Our daily life

In this blog I will try to answer a question we have been asked countless times. Questions about how we manage the company of each other and being together in everything 24/7. I will also talk about what our everyday life looks like. Of course, there are variations depending on whether and if it’s summer or winter. And after we bought the house, our everyday life has also become a little different.

I will start with description of our everyday life. Like most other peoples ours is not much different. In the dark winter days, the sun rises between 9-10 a.m., so we can’t get out for a walk with the dogs before 10am. There is no bakery in the village and we bake our own bread every second day.

And the usual housekeeping routine as everyone has – cooking, washing and cleaning. In the winters we get up quite late – between 8-9 a.m. On the other hand, we work until late in the evenings almost every day. It is a luxury to be able to control your workday and enjoy the few bright hours. We spend the light hours as much as possible outdoors – taking photography, filming, skiing and walking with our dogs. And not to forget – removing snow. This winter is our first season with the new house. It is remotely located and the last 4 km of unpaved road to the house are not plowed by the municipal services, so it is us who has to clean it – and it is time-consuming duty.

Things generally take longer time, when you live the way as we do. It’s certainly not negatively mentioned, because I like and appreciates the slowness in daily routine. It’s impossible to hurry with anything here. If you are going to cook, firstly you have to get firewood; next the stove has to be warmed up. It takes around one hour for the wood stove is heated up to 200 degrees Celsius.

If we have to drive anywhere, we can’t just do it at the last minute, because there is a high chance that 20 cm of snow has fallen overnight and snow must be plowed off the road near house first. Additionally roads can be slippery and icy and you can’t drive faster than 50 km/h.  In some places the roads can even be closed due to heavy winds and snowfall.

Our waste container has to be placed 200 meters away from house along the unpaved road, when it has to be emptied every fortnight (every second week). You begin to appreciate that slowness and you have to slow down. And if somebody thinks this brings stress, but it has actually an opposite effect – it gives peace and you accept that fact that things take time.

Then I haven’t mentioned major shopping in supermarkets, which take most of a day. We decided to take it as an adventure – road trip with tea in the thermo cups.

Often we have longer to-do lists. For example it can be a meeting in the bank office, a vaccination at the vet or a visit to a “do it yourself” shop. Such a trip to the supermarket we do approx. once every month.

In the summertime we have 24 hours of daylight. Last spring we woke up earlier and earlier every day because of earlier sunrises and at the end it was so early, that we had to invest in black curtains on windows to get a good night sleep again. I was sure before, that it would never be necessary. We are still enjoying our first summer in our new house, but we got a taste of how long time it will take to mow grass on a 1.8 hectares of land: it took me 4 hours to mow 25% of the lawn.

In addition, a lot of things have to be done in the house. In the summertime we go often hiking with tent overnights in the mountains. It is both pleasure and work at the same time. Orest creates videos and I take photos for both our partners and our own accounts on social media.

Social media is something I spend a lot of time on. And like so many others, maybe too much time too. It is a difficult balance when this is also part of your job. But SoMe is also a great pleasure and a way to feel connected to your friends and the rest of the world, especially when you are so far away and isolated.

Living so isolated, just Orest, myself and our two dogs, sharing everything  24 hours a day has been amazingly smooth. I was never really worried about that part, but think that if anyone saw us from the outside, they probably would think we were talking too much to the dogs and saying weird things. Orest clearly has a greater need for being alone than I do. Actually, we had made an agreement that he would go on a day’s hike alone one day a week, but often it was postponed because we have too much to do together. But especially when we are a little under pressure and things don’t really go as expected, he needs to get out on his own for a long walk.

It works great for him and his mood balance, to go on a hike all alone with a single or two nights stay in tent. And it’s also nice for me to be alone for a while, and healthier for both of us than staying together in a depressed mood, because we only have each other in such situations and that’s our way of solving it.

