A 2017 picture of two young owls, click to enlarge. Also, make sure to check out r/Superbowl!
When I encounter news like this I cannot help but think of Greenwashing. Giant corporations like Unilever and Nestlé committing a billion dollars to protect tropical forests can sound like buying a way out of bad press.
But then I tell myself to be less cynical and appreciate that these organizations have a huge lever to do less of [wrong thing] and more of [right thing] and that we do indeed want them to be incentivized in that direction. Being suspicious enough to dismiss any positive initiatives as marketing ploy, does the opposite. It makes everyone less likely to get out of the bad equilibrium of unsustainable exploitation on the one hand, and righteous environmentalists scolding them on the other.
So, kudos to everyone behind the LEAF coalition! May you have a good plan for achieving the most good with the money.
I took the drone our for a spin this chilly early spring morning. The picture shows the nearby lake, Fibysjön, just a few hundred meters through the forest from our place.
Around it you can see some areas where the trees have recently been taken down. In fact, I see several huge trucks passing by every day, loaded to the brim with logs. The harvesters that do the logging are impressive machines and so efficient that they can process up to a hundred trees per hour.
There is an ongoing debate, heated at times, between the environmental movement, forest owners and industry, about how to strike the balance between logging and preservation. The more I read about it, the less of a strong opinion I find myself to maintain in that regard. I intend to write up the arguments soon, but as a teaser, if you can read Swedish, here is a twitter thread with some basic stats about forests and forestry.
We own a small patch of forest and had to take down a piece of it because of the bark beetle outbreak that has been causing large problems in recent years. So now it is time to make sure that the new generation of trees gets off ot a good start there.
While we're waiting for a delivery of 4000 saplings, I spent the morning to plant the ones that we grew ourselves in the garden last year. They promise rain for tomorrow.
In November a Ural owl visited our garden. This might not be very spectacular, after all they are not that rare in middle and northern Sweden. But I had never seen one before and was glad it stayed long enough for me to go get the camera.
It is commom knowledge here that Ural owls can get pissy during the spring when they have offspring. The Swedish name for them is slaguggla which literally means "the owl that hits you".
The cube of 30cm on all sides, plus a half roof, is meant to mimic a dead tree trunk that has rotted away on the inside, leaving a cavity. My little book on animal shelters says this is what Ural owls like to nest in. Now I only have to find a good spot in the forest and a way to put it up; it is quite a bit larger and heavier than it looks in the picture.
Ever since we moved into our cottage in the forest, there was a small wodden deck in front of the rock wall that limits the property. It is a sunny spot and the rock stores some warmth, so we naturally like to hang out in the garden furniture there. Unfortunately, the deck itself had rotted so much by now that one started to step through the boards.
I had put a temporary fix in place and thought I'd do the proper renovation early next year. But in a bout of restlessness I tore it all down the other week and started over from scratch. And I mean from scratch, starting by cutting some timber into beams and boards. This a manual process using the chainsaw and some improvised rigs to ensure straight cuts.
Having good foundations is imporant, even for such simple construnctions as a 4.5x3m deck. So I put some heavy granite stones into the corners, drilled holes and glued in some hardware with anchoring adhesive. In one corner the rock wall itself stuck out underneath, so could drill straight into the rock - this thing is going nowhere!
Then I put together the frame and oiled it with a traditional mix of tar and linseed oil. In the picture you can see that I had to put in four additional trusses (the yet unpainted ones) because I originally had far too large spacing.
Even though the surface is not very large, cutting all the boards out of tree trunks and straightening the edges with a circular saw took quite a while. Once I had screwed them on, I did not have the energy to think of any advanced stair construction, so it turned out as simple as possible. Still, I am quite happy with how the whole thing turned out:
I recycled the old railing which was in ok shape, just painted it and screwed it onto some feet, so it will be easily replaced, if needed.