Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I get you some coffee? Or tea? I baked some tomato bread this morning, I’d be happy to make you a sandwich if you’d like to try it? 

We’ve had a windy week with fall temperatures. Not cold, but colder than the summer months. We’ve had some rain and there’s no need to water the garden anymore (probably not until next spring.) There’s a thin layer of yellow birch leaves on the ground. There’s still a lot of leaves left on the trees as well. This is what the trees outside my kitchen window look like right now. 

It’s funny how the aspen trees in our area usually turns red quickly, while the birch trees turns yellow. What’s the weather like in your area? 

On my bike commute home yesterday afternoon.

I’ve had some great bike rides, and some great shorter hikes in a nearby nature reserve area this week. I also invested in some new lights for my bike. I got new ones last year, but I bought some inexpensive ones, that doesn’t do the job the way I would like them too. I am very pleased with the new ones. They certainly do the job. I have no connection what so ever to the brand, I’m just extremely pleased, and comfortable knowing my bike commute to work will be safe this season. 

Some forest bathing earlier this week.
There’s an abundance of fly agaric everywhere this year, more than usual I’d say.

What are you up to this weekend? I’m hoping for some shorter hikes, and perhaps some gardening time. What I should be doing though is schoolwork, both reading and writing. (For those of you that are new to the blog, besides working full time as a kindergarten teacher I also attend school part time, studying for a Degree of Master of Science, Main Field of Study: Educational Work.) Perhaps I’ll do a little bit of everything, it’s easier to concentrate on school with some fresh air in between sessions. I often divide my days into blocks, first something I need to do, then something I want to do, something I need to do…and so on. 

I hope your week is fabulous! Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share.

Love,

Maria  

Weekend Coffee Share – Gratitude & Gardening

Welcome to the Weekend coffee share! Can I get you a cup of coffee? Or tea? How are you? Would you like to sit down at my balcony and enjoy a hot beverage with me? I’m thinking that you probably want to choose something hot to drink, it’s currently in the 40’s. We’ve had some really beautiful days this week, but it is definitely moving towards fall.  

After a rather intense week at work I decided to start the weekend by meditating about all the things I’m grateful for; my children, good health, healthy food, clean air, clean water, friends, a home, a job, access to great education, and living in a peaceful country made it to the top ten on my list. No news really, but I needed to remind myself a little extra this week. Working in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area is both challenging and immensely rewarding. 

I have spent time finishing the hügelkultur bed I’ve been working on at my garden plot. It’s a traditional way of building a very healthy garden bed from rotten logs/branches and plant debris. You usually build it in the fall, to be able to plant in the spring. (Some beds are left to decompose for several years.)

At the top of the beds there’s compost and soil. I’ve build the beds with branches from berry bushes, plant debris, and all the garden compost I accumulated this year. I will bury all my bokashi material from the winter, in the beds as soon as they thaw in the spring. At the very top I will add some more organic soil before planting. This will be a huge bed with several different sections, for different types of vegetables like squash (perhaps three sisters,) broccoli, spinage, chard, cabbage, carrots, and beets. 

I will take these covers aways before the snow comes, it is mainly there to keep the deer and rabbits away. They are very active this time of the year.

In the first few years, the heat-producing composting process warms the soil in a hügelbed, making the growing season longer. Something that is hugely beneficial here in Sweden. The decaying branches are a source of long-term, slow-release nutrients and they also help to keep excess nutrients from filtering into the groundwater. The wood becomes like a sponge that stores water to be released when needed. Hügelbed soil is self-tilling over time. As woody material breaks down, tiny air pockets open up, allowing air to reach the plant roots. My plan is to continuously feed my bed, and keep it highly productive for years to come. I’m planning on adding at least one big hügelbed at my garden plot every year. 

This is not all the gardening going on in my neck of the woods. Perhaps you noticed from the photo at the top that my balcony still has some veggies growing? The cabbage and broccoli is an experiment, and I am not sure that they will have enough time to get fully developed. I am going to plant them earlier next year. 

The celery keeps coming, even though I’ve been cutting it down many times. I love celery! I have some mint and oregano as companion plants to the celery. They seem to thrive together.

Last week I read a book written by a famous Swedish gardener, about winter gardening. I liked the book a lot! I am going to try three winter crops that she recommended, then again perhaps I got started to late this year, but I am going to try anyways. The crops are; winter portulak (miner’s lettuce,) spinage, and lambs lettuce (Lewiston corn salad or mâche.) I started them from seeds this week. I have the glass windows at the balcony closed 22hours/day at the moment, only opening for ventilation during the warmest hours in the afternoon. As it gets colder I will have them closed longer, only to ventilate when absolutely needed, and I will protect the pots from frost with non-woven fabric. When it gets really cold I will wrap the pots in old blankets as well, to insulate them. Growing your own food is so exciting! I want to keep expanding my garden/gardens a little bit every year.

Winter portulak (miner’s lettuce,) spinage, and lambs lettuce that I started in pots at my balcony this week.

On a completely different subject, tomorrow it’s election day in Sweden. The election have been the main topic for a long time. Segregation has become an increasing issue in Sweden these past few years, then there’s the energy crisis, rising costs of living, how to deal with the climate crisis, different views of how to prioritise education and healthcare. Lots to consider. It’s actually three elections all taking place tomorrow; it’s the closest area around the town where I live (like a city council,) the region, and the whole country. The region has a big responsibility when it comes to healthcare (among other things,) so it’s very important to vote in that election. I do feel that I have educated myself enough, and I am ready to vote. Hopefully good things will come from this election.

Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share. How is your week? What are you up to this weekend?

Love,

Maria