Saturday, 18 October 2008

Gifts, and ponds

This autumn I have been writing a lot about old dyeing methods, plants and mushrooms. Melanie has been my most eager reader, and she wanted me to have this little book about "The History and Practice of Eighteenth Century Dyeing". Thank you, Melanie! I feel a little ancient here among the bloggers sometime, but this is history for me, too. I'll read the book and maybe I get some ideas for outdoors dyeing sessions next summer! Mentioning the old times here made me think of the children of my sister P, who once wanted to know if their grandmother had known and met Jesus when she was a little girl. "Long time ago" is not always so easy to understand for a child!

Melanie also sent me the beautiful recycled (made of 9 plastic beverage bottles) shopping bag, very light to carry in my shoulder bag.

And there was more:

You may have seen the apple shaped tea mug coasters on Melanie's blog; it is nice to think she has a similar set. Almost like having tea with her! There was also a beautiful needle book made from her rest bits from the original Polka Dot Girls Block of the Week quilt. Very convenient, as I didn't have time to make the needlebook with the Stitchers' Angels Swap pattern. And that was not all (do I sound like the TV salesperson with the knife set?): she remembered our mushroom discussions and made me the pretty bookmark using a Japanese fabric with the cutest amanita toadstools! Thank you Melanie, this was so sweet of you!

Yesterday I was having another combined health and errands walk, carrying the camera, and I found this last example of Finnish wild berries, the wild strawberry, with a late blossom for the second time round. You can see the little white flower right in the middle of the picture, and you can click it larger. It is the Fragária vésca, the "meadow strawberry", small and very aromatic; the big cultivated strawberries are nothing compared with this. But they are not easy to find in big amounts like bilberries or even wild raspberries.

With the leaves almost all on the ground, you can see the ponds of our village better. There are many ponds here, as the brick industry has taken clay here for the bricks they made in the 19th and 20th century. This is a small pond right in the middle of the village. It was called "The Pharmacy's Pond", as the pharmacy used to be in the corner you can see behind the trees.

And this is our little beach by the school. This pond gets its water from a spring (in the others, ground water gathers in the pit), and it is a swimming place during the summer. During hot periods there will be algae and it can not be used. It is now called "The School's Pond" but was also known as Death Pit, because during past decades of time many people have drowned in it.

There are lots of wild ducks (Anas platyrhyncos) in all the ponds. They gather in the village when the hunt starts; they know where they can live in peace! Last week there were white swans here also, stopping to rest on their migration to open waters for the winter. The Cygnus cygnus was a threatened species in Finland some 60 years ago, but now they are left in peace. This straight-necked, beautiful swan has been chosen as the Finnish national bird. The writer Yrjö Kokko wrote a book about this swan in 1950 and changed the general opinion for the swans. If you happen to see a 1 euro coin with a pair of flying swans, it is a Finnish coin!

This picture of the third pond "The Laundry's Pond" was taken already in April, although the trees look just like that now, no leaves left in most of them. The birds swimming here are called goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), they nest there and I have seen them in the last weeks as well.

This may be my last post for a week, as we are going away early on Tuesday morning and will be back on Saturday next week. The trip will include super-interesting, loud machines on a fair, a stay with my sister Maija, and most of all quality time with DH, with nobody else to take care of, not even cooking, cleaning or laundry! The next days will most probably be spent with cleaning, laundry, ironing and packing, and just a little blog reading. Have a nice weekend and next week!


  1. I love the titles to your posts.
    That Melanie is an angel on this earth.. isn't she? Look at all the lovely goodness she sent your way. We all just love her!

    Those ponds are beautiful. Most of your leaves are off the trees already I see. Maybe soon they will be covered with ice..?

    Your vacation sounds wonderful. The best kind that there is. Say hello to Maija for us!

  2. Ulla, your posts are so very interesting. I adore swans although they can be viscious if you are not careful near them. In England all swans are the property of the queen. When I was a little girl and saw them in the ponds near our house I always wondered why they were there as we lived so far away from Buckingham Palace! Did she know she had lost them??
    I hope you have a fantastic break. I am off to visit Helen (my daughter) next weekend and am really looking forward to it.
    Wow, this is a long comment, perhaps I should have e-mailed!
    Have a great week, Karen

  3. Hia Ulla, glad it arrived safely. What beautiful ponds. We have that algae problem in the UK too sometimes. I think it causes oxygen problems for fish. Instead of clay for bricks, in Oxfordshire the gravel is extracted for the building trade leaving big reservoirs of water.

    I will look out for Goldeneye when we mext visit Martin Mere -all sorts of birds come there and some are settled there.

    Have a wonderful relaxing trip.

  4. You got so many beautiful gifts from Melanie, she is also so talented!
    Thanks for the nice pictures and information, I`ll be looking for a Finnish coin!!!
    Have a nice trip, I hope you'll enjoy it!

  5. Hello Ulla!!!
    Today your data arrived to me and the small gift! Very many thanks! I enchant everything! My daughter Valentina of 4 years old which but it liked was the chocolates! Thank you very much by all the details, the fabrics and the love enchanted to me with which you made each one of the small gifts! The next week I am going to put the photo in blog. Excuse me for my English!

  6. Hi, Ulla! Hope you are having a wonderful time away! I love your recent beautiful



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