May is the first month of the year in Norway when the weather is reasonably reliable after the winter. We look forward to warm days, shorter nights and plenty of sun, all perfect for being outside and enjoying what the garden and nature has to offer.
My family and I love lists and we find that tasks are much easier to complete with a list to hand. I know not everyone shares our geeky passion but I thought it might be fun to let you know what we have on our list for May here in our little corner of Norway.
Prepare the garden for summer visitors. We've been in and out of lockdown in Norway for a year now and I am longing for the days when we can entertain again, especially in the garden. So we have been putting lots of energy into making the garden a beautiful welcoming space whilst still keeping it kid-friendly and giving the animals a place to call home too. I find it fun to add some elements of decor to the garden, not simply plants and so I've been making bunting (not at all Nordic, but definitely our take on the Nordic life).
Start a new craft. Winter is always a time that I start new craft projects or learn new crafting skills. With our long Nordic nights and cold days, learning a new craft or skill is something that lends itself to the winter months. But there are many crafts that I wish I had started in the spring, usually because they are messy and I don't need more mess inside the house! Which are your favourite spring crafts? Give me some ideas...
Expand my vegetable plots. I am lucky enough to have plenty of space for vegetables, but that hasn't always been the case. There have been times when all I have had is space for a few pots. You don't need a huge amount of land to grow any plants. It does take a little creativity and making the choice of the plants that you really want to grow. There is some wonderful information and inspiration on Charles Dowding's Youtube channel, or on the BBC's Gardener's World program.
These are two places we always go for inspiration, even though the climate zones are often very different to our's (we are in zone 4 so only the most robust plants survive the winter outside).
BBQ and grill outside as much as possible. BBQing speaks of the summer to me and it's part of outdoor life in Norway. There is nothing quite as relaxing as sitting outside and leisurely grilling on the BBQ. It's made all the more fun when you can invite guests over.
Make a fairy garden. We made a small fairy garden last year, but I plan on going bigger this year and making something more permanent that the kids can gradually add to. I say "kids" but I am pretty excited to do it myself!
Enjoy some trips along the southern Norwegian coast. Recently Norwegians were asked if they were expecting to take a foreign holiday this year and only 5% said they expected that. The whole of Norway is preparing itself for holidays within our own borders this summer and so Andre and I have decided to get out and be tourists in our own county before the summer holidays start and everyone rushes to their hytte (cabin). You can read more about holidaying like a Norwegian here.
Pick wild food, or forage if you prefer that term. Foraging is one of my great passions and it's shared by my two girls. Mia (my youngest) especially loves to collect shellfish at the beach. Her favourites are periwinkles and cockles and she insists on eating them as soon we we get home. The sea may not be warm enough for sea foraging just yet, but there are plenty of plants that are coming into their own in the late spring and early summer. I'll be sharing some of my favourite wild food recipes in the weeks and months ahead so keep an eye on the blog,
Make the most of Norway's National Day on 17 May regardless of the restrictions. Last year's national day celebrations were off and it looks like a similar situation this year. National Day is Norway is a big event and everyone is involved but things will be a little different. However we can still make the most of whatever we can.
Start camping in the wild. We have some amazing outdoor gear that we love using, but never use quite enough. This year we are expecting not to be able to travel outside Norway much but with so many amazing outdoor spaces closer to home we can certainly make the most of them and enjoy some "friluftsliv"
Be grateful for everything. After the last year and a bit, I am finding that I am appreciating the small things so much more. Success with a plant, or a day with blue sky or the early blossoming of the spring flowers are all things that have made me so grateful this year already. I want to have that feeling everyday and appreciate all the things we are lucky enough to have. Those things also include the amazing Facebook group that so many of you are part of and the inspiration I get for writing this blog.
What's on your list for May? Do you have an ideas you'd like to share in the comments....
Why not join me in the Living a Nordic Life Facebook group? I'd love to see you there.