One thing that has been causing pressure on Orest is that his family has not understood the choice we made. Orest was born in Ukraine and raised in both Ukraine and Russia and he has parents, who had struggled all their lives to get away from the poverty in province in Soviet times and to move to the city, get an education and good jobs. A permanent job was a key to safety and security in their lives. It has been anxiety provoking and incomprehensible that we had chosen to move to something they have struggled to get away from. First to quit our good and safe jobs and then to move out into the woods as far away from the city as possible and cook food on “open fire”. Even though he is an adult and feels independent, it does still hurt him when his mom posts a “crying” smileys at every post he posted on Facebook. It does mainly characterize differences in generations. The younger generation of Ukrainians understands our choice, but they have also grown with relatively good wealth and with the Internet. They have been able to travel and have food on the table every day. But now we have bought a house (as it means “investment in property”), and this was accepted by Orest’s mother greatly and as a wise decision. She has even turned to the positive and enthusiastic about our new property Lövnäset as it brings positive memories of her childhood. And we even have a motorboat – as she remembers, that only the richest family had one in the village in Siberia, where she was grown up. Such a choice as we made is an “Industrial and wealth-country” choice. That kind of choice you make, when you have never suffered or never been in need and when you have traveled the world and realized yourself in many aspects. It is not a choice you make when you have never been able to afford a pair of new shoes.

Unfortunately, my parents are dead and I don’t know how they would have reacted to our choice.

Back to everyday life, many people ask what we spend the evenings on. That’s a pretty good question. We haven’t had TV in 15 years and I had actually told myself that I would start watching more TV. But that has not happened. We guess we watch TV approx. 10-20 hours a year. Now it’s  around 9 p.m. while I’m writing this blog and Orest is sitting opposite to me and editing a video.

Soon our dogs should go out for a walk. Maybe you should take a bath and do some yoga exercises before sleep. This is what an ordinary evening typically looks like here.

But not on Sundays … I am return to the first blog and high heel shoes now! Sunday night is dedicated to a good food and glass of red wine. And then we take our nice clothes, I put on makeup and jump in my high heels.

It was a deal we made with each other on the way up here, because we knew that we would be wearing the ugliest and most practical clothes all the time every day. As Orest said the other day “When we lived in Copenhagen, we had the basement filled with the hiking equipment of highest quality”. It is constantly used now and all our fine “city” clothes are packed far away.

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the AUTUMN

Today is November 1st and exactly one year since we moved here. It’s autumn again and so many things have happened during that year. But nature is still the same. The same beautiful colors, birds on their way to warmer lands, bears preparing for winter hibernation, the first frost and the first snow. The reindeers who leave the forest and moving higher into the mountains. The hunting season that starts and the days that get shorter and shorter every day at a rapid pace. The forest is full of mushrooms and berries. And not to forget that the mosquitoes have finally left us.

This blog is dedicated to the fall. The most beautiful season and perhaps the season we love most. But we also want to make a small statement about two things that we have learned by living here. Things that we hadn’t thought they could impact our minds while we lived in Copenhagen, but thye are so omnipresent. And talk is about impact of material things. I had thought that I was completely unaffected by that, but I am far from that. And I discovered that when we visited Copenhagen this year. Maybe you think it is a very strange comparison that I suddenly talk about expensive cars, when we now have chosen to live the way we do. But I like nice cars. So when one day I was standing on one street in Copenhagen and saw a Maserati driving along the street, my first thought was “God, yes such type of cars exist too”. I had completely forgotten about that. It no longer existed in my consciousness. When you are not exposed to others vehicles than average half-old practical Volvo on winter tires, you don’t remember about existance of other types of cars. But if you see a Maserati every day, you unconsciously start to imagine driving in such a car. And that goes for many things. Slowly you lose grip on what is modern, and if once you used to buy clothes in the shops at the nice end of Strøget (shopping pedestrian street in Copenhagen), now you buy practical clothes in an average store chain. And you “go shopping” only when you really need one thing, and you become happy for pair of really warm boots or socks that hold their form and not make a mess in the rubber high boot.

