I have many hobbies: baking naturally leavened sour-dough breads, knitting and climbing… Many of them seem to have nothing in common, however, there are some keywords that relate them very closely: Fermentation, Nature and Wild. The more seriously I pursue for my passion, the more adaptive I become to the slow life on the island. Maybe it’s because I am basically pretty old-fashioned.
In addition, the distance of 4km to the nearest supermarket from danskehavn and the manual-gear driving must be the other reasons that I choose fermentation rather than shopping in.
Naturally leavened sour-dough breads
I started baking naturally leavened sour-dough breads since my husband started brewing beer. I just thought that breads and beer were very similar in terms of production process, starting from the wheat and using the yeasts.
On Bornholm, I can easily obtain local flours. And at danskehavn, my oven in the kitchen can be preheated up to 300 degrees (In Tokyo, the maximum temperature was 160 degrees). What’s more importantly, the wild yeasts are abundant here: Cherries, berries, apples and so on. I get natural yeast out of those fruits to bake. Baking Danish specialties such as danish pastries and rye breads is also something that keeps me close to the oven.
Knitting – Sheep, spinning and plants-dying
I have been knitting since I was a kid. I am heavily fascinated with knitting hand-gloves with Norwegian patterns. Once I start, I could not stop until a pair of five-fingered gloves would be finished within 3-4 days. I guess an Adrenalin rush keeps me running while continuous detailed tasks like knitting fingers and patterns set in.
I don’t remember exactly when I started spinning, but this was also because of my husband. His elder brother on Bornholm got new sheep in his winery and gave me 2 kg of wool. Now, I have 3 spinning wheels. And there are two more neighbors who constantly provide me with wool within a radios 5km from danskehavn.
Naturally, the plants-dying comes next. I make it a rule to pick up the natural plants on Bornholm to dye wool. The biodiversity is quite different from my home country, Japan. Thus, the dying materials are also new to me. Day-to-day walk turns to be a million-dollar chance to find precious weeds. This may also me a chance to realize my potential as a botanical researcher. I’ve found and collected acorns, reeds, flowers and walnuts. For the plants-dying using walnuts and the Japanese indigo, the fermentation plays a significant role, although simply cooking plants in boiling water will do most of the work.
I started climbing in my 20’s in Tokyo. Since then, there has been no major improvement in technique, but somehow I still climb. In Tokyo, I used to go to an outdoor climbing site that locates about one hour from Tokyo by train. That is the one and only climbing site in the Greater Tokyo. Here on Bornholm, there are more than 200 routes for climbing in the areas in total, that is, almost 100 times larger than that of Tokyo. Bornholm, in deed, is a popular place for climbers. A climbing guide book is published. It is quite often to meet climbers from main land Denmark (Copenhagen), Germany and Poland.
I train myself with Bornholms Klatreklub once in a week.
I like cooking, too. It may be thanks to my mother who loved cooking and showed me how to bake from scratch. Especially when I live overseas where the Japanese ingredients are hard to come by, I just do it myself without hesitation. Fermented soy beans, pasta, Japanese noodles and Chinese noodles are always home-made here at danskehavn. Herbs and sprouts are grown in the kitchen. I am wishing to grow more vegetables next spring. There are also trees in the garden: Apple, Walnut, Grape, Plum and Pear. Those are, to me, small kids that I need to take care. Two more babies of chestnut and quince have just joined in the family to my great pleasure…