Suuri Seikkailu ja elämä nyt!

Hyppäsimme käsi kädessä! Olemme saanet aitoutta, pysähtymistä, heräämistä, hetkeä. Nyt elämme hirsiä ja pellavarivettä, banaanilaatikoita, teinejä ja taaperoa, koiranneniä ja lampaita, kaartelevia merikotkia ja huikaisevaa halua merelle.




First Snow on the Last Day of the Year..

Suddenly we remembered that we had forgotten to take up the leeks
The mild long autumn had been on our side when the renovation and the garden and everything had taken its time this year and when our only possibility to wash ourselves has meant a brisk run over the yard to the old sauna. So on the last day of this year we fetched the last harvest of the year.

We were very thankful for the deer that they had left us this much to have in the cellar - our favourite are the sandwiches with butter, mustard and leek plus a lot of cheese grilled in the oven. 

And that we remembered our pour leeks - it was the first snow... Beautiful big flakes and suddenly there was so much light and the feeling of winter when the sound of snow under the boots. 

What else have we forgotten, I don't know. Let's hope we can still save it tomorrow.

Happy New Year from Pellas!


Lights on!

We have twenty liters water all the time in big kettles on the wooden stove, batteries for the flash lights, matches and candles, canned food and juice, a generator at the shopping list. We are prepared but this latest storm lasted for hours. Our christmas tree had fallen by the village road - though it was quite a small misfortune compared with that the 23 metres high Christmas tree in Helsinki had fallen, too and compared to people who had had trees fallen on their house.

We had electricity off over 16 hours and got it back just in time to keep my 20 kg meat frozen - I had filled our storage before Christmas.. We buy all our meat from a fabulous local farm Nystu Lantbruk that has their sheep and cows grazing at the forest and meadows by the sea in Wattkast village in Korppoo. I didn't want to loose my steaks!

It's our fortune that we have a wooden stove to cook on and the other ovens keep us warm. It is cosy to sit in the candel light but a bit difficult to actually do something. So we were getting a bit bored with the dim atmosphere when we decided to take the car and drive to centrum of our island and to church to sing Christmas carols. We could see which of the houses were out of electricity because there were no X-mas lights, only a weak candel light from the windows. 

In the centrum and church they had electricity, so people sat on their seats and enjoyed singing both old and new carols. Then in the middle of the Silent Night the church went dark. The organ faded away. People continued to sing. I was moved and all the complexities that we had had without running water, difficulties to do every day chores became unforgettable. 

When writing this I can hear our roof banging again and I know many on our island are still sitting by the candel light, so I hope it won't get so bad  during the night. We have been working outdoors for hours today saving our building material when the tent over them had flown away. Please, no suprises next morning... And we haven't lifted up the Christmas tree yet, just in case.


Seeing stars...

The Christmas chores are extra joyful so the days have been quite long when baking and finishing the presents - decorating the cards, writing poems. Everything is almost ready now for the Christmas to begin.  One more poem left for the present hiden behind the green house..  The rhythm of our day is usually peaceful and now our steps are getting even slowlier, eyes follow a raven flying over the field to the forest and the carring of water to the sauna, hay to the sheep and firewood inside are calming routines.

Some Christmas routines make you jump up in the morning like the advent calenders for the children, we adults share a calender on the kitchen wall. The most popular suprises have been cards like "Today you get to choose the dinner" - we have had fish and chips quite often now...

On Advent Sundays we have sung a special song, one new verse every Sunday. The song tells how a candel is lit, how the Christmas is nearer every week and how the light is growing and we are waiting. And on every Sunday we light one more candel. Now we have all the four candels burning - and together eight verses sang because we sing on the both languages of our family,  in Swedish and Finnish.

And the Christmas holidays of school have begun! This year  the celebration at school was nominated to light and winter because school wanted to arrange it also to non-christian pupils. I missed the gospel and the angels but otherwise the celebration was warm and the pupils had prepared a wonderful program, decorated the festival hall and baked hundreds of ginger-bread cookies themselves.

We even got to see one of the short-films the pupils had made during this autumn at the YoBaNa -project school is attending, a lovely animation film about the sea - I hope they will soon have it at their YouTube-page. Have a look at their other films! We parents have been very proud of them...

What I have enjoyed most during the past days are the stars. Jupiter is very bright here, the star of Bethlehem. Orion is near the horizon on the eastern sky. It is like a puzzle when you find one it is easy to find the next one. When lifting your gaze up from the chores to the stars all the hurry seems useless and all the things undone are forgotten. Let's just breathe... Have a

Merry Christmas!

ps. If you want to find the stars, too: 


Tree Falling!!

Odd things happen when you get divorced and this is one of them. After my first marriage I inherited the chain-saw like some people get the sailing-boat or the volvo. I never used it for almost ten years - until now.

