Thursday, 29 November 2012

Beware of thin ice!

When I was a little girl, this animated clip was frequently shown in the children's TV-program, Pikku Kakkonen (it means "Little Two" - the program was shown on Channel 2). The animation was shown to warn kids to not walk on thin ice. Every year, they'd broadcast the clip many, many, many times. I'd wait for the moment when the naughty bear arrives safely to the studio, reaches his position with the rest of the animated characters, and says in that slow, low voice: beware of thin ice! 

I know of grown-ups my age who feel traumatized by the clip to this day - they are still scared of the time of year when the ice starts to creep in, to cover the lakes and the sea. Well, I guess the clip worked back then. I've never in my life attempted to go walking on ice that I wasn't sure about!

The ice is coming, the ice is coming!

See how shockingly stylish I am these days..? A couple of things dictate the way I dress at the moment (and no, I am not exactly proud of this):

1) how quickly I can scramble out of bed and get into a set of clothes (due to the chilly morning room temperature at the summer cottage),

2) how many layers I can fit in,


3) what I can wear at the house renovation site, but also to go run some errands at the village.

I've come to the realization that the easiest route is a pair of jeans and a thick sweater. I layer a thermal undershirt, a long-sleeved undershirt and then the sweater, as well as long-johns under my jeans, and two pairs of socks, usually. The lumberjack jacket pictured here is optional - I have worn it a lot because it is warm, and the good thing is that I can easily change into a neater coat if I have to go to the county office or the grocery store. It's amazing what a nice coat can do to an old pair of jeans and a sweater! Same goes for work boots and the hat/scarf combo. I keep this funny but-oh-so-amazingly-warm hat around for when I am outside or at the house site, but I also have a neat, spare hat to wear in public. I keep a pair of nice winter shoes in the car so that I can switch in and out of the work boots if I need to.

The ice came today. I can hear it cracking and creaking as it sneaks in inch by inch, covering small sections of the lake front first, then bigger ones.

As the ice takes over, the swans are leaving. We have heard them calling at night - the eery honk-honk sound lingers over the peninsula as they are preparing to get the heck out of here.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The cold moves in

Greetings, earthlings! Long time, no see! I haven't had much time or energy to write... or to do much at all, except hang around in dirty overalls and get firewood. I guess it wouldn't be fair to say that life has felt a little rough during the past few weeks and months, because of course things could be much worse... but let's just say that life has thrown a bunch of challenges at us recently. We've ran into all sorts of trouble with the house renovation, and we are nowhere close to moving in yet. It hasn't been easy to live in very close proximity to my parents' - there are reasons for why children move out, and even more so, why they remain moved out. Chris has been dealing with culture shock, sometimes more, sometimes less successfully. He's learning how to deal with the non-talkative nature of the countryside Finns. It's not easy at times. The important thing is, of course, that we are together, and that we are hanging in there. The cats are doing okay, too, although we can tell that some of them are starting to feel a little antsy in the small summer cottages they inhabit. We are making progress at the house, little by little. We have walls...

...we have veranda windows...

...and we're working on choosing floor paints.

So it's not all bad. Finland is beautiful, albeit cold - we are actually facing a severe cold front at the end of this week. Well, at least we've become masters of heating up the summer cottages - it now takes me less than five minutes to get a fire going!