Alnus glutinosa - the black alder likes to grow with it's roots in water so we have quite a lot of them down by the lake and along the shoreline. We also have a plantation of them behind the back field on the northern edge of our plot in an area which is very damp.
They are amazing trees which are quite attractive, staying green well into the autumn and producing tiny little cones (green in this picture I took this morning). T
The sheep love to eat the leaves which is fine as the alder throws up suckers everywhere and we have to cut them back.
The black alder has many medicinal uses and the wood makes beautiful furniture, turning an earthy pink colour as it matures.
I picked almost a bucketful of bilberries in the forest today and this evening I cleaned them and rinsed them - next stop the freezer: they freeze very well. Fredrik wants to make blueberry muffins tomorrow so we'll do that when it starts raining. I also found a handful of chanterelles so P & I had a mushroom omelette for lunch - first one this year. Excellent. Back-breaking day though: picking bilberries is not my favourite occupation.
Peter said, "Why do you call them bilberries and not blueberries?" so I explained that, strictly speaking, the wild ones are called bilberries in Europe and blueberries are the US species but they are related. Wikipedia gives more details. We do have a few blueberry bushes in the vegetable garden but they have only just flowered. The fruits are twice the size of the wild bilberries and the flavour is more intense.
This morning I picked one litre of wild bilberries in the forest, washed and froze them. I think I'll probably wait a couple of days before I pick some more as these were only just ripe and quite small. The red sieve is used for shaking off the leaves that inevitably get caught up in the combs when we're picking them.
The apple crop looks OK, but there is some kind of spidery thing affecting not just the trees here but also in the garden in Espoo
We still haven't figured out which trees are which, it is such a shame that we didn't keep records when we planted them.
Went for a walk through the forest, where it is cooler than down on the field. Zelda found the first of this year's bilberries and they are good for eating. I picked enough to have with some strawberries tonight (we got some vanilla ice-cream from the new Deli Tukku in Pojo).
Our mökki is situated in the hazelnut zone and we are lucky enough to have masses of them in our forest. In the areas where we have cleared pine, spruce and birch, we have hazelnut growing quite vigorously. The trees produce nuts but I've never seen any ripe enough to eat. I assume that the season is too short, or maybe the squirrels eat them all.
Today we had some visitors and one young Finnish lad was really pleased to find a hazelnut tree for his summer school project. It is traditional in Finland for 7th graders to compile a specimen collection of native wild flowers and trees during their summer holidays. It usually involves parents and grandparents too because it is impossible to find all the plants in one location or indeed during the same week: some flower in late May, others in June, July or August. I think my boys had a list of about 100 plants and they had to collect a minimum of 40 from the list. Each plant has to be pressed and then stuck in a book, giving all the information concerning where it was found: location, date etc.
I remember bulrushes being very problematic. We had to use the canoe to reach them (we have some here in the pond). As pressing bulrushes is nigh impossible, we left them to dry before sticking them in the book (lots of sellotape). The teacher told Stefan that when she eventually got round to marking their projects, his bulrush had exploded and she had millions of seeds flying around her house for ages.