My Husqvarna
This autumn I have attended a course as a part of my agricultural studies in forest management. I have learnt  a lot about wooding and cutting, special areas to protect and how to stretch between the jobs -
fabulous vhs-videos from the 80's and sweaty evenings in the forest in action!

You learn by doing - so true - for example I was heading with a Valmet tractor of school up a steep slope  that was muddy and slippery to fetch some trunks. I had the first gear on because I was terrified the tractor would fall but it moved slowlier and slowlier even if I pressed the pedal as hard as I could - until our teacher jumped to the cabin and said if I tried the gas instead of the brake...

We were to have a test and I seemed to need some practising, so we headed to our own forest with my chain saw. We needed to take down few trees because we will hire parking and boat places next summer for those cabin owners who have their cabins on islands.

I got down two, it was exciting and fun.  I am now eager to start practising more but I need to get a protection outfit.

And I got through my test at school. The teacher said I should try and play the lottery, too, because I really had luck on my side that the tree fell and to the right direction. He had already started to look for an excape...


Mission Possible?

I was very flattered to get post this week, especially because I am the only married woman in the whole country to receive it. I got a x-mas card from one of the leading hardware store in Finland, K-Rauta! Thanks!

When we started renovating I went to open an account there so that it would be easier to order or fetch material from there and then get the bill home every two weeks. Well, I started wondering that I didn't get any bills but my husband did and ring their custom service. They didn't find me. They found my husband.

"Oh no, it is our policy to register always on the name of the husband because it would be confusing otherwise! No one is registered on the name of the wife."
"What if there is someone without a husband, she can't renovate then, or?"
"Well, that is another case then but in your case.."
"Have you heard that Finland was the first country in the whole world who give women the right to vote despite their wealth or position? Over hundred years ago? Do you know that we have had a female president almost 12 years now? Have you heard of the law of equality?"
"Yes, but.."
"I registered our account and I want to have my own bills. If I don't get my own bills, I will cancel our account and..."

So I am the only wife with own bills from K-Rauta. Thanks and merry x-mas to you, too, Mission Possible!


The Gingerbread Family

Why to put a lot effort and time on something that cannot be eaten before it has gathered dust almost a month? Because it is so beautiful, so funny and it spreads the Christmas scent all over the kitchen.

This year we had a new model for the house, our new home Pellas. It was the most difficult I had ever made but it is now ready and placed up on the cupboard - to be seen but not to be touched by the dogs or the small admiring hands... Thanks for the talented architect who made me the model!

In the previous life I use to bake a much more simple cabin with my girls but with a lot of symbolic features. There were I and my girls, our dogs - also the ones in heaven placed on the roof - and then our dream-come-true servants Pentti and Hillevi. I was a single-mother hands full of work and we use to dream of having some helping hands like Pentti who would cook us delicious meals and clean the house and his wife Hillevi who would clear the snow and carry to firewood inside - the strong feminist in me here educating the daughters about facts in life!

Then before moving in to our new home with our new family we had the lighthouse to show us the way through the months of renovation and all nine of us around it like the Moomin family on their way to the adventures. As you can see, I take this house thing seriously...

So it all began with baking the parts - and to make them strong enough you have to make a special house dough.

Then the parts are baked - perhaps a bit harder than the ordinary ginger bread cookies - and then decorated. Everyone gets a part  and free hands to use own imagination - and sugar-mix and sweets, lots of sweets! You should let it dry few days and then melt some sugar in a frying pan and dip the parts or with a help of a paddle pour the hot sugar on the edges. And a puff of powdered sugar!

And there is our whole family! Until the 13th January, the day of Nuutti, Knut, the day the Christmas time is over. All Christmas decorations are packed in their boxes, last bottle of the Glogg is warmed and the ginger bread house is eaten together. Can you guess which parts are the most popular...?


Something in the air...

And something in my nose because I can't scent the saffron - everyone else in the family follows their noses and gathers to kitchen when I start making the dough: - Oh, what a lovely scent! Are you baking the Lucia buns? Yes, I was because today is the Day of Lucia and the lovely yellow buns had to be ready for the morning.

I am a real fan of Anneli Pessala! She is a legendary food reporter of Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, a news paper of the countryside people and this is one of her recipes:

Celebrating Lucia is more a tradition of the Swedish-speaking Finns but we have adopted it to our family traditions after years of living in a sweadish-speaking area - and especially after my memorable year in Borgå Folkhögskola in Porvoo as a young student. My dearest memory of Lucia is when I had given birth to my eldest daughter and still resting at hospital with my lovely new-born baby-girl in my arms the door to my room opened on 13th Dec. 1996 and in came that year's Lucia and her followers singing and bringing me a bun and and a hot cup of coffee.

