Monday 10 November 2008

Elma 2008 Countryside Fair in Helsinki

On Saturday we went to a food and agriculture show in Helsinki. There was a hall full of forest exhibitions, information for city forest owners and for students considering studies connected with nature. In the forest hall we saw a little nature path with stuffed wild animals like this Lynx lynx, the largest cat in our forests:

This is wolverine.

And here is the Cygnus cygnus swan. I'm sorry about the lights above the swan, the people wouldn't take the swan down for me.

This is the Dryocopus major, or great black woodpecker I have mentioned earlier. They live near us in the forest. The tree trunk looks a little pitiful for this big bird; you usually see them in large old trees where they can find their food.

There were other animals, too, but they were difficult to photograph as the forest was dark like it sould be in real world.

In the agriculture hall were the usual horses, cows, sheep, rooster, hens and chickens. But there were also alpacas, imported to some farms from the South American Andes. They do very well in our cold climate. We didn't see the agility show of the alpacas, but we saw this modern version of hand carder. The alpaca wool was sooo soft! The lady told me there are over 30 natural shades of white, brown and black.

In the handicraft hall we watched spinning with a spindle, which I had never seen before. The Spinners' Guild had come to the fair to show their skills.

There was also a spinning wheel I had only seen in pictures before this.

And then the spinning wheel commonly used in Finland. My mother-in-law had one of these and she could use it as well. Too bad I didn't take the time and ask her to teach me how to spin.

In the handicraft hall were big and small exhibitors. One lady had this small booth with traditional Christmas decorations made of rye straw. Here is a table runner with linen warp and straw weft.

These straw mobiles are called himmeli (from the German and Swedish words Himmel for heaven or sky).

The decoration is almost impossible to transport or store without breaking it. In the old times a new one was always made for Christmas; nowadays you can see it hanging in its place all the year. Straw decoarations naturally belong to the harvest time, but many traditional forms of harvest decoration have been included to Christmas in Scandinavia.


  1. Those straw decorations are a work of art. I would leave them up all the year around too.
    We had snow on the ground here this morning. The first of the season. Some Alpaca socks would feel really good on my feet right about now.

  2. Looks like have had a great time!!
    Thanks for sharing..

  3. Hi Ulla, what a wonderful day you must've had. I knew there were such things are drum carders but I only have hand ones. I'll have to show you my wheel now I have a room to put it in. yessss! That felt so good saying it. :-)

    I am defiantely going to have to try to make himmeli. Those are fantastic! Thanks for sharing.


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