Thursday, December 31, 2015

Darkest time of the year.

It literally is, the darkest time of the year here in northern Lapland. Last time we saw the sun just in the beginning of December, and next time we'll see it already in early January! On cloudy days it feels like the day hasn't even started before it's getting dark again. But when the sky is clear, arctic colours can be really stunning.

I've been pretty busy working on sled dog trips again. Here's few pics from a daytrip near Saariselkä ski resort. Crossing a fell area in nice weather.

Two kids travelling in my sledge. Cheering the dogs to pull stronger as we climb up the fellside.

And me cheering the dogs in the teams following us.....

What to do when you want to relax after driving a dogsled? Well, what else but skiing and taking your own dogs out... In the pine forests looking for pine martens and to birch growing areas for willow grouses.

Tracks of a pine marten on fresh snow!

They ended at a group of pines, and Kumu started barking at the trees. I was skiing around them trying to spot if the marten was still there. Couldn't see anything there....

... so I finally had to climb to the tree to make sure if the marten was hiding there. Dogs were barking below, I guess they were sure something will happen as I climbed up. But nothing this time.

So off we go again. Another line of fresh paw prints ahead....

And Kumu quickly forgets how annoyingly deep and soft the snow is for a small dog....

This time tracks lead to a steep cliff. Soft snow is falling under the dog and he can't get forward. Just barking for fresh tracks and frustration of getting stuck.

Finally he got up there by going around the other side. Lots of track around, leading to caves and trees. But nothing else this time either.

Short day of December doesn't seem to be enough for tracking a marten this time. Time to have a break by the fire just before it's getting dark. Kumu seems to be wandering around also during the break, so I open a rain poncho on the snow for them to lay on. It seems to work in keeping him resting for a while.

Friends? Sometimes, and sometimes not. Getting along pretty well, usually only food or treats can lead into more serious disagreements between the two.

As the winter goes on there's more and more snow. Has been warmer than usually I would say, but we haven't had much above zero temperatures. Snow is soft all the way to the ground, both for the dogs and the skier. Sometimes it's Kumu leading, sometimes Pyry.

Sometimes they go their own ways.....

And sometimes they're completely happy just to follow my tracks for a while!

Relaxing scenery behind my back as we ski back towards the cottage.

And the opposite direction, northern side.

For a skier who makes his own tracks there's always an unlimited freedom. Skiing on the tracks you're always following someone else...

... though it looks like Pyry is thinking if the unlimited freedom of bare ground would be better from deep soft snow.....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Knife for sale. ( SOLD! )

This time it's a Lappish influenced knife for sale, a small leuku you could say. A full flared pommel is a common feature in arctic knives, as it makes it much easier to pull the knife out of the sheath also with thick gloves on. Unsheathing with one hand come easier too, as you can get a good grip of the pommel, and pull the knife out with the help of your index finger pushing on the mouth of sheath.

This is not a petite knife. 80CrV2 carbon steel blade measures 121x26,5mm, with thickness being 4,9mm on the bolster, tapering close to 4mm near the tip.

Handle in curly birch and brass is 120mm long. 33,5mm wide and 24mm thick at max. Pommel 39x26mm.

Blade sides are fully sanded before the hardening, but after heat treatments only very lightly sanded and polished. This leaves somewhat lively surface, that can be best seen in the last picture.

This knife is sold, thanks!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Change of seasons

In October it's time for autumn to move off the way of upcoming winter. Like the whole summer and early autumn, it feels like weather is one month behind from it's normal cycle. October was pretty warm too, and also permanent snow was falling quite late. Now in November we're pretty much having a winter here in Northern Lapland.

Around mid-October marshes were already partly frozen, making it much more comfortable to cross them by feet.

In October we had quite little of snow. Just enough to see some animal tracks. Below there's prints left by a capercaillie. Not much traffic in the wilderness. Hikers are gone after early autumn, not yet enough snow for snowmobiles, So it's mostly hunters who are out at this time.

Kumu coming back from his loop in search of some game. Pyry clearly looks like asking him to tell what he was barking there.....

Last two days of capercaillie hunting. Season for them is on 'till the end of October. Pretty good first season for Kumu. We'll see what the future will bring.

Looks comfortable doesn't it? My backpack is packed after a break, but Pyry shows no hurry to leave.

Last catch of the capercaillie season.

Our moose hunting group had permission for two moose this Autumn. After the catch it's a feast for the dogs too, chewing some bones.

 As the November goes on, there's more snow falling too. Sometimes it stays nicely on the trees, before the wind will drop it.

Upcoming winter means the start of dogsledding season. So far running only short trips, max few hours. Possibilities for routes are quite limited still, as lakes and rivers are not frozen enough yet.

Here teams and customers just before the start at the farm.

If you're interested in a sled ride in Ivalo area, check out or their facebook here

Team at work. All trips are made with a guide driving a sled too, so no snowmobiles used at all.

Driving on the river bank. You can just see still a bit of open water on the left.

Blue colour of the arctic daytime. Approachin polar night is already showing it's colours when it's cloudy. About two weeks from now, and we won't see the sun for a month here.

Typical view at this time in Finland. Smoke from chimney slowly rising on the bright and cold looking polar sky. At the moment we have maybe 20-25cm snow, so not that much yet.

It's starting to get much more comfortable in forest to be on skis than by feet. Daylight time is getting shorter fast.

Pine marten hunting has started, so this is what we were looking for: fresh tracks! Little too late on that day though, as it would soon get dark. Now just waiting for Kumu to come to check where I'm going, and then to urge him to follow the tracks.

That hunt ended in a cave at the front of me. Kumu found that pine marten, but instead of climbing to a tree it went in a cave. As a small dog Kumu could enter too, and he was barking in the cave that seemed to be guite large complex. I heard him barking on the left, then on the right, then I heard the marten's voice too, then further in... all the time moving in the cave that had few entrances just big enough for Kumu.

Finally Kumu came out after me whistling for a while. I decided to leave right away, as I have no intentions to encourage him to enter caves. Treeing a pine marten would be a different thing.

A day in the woods without a break by the fire is a bit incomplete.... so better to have a break, and then ski back in the dark than no break by the fire at all.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Puukkos for sale. ( SOLD! )

Four typical Finnish style puukkos for sale. 80CrV2 carbon steel rhombic cross section blades, scandi grind with a micro secondary bevel. All sheaths dark brown dyed leather, with a wooden liner inside for the blade. If you're interested to buy one, email me at

All four are sold, thanks!

Helapää 1: 99x22x5mm blade. Oiled and waxed 110mm long curly birch handle with brass bolster plates. Width 30mm and thickness 22,5mm at max. Sold!


Helapää 2: 95x22x5mm blade. Oiled and waxed 110mm long curly birch handle with brass bolster plates. Width 30mm and thickness 23mm at max. Sold.


Tuohipää 1: 98x21x5mm blade. 110mm long curly birch bark with brass bolster plates. Width 30,5mm and thickness 22,5mm at max. No glue used . Sold!


Tuohipää 2: 94x21,5x4,8mm blade. 108,5mm long birch bark handle with brass bolster plates. Width 30mm and thickness 22,8mm at max. No glue used. Sold as well!