Gratefulness

Hello, everyone! I really hope you are having as great weather as we are having right now. The days are surely growing lighter and longer, which wakes me up even before the alarm goes off, but I know I will catch up on those missed hours at some point. What I would miss if I dragged in bed is watching the world burst with spring’s vibrant colours as sunrise kisses each and every leaf and bud on its way up into the sky. Even the still-yellow grass from last season seems alive among the new seedlings in this light.

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And the field work is done! The other day I joined for the first time the yearly tradition of picking rocks. We go out with Fergu (the Massey Ferguson–my partner insisted I stop calling it Fergie, hah). Lilli and I sat on the trailer as we went to our destination. During harrowing and cultivating a few of our fields turn up rocks. Every year it’s the same. You would think that after all these generations, they would have disappeared, but still they keep popping out of the earth. Mostly small enough not to damage the harvester, but some are quite huge. Guess what, though? They will do wonderfully for my gardening projects!

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As I sat there in the back of the trailer with all the rocks we had collected, on our way home through the village, I was filled with an overwhelming happiness. Gratefulness. We walked in the foyer and stripped off our dusty clothes–it was everywhere, inside the clothes and in my mouth. I had to get cleaned up to go to shop and get milk, and my partner told me that Lilli will be coming along to pick out a reward.

Jokingly, my partner went on to say, “And this is when you ask what your reward will be.”

My reward?

“Well,” I said. “My reward is to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee.” Honestly, isn’t coffee just so good when your very bones are tired from hard work? My partner had to admit he agrees with that, too.

Gratefulness. This is my other reward. To be filled with it so completely.

Picking rocks and crunching on dust might not seem like much to be happy about, right? Such a trivial and even unpleasant thing–how is it anything to be grateful for? I am grateful because I get to spend time with my family while working. I get to crawl across the earth with a camera in my hands. All around me rustle baby leaves of spring, streams purl beneath the feet of birch, pine and fir. And Fergu rumbles along at a lazy pace as my partner and Lilli converse about history. I don’t notice the dust until the day slows its breaths because I am exactly where I want to be. And I am once more grateful I worked so hard to find a way to open my eyes and see I have been for years.

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Do you or have you ever felt like you are chasing happiness and it always seems to be right out of your reach? There is one or more things you feel you need to achieve before you can be truly happy? I felt like that. If only I had that, if only I could get to there, then–then and only then will I be happy. Then I will be able to enjoy things, do the things I really want to do.

What I have found is that it wasn’t until I began to look for the good things in my life, counted the achievements I had made–however small or insignificant–instead of looking for shortcomings and failures that happiness found me. And once I did, I spent less and less time filling my mind and my days with struggle. Of course the struggle doesn’t magically vanish, but I realised I have a choice. Either I can sit by the window and wish for all the things out of my immediate control, or I can reach for whatever is within my grasp. By doing so, I put myself in motion–and I can promise you, that motion will lead you to anywhere you want to go. Just one step at a time, one grab for something within your reach. One day, those steps will turn into a thousand steps, then tens of thousands.

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My Lilli’s journey has only just begun. Maybe one day she will sit there, teaching our grandkids to steer Fergu?

I have this book, which is one of the many things that have helped me turn my life around. In How To Stop Worrying And Start Living, Dale Carnegie mentions a story he was told once, and I am only loosely quoting, but the story goes: “Only one grain of sand can pass through the hourglass at one time. No matter what you or I do, you cannot make more than that one little grain go through at any given moment.”

Simple? Yes. Easy? No. But:

“You and I and everyone else are like this hourglass.”

Lastly, I am grateful for that first post I made here on WordPress. That I took the first step and joined this blogging community. I am still so green, but let me tell you I love being here and sharing my journey with you, as well getting to share in yours.

Until next time. See you soon!

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The Weekly Photo Challenge

Good morning, everyone!

Yesterday I checked out The Weekly Photo Challenge on The Daily Post, and Heritage instantly jumped out at me. With all the swooning I have done lately over UNESCO World Heritage sites, I guess the word heritage floats through my brain–times a million. As you no doubt noticed, this is not about my usual fawning over nature and the wild, though.

Living on a farm that has been passed down in the family through generations, and last year we had our three hundred year anniversary, I decided I wanted to do the photo challenge here. Our home. My safe haven. I had no idea what would be the focus, but I had a few days to think it over.

