“Marco!” – “Polo!”

The summer is moving on… This summer hasn’t been as hot as last summer here in Finland, but we’ve had a few fairly short hot periods this year, too. This week it was hotter than ever in many places in Europe and in a few places in Finland as well. Here where I’m living it was 32 degrees Celsius on Sunday. Yesterday it was only 23 degrees Celsius and today 16 degrees, in the daytime – last night it was around 11 degrees Celsius. That was fast.

This summer, thus far, I have been enjoying nature and gardening, naturally. 🙂 And I have been using my Instagram (owlnatureleena) a bit. I have been reading a lot. During June and July I have read 14 books and finished reading two books (I had read half of both of them earlier) and I’m about to finish reading yet another book, so this has definitely been a lot for me. And, naturally, I have a Goodreads account (leenannih) to keep track of books. 😀

Now some summer snapshots:

summer - kesä

A young hare in the forest. I love hares and rabbits. I had a rabbit when I was a child.

summer - kesä

Sheep here in our home village. They were baaing so much, they were just funny and adorable.

summer - kesä

We found some cloudberries in a forest we had never been before, about 20 kilometres from our home. The berries were so delicious. And we can’t remember finding this gold here in the southern part of Finland before!

summer - kesä

And there were quite many small blue butterflies flying in the forest, pretty magical… These two were on a rock by a small lake there.

summer - kesä
~”Did you say ‘itsy bitsy’…?”

A spider on our terrace. There were a few of these guys there one evening. They, too, are just lovely.

summer - kesä

I’ve tried to take pics of our summer flower bed. Last year we didn’t plant any seeds here, so there was only weed here a year ago. And this year we finally had the possibility to add a lot of compost to the soil thanks to the year-round composter we have.

summer - kesä
summer - kesä

The last three pics I took today:

summer - kesä
summer - kesä

The summer hasn’t ended yet…

summer - kesä

And now just one picture that I took in our greenhouse today as well:

summer - kesä
  • Leena

The colour green

Everything has started to turn green! 🙂 It has been a sunny week again. And it has been warm – around 20 degrees Celsius and even a bit above 20 degrees it has been, in the daytime. Today it’s around 15 degrees Celsius, and they say that it stays that way now. That’s also more normal for us this time of year…

Now a woodcock has started its regular flights here again: “orr, orr, orr, pist!”

The first four pictures I took today:

April

My coffee, and they are chives… down there. Chives have been growing fast now – they are perennials – were planted here a year ago. They are so delicious! And after a long winter again…..

April

Grass is growing…

April

And nettles are growing. It’s nice to sit on the ground and eat tiny, delicious nettle leaves…

April

Where’s my snow…? ;D

April

Tiny birch leaves!

April

Crocus flowers on Tuesday this week.

April

A pic from yesterday evening. I mark the spots of our ‘surprise’ crocuses so that we won’t step on them before they grow.

By the way, I’ve been posting on my Instagram (owlnatureleena) as well, so trying to have balance between my blog and my Instagram. Well, I’m not actually trying, it has just been flowing naturally, or something… 😀

And today again:

April

One of our vegetable patches. Last year we had potatoes here, this year something else… We started planting this patch yesterday, and planted onions and peas now first.

April

The first daffodil or narcissus flower blooming on the ground in our garden.

Oh, greenery…

  • Leena

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

At the cabin in Kuusamo I

I travelled to our (my parents’) cabin last week. The cabin is located in Kuusamo, in Koillismaa region in northern Finland. It is, naturally, one of my favourite places on earth. It took 12 hours and 10 minutes to travel there by car through the western and middle parts of Finland, and 11 hours to travel back home through the eastern and middle parts of Finland. – It’s always a long journey. But truly worth the travel! 🙂

I have pictures for two blog posts. I took all the pictures in this blog post at our cabin, in the woods, by the lake.

chickweed wintergreen, arctic starflower

The stars were still on the ground there in the north! – Chickweed wintergreen flower or arctic starflower flower. These flowered already a month ago in our home woods here in the south. It was so nice to see these flowers again, for the second time this year! 🙂

