Weekend Coffee Share…a very quiet cuppa together

Coffee, or tea?

If we were having coffee, or tea together this weekend you would have to do most of the talking. Why, you said. Well, you see I’ve lost my voice. I don’t believe that ever happened to me before. I feel pretty good, but my voice gradually disappeared this week. On Monday and Tuesday morning it took a while for my voice to warm up. I felt great, and didn’t think much about it. (When you talk a lot at work your voice sometimes get tired, and you sound like the day after a big concert with your favourite artist. That’s just how it is.) On Wednesday it took even longer, and my voice still sounded scratchy when I arrived to work. My voice was kind of OK, but after breakfast when I was leading an activity with the children I all of a sudden couldn’t talk at all without coughing (like where did that come from?) Within the next few minutes it got worse and worse, and I decided to go home. It all happened very fast. First of all, I couldn’t do my job, since being a teacher involves a whole lot of talking, second I didn’t want to get anyone sick if this was the beginning of something. I took a Covid test the next day, just to be sure, but it came out negative. My voice isn’t completely back yet, but as long as I don’t talk, I’m doing OK. I’m going to keep quiet this weekend, and hope for the best. I don’t think it’s anything serious. It’s weird though, not being able to talk. I didn’t like it at all, having to leave work on Wednesday. I stayed at home with my daughter only a couple weeks ago, and missing more work is not good. I don’t mean to complain so much. Complaining is not my thing.

How is your week?

On a more positive note, this is what’s growing in my balcony garden right now. At the top there’s an oregano/apple-mint tea mix (its heavenly, really lovely,) celery, figs and (hopefully) winter veggies. I posted a photo of my bell-peppers last weekend, and they are still doing great as well.

If we were having coffee this weekend I would have to tell you that we had some kind of breakthrough with my daughter this week. At least it feels like that, not saying that everything is going to be all smooth sails from now on, but I think her father and I got her to understand why speaking Swedish in Sweden is mandatory and not a choice. She understood that we expect her to do her best at all times, and accept the help she is offered. Tuesday morning she woke up so angry and the whole morning was a disaster. The girl has some drama in her! She screamed and throw a fit the whole way to the bus stop (2km)..phew. After that it was like all the anger had disappeared, and my sweet girl was back. I sure hope she stays. (Most of the time I’m the best mom in the whole universe, according to her, but when I’m not…it’t not fun to be in my shoes.)

Have a refill on your beverage and tell me about your weekend plans! The only plan here is to recover my voice, read and write a bit. Thank you so much for staying with me, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share

I’m having hot coffee today, what can I get you?

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? There is ice tea in the fridge if you’d like some, but I’m definitely going for some hot, black coffee today. 

Fall is on its way here. We’ve had a high of 10-15C/50-55F this week. Tomorrow it’s suppose to be 21C/70F and partly sunny, giving us perhaps the last day of summer? Earlier this week we’ve had some rainy and very windy days, and some days with a tiny little bit of sun. I like fall weather, except the very windy days. There is a long downhill slope on the bike trail I take on my way home from work, on Thursday afternoon the wind was blowing so hard in my face that I had to work really hard going down that big hill. I think that was the windiest day. (Naturally the wind was blowing in the opposite direction when I was going to work in the morning.)

The garden are showing signs of fall as well. The cold nights are stunting new growth, and many leaves are starting to yellow. 

Today’s harvest
I’m thinking it’s time to make some green tomato/ginger marmalade, it’s SO good with some cheese on salty crackers.
More green tomatoes.

I picked the red tomatoes in the first photo today, but I have maybe 6kg/13lbs of green tomatoes left. I’m thinking of picking all the green tomatoes today, and make green tomato/ginger marmalade. I made it for the first time last year, and it was SO good. 

Last years green tomato/ginger marmalade

Speaking of my garden, I’ve planted some cold weather crops for a winter garden; celery, cauliflowers, and parsnip. It’s an experiment, we’ll see. I might plant some more cold weather crops, like broccoli perhaps. I am definitely going to plant some garlic this fall as well. 

Living in an apartment I don’t have enough space at my balcony to be self-sufficient on vegetables, or legumes. I grew some beans this year, they were delicious, and they are all long gone. Last year about this time I ordered a few big bags of different types of dried beans, and lentils from an organic wholesale site. I decided to do the same this year, minus the lentils since I still have some left. I received them yesterday; 5kg/11lbs black beans, 5kg/11lbs kidney beans, and 5kg/11lbs garbanzo beans. I also ordered a 1lbs bag of an organic sprouting seed mix, that I love having on my sandwiches, in my salads, and as topping on soups. It feels good to be stocked up on the basics. Next month I’m hoping to score some locally grown turnip and carrots, they are being harvested in September and are usually very inexpensive to purchase in bulk during harvest time. Hopefully I will be able to grow all my own beans, and veggies myself in the future. For now this works great.

