Thursday, 25 April 2013

Picking Potatoes

Mimmi, Mimmi's Great Grandpa, Lily and me.

Our friend Sari invited us to join her family in their anual potato lifting. Four generations of her family were there, from her niece, Mimmi, and her nephew, Matias, up to her grandparents. 

We had a great time together and left with enough potatoes to keep Lily, Ernest, Gábor and Jen going all through the winter.

That was really hard work; fun but exhausting. I think I need a relaxing holiday now.

Friday, 19 April 2013


These little berries are normally called blueberries in Finland but they are different berries from what you would get in  a supermarket in the UK or USA when you buy blueberries. In English speaking countries these little berrie are normally called bilberries or even huckleberries. Whatever you want to call them they taste delicious.

There are so many tasty ways to eat them. Lily likes to pick then in the forest and eat them as she walks home from school or to eat some on her porridge fo breakfast. But my favourite way to eat them is as blueberry pie.

Here is the recipe that Lily and I used to make Finnish Style Blueberry Pie:


200g butter
100ml caster sugar
3-4 eggs
1tsp vanilla sugar
2tsp baking powder
600ml flour (Lily's mum likes to use 400ml plain and 200ml whole wheat)

500ml (or more) blueberries 
50ml caster sugar


Heat oven to 200 degrees C.
Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs.
Mix together flour and baking powder. 
Combine all the base ingredients and spread into a greased pie dish.
Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven. 
Mix the bluberries and sugar. Cover the base with blueberry mixture.
Return pie to oven for further 15 minutes.

Can be eaten hot or cold but is alway best served with vanilla cream

There are also lots and lots of lingon berries in the forest but Lily, Ernest and I all like the blueberries best.

Next time I will tell you about the fun we had picking something a little bit bigger than berries.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Mökki, Muumi & Mustikka

Mökki, Muumi and Mustikka are three words that you have to know in Finland. Lily made sure I knew what they are.

My first lesson was Mökki.
Mökki means hmmm...cottage I guess is the best word. Many families in Finland have a mökki where they like to spend holidays and weekends. Lily's friends Arto, Magda and Filip invited me, Lily and Lily's family to spend a weekend at Arto's family mökki near Kuusamo. 86% of Finland is covered in forest so we spent a lot of the drive there admiring the beautiful autumn colours.

There are also 187,888 lakes in Finland so many mökkis are next to lakes. It is very relaxing to sit an listen to the water and I have been told it is fun to jump in the lake after being in the sauna but I didn't try.
While we were out looking for mushrooms we came across a herd of reindeer.

Lesson two: Muumi.

...or the Moomins as they are known in English. Muumi are from a series of books by Tove Janssen . Muumi are strange white creatures who live in a fantasy world. You can get Muumi everything here; Muumi bags, Muumi pencils, Muumi mugs, Muumi toys, Muumi everything. The stories have also been made into and anime cartoon series.

The third 'M' lesson is Mustikka. I already said 86% of the Finland is covered in forest and most of that forest floor is covered in Mustukka or they are also known as blueberries. Blueberries are so fantastic though that the need a post for themselves.

Coming Soon: Blueberries

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Up in the Hills

This is Linus, Jaana and Anatol. They are friends of 3D Lily from Oulu but I got to visit them when they were on holiday at their grandparents' home in Austria. They were staying in Passail which a small village in the east of Austria close by to the the city Graz.

I went with the children and their parents to see their friend and her family who live in a very idyllic old farmhouse in the mountains outside the village of Passail. 


From there we went even further up the mountain, until we arrived at the lake Teichalmsee, a nice place to rent a pedal boat in summer or to ice skate in winter. Actually, 3D Lily herself was there just a few months earlier! But then it was winter and Lily, Linus, Janna, Ernest and their parents were skidding and sliding over the ice-covered lake.  


A few kilometers from the lake there is a zoo where you can see native wildlife, like sheep, deer, foxes, pigs etc. in an extensive forest area. A highlight for me and the kids there is the animal feeding - especially the little goats and rabbits cannot seem to ever get enough. I even dared to caress the goats a little bit.


I also went with pony riding with Jaana and her grandmother one day. Jaana was very proud to show me how to put on the helmet and mount the pony. I was very impressed and decided I wanted to have a go too.

Unfortunately, it was soon time to leave Austria, but not to worry, Linus, Janna and Anatol took me on the plane with them back to Oulu whe I get to spend some time with Real Lily!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Crinan Canal

This is where Gran and Gordo (Lily's grandparents) live. At the front of their house  is Loch Gilp and at the back of their garden is the Crinan Canal. The Crinan Canal goes right across the Mull of Kintyre from Ardrishaig (where Gran and Gordo live) to Crinan. 

The Canal was built over 200 years ago to save the Clyde Puffers, which carried supplies around the west coast and the islands, from taking the long trip around the Kintyre peninsular. The VIC 32 in the picture is one of the last Clyde Puffers and is moored in the Crinan basin. Crinan is a very pretty village and I enjoyed the little trip there. Gran showed me the sea lock where the boats can go from the canal to the open sea.

This animation shows how locks help the boat to rise up and go down to different levels of water.



Even though the Puffers aren't used anymore there is still a lot of traffic on the canal. Nowadays it  is mostly yachts with people taking holidays sailing around the islands. I like to wave to all the boats as they pass by Gran and Gordo's garden gate.

Paul McCartney wrote a song about the Mull of Kintyre, maybe some of the older people you know (like your grandparents) might know this song. 

 We forgot to take any pictures of me with both Gran and Gordo, so here is an old one of them with Lily.