April – Spring!

Okay. 🙂

I have heard the blackbird sing in our garden and swans have been flying and calling – wonderful signs of spring… We have had windy and cold sunny days, and a bit warmer and sunny days, a few warm (around 10 degrees Celsius) sunny days, but naturally some grey (or… brown – no snow on the ground anymore) days, too. But yesterday it was first sleeting and then it was snowing…

A few snapshots:

April

By the lake Pyhäjärvi here in Satakunta region on Tuesday, a week ago.

April

I took this pic in the region of Etelä-PohjanmaaSouth Ostrobothnia, about 180 kilometres north from our home, on Saturday. (It was a bit over 10 degrees Celsius outside, yay!) My boyfriend had the chance to buy another forest there – the distance between his first forest and this second forest is about 40 kilometres. And this was the first time we went to see this new place.

April

There was still ice and snow on the forest road. We already had summer tyres, but luckily there were no bigger surprises…

April
~Melting clear…

We found the forest and there was still some snow in the forest as well.

April

I found beard lichen next to the forest. I love it! Beard lichen – the air is clean. 🙂

And we visited my boyfriends first forest, too, the place from where I have for example the moose videos here in my blog:

April
~Paths crossed…? – Me and a moose.

There, too, was still snow and it was even impossible to drive the road to our usual spot. (We kinda thought that there wouldn’t be snow anymore… ;p ) There were moose tracks in snow and water was flowing pretty loudly in the ditch and into the pond.

So we had a very nice road trip, charming country roads and all…

The rest of the pictures I took today:

April

My morning coffee~

So we didn’t have snow anymore… But now:

April
April

Already almost 10 centimetres of snow on the ground. But they say that it will be a bit warmer and that the sun will be shining again as well, after Wednesday.

April
  • Leena

Gone cross-country skiing [in Kuusamo earlier this week]

It’s been like summer here in Finland this week. Especially here in the southern part of the country it’s been warm for a bit over a week now. The temperatures have been between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius during the day. The sun’s been shining, grass is already green, the trees are growing leaves – everything is growing, everything is green… and there’s more flowers and butterflies. The scent of summer is in the air and we can already eat some herbs from the garden as well.

But I started off this week by going backwards in time, so to speak. – I travelled to Kuusamo in Koillismaa region in northern Finland, just below Lapland. This time it took 10 hours and 30 minutes to travel there by car through the western and middle parts of Finland, and during all that time I saw how the spring advanced… backwards and in the wrong direction. But that was just nice for a bit adventurous soul. 😀

We (me and my dad) arrived in Kuusamo late in the evening on Sunday a week ago, spent Monday and Tuesday there, and travelled back home again on Wednesday. After that it’s already been warmer there in Kuusamo, too, around 20 degrees Celsius, but here, in this blog post now, is one of the last opportunities to talk about cross-country skiing in Kuusamo this spring…

And in Kuusamo the roads and many other places already were free of snow and ice, spring was already there in that way – the snow had already almost mostly melted, almost… Well, there still were heaps of snow here and there, still melting and in the forests there still was snow, here and there. And the lakes were not free of ice.

cross-country skiing

So, into the woods I went. My very own cross-country skiing equipment waited for me at the cabin.

cross-country skiing

Kuusamo

In the woods, by the lake.

Kuusamo

I saw two swans flying and honking over the lake for a couple of times. I also saw an otter, an Eurasian otter that is, swimming in the ice-free water by the woods. I’ve seen that type of an animal swimming there before, too, a few years ago. 🙂

Kuusamo

And owls… I think I heard an owl calling! When I first heard the voice I immediately thought something along the lines of “this really might be an owl, there’s possibly something so specific in the voice… is it…?” I heard the voice every evening there, over and over again. Well, here, at home where my computer waited for me, I did some research and it truly might have been the voice of a northern hawk owl. I didn’t see the bird in the woods, but I might also have seen an owl flying when I was travelling in the car from the cabin towards the town centre. I saw the bird pretty well, and there was just something so specific… Or perhaps I’ve finally gone nuts. 😀 Well, nice experiences they were, even though I can’t be 100% sure… But learning new things all the time!

Kuusamo

The tracks of a reindeer on the left, my tracks on the right. We went for a walk in the woods together… Well, no, not together, I didn’t see reindeer by the cabin. But we saw many reindeer by the road when we were travelling to Kuusamo. I called them ‘Santa’s reindeer’, because they had winter coat. And before the reindeer I saw a moose standing in a forest.

And when we were travelling back home, about 11 hours through the middle and western parts of Finland, the spring advanced again in the right way, so to speak. And here at home it was like summer already! – At first all the green that had emerged while I was away really felt strange. Stranger than falling into the snow in the north. Nice and delightful, simple adventures everywhere. 🙂

-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

Snow, garden birds, swans calling in the darkness, the shortness of the day…

It started to snow here where I’m living late in the evening on Saturday, and on Sunday we had many separate snowfalls. It was a surprise, a very pleasant one, because the snow that we had on Independence Day had already melted away earlier. But it wasn’t that cold – around 0 degrees Celsius and -1 degrees Celsius at the lowest. Yesterday, on Monday, we had eight centimetres of snow and it was a bit colder. Today it has been as cold as yesterday and we have pretty heavy snowfall, as promised. 🙂 It has been snowing all day.

The first four pictures I took yesterday.

It's been a cat.

A snow cat it was.

a rose bush in December

One of our rose bushes still had some leaves yesterday. The sun was shining low…

About the length of the day… or about the shortness… Today, here where I’m living, the sun rose at 9.35 AM and the sun sets at 15.14 PM – the length of the day is 5 h 39 min. It starts to get lighter again on Friday next week. 🙂

feeding wild birds

Now we have two feeding spots for wild birds in our garden. This is the new one. We’ve had great tits, blue tits, sparrows, a couple of blackbirds and a great spotted woodpecker.

I’ve heard swans calling many times lately – I’ve been standing in our garden, in the darkness, and I’ve heard the sounds of swans – they’ve been flying somewhere near and some swans have been honking by/on the lake, I think.

glögi time

It’s the glögi season again! My glögi last night in the pic above. I’ve already drunk some litres of it this season. It’s delicious and nicely warming.

What is glögi? – I wrote this a year ago: Glögi is a traditional, hot and spiced drink. It’s mainly a Christmas (and pre-Christmas) drink in Finland. It can be translated as mulled wine. However, not all the glögi drinks are like wine – alcoholic drinks – some are, but, actually, we drink a lot of juice glögi in Finland, so… glögi is… glögi in Finland. As a non-alcoholic drink it’s some fruit or berry juice, hot and spiced. This one that I’m having is grape, blackcurrant and blueberry juice, spiced with cinnamon, bitter orange peel, cloves, cardamom and ginger – all the traditional Christmas or winter spices. Glögi can be bought ready-made – that’s probably why the juice glögi is so popular.

The rest of the pictures I took today.

December

December

Just love, lovely. A wish for Christmas.

December

This is some wintry December now, but we do have these changing weather conditions here in the southern part of Finland, so, let’s just enjoy this, for now, for a while… 🙂

December

At the moment we have almost 20 centimetres of snow on the ground, it definitely is the snow record for this season here where I’m living. And last winter, no, no, we didn’t have this much snow, no… So, “go, go… go outside!”, I must say to myself today. Still more snow coming down all the time now.

-Leena