Computer surgery

Rebuilt the computer a couple of weeks ago.

The innards of the old one were around 4-5 years old. Pretty much ancient in computer years. So the new one is a dual-core Athlon 64. Oodles of memory and a reasonably high end video card. The ultra-quiet power supply recently failed as well, so also had to be replaced.. Most impressive thing of all is that it started first time once I put it all together! Surprising since when putting it together it looked like an explosion in a cable factory.

Now which one goes where!?!?

Furry friends

Strange experience the other day.

We were standing on the back porch when Pia spotted a small brown thing running across the ground beside the house directly towards us. First thought was rat, but it was much too furry and moved quite slowly. It ducked under the barbeque and I grabbed the camera and came back out to investigate.

If I stick my head here noone can see me!

When I lifted up the cover it ran (rather slowly) around the edge of the porch before stopping next to the house.

Spotted!   Quick, where can I hide!

It didn’t appreciate being watched so closely, so eventually decided to hide again.

Safe at last...

Obviously it isn’t the brightest spark around. Once we left it alone for a while it disappeared somewhere.

We never did find out what it was. The closest thing we can work out is that it was a Piisami (Muskrat in English). Since it was about 30cm long it might have been a young one.

Bambi

Its turning into a regular zoo around here.

For a week after the snow disappeared it was bird migration time. We had several species of small bird stopping off in our yard, up to 9 at one time. It has quietened off now and we are back to the normal local birds. The highlight being a couple of wood peckers who provide entertainment while trying to help themselves to the balls of bird feed. In particular because they can’t quite reach it while hanging onto the pole.

     

We have also had a hare visiting that we nicknamed Dinner. It was here several evenings last week, often for hours at a time, snacking on our lawn. Although we haven’t seen it this weekend.

The other morning before work I was checking to see if Dinner was around and found a small deer in the yard. Not sure what type it is, either a young whitetailed deer or a forest deer. In either case it was pretty small, not even chest height. Something spooked it just after we spotted it and it shot off into the forest. Luckily I just had time to grab the camera.

  

Spring snow

Changeable weather lately. Nice and sunny a few days ago to snow showers this morning. Things are melting nicely in most place except for our backyard. Seems to take quite a while to melt here for some reason. This is the first winter we have had the lawn down, so one of the interesting things was that the grass comes out from under the snow still green. Fields around here and the roadsides are just dry and brown at the moment, but the lawn is still bright green, if a little sad looking in places.

On the wildlife front we put up a couple of bird boxes a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t think that they would see any use for a while, but within 2 minutes of putting the first one on a tree one of the local Great Tits (Talitiainen) had given it the once over. Bought a book on the local birds, so can finally figure out which is which. Also found a book on animal footprints and signs. Should be good for working out who left all those footprints in the snow.

Caught a couple of rabbits wandering across the backyard the other morning as well. Rather large rabbits… Most probably Easter bunnies :-). I think that I might need a quite tall fence around the vege garden if we start one this year. They could probably jump over anything less than a metre tall I think.

Easter bunnies

Birds and towers

The sun is getting hotter and the snow is melting rapidly leaving big puddles across many of the roads (which means I have to wash the car soon…). Or that was how it was going up till Friday. Then we had another 15cm of snow.

It was a quite impressive set of snow showers that spread across southern Finland during the afternoon and evening. Visibility was down to less than 100 metres at times in the snow showers that blanketed the roads in snow and quickly turned to a layer of slippery icey slush in the traffic. That seemed to upset a few drivers as there were three major multi-car accidents that afternoon, including a one involving 15 cars on one of the ring roads.

The weekend cleared up nicely after the snow though and was back to sunny quite quickly, although cold overnight.

Chilly early morning.

The cold brought out some of the wildlife including one of the local woodpeckers.

Hungry vistors   Larger hungry vistor

During the weekend we were also across Helsinki near where our old apartment was. So while we were there we stopped by to visit a building they have been working on for the last few months. Next to the shopping centre there they have, for some strange reason, decided to build Finland’s tallest building. Its an apartment block 25 stories high. But the problem is that it is within a few metres of the service centre that houses the local doctors and dentists, along with other offices. I can imagine someone has an interesting view from their apartment windows. On the top floors though, it is nearly possible to see across the sea to Estonia.

You could poke someones eye out with that

Skiing Lake Tampaja

Seems like it was only yesterday that we had our last moose (elk) migration. Well, obviously spring is getting close, because they have passed back through again heading north. It does seem that they enjoy passing by early in the morning, pretty much exactly the same time we go and get the paper.

Last Friday I headed out go get the paper. Nice sunny morning, about -15, very quite apart from the birds chirping. Just as I got to the mailbox, which is about 30 metres down the road, I nearly had a heart attack when one of the elk crashed through the bushes when it noticed me. One my heart had recovered I noticed that there were a couple of them just beside the neighbours tennis court. We all watched each other for a while before I went back and fetched Pia and my camera. Unfortunately just when we got there several cars passed by and the elk decided that it was time to leave and shot out of the bushes and onto the lake. That was when we realised there were three of them. I did try to get some photos and movie clip, but with them taking off so fast it looks more like some 60’s Bigfoot video. You wouldn’t think they could run so fast, but they cleared the other side of the lake within a minute or so and it is a few hundred metres across.

During the weekend we did a bit of walking around the section and noticed that the elk had left tracks in the empty property next door just the other side of the drainage ditch before cutting across our section by the road. Closest was about 10m from the house, about where Pia is standing in the picture. Probably just as well I didn’t go out a bit earlier then :-). And as we found out, elk have big feet!

