Dec 30, 2012

oh boy, time flies...

...even thought it's not been all fun and games. well, some of the time it has. this here is the last full moon of 2012.

i don't know where the last six months vanished. most of the time it seemed there were way too many things going on and that i had time for nothing, besides work (and on most days that ain't a picnic). instagram swallowed me and as posting there is instant (duh!) the more time consuming blogging was moved to the back burner. also, i noticed that my real cameras started collecting dust...

these two furry friends are patu from next door and the dog. patu isn't a year old yet and was only recently introduced to the dog. they've been barking at/with each other for months, though, much to the dismay of other neighbors i'm sure.

this year winter came pretty early and took a very cold start. it is unusual for the temps to drop to -20C (and below) this early in the winter. helsinki area almost broke the record of amount of snow by the end of december (record high was in 1965, 85 cm). the city of helsinki seems to take her time figuring out what to do with the accumulating snow and side streets are getting narrower and narrower and parking without a 4wheel drive and shovel are, shall we say, challenging.

but the snow, freezing temps and scarce daylight make great pictures, this one taken at the cottage.

how the squirrels at the cottage are able to haul themselves up this high on trees is beyond me. their midsections are getting huge with all the bird food they eat.

the dog has taken to sleeping on his chair, he rarely does that in the summer.

i'm not sure which one of these guys is more codependent...

some chocolate? i personally can't have another bite...

this was supposed to be the xmas card picture but...well, i noticed that the cards wouldn't arrive in time, not even for new year's, so there.

most of my moving boxes are where they are meant to be (at the new apt, at the shack, the cottage and mom and dad's garage...) and most of the things at the new apt have found their place. i'm still waiting for my murphy bed as there were unexpected difficulties in getting one (only one manufacturer in whole of finland, can you believe!) my books will need a home, i have a bookshelf designed, i only need to find someone to make it, or a workshop to do it myself (which, obviously, would the coolest option).

                                A THANK YOU FOR ALL MY VISITORS FOR 2012 AND
                                                   HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR 2013!

Nov 23, 2012

yellowfoot soup

few posts ago i was foraging, this soup was made of the mushrooms we got. i cooked in my tiny new kitchen at the apt i've been moving into for the last few months...this really isn't a recipe, more sort of guidelines, here's what i used:

yellowfoot mushrooms (any kind will do)
stock cubes
cooking cream
all purpose flour

eww! not the kind of protein i want in my soup! he was humanely taken care of and is now a city spider.

sweated out the mushrooms on medium high heat for a few mins, then transferred them into a 3 liter pot. i like my mushrooms in chunks, but it's ok to chop them smaller.

chopped the onion and parsnip into ½ cm cubes and toasted them in a spoonful of butter on medium high heat until the onion was well translucent. meanwhile...

...added a veggie stock cube into the pot with the mushrooms...

...after the onion/parsnip mixture had been toasting for 4 or so mins, i added 2 tbsp of all purpose flour, mixed well and let flour cook for a few mins before gradually adding approx 2.5 dl of boiling water while mixing well to avoid lumps. then transferred the mixture into the pot with the mushrooms.

mixed everything well together, added another 2.5 dl of boiling water and approx 2 dl of cream and let the soup simmer for 15 mins. i don't like to cook my veggies into mush, but here the purpose was to get the parsnips really soft, to the point of them falling apart and thickening the soup.

ta-daa! this made two portions, one for my dinner, another for my lunch at work the following day. no salt you ask? yep, no added salt. there is some (tiny amount) in the stock cube, but i like my veggies as they are. feel free to add some to your taste.

no post without the having a sip at the cottage.

