Sunday, April 25, 2010


Our sauna is unusual in that it has a loft above. When began building it, it occurred to me that by adding four extra feet of wall we could have a mini camp. So why not?

Next to the sauna one of the feeders of Cowles creek wells out of the ground. We built a wooden box and sunk it into the ground so that the water is about 5 feet deep. Since the water continually pours out a hole in the back of the box, it never warms up. It stays around 45 degrees F year round.

The sauna experience begins with fetching water from the spring and firing up the stove.

Here Marja is partially filling the wash basins. We also haul water for the hot water tank inside the sauna proper.

Of course some water is left in a bucket for throwing onto the rocks for steam.

No, we don't really wear towels in the sauna.

The rocks on the stove are from Lake Superior. The ones with holes are vesicular basalt - rocks that formed from liquid magma with gas bubbles. Here in the Copper Country some of these pockets contained copper- amygdaloidal deposits, as they were called. Believe it or not, there are sauna shops in Thunder Bay, on the very shore of Lake Superior, that sell rocks imported from Finland. Like importing ice cubes to Greenland.

After you have been in the sauna for awhile, the path to the spring beckons.

The first dip always feels the coldest. After the second or third it starts feeling bearable. If you do it too many times you run the risk however of throwing your internal thermostat out of wack and you may have a restless night feeling hot and cold at the same time.

We wear bathing suits during the spring and summer - at least until the swamp grass grows high enough to block the view from the county road. During the darkness of winter it doesn't matter.

After a dip in the dunk tank, the path to the spring leads back to the sauna quite quickly.

Evening shadows...

After several trips between the steam room and the spring, we wash up in the wash room and finally dry off and cool off on the "porch". To experience a sauna you need to take your time and do everything leisurely. If you're in a hurry, just take a shower. Of course, a shower will never get you as clean as a sauna or give you that sense of total relaxation a sauna gives, but hey, you shouldn't be relaxing anyway. Take your shower and get back to work. Someone needs to pick up the slack for loafers like me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


There's something about a rising full moon, especially in the spring, that excites me.

April 2. The ice had just melted from our pond and the water was frigid. The air temperature was around 70 and I had just come from a very muddy mountain bike ride and wanted to rinse off some of the mud. I didn't stay in the water very long, however.

Kalevi and Amanda. She and Sam joined us for Easter. I sensed it was a bittersweet moment for Amanda to see Kalevi again, but not Veikko.

The gang getting ready to go for a run with the pups.

Amanda had turned 22 a few days earlier, but we celebrated her birthday for a couple of days - at least until the cake ran out.

Sam trying out our new kick scooter. You can attain a fairly high speed with one dog if you are going downhill and the dog is chasing deer. I hope to begin harness training the pups in tandem with Kalevi soon.
Easter Sunday after church, everyone dressed up, time for a group photo. Jeni and Mik were unable to join us, but maybe next summer we'll get everyone together for another try.
The second annual shovel-out-the-chicken coop. When I mentioned to a co-worker at the office that I had a real chickensh*t job at home to attend to, he laughed and said, "What else is new, it's just like your day job!" I guess there are some similarities when I think about it.

I made quite a heap of the litter, but it was so dry that I had to douse it with over 50 gallons of water. I plan to let it compost for a few more weeks before I till it into the garden.