Around the moon… or Easter…

Spring, spring, Easter. It has been a sunny week. And it has been warmer again – a bit over 10 degrees Celsius, and even warmer than that – around 15 degrees Celsius it has been, too. We have seen coltsfoot flowers. And we have seen flies, mosquitoes, bees and butterflies – signs of summer…

April

The Ibiza lizard, always covered in snow a bit…? 🙂 Well, in wintertime… and this was a bit over a week ago on Friday.

April

For the moon… The moon, a full moon on Saturday, at around 1.00 am. I was ~mooning around in our garden…

A picture that I took yesterday:

April

The first flowers on the ground in our garden are crocus flowers. We have those everywhere in the garden. They are lovely surprises also because we can’t remember all the spots where we have planted them. 🙂

The rest of the pictures I took today:

April

My coffee and friends…

April

Just a few pictures of crocus flowers now… And also daffodil stems and tulip stems have started to grow on the ground.

April

‘A walk-in closet’ in the corner of the terrace – that’s the short description of our first ever greenhouse, here. 🙂

  • Leena

The heat’s been on

The summer has been unbelievably hot in Finland, as it has been all over Europe. At least for now the temperatures have gone down here in Finland, and yeah, there shouldn’t be temperatures like 30 degrees Celsius anymore this summer. (?) Anyway, this summer we learned that temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius are kinda cool. I mean, usually 25 degrees Celsius has been the Heat for us, but this summer we had 30 degrees Celsius or even a bit warmer for so, so many days that, yes, one truly felt it. And it was so dry everywhere for so many weeks that we couldn’t light campfires.

And about me, myself and I… I woke up at 4.30 am when I was working, and with so many early mornings during the week this summer, I didn’t quite yet learn to get my shi…itake together in my free time, I mean, it can be seen, for example, here in my blog… or, you just can’t see anything here… But I learned that I can make money by doing something that has something to do with gardening, funny. 🙂 And now it is the time to do… many things, I have a ton of things to do, but that’s nice, and I’m quite excited about writing here in my blog now, too. 🙂

echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower

Echinacea purpurea or purple coneflower flowers in our garden now. I planted three tiny young echinacea plants last summer and two of them have been growing this year – the one in the middle didn’t grow at all a year ago either.

echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower

Butterflies, too, love echinacea flowers… The right wing of this beauty was a bit damaged.

echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower

echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower

echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower

New flowers still growing.

echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower

Echinacea has been one of my dream flowers for my garden.

And here’s another one of my dream plants, in our garden now as well:

bougainvillea

Bougainvillea. My ‘mini Spain’. – Bougainvillea is “the miracle bush in the south” for us here in the north. 🙂 These plants are so huge in the south! And the first time I met this wonder was in Spain. My plant was tiny and there were no bracts or flowers when I bought it, and it cost me only a few euros. I’m glad it began to flower!

bougainvillea

The actual flowers of bougainvillea, small and sweet.

This summer I’ve seen a bat in our garden. One bat, only once. My boyfriend has seen a couple of bats a couple of times here this summer, but we definitely saw more of them a year ago.

And last week I saw a raccoon dog here for the first time. My boyfriend has seen it here once before this summer. I’m not quite sure how to feel about raccoon dogs here…

The summer is not over yet!

-Leena

More crocus flowers, onions growing, year-round composter…

Spring days… But it’s been a bit cooler now, but not cooler than normally in Finland this time of the year; the temperatures have been around 10 degrees Celsius in the daytime. – Some days it’s been more like 5 degrees, but some days it’s been 13 degrees. And in the nighttime the temperatures have been a bit above 0 degrees Celsius. It’s been a bit more cloudy now, but in the daytime there still has been more sunshine than rain altogether.

I took all the pictures in this blog post in our garden today.

More crocus flowers. Now we already have crocuses growing in many places in the garden. We don’t even remember all the places we planted crocus bulbs last autumn, and I don’t even know all the places my boyfriend planted them. 🙂

crocus

That white stuff on the ground, by the way, is spring fertilizer for the cherry tree…

crocus

Charming surprises.

And more butterflies… I saw the first butterfly in our garden on Sunday the 15th, it was a brimstone butterfly, and I’ve seen brimstone butterflies here a few times more after that, too. A few bees have been buzzing as well, and we saw a tiny hedgehog in the woods next to our garden, too.

