Weekend Coffee Share – Really getting into vacation mode..week 6

How awesome that you choose to join me for coffee this weekend! Come on out to my balcony. Let’s enjoy some time catching up while sipping some strong coffee, ice tea, or maybe something stronger (it is the weekend after all.) How is your week? What have you been up to? 

Several of my tomato plants are starting to shift colour.

Have you noticed that the tomatoes finally are starting to turn red? My daughter has a birthday on Sunday, and as usual she wants Mexican food at her party (a very small one this year as well, with me and her brother as only guests.) It would be fabulous if I could serve a side salad with our own sweet tomatoes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that, two days left, I think it is very possible. Besides the Mexican food that she always wants for her birthday, there is going to be cake of course. Last year she wanted to make the cake herself, this year she wants me to make it. I have very specific instructions for the cake. It’s going to be a five layer cake with three layers of soft angel cake, and two layers of red velvet cake. There’s going to be homemade creamy vanilla pastry cream between the layers, and a fresh creamy lime pastry cream on the outside, at the top of the cake she wants a layer of marzipan and her name in chocolate..and candles of course. I’ve promised to do my best…we’ll see. On Tuesday we visited a second hand shop that sometimes have gorgeous kitchen items for almost nothing. We were looking for a cake plate big enough for her monster cake. We scored a pretty one for the hefty sum of about fifty cents. LOL. I’ll try to post some photos of the cake on Sunday. I don’t make cakes so often nowadays, but I do enjoy the artistic part. 

My daughter planted an avocado seed this spring, and it is actually growing. I planted some avocado seeds in California, that grew taller than me in a couple years, but I didn’t have them long enough for them to bear any fruit. Watching the process of something you planted from a seed is enjoyable.
Another experiment that my daughter has on the balcony, a lemon seed she planted early June.

It’s been a very pleasant week weather wise here in Dalarna, Sweden. We’ve had no summer thunderstorms this week, and the temperatures have been between 75-80F, just perfect. This week my time have been divided between mountain biking in a nearby nature reserve area, and reading an interesting series of books about a midwife in Stockholm (lazily enjoying the days at my balcony with a glass of ice tea next to me.) What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?

I’ve spent a lot of time mountain biking at Lugnets nature reserve this week.

My daughter and I met a cousin of mine and her boyfriend, and my aunt, at a cafe with an outdoor seating area today. My cousin and I haven’t seen each other since before Covid started, and it was even longer since I saw my aunt. It was wonderful catching up with them. We kept a safe distance at all times, and there were no hugs, but still so very nice to see them in person. My cousin visited me both in Las Vegas and California when I lived there, we have many amazing memories together. 

Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the weekend coffee share! Please share with me all the wonderful things in your world! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Exploring Dalarna – Lugnets Nature Reserve, Falun

Lugnets nature reserve area is a short walk, or bike ride from my house. I rode my bike there today, five minutes after locking my front door I entered the closest trail in the trail system. It really is an amazing area, with both easy trails (hiking/horseback riding/mountainbike,) and some more challenging. There is also a big sport complex, ski jumps, ski-tracks for cross country skiing in the winter, and a swimming hall. Joining my friend Terri for her Sunday Stills with the theme Evergreen I’m sharing some photos from today.

The pine trees takes over at higher elevation, at lower elevation there is a mix of trees, and some wet lands.
There are so many trails, and I love the fact that I still have a lot left to explore. In fact the close proximity to this nature reserve and all the lakes are reason enough for me to really enjoy life here in this part of Dalarna.
The green soft “carpet” under the trees are mainly blueberry bushes. The blueberries are coming. I ate some while in the forest today. Within the next few weeks the abundance will be plentiful.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to Lugnets nature reserve area in Falun, Sweden. I also hope you are enjoying the great outdoors this summer! Are you? Tell me about your favourite place to enjoy nature in a comment!

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – Summer Time Fun!

Welcome to a warmer than usual Weekend Coffee Share. Let’s sit down by the water. This is one of my favourite views along a trail I walk/run/ride my bike along several times a week. What kind of beverage can I get you? Something cold? There is ice coffee, ice tea, watermelon smoothies, bottled water, and of course some hot coffee as well to choose from. 

As I mentioned it’s been warmer than usual this week, pushing 90F most days, and humid almost every day. I don’t think 90F is bad at all, just warm for a Swedish summer. What’s the weather like in your area? 

My daughter kayaking earlier this week.
Lake Varpan, same lake we visited last week but a different location.

It’s been an active week with a lot of going to the beach, swimming, kayaking, walking, yoga, and bike-riding. I even went out for a run a couple times, but I prefer walking, or riding my bike.

This morning I rode my bike to Falu Copper Mine.

Falun Mine (Swedish: Falu Gruva) was a mine in FalunSweden, that operated for a millennium from the 10th century to 1992. It produced as much as two thirds of Europe’s copper needs[1] and helped fund many of Sweden’s wars in the 17th century. Technological developments at the mine had a profound influence on mining globally for two centuries.[2] The mine is now a museum and in 2001 was designated a UNESCO world heritage site.

wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_Mine

A couple days we participated in a  free summer event that our town arrange for kids 8-15 years old. The event is every day except Sundays, at our local beaches, starting this week, different beaches different days. We have many beaches in, and near our town. The beach events starts with swimming classes, and after that the kids can try different water activities. My daughter was hesitant to go to the event the first day, but when we got there she didn’t want to leave, and we ended up spending more than six hours in the water that day. I think it’s a great initiative from our town to teach water safety, and give all children fun things to do during their summer break. 

Early morning walk earlier this week.

