Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Belated Birthday Photos

I wish this boy would stop growing up so fast. 

I'm sure he wishes Mum would stop taking photos of him. 

Happy 9th Birthday, Mouse. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Autumn Flair

Autumn has been pretty spectacular this year. Mostly dry and lots of colour. I love taking photos this time of year in Finland because of the amazing oblique light, it is already so heavy and golden. 

We've had visitors as well which always brightens up life. We took them to Hämeenlinna to see the castle and the colours on the way up. 
After our visitors departed we took a quick trip to Kaivopuisto for more photos and fun. 
A rare capture. 
The boys love their sword fighting.

The girls have their own interests. For a brief moment it was like watching an Am Dram rehearsal. 

Another rare moment. 

This is more true to life. 

A nice selfie while in town. I wisely managed to crop my girning face out. 

We have spent a lot of time at home as well, clearing up the millions of leaves as per usual this time of year. 

I bought some much needed assistance this year which has lead to much amusement.

Some things never change.

We've visited the local par
k as well.

And the pumpkin festival at Koiramäen Pajutalli, a local willow farm that grows, weaves and sells wicker products as well as other objects. We've gone the past three years and though it doesn't really stand up to American pumpkin patch farms, it's a big space to run about with a willow maze, candy floss, korvapusti, mini-goats that were freaking out with the low flying planes overhead and a few pumpkins. 

With Halloween coming I hope we get a few more weeks of lovely weather and activities. Autumn is my favourite and my best, but it never lasts long enough. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Harvest 2015

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness - John Keats

This was my first year having a Finnish allotment and it was a steep learning curve. I inherited a plot full of deep rooted thistle-type plants that I spent ages digging up, only for them to come back as the tap root went down forever. I planted a lot of things too late or my first attempts died when I transplanted them outside so my replacements were too late to do much in the short Finnish summer. 

Next year I think I will not bother with starting things early in the house. It's messy and complicated. Early June I will plant everything outside in pots or at the plot itself. The sun lasts so long then they catch up quickly. Potatoes need to go in under fleece, for some reason one whole row didn't come up even though it was only planted a week after the first row. Carrots shouldn't go under fleece as the weeds grew so quick in the warm environment that they overtook and smothered my carrots. I'll keep them in my boxes at home, I think. My lettuce in the boxes was brilliant, but I need more varieties as only one came up. It saved me a fortune in salad bags, I also bought the ones in little pots that would regrow after first use which were handy. 

My onions did well, though the rope didn't dry properly so they are now just in a pile on a table. The parsnips I inherited grew big, but the roots were small and hard. I saved the seed so will try again next year. I still need to go and do a final dig over soon as we already have frosts, but we've been busy with guests this holiday week, so hopefully this weekend. 

This was my entire crop of potatoes, small and pitiful. Two meals worth. Not sure what went wrong. 

The pumpkins didn't get big enough before the frosts and the corn didn't ripen properly. Like I said, a steep learning curve. 

Our big harvest this year was the apple trees. After barely producing last year, we had a bumper crop, but they are so small and we fight the birds and bugs for decent apples. I'm going to try pruning the trees this spring to see if we can get better quality and less wind-falls early on. The kids loved clambering in the trees after the apples, but aren't interested in really eating them. 

I've struggled to keep on top of the apples. I have the tree full of winter apples to finish picking. I think I'm going to borrow a neighbour's dehydrator or whatever it's called to dry the last lot. 

I've frozen a lot of apple sauce, stewed apples and apple butter, but the kids go through them so quick, they won't last long. That last bag of strawberry jam has already been pulled out. I have a drawer full of strawberries that I'll have to cook up soon for more. At least I haven't spent a fortune on apples this year unlike last, but it does take a lot of time.


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