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Friends and fireplaces

Remember my roosters I butchered soon after my birthday party? Well, couple of weeks ago I was talking with an elder lady living nearby. Among the other things I told her about the roosters walking down the local road and visiting neighbouring houses early in the morning. The lady said that maybe the roosters were looking for her flock, as this summer she also keeps a rooster and some hen. Well, that makes sense. At a times I had heard a distant crowing but couldn't figure out where it is coming from - and when my roosters left the yard, they went to the direction where the elder lady lives, they just missed one small side-road and went waking up people.

Bit more than a week ago one of the local people asked if I could host roosters. He also has a flock of hen, and they had chicken - but when the chicken grow up the young roosters can't stay in the same flock because of constant fighting. So, I decided to host his roosters for the rest of the summer - and if he doesn't find new homes for them, then we will just eat them in the autumn. But this time I'm going to keep them enclosed in a fenced area for couple of weeks, so that they don't instantly leave the yard and go exploring around. And maybe I should anyway always close their gate in the evening and only let them out in the evening. Let's see how it goes with them. As the problem is that my fenced area isn't that big and I feel that foor a good life the roosters need a lot of space to walk around foraging.

Ah, and exactly a week ago I drove to Tampere. I briefly visited those friends who saw the roosters leaving my yard after the birthday party. I gave them the other of the butchered roosters, as I like the idea of sharing the meat with them. Then I went to the railway station to meet guests from Russia. About a year ago, in a comment section of my blog, I welcomed them to visit my place if they come to Finland. This is one of the good sides of internet - facilitating reaf life connections.

One of our first activities was to improve my outdoor fireplaces. I rember some people talking about a rocket stove, so I googled it, reading some articles and watching a couple of youtube videos. With those ideas I had built a simple version of second-hand bricks I have been storing. Now, together with the guests we built another stove, which uses a top part of an ordinary wood-burning stove. Bricks are such a handy material for testing, as for simple constuctions it is possible just to lay them without any cement - fast to build, easy to re-arrange if needed. Soon we had plenty of fireplaces for cooking - the plain ordinary camp-fire, a rocket stove, and then the new stove with room for two kettles.

On Tuesday we prepared a lot of food, as three more of my friends were coming for a visit. The guests fried vegetables on a big pan, and I cooked Coq au vin, using the last of the butchered roosters. I have never before tried it, so I googled the recipe - it was a Finnish web-site of stylish cooking, and I was amused to use their recipe in a primitive way; cutting the meat on top of a piece of board, cooking outdoors with fire, just tossing the ingredients into the kettle without exactly measuring the amounts. My friends arrived and we gathered around the big outdoor table. According to a russian habit the food was enjoyed with three shots of vodka (with toast speeches). After the dessert we decided to listen to some music. Instead of going indoors we opened a window and placed the loudspeakers there. I picked a vinyl LP with Karelia Suite composed by Jean Sibelius. After that we picked more classics, both Finnish and Russian. I don't know exactly how it happend, but soon it all turned into a dance party on the yard - I guess the vodka had something to do with it. And, as is a customary in Finland, we had sauna (and the garden bath, which is customary in my place).

On Thursday we changed the line of my fishing reel and then went rowing. We headed to a small island nearby, and settled there cook coffee. After swimming and relaxing I decided to test if the fishing reel was OK. It was a warm, sunny evening, and I thought that my place wasn't particularly good for catching anything. So I casually casted the lure a few times and reeled it back. Evertyhing seemed to work fine, one final throw and then maybe we could take the boat and go fishing - oh, wait, there's a catch! It was a pike worth a proper meal. We decided to cook it right there. We made a fire, I cut the pike to two halves and we placed the halves on flat stones next to the fire. Then we cut onion, tomatoes and halloumi-type cheese to pieces and fried them on the fire. (For cooking coffee I had packed an army kettle, and its lid can be used as a frying pan). When the fire was nearly out we placed two sticks over the ambers, and put the fish on the sticks. Soon we enjoyed a primitive but rather tasty meal.

