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Uncle Henry´s Universe.

About the blog

I have no heavy training... Barely Elementary School. Preferred the wilderness, it became my university, but I got muddy boots and experience instead of School knowledge so my English was therefore quite inadequate. This blog is a project to improve my skills in English language.

We all have our own universe, welcome to visit mine.

Summary

Everyday life, Golden eagle, Kayak, Nature Conservation Posted on Mon, June 15, 2020 09:40:36

My internet service provider decided to turn off the copper wire network at the end of the month before they had completed the fiber connection … so now we are many loyal customers who are slightly irritated. (The fiber connection should be ready this autumn, but we have heard that for several years now!) After some calls to the support and some less successful solutions, I have now switched to another company. And a few seconds later – woops, a well-functioning internet via 4G.

Summer is here, great! First kayaking trip completed. If paragliding is freedom in the sky, then kayaking is freedom at sea. Both are refined nature experiences, subtle silence, and freedom to be where rarely others are. You move quietly and show up unexpectedly, which is why it is important to respect the home peace zone for both humans, animals, and breeding birds.

When we are free from our work with nature reserves, we like to visit other nature reserves … Okay, a little geeky maybe, but it is relaxing and interesting to visit other types of nature than the ones we find on a daily basis. Last time we visited Gullrosas Berg (Mountain). Gullrosa is a traditional name for a cow, and according to legend, a cow of that name should have crashed and died in the ravines that run across the mountain plateau and the reserve. Nowadays there are no grazing cows in the area, it is exclusively a nature reserve and outdoor area.

Cloudberry flowers and common cottongrass shone white on the marshes. Atmospheric, hope for good berry season this year.

The varied forest and beautiful views made the visit pleasant. A nice reserve that we would love to visit again. We walked the “tough” trail with a little steeper section, the family trail may be next time.

In conclusion, I would like to tell you that we were ringing this year’s new golden eagle kids this week. In one of the nests, which I could not see into but had only heard one kid, there turned out to be two. Both in good health. Lovely! Three kids ringed total.



A little bit of everything

Golden eagle, Nature Conservation Posted on Sun, May 31, 2020 09:35:38

We saw, we nail, we carry, and we lift. We have a very varied job; it will never be boring!

The work on maintaining hiking trails continues, a lot of chainsaw for us but it makes it easier for the visitors. Enjoying the same view during lunch as the lynx did last winter.

New picnic table to the nature reserve Abborrtjärnsberg. Rough lumber and heavy to handle, lucky that we have tools and machines to our aid.

Up in the mountains, the vipers are rarely gray (male), they are usually very dark, almost black and the zigzag line on their back is barely visible. The females, on the other hand, are brown. This charming lady we found because she was hissing so loudly as we passed her resting place.

The work with the golden eagle has now gone over to the control of known nest to see if there are youngsters. So far, we have found two successful breeding’s, with one kid in each nest.

Unfortunately, our biggest golden eagle nest had fallen during the recent storm. Lots of fresh twigs, grass and other tree material indicate that nesting was in progress when it happened. We found neither eggs nor chicks in the remains of the nest, perhaps a marten or fox had cleaned up after the accident.

If you know how big the key is for a Toyota Hilux, then you also understand how big a feather from an adult gold eagle is.

The hot and dry summer 2018 gave rise to drying stress on many spruces, they became weakened and an easy replacement for the bark beetle. They have become very numerous and if the summer gets hot and dry this year, we fear an unusually large attack from bark beetles.

Small piles of brown powder show where the larvae are. The only way to prevent them from becoming adult bark beetles that swarm and create even more bark beetles… is to remove the bark.

First, twig the trees and cut it at the root. Then remove the bark using tools from the beginning of the century. It is a heavy and hot work in the summer heat.

Usually we do not care about bark beetles in protected areas, they are part of the ecology. This year, however, the government has asked us to look at it a little extra, if there is a major attack, we do not want it to hit surrounding forests.



Snapshot & short story

Travel Posted on Mon, May 25, 2020 17:59:03

One early morning in Kovalam, just south of Thiruvananthapuram in southern India, when I strolled around in a wetland area and tried to photograph some Bee Eaters, I suddenly got an assistant by my side. A young lad with great curiosity and a thousand questions.

We talked about a little bit of each and I tried to answer his questions as best I could, the digital camera technology was new, and I did not understand it enough to answer his questions adequately. However, he seemed satisfied with the answers he received.

Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater
Brahminy Kite
Black Kite

Over time, the interest in bird photography cooled and he wondered if I didn’t want to take a picture of him instead. Of course, I gladly did. We studied the results on the small screen on the back of the camera, the portrait was not a masterpiece but still seemed to delight him.

