Midsummer celebration

Midsummer celebration

Midsummer celebration is a public holiday in the land of Suomi (Finland) it is locally know as the Juhannus celebration. By tradition it is a bonfire evening, where local organizers will make an effort to build an arrangement of dry wood, sticks, aged timber and dry foliage for a large bonfire. Usually the bonfires are held at the lakeside, on the seashores and sometimes a raft is build where the bonfires is placed on a floating raft on a lake.

VIDEO.

New life in the Natural environment.

In many ways the Midsummer celebration is recognition of the natural environment and the uniqueness of the new spring and summer life in the natural environment, in a way re-connecting human soul to back to Nature, or at least giving recognition to Nature for the continues contribution to human survival and happiness. It uses symbols like the fresh birch tree branches and flowers. The branches fresh green are gathered and placed outside the doors of a house and also indoors in water flower vases.

Long tradition in the Nordic countries of the Midsummer celebration and the phenomena of life.

The Midsummer celebrations have a long history in Finland with the early cultural and indigenous pioneers of the Finland region. Before 1316, the summer solstice was called ukko’s celebration (Ukon juhla) after the mythical folklore god named Ukko. In the Karelian tradition numerous bonfires were burned side by side, the biggest of which was called Ukko-kokko (the bonfire of Ukko). After the celebrations were Christianized, the holiday became known as Juhannus after John the Baptist. The term “ukko” is also used and synonymous with a description of an elderly man.  The clap on thunder in a thunderstorm in Finland is also called “Ukko-nen”, it alludes to the mythology that the clap of thunder is the voice of the god Ukko.

Summer solstice of the northern hemisphere.

Midsummer celebration also known as St John’s Day, is the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, and more specifically the Northern European Midsummer celebration that accompany the actual solstice or take place on a day between June 21 and June 25 and the preceding evening.
Midsummer celebration is unique in the Northern hemisphere and in Finland; it is the contrast of the long cold dark winter that brings out the unique quality of a pleasant weather summer day without the darkness of the night time, continues warm day light and the energy of the dynamic natural environment buzz with continues sounds of the singing birds and the fragrance of the natural environment.

Traditional Juhannus celebrations in Suomi.

Juhannus is a well celebrated holiday weekend where most people will go to the rural areas and cottages by the lake side or visit their parents and relatives to socialize and share meals and drinks while watching the midsummer bonfire.

Midsummer celebration
All copyrights Reserved 2014. Vesa Leinonen
Summer solstice and sauna.

Another tradition in land of Suomi is to celebrate the Juhannus sauna, with a fresh vihta made from the new season birch tree branches. The sharing a hot steaming sauna with friends by the lake side and a new summer season vihta, grilled sausages and a beer or two and other BBQ type outdoors table food is really the atmosphere that most people at the Juhannus celebrate will aim for, it is really the essence of celebrating and being close to mid summer festival in the traditional Suomi cultural family atmosphere and close to the natural environment. Family weekend and time with friends spent together celebrating the mid summer festival.

For more pictures of the Midsummer celebration from the land of Suomi visit this web site at  http://vesajohnleino.photoshelter.com/gallery-list 

Summer season 2014

Summer season 2014

Summer season 2014 is just around the corner, now is the time to get ready and be prepared for the Great Outdoors, to explore and discover the Natural environment of the Nordic region. If you are sufficiently financially secure then summer holiday and travel is not an issue, but if you are unemployed and struggling with finances then maybe this is not the best time for you to do that.  Taking care to protect the skin and the eyes from the harmful UAV sun rays, by wearing a hat, using sun screen, covering up sufficiently  and wearing eye glasses.  In the Australia culture a classic slogan is called; Slip, Slop Slap:  Slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen and slap on the hat.

However there is something for everyone to explore and to discover where ever you may be located, it just takes willingness and a creative mind to seek and find something of interest to you.  Small steps in the right direction is the way forward to find meaning in life.

Sunglasses.

Here are some sunglasses brands  for the summer season.

Sunglasses.  There are many colors and style in the Ray-Ban style sunglasses, here are some samples.

Ray-Ban RB2132 New Wayfarer Sunglasses

Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available. The specifications for this particular eye wear is listed here:

Women’s Ray-Ban sunglasses Color: BLACK.

