2016 Mega Mix – 30th Birthday & Moving to Middle of Boreal Forest

Hello folks!

What a surprise, it has been a long time since I previously updated my blog; I think this starts to be a new tradition rather than anomaly nowadays. Well, time has gone so fast. I have worked like a crazy (multiple successive over 12h days and no free weekends in a month), I grew up (physically, I recently celebrated my 30th birthday), and then moved to nowhere, into a middle of boreal forest! Yes, my girlfriend and I finally found a beautiful detached log house, a little bit Norther than we used to live. I can tell ya, it is pretty calm and green here, except a few moose that are rumbling around the forests πŸ˜€ It was worth to be picky and went trough all the open houses πŸ™‚ The move wasn’t painless though; in addition to my intensive day work, I have worked like a hell to fix some faults in the new house, although, the building was generally in super good condition when compared to other similar houses we saw. But now I have done most of the things I decided for this year, and it was worth it. I miss our old home now and then, the old horse stable turned into the rent apartment, but it was nice to escape the evil world to this remote place. Anyhow, you can read about those issues from the news, now let’s see what I have captured with my cameras (and cellphone, sorry about the bad image quality) πŸ™‚


This story starts under a wooden lean-to, where I once spent some time while grilling.


Glowing charcoals heat you up in the middle of white snow.


I also scouted some unknown icy streams. What will I find there?



Haha, like a foot print of an yeti.


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Getting closer…


There it is, a white throated dipper, in its cold kingdom! Those are hilarious little birds, called koskikara in Finnish. Brave little fellows, as they dive into to the icy streams and survive over the winters at these highly confined biotopes πŸ™‚


Two of them chatting to each other πŸ™‚

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“Time to go mate” *prrrrrrr*


My girlfriend and I made also a small hiking trip during the spring. You see the marks of a moose in the snow? During the previous evening, it almost run over our tent πŸ˜€


The 1,000,000th photograph of my teakettle and a campfire.


Such an egoistic scout πŸ˜€


Here I’m standing on top of an ancient hill forth. I wish I could have a time machine to see the life of past Finns.


At home it’s good to reinforce your fat resources by delicious escargots. My lovely mother bought these for me from a grocery store.


Once I prepared myself also some delicious, spicy chicken toasts.


I also visited the new Torni hotel at the center of Tampere. Nice sights! I played with my camera and tried the miniature filter for the very first time. Basically, it just blurs parts of the image to make it look like you are focusing on something close. It’s like the focus range of your eyes fails to keep the entire image sharp.

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Sokos hotel Ilves seen from the Torni hotel.



Back to the countryside. The snow melted away as the spring proceeded.



A common crane is maybe hunting some early frogs.


Once a sparkling rain decorated our old home.



Oh, a visitor came to see us! I think it had babies under the rooftop. I tried to feed some nuts for her, but she didn’t accept my gifts πŸ˜›


This little fellow came a little bit farther away. Barn swallows are good indicators of summer!


And boom, flowers everywhere!


Hey Dandelion, I have bad news for ya! πŸ˜€


Add Jaws theme music here.








Once during an evening I heard odd screams from the nearby field. During the next day I found a brood of long-eared owls sitting on trees and waiting their mommy to bring some voles :>


The owl’s face is like “what has been seen cannot be unseen”.


Another one.



Even during the daytime, the mother long-eared owl came to visit from deeper forest.


Yay (or sigh?), here I am popping some champagne for my 30th birthday. Notice the cork reaching the speed of light and bending the surrounding space time above the boat.


“Yeah, it sucks to be you” said an angry fieldfare πŸ˜€ This young guy was jumping on our yard, why I moved it slightly away from the cats crossing the lawn. I first fed some chubby worms to it, before letting its mother to take care.



Here I’m doing again some crazy bioenergy experiments. This device already produces some electric power, but its efficiency is awfully poor (super poor). I need to continue my experiments at some point. I wish I could share some other crazy photos from the inner workings of my devices, but then I would threaten possible future patenting opportunities, if my ideas ever start to work seriously. So, stay tuned!


Here is a couple of burning matches under a strong electric field. The field is so strong that it separates the positive and negative substances in the flame towards the opposite electrodes. That is why half of the flame goes downwards. Pretty neat huh? These are the last photos from my old workshop before the move.


A glorious eagle came to visit us once, like it was saying good bye. It came from the forest, circled around the sky for a while, then disappeared into the highest clouds. Maybe it was the one who welcomed me to the countryside few years ago. Back then I was scouting the unknown forests and didn’t know that I will one day move to one of the stables I saw behind the field.


