We have just returned from four days in our old neck of the woods visiting my wife’s relatives and celebrating Finnish Independence Day. On Dec. 6th, 1917, Finland adopted the Finnish Declaration of Independence and withdrew from Soviet Russia (very shortly after the USSR’s creation). This holiday holds special meaning for Finns, as I’m sure you can believe. Had they not declared their independence during this hectic period in Russia’s history, they could have been part of the Soviet Union until the 1990s like so many countries bordering Russia.
Each morning of our visit to Eastern Finland, we were greeted by a fresh blanket of snow (on top of the other blankets of snow) and temperatures ranging from -8 to -15*C (17.5 to 5*F). The sun didn’t shine much, but other than that it was pleasant to be outside. Part of our visit was spent at my wife’s grandparents’ farm, where we took the pictures below. They provide a glimpse of the early stage of winter we are in, as well as a look at some elements of a typical old Finnish farm.
Proudly flying the Finnish colors for Independence Day:
The old farm mill, which is no longer in use:
The smoke sauna can be seen here at the bottom left. Just beyond that is the creek which separates the farm from the neighboring property, which fills the rest of the picture:
The big old barn:
Hay field and woods:
Bunny tracks in the yard:
Berry bushes, asleep for the winter:
Here are the Woodswife and Woodsboy opening part of the barn so we can peek inside:
Inside that part of the barn is just some of the firewood they have stockpiled:
Before we headed inside, the Woodsboy took a tractor ride with great-grandpa:
Here’s an old photo showing great-grandpa when he himself was just a Woodsboy:
Four generations of proud Finns, going back well beyond the first Finnish independence day (my wife is generation 5, and the Woodsboy is generation 6):
The icing on the cake of a nice visit to the country was leaving with these:
Hand-knit wool over-socks, made by my wife’s grandmother. I can’t have enough pairs of these. Socks like these accompany me on every winter outing, and now I have a new favorite pair.
Thanks go out to the Woodswife for taking most of the pictures for this post. Fortunately, she has recently expressed interest in writing full articles about things like berry and mushroom picking, making preserves and juices, family/farm history etc., so you can expect to see them (eventually) here.