What have you been up to this week? There is a big Covid outbreak in town. One class at my daughters school is closed. When I picked her up on Thursday she had a sore throat and a stuffed nose. I ordered a Covid test for her, she’s going to take the test on Monday morning at a nearby medical center. (Tests are actually done in a tent outside the medical center, to avoid spreading the virus.) Adults do self tests at home if they have symptoms, but children aren’t allowed to do that. My son started to feel ill today, he is also going to get tested. I hope they just have a cold. (I feel great.) There’s so much to do at work now with the startup of a new group and a new semester. I am leading my team from home the best I can when I cannot be at work physically, but it is difficult. Especially in the beginning of a new semester I think it’s extremely important to lead by example, which is hard to do from home. My colleagues do know that they can call me anytime for support, and input when I’m at home, and they do. I also know that they are doing a great job, but still..

Have a refill on your beverage and tell me about your weekend plans! Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – out of the ordinary

Coffee at my balcony

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? It’s still warm enough to enjoy a cup together at my balcony. I closed the glass panels a couple weeks ago, and now it’s like a little greenhouse again. Most of the veggies are harvested already, just a few tomatoes, and some bell peppers left. We’ve been blessed with an abundance of tomatoes this year. How are things in your world?

If we were having coffee I would tell you that things have been a little out of the ordinary this week, for several reasons. We welcomed new students to my class. That is always very exciting, getting to know new individuals and their guardians. 

There was some serious flooding in the region (not close to where I live.) It rained moderately Monday and Tuesday, but started to rain heavily the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. I rode my bike Monday and Tuesday (trying out my new rain-gear,) but had planned on taking the bus on Wednesday, since I knew I was going to get my second Covid vaccine dose in the afternoon (I got so dizzy after the first one.) While I was chatting along with a friend that happened to take the same bus on Wednesday morning a lady on the bus starts screaming, I looked out the window, and this was what I saw. 

I work a little outside the city, and this is not close to the center of the city, or my home. Many of the roads, and some houses in the region was damaged after the worst flooding in over 30 years. In the city of Gävle, one hour South-East from us, the flooding caused some real damage in a couple neighbourhoods. As far as I know no human was injured by the flooding. The flooding here, and the horrible fires going on in so many places in the world are a real cause of concern. At some point in the future I still plan on having a homestead, even though I’ve had to change the location several times the past few years (due to fires in Northern California, and drought/bad air quality at the property in Arizona.) It is still my dream. So many variables to consider; I need water, but it cannot be too close to water (danger of flooding.) I need trees (healthy air quality, and firewood,) but the area can not be too dry (fire danger,) but I do need it to be sunny enough for gardening..Sometimes I wonder if this place exists.LOL. I know I will find the right spot one day. I am not in the business of purchasing a place today, or even this year, but I look at different options and keep track of the market (land prices,) and weather data for different places almost daily. 

I got my second Covid vaccine dose on Wednesday, and had a reaction to it. After the first dose I got dizzy. After the second dose I was dizzy at first, but not as bad as after the first dose (I was extremely dizzy for three days, didn’t dare to leave my home.) The morning after the second dose, on Thursday I woke up at 4.30 am with a fever of 101F/38.5C. I had a fever for 24hours, and then it disappeared. My body ached yesterday (Friday,) but I felt pretty good otherwise, today Saturday I feel great again. I didn’t go to work Thursday and Friday, but yesterday I got a lot of work done from home. 

Now I am ready for a relaxing weekend. There’s no other plans than doing little things around the house that always needs to be done, clean up a little on the balcony, maybe read a little, go for some walks, rest, spend time with my daughter, have a nice family dinner on Sunday. (We always make Sunday dinner a little more special.) It is a beautiful cool, sunny day outside, 51F/11C right now, and we expect it to warm up to 62F/17C later in the day. The leaves have not started to change colours yet, but that’s probably not that far away.

What’s you plans for the weekend? Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? Hot, or cold? 

It’s a gorgeous day outside, about 72F. My daughter and I took the long way home after work. We walked along the river that runs through the city, we stopped and looked at beautiful flower arrangements, and enjoyed ice cream at one of our favourite ice cream places. It’s still (late afternoon,) beautiful outside, and I might take another walk later, right now I am enjoying sitting down here with you for a spell. How are you doing? How is your week so far?

Falu River, taking the long way home from work today.