It has been another wonderful week of vacation, and lovely weather. Everyone is happy and healthy, I cannot ask for much more. How is your week so far? What have you been up to? Tell me in a comment!

Thank you Natalie for hosting the coffee share!

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – Swedish Fika

If we were having a fika (essentially Swedish for coffee and a conversation,) I would offer you a beverage of your choice; coffee from the french press, ice tea, or a smoothie. I’ve incorporated a new healthy habit into our summer routine, every evening I prepare breakfast smoothies for the next morning. Right now I’m having a smoothie with; baby spinach, avocado, banana, pear, pre-soaked chia seeds and almond milk. It’s really good, and there is an extra one for you in the fridge if you’d like to try. My daughter likes to prepare her own smoothie, something I encourage. She had mango, strawberry, banana, and almond milk this morning. 

My breakfast smoothie with; baby spinach, avocado, banana, pear, pre-soaked chia seeds and almond milk.

Would you like to enjoy our beverages at the balcony? There is slightly more space there now. My plants were growing so much that I had to find new homes for some of them this week, they were taking over. I put an ad up on a local sale site, (sort of like craigslist.) It didn’t take long to sell the plants I wanted to sell. One lady that came over to purchase plants offered me to come to her house and take some cuttings from her blackcurrants, and gooseberry bushes. I am going to take her up on that. I’d like to have more perennials, and berry bushes are wonderful. There is still a lot of plants at my balcony, and soon it will be crowded again, but for now there is room for our feet. LOL. How is your week so far? 

Lake Varpan, Dalarna (Sweden.)

There are several lakes around where I live, and with the lakes comes a lot of seagulls. They are very loud, especially at night, during the day you only hear them occasionally, but at night they are really loud. I’ve been sleeping on a mattress in my daughters room several nights this week, because its slightly more quiet there (more in the middle of the house.) Whatever works, right? The loud seagulls is a very small matter, overall I am happy, relaxed, and enjoying my vacation immensely. My children are also enjoying their well deserved summer holidays, which makes me very happy. Both of them have worked really hard this past semester. My son had a birthday in June that we celebrated, and my daughter have a birthday later this month. I’ve spent some time this week planning things for her birthday. 

Gullnäsgården, a very quaint lakeside cafe, with a beach.

What is the weather like in your area? This summer have offered even temperatures, it’s been between 73-77F most days for several weeks. It looks like today is going to be around 77F. The lakes have temperatures around 70F now, and it is very comfortable. We like to go swimming, and playing in the water. Yesterday we went to Gullnäsgården, the place you can see in the photos. It is a ten minute bike ride from our house, and a very nice place to relax at. The property belongs to one of the local churches. They allow people to spend time there, even if they don’t visit the cafe (it’s a very nice cafe and worthy of a visit,) or rent a cabin. I like that they don’t allow wild parties, making it appealing to visit with children even in the evening.

The menu, and part of the outdoor seating area at the cafe.
The beach area below the cafe. We enjoyed our ice creams on the beach before going for a swim.

Thank you for joining me for a fika today, and thank you Natalie for hosting the coffee share! We are going out to look for some blueberries this weekend, rumour says they start to become ripe, what are you up to?

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – I’m back!

I am so happy to be able to offer you some coffee, or tea again! My blogging break is over, and I am back with a new fresh blog; Green Dreams. In my first post on the blog earlier this week I explained how I picked the name. 

Me in one of the comfortable chairs at the balcony this morning, right after getting my first haircut since the pandemic started.

Back to the coffee! What kind of beverage can I tempt you with? There’s hot coffee from the French press (I’m having some right now,) and there’s hot, or cold tea in any flavour you can imagine. If you’d rather have ice coffee I could probably manage that as well. If you where here, visiting me in my home in Sweden, I would offer you to step out on the balcony. It’s 75F and you can have your pick of a comfortable chair in the shade, or in the sun. Half of the balcony is shaded until mid afternoon. Are you comfortable now?

Cherry tomatoes on the way, at my balcony garden.

How have you been? Are you on vacation? I’m enjoying my third week of vacation, four more to come. It’s fantastic, not having to set an alarm, just spend the days any way I please. I have to say that time off was well needed, the past semester was very intense. So far on my vacation I’ve been sleeping, reading several books, riding my bike almost every day (I got a new mountainbike in May,) I’ve had several picnics in beautiful nature with my children, and of course I’ve spent some time tending to my balcony garden.

Large squash leaf. I’m trying to grow the squash vertically, in containers, to maximise my space.
We’ve already harvested some beans, and there’s more on the way.

Do you have any fun plans for the summer? We are having a staycation, but not as strict as last summer. Last summer we literally stayed within one hour of hour house, usually much closer, the whole summer. This summer we are exploring the region of Dalarna, our part of Sweden. Here’s a post I did about a little adventure we had on Wednesday. Dalarna is a rather big region with mountains, big forests, lakes, and farm land. There’s plenty of wildlife in the surrounding forests, such as; elk, deer, brown bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx, and eagle owls. There are some eagle owls that have their nest in the old copper mine here in Falun. They had three owlets (baby eagle owls) this spring, I’ve been looking at them with binoculars on a regular basis, it’s fascinating. When they were first hatched the owlets were super tiny little fluff balls, now they are starting to look like the predators they are (still a little fluffy.) There is a Facebook group where people post daily updates, photos and videos of the owlets, if you are intereted.

Thank you for having coffee with me today, and thank you Natalie for hosting the coffee share! Happy 4th of July weekend! Feel free to share my new blog on your social media, or with anyone that you feel would enjoy some Green Dreams 🙂

Love,

Maria