Metal
Propianate frame
Crystal lens
Polarized
100% UV400 protection coating
Lens width: 55 millimeters
Lens height: 40 millimeters

Some other styles and colors from the same brand are:

Cyclamen on Black Frame/Grey Gradient Lens

Top Blue & Orange

Top Havana on Beige Frame/Brown Lens

Kindle Paperwhite.

Reading articles, magazines from a non-glare eBook reader can make recreation, learning and study time more enjoyable.  There is a rading device specially made with special features for easy reading benefit.  See the Kindle paper-white from here.

Kindle Paper-white is specially designed with these points in mind:

Designed for Readers
Reads Like a Book
Goes Beyond a Book
Technical Details

Read More for Less
Buy Once, Read Everywhere
Kindle for Kids
Compare Kindles

No Glare in Bright Sunlight

Unlike reflective tablet and smart phone screens, the latest Kindle Paper-white reads like paper—no annoying glare, even in bright sunlight.

IMPROVED—Enjoy even better contrast on the latest Kindle Paper-white. Whites are whiter and blacks are blacker, creating sharp, clear text. The high-resolution display allows for elegant typeface options including Baskerville and Palatino, and all fonts on Kindle Paper-white have been hand-tuned at the pixel level for maximum readability and comfort.

Fast, Easy Page Turns

IMPROVED—The new Kindle Paper-white’s processor is 25% faster. Books open and pages turn faster for a seamless experience. Kindle Paper-white also uses the latest in capacitive touch technology, more accurately responding to the smallest touches.

Flip Through Without Losing Your Place

NEW—With Kindle Paper-white’s new Page Flip feature, you can skim page-by-page, scan by chapter, or skip to the end for a sneak peek without losing your place.

Take and Share Notes

Add margin notes that you can edit, delete, or even export from Kindle Paper-white to your computer. Share highlighted sections and meaningful quotes on Facebook and Twitter, and see passages frequently highlighted by other Kindle readers.

Kindle Paper-white 3G

This model comes with a free 3G wireless—there are no monthly fees or annual contracts. Location specific only. Check you country and location.

Special features are:
No screen glare in bright sunlight
Read with one hand—over 30% lighter than iPad mini
Battery lasts weeks, not hours
Next-gen built-in light—read without eyestrain

Camera video and Pictures.

Taking pictures during the summer is also a fun way to bring back memories stored on a computer. There are cameras for various applications, locations and purpose.  There is also the unique Go-pro camera that is a mountable camera with a head strap or it can be secured/mounted onto a bike helmet or motor vehicle.  This is for taking video recording of the travel scene without stopping.  It can be a great way to show the highlight of your holiday season.  Here is the Go-Pro camera and a head mount links.

GoPro HERO3+: Black Edition

This model is an improved model over the previous model.  It is 20% smaller and lighter housing and it is waterproof down to 131′/40m.
It also has 33% improved image sharpness and reduced distortion.
Faster built in Wi-Fi for enhanced connectivity to the Wi-Fi Remote (included) and GoPro App.
Super View video mode captures the world”s most immersive wide angle perspective.  Last but not least it claims a 30% longer battery life.

GoPro Headstrap and Quickclip Mount

Compatible with all GoPro cameras
Includes: (1) Head strap
Includes: (1) Quick Clip
Includes: (1) Thumb Screw
Note: The Head Strap and Quick Clip are recommended for use during non-impact activities only.

Summer season 2014 can be creative fun time, going to places, meeting people, new experiences  and discovering specific locations cultures and peoples.  Or it may be more quite and relaxed with specific purpose and meaning in general.  What ever your interest is in for the Summer season 2014 i hope it is a meaningful and a fun time, enjoy.

Easter 2014

Easter 2014

Easter 2014 weather has been much warmer than the previous Easter weekends in the previous years.  The four day long week end here on the West Coast of  Finland was mostly filled with sunshine and bright blue skies.  The warm weather was very much welcomed by the many week end holiday makers that ventured out to their week end cottages by the lake and other destinations.  Some week end holiday people did venture up north to Lapland to go skiing, the snow cover is still on the ground there making skiing possible even when in the south of the country  the snow cover has long gone.

Easter 2014 did like most other Easter bring out the traditional Easter foods and other treats. The classic dish in Finland is called mammy (mämmi), it is the traditional Easter food created by the Catholic tradition of Eating unleavened bread on the Easter Friday . mammy ingredients are Rye flour, Rye malt, water, and sweetened with molasses.  It is baked like a casserole in the oven, it comes out rich brown color looking very much similar like the color of Vegemite. It does have good nutritional value as well as the spiritual value with the Easter remembrance celebration weekend.  There is another article in anther  blog that i wrote that explains more about the ingredients used and how to bake mammy, follow this link to the article here.

Nordic Spring season 2014

Nordic Spring season 2014

The Nordic Spring season 2014 has bee very mild weather, almost warm at times.  The snow and ice was gone from the West Coast of Finland by the end of March 2014. There were very few days at the south Finland to do cross country skiing during the winter of 2014.

Skiing season for the southerners in Finland.

For those that did do cross country skiing they would have traveled further up north to where the snow was thick on the ground well towards the Easter long weekend.   Skiing will most likely be possible during the Easter long weekend which is coming up in  about one weeks time, Friday 18 until Monday 21 April.

Preventative Eye health care.

Preventative eye health is vital, it is possible to have a healthy natural eye vision for life.  Like many other systems of the human body the systems need to be taken care of, looked after with balanced  nutrition, regular physical exercise, quality sleep and rest, safe environment, protective clothing and preventative measures.    The eye vision also needs well  balanced nutrition, regular eye exercises, safe protective work environment, quality sleep and rest for relaxation.

Natural Preventative Eye Vision program.

There are natural eye vision programs available, one such program is called Rebuild Your Vision program.  A natural eye vision program strengthens the eye vision naturally.  

For more details see this Online Eyesight test link.

Rebuild Your Vision Program.

Rebuild your vision program is a natural remedy to many eye vision problems or weaknesses.  It can be used to reverse many eye conditions.

The Rebuild Your Vision program is a series of specific muscle stimulating eye exercises and vision improvement techniques designed to strengthen the eye visual system, and to help regain a clear, natural vision.

Common eye vision problems.

  • Nearsightedness and or Astigmatism.
  • Aging Vision and or Farsightedness.
  • Aging Vision and or Nearsightedness.

With a well researched eye vision program many of these can be corrected with regular eye exercises.  It does take diligent commitment and resolve to work through the eye vision strengthening exercises each morning that takes about  25 minutes.  There are eye exercises and relaxing exercises that are equally important especially if working at a near-point stress work environment.  Near-point stress can become a fixation for the eyes to focus at a very close arms length distance.

This type of preventative action is sometimes called; 10/10/10, or  15/15/15,  or 20/20/20.   It means that for every 10 minutes working at a near-point stress, then the focus should be broken up by focusing at a further distance for 10 seconds.  The same applies if the focus fixation has been for 20 minutes, then a break in the focus should be 20 seconds at a distance of some 3- to 5 meters away.

A review of a Healthy Eye Vision program kit, for more details see this YouTube Video link.

 

New Year 2014

New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014

A New Year with new opportunities for reaching towards those goals that one sets the mind to do and to experience in life.

To start of this year I will add some links to products that you may be interested in:

That is why it is a good idea to take stock of the year gone by, and make a list of Pro’s and Con’s.

Then tick off the positive Pro’s that you are proud of, and also cross out the negative Con’s that you don’t want to repeat in the new coming year.

That is one part of good decision making. Evaluating the decision made in the past, and correcting the errors of the past.  Watch this video.

Have a Happy New Year 2014.

Bilberry

Bilberry is one of the popular Nordic summer berries.

The bilberry plant is very much part of the Nordic environment, they can grow in high acidic poor soils as low growing shrub, (10-50cm) they are found in the temperate and Northern sub-arctic areas.  Bilberry plants is a deciduous shrub, the green foliage of the plant changes color to red and pink once the berries have become ripe.

Bilberry plant drop their leaves in the late autumn-winter.

The bilberry flowers from May to July, and the berries are usually ripe from July up to October. The berry season varies from year to year, there are many variables to consider. Mainly depend on the climatic conditions: the pollinators, as well as the early summer frosts. lack of pollinators will produce a poor berry season.  Also a late frost during the flowering season can knock out the the berry crop of the summer. The flowers are bell shaped and pink in color, they are very sensitive to a frost bite. Pollination carried out mainly bees and insects, the bilberry can also self-pollinate.

bilberry
All Copyrights Reserved. 2013.

How to prepare the bilberry harvest.

Bilberry can be enjoyed many ways, depending on where you live and how you obtain the berries. In some temperate areas of Europe the only way to safely enjoy them would be to use them in cooking; as a filling for a bilberry pie, cooked jam, and for cooking the berries for juice extraction.  The environment needs to be a clean environment if the berries are enjoyed fresh from the shrub.  The Nordic sub-arctic areas are such clean areas where the berries have grown in a clean environment.  The potential threat is from diseases in wild animals, it may be foxes or other mammals or marsupials that carry a disease and spread it over the ground cover of the forest with plants and shrubs. This is not a known problem in the Nordic region. Of course the summer rains wash the berries every so often, but it is always sensible to rinse the berries being harvested before storing them in the freezer.

See Nordic Berry pictures here. Nordic Summer Forest.

How to enjoy the bilberry flavor and nutrition.

I like to go berry picking after a summer rain storm or even when there is light rain falling, it makes the forest so much more fresh, it is cooler with fresh clean berries for the picking.  Also after the rain there are lots of natural plant and flower scents, with a great natural light tones for photography.  Bilberries in a clean environment can be enjoyed fresh from the shrub, they are also great for the breakfast table with cold milk and cereal, traditionally the bilberries were enjoyed during the summer months as a refreshing desert with only using the berries and fresh milk.  Most middle age to elder people in the Nordic region do recall their childhood memories of summers with having enjoyed lots of “Bilberry milk” desserts.

Bilberry
All Copyrights Reserved 2013.

The bilberry pie is equivalent to an apple pie in some other region of the world. They do also make apple pie in the Nordic region but bilberry pie has been more popular by tradition. It can be a sweet dough base with a bilberry filling on top, baked in an oven until the dough in the base is baked through. The dough recipe varies from a sweet dough to a non sugar dough base. Some people like it with a pie pastry that has no sugar included, it could also be so because of potential diabetes sufferers.

Juicing berries for winter in the Nordic region is very popular by tradition.

Juicing of many types of berries is done during the summer as the berries ripen, they can be made into a single flavor juice or a mixed berry juice.  The berries are put into a large pot with sugar and heated until it comes to the boil, this process will melt the sugar and release more juice from the berry pulp.  The pot is taken off the  heat and allow to cool down some.  Then the hot juice is poured through a stainer to catch the skin of the berries. Depending  how fine the sieve is the seeds of the berries may go through or get left behind. Most of the essential nutrients of the bilberries are in the seeds, but by consuming them alone will not release the compounds, the seeds should be crushed so that the nutrients are released while consuming them.  Think of it this way, when a plant flowers are pollinated and grows berries or fruit, the fruit are attractive to lure birds, mammals and humans to eat them, why? so that they would propagate else where.  The berries and fruit are consumed, the flesh and juice is consumed and  absorbed in the stomach, but the seeds pass on through and continue on in another cycle of life at another location. The seeds are are protected from the stomach acids by design, they survive it and keep intact ready to start their own life story once they are out in the soil of the natural world.

See pictures of Bilberries. Summer Berry Season 2013.

Palm Sunday

The spring weather here continues on today on this palm Sunday, the sun is shining bright and getting stronger by the day.  It really shows on the snow surface, it shrinking and evaporating each day as the sun bakes it down.

palm sunday
Reeds on the sea shore.

 

There are no palm trees here waving in the wind, bu there are lots of reeds standing tall in the snow. The reeds along the shore are usually broken down by the wind and the waves during a high tide during the late spring.  Then they start again with re growth once the weather and the water is sufficiently warm for the young shoots to grow.

There is an old custom that originated from karelia for the young people to participate on the Palm Sunday, it is called Virpominen. The children decorate with a colorful ribbons a small branch of a willow called the pussy willow. and they then bless their family and friends with the willow branch for good luck and good health. They wave the willow branch and tell a short rhyme, then hand over the willow branch to the person that they have “virponeet” (blessed) and then they are given lollies or a small token.

The origins of the Palm Sunday “virponta” goes back to the eastern orthodox church, the ritual was done to bring blessing of good health to the person and to drive away evil. From the ancient of times the willow branches has been a symbol of blessing.  They custom also forbid to bless strangers, only friends of the family.

There is also the darker side done on the palm Sunday, it is that of using witch costumes, it is said by the eastern orthodox that the witch customs originate from the western Finland witches history.

Happy palm Sunday.

Spring season with sunshine

No doubt about it, the spring has arrived once again to the Nordic region, the first signs are the calm weather, blue clear skies and sunshine.

Then there are the signs from melting snow and ice, water drizzle down the path ways and the road side. The lakes and the sea gives way to clear ice-free water and then the migrating water birds flock to and float on the first ice-free waters of the new year, a another  breeding season begins for the migrating birds that are anticipating the summer already, it is in their genes, and they know it.

There could be occasional brief snow shower and maybe a shower of sleet, but it is expected that the clear weather persists which means cold sub-zero temperatures during the night-time.  The early morning frost will mostly abate by lunch time, at least here on the west coast and the south parts of Finland.

The month of February last year was still had the winter feel about it, that’s how much the season can vary from year to year? Sometimes there is a good 50-60 cm of snow on the ground in February, but this year on the west coast there is very little, maybe 10 cm at places. Fair to say, that this year was not a good year for the snow sports in the south.

On the positive note is that the bike tracks and roads will be clear of snow and ice soon, which means that the bike cycles will come out earlier than usual during the spring. That means a lot of people will get active riding a bike to work and leisure and not catching a bus or driving their car.  That is a win for all round for health & fitness and the environment.

Natural Nordic ingredients

The Nordic region has it’s own unique environment and it’s own natural Nordic ingredients, the ingredients are the tell tale of the long arduous struggle of the ever changing ecosystems on the planet.

As ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment. The plants and berries that we enjoy today and that have been around for hundreds or thousands of years, it is to their glory as successful plants and species of the current time.

The Bilberry is part of several species of shrubs in the genus Vaccinium bearing edible berries.  In the Finnish language they are called Mustikka,it refers to the color of the berry as being black (musta).  The berries were also called black-hearts in 19th century south-western England.

Bilberries as a natural Nordic ingredients, are a great nutrition source, they can be enjoyed as fresh berries, also made into berry juice or jam as an concentrate, also included as a filling for many baked products.  Bilberry flavored milk shakes, ice cream or thick shakes or a smoothie.  The berries frozen and used as a garnish to decorate desserts or used as a condiment on breakfast cereal. Bilberries are a good source of flavonoids, which induce antioxidant activity.

Most people in Finland/Nordic countries gather Bilberries during the summer and store them in the freezer for the winter months, an amble supply of 20-30 liters can supply berries to the food table throughout the 6 month winter/spring time.

Music You Tube Video on the Importance of Balanced Nutrition.

Pori Baltic Herring festival Markets 2012

The Pori Silakka Markkinat (Baltic herring festival markets), is on this week end, starting on Friday 31 August, and finishing on Sunday 2 September,  a three day event.

Pori Baltic Herring festival markets is annual event, it is a great place to discover some of the regional food products and some Finnish traditional foods and broader European flavors.  There are as well many local products, handcrafts and clothing stores.

Also for many  organic health food ingredients, some of them are:

  • Sea-buckthorn berry products (Tyrni), there are concentrated juices, including that the berry seeds are crushed, so that the omega 3, 6,and 9 are accessible to the consumer.
  • Wild honey from Lapland.  Many varieties of Lapland honey, some of the ones I tasted were; Raspberry and wild meadow. Bees feed on the flowers of various plants in their given environment, there can be a sugar difference in the honey they produce, e.g. honey rich in fructose, and honey rich in glucose, just to name a few. The visible difference is in the color of the honey.
  • Glow baked salmon (traditional method) cooked on the spot with an open fire place.
  • Fruit and vegetables, apples and variety of fresh and dried local mushrooms.

Pori Baltic herring festival 2012 is also the Autumn festival on the calendar, end of the summer season, the weather cools down, the tree leaves change color,  and eventually fall of the trees bright red or yellow color. Another cycle of the seasons completed, and the mother nature prepares to shut down for the long cold winter of hibernation.

That is another good reason for photography hobbies, to capture and record the bright highlights of summer, and the sparkling cold white winter landscapes, with surreal flow of the snow. To see some pictures from teh Nordic summers and winters gone by, visit the following picture gallery.

Here is a link to a picture gallery; Pori Baltic Herring Festival 2012.

Nordic ingredients cuisine culture and tradition.