Two and a half weeks in Eastern Finland

I spent two and a half weeks in Eastern Finland, in the municipality of Rautavaara in the region of Northern Savonia, in August and in September. It’s my boyfriend’s home region and I was travelling with him and our two cats. His family has an old house there in Rautavaara, no one lives in the house anymore, it’s just for summertime visits nowadays, and that’s the place we stayed as well. It’s always about an eight hour’s drive from our home to Rautavaara, and the same back of course. – Always worth the travel.

I didn’t take pictures of, like, everything, but naturally I did ‘get caught up in some things’, and the result is this blog post here now. 🙂 I also took some pictures for our, mine and Owlnature‘s, Instagram (owlnatureleena), and the real Instagram widget has, by the way, (finally :p ) been on the sidebar of my blog for some time now as well.

lake Keyritty

By the lake Keyritty, just outside the centre of Rautavaara. It was a summery day. So calm, beautiful… just stunning! And it was completely silent here and everywhere we went. 🙂

lake Keyritty

dragonfly

There were many dragonflies flying and enjoying the sunshine by the house on many days. Here’s two of them.

dragonfly

Tiilikanselkä

By another lake on some other day. This is called Tiilikanselkä.

There are actual creeks in the forest, I’m not sure if this is one of them, or is this just some ditch…? Beautiful water areas in the forests, too, anyway.

monkshood in forest

I went mushroom hunting and all I could find was poisonous monkshood. ;p In this one forest I found monkshood in the wild for the first time.

monkshood in forest

monkshood in forest

boletus edulis, penny bun

But we did find a lot of mushrooms, too, during our trip. Here’s one penny bun mushroom or cep or porcino/porcini or boletus edulis mushroom…

craterellus (or cantharellus) tubaeformis, yellowfoot, winter mushroom

And here’s our biggest amount of yellowfoot mushrooms or winter mushrooms or funnel chanterelles or cantharellus/craterellus tubaeformis mushrooms…

In addition to cooking with mushrooms we enjoyed bilberries (or blueberries), lingonberries and crowberries in the forests.

Another lake again. I was on a ridge. There are lakes on either side of the ridge. And there are many ridges in Rautavaara area, fairly small, beautiful… with lakes, forests and swamps.

creek

A creek in the forest, so clear you can see the bottom.

creek

Tiilikanselkä

By Tiilikanselkä again, we went there actually three times during our trip. 🙂

river flows

And river flows…

river flows...

…and flows. Until next time. 🙂

-Leena

Summer flowers, little friends, eating brain mushrooms…

Finally we have had the rain that the garden, nature and we people needed… now we have had two rainy days, the first one last week after that blog post of mine, and today is the second rainy day. The cooler air also returned for a day or two last week – especially Friday was a ridiculously cold day… Now it’s been all summery again.

narcissus, daffodil & spider

One narcissus or daffodil flower was a home for this little guy for two days. This spider really stayed here for two days, but when the cold Friday came, he was presumably off to some warmer place. 🙂

rockfoil

Some rockfoil flowers in our garden, not many, but they are beauties.

rockfoil

plum flower

Our plum tree has been blooming, now the flowers have already started to disappear. Last year the tree was in bloom already on May 23rd, and there was well over a hundred flowers, but this year… I actually didn’t count them, but I think 20 flowers (or fewer?), definitely not many more than 20… so let’s see what happens… 🙂

plum flower

High up…

gyromitra esculenta, false morel, brain mushroom

These brainy friends… highly toxic friends… We got some brain mushrooms from Eastern Finland. Brain mushroom, gyromitra esculenta, false morel… These are real delicacies in Finland. Quite unique taste! But very dangerous, deadly, before boiling them at least two times. And most of the poison disappears during the boiling – up in the air, so one has to make sure that the house is ventilated well – we, for example, opened a door and two windows. We ate the first part of our brain mushrooms – cooked them with just cream and a bit of salt, and ate them with potatoes. Excellent food! We still have those mushrooms for two meals in the freezer. In Finnish this brain mushroom is called korvasieniear mushroom. 🙂

bird cherry

Okay, I never knew until now that we have this fairly tiny bird cherry tree in the back of our garden. I just found it. And I found it blooming! It’s in a spot where, umm… many different things grow. So, yeah, we still have that sort of spots in our garden. 😀

forget-me-not

Good morning! Forget-me-nots in the back of our garden again, by the ditch… My favourite small flowers!