We’ve been working in the garden for some time now, turning the garden into our outdoor living room again, clearing it up and so on. And raking, raking again – how come we have so, so many fallen leaves on the ground now in April even though we raked, like everything, last autumn…?

growing onions

Onions, red onions are already growing, from onion sets, in these pots in our garden. Planted about two weeks ago.

composter with a crown

A composter with a crown on the top. 🙂 We have been using this composter for fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, used tea bags, and so on… for over a week now. This is our first composter for kitchen waste, Biolan pikakompostori – quick composter 220eco, a year-round composter. So simple, useful and nice. And the crown is a container that we use for collecting the fruit peels, coffee grounds, et cetera, in the kitchen.

-Leena

Springy – Ice, the first butterflies, coltsfoot flowers & crocus flowers…

Warmer, warmer… The spring is near, the spring is like here! – The nights have still been a bit colder, the temperatures have been around 0 degrees Celsius in the nighttime, but in the daytime it’s beginning to feel a lot like spring! – The temperatures have been around 10 degrees Celsius and now even between 10 and 16 degrees Celsius during the day.

First two pictures that I took by the lake Pyhäjärvi here in Satakunta region on Friday.

lake Pyhäjärvi

Okay, most of Finland still has snow, the northern part of the country like tons of it – well, that’s not even a bad thing, they have lovely spring days there, too, but just for comparison – here in the southernmost part of Finland the snow has mostly melted. But for example our lake Pyhäjärvi still has a lot of snow and ice and on it, an ice cover, but there already are some ice-free spots somewhere as well.

lake Pyhäjärvi

We saw the first butterfly for this year for us on Friday as well. Not here at home, but in our neighbouring municipality Säkylä. It was a peacock butterfly.

Tiny insects have already been dancing in the evening sun everywhere here, too.

lake Pyhäjärvi

Yesterday we found a new walking track for us, and it’s not even far from our home. 😮 🙂 We took the shortest route now first, just to see the place, the forest. The forest was mostly spruce trees, but there were also some pine trees and other trees as well.

April

Parts of the track were still covered with snow and ice…

April

April

…so it was a bit slippery with these old ‘bad ice skates’ of mine. But it was warm there, I had too many hoodies on me…

April

Ants, too, were already busy in the forest.

And we saw another peacock butterfly there. A charming, silent forest it was. Glad to have found it! It’s been there all this time, but we’ve noticed it only now. 🙂

April

And we saw the first coltsfoot flowers for this year for us, too. There were several coltsfoot flowers by the car park there.

And a few pictures that I took in our garden today:

April

The smell of the earth that is free of the snow now is lovely.

April

Swans have been flying and honking here, and we hear loud voices of water fowls every evening again, from the lake I think.

We planted many crocus bulbs in our garden last autumn. And I wasn’t prepared for flowers yesterday… 😀 But yes, we already found two yellow crocus flowers!

crocus

One in the front yard and the other in the backyard.

crocus

-Leena

At the cabin in Kuusamo II

Now the second blog post about my trip to Kuusamo. The first one can be found here. I’ve visited Kuusamo and our cabin there ever since my childhood. This time I travelled with my dad. Cabin or cottage is called mökki in Finnish. Mökki is a highly important thing for many many Finns. Often the mökkis are somewhat modest. We, for example, have no running water there.

The first 22 pictures in this blog post I took at our cabin, the last four pictures I took on the way back home.

blue fleabane

Blue fleabane or bitter fleabane is growing wild beside the cabin. In fact, our cabin yard is the only place where I’ve seen these flowers so far. 🙂

blue fleabane

beard lichen, beard moss

Beard lichen or beard moss again.

red moss

Red moss. I’ve seen red moss in two spots in the cabin woods so far.

red moss

arctic bramble, arctic raspberry

There were some arctic bramble or arctic raspberry flowers in the woods as well.

creek, trees

By the creek again.

And… welcome to the woods:

trees

trees

trees

trees

cup lichen

Cup lichen, right in front of the cabin. Cup lichen is called torvijäkälä in Finnish, literally: horn lichen. So in Finnish we don’t see them as cups, but as horns, the musical instruments. 🙂

an old shed

An old shed.

dwarf cornel, bunchberry, Swedish cornel, Lapland cornel, Eurasian dwarf cornel

Dwarf cornel or bunchberry or Swedish cornel or Lapland cornel or Eurasian dwarf cornel flowering by the creek.

