Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas 2009

Lake Effect Snow

Savu, which means smoke in Finnish, has 1-1/2 blue eyes.

Marja's Christmas pullaa rising in front of the parlor stove.

Let it snow. A John Deere brings out the kid in the sandbox in all of us.

Daniel arrived in the early morning and carelessly threw his snowshoes on the ground, just before the big snowfall began. I didn't see them until pieces of them started flying out the chute of the snowgo.

Christmas Eve Dinner with traditional Finnish foods.

Followed by coffee, cake, cookies and pullaa.

Daniel and Gwen listening attentively while Grandpa makes an observation about the current administration.

Riisipuro ja sekahedelmasoppaa - our traditional Christmas morning breakfast, before opening presents.

Santa left quite a load under the tree.

Jonathan was a bit slow this morning.

Opening presents.

I got a genuine pair of insulated Carhartt overalls to wear while snowblowing. Sadly Surplus Outlet burned down the next day.

Mik and Jeni testing out their new camping chairs.
Jeni and Jonathan playing a board game with holes and rocks. Go figure.

Deanna brought here nieces and nephews to see the new pup.

One pup wasn't enough, so we got two. Heini (Hay-nee) is a beautiful sweet little girl dog who can hold her own in a tussle with brother Savu.

We set up a small pen for the pups next to our kitchen window so they can watch us while we're watching them.

Several times a day they are admitted into the house for some fun and games - and rawhide chews. Their are supposed to be pureblood Siberian huskies, but their mother and father had a lean racing look. I think they're going to have plenty of speed when they grow up.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Preparations

The sauna and pumphouse at the Wiitala farm.

Kalevi relaxing in the snow after receiving medication from the vet. He had been struck by a car two days earlier and had been unable to lie down. His recovery is especially meaningful to us as we lost his brother Veikko in probably the same accident.

Winter light.

The Wiitala farm, as Andrew Wyeth might have painted it. A snow-covered field has a subtle beauty that conveys a sense of rest, and hope.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Arrives

December 6, Suomen Itsenaisyyspaiva - Finland's Independence Day.

Lake effect snow. I hadn't checked my plow and found that the controls didn't work. It was stuck in one position. Fortunately, that was two inches off the ground and slightly angled, so I was able to plow. Afterwards I cleaned up the banks with our new tractor-mounted snowgo. Unfortunately, I picked up some gravel and broke a shear pin. Of course, I didn't have a spare. When all else fails, however, the old trusty snow scoop will never let you down.

It's the most beautiful when it stops and you see a patch of sky. When it's coming down at the rate of 2"/hour it's dark and claustrophobic.

Even the power line in th backround was covered with fluffy snow.

Daniel came up for the weekend and we had a second Thanksgiving dinner, this time with home grown chicken instead of industrially grown turkey.

It got even deeper overnight.

The boys after a slog on snowshoes through deep powder. Earlier David had taken both dogs for the first skidog of the year. Said they pulled excellently.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Alkutalvi - The Beginning of Winter

Our barred rock rooster with a silver-laced Wyandotte hen. They tolerate the snow, but don't really like it. Once it gets a few inches deep, they stay inside their coop.

Veikko, the wonderdog.

Tractor tire tracks in soft ground.

The last remaining berries of summer - lowbush cranberries?

Ice forming on the pond.

Ice grapes.

Our lakefront estate.

I had to sacrifice a few spruces that were shading our new greenhouse.

Hunting on a mountain bike is completely legal. You see about as many deer as you do walking, and you cover a lot more ground.

David and Jonathan putting up Christmas lights in a spruce.

It was much easier years ago when the tree was small...

...but it's well worth the effort.

When Christmas morn is dawning....

...actually, the first day of Advent.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

A snowy day, lots of good food, family & friends.

Grandpa & Grampa, Mik & Jeni, Carl & Chris and Obie helped man the tables. Before the meal Mik tried out his rock skis in the yard. Kalevi got excited and bolted across the radio fence. A few minutes later we hear loud barking from the clearcut across the road. David went out and discovered that Kalevi was circling an 8-point buck who was standing in place. David got within twenty feet before it ran off and quickly left Kalevi in the dust.

Obie from Mississippi was our special guest this year. He brought a delicious Pinã Colada cake.
There were several other salads besides the pies & cakes that couldn't fit on the plate yet.

Some of the traditional table decorations.
Following tradition, the 2009-2010 table hockey season began with a bad loss for Carl...
...and another bad loss for Carl. Jonathan ended the day in first place.