måndag 7 december 2015

End of spring

My comrades returned to the farm with seven rabbits, ten hens, ten roosters and seven chickens. It was more than we had agreed on so I had to rapidly build more cages for the rabbits and another chicken house. Soon we got our first egg, only two of hens were laying eggs the others were still too young.

The days were warm and we were raking old grass from the meadows, the old grass dried up quickly and we stored some of it to use later on as bedding for the animals, we used the rest of the dry grass to cover the soil around the small sprouts in the gardens.

An old man (90 years old) and his daughter visited the farm. They had lived here 60 years ago, the old man had built the house together with his father. They were very curious about us and were glad that someone wanted to live here. The old man showed us where the cold spring was. The spring was located about 400 meter from the house. The water tastes really good, until this point we had gotten our water from melting snow, a small stream outside the house and from an old well close to the foundation of a barn.

We started to collect wild plants for eating and drying. In every meal we included greens and roots, mainly from cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris), dandelion (Taraxacum vulgare coll.), willow herb (Epilobium angustifolium), alpin bistort (Bistorta viviparia), thistles (Cirsium spec) and clovers (Trifolium spec). For tea we collected leaves from raspberries (Rubus idaeus), birch (Betula pubescens) and meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria).

We put a net in the lake and checked it for several days but we only got one fish, a very big perch. We found this odd since we got so many fishes when we were ice fishing, we figured that most perch were to small to get caught in the net. That can be the case when few people are fishing in a lake and therefor the lake gets overcrowded with thousands of small fishes. We bought a fish cage from a man that were manufacturing them in the neighbor town. The first day that we checked the cage we got over 200 small perches, and after that we got usually around 50 a day. We ate a lot of perches and boiled the rest for chicken food. 

We had heard rumors of lakes up in the mountains crowded with trouts (Salmo trutta), so one day we decided to check it out. We went to a lake about 15 km away from the farm, there was also supposed to be an old chalet that once had belonged to the village. We went the first distance with bicycle and the last 5 km we had to hike. We reached the lake and found the chalet at the northern shore. The water was very clear with beautiful sandy beaches. The house was small and cozy with a fireplace and two small beds. We tried to fish and got instantly some trouts, but it was difficult to reach out with the line since the lake was shallow. After fishing we climbed up the close-by mountain that was the highest in the area it was 668 meters above sea level. The view was not so good though since it was a lot of small birches blocking the view. We also found a hut at the top, that was an old fire-watch cottage.

Now all snow was gone and the spring had treated us with very good weather that unfortunately lead to an explosion of insects. The mosquitos (Culicidae ) and black flys (Simuliidae) made this paradise a bit uncomfortable. But the real pain was the biting midges (Ceratopogonidae) they were so small that it was very hard to protect yourself from them.

Once again one of us choose to leave the farm, this time a young girl. The same day we dropped her off at the bus-station we picked up two new eager re-settlers. Now we were again four people at the farm.

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