Nov 3, 2012

all saints & sky

this furry fellow ain't a saint that's for sure...his favorite toy, the monkey he got from nyc, now has only 3 limbs and no eyes...i was so close to booking flights and hotel to nyc for this week, what made me not to do it, i don't know. i would love to be there, but i guess there are people who need the warmth and comfort of a hotel room more than i do. another time...

the weather was odd all day, it was foggy at 9.30am, but cleared pretty soon after that.

walking about in the garden, i noticed the pods in the martagons (lilium martagon). i was thinking of collecting the pods and spreading the seeds later in places where the lawnmower wouldn't get to them...

in the afternoon the day started to get weirdly orange. i'm sure the dog was just happy it didn't rain all day, again.

the high clouds were vividly pinkish orange.

ok, not this vivid. this one was instagrammed and i think i used lo-fi filter on it.

while certain someone was walking the dog, i ventured closer to the lake where the fog was making magic...

the camera in my iPhone just blows my mind sometimes. it's been months that i've taken my "proper" cameras out...

since it was all saints' day here in finland we went to the village cemetary to light a candle on certain someone's dad's grave. the tradition is to remember not only saints but members of the family who have died. we do the candle lighting ceremony also at xmas eve.

not sure which spooky creature this was, but most certainly he ain't a saint!

Oct 17, 2012

little foraging

hmpr, i knew all along that my computer problems were caused by a tiny tack someplace, a wrong place. and what do you know, it ended up being stupidly simple, frustrating!

anyways, spent the weekend before last at the cottage, little niece came along. first order was to go and admire the scenery...although very autumnal and stormy.

when the rain halted, mom, little niece and i headed into the forest to look for some mushrooms, which are abundant from all the rain we've been getting.

i've always wondered what kind of gremlins and goblins live under the fallen trees...little niece wondered the exact same thing!

love the shade of green in the moss.

mushroom! hmm, a chanterelle (cantharellus cibarius) past its prime. a very nice mushroom, but we were after something else...

...these! cantharellus tubaeformis, oops, it's now called craterellus tubaeformis, also known as yellowfoot, winter mushroom, or funnel chanterelle.

we were out for half an hour and got all this. there's plenty left...

wood being the major form of heating, piles and piles of firewood are needed during the winter.

the fall colors of aronia mitschurinii at my brother's house are blinding. the berries make great cordial packed with vitamins.

the crab apple is shedding leaves and the apples.

back at the shack we decided to dry the mushrooms for longer "shelf life". spread them an even layer on newspaper / paper towel in a dry place, covered loosely with a single layer of news paper and left to dry for a week. there are plenty other methods, we do this 'cause it's easy, and i'm all about easy...

...after a week the mushroom were all crackly and wrinkled.

they ended up in a jar and will be used in stews, sauces and risottos.

and for you fans of the dog. here's one instagrammed pic of him chilling with his smelly rat...

Sep 27, 2012

delicate to disaster

how is it that this can turn into...


...into this...

into this? we were away for a week and came home to find that a huge branch of the biggest of the apple trees had fallen off in a storm. not exactly a welcome you'd need after a week in the sun...

nevertheless, certain someone got the chain saw out and got to work. sad, sad job.

hard hat needed.

my method to the madness, crates for still good apples, wheel barrow for the not-good ones, another for bigger sticks (to be dried, chipped and used later in grilling or smoking) and a huge bag for leafy small branches.

one of the elder neighbors said this has been the stormiest and rainiest september in 50 yrs. it certainly was gloomy yesterday...

one of six (yes, 6!) barrow fulls going to the compost heap. no pigs around to feed, taking some to a colleague for her chicken, though.

found these curious formations when hauling the smaller branches to where they'll be burned.

most of the mess cleared out...

...but at least a half day's work be done some day, when it's not raining...

certain someone thinks the big tree will still be ok after loosing the huge branch, i'm thinking maybe it's time to replace it. the trees must have been planted sometime in the early 1940s, because certain someone tells that they were big enough to climb on in late 1950s and early 1960s. if it comes to cutting it down, i know there will be a happy carpenter somewhere after the tree is properly dried and ready to be worked on...