange seperation between “nature” and “normal life” meaning that technology and nature have become some sort of dark matter/light matter to each other and I think that distinction is false.
      I had it myself though, so I´m not saying that people are stupid or anything, it´s just layered into our culture that we somehow detest technology while at the same time becoming more and more dependent on it- a grand self loathing thus follows.
      The root of this problem is the DISTINCTION.
      WHY should life in nature be a life without technology? What is it about technology that dosn´t fit in out here and what is it about nature that makes us something think it is something pure and untouched?

      I think our relationship to technology in this culture is very strange, skizofrenic at best.

      2. The conflict irony in leaving society because it horrified us whilst at the same time interacting, communicating and in some way being dependent on society….

      Again: in my minds eye a false distinction buildt upon the misunderstanding that contemporary society is the BASIS for our communications, interactions and dependencies, our whole reality. It is not. Our contemporary society is a MODEL and it is not LIFE itself.

      I am dependend on communicating because I am an author. Being an author makes me dependent, I realize this but I also depend on (some) money and on some of the infrastructure of modern society.
      I think the problem is one of absolutism and in a way dogmatism: it´s the EITHER/OR that is the problem.

      I feel we – as a society- need to experiement and explore alternatives to the contemporary model and I think a lot of us wilderness/off grid/permaculture/selfsufficient bloggers are doing relevant work for society as such- we point our fingers at weak spots in this model, we try and see if we can integrate things instead of polarising… I don´t know. I hope it makes some sense what I´m saying, I´m really tired right now, sorry.

      Yeah. What I mean to say is: in the beginning I was an either/or person myself. I cried “NOT IN MY NAME” at society and then I left, ran, into the wilderness – but out here I realized how much society is in my head, in my values, the way I raise my children ect and I also realized that nature was not at all what I thought it was like.
      I don´t think nature is harmonious nor good nor pure and so on. It just IS.
      Life just IS.
      You make it work.
      That´s what humans do. I´m trying to make it work and since I am a) an author who needs to communicate and b) depend on my “social media presence” (because that´s how I get speaking gigs and ask people to support me… ahem: https://www.patreon.com/andreahejlskov
      … because of all of that I am now on instagram and going full retard over on facebook, there´s a backstory (about my other books and my whole author identity and my general work) but I´m saving that for another day.

      All the best, hugs, good karma and thank you- everyone- for following our adventures here on the blog (my favorite medium)

      Heart,
      Andrea

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Abigail Higgins says:

    dear andrea
    thank you for your response.
    it is quite how i thought you might reply, and fits so well my image of you as one who is often wild and furious (“all or nothing”), but who is also analytical and knows how to use her head.
    we are fortunate that you are baring your thought and heart to us and enabling the discussion. it is likely that all of us who follow your posts are struggling with this balance, in one way or another.
    all best,
    ~ a

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Benedikte Exner says:

      yes, i also struggle with with this balance in some and other ways
      thank you all for this decent and respectful dialog

      Like

  10. Olive says:

    I agree with finding the balance……using what is good or useful, getting away from that dichotomy. I used to think this way too. Guess what? My kids have unlimited access to sugar, tv, ipad, etc…..and they often choose (prefer) reading, walking, painting, sketching, playing guitar, harvesting food, petting cats, farm chores……..we lived in one of the most crowded, oldest cities in the world and they asked me to find a place in the mountains. They asked for the land and the animals. I think that this lifestyle is very appealing until you live it, year round. It is still better than city living, any day, but harder and much more challenging than I imagined. In ways that shock you.
    Yes, that all or nothing mentality actually can hold you back. It can limit you or keep you from ever starting out because it does not fit with the rest of your cognitive map of green or nature. I might have a different set of what compromise seems worth it. You might think there is no compromise that will be worth it. You might change, ideals sometimes change. Intelligence is knowing when to be more flexible, when to adjust in order to survive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BeeHappee says:

      Good points, Olive. I read your comment and this blog post at the same time: http://afroginthefjord.com/2015/08/16/how-to-be-a-bad-mother-in-norway/ – a lot on all or nothing mentality – and it made me smile. It is good that your girls are seeing life as it is.
      Weekly, I work at a local community supported agriculture farm, and those guys do it all organic and by hand. They said, they cannot find one person in one hundred who would come back after seeing what weeding for 8 hours a day involves, for everyone thinks life on a farm is prancing in summer dress chasing butterflies. (although Andrea almost makes it look like it is all just a relaxed swim at the lake 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. (remember Bee, that this is the new-me. I´ve been too grumpy and it´s been too important for me to talk about the hardship, I´ve been a warrior body, in defense mode, for too long…. this is me hugging my instagram-body 😉 (but don´t worry, my bleak will be back! 😉

        Like

      2. How do you find these blogs? That was hilarious and if it’s any where near being true I am not moving to Norway.

        Andrea, that is so funny! Back to Bleak!

        Like

  11. This is a very different world from the one that I live in. I like reading about your day. I think the comments very odd. The problems (if there are any) stem, not from how we interact with technology, or what type of technology we use or don’t use, they stem from how we interact with one another.

    Like

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