As a relative newcomer, living here for just four years, I see Houtskar differently from the way that “real Houtskar folk” do. I have travelled the world, Scandinavia and Australia, Asia and mainland Europe, part of USA and around many South American countries, as well as the Mediterranean, and I believe that this is one of the most beautiful places in World.
Houtskar has hundreds of acres of majestic forests and very beautiful countryside, all surrounded by the Baltic Sea. This sea is dotted with thousands of islands, around seven hundreds of which are part of Houtskar. Many wild animals live here; elk, deer, roe deer, badgers, racoons, squirrels, hares, lynx and fox, for example, none of which are dangerous to humans. We see many of these animals walking around, especially in the spring and autumn. Then there are the birds; eagles, owls, thrushes, tits and robins, to name but a few. As well as the many types of sea birds.
The birds are fascinating and diverse
In springtime, the trees and plants that have been asleep for the winter, wake up and start bursting with leaves and flowers. Suddenly Houtskar is ablaze with a variety of colour. The various greens of the trees and bushes, contrast with the white of the Silver Birch trees. Daffodils flower everywhere beside the roads and baby blue Hyacinths too. Lilly of the Valley grow wild in the forests and the fields are full of Cowslips. The Adam and Eve orchid is Houtskar ́s very own national flower, protected by law and forbidden to pick.
Summer brings blue, pink and white lupines and we see the blossom of the apple, pear and cherry trees in every garden giving way to delicious fruit. Then we can start scavenging in the forests and picking wild raspberries, strawberries, lingon and blueberries.
Autumn is the time we collect various types of wild mushrooms; Chanterelle, Karl-Johan and Tratt Chanterelle for example, and the leaves begin to change colour before they fall. It’s a very beautiful time of year, with its golds and reds, and another excellent time to spot the wild animals foraging for food. Then comes winter, with its long dark nights lit by snow. The snow helps to protect plant-life from the cold temperatures, whilst hibernating underground, and brings beautiful fresh water when it melts in spring. During the coldest part of winter, skiing and ice skating is popular, and if it’s cold enough for a while, we go ice fishing in the frozen sea. I feel truly blessed to be living in such a wonderful place.