Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kakslauttanen Husky Farm trip

Yesterday afternoon, we went on a drive further north - 125 snowy kilometres to the Kakslauttanen Husky farm in the Saariselkä region.

My younger son had to get some paperwork signed there, for a possible work experience contract. He speaks fluent Finnish and has the required addition of English, needed for tourists, so it's ideal for him.

If the local employment and economic development office employment and economic development accept the documents when he visits them later on this week, then he will be set to start working there for the next three months. His dream type of work too. He simply loves dogs. He helped his dad when he was younger (about 12 years old) when my husband was working at another husky farm. For both of them, there is nothing finer in life than being with a dog. They both speak dog fluently!

Anyway.. I thought that some photographs would be agreeable! :D

Joyously c-c-c-c-cold at around -15 to -20ish... with ice on the inside of the car window as usual! :D This is the sort of view on the road...

And this is the ICE! :D

To get to Kakslauttanen means crossing the border from Finnish Lapland to Saami Lapland.

This is just a little of the husky farm's surrounding...its really very big and is home to around 200 dogs including the puppies! Much larger than the one that my husband worked at before.

After signing the documents, we were shown around and I got to take some snapshots of the dogs! :D

Most of the dogs have their own little dog houses and are on long chains next to them.. but there are younger puppies that are kept under different conditions, in large, secure cages. They are the first dogs you see as you enter.

Lots of cute little faces, peering out at you!

This is Clyde - (partner of Bonnie of course) He is about two or three months old. Look at the size of those paws! I think he is going to be a BIG boy!

And here he is with Bonnie!

The cages also have an outer cage so that when the handler goes in to feed them, should one escape, they do not get very far. Simple, but very necessary!!

There is one very small and undersized puppy, which is black and white in these images. His white brother and sisters are much larger and he almost gets lost! For this reason, he is being fed separately, as you can see in the photo above - to give him the best chance possible. SO cute! He has his little head stuck firmly in the food bucket!! :D

The layout of the farm after that, is simplistically well organised and very clever. In the other farm that my husband was at, there was a lot of lugging of dog food, back and forth between kennels. Here, the dogs are all in rows, with avenues between them. The food is delivered by ski-doo (snowmobile) in winter and probably a mönkijä (ATV/Quad-bike) in summer, when the snow gives way to mud!

**One interesting and somewhat relevant side note is that the ski-doo was originally meant to be called the ski-dog designed to be a practical replacement for the dogsled. However, during an oversight the prototype painter misinterpreted the name and painted Doo, instead of Dog on the first one - and it stuck! Quite funny really!**

The avenues of dogs are home to groups of dogs. If they work together in a team, they live close to each other. When the doghandlers organise the teams for sled treks, the layouts are marked with names and in different colours. The colours denoting what colour/size harnesses they wear. Simple but ingenious and makes the dog handlers life much easier I would imagine!

Doesn't he look a handsome brute!

Having got a Husky myself, I can attest to the fact that they LOVE to be on top of things! Especially their dog kennel! I think this one must be female, she looks so elegant and refined! Like a Queen on her Kennel.

These are the type of sled (this one is empty of course!) that the huskies are hooked up to.

My son came away a happy lad and looking forward to getting stuck in. It will seem very strange to have one of 'my own puppies' living away from home...but he is growing up and I have to 'let go' a little, as his Mum. Kids grow up SO quickly!

Here are some links for you!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cultural differences Pancake Day - Laskiaistiistai

To celebrate Shrove Tuesday or Laskiaistiistai as it is called in Finland, we have had a bit of Finnish Shrove Tuesday'isms and also part British.

In Finland the tradition is to have Laskiainen pulla (buns)... with cream and jam - served a bit like a scone (but nowhere near so nice as scones are) the bun is more bread like. Then Finns also serve a traditional Pea soup.

We didn't have the buns today, but did have the Pea soup. We really like that but I have to admit to cheating. We buy it tinned! It comes condensed and once reconstituted, we have it with some chopped ham topping. This is known as Hernekeitto.

Here is a link for Finnish Shrove Tuesday recipes!

Wikipedia tells that the origin of the word Laskiainen is derived propably from latin "carne lasciare" ("leaving the meat out", as the fast began on ash wednesday). It also is celebrated in a carnival like manner, as most of the schools and universities end the days teaching at midday and the students and children wil go out and find a hill or anyplace you can slide down something where they gather to play in the snow. In cities with universities the university students usualy have a big party in the evening.

After our Pea soup, we had the best bit!! Lemon pancakes! My sons girlfriend, who is Finnish, definitely gave the Brit version the thumbs up. She couldnt believe that something so simple tasted so good. :D She ate three.. and this is a teenage girl that doesnt normally eat so much! :D Praise indeed...

Here is my favourite recipe for pancakes - which you can also use for yorkshire pudding.. but it relys on having a Tupperware quickshake or some other shaker that is marked for 500ml of fluid.

In the body of the quickshake put:

250ml Milk
2 Eggs

Add the quickshake whisk gadget and the lid and shake.
Reopen and then add plain flour right up as far as you can go - no measuring.
Put the lid back on and shake thoroughly.

Thats it!!! So easy, simple and CLEAN!!!

Happy Pancake Days... :D

And in case any non english are reading this.. and would like to know more about British tradtions for Pancake day and more.. here are a couple of great links.

It also has a regular pancake recipe there too..for those who do not have a Tupperware Quickshake!

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day & Chinese New Year too!

In Finland, Valentines Day is Ystävänpäivä. That literally translates as Friends Day. It is not just for lovers, it is for all to embrace their shared friendships. That's rather nice but sadly there is no real separate day for Lovers.

In fact that is VERY Finnish, to my way of thinking! LOL.. Sorry, but the Finnish, especially the men, are not generally rated at the top of the Worlds Greatest Romantics - although I am sure there are many out there! (I know of at least ONE! - Do tell me if you have one!)

Hence I find it quite hard to get a real lovey dovey card for my husband.. I always end up making one. He does quite well with his card.. but its always a blank one, so that he can write what he wants to... (ahhh...bless him!)

HAPPY FRIENDS DAY! Have a good one! Virtual hugs to you!

By way of a small present from me, here is a pretty snowy image I took recently with my new camera! Taken outside my house, a close up shot through the trees. Enjoy!

Did you know that today is also the Chinese New Year? Can't be good for Chinese restaurants this year financially with both popular events on one day, they dip out a bit. Fortunately, the Chinese community does celebrate the New Year for FIFTEEN DAYS! :D Wow, that is some sort of celebration eh? Cool! So, I expect they will make up for it.

I hope it is an auspicious year for us all, Chinese or not!
Terveisiä Kiinalaisille! Onnea!

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D