Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blog Cabin 2012, Day 17--More Lahna

 Today was a much better catch with the nets--a total of 4 more lahna. 
 Both Waimea and Spencer had to help scale the fish.  I'm impressed with both my kids--I don't think I touched a fish until I was in my 20's. 

 Jeremy smoked the lahna for his first time.  It turned out great!
 Finally, a view of the playhouse--wall framing is done, floor is in (it's under the plywood because it's supposed to rain tonight). 
No sunset.  Clouds rolled in while doing the sauna and blocked all views of the sun. 

Speaking of sauna, Spencer reached true Finn status--he did the sauna 8 times tonight.  (Well, I guess not quite true Finn; he still doesn't eat the blueberries.)  But the sauna count was pretty impressive for him. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Blog Cabin 2012, Day 16--Net Fishing Catch

 We had a disappointing catch with the nets this time around.  The fewest ever before was 4, but today we even broke that record with a whopping 2.  What's even more disappointing was that one was not even worth keeping.  It was a tiny ahven (perch) that was dead and looked like it had been chewed on by other fish.  Definitely a throw-away.  But a good example as to why we have to go out early to check the nets--we can't let the fish die before we get to them. 
But the other fish that we caught was type that we were hoping to get.  It was a lahna (bream)--a bottom dwelling fish that is large and flat.  It is unbelievable good when smoked, and is the reason we want to net fish.  So at least our one catch was worthwhile. 
 If you really want a laugh, do a google search of "lahna"--the first hit is a Finnish Wikipedia page.  Click on the "translate this page".  (Or try clicking here, but I'm not sure if it'll work.)  Finnish does not translate very easily, but google's attempts are worth the laugh. 

We set the nets out again tonight in a different location.  Hopefully we'll get a better catch tomorrow. 

Sunset, day 16

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blog Cabin 2012, Day 15--Net Fishing

 We were going to set our nets out last night, but then the storm blew in.  Louhi raged all night and all day--20 MPH sustained winds.  When I woke up, the temperature was 8 Celsius--46 Fahrenheit.  By late afternoon it was still only 12 Celsius--53.5 Fahrenheit. Cold, cold day.  But then this evening, the winds died down, the sun came out, and the waves calmed. 

One thing interested I've noticed--everywhere else I've lived, the weather seems to change overnight, either as I'm sleeping or as I'm not paying attention (unless it's a thunderstorm).  But I've never watched as the wind dies down, or picks up.  Instead, I wake up, and it's different.  Here, it seems that the weather changes as we watch it change, and it's almost always in the evenings.  A storm blows in or it blows out, and we see it as it's happening.  I don't know if it's because we're so far north, or because it's so light, or if we just have less distractions so we notice it.  But it's a strange phenomenon to behold. 

Thankfully tonight the winds calmed so we were able to put out our nets.  I"m pretty ignorant when it comes to net fishing in general.  But with the ones my dad uses, the nets are about a hundred meters long.  You tie one end to a buoy so you can find them the next day, and slowly let out the nets.  They have built-in sinkers at the bottom of the nets, and built-in semi-buoys at the top.  There are different sizes of net weaving for the type of fish that you want to catch.  When you reach the end of your net, you tie it to another buoy. 

We don't do this type of fishing very often, but you can catch different varieties of fish with the nets than you can with the lures, so we do it when we need the change. 

Tomorrow morning we'll see if we caught any loot. 

While my dad was setting up the nets, the rest of us were watching this happen:  
The change of weather always provides the best sunsets.

Blog Cabin 2012, Day 14--Who Needs A Doorknob?

Get a branch and attach it to your door instead.  That's the Finnish way.  Even homes in the cities have handles like these. 

A few storms blew in today:

 Here's the sunset between storms:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blog Cabin 2012, Day 13--Placid Waters

 Today's weather was perfect:  sunny, warm but not too warm (around 20 C), a few clouds in the sky, some humidity, very little wind, and a perfectly calm lake:
It certainly makes for a great sunset:

We went fishing at the end of the day.  We didn't catch any fish, but my dad caught a tree.  Just like Erik last week.  But my dad had a much harder time gettin his lure unstuck.  Erik, these pictures are for you:

Also, remember last year how I decided to make a treehouse?  Well, call me fickle, but I bagged that idea.  Instead, I'm making a very rustic version of this playhouse plan.  I will not be buying any wood for this project. There's a lot of random bits of wood under all the buildings on the property, which is what I'll be using.  So we'll see how it turns out.  Here's how it looked mid-day:
At the end of the day, I had framed one of the gable end walls using wood taken from last year's treehouse.  I'll try to keep you posted on its progress. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blog Cabin 2012, Day 12--The Hot Sauna Is Back

Mirva, the sauna stove, has been failing us of late.  The sauna temps have only been in the 60's and low 70's Celcius.  It has been taking over two hours to heat up the sauna.  In the last couple of days, whenever we open the door to add more wood, the fire and smoke billow into the sauna, making it not very pleasant to be in.  Plus, she just hasn't been sounding right--none of the normal raging fire sounds. 