Enough of soft talking, here is our new cottage in the middle of darkest boreal forest! Notice the wise old rowan at the right πŸ™‚


I love it, this is the thing we were looking for πŸ™‚


Behind there is my widescreen television. It shows a wildlife documentary of northern boreal forest all the time πŸ™‚


Our new grilling spot.


Together with the main building we also got another, older log house, which I will use as my new workshop. One of the most urgent things I needed to do was to build new stairs there. The previous ones were rotten badly as you can see.


Bling, here are the new impregnated wood stairs to my workshop! After taking this photo I further improved the ground below the stairs. The rocks on which the stairs are lying are now better exposed, so that the capillary water cannot reach the stairs so easily through the soil. The open space between the stairs and ground also aids to ventilate the moisture away.


Second, the drilled well was slightly contaminated by uranium, arsenic and fluoride. Thus, we decided to join a local water cooperative, why we needed to do some digging! We hired a digger driver to help us. Still, it was a hell of a work, a muddy job!


In Finland the winters are pretty cold. Thus, the water pipe needs to be thermally insulated from above. The bed rock is really close to the surface here, why we partly increased the amount of styrofoam sheets seen here. As a precaution, we also put an electric heating wire inside the tube. There are thermistors along the wire, and the wire heats up only the coldest spots willing to freeze.


Now the slightly contaminated water comes out of this water post instead of being connected into the main water circuit, and we don’t need to pay for rinsing our boots (except the electricity costs of the water pump). I cut and installed this covering stainless steel sheet here so that the logs do not wet so easily. Behind the sheet there is empty space to help the logs to breath.


Once I was digging in the mud, I saw a slow worm nearby, vaskitsa in Finnish! They are somewhat rare legless lizards, and their skin shine beautifully like copper! Funny little critters, I have already planned to start a conservation program for them. At the edge of our yard I will build natural hiding places for them, and of course, start to hunt raccoon dogs. By hunting the extremely harmful raccoon dogs, I will also aid the local bird populations, hinder the spread of animal diseases, and so on.


Before fixing the roof, I needed to detach the badly damaged ladders and fix them. First I welded theses joints of horizontal supports attached to the wall. Earlier the two pieces were just fitted to each other by bending the metal, and they were almost ripped off from each other!


Here is my welding station. I bought the flux core welder from a flea market.


It is unbelievable how the ladders managed to survive  over the years without killing some one. See the shiny nut? I even added these extra bolts to stop the horizontal bars from slipping off the T-pieces!


Finally, I added vertical supports. No wonder why the ladders were bent so much without these πŸ˜€


Then I needed to fix some plaster defects in the chimneys. Here I’m weighing the plaster and water to have a good mix.


A small tortoiseshell butterfly came to supervise the project πŸ™‚



“Yeah, mix that plaster faster (bitch)” said the butterfly.


The meaning of the plaster is to protect the main tile body of the chimney and fill possible cracks. Furthermore, it is easier to inspect the white plaster surface and spot possible sources of black soot. The plaster cannot be any type, it needs to be permeable to moisture so that the chimney stays dry (especially in winter when frost damages may occur).


A little bit difficult spot to stand there, but not too difficult to take a photograph πŸ˜€


Done. I needed to visit the attic a couple times to wet the curing plaster. If it dries too quickly, the plaster becomes brittle. The hardening process of the plaster is not fundamentally based on drying, but on chemical processes than can take place only if the material is wet.


I also brushed all the burning material away from the chimney (there is fire proof wool around the base of the chimney).




Dusty, sweaty job πŸ˜›


I also added a ventilation hole to the attic. Now the fresh air enters below the eaves, heats up due to the escaping heat from the rooms, and transports all the moisture away through the hole positioned high. Like in rooms, the buoyancy effect is also present in the attic, which can be used for ventilation and keeping the structures dry.


Then, I reinforced the sealants between the rooftop and chimneys. Later on, it is wise to cover the tile bodies by metal sheets so that the rain water and frost do not erode the chimneys so easily. I think I’ll do this during the next summer.


I also found these kinds of risky spots, where the rain water can enter under the rooftop. I filled the gap with an appropriate sealant.


There is my new workshop, still waiting its extra outer insulator before the winter πŸ™‚


Our woodshed.


Oh, another vaskitsa!