I was attacked by mosquitoes when I took this pic, because it was already late in the evening then. There’s a lot of mosquitoes there in the north in summertime, at our cabin, for example, especially late in the evening and in the woods. Mosquitoes in Finland are not dangerous, just a nuisance. 🙂

tree

A trEEe…

wood cranesbill, woodland geranium

Wood cranesbill or woodland geranium was flowering now there in the north. We have a lot of wood cranesbill beside the cabin road…

wood cranesbill, woodland geranium

…and in different colours as well…

wood cranesbill, woodland geranium

…and by the creek, too.

a throne in the woods

A throne in the woods. You can imagine how delighted I was to find this in the woods some years ago. 😉 This nature’s sculpture endures the northern winters there really well. It must have been there for ages.

trees, lake

At peace.

common blue

A common blue butterfly. We were both regularly there beside the cabin. 🙂 The colour of the butterfly was marvellous…

common blue

The underside of the butterfly wing.

reindeer

Reindeer on the road on our way southward. There was lots of reindeer there on the road in many places, here’s just a couple of pics. One has to be very careful when driving there in the north. – Reindeer live the slow life there. 😉

reindeer

The Silent People

Hiljainen kansa, The Silent People in Suomussalmi, in Kainuu region, about a two-hour drive south from Kuusamo. A nice and atmospheric place to stop by and take a rest. The Silent People is the creation of local artist Reijo Kela. And the clothes are changed twice a year; summer clothes and winter clothes. There’s a Field Café, too. And during the summer months they make there crispy-edged crêpes on open fire and campfire coffee as well.

The Silent People

People often ask what precisely is the idea behind the Silent People. A state of psychological withdrawal? The mute Kainuu soul? A forgotten people? Reijo Kela refuses to provide any answer. Viewers are free to come to their own conclusions. It may, however, be of interest to learn that if the Silent People were to be completely undressed there would remain some one thousand wooden crosses standing in the field.” -The Silent People -leaflet & suomussalmi.fi
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And yes, I’m already longing for the cabin again! 🙂

-Leena

If not cooler, then hotter…

…or the other way round. So the first half of the last day of April was snowy, here is my blog post about it. But the sky did start to clear up and the snow started to melt. In the evening we visited the Kauttuankoski rapids:

on the last day of April

I ate my ice cream down there somewhere (=the spot where I was can’t actually be seen in this pic), but by the rapids I was first, and then I came up here. And from here, from the bridge, I took this pic… no snow, not anymore.

on the first day of May

And the first day of May, the second day of the Finnish Vappu celebration, the May Day itself, was lovely, sunny and warm. I enjoyed sitting here, on the ground, between our vegetable garden and the woods. 🙂

The next four pictures I took by the lake Pyhäjärvi on Saturday. Oh, the colour blue…

lake Pyhäjärvi

Friday and Saturday were sunny and warm days, too. On Friday I saw the first butterfly of this spring for me this year! It was a peacock butterfly. And I heard and saw the first bees buzzing as well! On Saturday then we visited the lake Pyhäjärvi, and on our way there, we saw a deer. I was actually driving the car at that moment, the deer didn’t jump to the road – it stopped by the ditch. And it was so beautiful! 🙂

alder tree, catkins

Under an alder tree and its catkins, by the lake.

lake Pyhäjärvi

We need more days like this!

lake Pyhäjärvi

But:

Ibiza lizard and hail

The Ibiza lizard and hail in our garden yesterday. It’s been hailing and snowing on many days – last week between Tuesday and Thursday, and this week, it’s been cooler… But the sun has been shining, again, right after almost every time that it has hailed or snowed.

The rest of the pictures I took today. And yes, especially today it has hailed and snowed many times, but the sun’s been shining a bit as well. And today I saw black woodpeckers! Two of them. I hadn’t seen those birds before, in nature. Now they were in ‘our’ woods! And their calls sound so… interesting, too! 🙂

May vegetable garden

In our vegetable garden. Some frost protection fabric now. We moved some of our strawberry plants here, too.

May narcissus, daffodil

I thought that there wouldn’t be any narcissus or daffodil plants in our garden this spring, but on Friday I found them, on two spots in the garden, here’s one of them. They had started to grow there again, like, overnight! Literally… I mean, I had been watching those spots! 😀

May leopard's bane, doronicum

Leopard’s bane or doronicum. It already has some flower buds, too!

And some green grass has grown everywhere now as well, during May. – The spring has been slow this year, but now it seems that everything has started to grow a bit better, despite the occasional hailing and snowing. And indeed, I already started eating some nettles! 🙂

-Leena