And lilacs were also flowering there! – It was very nice indeed to travel there in the town and to look out of the car window, and admire the bushes for the second time this summer…

The nights naturally were lighter up there in the north as well. Today, for example, the length of the day is 17 hours and 2 minutes here where I’m living and in Kuusamo it is 18 hours and 33 minutes.

reindeer

Northern Finland. – The land of reindeer, too! Reindeer is a regular visitor in our cabin woods as well. Or actually, the animals live there and I’m the one visiting our cabin. ;D This guy came back many times during the daytime there.

reindeer

Heeere we go!

reindeer

See you!

See you!

by the lake, in the woods

The days were warm up there during my visit, around 20 degrees Celsius and a bit above.

Black-throated diver or arctic loon was calling there on the lake. The voice is just haunting: “Kwee-kow, kwee-kow, kwee-kow…!” – very far-carrying and wonderful! And, like, moving… it makes you feel that you are somewhere special. The voice of the clear lakeland. 🙂

trees

Some of the tall and old trees in the cabin woods… And the scent of labrador tea or wild rosemary was very intense and lovely…

trees

creek, trees

There’s also a creek flowing. In our woods, like here in the picture above, the flowing of the creek is very slow, but the sound of the fast flowing of the creek can actually be heard, and it can be heard really well, in our cabin yard. Two years ago I went and searched the source of the sound with my boyfriend, and we managed to find it – some parts of it – the woods and the land there were really bushy. 🙂

beard lichen, beard moss

Beard lichen or beard moss in the trees means that the air is clean! We, too, have a lot of it everywhere in the cabin woods.

beard lichen, beard moss

cloudberry

A treasure – a cloudberry, still unripe – too bad. 🙂 The gold in the forests – cloudberries – are valuable delicacies. We would have some ripening in our cabin woods right now… buuut I’m here at home now…

The second blog post about my visit to Kuusamo coming a bit later.

-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

Dandelions, cuckoo bird, bug hotels… spring advancing

Yesterday I noticed that the spring was at the same point here where we are living than it was in Turku already last Wednesday ( – my previous blog post here). Now it’s greener here, too, and we have many dandelion flowers as well. We had the first few dandelion flowers here on Saturday – I saw them after I had written that blog post of mine, when we went for a car ride.

lake Köyliönjärvi

And on that car ride, we visited the lake Köyliönjärvi near our home village. The bench over there was calling… 😀

lake Köyliönjärvi

It was lovely to sit there on the bench… Truly, once again, after the wintertime (and all the hailing lately), it really did feel like I was in a fairytale! 🙂

lake Köyliönjärvi

hepatica

Hepatica flowers… these we’ve seen already a lot earlier here as well! But on Sunday I took a couple of pics of these as we were collecting some material for bug hotels. This was by a forest dirt road here in our home village. The forest was loaded with hepatica flowers beside the road, from one end of the road to the other end. Marvellous!

hepatica

dandelion

The first dandelion flower in our garden on Monday… or, actually, after this pic I noticed another one, too, and yesterday there was even more. It was high time to start eating them! 😉

We heard the calls of cuckoo bird already last week. From afar. Last night then we heard the bird coming near our garden. We heard a “Cuck-koo!” – only one “Cuck-koo!”. – It was funny, but I said that we want more!

bug hotel, insect hotel...

And the bug hotel or insect hotel… Even though we have many heaps of dry leaves and dry twigs and forest land for bugs and insects here, we are building some bug hotels – it’s just fun and helpful, and the bug hotels always look nice as well. 🙂

bug hotel, insect hotel...

Here’s the first two of them in the picture. And we’ll build even more bug hotels, different types of them, too. More pics then as well.

garlic growing

The night-time and ‘hailing time’ frost protection fabric has worked its magic in our vegetable garden. The peas, carrots and garlic have started to grow under it. This is the biggest sprout there, garlic, today.

-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