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Welcome friends and well-wishers!

Yes, it’s only the 3rd of February, but it’s doing what it does best here in Finland… S N O W I N G !!!  This is nothing unusual really, but it’s been piling up since Sunday when this latest storm arrived.


Here’s how it looked early this morning and then a short time later…

WP_20150203_001WP_20150203_016The snow keeps coming – some of the previous snow on the branches toppled off due to the weight, also because it’s wet and not very cold outside.  Currently it’s 1c (33F) with 80% precipitation.

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The photos show almost the same shot/angle of our neighbors yard with apple trees in the foreground. Just yesterday evening Pekka spotted something grey moving around out there. Sure enough, under more careful observation it turned out to be a young white-tailed buck, most likely looking for something to eat!

With everything covered by so much snow he will have to search even harder to find food.  I watched him until he bounded out of view behind the neighbor’s garden sheds. Usually we have a mother and 2 does in our back yard, but I haven’t seen them for a couple of weeks. They were having a feast of all the fallen apples last autumn.  Hopefully they are all still alive. The three of them travel together between a couple of the farmer’s fields which are divided by a major roadway.

No activity here today at Vanha Talo Suomi. The plumber was expected today, but was called to another job. Hopefully he’ll be here tomorrow instead. He’s about to connect the hot-water heater in the new construction. Everything is all set to go there; Pete has the bathroom/sauna/shower floor tiles installed, and the electrician has completed his end with connecting power to the unit.

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just about ready…

As you can see from the photo, the ceilings are in!! Pekka did this during the past weekend after we picked up the material from the Bauhaus in Espoo.  After the heater is installed and moved into place the whole unit will be framed to cover the electrical connections, etc.

Some areas of the floor were grouted, but not all. Mainly this was due to the heater install. The sauna floor has been grouted – YEAH!!! We used 10×10 on the perimeter wall bottoms, and a 5x5cm (2x2inch) on the floor. Both are the same light-colored travertine, as the main floor.  On the main floor we are using 60x60cm (24x24inch)

WP_20150203_010The tile is still covered in grout film and the tiles themselves were pretty dirty to start with, having been at the tile place in storage for a long time… But I like how it came out.  From the photo it’s obvious there’s still a lot to do here! Namely, install the benches, hook up the kiuas (sauna heater), and frame the window. (note to self: have I forgotten anything???!!!)  🙂

(Um, yep it’s still snowing.. two massive snow removal vehicles are working on this little corner of Lohja trying to get the roads in the neighborhood cleared… They’re having to spend a couple more minutes near our driveway and mailbox now after being told by the mailman that they were obstructing his ability to deliver the post with their earlier method of sweeping the heaping pile from the road right in front of our mailbox! hahah :D)

The upstairs office floor was finished with the same solid wood used in the bedroom (shown in my last post.) Now the entire office area is ready for dry-wall. All the electric appears complete. Progress was slow here due to the connection of air ducts for the ventilation system in the attic space.

Remaining to do downstairs is finishing the tile work in the bathroom, and then grouting it all. Some of the wall tiles haven’t been put up there yet. I expected the end of tiling today, but Pete is home with a fever so it will have to wait until another day. Once those tiles are in place, we only have a little backspalsh to do for the laundry sink area …and of course I still haven’t tackled the kitchen backsplash yet because the counter tops haven’t been connected together and secured in place! :0  Those last jobs are on the long list of TO-DO with so many others…

Due to a severe case of Garden Envy, which becomes especially troublesome during the winter months, I began a self-induced series of self-medicating excursions at the online shopping outlets of my two favorite garden catalog stores… hahahah.. Yes, you will remember them possibly from my earlier shopping adventures last year 🙂  Viherpeukalot and my (secret) Polish garden connection were able to remedy almost completely my need to green.

Having lived at Vanha Talo Suomi for an entire year (almost), I’ve paid careful attention trying to figure out what is growing here on-site (is it a weed?) It has been an interesting exercise in patience namely because I was forced to ‘wait and see’ a full season of growing to fully understand what was growing here before I could commence anything more garden-wise. Now don’t get me wrong. It didn’t stop me from going nuts on purchases at the stores above …or from picking up an un-told number of purchases from the local shops and nurseries… and finding places to put that plant stock! With 3000sq meters of property there is a nook and cranny for nearly anything and everything. 🙂

I did take into account what we do have as far as existing plants, trees, and bushes to work with. Which thankfully is quite substantial. (thank you – thank to Mrs. Salo for planting all those apple, plum and berry bushes!!) But there is plenty that could be improved upon. So I’ve taken it as a personal mission to beautify this wonderful place called HOME and turn this property into something really wonderful.

I’m excited to get started but have to wait for it to quit snowing! hahah. 🙂

I’ve prepared a few detailed garden and landscape drawings using my pencil and some paper. I tried giving excel ‘a go’ with putting something together but realized my ‘starter version/edition’ was severely limited in functionality. So I broke out the trusty pencil and got to work. I have plants ordered on my chart by color, categorized by height and blooming time, I have plants in borders and beds using a highly-developed scheme of plant placement using the color wheel system. I think I have this garden thing about figured out – and that’s a good thing because I have nearly 300 plant, bush and tree stock arriving for planting this spring!

Because I’m buying from catalog, I’m getting plant stock at a much reduced price as compared to local nurseries. The caveat is that I’m also getting plant material which is considerably smaller than the locally- available options. So, a bit of a trade-off.  The fact of the matter is I wouldn’t be able to afford to do what I’m proposing if I purchased garden material from another source other than Viherpeukalot and my source in Poland. No way, No how.  Another thing to consider is this; I’m selecting plant stock for survival here in Finland and specifically to the planting zone of the Western Uusimaa region which I’ve seen listed at between 5b – 6a.

Luckily, (!) the back yard remains a disaster zone after the excavating equipment was here last summer/fall. Even though they ‘smoothed’ things out, it’s a blank canvas. So for the sake of new gardening plans, there isn’t any turf to remove! Otherwise, I think trying to find places for 300 items would be too large a task for anyone if sod removal and ground-breaking were also necessary. The focus of my latest planning consists of anchoring the far corner of our property where it meets the farmer’s fields…

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BEFORE standing in the corner looking towards the shed (the house is further to the right . March 2014

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AFTER same corner, but this view is from the area between the shed and house looking toward the corner.


It’s a large expanse to landscape and I propose to accomplish this with the placement of 2 evergreens to anchor the corner as well as the side border.  Additionally, the entire corner and side borders will be plumped up with a dense border of material to include: Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel‘, Cornus Alba ‘Sibrica’, Syringa ‘Veera‘, and a Philadelphius Virginalis ‘Snowbelle. The interesting thing about the ‘Sibrica’ is that during the autumn and throughout the winter the branches are a striking shade of red, which should look great near the evergreens.

I look forward to the opportunity to get outside and get digging, but realize it’s a few months wait before that will happen.  In the meantime, it’s indoor work and completing remodeling tasks. Yeah!

And finally, I decided to officially join the local gardening community! I submitted applications to the Lohja Regional Garden Society and the Garden Art Society of Finland and await their response. Links for both organizations can be found on my blog page.

Thank you very much for your continued interest and support! I (we) appreciate it very much and always look forward to hearing from you.

See you next time!