So I got into the kitchen this morning, started the usual routine of making coffee, totally muddled from four hours of sleep. As I looked out the window, the sunrise playing with the shadows of an old birch tree, my heart jumped. Yes! Yes yes yes. Gorgeous. I literally ran through the house to get my camera gear. I couldn’t let this moment pass, I couldn’t let the sun climb higher and lose out on this light. It didn’t even ocurr to me that I have no bloody clue how to capture it, how to use the manual settings. And Lilli still hadn’t come downstairs–turns out her alarm bell had run out of batteries. She made it to school in time, though. I had her porridge on the table before I dashed out the door.

I have no magnificent composition of words to offer, and my amateur level in photography is what it is. So what heritage means to me? I will let the results speak for themselves. I had a great time climbing around on the tractor, and this was a fun and inspirational way to jump-start a sleep-rumpled mind. I wish you all lovely day!

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This beauty is a Massey Ferguson from either 1968 or -69.
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I asked my partner if the tractor is a ‘he’ or a ‘she’. He said it’s an ‘it’. Well, I want to call her Fergie. And Fergie sure is a faithful and robust worker here, still, after all these years.

Healing, Soothing Sunshine

When I went to bed last night I basically ordered myself to stay in bed today. Time to get better, time to let my body recuperate. Morning came… and I tried. I really, honestly did. How could I stay in bed though when every single nerve ending was jittery with energy? Isn’t that a strange feeling? Have you experienced that? You know you’re sick, you feel it in your nose, in your throat, in your chest and joints. Yet, somehow, you are on your way out the door and into glorious sunshine.

And it didn’t end there. I raked one-quarter of the yard (which, granted, took me a few hours, because it’s a huge yard), cleaning up leaves left from autumn and a ridiculous amount of Loke’s poop.

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I stepped in it! (Who wants to show off dog poop, right? Well, me.)

I went outside an hour before lunch time, and then again just past 3 p.m., after taking my daughter to a friend’s place. I stayed there until I was done with my quarter. Almost till 6 p.m. Madness, right? My nose was running the entire time, but crazy as it seems, I feel so much better. All that fresh air, probably hundreds of sweeping movements with that rake, and a little play time with Loke in the pile I gathered–was the best medicine.

My guess is I will sleep like a log tonight. But first–more photos. I wish you all a lovely day (or evening/morning, depending on where in the world you are).

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I kept getting weird grid marks when I edited, so after playing around with all kinds of settings, I got myself an oil painting. It looks pretty neat.
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When I reached down to gather two armfuls of leaves Loke looked so hopeful that I couldn’t resist. I ended up spreading it out pretty nicely and had to rake it back in again, but Loke loved it.

 

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And the leaves loved my jumper. So do I. (Later this evening my daughter found leaves in my hair. Whoops?)

 

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Lots and lots of thank you kisses from an overjoyed dog.
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And that’s it. See you tomorrow, beautiful gardening gloves, you.

Among Fields And Smiling Finns

Yet another weekend has passed and we are gearing up for another week. A busy week. For farmers there is no such thing as weekend, though, and Nine-To-Five doesn’t exist. The field work has commenced so we are looking at a very full-specked stretch ahead of us. For now, though, may tractors, their drivers and the harrowed fields rest for a few hours before it’s time to go again. Unless that rain we’ve been promised comes pattering down.

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Looking out earlier as my partner’s father was out there, I remembered how after sowing birds come flocking. And I’m not talking a few–literally tons. Okay, maybe not tons, but a lot. Seagulls. We don’t really see them around, and in spite of being in the Land Of A Thousand Lakes, we do not have any major ones closeby. But that doesn’t matter; once those seeds are in the ground those gulls somehow find their way here. This year I will be sure to have my camera ready!

Tonight, however, I am readying my camera for something else entirely. While thinking ahead of the week to come, and what opportunities to grab to practice my photography, it suddenly hit me. Sammallahdenmäki (Moss Cove Hill). All the years I have lived here and I have completely forgotten we have a prehistoric archeological World Heritage site, practically in our local backwoods. It’s the perfect spot for light hiking and an afternoon picnic with my daughter. So once that sun peeks out again, we are off on a little adventure.

What about you? What does your week look like?

I will leave you with a photograph I played around with of my special guy–he came back from parking the tractors for the night as I was trying to catch the sunset. For now, I wish you all a wonderful Sunday evening and a great week.

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I call it “The Smiling Finn” – a rare but oh-so-charming sight to behold.