Here is our new sauna stove, an Aitokiuas semi-chimneyless bizarreness. The metallic chimney starts from the top of the kiuas, and the fire and combustion gases need to enter between the rocks and find their way through them. When the rocks are glowing red, which can be seen from the hole on top, the remaining charcoals are removed and the chimney is blocked. The heat spreads evenly inside the stove without subjecting it to the pull. At this point, all the leftover soot burns out (don’t catch a carbon monoxide poisoning here!). Then, the chimney is once opened, some water is thrown inside to force ashes out of the chimney by the expanding steam, then the chimney is closed once and for all. No more wood is added, and the lΓΆyly water is added through the top hole. At first I was going to throw the stove away, since it takes so much time and effort to heat it up. But if I ever manage to dig a swimming pond on our yard, it is nice to have a sauna stove which do not need a constant supply of firewood, especially during winter! Thus, I’ll give it a change, although I didn’t find the magic everybody are yelling about these things. For me, it is a lot of effort to basically generate hot steams in a room, but I appreciate its independence from firewood once it’s heated up. Oh btw, I also needed to fix this one. I welded the special DIY metallic knob on the door so that it can be opened without burning fingers. Furthermore, the stove pushed a lot of smoke out of the chimney at the beginning, and I was afraid of chimney fire in longer run. Then I removed all the stove rocks and noticed that the stove lacked few properly installed fire bricks which will help the fire to enter the rock cavity. I added the missing bricks and now the pull is fantastic πŸ™‚


Here you throw the steam water, or lΓΆylyvesi. It is shame that I didn’t took a picture when the rocks were glowing red. A good place to grill some sausages also! And oh, btw, there is another nice thing about this heat reserving sauna stove. We have a heat recovering ventilation, which means that if the sauna is heated up during the winter, the same heat energy can be distributed to other rooms as well! That’s a clever thing, and makes me ponder even more to keep this stove.

Used Finnish silver birch vihta.jpg

Found one of our old vihta, a bunch of birch branches tied together and used for beating yourself and your companions in sauna. Why? Because Finns love it thats why! πŸ˜€ Do not use downy birches btw, the leafs disintegrate easily. Few downy branches can be inserted though, to give some nice aroma, but a bigger bunch of silver birch branches should be used since they are mechanically more robust.


Once I kept a quick fishing break, and got this nice perch.


In addition to the perch, I also prepared this salmon with open camp fire.


The room-to-room ventilation inside the new house was also awful if the doors were closed. Thus, I sawed and planed the door bottoms to have proper gaps for air circulation. Btw, see the flexible ladders behind, those are awesome!


Lower door frame golden aluminum moulding harmonious with warm wood panels

The doors between the rooms having the floors at the same height were left intact. We just replaced the bulky lower door frames with these low profile aluminum mouldings. If inspected carefully, the removed lower wooden frame can still be seen from the partly unvarnished areas and the gaps. Let’s see do I ever care to do anything to hide those, because they are not so apparent πŸ™‚


For some reason the previous owner build a “hiding box” above the bedrooms and toilet-shower room. Let’s see what is inside there.

Mysterious wooden hiding box in attic

The problem here is that the floor panels are significantly lower than the blown insulating cellulose in the other side of the attic. It means that during winter, this structure acts as a cold bridge, and brings the condensing circumstances dangerously close to the moist steams of the shower below! Hopefully the vapor barrier is intact! Furthermore, behind there I have already detached some of the wall panels to ventilate the cavities tightly enclosed by the panels from all directions. Tiny dark spots can already be seen in this badly ventilated area, and the air was quite stiff when I first came here. Luckily, it didn’t smell like a moist cellar though. Anyhow, I have kept the door open to the other side of the attic to increase the ventilation here so far. I think that I’ll remove most of these panels and elevate the floor so that the once removed blown cellulose can be returned. I still want to keep at least a small piece of floor here, so that I can tease raccoon dogs with my shotgun, after I have build a chicken scoop and/or fish pond outside the window πŸ˜€

Attic wiht blown cellulose and properly insulated ventilation pipes in cold climate

Here is btw a better image to the other side of the attic, now taken with camera flash. In the cold climate, even the ventilation pipes need to be thermally insulated. If the cold air from outside enters inside the pipes, and the air in the attic is warmer and moist, condensation may occur. Depending on the amount of drops tripping into the blown cellulose it might grow mold.


One of the new neighbors. He seems to be figuring, will he accept us or not.


Well hello, who’s there? It is a hazel grouse, living right next to our house :>


In addition to all this, I’m working like a crazy to finalize my first scientific paper. Once as I was waiting my car to be fixed, I did some remote work at a service station. We aim at really high with the article, why it needs some super intensive work to be finished, because all the material are internally so tightly connected, the text is really deep, and so on. Hopefully we manage to publish our results in the target journal. That’s it today folks, see ya next time!

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