Another thing is longing or desire. An longing or desire to experience other places and countries. We have always traveled a lot. 4-5 times a year was a common for us. To big cities and to exotic destinations, and every time we returned back home from another trip, the next trip was already planned. We constantly had desire to experience the world. That longing or desire has completely disappeared. Sure, we may miss our annual trips to Paris, but just the thought about travelling for one month to Bangladesh makes us both very tired. I believe that when you live so much in the and with nature, you get so much peace, that many basic needs are met. And then there is also a “little” detail that we will not leave our two dogs, Zarwoe and Láska.

We have trully become a little symbiosis after being together all 24 hours of the day for more than a whole year. Perhaps it may also be because our lives have been completely turned upside down. The fact that the last year we have experienced so many changes, so that having to relate to another country’s culture can be overwhelming for ones mind. I do not know, but I suppose that when you live such a simple life in the nature, you don’t desire something else. We just want to be here and go hiking in the mountains in neighbourhood.

Autumn begins September 1st and no – the local autumn is not an extension of summer.

In September you experience first night frosts and a single snowstorm is not that unusual. The leaves on trees turn yellow. And when you see the first yellow leaf, there are no many days will be before everything is in yellow, orange and red colors mixed with the green pinetrees. And it’s incredibly beautiful.

The large birds cranes gather in large flocks above in the sky before flying to the south. The reindeer, which have literally lived in our backyard during summer, look up into the mountains around October, when the mating season starts.

The moose seek away from the forest and into more open areas, where they find food during the autumn months. This is the best time to spot a moose. The bears go into winter hibernation around beginning of November, and then it feels more safe to walk in the woods and you do not get afraid the same way when your dogs hear a sound in the bushs.

It is also in September that we have to prepare firewood for winter season. It is still a little difficult for us to calculate how much we need. It seems when the shed is filled, there must be more than plenty, but you spend more than you think during entire winter, especially when our primary heat sources are the wood stove and fireplace. At Lövnäset it is our the only source of heat. We have become part of the forest when we bought our new house, so from next year we will have to cut and split our own firewood. It was not possible to cut and dry firewood this year, so it will be spring next year. Our neighbor has promised us a small course on how to prepare your own firewood. And then we must not forget our faithful helpers in getting firewood – the beavers. They cut as many trees around the lake as you can just pick up by boat.

The moose hunt starts on the first Monday in November, which is a date many in the area look forward to. People here have been hunters for many generations and the meat is an important part of the life. Here the whole animal is used and those parts which are not suitable for human food, go to the dogs. We also got a package from our neighbor with moose legs for our dogs. More organic meat does not exist. It is also in the fall that you hunt birds and bears. People say that even the most experienced hunter can have difficulties with holding the rifle stable, when preparing to shoot a bear. That’s the instinct being actived, which I also noticed,  when my dogs respond to any sounds in the forest. Although even if the moose actually counts for more accidents than the bear, but you react by instinct differently to a predator.

The first two weeks of the moose hunt we must take some precautions. The dogs wear orange vests and they are on leash most of the time. Then you are happy for our 1.8 hectare garden so they can run free and stretch their muscles.

It is also towards the end of August that we get the evenings again after two months of light 24 hours of the day. And even the light gives a nice energy, it is also nice to experience the darkness again. The days are getting shorter and shorter. About 5 minutes shorter every day until December 21st. We know many people think it must be depressing to accept the fact that winter is coming, but we love the fall – its colors and evenings. And we enjoy the fact, that the mosquitoes are gone in the fall.  And so are the small insects – mites or knots, as they are called in Swedish. It is actually an incredible relief to be outside and completely undisturbed by insects.

The snow usually settles in November, but this year it came early. Already in mid-October we got snow, so it probably will be a long winter this year. Winter is something very special and requires a whole blog for itself and I will be happy to tell you about it later on.

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