This year's Lucia was my eldest daughter who helped me to bake and then this morning carried a basket with soft buns and hot glogg to each and every one in the family with pappa playing the guitar and me singing so much I could sing in the light of my head-lamp and my morning voice... But we got everyone awake!

Lucia is said to have been a Sicilian girl who was tortured and killed because of her belief. Tonight at our own church a new Lucia of Korppoo island will be crowned with a crown of candels, a lovely play to see with songs and little angels.

And while we were baking we got a new cabin over the kitchen sink almost ready - it will still get the doors and some graining to finish the painting. 

And Lucia of Finland, here is Nora Peltola:

                      But how shall I do with the saffron and my nose...?

                     Have a lovely Lucia Day!


The Perfect Christmas Tree

Someone said that they always choose the one that no-one else wants to take home - like choosing the dirtiest, skinniest puppy with the saddest eyes. My proposal to consider this aspect or at least the forest economical growth was voted down and instead we found the Perfect Christmas Tree for this year.

We would have taken the sledge but the milk carridge was more suitable when we started walking across our fields to the home forest. Being a family with a healthy appetite it is unthinkable to have a trip without a picnic basket. Think if we got lost in the woods?

The air is so easy to breath now and a soft mist was floating between the trees when we admired the old pines and followed the path of the elks. We found many fallen trees caused by the latest storm so here is a job for me and my chainsaw waiting - and our next years firewoods...

By a small fire we warmed our bread and had a mug of hot chocolate with gingerbread cookies, sang and chatted. It is surely a primitive reaction to begin to gather more wood to burn, enjoying the warmth and just wanting it to last a bit longer.

And the Perfect Tree? We found three, one a bit longer to have by our village road and to decorate with apples for the birds, one tiny for the Little Christmas we then had in the evening and one Perfect waiting in the barn for the Christmas Eve...

The Little Christmas Tree. Before the real Christmas we celebrate the Little Christmas by making some Christmas dishes and waiting for the brownie, a helper of the Santa,  to deliver a bag of small presents, one for each and everyone. 
And what makes it so perfect this year? It is short enough for this year we will have it in the attic...


A Day at the Continent..

Every now and then we have to leave our escape and visit the mainland with a long list of to-do's and shoppings. Today was one of those days. We wake up early and to make it all the way to Parainen, Pargas -  one and a half hours journey and two ferries - we always have with us sandwiches that we eat at the second ferry between the island of Nauvo and Parainen. And newspapers, make-up-bag to make full use of the 5 minutes crossings and sometimes tea in a thermos if we are really early.

"If you lived here, you would be at home already..." Wellcome to Korppoo!
The journey is beautiful - old oak forests, hills, bridges over to new islands. We try to see sea-eagles and at this time of the year count christmas trees. The narrow archipelago road is winding. Everyone living here carries a timetable of ferries in the car and you can guess that the next one is soon to be leaving when people start driving faster... If you have a red permit card at the window you get to drive in first - we don't so sometimes we have wait for the next one if the ferry gets too full.

One of the high-points of our busy day at the continent is the choosing of the lunch place - some people just feel happy when listening to their stomach. Today after visiting the bank, library, hard-ware-store, supermarket... my husband said he knows perfect place to eat near there. I first thought it must be a joke. No restaurant in Finland can be called The Golden Elk, Kultainen Hirvi. It did, and it was a lovely place with good food and friendly service - many Finnish meals like the baltic herrings fried in butter with mashed potatoes that I had today. So we recommend!


Tiny tiny bathroom

Over 50 years ago the old baking oven in the kitchen had to give room for a small bathroom behind it - so instead of over 30 bread it now takes seven, and the tiny room behind it was a some kind of utilitity room with a wash-basin and our washing-machine during the first summer here.

Under 4 squaremetres of well-planned surface!
The new building-rules required though a shower inside the house if we were to have bedrooms in two floors - even if we are building a new utility-cabin, a separate house with a shower, sauna, laundry and the main DT only 8 metres from the main building. We wanted to minimize the risk of humidity in an old log-house and to have the original rooms, so the small room behind the oven was our only hope.

A steady log wall was hidden behind a plastic tile imitation
We started with the digging. No treasures but rotten timber that had to be replaced and instead of the old cement floor a sewerage system for the shower and DT to be built. 

At some point it did feel a bit challenging...

A natural air-conditioning?

The sewerage system on its way in and out..
We wanted to save the old white ceramic tiles and instead of wrapping the whole room in plastic have a good floor carpet and a shower cabin.

Wooden panelling ready and the plastic carpet ordered!

But until our new utility cabin is ready our best friends are the old sauna and the old DT, hyysikkä, even if it sometimes takes super powers - and will - to run across the yard in dark, in rain and freezing.