forget-me-not

In German, Spanish and English the name of the flower means the same: Vergissmeinnichtnomeolvidesforget-me-not. But in Finnish the name is lemmikki, literally pet or darling, and the name can also be understood: “a flower of love“. 🙂

forget-me-not

forget-me-not

forget-me-not

apple flowers

Apple flowers now…

apple flowers

apple flower & ladybird or ladybug

But who’s here?

apple flower & ladybird or ladybug

A ladybird or ladybug is here! The first one for me this year. 🙂

apple flowers

apple flowers

apple flowers

chickweed wintergreen or arctic starflower

The first chickweed wintergreen flower or arctic starflower flower this year, in the back of our garden…

globeflower

Globeflower blooming in the front yard. We have these also in two other places in our garden, in the backyard.

globeflower

One of my favourite perennials…

-Leena

Leaves coming out

I took all the pictures today. First some birch leaves that are growing inside the house now. I wrote about my birch twigs in the previous blog post .

birch leaves

Pure green. Pure love.

birch leaves

And the happymins! 🙂 And naturally I already tasted one of the tiny leaves… it tasted so fresh, so green, so lovely…

birch leaves

This is so inspirational, too…

rhubarb

Yesterday we noticed that rhubarb is coming through again. 🙂

Coming through!

And these, too. We have no idea what these are… They grow in a place where we put some of the leftovers in our garden – leaves after raking them and some ‘surplus soil’ when we are digging somewhere in our garden and we have to remove some land. Hmm…

lilac

Some of the leaves of the lilac bushes have almost started to come out as well. Already in the winter I noticed that the buds were very swollen! I was almost a bit worried about that. 🙂 But yes, this bush is in a really sunny spot all year round.

-Leena

Spring comes by doing, too

It’s a sunny day today. Lately we’ve had sunshine, but some cloudy, even foggy days as well. Last Friday when I woke up in the morning, it was white everywhere… we had snow, but only during the first half of the day – during the other half of the day the sun was shining, and the snow melted away fast.

coffee owl

My morning coffee today. 🙂

The air, too, has already become a bit warmer, the wind can still be a bit cool though – in the shade…

We have seen swans flying and heard them honking almost every day for some time now. It has been lovely… And one night when we had a campfire in our garden we heard the haunting calls of cranes and the delightful voice of the blackbird. Oh, spring… And on another night, when we had a garden campfire again, we heard some very loud voices of swans and other waterfowls from the lake Pyhäjärvi near our home. It lasted for hours, and we even heard some flapping of wings and splashing of water – we can’t remember hearing the sounds of the lake water before, in our garden. 🙂

digging

And we have started digging in our garden… This is just one, a bit bigger example – this we’ll be doing a lot this spring – helping the rain water to flow away from the house and away from some places from our garden lawn as well…

rocks rocks

I’ve been moving, for example, rocks, from the other side of our garden to other side, here. There’s still many more to go, some are still frozen to the ground on the other side. And these here in the picture I’ll pile in some way, and so on…

birch twigs

And it was already high time to get some birch twigs, to make the leaves grow inside the house. These are my first for the spring… and the last, too – I’m rationing every spring these twigs; I’m not like grazing, but getting just a little something for the promise of the spring, or the summer! And a little something for some additional vitamins then, too, and for some… happyminshappymins could also mean that it’s more about the feeling than the amount – as I said already last year with my birch twigs… 😉

“But I don’t always want to know about the sunshine!”:

"But I don't always want to know about the sunshine!"

"This. Is my new house..."

“This. Is my new house…”

"Just for your information..."

“Just for your information…”

Okay. 🙂

-Leena

Mushrooms

I absolutely love mushrooms! And mushroom hunting. Self-picked mushrooms and self-prepared food with them are something totally different from the canned mushrooms that we meet on pizzas, for example… – No wonder many people believe that they don’t like mushrooms at all… 🙂

And probably we all know how dangerous mushrooms can be – that is a fact indeed! We, me and my boyfriend, got our first facts on mushroom hunting, and bolete mushrooms or porcini mushrooms in particular, when we were mushroom hunting for the first time, with my boyfriend’s father in Eastern Finland. After that we have used a mushroom guide book and the internet, both. 🙂

This blog post of mine is not a proper guide to these two types of mushrooms that I have in the pics below, so don’t eat mushrooms based only on knowledge you get from here! – I’m just having a bit of fun with mushrooms here in this blog post, with a little bit of information! 🙂

The first five pics I took on our front yard on Friday.

shaggy ink cap

We have numerous shaggy ink caps on our front yard every year. They have their own special place there. 🙂 Shaggy ink caps are quite charming and funny mushrooms; they have many phases when it comes to their appearance.

