first flowering wood anemones & time to gather birch sap

Sunday. Almost like a summers day. Tula helped me in the garden, digging. Lots of butterflies out in the sun already. Found some yummy weeds (leaves and flowers of daisies and tiny ground elder leaves)and had in the salad for lunch. Today we saw the first wood anemones flowering in the garden. Another first class sign of spring.
Reminds me of the nice pictures Per Ranung took about a year ago:

Spring is early this year – already high time to gather birch sap (see how-to-do instructions from last spring). About a week earlier than last year!

Here is another of Per Ranungs photos, interior of the wolf cot:

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chicken mother

normal day in Sjögetorp

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miracle of life

To go out to the hens and pick the daily eggs for breakfast is like celebrating Eastern all year with this range of lovely colors.
For the first time I now tested an incubator – so we hopefully in future will have enough colored eggs to serve all of our increasing number of guests as well. Look at this miracle:

yesterday night – breaking the walls:

same fellow today :)

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Grand Travel Awards Eco Tourism price & first signs of spring

Back from our little adventure at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm…
Good to be back ;)

After some fantastic sunny days spring feels close. Tonight though it was fairly cold and the ground is deep frozen – nevertheless I found the first little single snowdrop flowering today :)
11.00 am: Was down to the lake for a walk. The ice was singing and making most strange sounds as if it wanted to tell me its story.
I so much wanted to record these strange and wonderful tones, but I do not have that kind of equipment. Too bad!

The snow on the ice has melted and now the ice looks perfect for skating (I have been waiting for that all winter) but it might be rotten and there is open water on several spots. But it reminds me of last years pictures we took with Håkans stoneage outfit with moose-skates and moose-ear hat…


I here want to share links to two of our very skilled and dedicated friends and stone-age experts:
http://www.lynxvilden.com/
http://www.primitiv.se/

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back to the future

Sara Mac Keys wonderful pictures from the wood hermitage – article ”tillbaka till framtiden” (back to the future) – published in the latest Hemslöjden magazine. Swedes can read the entire text in the news site on our website!


Thank you Celia, Sara and Malin for letting us share article and pictures on our website and blog!
Link to Hemslöjden magazine

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-10 °C tonight. Sunny day, clear blue sky.
And: the solar is working, actually heating the water!
Days are getting about 35 minutes longer each week right now. So good to get the light back! Now the light is harsh, clear and cold. But I love it!
We tried to walk on the ice today – but it is rather thin, yet. Too thin actually. Longing for trying out my skates.
Found this artwork in the snow, made by the wind.

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nominated for Grand Travel Awards :)

Urnatur is nominated as one of three Swedish eco tourism entrepreneurs for the Grand Travel Awards Eco Tourism price for 2012.

The prize is awarded on Wednesday 22 February to the organizer that is bringing to life ​​Swedish eco-tourism the best in the past year.

Cross your fingers!

And: Thank You everybody out there who nominated us :)

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finally winter

After all these storms winter finally has arrived.
Hope it will stay for a while.
So white and beautiful.

Happy New Year 2012

stairway to heaven

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book yor stay online

Urnatur proudly presents:
Now you can book your stay in our wood hermitage online :)
You can book huts online for July-August 2012. Other dates (april-october) can be booked of groups (private or company) on request…
You can also book hermit nights, b&b and our summer-courses!

Merry Christmas from Urnatur
//Ulrika & Håkan

after the rain

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some thoughts about ”forest”

Often our guests reflect upon our forest. It is so beautiful they say. What is it that makes it so beautiful?

There is a 5 minutes radio program every morning called ”tankar för dagen” (thoughts of the day). Two days ago a biologist/journalist talked about the Swedish forest. Though there was nothing really new in what she said to me (as I am a biologist as well) I got deeply touched the way she described it. Her conclusion kind of was that we are deceived to call areas with trees ”forest” no matter if it is only a tree orchard or a real natural old forest. Because of that it is easy implementing into peoples minds that about 2/3 of Sweden is covered with forest which is misleading and confusing as most of it actually are planted young tree orchards.
We are concerned about the last rainforests cut down in the Amazonas- at the same time we cut down Swedens last old natural forests. Her conclusion was there should be different names for real forests and the tree orchards we inadequately call forest as well. In fact we do not call man made water reservoirs lakes and we do not call man made canals rivers.

Urnatur means ancient nature, nature that maintains its original natural values.

Unfortunately the value of forest increases to insane proportions and today it practically seen not possible to buy forest without financing it by making clear cuts. People who don´t need the money are persuaded and lured to take down their forest anyway as the forest companies make them believe the trees are ”mature”, like grain, and will be ruined if not taken down immediately. What a nonsense. But of course. The land owner has a hard time saying no when imagining the money it will bring and the forest company of course wants them to take down the forest as the industries need the timber and their employees need the job.

So. There are a lot of misunderstandings and lack of knowledge about forest out there. With present timber prices that are ridiculously high the pressure on the woods is immense.

So what makes a natural forest?

Of course the answer can be made into a science, but really it is a easy thing. Just leave it to its natural successions! Be not too eager tidying up when trees are dying or coming down with a storm. Keep in mind that dead trees (both standing up and fallen down)have a ”life after death”. They are necessary if we want to keep a multitude of different species like woodpeckers, owls and other birds, lichens, insects…
We need wet and swampy areas just as we need dry spots, we need dark forests just as we need open areas. We need a mixture of old and young trees. The diversity gives us the biodiversity. A forest orchard will give us lots of raspberries for some years but not the continuity our species need to be able to survive in the long term.
I think people instinctively can feel our forest is allowed to be natural even if they are not professionals. Though (or maybe ”as”) at Urnatur the forest is our place of work we actually put the forest in the first place. And this harmony and balance our guests subconsciously can feel.
More eco tourism would be good for Sweden!

You want to make an effort for old forest in Sweden? Well, there are of course different ways, as , for land owners, not cutting down the forest in the first place. Here is a site where you can contribute to make a difference: a click for the forest – make a click every day!
It is for free but helps funding to be able to keep old forests.

But we need to do more!

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