Autumn, Fire And Rainy Days

Good afternoon dear friends and readers. I hope your week started off well and that you are blessed with “better” weather than we have been lately. I have to say that I actually don’t mind this dusky light nor the rainy days. Somehow it enhances the colours on our vibrant forests and it all feels so mystical and cozy. I am not sure how much longer we will get to keep the leaves though. A couple of days ago the winds arrived — those strong, cold autumn gales which tell us colder days are on their way — and since it hasn’t only been raining water, but leaves, too. It’s such a powerful sight I just stop and stare.

windy-autumn-trees

I tried to capture those whirling leaf clouds but they didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped, and after scaling down five hundred photos to thirty, I still felt I had to take some out, so it didn’t make the final cut.

rain-drops-on-window

I have this immense struggle with being able to perceive how much time something takes. Not only that, I get stuck in each little element, so everything I do seems to take half an age to get done. Do you ever experience that?

I sat down yesterday morning to pick out photos from Monday and write about what we got up to that day, but then I looked out the window and just listened to the soothing melody of rain drumming against the sill. My mind whisked me away. I’ll get some photos of these rain droplets on the window. One thing lead to another, and I ended up on the door step where I sat for I don’t know how long to capture the rain.

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wet-autumn-maple-leaves

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By the time I got back, my coffee was cold and I had to make some more. I don’t know how healthy my coffee consumption is, but editing photos requires a couple of cups. At least. Loke was sleeping on the floor but kept an eye on me, in case I might disappear outside again. He used to be a destroyer of worlds when left alone, but he seems to have calmed down. These days I rarely see him standing on the recliner to look out the window to see where we are.

sleepy-loke-dog

When I finally was able to sit down again, I only got halfway through the photos before we had to get ready for Rauma. Every Tuesday afternoon Lilli has art school, but we left earlier yesterday to have time to run some errands first.

While Lilli went on an excursion with her art class, Jay and I had coffee at his mother’s place. She is on her last year of work and retires this coming spring, so she has been saying she will come out here more often, and to help out in the garden or whatever we might need. I hold admiration for a great many people, for all kinds of things, but there is something about Jay’s parents and others from this generation — nothing seems to slow them down. They find and carry out a thousand tasks in such a way that to me appears seamless and effortless. I do know it isn’t always as easy as it seems, but I admire it all the same.

finnish-autumn-farm-buildings

finnish-autumn-farm

So. On Monday Jay and his father had to clear a meadow full of wild hay and weeds, then burn it. Jay asked me to come down and take photos for his “archives”. He got that “tough” camera for himself to document the work on the farm, but I understand wanting photos taken from afar, so that all of the action can be seen. I hadn’t ever really looked at the farm from this angle, especially not when the fields are bare. It really does look big from here, as a friend told me, and it was so nice to get this different perspective of our home.

loke-dog-in-autumn-field
Loke joined me.

men-on-tractor-in-field

men-on-tractor-in-forest-meadow

Jay found my camera before I could upload the photos. I asked him to come to watch them with me yesterday. These photos turned out great, honey, come have a look! He told me he had seen them already on the camera. Lots of artistic ones, he said with that little funny smile of his. He doesn’t get the point of leaves in focus and the digger and its purpose all blurred out in the background. Haha I explained then that I wanted photos for myself as well, for the blog. He thought I could just blur out the faces, but to me that ruins the feeling in the photo. I did however do that on the top photo for Jay’s father. I don’t know if you can tell — I tried to keep it as subtle as possible. And luckily half the face is hidden behind the exhaust. Haha

autumn-leaves-and-digger-out-of-focus
One of my “artistic” photos. Haha 😉

That “wagon” Jay sat on behind old Fergu (a Massey Ferguson from the 1960’s) is ancient, and meant to be pulled by a horse. It’s amazing and great how they still find use for these “outdated” tools and vehicles, and that they actually work.

