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Midsummer days

Now when the summer temperatures are here I've resumed fighting the rot fungi under the floor of the smaller room. I opened a few floor planks and spotted two palm-sized spores which had re-grown on area which I cleaned a few months ago. So, apparently, the previous time that corner didn't get hot enough to kill the fungi. I manually removed all the visible parts and plugged on a hot air blower. The drying and dying rot fungi emits a smell which is something like sweat-soaked woolen socks. So I escaped outdoors, setting up a tent on my yard. For most of the days I've been living a camp-site life at my yard; sleeping in a tent, cooking and eating outdoors. And that is nice, although it tends to make my sleeping patterns even more irregular than they usually are. But that happens anyway in the summer when it never gets dark.

I happened to have a free day in the middle of the week, and I wanted to see my son and his girlfriend. So I drove down to Tampere. I arrived there at noon, when my son was still at work. I went to see friends' family, as the wife stays at home with their three kids. Coffee and talking, playing with the kids. The kids wanted me to hop on the trampoline with them, and pretty soon I felt joyous like bouncing and dancing on a good rock concert - these moments when you can forget all the worries of the world, and just be present in the moment of shared fun and physical bouncing for no other sake than the sheer fun of it! Then I went to see my son and his girlfriend. We drove a bit outside the city and walked a nice forest trail to a beautiful lakeside place. We grilled food, ate and talked together with no hurry. I took the young ones back to their place and headed to the city centre to see a gig.

The venue was a smallish chamber below the ground level. That made it feel almost like a living-room concert, for the distance between the audience and the bands was minimal. First it was KO:MI - a lady playing violin and singing. Using an array of effects and some digital backgrounds she created a multi-layered texture of sound. (I hope to add video links in the comments later on.) Not such a dancing-kind-of-music, but more like close-your-eyes-and-let-the-soundscape-transport-you-to-other-places-and-atmospheres. I liked it a lot. Again, there was this aspect of the solo performer admitting that she feels a bit nervous to play alone in the front of the audience. Yet she played anyway, and expressed openly that moment when you go ahead regardless of your fears. I always love that moment, for it becomes like a ritual, an emotional journey from fears to self-expression and sharing. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who liked KO:MI, for the audience cheered and after the set a few people came to buy her LP.

After a short break my favourite cats stepped onto the stage. Henna Hietamäki (vocals and keyboards), Tuomas Alatalo (guitar) and Sanna Komi (violin), ie. Cats of Transnistria. Yes, they used to be a duo, but now they've added Sanna Komi to the lineup. And, yes, Sanna Komi as a solo artist is KO:MI. And what a trio they make! All the instruments and Henna's vocals fit together so that something greater emerges. There were moments which felt like a direct connection with an unseen layer of the reality. And most of the time it felt like deeper-than-words emotions made audible.

Enjoying the post-glow of the music I slowly walked the streets of Tampere. A friend intended to come with me to my place, but that friend was still on a bus enroute to Tampere, so I waited for the bus to arrive. Oh the light of the midsummer nights! The seasons really have an impact on Finnish people; the summer atmosphere is so much more relaxed and festive, with all the warmth and light. The bus arrived and we went to pick up one more friend. As we drove to my place we enjoyed the scenery with a yellowish glow in the horizon - is it the last rays of the setting sun, or the first rays of the rising sun you can't tell for sure and it doesn't make a difference for the midsummer days they just blend into each other. And the sleeping patterns become even more irregular than usual, but that isn't a problem. On Friday I had four hours of work. And at some point (can't remember anymore exactly what night that was, for these midsummer days they just blend to each other) we celebrated my birthday. This time I didn't feel like organizing a party, but it was great to have two friends around - in addition to the usual food, music and sauna we also had time to work with the horses and other such hobbies.

On Monday it was my actual birthday. The friends had already left, so I enjoyed a peaceful evening bath in the garden bathtub. With some ice-cream and white wine. Forty-four years of adventures in overcoming fear and trauma =) Forty-four years learning to enjoy the sheer joy of bouncing on a trampoline together with other human beings. Well worth celebrating! After that I had a few ordinary days of work.

