By SRO Kjell Michelsen

It might be a tad early to talk about fall, especially with 90-plus degree weather outside. But in the area where I grew up in Northern Norway, the signs for early fall are underway. Summers that far north can sometimes be a “hit and miss” kind of deal.

Most of Northern Europe experienced a pretty decent heatwave earlier this summer. But all that warm weather did not reach much above the Arctic Circle. That far north, the temperature was hovering in the 50s to the high 60s with just a handful of days touching on the 90s.

Fall used to be a special time growing up. Fall was harvest time, and we used as a family to go out picking blueberries, lingonberries, and cloudberries. To pick the latter one, we usually had to walk for an hour or two out into the marshlands where these berries would grow. Cloudberries are very juicy, and they taste a bit like a cross between a raspberry and red currant. We would typically use them for various dessert dishes and in cake fillings, and some would make jam out of them and have them on toast.

On the coast of Northern Norway, because of the harsh winters (in particular), there are no forests to speak of, mostly smaller bushes and just up from the shoreline, moss, and grass covers the landscape. One would think that those vibrant fall colors we usually experience in our area would be absent that far north. The moss has vibrant fall colors, like yellow, red, green and burgundy, turning much of the landscape into a tapestry of colors.

Fall was also the slaughter season. We would often buy fresh reindeer meat directly from the Lapplanders up in the mountains. Sometimes they would close the deal offering some fresh reindeer blood to drink, and talking about blood. I remember my mother used to purchase pigs blood. The blood would be used to make blood pudding and blood pancakes. It might sound a little gross, but they are actually pretty good, especially the pancakes, which my mom used to make with raisins, bacon bits and drizzle a little honey on top.

Like I mentioned in a previous column, fall is my favorite time of the year. Football season is kicking into gear. Soon we truly can enjoy sitting outside into the evening around a bonfire, taking in that crisp cooler fall air, sipping on a pumpkin-flavored fall drink, maybe roasting some marshmallows, with family and friends.

Until next time, have fun, be safe, and make your very own plans for the fall.