Saturday, 29 September 2012

Autumn Yellow

Piling logs and collecting apples has taken all my attention. I hardly noticed the rapid changes the new season brought while I was away.

The bird cherry had turned yellow and dropped most of it leaves. The newly weeded garden path was covered by a yellow leaf mat, when I came back. Sweeping it clear was the first thing I did.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Reaching High

The apples from the lower branches are taken. Some by me, some by me sista, her relatives and some by the squirrel. Only the biggest and redest were left on the uppermost branches and I wanted them for my Apple Butter. I used a net and a trampoline to reach higher.
 I got enough.
 The juiciest are unreachable. They have apple juice written all over on them. 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Once Bitten

The garden squirrel loves apples as much as I do, and I have no problem sharing this year's yield with her. However, I cannot help, but her habit of taking only one bite from an apple annoys me. The grass underneath the apple tree flowers with once bitten sweeties.
She also has an ability to place apples neatly in the fork of the branches after she has sank her teeth in them. Once or twice of course.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Doing the Squirrel Job

Being back at home is cool and not only temperaturewise. I enjoy the work this time of the year requires. It is the same work what the squirrel, who lives in the garden pine does - preparation for winter. It is time to collect wood, apples, potatoes, herbs and organise them into a pile and preserves for the coming long winter.

A day after coming back from my travel, I paid a visit to my farmer friend and got a load of logs. There was a stock of mixed wood already in the shed, but it was logged during the summer and thus it is not good for burning this winter. It is not dry enough yet. With this additional load I should be OK until snow melts. The wood is birch and it burns fast and very hot, so hot that I was advised not to crack my oven with it.

Monday, 24 September 2012

No Tips Included

I returned home via Moscow. Again on this trip, first time there. A large Tupolev flew me from Larnaca. I was the only non-Russian in the old plane. On board people were friendly, air hostesses neared their retirement age and toilets had a strong smell of Paris Metro.

I carried no rubles, as I was transiting only. As an innocent first timer at Moscow airport, I entered a cafe and ordered sparkling water and a cuppa. An hour and half later, I ordered a check. The credit card receipt was delivered to me with a spoken message: "No tips included". As everything on that piece of paper was written in Russian, I asked the young lady where to I can add the tip and was told that it was a no-can-do thing. With no money and no time to find an ATM, I was not able to pay the requested tip in the requested format. I apologised and got no smiles in return.
Once again I wondered how a neighbour so close, can be so distant in behaviour and boarded on my next Tupolev from Moscow to Helsinki. This time the plane was full of foreign languages, toilets were spick and span and hostesses young and pretty.

Finding the Way

It was good that I learnt to use GPS in Sofia, because it helped me to find my way directly to the bull's eye. The bull's eye being Kourion, Cyprus. The mosaics, amphitheatre and breeze there were heavenly.

Friday, 21 September 2012


A week gone by. Skills gained. I now know how to operate a GPS. To learn this, I had to travel to Sofia, Bulgaria, where I stayed in a hotel the whole two days and saw the city through a window only. First through Polish Airline's and then the hotel's. It was my first time ever in Bulgaria and makes me wonder if I can say I have seen Sofia. Does a stay in a hotel on the edge of the city count as been-there-done-that?

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Toilety Toilet and Other Misreadings

First time on Poland's soil. At the Warsaw airport to be exact. Had to claim my luggage here and check in again. It turned out to be an enlightening experience though, as it became clear to me that I look Polish. Within five minutes after I had passed the customs three people approached me and spoke in local language.

While waiting for my connecting flight, I entertained myself by taking pictures. As I am shy to picture people, I was struggling. In general I find airports boring for photography and unfortunately Warsaw was no exception.

I pictured a Polish Airlines plane to prove, that I am here.

Then I went to look for a toilet and found this toalety difficult to find. The signposting was fine until I had to go downstairs. The direction disappeared. Never mind though, I had time.

On the way to my gate, I passed a coffee shop ad and had to spell the words few times to get the message. In New York I have seen coffees named with long names like New York Caribbean Cinnamon Cream Mocha Latte, but they did not mean it that way in the Warsaw's Voyage. I figured.

Thursday, 13 September 2012


The joy of my day is my meal. Simple. Fresh. Organic. Self made. From the garden.
 And here comes the reality check. Herring in mustard sauce comes from the supermarket.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Crayfish Party

This is how the party looked like before sunset and before we lit all the candles. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Checked and Soup

All items from the previous post checked. A very special moment for this blogger. I still have some garden path weeding to do, but it will happen. Eventually.