Turns out she just needed a good deep cleaning.  Pappa did it this afternoon, and sauna this evening was back up to par--it took only the normal hour to heat up to 80 Celcius, and later it even got up to 95.  We could hear the fire raging in her belly.  And the water evaporated quickly on the rocks after we threw some.  Mirva is back, and we couldn't be happier. 

Here's a lovely picture of Pappa with his Adolf Hitler-style soot mustache:

No sunset picture again tonight.  We had a lovely sunny, warm day, but sometime around 5 PM it became overcast, and then it started raining around 9. 

At some point today while I was out working, the kids had a photo shoot. Here are the many faces of Mea:

Which one is your favorite? 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blog Cabin 2012, Day 11--Almost Arrested

Remember my post from day 7?  About the Finnish army, and my brothers' troubles with being arrested or almost arrested?  Well, Erik left yesterday, and apparently when he went through passport control, the Finnish customs officers asked him, "do you know that you are wanted by the Finnish police because you have not served in the army?"  Because this had happened before, he was able to calmly say, "yes" and try to explain the situation. 

They then escorted him to an interrogation room where he had to wait 30 minutes for the police to arrive to ask him a few questions.  He again explained the situation, but the final decision rested in the hands of the central Finnish army.  The head of the Finnish army gave permission over the phone to let Erik fly home, but he was given a sheet of paper with a phone number to call when he got home so that they could figure things out. 

Supposedly there was a law passed years ago that excused Erik from serving in the army because he is a resident of the USA.  But for some reason, they seem to really want him in the Finnish army.  Ironically, because he turns 30 next year, he is beyond the age limit to serve in the army, but unless this warrant for his arrest gets cleared, he may still have issues the next time he tries to come into the country. 

It would've been funny (and I'm using that word very loosely here) if he had showed up late for his medical residency because he had been arrested and detained in a foreign country. 

Aside from that news, today was another rainy, dreary day.  And there's no sunset picture tonight because we didn't see the sun. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blog Cabin 2012, Day 10--The Uncle Swap

 We swapped uncles today--Erik had to head back to Springfield to start his residency.  So no more of the Spencer/Erik sauna splash contest:

But Jeremy also arrived today.  So my kids had something to look forward to all day while we were alone on the island:

While we waited, we worked.  I decided the kids were old enough to help with the laundry this year.  They only had to do about 3 days worth of their own clothes:

Spencer really took to the task.  It was great to have his help:

Rinsing out required some of my help.  They just dipped the clothes in the lake and called it good.  I had to come back and re-rinse.  But at least they tried:

And on to the next job--digging the poop hole for the outhouse contents: 
 At least we didn't have to help dispose of the contents. 

The rain has just started, but at least we still got a nice sunset:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Blog Cabin 2012, Day 9--Hyvää Juhannusta

 Hyvää Juhannusta--Happy Midsummer!  In Finland, Midsummer is a national holiday that is celebrated on the Saturday that falls between June 20-26.  All stores and businesses are closed, and even on Midsummer eve, most stores close early.  Midsummer is Finland's most celebrated holiday after Christmas. 

Aside from the necessary sauna, Midsummer is accompanied by a kokko on the lake.  Kokko means bonfire.   I think the kokko tradition takes on special meaning for my family. 
Kokkonen is my maiden name.  Many Finnish surnames end in "nen," signifying "son of" or "descendent of."  Add that to the kokko, and it can be assumed that back when Finns first started using surnames, my ancestors were the bonfire makers, or something of similar significance.  (They are really not that hard to make, so I'm hoping there's a bit more significance to it than just that).  When we are here in Finland, we like to take part in the tradition of making bonfires. 

So we built one today.  I don't know how they made bonfires float before styrofoam, but that's what we use.  We tie a plywood platform to the styrofoam, and then throw a bunch of things on it that could be used as a base for the shape--in our case it was a bunch of old wooden materials that were broken or just junk. 
 The we kept adding smaller sticks to fill it in, with a few larger ones to create the teepee effect:
 And here is the completed bonfire, waiting for the semi-darkness to arrive:
 Finally, the finished effect.  It burned for a good half hour or more.  The only thing left in the end was the styrofoam (which we retrieved from the lake, of course). 
 Also today, Spencer caught a fish: