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Hello! Welcome to the blog for Vestlax Mellangård! Here, I write about what's going on in farm-life and local happenings. Enjoy :)

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Stories from Vestlax Mellangård

Tour Skating Season Open!

01/21/2014

tourskating

 

We were finally able to get out on to the ice this weekend to do some tour skating (Retkiluistelu/ Långfärdsskrinning). Kasper and I went out on Sunday with Rabbe, Einar, Matias and even Tilda joined us. The conditions were ideal since the ice was fairly fresh as the sea has only started freezing during the past week and a half. This means though of course we had to be extra careful and equipped with ice claws and an axe to check the depth of the ice often.

Top 10 moments from 2013

12/19/2013

 

The Best Moments of 2013 in Pictures

Our neighbour Saariston Martta challenged us a few weeks ago to come up with a list of our top 6 photos from this past summer. With the end of the year approaching, we decided to take this as a good opportunity to look back on our best moments from 2013 and make a top 10 list instead. Our list of Top 10 moments from 2013 was chosen from our collection of photos on our Vestlax Mellangård facebook page based on how many ”likes” each of them got from our followers.

 

Here we go!

 

10. Kasper and Einar building a house for the dogs

Kasper and Einar building Vestlax Mellangård

Date: August 22.

Likes: 21

 

Kasper and Einar built a luxurious new dog house with floor heating for Tilda and Frida.

 

 

9. The Forest in November

November forest Vestlax Mellangård

Date: November 20

Likes: 22

 

It was a warm and sunny November which made it rather appealing to take regular walks in the forest.

 

 

8. Catch of the day

Catch of the day Vestlax Mellangård

Date: April 29

Likes: 23

 

A small catch of perch we caught last spring.

 

 

7. Berry Picking Time!

Berry Picking Vestlax Mellangård

Date: July 30

Likes: 23

 

Berry picking season started out well for us at the end of July with raspberries! We still have some saved in our freezer so that we can treat ourselves to the delicious tastes of summer throughout the winter months.

 

 

6. Kasper and Einar Fixing the hut

fixing the hut Vestlax Mellangård

Date: July 4

Likes : 24

 

Kasper and Einar working together by the sea to fix the roof on the fishing hut.

 

 

5. Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween Vestlax Mellangård

Date: October 31

Likes: 26

 

After coming home from a minor operation in her shoulder, Tilda had to wear this green shirt to keep her from licking her wounds. I took this as a good opportunity to take some pictures of her in her costume on Halloween.

 

 

4. Afternoon Skiing

skiing vestlax mellangård

Date: February 21

Likes: 33

 

We enjoyed the snow and skiing last winter and are hoping that we can soon do the same again!

 

 

3. Glad Midsommer | Hyvää Juhannusta

Frida and the cows Vestlax Mellangård

Date: June 20

Likes : 41

 

We discovered on midsummer that dogs and cows make good friends.

 

 

2. Meet Tilda

welcome tilda Vestlax Mellangård

Date: June 12

Likes : 48

 

A picture from Tilda’s first week with us here on the farm.

 

 

1. The end of Kasper’s first Harvesting season

end of harvesting season Vestlax Mellangård

Date: September 6

Likes : 59

 

More popular than all of our pictures of cute animals and beautiful nature, this picture of Kasper grinning after finishing his first harvesting season was our most liked shot from this past year.

 

We are looking forward to what the next year will look like for us and we will of course keep you updated! Wishing all of our friends a very Merry Christmas and happy start to 2014!

Lilla Jul

11/13/2013

We celebrated Lilla Jul over the weekend in Marielund . We invited the whole Vestlax Mellangård gang & co.; Rabbe, Hannele, Matias, Ida, Einar and Ninni in addition to Kasper and myself. Having 8 of us in the cottage is technically 2 more than we normally allow but since we only spent the evening there without sleeping over, we thought we could make an exception.

 

 

vestlax mellangård christmas

 

 

November is a bit early to throw a mini-Christmas party but since we are trying to get the cottages booked up for the holidays, we thought we could use this event as a good photo opportunity.

 

 

Ninni came over early in the morning to help prepare dinner, bake and decorate. We made Sarma; a Serbian dish similar to cabbage rolls that was inspired by our good friend Djordje. The biggest difference between Sarma and what we normally eat as cabbage rolls is that it is made with sauerkraut (surkål/hapankaali). Whole heads of sour cabbage are not easy to come by in Finland and so Kasper and I made it ourselves through a fermenting process that took two months; it was delicious.

 

 

Sauerkraut

 

 

Lilla Jul would not really be possible without Pepparkakor (ginger bread) so we made a batch while our little friend the Christmas tomte watched.

 

 

pepparkakor marielund

 

 

Having a Christmas party with all of us was a good way to get into the Christmas spirit early; it’s amazing what affect some decorations can have.

 

 

decorations christmas

 

 

Now we just have to figure out a way to keep our excitement up for six more weeks until Christmas!

 

A weekend in the forest

10/16/2013

fallintheforest

 

Fall is the best time to spend in the forest. It’s quiet and the cooler air feels crisp when you inhale. Nature’s colours are also at their most beautiful now; deciduous trees like birch and maple stand proudly with their new fall-jackets of gold and red while coniferous trees like pine boast a deep-green. The forest in the fall is also a quiet place to be where the only distractions are the sounds of birds in the air and branches beneath my feet- this is why I like it here.

