Pawprints in the night.

Wild things (and some not-so-wild things) roam our yard, especially at night. This is especially evident in deep winter, when we wake up every morning to find random sets of trails criss-crossing the snow just about everywhere. The majority are left by the neighborhood’s wandering cat population, but there are always a few mystery prints. The ones above, for example, probably belong to a large rabbit. It might be the one that I once glimpsed our first year here, or perhaps a relative. We’ve seen this guy’s tracks on multiple occasions – he tends to make a circuit through the …

Continue reading

Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie)

Whilst digging through the downstairs freezer for smoothie ingredients the other day, I came upon a bag of wild bilberries (the juicier European cousin of blueberries) that I’d picked in the forest surrounding our house during our first year living here. Cue excited glee, since I’d thought they were all used up ages ago and they’re not the cheapest things to buy frozen at the supermarket. Last year was exceptionally bad for wild berries and mushrooms, since we didn’t get much summer rainfall in our area — I went out with my berry bucket and came back with 2 (count them) …

Continue reading

The post where I talk about vaccinations.

No, this is totally not one of those posts where I weigh the pros and cons of childhood vaccinations. Because really, if you don’t know by now, I’m very squarely in the “yay, science and medicine!” camp. No question about it. Rather, this is the post where I share what I’ve learned about the differences in vaccination schedules between what my kids will be getting in Finland versus what they would have gotten if they were born in the US. Also, how that differs from what I got as a kid born in Taiwan. And then I show you guys …

Continue reading

2012 Summer Garden Review: Flower Edition

This gallery contains 24 photos.

And here’s the other half of my summer garden pictures, dealing with various flowers encountered during our first summer in the new house. The previous owner was an avid gardener, so there were plenty of flower beds already established and filled with random little surprises. Also, a few wildflowers that I’m hoping my ever-knowledgeable Finnish readers will be able to help me identify.

Continue reading

2012 Summer Garden Review: Fruit & Veg Edition

This gallery contains 23 photos.

Right around now, when your eyes are inundated with the glare of white snow as far as you can see, it’s nice to think about the equally blinding green that will take over a few months later. Seriously, I’m looking at these pictures and squinting from green overload. I don’t remember it being quite as overwhelming in person, but then again, I was probably wearing sunglasses for most of the time. So, as I did last year, here is our summer garden in review. Edible things edition first.

Continue reading

Dreaming of spring flowers.

This gallery contains 11 photos.

One of the things I love most about spring in the north is the bonanza of flowering bulbs that burst out nonstop the minute the snows recede. I spent several years back in Cali trying to coax reluctant daffodils and hyacinths into bloom through rigorous refrigerator chilling regimens before finally giving in to the fact that I would only ever have them as cut flowers. Tulips and snowdrops never had a fighting chance. In our Finnish house, though, it’s a completely different story. I am already plotting elaborate flower beds and making wish lists from internet bulb suppliers, even though planting time …

Continue reading

Homemade blackcurrant juice and a shiny new steam juicer.

So back in Cali, the main thing I knew about blackcurrants were that they were a strongly-scented European fruit that was used to make booze and Ribena. The main thing I knew about Ribena syrup was that it was really handy to use when mixing up blood substitute for film and TV productions. Never actually drank any of the stuff until a couple years ago, since it was usually relegated to some obscure specialty shelf. First winter we were here, then, T’s grandmother merrily handed me a bottle of homemade blackcurrant juice and I thanked her, despite looking somewhat puzzled. We …

Continue reading

Fun Finnish Foods, a pictorial.

This gallery contains 15 photos.

Apologies to anybody who was having issues with using the comments system these past few days — there was a glitch involving a naughty plug-in that I just got around to figuring out last night. Everything should work just fine now. Yeah, I take pictures of random food-related things when the mood strikes me. These are pretty obviously for the peeps back in the States, since I’m sure this stuff looks pretty unremarkable to anybody on this side of the Atlantic.  

Continue reading

General garden pictorial update.

This gallery contains 16 photos.

I’ve been mentioning the food items coming out the garden recently, but haven’t really done any posts on the general state of things. So this is a post to remedy that. Finnish summers are all about a surplus of daylight and moisture, so things get ridiculously lush in short order. Our current look is somewhere between rampant jungle and cottage garden. I hope to have things leaning more towards the latter by next year 😉  

Continue reading

Spring is here! Sort of.

This gallery contains 2 photos.

At least, the calendar says it is. The snow is also mostly gone and the ice is nearly melted off all the bodies of water. The leaves aren’t out on the trees yet, but we’re seeing all kinds of stuff starting to emerge. Like these pretty little snowdrops sprouting right next to our building. It’s still damp outside and I’ve been warned that the ground might still be frozen a couple of inches down, so I haven’t actually put a shovel to the large garden plot at the new house yet. However, the gorgeous sunny days make me want to …

Continue reading

  • Subscribe to Blog