summer

City oasis

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One summer Sunday I made my first visit to Toimela urban allotment garden. This was the first time, but I am quite confident it won't be last, I might go again this week. The harvest markets have started early due to warm summer. This suited me fine as it was the day for groceries after the fridge contents were some preserves and light after the moving flats business.

The garden was a short walk from home, tucked away behind a small forest. It is quite central location, but I would have not found it by accident. After a road through the forest, and a small parking lot, the lush garden opens. It is unbelievable that city is right outside the area.

The tables were full of berries, herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Prices were at times on the high side (garlic or herb bunch 2e per piece), but kale was very cheap (1e per bundle), and green beans (2e) were the best looking ones I have ever seen in Finland. The produce is of course much fresher than in stores, pick just in the preceeding days, and the price level is quite close to produce market prices. Now that there is no market nearby, I can subsitute with this!

I bought quite a pile of root veggies and onion, and some herbs to try. The berry counter had the longest queue, and the berries were sold out in around half an hour. Thankfully I did not need them as I had spent the previous day picking red currants at my mom's garden.

Green stop: cold-brewed tea and veggies in a bag.

Green stop: cold-brewed tea and veggies in a bag.

Catch of the day

Catch of the day

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The best part: crispy crepes with homemade jam

Country life

Last summer cottage trips were rare as the sudden and surprising moving hassle took a lion's share of the time. I didn't have summer holiday eitehr - university started already at the end of August. I made do with some long weekends instead. Because of this the relaxion part of cottage life had to be skipped, but at least I could partake in the essential part: labour camp! The darkening autumn nights added to the challenge level, as all outdoor work had to be stopped much earlier than during summer. By six-seven in the evening the shadows were really long and the sun was setting, making it impossible to continue work safely. 

The main agenda was wood chopping. The trunks had to be moved, cut, chopped, piled and covered. After Saturday's work there would be sauna, and Sunday was for finishing up and preparing the cottage for the coming winter. And of course this all was topped by a drive home. There was much to do on both weekends, as our neighbours had fell their forest, leaving some of our trees exposed. We had to fell some trees and make sure that they are appropriately handled for the winter so that they will not rot away. 

Thankfully the work camp left some time for other activities too. On the first weekend I made traditional Finnish thin crepes with barley flour, and on the other one there was a village market. It is not a big market, but more like some local farmers coming together to sell their produce to the people who live or have cottages nearby. It all started years ago from cinnamon rolls and other bread things, but now the offering has expanded to cover meat, crepes, jam, vegetables, and this time there was also a sheep farmer with some yarn! I also got to enjoy a wood-burning sauna (it is different to electric one) and admire the last butterflies of the season.

Occasionally I return to these memories in the midst of the Stockholm greyness, and wait for the summer to arrive again. 

This tractor was a life saver for us! With its hydraulic chopping attachment we managed to go through much more logs than would have been possible manually. As the task was huge, quantity went over quality and some firewood is quite roughly sized :D

This tractor was a life saver for us! With its hydraulic chopping attachment we managed to go through much more logs than would have been possible manually. As the task was huge, quantity went over quality and some firewood is quite roughly sized :D