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Odds and sods from the last little while

May 30, 2013

I’ve been doing a lot of fun things lately – generally enjoying the spring weather and I have seen new things, tried new things and so on. Most of things are worthy of mention, but I thought I would compile them all in one entry, because many of them are too short to be just one entry on their own. Hopefully these are tidbits of learning for you too!




If you’re ever in Helsinki in the summer (as a traveller), I highly recommend visiting Seurasaari. I have only ever been there three times in the 14.5 years that I have been living here. (Note to self: I must get out more.) It is a real treasure trove for history buffs as the island features a couple dozen historical buildings in an open air museum format. The island is open to the public for various outdoor activities (walking, running, picnicking, grilling), but bicycles are not permitted on the island. There are a couple of small kiosks where you can buy ice cream and other snacks. The best option is to pack a hearty picnic lunch and enjoy the outdoors. There are often public events on the island, such as this performance (pictured) – but on the day I was there, I can’t say who organized this happening. There was a petting zoo there as well. The Little Miss certainly enjoyed it.





Last fall I made a post about a gigantic slug that I had spotted on a walk in the bush. Well now, they’re close to my house leaving me to wonder whether I should relocate these fellows to a location further from my greenhouse and my garden. Last year I learned a lesson – snails eat bean plants! Introducing Limax cinereoniger – the albino edition.

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Bird watching

Every year I go bird watching at least once. A fellow at work is a real enthusiast, so it’s always great to tag along with him. There is a bird tower on the south side of Laajalahti near where I work and last week on Friday it was rush hour when we arrived there.


He said that we saw and / or heard these species (in Finnish) ruokokerttunen, pajusirkku, harmaasorsa, töyhtöhyyppä, punajalkaviklo, naurulokki, tylli, pikkutylli, suosirri, lapasorsa, tavi, räystäspääsky, tervapääsky, jänkäsirriäinen, kurki, valkoposkihanhi, pikkusirri, harmaahaikara, punavarpunen, meriharakka, silkkiuikku, nokikana, satakieli, mustapääkerttu, kirjosieppo, sinitiainen, peippo, punakylkirastas, pensaskerttu, keltavästäräkki, pajulintu, räkättirastas, kottarainen, sinisorsa. The best place to cross-reference these species in English (and Swedish and Latin) is here.

In Espoo there are a few places to go bird watching: Laajalahti (south side), Villa Elfvik, Matalajärvi (at Markettanpuisto), the northeast end of Pitkäjärvi, Suomenoja and several others locations (that I don’t know of off the top of my head). I did a search for “bird watching in Espoo” and found this blog in English by Tom Nordblad.


Last week I went to see the Mr. at work in Pitjänmäki. As I was walking there, I crossed a bridge and was dumbfounded. I didn’t know there was a river in that part of Helsinki. Then I realized I was looking at Mätäjoki, tucked into an urban, industrial environment. I had to take a picture. Then I remembered that this was the river that made headlines last week, when a large amount of solvents were discharged into the river by Teknos, the paint manufacturer. Unfortunately the situation looks rather serious, with the destruction of fish spawning areas. There has been a lot of effort to reintroduce fish to the river through extensive clean-up and rehabilitation of the river ecosystem. A police investigation has ensued.

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Angry Birds

Now I have certainly seen it all. I opened a flyer from Lidl last week and saw that Angry Bird fishing lures were going on sale. Great timing! With Father’s Day coming up in Canada, I know just what to get for the important dads in my life! The joint venture between Rapala and Rovio is sure to garner the interest of the fishing crowd out there! These special edition Rapalas are not available everywhere… Find out more here.



Sunday, May 26 was the 30th annual Naistenkymppi, the annual women-only fun running / walking event. I gathered up a group of women from work and we took part. On Sunday close to 20,000 women participated. The highest ever attendance for this event was 32,000 in 1990. It has been held in various locations in Helsinki, but these days it starts and ends in and around Olympic Stadium.



Pohjanmaan tähti

Are you familiar with the game Afrikan tähti (The Star of Africa)? The game was invented in 1951 by Kari Mannerla and has been very popular in Finland and Sweden for decades. We have the game at home and I have only played it once. The Mr. was a little shocked about that. Anyways, the idea of the game is to find the diamond Star of Africa before anyone else.

So – Pohjanmaan tähti. Last year for my birthday I received the game Pohjanmaan tähti from my neighbours who are originally from Lappajärvi. About a year ago we had a very big “AHA” moment when we established a connection between our families. My great grandfather was born in Lappajärvi and my neighbour’s mother (also born in Lappajärvi) is his niece. We even found written evidence in a family tree book produced by a mutual relative! A very small world indeed and the Pohjanmaa (Ostrobothnia) connection was made.


The Little Miss begged to play the game last week, so we pulled it off the shelf and played. The game cards are written in the Pohjanmaa dialect, so it was challenging! I nearly won the game, but the Mr. got the Pohjanmaa Star before I did!

Finnish food

A bit about a favourite dessert for those who love berries. One dessert that I had never tried until moving to Finland was frozen cranberries with hot toffee sauce. It’s incredibly easy and cheap, if you’re able to pick your own cranberries that is. A half a litre of berries with a tetra pack of toffee sauce is enough for four people.


Picking cranberries – yet another experience on my “to do” list. That is this fall’s activity.

One Comment leave one →
  1. anonyymi permalink
    May 30, 2013 8:09 pm

    You might “enjoy” this.

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