If we had coffee, or tea, I would tell you that the beginning of the week was rough. My daughter had some kind of stomach bug.. no details needed.. Let’s skip to the end of the work-week, the kids in my group are starting to come back after their summer vacation. I am excited about the new group of children I am blessed to spend time with this year. It is always super exciting getting to know a new group of children, and all the unique individuals in the group. Today I ended up answering a lot of questions about dinosaurs! Am I really sure that no dinosaur ever ate a human being? Or? Am I really, really sure? I love how every day is full of surprises when you spend them with 5 year olds. 

My balcony garden is doing great. The past month I’ve harvested more than 5kg/11lbs of tomatoes, and there is more to come. I’d say that this gardening season have been rather successful. In the beginning of the summer there was beans and peas. We’ve had some herbs and salad throughout most of the summer. I am happy with the result, even though I can think of some changes I will consider next season.

What’s you plans for the weekend? Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – Getting Back Into My Daily Routine

The balcony is still a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee, or tea with a friend.

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! How are you doing? How is your week so far? Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? 

It’s been a great first week back to work after my long summer vacation. I am a little tired, not due to the heavy work load, but getting back into routines again (remembering all the little things; times, my daughter’s activities, door codes, extra clothing etc etc.) It feels good though. I’ve been riding my bike to work, a total of about 40 miles/week. I’ve also been walking a lot with my daughter. I like getting some exercise into my daily routine. 

I took these photos riding my bike to work, and on walks during my lunch break this week.

Going into the week we had to update our closets a little, fall can offer many different weathers in our region, including heavy rains. I realised last week that we needed new rain gear. I looked at local second hand stores first, but didn’t find what we need. I am a fan of recycling and reusing when possible. If that is not possible, quality is a priority, so that the clothes can be used for a long time. I love having four seasons, but you do need a slightly bigger wardrobe compared to Las Vegas (where we lived prior to moving to Sweden.) Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I was wearing a base layer of wool while riding my bike to work, on Friday shorts and t-shirt was the right fit. The mornings are starting to get cooler already, something that I really like. Do you need a refill on your beverage? What is going in your corner of the world?

We’ve enjoyed cool mornings, sometimes foggy, and warm days this week.

It saddens me deeply to read about the ongoing wildfires, maybe especially the Dixie Fire in California, since I can relate, having spent a great deal of time in that area. I’m thinking about the friendly people we’ve met during our visits there. The cafe we made sure to have lunch at every time we passed by. I am also thinking about all the properties I looked at in the area, but for one reason or another the sales always fell through. I am grateful to be safe, but so sad for all the people affected by the fire. 

The first two books arrived for the class I’m taking this fall semester. I’m going to start reading them this weekend.

What’s you plans for the weekend? I am going to start reading the first books for the class I’m taking this fall. I am excited about that. I also promised my daughter that we visit an ice cream place today. I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I really enjoy spending time at home after being busy at work all week. Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – The last week of summer vacation

Very close to the parking lot, right when you enter Rottnebyskogen there is a table and a fire pit. We could enjoy our coffee here, or take a walk into the nature reserve first, there are many places suitable for a coffee break.

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! I am delighted that you are here 🙂 This week we’ve been picking blueberries in different nature reserve’s situated in the region of Dalarna, Sweden. I thought that we could enjoy our coffee in Rottnebyskogens nature reserve today. How about that? Would you like to come? There is coffee, tea, and water, along with some homemade taquitos to snack on.

At the entrance, inviting us to enjoy the forest and be mindful of plants and animals.

How are you? How is your week? The weather here have been around 70F most of the week, and perfect for berry picking. The blueberries are ripe in all the surrounding forests. I was planning on going a little further away for a couple days this week, and pick cloudberries, but my daughter wasn’t up for that idea. She really loves where we live, and this summer she have not felt any need of going anywhere else, meaning I’ve also stayed close to home. We have explored living locally all summer, and had a blast doing so. I can live without picking cloudberries. (I did enjoy waffles with cloudberry jam at a cafe last week.)

A short walk up the trail from the parking lot there is a beautiful covered fire pit and picnic area. There is currently a light drizzle, and if you would like to enjoy your coffee out of the weather we can sit here.
The surrounding forest is calming and refreshing. The air is so clean, you can almost touch the scent of the pine trees.

Before my children’s summer break started we sat down around the kitchen table and discussed their expectations and wants for their time off. I had looked into some suggestions that I thought would be positive experiences for our family beforehand, but my main goal was to listen to their thoughts. They both wanted to go swimming as much as the weather allowed, and explore different beaches in the region. Since we choose to not have a car that includes walking, or riding your bike (occasionally taking a bus if it is far away,) which makes me happy since one of the things I wanted for all of us was to get outdoors and exercise. They also wanted to have picnics, and have birthdays parties, and celebrate 4th of July in some way. This is my last (7th) week of vacation and it feels good to know that we visited several beaches together, and that both of them seem really happy about their summer so far. The weather have been most cooperative, all summer actually.