Since early May there has been very little of rain. The hay on the horses' pastureland stopped growing a few weeks ago. I've been carrying a lot of water to irrigate my small garden. And this year the garden has had some pleasant surprises for me. In the winter I harvested the last of kale when there already was a layer of snow on the ground. During the winter a few hares dug the snow to find what little leaves were left of the kales. So in the spring it was bare dry stalks of kale left. At first I thought to dig them out and throw them onto the compost heap, but then I noticed fresh green growth emerging from some of the stalks. I didn't know the kale could survive the winter! Apparently, they had stored their energy in the roots, lot like the trees and other perennial plants do. I've watched the kale grow, and now it seems like one of them is going to produce flowers - so maybe I can get kale seeds of my own? (Ultimately, I aim for self-sufficiency when it comes to the seeds of the plants I want to grow.) I had kept some of the last years' potatoes to be planted this year. I started to prepare a patch of soil for the potatoes, first cleaning most of the weeds and then tilling the soil. Among the weeds I spotted a top of a carrot - yes, last year I lost all of my carrots into a thicket of weeds for I was too lazy with the early de-weeding. So, seems like one carrot had grown big enough to survive the winter and re-growing this year. I saved the carrot, again hoping that it would produce flowers and seeds. I sowed beans to patches which had potatoes the last year. It turned out that I hadn't spotted all the potatoes when harvesting, as now I've spotted a lot of potatoes growing among the young bean saplings. All of this makes me smile. For, on a philosophical level, I've thought that gardening is a lot about controlling the environment; you fertilize, you de-weed, you plant seeds to make a patch of nature grow what you want it to grow - this is so much different from the ancient hunter-gatherer mode where humans alter the nature way less, but thrive by harvesting some of what the great wild nature grows all by herself. Well, apparently, my way of gardening lies somewhere in between, for I've uncontrolled semi-wild potatoes and carrots sprouting up in places where I didn't know them to be. Nothing wrong with that =)

And then came the actual midsummer. The weekend near the summer solstice is always a meaningful festival in Finland - called Juhannus. A lot of people like to gather together with family and friends, often heading to the countryside to celebrate with a big bonfire and sauna. Sami and his girlfriend had invited friends to gather at their place, and I was considering to go there. But somehow, after all the partying in early June I started to feel like staying at home. When the Juhannus weekend came so came the rains. I was happy about all the water pouring down from the sky - this is exactly what nature needed! I've greatly enjoyed these rainy days alone at home. I felt like doing what indie game developers are supposed to do - to code. More about that probably later on in the summer. As, this time I enjoyed the luxury of exploring and learning new things and techniques and I don't yet know when and where I'll use them, so let's see how it goes. It felt almost like the teenage years when I first learned to code (with a Commodore - 64 assembler), learning to code just for the sheer joy of learning new things - putting aside the question of if this will be anyway profitable or not, just being happy when after a few hours of trial-and-error something starts to work as intended.

Oh, but yesterday the rain ended. A few friends came for a short visit. We cooked food and coffee by a camp-fire on the yard. Today I've been stacking firewood. For, although these summer days just blend to each other and the daylight never ends, things will change. It will be several weeks until the days have grown that much shorter that the nights start to get dark again. And eventually it will be autumn and winter, and I'll need dry firewood to stay warm through the winter. I don't know but somehow this reminds me of the yin-yang symbol, where each element contains a seed of the other. So, these sunniest days already carry a seed of the coming winter, winter preparations blend into these endless midsummer days.

Cats of Transnistria
Summer night in the city
Happy Birthday!
Kale re-growing
tags: 
diary
homesteading
music
programming
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Comments

Happy birthday dear Erkka!!!!!! Wonderful day.

Happy belated Birthday :)

Happy birthday Erkka! Good read!

Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone!

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