Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lapland's Autumnal changes start...

I keep meaning to say to you all that Lapland's "Land of the Midnight Sun" is well and truly over.. some while back... Whoops.. I'm sorry, I forgot!

It's quite dark around half past nine at night now.. and creeping in more and more every the wheel of the year turns back until we reach the 'Kaamos' of Winter time. That is the opposite to the long Summer sun when we have long days in Winter's darkness, but with an incredible blueness that is quite surreal and beautiful.

I'm still yet to see a star up in the sky though.. or the Moon! I love it when I see them again! Such a long time without them!

The temperature has certainly changed and whilst this summer has not been the greatest.. (not unless you were a mosquito) - you can really tell that Summer is pretty much over now and Autumn is stepping up to greet you. Personally, I think it's a little early this year.. but with the global warming, it's really of little surprise!

A subtle change in colours starts...

There is a distinct chill in the air and the skies have been dull for the last few days. The trees have also started to do their thing.. and the change of colour can come hard and fast now. Autumn is generally very short here. The leaves on the deciduous trees cannot handle the deep freezes overnight and when they start in earnest they rapidly change their hues. By this I mean a vibrant change of colour!

One small tree outside my house today.

Ive not seen Autumns other than in the UK, so you will have to pardon me, but that's all that I have to relate it to. (Although I've heard that Japanese Autumns are beautiful too) The colours here are beautiful and I hope that as Autumn progresses I will be able to take more photographs to share with you. I remember last year that I saw several trees that looked like traffic lights. Red, Yellow and Green in layers up the whole tree.. quite fascinating to see bands of colours like that. Some trees just go red, others bright yellow. Tourists come to Lapland during Autumn JUST for the trees.. it can be that pretty...but you have to time it right of course!

The berries are also starting to they had better be quick! Finland is an wonderful place to pick berries and it becomes a popular pastime in late Summer and Autumn. There are everywhere! - I think that I have already told that wild blueberries are right outside my home. They are everywhere in Lapland and very common. There are many types of berries too... such as the normal ones like Strawberries and Raspberries, but there are the Blueberries, Bilberries and Puolukka (which is an ultra sharp berry otherwise like Lingonberry/Whortleberry/Cranberry.

Blueberries.. these are outside my house today.

Puolukka ripening outside my house today.

They will eventually be like this.. this picture from last year...

Of course there are the Cloudberries but they came earlier in the season and are rarer.. growing only on the marshland bogs.

Cloudberry (or Hilla as they are known here).. pictured in a recipe book.

Berry picking is an arduous and messy task...but a little easier with the Finnish equipment! A clever picker that scoops through the bushes.. the teeth gently knocking off the fruits, landing in the housing compartment....SO MUCH EASIER than having the blue of blueberries staining your fingers!

You will have to forgive the following batteries died as I took the photo - so it's a bit blurry! However, another sign of Autumn is the amount of wild mushrooms and toadstools all over the place. I NEVER TOUCH THEM!

But the nicest sign of Autumn or Syksy as it is known in Finnish...(to me anyway) is the arrival of the Reindeer! They are all on their way back home to their owners. My husband probably wouldn't agree with that though. He has become quite Finnish in his thinking - that they are a menace on the roads. He is quite right though, they don't have many brain cells to rub together and they do cause a lot of road accidents.. as do Moose.

However, it does mean of course that Santa is out there somewhere! :D