Friday 31 August 2012

First Swan report of the year, and some knitting

My regular readers may remember my pictures of whooper swans nesting in our village. For several years already, a whooper swan couple has built their nest by one of the little ponds around the village and brought their young to the village centre for flying lessons. This year made no exception, the couple - together for life - arrived in the spring and walked their babies to the bigger ponds for a first visit in June already. Local bird friends were worried about them and put up a self-made traffic sign:

There are two bigger ponds on different sides of the road through the village, and the birds would need to cross it if they wanted to change scenery. The bird looks more like a mute swan with the curved neck, but everyone will understand to look out for swans. After WWII the whooper swan was almost extinct in Finland, but the books by a beloved author, Yrjö Kokko, changed the situation and the estimated number of nesting couples for last year in Finland was already 5,000 to 7,000.

In August the school begins, for little swans as well. They have now moved to the big ponds in the village and learn to find their food in deeper water. This year there are seven (7!) babies in the family.

Later when the parents have grown new feathers, flight lessons will begin. They need a long runway to get in the air. There is often already ice on the ponds before the swans are ready to leave for the winter.

Mother or father is keeping watch while the cygnets eat with their heads under water.

On the crafty front I have been very passive lately, just knitted some squares for a new blanket in the evenings while watching TV.

There is a touch of Autumn in the air already, today is the last day of Summer. Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday 26 August 2012

Cabin holiday

This week Mr. K took me and our friends to North Carelia to our annual fishing holiday. We have stayed at this cabin every August for many years already, just for three days and nights. The men fish, the women run the household, read and knit, everyone is happy. This Summer has been very rainy in Eastern Finland, and the rapids were wide and full of water.

This was the same spot last year with normal water level:

We had a welcoming committee on the landing stage: a merganser family was resting after their diving exercise.
Mother Merganser, or maybe one of the young ones swimming alone.
This is the outdoors kitchen/dining room we used for all meals except for the late evening when it was too dark and cold to sit there after the sauna. Coffee water boiling over the open fire.
Rafters on wooden boats and rubber rafts kept us company a couple of times a day. The boats usually turned and came back half way up for a second run.
Mr. K had a hard time wading knee deep where he usually can walk on dry stones. The fishes were hiding from him mid stream where he could not reach them. With hard work he caught some.
The old sauna on the left and the new big sauna on the right. The wooden pathways have been replaced with gravel.

Friday morning Mr. K was packing freshly smoked fish to take home.

We had a great time, reasonably good weather with just a little rain, temperatures around 12 C/55F but warm clothes kept us comfortable, and delicious meals. If you would like to see more pictures of this place, you can go here and here and here. And my friend Dick's story is here.

Thursday 9 August 2012

One finish and lots of gifts

This week the Tour blanket was finished at last. It is bigger than I thought it would be, as my squares refused to be 20 cm as instructed. No sewn seams here, I have picked the stitches for a new square on the side of an existing one, and knitted two squares together at the end of each row of a new square.

This week has been a Very Nice Mail Week. First came the 100th Houseelf blog post giveaway mail from Melanie: a bright tea towel, a rainbow coloured lavender bag, a Kaffe Fasset tissue holder and some special teas and sweets.

Today I received another parcel from her, from her summer trips she has been showing on her blog. Coal tar soap and mustard bath to keep me clean and my toes warm when the winter comes. I'm not old enough to have lived in the war time, not to speak of the time of the Bronte sisters, but Melanie and I have read old books together and she makes the world of the Swallows and Amazons real for me with products that have been there already at their time. Thank you, Melanie!

Today's mail brought me another surprise, a parcel from Simone. I had admired her zakka projects, and she sent me a hand made ribbon:

Beautiful thoughts! The ribbon is hanging by my sewing machine already. She also sent me a cheese cutter for young cheese - we are comparing models, it seems! Thank you, Simone!

There have been very little birds in our yard during the summer, they live in the woods and find their food there. They don't have time for songs either, they are too busy raising their families. Mr. K found something different, a slow-worm, when he was clearing something in the yard. This reptile has been called brass snake because of its beautiful brass or copper colour. It is not a snake, but a lizard.

Saturday 4 August 2012

A break between projects

Today I enjoyed a peaceful moment in the sun. I had a new book, a cup of hot chocolate on my new coaster from Melanie, and some home baked gingerbread in the little basket I made. These were the little gifts we sent together to all the ladies who have been stitching Scandinavian Christmas with us.

A closer look: Melanie chose the little bird from the appliqué for her wool coasters, and I used a churn dash block like the quilt had between the blocks and snowflake stitcheries. I will keep updating the link list on the right when our stitch along ladies post about their achievements.

For my part the Scandinavian Christmas is finished, but I bought a new book by Lynette Anderson. There are some smaller projects in it I think I can manage by myself. The SC was such an amount of cross stitches that I could not have finished it without the others.

My next project for the evenings looks like this:

Kaite from Australia sent me some soft baby acrylics for charity baby blankets. My fingers are already itching for them, but I have two and a half squares to knit on the heavy wool blanket I started during the TdF. Actually, the wool is a bit itchy but the baby yarns feel super soft.

The hostas are in bloom in our garden.