Rottnebyskogens nature reserve. The pine trees around us are about 200-250 years old. Blueberries often grow under pine trees as they offer rich, acidic pine litter for soil and mulch, something the blueberries like a lot.

Going into the summer I had some ideas of beautiful places a little further away in our region that I was thinking that we could visit, and I also had some camping trips planned, but the children enjoyed going swimming here close by so much that I didn’t feel a need to make the other trips happen. Happy and content is what matters, right? My son also went to his dad for a couple weeks. My daughter and I had a lot of time to talk, and hang out together. I am thrilled with how the summer turned out; lots of time with my children, time in nature, and plenty of time to read. I have spent a lot of time reading at the balcony, in the midst of my food forest (another source of happiness,) while my children have been busy with their own games and friends. I’ve also been riding my bike, and taking many walks in the forest by myself. I feel good, and ready to get back to work on Monday. 

I feel that all the time my daughter and I spent together this summer made our relationship even closer.

Do you need a refill on your beverage? Or maybe you would like to have some dessert? Serve yourself to some of the blueberries around us 🙂 Blueberries often grow under pine trees as they offer rich, acidic pine litter for soil and mulch, something the blueberries like a lot. The pine trees around us are about 200-250 years old. I love spending time in old forests like this. Are you comfortable? What’s you favourite type of nature? I really like mountains, but without forests I don’t think I would appreciate them as much as I do. I grew up in the mountains, but as I get older I find comfort in the forest in a way that is new to me. 

Wild blueberries picked in Dalarna, Sweden.

Speaking of nature, I am reading Everything you ever taught me, about a woman in her 50’s (no exact age are mentioned, this is my best guess,) hiking the Pacific Crest Trail 2020. I read about the book in Leanne’s coffee share a couple weeks ago, and ordered it right away. Thank you Leanne! I am halfway through the book right now, and intend to read the last half this weekend. It is written in a very honest and interesting way. If I had to say something that I don’t like about the book, it would be the layout, the pages are crowded, making it not very reader friendly. I still recommend the book since the story is fascinating. The PCT has a special place in my heart. I have hiked, and experienced several sections of the trail in California and Oregon on horseback. I have never hiked the entire length of the trail from Mexico to Canada (although there once was a plan to do so, that is a story for another day…) No-one hiking this trail could do so without being deeply touched by the landscape. 

Me riding a section of the PCT in the Sierra Nevadas (CA,) on my beloved horse Trigger, a little more than nine years ago (notice my big pregnant belly.) My ex-husband, a Marine, did not find anything strange with me riding through most of my pregnancy, something I was very grateful for. He did however carry the supplies on his horse without being asked, when I was pregnant that is. The Sierras are magical, but not a ride in the park.

After finishing this book I will be reading books related to special education needs for a while. I did get into the school I wanted to attend this fall semester. I will be studying Special Education and Social Emotional Difficulties, it’s for teachers that have worked a few years and want to further educate themselves on how to help children with special needs to a better education. I am going to work full time at my current job, and study part time on my own time. I know this will make me busy, but I am excited about adding new tools to my educational toolbox. My plan is that this course is the beginning of getting a degree in special education for young children. It’s going to take me a while to get the degree, as I am going to do it while working, but I do like having a goal. 

I rode my bike around Lake Varpan today. Several of my friends have told me it’s a nice ride, and it truly was. I can’t believe I haven’t done it before. There’s so many great trails in the proximity that I just forgot this one. I can easily see it becoming a new favourite. It’s about 18km/11miles around the lake, and an easy ride, with beautiful views of old cottages and the lake. It took me 50min, including a few stops to enjoy the views. I bet it is going to be amazing with fall colours in a month, or two, I’m going to have to find out!

Part of the road around Lake Varpan. I met seven bicyclist and saw about the same amount of cars, around lunch time Friday, so it wasn’t exactly crowded. I did see some horses, cows, goats, and a sign with fresh produce for sale as I was enjoying the scenery around Varpan.
Here’s the route, and you can see how close it is to my town Falun. You can also see some of the lakes, and forested green areas. There’s so many! About 70% of the region Dalarna is forest. Falun is the capital of Dalarna County.
Feeling most happy and content about how this summer turned out.

Enough sitting around, are you going to help me pick some blueberries? Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! I shared photos from another nature reserve earlier this week, that you can see here. If you are curious about how my daughter’s birthday cake turned out, the photos are here. Please share with me all the wonderful things in your world! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria