Cool Midsummer Eve

Our summer, if you can even call it summer, has so far been one of the coldest in our weather history. After one of the warmest winters ever, the temperature difference is a mere few degrees. For the most part of the winter our temperature was somewhere between +5 and +10 Cescius, and now it is varying between +10 and +16 C. Our tomatoes are toast. So is probably most of the other stuff in our garden too. Hel has frozen over, once again.

Still, we have reached the peak of the year, the longest day of the year here. Our day between sunrise and sunset is 19 hours, which gives us roughly a couple hours of almost full darkness. Up north, the sun doesn’t go down at all all summer long. Midsummer is still hardly midsummer, really. In Finnish we call mid-July midsummer, but then again, our Juhannus, the festival of the longest day of the year, is Midsummer in English. Go figure.

Our summerplace is about 65km from Helsinki where we live, so not more than a 45min. drive. It is a cabin, but it is also my grandma’s summer home. Basically this means, that we cannot just go there and spend time whenever we want; we go there for visits once or twice every summer. Due to the coldness of this summer, and a couple of other factors, the cabin had not yet been put into summer condition after everything had been put away for the winter, so we could not stay for the night. My grandma (yes, she is old already, 89, but she’s a supergranny ;) ) had moved there only the day before.

So, yesterday morning, we packed some warm clothes and ourselves in the car and set off to spend the Midsummer Eve at the cabin. Our dog was traveling in her travel cage for the first time and crying and whining most of the way. But it was worth it, for her too, for she got to be free for most of the day, running and hopping and bouncing and digging all day long in the surroundings of the cabin. No leash needed, only a bit of looking after, so that she didn’t dart off too deep into the forest.

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We spent the day grilling, fishing (well, two of the girls did, anyway), running with the dog, rowing the boat, idling inside when it rained, eating well, climbing on the roof of the cabin, pulling the flag up at six (traditionally) and all that stuff. My husband took the oldest daughter for her first car driving on the private dirt road leading to the cabin. I walked around taking a million photos. My dad cut down some young birches for the traditional birch trees next to all doors and the “saunavihdat”, those birch branches we slap each other with in the sauna. Nope, it’s not S&M for the forest people, it actually feels excellent!

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I was doing fine with my sprained ankle, as long as I walked along slowly. But when I went to dip in the +15C (on the surface) lake from sauna, I had a true note to self moment: “do NOT attempt swimming with a sprained ankle”. I didn’t really even swim (or try to), I was holding on to the steps with one hand, my other foot on a step deep under the water, trying to just get myself wet, and leave my winter coat in the lake, as we say in Finnish. Really, looking at the weather forecast for the next ten days, I probably should’ve just kept the coat. Daily highs of +11 to +15C at best don’t really make you laugh in June.

By the time everyone was done with sauna (contrary to the common belief, all Finns do not go to sauna together; we e.g. did it like we usually do it: first went my dad, then me and my husband, then my grandma with one girl, then when grandma came out, the rest of the girls joined the one) the sun was already hugging the horizon, getting ready to dip below for those few hours. My dad had prepared the place we call “Kokkokallio” (because that’s where we have the “kokko”, the bonfire always) for the big bonfire. So we all joined him there.

In the day time, the wind had been quite nasty, which is actually not uncommon for Midsummer Eve at all, but as always, it had calmed down quite a bit by the time of the bonifre. Clouds had parted a bit, making the horizon look like it was in flames too. We sat there enjoying the evening, holding the tired dog, grilling some sausages in the bonfire, eating some karjalanpiirakat (Carelian pies) and having a glass of wine until it was time for us to pack our stuff and head back home.

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It was a wonderful day, despite the coolness of the weather and occasional rain. It’s not the weather that makes the day, it’s the family and spending time together, everyone being in a good mood. And the place. I love our summerplace :) I used to spend all my summers there as a kid. It’s full of pleasant, dear memories. And old stuff :D My dad is a hamster, never throwing anything away, and what better place to store it all than the summerplace?

Juhannus5Bottom right corner cabin is the smaller of the two that we have at the summerplace; the pic taken while sitting on the roof of the bigger one ;)

 

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