Moose trails.   Big foot

Just to keep things interesting that isn’t the only wildlife around at the moment. Apart from the elk, birds, rabbits, rats, mice, voles and moles, Pia spotted our first weasel a week ago as well. Well, it could have been a snow weasel, or a stoat, but it seems to have made its home in the snow bank across the road. It was watching Pia when she went out for the paper in the morning and has been regularly clearing out the holes in the snow ever since.

Things are warming up a bit in the last couple of weeks now. The sun is noticably warmer, even if it has been down to -15 at night. Today was sunny and up to +1 this afternoon with the snow is melting on the roads and other sunlight places. We have been skiing on the lake for the last couple of weeks now that we both have a decent set of skiis. But with things warming up that probably won’t last too much longer. We had started cross-country skiing on a prepared track outside another nearby township, but that was a bit too advanced for us, especially the downhill sections were a bit of a killer. Not the best when we were more concerned about a bit of exercise than 30 seconds of shear terror. But a couple of weeks ago we were out walking and thought that it might be worth to check the lake across the road just in case someone had made a track there. Sure enough there was at least rough track. But as it turned out, part of it had been made with machine which was a nice improvment. We don’t know who is doing it, but they have repaired the track after each snowfall and at the moment the whole lake is circled with a machine made cross-country ski track.

So, during the last couple of weeks we have been around the lake 3 or 4 times. We haven’t timed it, but it takes something like 60 – 90 minutes to go right around. A couple of times after work and also during the weekends. Yesterday was probably the best so far, perfect blue skys, hardly any wind and just below 0. I can tell you, cross-country skiing doesn’t half work up a sweat!

Just starting   Over half way! Hopefully that doesn't sink in summer.   Nice sauna hut on the water.

Of course our lake is rather flat, but that does make the skiing a bit more consistant work. And the sights are rather interesting too – you get a view of people’s summer houses and sauna huts that you don’t during summer (unless you have a boat).

Big and white

But when you are out there it does seem rather large!

Changes

Not much going on at the moment. Life continues and its still winter here. Went skiing (cross-country) today for the first time in a long time. Only a few km, but that was enough for one day :-).

Now that I have some spare time (the winter olympics are on 🙂 and that the server change is completed I might update the site and do some redesign and reorganisation. Probably nothing too drastic, but I would like to “optimise” the site and fix some of the issues with the layout and coding. Plus fix all those broken links from the move (counter, visitor log, gallery).

So you might see some changes coming soon…

Footprints in the snow

Welcome to the new server!

As you probably saw in the last note the server update is done, so if you still have problems with our email, or site it is probably your fault :-).

Winter has been quite up and down this year with days of plus temps and rain and then down to -25 a week ago. Definitely a bit bracing in the mornings, but interesting to venture outside and find rabbit tracks across the front yard. I bet he had cold feet!

Seems that rabbits aren’t the only things up and about still. Even at -25 many birds are still out as well. Quite a strange feeling standing outside in those temperatures with blue skies and the air sparkling with diamond dust and there are birds are chirping in the trees. Around Christmas as well there was a shrew spotted running around the front yard too. And what appear to be its footprints have appeared a few times. A couple of days ago along the front of the house there were perfect little footprints preserved in the snow, although what they were made by I can’t say, but something about the size of the shrew or mouse. Have to wonder what they find to eat because there isn’t anything obvious above the snow.

Diamond dust sparkling in the air.

Diamond dust sparkling in the air at -22.

Hosting transfer

If you can read this then the transfer to the new hosting service is completed.

Although at the time I write this I know it is still not working properly. Looking up whois I can see that the domain registrar has changed, but the DNS is still pointing to the old hosting service. Grrrr. Looks like I’ll have to ask whats going on.

Of course the good thing is that if you can read this then you know I solved the problem!

Us 1 – Nature 0

Last winter we had an unwelcome busy little vistor running backwards and forwards across the ceilings. It disappeared during summer, but it, or one of its relatives, turned up again a few weeks ago.

Late one night recently it dropped down the shaft next to the bedroom where some pipes are. On purpose or by accident I don’t know, but it decided to make a home there – rather noisily as well. As it turns out we have an access panel to those pipes and when I opened it up there was a little brown face and black eyes staring back from behind the pipes.

So a couple days ago I put our mouse trap in there along with some poison sprinkled around for good measure. Next time I looked behind the panel there was insulation wool everywhere. It had obviously found a gap where some cabling went through the gibboard and made the most of it. Obviously from all the noise behind the wall it was party time in there. So I rearranged the wool and set up the trap again. Later that evening there was a nice “whack” from the bedroom. When I had a look there was lying between the pipes a rather larger creature than we had first suspected and it was still breathing! I went to grab a plastic bag, but just as I got back it staggered around in a circle and then shot back into the wall! Grrrrrrrr #%&£#!.

So more poison next to its hole and set the mouse trap up again with another dollop of peanut butter. Obviously since rodents are supposed to be rather smart I couldn’t believe it would fall for this and get brained again, but hope lives eternal. And it does too! After coming home yesterday and opening up the panel again there was a rather stiff furry beast lying there right next to the sprung trap. Although it had managed to eat all the peanut butter first! So I don’t know if it was the poison, getting whacked on the head twice, or both, but we got the little shit! Although it was a bit bigger than we first thought, so we should probably buy a bigger mouse trap!

A little stiffy.

And yes thats a rat, and yes that is a full size screwdriver, and a normal size mousetrap!