Friday evening we spent on an alternative music festival, and on Saturday I drove the guests to Tampere so that they could continue onwards with their travel plans. On the same trip I picked up two of my friends and went back to the festival - it is a two day thing, a freakish, funny, absurd, nice, danceable and suprising carneval in the middle of nowhere. Ah, and this time I took only a very little of alcohol, and I must say that it was so great to dance when sober =)

Oh well. I remember that in many of my postings of the previous winter I was often writing about managing my timetables, working slightly too much and dreaming about having a proper holiday to get rid of chronical stress. Now, this week definitely has been my dreams coming true. I think I'll continue with something like this for a while =)

A rocket stove
A rocket stove
land 'ho!
land 'ho!
cook it simple
cook it simple
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Comments

Hey Erkka, i am watching your blog and what you share about your daily routine and i got wondering. Do you use any kind of survival knife for camping, procesing wood when you don't have a hatchet or axe handy etc, etc? And if yes, what kind? Generic? Or you have a favorite manufacturer and model?

I'm mostly using just a modern, generic, cheap knife. Something like a basic version of a mora knife; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mora_knife

I'd like to have just a simple, traditional, hand-made finnish knife. But at the moment I don't have a good one. Luckily I have a good collection of old axes and hatchets. When I was younger I always carried a small hatchet with me when hiking or camping. Nowadays I mostly go with the knife.

Well, thanks for the insight. I googled around "mora knives" and so it was inevitable to start "researching" about the reliability and quality of the mora knives of the famous morakniv brand. Found here: http://www.moraofsweden.se/home

And as i am watching more and more and MORE videos about survival and survival knives on youtube (yeah, i am that guy...) i notice something. All of the "survivalists" and real survivalists on youtube have different opinions of what brand of survival knives is better and what model etc. With prices spanning fro 60 dollars to 300+. But almost everyone agrees to the quality and unexpected reliability of the knives of this brand. As long as you dont use them as an axe. It's unique for so many different people to agree on something.

Plus i noticed one guy from Sweden writing on a forum that he can buy a nice knife from moraofsweden for 10 dollars. While here in Greece they are selling them for 80 dollars, i don't know why. So i thought that since you are just over there in Finland, maybe you can find those amazing knives for a really good price for yourself! Here are the models people are falling in love with on youtube:

http://www.moraofsweden.se/explorers/pathfinder?group=prod_prod_grp-s1%2F41

http://www.moraofsweden.se/adventure/bushcraft-black

http://www.moraofsweden.se/adventure/bushcraft-survival-black

And no i am not a sales representative of that brand. If i were i would write much better english. :)

Oh, the "Basic Mora" I'm talking about costs 2 € - they are bulk stuff =) Very sharp and good enough for all general purpose work. The downside is that the blade is made of such a metal that it is not easy to sharpen once it gets dull. So, for serious survivalist needs I would choose one which is easy to sharpen.

Other than that, I guess it is question of how much equipment one wants to carry. I'd prefer a basic knife, an axe, a sharpener, and a separate striking iron for starting a fire.

They sounds like the Solinger Stainless steelknifes over here in germany, they are the best ( my lil killerknife similar to the small moras), my mother owns 3 of them each for ~4 Deutsche Mark back then [ 2€ ], and they are around here for now ~ 30 years in service for nearly everything where you may need a knife except woodsplitting – woodcarving works fine aswell. Ex. if you need woodstrips as ignite material.
Fortunately we didn't need to sharpen them solong. :)

as like these... but thy one which i own are real metal nad not cermic... they don't even make these Monsters of knifes anymore :/

PS: the manufacture has lost much reputation since they changed the Material and processing routine 1-2 Decades ago, they are still decent-good knifes for their price but not outstanding as my stated one above :(

I think it was somewhat the same with Mora - at some point they also changed the material they used for their knife blades, and when people were complaining a lot, they had to change back to better materials. Anyhow, their brand and reputation suffered somewhat. And nowadays they make everything from these very cheap models to high-quality heavy-duty models.

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