Infestation

For the last couple of months we have had a bit of a rodent problem. Not inside, but in the attic space.

It seems that as the season cooled they have been making their home in the wool insulation in the attice. Their trails wander all across the wool, so this probably isn’t the first year it has happened, although I don’t think this is related to our last major event.

This time they are some kind of mouse, possible a forest mouse or something similar. But anyway, so far our garden has a collection of about 20 of them. But we couldn’t really figure out where they were getting in. The obvious answer is that they were getting up under the weather boards and climbing up the inside of the walls. But over the last year or we put chicken wire netting up under all the weather boards, so that should have stopped them.

Or so we thought. Getting back to the present time, it is winter now and with winter comes snow. And the snow is very good for collecting footprints. Just today outside we saw prints from cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, stoats, and deer. And across the yard leading to and from the back porch were a little set of mouse sized prints. And they were also leading to and from the bird house. So not only are we giving them shelter, we are feeding them too.

I was sure that we had blocked all their possible entrances, but anyway it was worth checking the back porch again. So I pulled up a few of the boards from the terrace, closest to the house. And under one of them I found a nice little collection of sunflower seed shells. And after a bit more checking it turns out rhat the only place without chicken wire netting is around the back porch. So now there is.

Unfortunately that probably means that there are some now trapped in the attic. But that is what the traps are for…

Sailing away

The Tall Ships race was passing through Finland again this year. It was in Helsinki a few years ago and this time in Kotka, a port town a couple of hours drive to the east. We went there the morning they were leaving on the next leg of the race and were hoping to see them all before they left. Unfortunately quite many had already put out to sea and were leaving the harbour entrance when we arrived, but the some of the others were still just leaving when we arrived, including both of the largest.

Both the largest and second largest sailing ships in the world were there, both Russian ships. The largest, Sedov, was already out in the harbour.

Sedov

The second largest, Kruzenshtern left just after we arrived. It had to be towed out by tugs, but the crew manned the sails while passing along side the docks which looked quite impressive.

Kruzenshtern

Of the other ships still docked one of the nicest looking was a Norwegian one, Statsraad Lehmkuhl.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl

Most of the sailing ships are used now for training and it is also possible to book trips on most of them.

Attack of the killer lettuce

Seems our lettuce has gotten a little out of hand.

We bought a paper mat of lettuce seeds. It was supposed to sprout at different times to give a nice constant growth of lettuce. Only it didn’t. They all came at once.

Now we have a carpet of lettuce in the green house and it is only gotten worse since we took the picture.

Green stuff.

Pecker problems

Woodpeckers are ruining our birdhouse!

I always thought that woodpeckers ate bugs. But as we discovered they are also quite fond of seeds as well. They are quite fond of sticking them into a small crevice and then pecking at them until they break. Happily for them our birdhouse is a source of both seeds and small crevices.

I think at minimum it will need another coat of paint soon.

Pecker on the loose.

At least the birds are fun to watch.

Nobody told me about this!

Well, spring has sprung and all that stuff. The snow disappeared weeks ago and March was a month of record high temperatures.

Not that it matters much though. What matters is that now that spring is here and all the snow has gone we actually have to start working in the yard again. And first up is actually having to rake all the old dead grass from last year away so that the new stuff can grow properly. And we have about 1000 sq metres of grass. And the end result of all that raking is that when it does grow again we have to cut it!

The price of having a lawn here…

Where to put it all?

I think I need something a bit bigger than this.

Tool of our destruction.

Moving up in the world

Well, its been a while since the last entry. Nothing much happening house wise, but the weather has done a turn about.

This picture was taken out the window at work on 15th of January. Hard to believe, but anyway, this morning it was -25 C!

Grass is still growing!

In other news we traded in the Peugeot and moved up in the world. Literally. Comes in useful now that we are knee deep in snow 🙂

Monster truck!

No snow here

Four weeks ago it looked like this here.

Now its been 5 – 8 degrees ever since then and raining the whole time. No change in sight at the moment either. The way things are going I don’t know if we will get to do much skiing this winter!

Have even had to start raking the leaves off the lawn again and do some other cleaning up in the yard. It is much easier when it is under 30cm of snow and no-one can see it.

Fruits of summer

Autumn is already here and the vege garden is almost empty again. All that is left now are the parsnips.

Summer was long, hot and dry and the radishes fell victim quite early on along with the strawberries. But with a bit of watering we managed to get quite a crop of some things.

The courgettes started off well and we ended up with many more than we could eat from just one plant. Also the gherkins went nuts. We had a couple of rows of them and ended up more than we could possibly handle. In total for the summer there was probably over 20kg and we managed to preserve only about 10 – 15kg out of that. In the end we had to pull out all the plants to stop them producing any more…

Gherkins   Gherkins   And more gherkins

But the amount we have now should last us a while. We have jars and jars of pickled gherkins, sliced and whole, and a couple of different gherkin salads.

Pickled gherkins   Gherkin salad.

The carrots were a bit stunted and many were rather odd shapes, but what we could we froze (or grated and froze).

The latest crop were the pumpkins. I had hoped for a couple of pumpkins, but we ended up with few more than that!As I mentioned the parsnips are still in the ground. I think the row closest to the pumpkins was a bit overwhelmed and probably don’t produce much. But the next row looks quite promising. I think they will have to start to come out in the next few weeks.

Pumpkins galore

As for the pumpkins we don’t know what to do with all of them. Hopefully they keep for a while, but one has already been sacrificed to pumpkin pie, some will go to pickled pumpkin (we have a couple of 5 litre jars :-). As for the rest, who knows…

In the future we might have to invest in a maakellari or earth cellar. For a 1000-2000 EUR you can buy the parts to build a room just at or slightly below ground level and then cover it in dirt. If it is covered enough it will be insulated enough to stay above freezing in winter and cool in summer. We just need one big enough to hold all the fruit from those trees :-).

And one last thing about the carrots… beware the little carrot people 🙂

Beware the carrot people...

Morning walks

We have been up early lately and walking before breakfast. To fit it in before work it requires getting up about 5am and at the moment that just happens to be about the same time as sunrise. At the moment, sunrise is getting later by 2-3 minutes every day, so soon we will be walking in the dark. But still, it is nice while it lasts, especially with the weather over summer.

The road we follow during the morning takes us around the lake and through fields of grain with the sun rising over the lake.

Sun rise over the lake   A lonely road.

And that early in the morning there is almost no one around, even the wildlife is still sleeping…

Let the sleeping crows lie...

Website update

Just in case you can’t find anything I reorganised the main English start page a little. I also discovered that the font handling was broken too in my style sheet. So hopefully it looks a bit better now, especially if you use ClearType.