Wild, wild west.

Early last week, an old friend and I were taking the little guy to Pan Pacific Park’s huge playground sets for a quick romp when we noticed this little drama unfolding in a tree close to us. Yeah, you might have to squint a little, they’re both well-camouflaged. It’s like those trips to the zoo where you spend 20 minutes at each exhibit trying to find the lizard in the foliage. See them now? Little grey squirrel at the bottom left. Hungry falcon (hawk?) at the upper right. I can’t tell what species he is, since ornithology was never my …

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Frank, my deer.

We seem to be on a roll with all things wild and Finnish, so here’s a little video of something else that I found in our garden in early September last year. It was very early in the morning and I had been forced out of bed to make a bottle for a fussy toddler, so I was a bit surprised to look out the window and see a large animal strolling through the berry bushes. Pleasantly surprised, though. This young male European red deer, who I promptly named Frank in my head, just seemed so mellow as he poked around amongst the ripe fruit that I had to stop and watch him for a bit. This is the only time that I’ve seen him, though I have noticed deer marks through the snow in the winter, so I suspect this wasn’t the first time he and his presumed relatives have been around. None of them have ever harmed my vegetables and trees, so they remain welcome visitors to clean up any fruit that I can’t get around to harvesting in time.

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 …

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For waxjism and teaandmisanthropy, who have a hedgehog thing. I saw the hedgie again in late June, just ambling through the freshly mown lawn in broad daylight like he owned the place. Don’t know if it was the same one as last year, but he seems pretty comfortable and we’re glad to have them around 🙂

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We have a hedgehog! The previous owner had mentioned there was one about, but this is my first sighting. He is big and round and waddles in the cutest way 😀 I spotted him at dusk-ish (as much dusk as you can get out of a Finnish summer, anyway) rooting around under the apple tree. The fallen fruit and bugs there probably make an awesome buffet. I hope we end up with a whole family! <3 hedgehogs.

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General garden pictorial update.

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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 😉  

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Hairy jumping spiders!

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These pictures are actually from summer of 2009, but I had to share them with y’all because I really do think this is one of the prettiest spiders that I’ve ever seen. And there are people out there who agree! I caught him in the doorway of our apartment and was going to let him go in the bushes further away in the parking lot, but took the chance to try out the limit of my camera’s macro settings first. I just love the crispness of its spots and the bright iridescent face. It is a Phidippus audax, or Daring …

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Mystery Meat: Pâté of Ungulate

Today’s Mystery Meat comes to us courtesy of the specialty foods store in Stockholm Arlanda airport. Yeah, I know I won’t win any points for classy presentation with these photos, but these were just quick snacks that I snapped pictures of on the way to the table. Were I serving this for guests, I’dve probably chosen a nicer plate, prettier crackers, and encased the pâté in a pastry skin or something. But that wouldn’t have looked as much like a mystery meat, would it? These tasty chunks of pâté were a fine example of native Scandinavian wildlife. That ought to …

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