So first they cleared the wildness with it — I think it just rakes and rips out the worst of the hay and weed, the tall and dry — then used the bright orange digger to gather it into piles for burning. For this kind of work, I am glad it has been so wet lately. With winds like we had on Monday, I worry it would have spread so easily. But they know what they are doing — I just get the pleasure of running around with my camera to document it all.

combine-harvester

While Jay’s father collected the hay and weeds into piles, Jay took the combine harvester to some smaller fields close to the river to finish some areas left from last week. It has grown unevenly, and some of it wasn’t fully ready. He called it cherry picking and showed me some photos of what was left. Apparently the combine has been having engine trouble, and conks out, so I don’t actually know if he did manage to get the rest on Monday.

autumn-brushy-forest-birch

autumn-rowan-branches-leaves-and-berries

I keep thinking I want to get out and take photos on these darker days. Mostly, I struggle to get out of my head to begin with, but I am also so frightened of the higher ISO (light sensitivity) numbers. This is also why I rarely take nor show photos from inside the house. Well, that and the unbelievable mess everywhere. Haha

When I was out on Monday (and yesterday) I had to use an ISO of either 400 or 800 to be able to keep the shutter speed at 1/500 second to freeze movement. And as far as I have understood it, to get greater depth of field, clarity and colour, I couldn’t use the smaller f-numbers. I used 7.1 and 8 now, for most photos. (On the zoom lens I am still borrowing, I normally use f4 – 5.6.)

After having looked through all these photos now I see that an ISO of 400 I can accept, if I must, but the photos in which I used ISO 800 turned out too grainy for my tastes. I can fix it somewhat in Lightoom, with luminance and colour correction, but it softens the entire image and I lose clarity and sharpness. I did however consider that maybe I just have to work around it by composing images that look good that way, if you know what I mean? To keep that in mind when I shoot, so that a soft, dreamy film suits the composition of the entire image. It’s not a problem if there is no wind and I can use slower shutter speed, but I do have to keep the tripod with me since I am very shaky with my hands.

autumn-aspen

In spite of the gloomy lighting and leaving the house without the tripod, I managed to wander off into the forest. All these colours had me so distracted, and the smells were divine. I ended up by the little river and lost track of time. When I got back, Jay had returned to take over managing the fires.

autumn-branches-over-water

autumn-reflections-in-water

Jay is never surprised when I disappear like that, and I really am so glad I can. In fact, had it not been for Jay asking me to come outside on Monday, I might not have made myself. This strange lethargy continues to hover over me, but when I do get outside it dissipates almost immediately. I don’t know if I can call it lethargy, because my mind is like a beehive. And I can’t relax, even if my butt seems glued to its spot at times. Either way, I can only keep trying to overcome it until I do. And rest. I am at my wits end with these short nights and my brain ding-dong-ing whenever I slip out of my sleep just the slightest. I get moments when I don’t feel like myself at all. Do you ever get that?

smoking-fields

When I got back… No, wait. Haha I went back inside after I took the photos of Jay and his father driving Fergu. My camera had something stuck on the lens and I had to clean it. Jay came inside to tell me when the fires were burning, and I went out a second time. That was when Jay left with the combine harvester and I disappeared into the woods.

I am sitting here laughing so much right now. If you only knew how many times in a day this sort of thing happens to me, or the amount of times I think I have done something when I haven’t. So, you know what? I am not going to re-write all this. I have already been writing on and off for a couple of hours now.

Are you certain you would want to visit a wellness center under my management? Haha

pitchfork-in-burning-hay

man-with-pitchfork-in-burning-hay

man-smoke-and-fire-in-field

At least there would be someone close at hand who could handle a fire. 😉

Well, this has been my week so far. How about you? Have you had or do you have anything special on the schedule this week?

Now I am going to call and make an appointment with my hairdresser. I would like to liven up my hair for some photos I am planning, and if all works out, I’ll be a little more redhead than brunette. I have coloured my hair a lot throughout my life, but completely blonde is something that I can’t seem to take care of, so I promised myself to not do that again. I have very fine strands of hair and I end up looking a little like those tiny trolls you can put at the end of pencils. Haha

autumn-birch-bark-closeup

yellow-rowan-leaves-closeup
End of photo bomb. ;-*

Many hugs and much love, darling friends and readers. ❤

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A Day On the Farm

Hey, everyone! I hope you are all off to a good start of the week. Here, the rain seems to finally be slowing down. For two weeks or so we were promised rain but none came. Yesterday, however, it arrived with a vengeance. It didn’t patter–it rumbled. All day it drummed our roof like a pro and gurgled in the rain pipes. An honest summer rock festival a la Nature. As for me, well, I did absolutely nothing. I was so restless last night and dazed at the same time. Over two hours passed before I fell asleep. It was one of those in-between days that passed and left me wondering if I had been awake at all.

