Thursday, February 26, 2015

On the skis and out!

Just recently I spent few days skiing in one of the wilderness areas here. Nice days alone in complete silence. Just the sound of skis gliding on the snow, and a bit of wind occassionally.

A drunk skier, or trying to slalom the mountain birch? Neither one, just a skier with no hurry....

Nice sunny day. About 80cm of snow covering the ground.

30km of wilderness ahead before the next road.

Hard times for a small spruce in arctic winter.

A willow grouse has spent the night here. I never stop wondering the animals' ability to survive the winter here. Under the snow it's considerably warmer to sleep, grouses can have problems if really cold temperatures come with not much snow on the ground yet.

This is what a willow grouse hunter is looking for, fresh tracks and eatings.

While skiing I spotted the tracks of a capercaillie, leading into a hole in the snow. As it was afternoon it was obvious it went under the snow already. As I had interrupted it's rest, just few seconds later it took off, and flew on the pine 100meters away. Needless to say it all happened too quick for me to take a picture, -20 celcius, with thick gloves and skiing poles in my hands. Hunting season for capercaillies is in autumn, so long gone for few months already.

Common tracks pretty much everywhere in Finland; a red fox.

 Low shining sun helps my shadow to reach the wilderness hut half a kilometer away.

Typical open wilderness hut around here. These are equipped with a wood stove, gas cooker, and wooden bunks. Open for all hikers etc. Luxury in the wilderness.

 Never tired of watching the sunset.

Beautiful blue moment just before the sunrise. Before the trip weather forecast was for temperatures around -12 to -18 celcius. So I was surprised as it was -31 in the morning.

A clear sky, so the day started as sunny as yesterday. Soon enough sun started warming a bit too. On the skiis looking for fresh willow grouse tracks again.

Feels relaxing to ski with just a light bag for a day. Snow was nicely packed, so it supported me on my 2,5 meter forest skis really well. Sunglasses are necessary equipment here in late winter and spring.

Father frost imitating the mountain birches on the window. True art, good enough for the Guggenheim museum?

These tracks are left by a tough guy, an otter! Imagine taking a swim in a creek, then just continue living in the snow....

Reindeer fencings are pretty easy to cross in most places now, even without taking the skis off.

just before arriving back to the road, I spotted a friendly looking pine. I asked it to hold my camera still for a while... but it was too windy, so it ended up looking like an early coloured picture from 1940's or so. But anyway, all in all a good time out!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mammoth puukko

My customer had bought a piece of mammoth tusk, and asked if I would make a puukko with it in the handle. New material to me, so I thought to give it a try.

115mm carbon steel blade. Front and butt plate same material as the blade, as customer wished. As a comparison next to it my regular size Helapää puukko, with a 95mm blade.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

So white is the snow

It's about mid winter. What else would a woodsman do in Lapland but ski in the forests and fells!

The polar night here lasts for one month, from early December to early January. So it's been possible to see the sun for some weeks again. Dogs are wondering is this a nuclear test detonation on the other side of the border or what? 

Winter taking it's toll on the firewood stash.

My canoe in cold storage, waiting for the summer. 

A mink has been on the look for something to eat. A common resident around the lakes, ponds, creeks and rivers.

The old guy Pyry and youngster Kumu enjoying walking and running on the ice, as snow there isn't that deep. In the forest we have about 60 cm of snow at the moment.

A knife maker always has to post at least one pic with a knife too, right?

During the break Pyry usually comes to lay on the matress if there's one.

Kumu was staying near the fire for a while, but found it still very suspicious with the smoke and all. So he thought it would be better to rest 5 meters away, in a hole dug by reindeers looking for lichen.

This area has had pine marten tracks quite often recently, so I set few traps there. Here's two common ways to set them; on the branches or on the trunk of a fallen tree.

Conibear trap set in a wooden tube. Entrance view, other end is covered with a net, Bait at the back.

Got a pic of a pine marten last autumn while on a hunting trip.

Nice colour combination, snow with yellow and red of the setting sun. Looks cold and pure.

Heading home towards deep blue and purple, opposite view of the sunset.