It took a while before he dared to ask, but finally came the question that hung in the air for a while. Could it be possible for him to borrow the camera and give it a try. Of course, I answered, and after a short lesson on how to hold the newly purchased Nikon D70 with 300mm telephoto lens, he set off with a jolt of joy through the woods.

I saw from a distance how he rushed up to his grandfather, shot some pictures and then returned to show the result. Gosh, I was overwhelmed! Of the hundreds of pictures, I took home with me after the trip, only one was really good, and it wasn’t mine. The guy was a gift of nature. I sometimes wonder what he does today, twelve years later, hopefully he got the opportunity to become a photographer.



Paragliding nostalgia

PG / PPG Posted on Mon, May 11, 2020 13:18:48

Peter, the instructor, yelled run-run-run! And I ran like a devil with fire in the back, and Peter screamed – RUN! and I ran even faster … then everything became quiet. Only the suggestive sound of a paraglider on its way through the air – I flew and it was wonderful!

Take off at Hundfjället with Tandådalen in the background.

At the end of April, I was back where everything started. I got my first paraglider license in Sälen’s winter sports area in 1991. We trained and flew from Tandådalen’s ski piste and from Hundfjället. Now I was back for some nostalgic flights. Winter sports facilities had grown somewhat since the nineties, but on the whole, the experience was similar.

1991, Hundfjället, pilot unknown.

The Wall – Hundfjället, is a famous piste for speed skiing. In the north wind it is also a good place for ridge soaring. With my first paraglider I made some unsuccessful attempts during the nineties to ridge soaring but with a glide ratio (L/D) of 5: 1 at best, it needed to blow out of hell to work. Which did not suit a beginner, but I did my best, which usually resulted in me rushing down the wall in something more like parachuting than paragliding.

The Wall! 240 meters between take-off and landing.

A lot has happened to the equipment since the 1990s, both in terms of performance and safety. My first glider, an Apco Speed Star, had 10 double cells, 2 risers, cords thick as tow lines and a sink rate of 1.7 m / sec. (at least) It was similar in many ways to today’s speed wings, but without most of the performance. It felt more like flying something between a water-filled balloon and a fluffy cloud, not directly controlled. (At least that’s how I remember it)

Speed Star and me on the run!

Today I have a paraglider (a few years old) that has 45 cells, about double the glide ratio, and cords thin as grass. It has high passive security and feels safe in all situations.

Cords on Apco Speed Star v.s Ozone Geo4.

Today’s harness is reversible, so it also acts as a backpack. It has airbag, speed system, reserve parachute and is comfortable as an armchair. My first harness consisted of fabric and a plank to sit on. They have been developed so to speak.

Okay, maybe you got spinal compression on a hard landing but no splinters in the butt.

My second harness had a little more padding on the board and a reserve parachute. You sat almost well for a while; it was of the latest model. High-tech and cool. Colorful …

1992. Apco Paradise!

One thing that is exactly the same today as when the sport started, Parawaiting! Instructor Peter Ahlbin, and a collection of expectant students in 1991. I sent Peter many grateful thoughts as I soar over Hundfjället again.



Flowery hiking trail

Everyday life, Nature Conservation Posted on Wed, May 06, 2020 21:08:23

In a blossoming sea and with a sky of birdsong, our work continues to clear hiking trails in the nature reserves.

It’s a crappy job, but someone has to do it…

Wood anemone, common hepatica and alternate-leaved golden-saxifrage will be our floor throughout the day’s work in Gultberget nature reserve.

Common wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella, with fresh sour taste, covers the ground between coarse spruces and has also found a sanctuary in the crevice between two tree trunks.



Moose horn

Everyday life Posted on Mon, May 04, 2020 15:12:08

During December – February the moose bulls lose their horns, when the snow disappears in the spring you can find really nice ones if you are lucky. Large and heavy horns are usually not too far apart but can still be difficult to find.

I try to let go the horns now, as there have been quite a few over the years … Really try! But suddenly there is an extra nice horn … and I just cannot help it. Heavy to carry but home it should!

Proud as a schoolboy, the treasure is later shown to my wife, who, with ill-concealed sarcasm, asks what I intend to do with the horn … And damn, I have never come up with any good answer!

If you are an insect nerd, you might enjoy studying a Red-breasted Carrion Beetle that looks for food on the horn.



Red Cross & Red Crescent!

Everyday life, Travel Posted on Tue, April 28, 2020 13:15:40

Because of the prevalent corona pandemic in the world, humanitarian work and healthcare professionals have suddenly become heroes and are now receiving the attention and status that they reasonably should have enjoyed each day before.

Currently, the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is closed like so much else due to covid-19, but when it reopens, I recommend a visit. You will find it in Geneva, Switzerland. There are thoughtful and interesting exhibits about the work that is going on unabated around the world. I think it can provide some perspective about what we are experiencing now that the pandemic changes everything, even in rich and secure democracies in the West, which most of us who live there are completely unaccustomed to.