 

This past weekend most of us here on Mellangård spent our days in the forest hunting and gathering. Kasper, Rabbe, Einar and Matias went out with their team on the moose-hunting premier while I ventured in not-so-close proximity to them to gather some lingonberry and wild mushrooms. Hannele had to unfortunately stay at home since she is still recovering from a foot operation she had some weeks ago (note- as of today she is fully recovered and able to come to the forest again).

 

Hunting was more successful than my gathering since I came home with only enough lingonberry to make some jam with that might last us a week and mushrooms to make warm sandwiches for two in the evening – not an especially fruitful harvest.

 

Throughout the fall the hunters will continue to regularly go into the forest so that we can stock our freezers for yet another year. It’s a lovely tradition where one gets the feeling of being a self-sufficient part of the food-chain instead of always being dependent on the larger food industry. It’s also great exercise and is meaningful for the local-culture. Being in direct contact with the food we eat and its production is something we try to do as much as we can. I will try to contribute by stocking the freezers with berries and mushrooms although since after a dry summer the season is not its best, I may have better luck with a trip to the market instead.

 

Making apple jam

10/06/2013

making apple jam2

We got quite a lot of apples this year from our apple trees. Since there are only so many pies and cakes to make, I thought it was about time to preserve some for the winter by making apple jam.

 

 

For people who are new to making jam, apple jam is a good one to start with since the consistency seems to always turn out right. The recipe I used was from the New Concise Larousse Gastronomique which is a pretty basic recipe.

 

 

Essentially, what you need to do is peel and core the apples, cut them into quarters and then weigh them. For every 500g of apples, you need 300g of sugar. After you have the measurements right, put the apples and the sugar into a preserving pan with a bit of water. Cook them gently until you can crush the apples under a spoon. At this point, rub the puree through a strainer and over a bowl. Pour it back into the pan, bring to a boil and stir until it reaches a temperature of 106 degrees. Then you pot in a usual way, which for me means cleaning them well, potting and sealing by putting them into a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes or so.

 

That’s it, Easy as apple-pie :)  Enjoy!

Taking up the poatoes

09/23/2013

takingupthepotatoes

 

On Saturday while the others were doing their crafting, I spent the day hunched over our vegetable garden picking up the rest of the potatoes from the ground. We planted the potatoes last May , ate them throughout the summer, and now since the growing season is over thought that it was a good time to take the rest up from the ground to store in the cellar over the winter. Although we planted only a little, I was pretty surprised that we still had some 60kg of potatoes left in the ground.

Saturday crafting

09/23/2013

We spent the day on Saturday doing some crafting, or at least, setting it up. Rabbe’s sister Lolan came for a visit to show us how to set up the old loom since she has recently taken a class and learned the right techniques. A loom is simply a machine that is used for weaving cloth to make for example rugs, towels or tablecloths.

 

Rabbe and Hannele helped out with the process of putting the machine together and setting up the threads.

 

weaving

 

 

It is important to do this properly since it is the line of threads that will form the structure of whatever is being weaved.

 

 

setting up weaving

 

They didn’t start on any projects yet but did seem to have fun debating how to make the perfect knot.

 

hannele and lolan

 

While this was happening, Kasper was in the shed working on the windows that we are in the process of repairing. The windows come from the main house which we have been gradually removing and fixing. The frames are in structurally good condition but need to be stripped away of old paint and repainted. The glass as well in many window frames have to be replaced.

 

IMG_1247

 

It is a time consuming process but it feels that it is worth it since the windows are themselves nearing 100 years old.

Clearing the trees away

09/21/2013

clearingawaytrees

 

Last week we made  a visit to Uppgård to mark the trees that can be removed and start taking them down. There were a lot of trees close to the house which gave it the feeling of being in the middle of the bushes. Some 500 trees were taken down for the forest industry and so the view from the house a lot more open than it was before.

Picking the last of the apples

09/20/2013

apples in the tree

 

It is a bit of a bittersweet feeling when it is time to pick the last of the apples from the trees. We have a few apple trees around the house; just enough for ourselves to eat, make jam with or give away to friends. The beginning of the apple season feels so nice when you can pick up a delicious and healthy snack from the tree on your way out of the house. With some cooler days setting in though, we decided that it was time to take the rest of the apples and store them away so that we can continue to enjoy them for the next few months.

 

apples

Our new look

09/18/2013

updatetoblog

 

Hi there, welcome to the new look for our blog at Vestlax Mellangård.

 

We thought it was about time to start improving our efforts with blogging by giving you a layout with less clutter that is easier to read.

 

The purpose of the blog is still the same; to give you updates about life on the farm and things that are happening in and around Kimitoön.

 

With our new layout, the voice we want to speak to you with will become more personal so that we can avoid unnecessary anonymity and business-speak. Doing the writing is me, Amy although I do get a lot of inspiration and ideas from my partner Kasper and his parents, Rabbe and Hannele.

 

The writing on the blog is English because we’re hoping to connect with a larger audience beyond Kimito and even Finland. I’m also quite slow (and rather poor) to write in Swedish and Kasper is not a fan of translation work.

 

All of the posts that were on our old blog are still here. Plus, you’ve gained a few more pieces from my own collection. The layout is in reverse chronological order with the newest posts displayed first. For easy navigating, they are divided up into four simple themes based on the season: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, and one section covering News.

 

Make yourself comfortable and navigate around. To find out more about the farm and cottages we rent in our little corner of the Finnish archipelago, visit our home page.

 

That’s it, enjoy!

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