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  • Writer's pictureSofias Country Gardens

Happy Easter 2017

This year we spent Easter at Stensund and Humlegård as usual, with our extended family. The old farmhouse at Stensund comes alive with family members in every room, and it really does feel like a Moomin house with everybody around. Breakfast is served from when the first person wakes up until the last person has finished, so the mornings are long and companionable with stress being prohibited.

During the day everybody is free to do what they want, but this year we all chipped in to do some necessary spring clearing. (Come to the country for a long weekend, I said last autumn to my extended-family members, it will be tranquil and nice! More like slave labour, my godfather quipped with a knowing smile.)

At first we tidied up the garden around the house. We trimmed the Spirea shrubs and cleared the borders around the house, removing some of the old compost in the flower pots and gently digging it into the soil beneath before topping up the pots with fresh compost.

I like to decorate the flower borders with little things like shells and horse shoes, pretty stones and little trinkets, but all these need to be cleared of leaves and debris like leaves each spring.

Once the garden was more or less tidy, we tackled a job I had postponed for years and years: the emptying of the attic in the old cow barn. It is amazing how much junk is gathered throughout the years, when it seems too much of a bother to get rid of stuff immediately and it is all tucked away out of sight "for the time being"!

Well, now we really needed the space to store things we actually want to keep, and so I ordered a skip and we spent a whole day filling it with broken chairs, window frames no longer needed, metal netting too rusty and in pieces to be used, and all sorts of other bits and pieces in such bad condition it could not be recycled. Afterwards we celebrated with a long traditional easter dinner.

On Saturday we visited Ulle and Sebastian Nurmis farm to look at the lambs and new-born calves. They live some 10 km away from us across the lake, but to get there you have to drive 25 km around the water.

They have an ecological farm with some 200 sheep and about 90 cows of old heritage breed variety, Finnish Suomen Lammas sheep and Kyytö cows, and are truly committed to preserving both the environment and the breeds. As you can see from the pictures, the animals have a wonderful life with plenty of space and always clean bedding, and being a family farm they are totally relaxed and very sociable as they are so used to being petted and loved. In summer the animals are out on pasture all season, with four sheepdogs gently heading them to the pastures and back.

I am actually very happy because this year the Nurmis have taken over the rent of all my fields, so the whole of my own farm is becoming ecologically certified - which with stringent EU rules is not as easy as it may seem!

The Nurmis are very engaged in the whole process from start to finish, and actually drive the animals to the slaughterhouse themselves. This ensures humane handling and very low levels of stress, which is probably why the meat is so good it is sold only directly to Helsinkis top restaurants. The production is kept small in order to ensure quality, and any form of intense mass production would be totally against the ethics of their family.

This year my children father Jan and Daniel came all the way from Mexico, so a visit to a Finnish farm was highly appreciated. They were thrilled when they got to pet the lambs and quite amazed at how freely the lambs broke out of their pens and came rushing up to strangers even! They said they can't wait for the summer when we get sheep to the pastures at Stensund...

So lots of greetings from all of us and I hope you all have had a lovely and peaceful Easter!

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