The Red Cross is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and employees worldwide. It was founded to protect human life and health, to guarantee respect for all people, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering. The movement consists of several different organizations that are legally independent of each other but are united within the movement through common basic principles, goals, symbols, statutes and governing organizations.

One organization is the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) a neutral, impartial and independent organization founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland, by Henry Dunant and Gustave Moynier. Its mission is to assist people affected by wars, conflicts or other violent situations with protection and humanitarian efforts.

Another organization is the International Red Cross-Red Crescent Federation (IFRC) founded in 1919 and today coordinates activities between the 189 national associations within the movement. At the international level, the Federation, in close cooperation with the national associations, conducts and organizes aid missions in large-scale crises. The International Federation Secretariat is in Geneva, Switzerland.

Flag used on a Red Cross ambulance in France, 1870-1871.

National Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies are found in almost every country in the world. They work according to the principles of international humanitarian law and the charter of the international movement. In many countries, they are linked to the respective national health care systems by providing emergency care.

Armband worn by Dr Louis Appia on various battlefields. 1864.

A museum well worth a visit, as well as so many other attractions in Geneva. A city I would love to return to when the opportunity to travel freely within Europe has returned.

When I did my military duty as a young man, I was given the opportunity to undergo medical training. This meant that during the coming years I worked as an orderly in hospitals with emergency care, in the district with home health care and in elderly care. An extremely rewarding time that enriched me in many ways, not financially in the first place but in terms of experience.

In the seventies, it was quite uncommon for a man to work in healthcare, (doctor except, of course) it was a typical women’s profession! Therefore, we were welcomed by our female colleagues who hoped that our attendance would automatically raise their low wages somewhat. Maybe even manage to change working conditions for the better …

I had a 35 km route to the hospital and often worked what we in Sweden call – shared tours. Work in the morning then 4 hours off (without pay) and then work in the evening. Four hours to kill every day, boring in the long run, there is always a lot you would like to have done at home instead.

A lot has happened since the seventies! Richard Nixon is no longer the president of the United States, we have become twice as many people in the world and Waterloo is not played as often on the radio as when ABBA won the Eurovision Contest … but health care professions in Sweden is still drawn with shared tours and in terms of wages, there is still much to be desired.

Applause, concerts and other events that pay tribute to the medical staff are of course genuinely nice, but when the pandemic is over, let us hope that it also be noted on the staff’s working conditions and wages.



Disarray

Nature Conservation Posted on Mon, April 20, 2020 08:47:26

There has not been much snow in this winter, but more wind, which has caused some disruption along our hiking trails in the nature reserves.

Because of the corona pandemic, many seek refuge in our nature reserves. We have more visitors this spring than ever before, especially in the southern more densely populated part of the county.

Here in the north there is still snow in the altitudes and many roads are wet with thawing, but we have started to look at the southernmost reserves in our area of work. Ginbergsängen is one of them and there was a lot of clearance required before the hiking trail was open. We were two with chainsaws that worked all day even though the distance is only 3 km.

Now we only have 65 km to go before the work on the hiking trails is ready for the summer.



Keep distance!

Everyday life Posted on Mon, April 13, 2020 19:18:01

Keep distance, stay safe!

Social Distancing, Self-isolation, Quarantine… COVID-19… I cried desperately! But the only answer I got was a series of double-clicks which gradually accelerate into a popping sound like a cork coming of a champagne bottle, which was followed by scraping sounds… And then he ended our conversation with a big burp!

 Quite brutal types up here in the woods!



Housing shortages

Everyday life, Nature Conservation Posted on Mon, April 06, 2020 23:08:19

In today’s production forests there is a housing shortage. The proportion of old and / or dead trees is too low. In rational tree cultivation, there is rarely room for the natural cavities that old trees get over time. Nor do they accommodate generations of carved holes from woodpeckers.

The housing shortage is overwhelming. Although we have quite a few birdhouses on our farm, newly set up are immediately occupied. Sometimes I can barely turn my back before a bird flies in and inspects. Of ten new birdhouses last year, all tenants received!

Today I picked up some birdhouses to set up in the nature reserves. The larger ones at the bottom of the image are for boreal owl. They often use old housing holes after the black woodpecker. Our largest woodpecker, black as coal and with a fiery red crown (Male) The female has only the top hind crown in red. You’ve probably heard them drum in the spring, especially on dry tree trunks with good acoustics. They can be heard up to 4 km! Powerful and methodically, like a machine gun, wacka–wacka-wacka-wacka…

Now this spring, if you hear something similar, knock-knock-knock-knock – Aaii, damn …

then it´s probably me who nails up one of all these birdhouses!



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