Sofias Country Gardens
The land is my garden
Suddenly summer has gone by and feels but like a distant memory in pictures on my phone. Yet I have to say how lucky I am to so easily be able to capture those moments! Life in the countryside is a constant reminder of the new and the old, of technology and nature in co-existence.
It sometimes seems as we modern people spend most of our lives attached to gadgets, playing games and texting friends when we should be enjoying what is around us in real life (or irl as my kids say). Yet, how swiftly those precious moments fade! So I do try to practice mindfulness and technology together and use my mobile to eternalise pieces of memory in pictures.
Mindfulness is somehow more easy to practise in the country than in town.
I might stop and admire a flower boarder or a tree changing colour in town too, and living in Helsinki with the sea ever present it is easy to enjoy the variety of weather and changing of the season.
But it is in the countryside where I will notice the little things that nature provides, and especially the intrinsic life of insects. They are so small a busy person easily misses them, but glorious in their variety and abundance.
The thing is not just to "stop and smell the roses" but to have the peace of mind to actually notice they are there. Little larvae camouflaging in the grass on a leaf, or bumblebees that come in a surprising variety.
Did you know there are about 200 different species of wild bees in Finland, of which about 40 are bumblebees? And that bumblebees are the biggest group of pollinators for blueberries? So without our furry friends buzzing around, there would be no harvest for us to enjoy for free from the forrest.
That is (amongst other things obviously) why it is so important that there are some ecological nature reserves where insects can thrive. Insects die from insecticide, so just don't use it! To me, this is one of the most important principles governing how I run my small piece of paradise in Snappertuna. Everything that is done is done with two principles in mind: ecology and diversity.
I do not allow any insecticide sprayings on my land. The fields have for many years been wild pasture for game to feed on, and now that I have cattle on some of them they are still maintained to the European eco standard. In spring they are ploughed and fertilised with eco cow-manure, then sowed with greens that is harvested twice as green feed, before the cows are let out to pasture.
Near my Tiny Little Cottage at Stensund there is a strip of field that is explicitly sowed with nectar bearing flowers. It looks like a Monet garden gone wild! But actually it is great for the wildlife. I have little or no problem with slugs and pests as the eco balance is so healthy there is always some other bigger insect or animal eating them.
And even my forrest are treated like an extension to my garden... I leave parts of them completely untouched and when you walk in them you really get a feeling of where all our folk tales of trolls and fairies come from.
Each year I do a little bit of forest work at designated places. It may be to remove spruce and pine from a swampy area, and re-plant it with birch. Or it may be like this year, when my kind neighbour gifted me with 40 little oak plants that I planted along the road to my own house at Humlegård.
As they say, if you want a happy afternoon buy a hand bag, but if you want a happy life plant a tree. If I don't get to see them fully grown, hopefully my children and their children will!