September 10, 2013

Finns do have gardens!

It has taken three weeks but I have finally found a Finnish garden! 

We are here visiting my dear friend's Husky farm in Hetta, Finland.... far inside the arctic circle. It takes some extra work to grow veg in this climate. The nights started getting frosty a couple weeks ago.

I have given Anna a hard time for not growing vegetables, as she has so much space on the farm. But I think managing all the volunteers and 120 dogs takes up far more of her time, she does not get to stop working at 6pm like most of us. To be fair, she does have a potato garden this year. We even harvested some baby potatoes and ate them with fondue one night!

Anna's friend Marit sells lettuce and herbs to the local hotels and restaurants in Hetta.  She is also growing loads of potatoes and peas... and successfully attempted squash this year! The green house you see in the background holds tomatoes, but this far North in the arctic it requires supplemental heating, even in their summer. She grows strawberries in pots in her kitchen.

It heartens me that it is possible to grow vegetables this far North. Most of the veg we ate while here in Finnish Lapland was frozen.  Fresh veg is more expensive as it has to be shipped from the South.

Maybe Anna can incorporate the garden work into the farm work done by the volunteers next summer!

September 7, 2013

Fall colors in Lapland

The season has changed here dramatically in the last couple of weeks.
We have gone from mostly green trees to now almost all yellow and orange.
August 24th, canoeing on a lake here in Hetta:

September 5th just over the border in Norway:

The change has been dramatic.  The temperatures have also plunged at least 10 degrees.
Most of the hordes of tourists head this way in the Winter for husky drawn sled rides and ice hotels, but it is definitely worth a visit in the fall for the colors!

We are enjoying the last few days of our travels, but will be returning to the homestead late next week. Hope everyone has been enjoying the last few days of summer.

August 26, 2013

Finnish Berries

Bilberry and Lingonberry are ripening at this time of year in Finland. They are everywhere, but this far North the shrubs are no higher than ground cover.

The bilberry are the blue/black berries and slightly larger and sweeter than the lingonberry.

We are enjoying our time here in Lapland, enjoying good times spent with friends and seeing our daughter after two months away. Today we are off to Norway for some sightseeing and will return at the end of the week. Hope all are enjoying their last days of summer!

August 21, 2013

Much Deserved Vacation

We will be travelling for the next few weeks and spending time with some good friends and our daughter that has been working for them for the summer. My posts may be sporadic while we are away, but I do plan to post!  Yay, for wifi in foreign countries!!

My friends own a husky farm in Lapland in Northern Finland called Hetta Huskies. You should check them out. They raise the dogs with love and compassion for the tourist industry and also provide husky safaris from their farm in the Winter months. Winter in Lapland is October - May.

Good bye for now from the Pacific Northwest. Next stop Arctic Circle.

August 20, 2013

Do Not Drink the Water

I toured the Bullitt Center in Seattle last May. It is the first Living Building that is a commercial office building. This means that the building supplies and treats all its own water, produces all its own electricity and nothing used in the construction is toxic to the planet or living organisms.

The composting toilet system for a six story office building was really fascinating to me.

As if we did not know we should NOT drink the water. Another item to note, there is not really any water in this system...just a bit of water to coat the bowl with the special gel that enables everything to run down the pipes to the composters in the basement.

In addition, the compost that is made is used in the city composting program....and soon I may be lucky enough to be involved in a Living Building project here in Portland.