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One thing that I find truly fascinating and feel like I have been able to tune into here more so then back in England is the love for the outdoors and living in harmony with nature.

Don’t get me wrong, back in England we were outdoor kind of people. We loved taking long walks in the countryside near our home, messing around in the woodland and rivers and also exploring the Lake District, an outstanding area of beauty in North England with wonderful mountains to hike and lakes to sail on.

The joy when the girls climbed up to Stickle tarn for the first time !

But here it feels like people are more attuned to the changing of the seasons and they adapt to make the most from that season and being out in nature. One of my absolute favourite things since moving here is living off the land and foraging for food.

I am very new to the world of gardening and I feel like I am stepping gingerly into the unknown, but I feel really excited to learn as much as I can and start to develop our garden and greenhouse into something really beautiful.

One thing I have learnt about is birch tapping to harvest delicious birch sap. I had absolutely no idea that you could do this and the sap not only tastes delicious but it has so many great health benefits! A friend of ours Carla shared her method of taking sap which is potentially less harmful to the tree and that is to cut the end of a hanging branch and attach a bottle directly to it rather than drilling a hole in the trunk, fixing a tube and then tying a bottle to the tree… much easier and less likely to introduce infection to the tree.

Perhaps my favourite fruit to search for are the tiny strawberries that grow carefree in the wild. Often you can smell them first and then you spot them. The fragrance and the flavour is much more intense and floral then regular strawberries, like delicious candy growing on a plant!

I must also say that the latter end of summer into Autumn holds so much joy too for those looking to find jewels in the forest … Blueberries and chanterelles galore! I am rather nervous about picking mushrooms but there is no mistaking that golden little trumpet once you know what you are looking for. It may take some finding and I notice that many Swedes like to keep their chanterelle spot close to their chest, but once you find a place you are rewarded throughout the season and every year after !!

Blueberries are abundant everywhere so no problem heading out with your scoop to collect kilos upon kilos of those vitamin packed pearls of goodness to get you through the cooler months and indeed through winter if you dedicate yourself and get tons in the freezer. Same goes for the mushrooms. And then of course the real treasure, those little golden nuggets that are oh so tricky to find; Cloudberries!!!

I had never tasted the wonderful flavour of these little beauties until we moved here and my goodness are they good ! I think the first time I tried them it was served with Vasterbotten ost, a double whammy of firsts and both utterly amazing!

I look forward to the search and to the harvest this year.

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