The party was great and the starter a success. Here's the recipe of Beetroot Blue Cheese Soup:

Firstly, sow the beetroot seeds in May. Secondly, water, tend and love your plot over late May, June, July, August and early September. Thirdly, uproot your beloved roots. Then wash them and cut the tails and napes of the stems. For the soup you will need:

750 grams of beetroots
2 red onions
2 apples (small and sour Finnish kind of apples)
2 cubes of vegetable broth
1,5 tea spoons of black pepper
2 table spoons of vinegar (mine was raspberry vinegar, but only because I had to happen it in stock. You can use lemon juice instead as well)
2 table spoons of honey
1 litre of water

Boil the above for 40 minutes until the beetroots are soft. This was the base for the soup I made a day early.

App. 45 minutes before the guests came I did blend the soup down smooth and added:

3 dl of cream
150 grams of blue cheese

Stir the soup until cheese has melted. Mind you, that in this point the soup is easy to burn from the bottom and therefore the soup pot needs to rest on a very low heat, if not stirred. Check the salt. I did not add any, but your taste might be different from mine. Finally serve the soup with a bit of parsley as garnish and see your guests enjoy the beauty of rich red beetroot velvet in front of their hungry eyes.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


Friday is the eve of the party. There are so many things to do for the reason, that today was not a good day. I did not do all the tasks I intended, and you know why - I was busy procrastinating. However, I managed to take some baby steps and I try to be grateful for those. I prepared the place cards, put all the shoes away and cleared the table tops.

Tomorrow I shall need to do tons. All the things I did not finish this week plus most of cooking and decorating. I plan to take it easy on Saturday. Here is the list to keep me on track:

- I'll uproot all the beetroots I have been tending over the summer. The yield this year was not great. All my beetroots are small in size. It was a cool summer.
- Then I'll cook them with other veggies and this will be the base for the starter soup. On Saturday I only need to heat it, blend it down smooth, add cream and blue cheese and serve it. Voilá!
- I'll do the desserts. One Grasshopper Pie and one White Chocolate Cheesecake with blueberry caramel with a hint of chili on top. Do not ask me about them yet. I have never tried them before.
- I'll mop the floors.
- I'll clear the garden paths from weeds (something I planned to do today).
- I'll collect the table decorations (rowan berries).
- I'll lay the table.
- I'll finish editing the video filmed in the past parties. I plan to air it on Saturday. (Not much left, WHICH IS GOOD. Hear me shouting it out loud to make it more convincing)
- AND I'll finish washing the porch's windows. This task has been dragging from Monday.... Well, let's face it.....from May. Shame on me. Shame, shame, shame.

Judging from the list, I shall be very busy fighting my "p" word demon tomorrow.

I do

It is time for celebration here. I do things. Today I got to cross out quite a few items from my to-do-list and I am indeed pleased with myself. Among many other things, I finally cooked the beetroot soup, which will be the starter and it tasted fab. Its colour was music to my eyes. Such lovely deep velvety red, and if you wonder, the picture provides a sneak peak to how I plan to lay the table.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Procrastinator Strikes Again

No, I did not reach my goals on Monday. I did not wash the last windows on the porch and I did not do the party's appetiser for tasting. However, I made a slide show on pictures taken in past crayfish parties and I plan to show it while we shall enjoy drinks at the start. The slide show is great, let me say. I put hours into it and managed to pull together a decent piece of work with carefully considered framing and moves from a picture to picture. Now I just need to decide on the music. There are four options and they are:

1.) The Divine Comedy: Charmed Life

A lovely song with exactly the vibe I am looking for, but it is almost a minute too long and I am not going to kill the audience with DPP (Death by PowerPoint).

2.) Dixie Chicks: Lullaby

As above, but even longer than Charmed Life.

3.) Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova: Falling Slowly

Impossibly beautiful song, perfect length, but might be too sad for a fun party.

The highlight my day yesterday was a documentary made in New Zealand I saw on the telly. Impressive. Beautiful. Touching. If you have a chance, do yourself a favour and see This Way of Life.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Week of Red

The doll house is getting ready for a party. The colour of the party is red like its main course. This is the 18th time the same group of 12 will get together for a meal of crayfish.  We shall sing some crayfish songs and toast for a tail or two. The party will take place on the coming weekend only, but I shall do something little every day to get everything beautifully ready well in advance. As you know I am a procastinator, but I hate the last minute rushes. Thus I shall take this opportunity to tackle some personal issues and grow in the area, which has bugged me for long. Therefore the generous time limit. Wish me luck!

The picture was taken on the catch of the 15th party.