shaggy ink cap

First they are just white, short and chubby ‘trunks’. Then they grow to be tall and thin mushrooms with a proper cap, which then starts to melt away, to dissolve, to drip down, as black liquid or ‘ink’.

shaggy ink cap

These mushrooms are edible when they are very young and white, that mushroom in the pic above is already too old. We have never eaten these, but they say, these are quite good edible mushrooms when they are young.

shaggy ink cap

This ‘ink’ of shaggy ink caps actually was used as ink in days of old. 🙂

shaggy ink cap

Ink dried up?

woolly milkcap

The rest of the pics I took on Saturday night, after a walk in the forest. – We came out of the forest with our hands full of woolly milkcaps.

woolly milkcap

Fluffy mushrooms! Cute and delightful! 🙂

Woolly milkcaps are fully edible, but they must be boiled, and they must be boiled longer than some other mushrooms. Woolly milkcaps must be boiled about 20-30 minutes. The taste of raw woolly milkcaps is strongly bitter and raw woolly milkcaps don’t agree with one’s stomach, at all. Cooking, boiling and rinsing the mushrooms removes the poison from them. The taste of woolly milkcaps after boiling them is very delicious! We cooked a creamy sauce with these.

woolly milkcap

Mushrooms always have funny and cunning names. In Finnish, for example, this woolly milkcap has two names – other one of them is karvalaukkufur bag, literally. 🙂

woolly milkcap

-Leena

Blueberry gold, the next peony poppy, the very last peony flower

We’ve been doing quite a lot of Nordic walking, but I don’t always take pics of it… On Thursday I took a pic – I tried to demonstrate what we’ve been doing quite a lot lately; Nordic walking and during that activity picking and eating blueberries, too (isn’t that a healthy and pleasant combination 😉 ) in the forest where one of our favourite walking trails goes.

DSC04525

The starting and ending point of the trail is by the lake Pyhäjärvi, I took this pic after our walk – trying to get some of my blueberry fingers, too, in the pic. 😀 This previous blog post about Nordic walking was from the same forest, our raven forest near our home. We just love it! – There’s always a raven or many ravens croaking. Once we heard, and saw, many many ravens. We tried to count them; there was at least 15 if not over 20 ravens dashing, flying and croaking. Amazing it was. Ravens are both funny and noble birds. 🙂

DSC04540

A muffin again yesterday evening… We’re lucky enough to have a lot of wild blueberries in our back garden, too. Yesterday evening we made some blueberry muffins. Muffins of gluten free flour; whole grain oat flour. Oat is the best! 🙂 So delicious and healthy. And traditionally Finnish!

poppy

Two pics of the next peony poppy flower today. This, too, is one of my ‘wild poppies’. This was hit with rain – yesterday, heavily…

poppy

peony

And the very last peony flower – just had to take pics today… Yesterday I was hoping that this would survive the rain and grow bigger…

peony

peony

…so that I could cut it for drying today. And that was what I already did, because I thought the flower is big enough to cut, to save, now. The other peonies that I cut for drying earlier, are still doing (drying) just fine. 🙂

-Leena

Tea, flowers, Medieval Market, birch sap, coffee…

Some miscellaneous yesterday and today again. I’m visiting Turku now. – I’m on the second floor in a block of flats. I wrote a “story so far” in the sidebar of my blog the other day, telling that I studied in a city, and so on. So, clearly, I’ve lived again in the countryside for two years now, but I’ve had one part of my belongings still here in Turku. But, that’s about to change soon – I’m moving out of here completely now…

DSC04344

…like this – having some tea with no hurry whatsoever, trying to figure out my place in the solar system… 😀
OK, there’s a lot of coffee here in my blog, but… I do drink tea, too! Coffee is coffee and caffeine for me, but my tea I prefer without caffeine. Tea is an evening or a night drink for me. My favourites are chamomile tea and rooibos tea. Yesterday evening (in the pic above) I had chamomile, honey & vanilla tea. Sweet. 🙂

phacelia

And again flower pics I took in the garden of our country home earlier yesterday. Again phacelia.

maiden pink

And more pics of maiden pink, too. It’s difficult to capture with camera the striking neon red colour the flower has, it dazzles the camera… 😀

maiden pink

peony

One peony bud, three pics…

peony

peony

DSC04339

Yesterday we visited the annual event, the Medieval Market of Turku. The Medieval Market is one of my favourite places in Turku. It’s a place for old, traditional and genuine things, scents, sounds, atmosphere… And I had my traditional cup of nice super drink, ice cold birch sap there. 🙂 Nature’s renewable and healthy magic potion that I’d love to have a little more often.

DSC04349

And morning coffee today. Here’s to us, I guess… 😉

-Leena