Today I am back on track. I started the day by writing myself a To-Do List and got some housework out of the way. Loke sheds hair like an entire pack–ten packs–and five minutes later there are hairs everywhere. I swear he leaves hair with every step he takes. And he is even done shedding the winter coat. Not too long ago I was nearly in tears and decided for my own well-being to throw the vacuum cleaner into a corner, close the door and forget about it. I challenged myself to just live with it. I used to vacuum every day, sometimes more, but the closer attention I payed it the more obvious the mess became. My honey would sigh heavily and vacate the premises. I don’t blame him.

ButterBubbas
I’m a dog, I shed. Deal with it, boss.

Over the past few weeks I have had the camera with me a lot while working, but since I take so many photos and sometimes do a variety of different sessions in one day, I simply couldn’t share everything, even though I really want to. I would have to publish several posts a day and there aren’t enough hours for that. Editing alone can take anything from twenty minutes to several hours, depending on what vision I have for the images.

I mentioned earlier that we are forest owners, and I am currently awaiting more saplings so I can go out again and spend some full-days in the forest. Some of the wood we cut down we use to heat up the house and our own water. To do this, we have to put the timber through a cutter for the burner we have in a barn that used to house cows, pigs and horses. So a few weeks ago it was time to fill up the storage.

HeavyMachinery
One day I will learn to operate this, too, but for now my partner, Jay, gathers the timber from the forest.

While waiting, I played around with my macro lens a little, which I actually used to shoot all these photos with. Until I realised I had to get changed into my work clothes.

 

RunLottaRun
Run, Lotta, run!
TractorIncoming
Timber incoming.

Timberrr

The biggest pieces of timber are really heavy so I had no hope of getting those off the trailer. While Jay took care of those, I stuck to the small ones and operated the cutter. With the smaller pieces you can just let the timber go through, but with the thick trunks you have to continuously pause, reverse and forward until the whole thing is chewed up. Otherwise the cutter jams or the feeder gets clogged.

FeedThatCutter
I am constantly learning new things here and I love it. I have pushed a little for it, too, because I want to be able to step in whenever Jay’s father is unable to come here. The man is retired but after a lifetime as a farmer I can understand it has become a way of life, one you do not give up just because you have retired.
CutterOperator
And, of course, knowing we cut this wood together which keeps our taps running with hot water is a great feeling.
DustAhoy
I had to put the camera away after a while because the dust billowed like crazy and I didn’t want to risk even more dirt in my camera.

Since the sowing was done some weeks ago, we have been cleaning and greasing all the machines for storage until autumn. My job was to clean the cultivator, which I did last week. Jay had already gotten the worst of the mud off the big rollers, which made things much easier. I used a metal-bristled brush to get the rest off.

BrushingCultivatorRollers

BrushingCultivatorDiscs

BlowOffDust
I think half the dust landed on my glasses.

Jay and his father came driving past while I cleaned. They joked that I would be waxing it next. Haha Jay knows me well, of course, and my pedantic streak is the very reason I got the job. I did try to keep that in mind once I got the pressure washer out. This time of the year it isn’t uncommon for us to run out of water, especially if it doesn’t rain enough. But it sure was great fun!

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WashingCultivator_Crouching

Not one day is the other alike, and getting to move around and do so many different kind of things in one day is only one aspect I truly love about this work. And even if it changes in the future, right now I am having the time of my life, and the now is what counts. Yesterday I wasn’t a happy camper, but today, by sharing this with you I have counted so many things I am grateful for. If you could pick at least one thing in your life that you are grateful for, what would it be?

Thank you so much for reading and sharing your time with me. I wish you all a great remainder of this day. See you soon!