A piece of art by nature

A piece of art by nature

EIGHT SEASONS OF THE HUNTER

The traditional division into four seasons is too harsh. The forest year has eight seasons which follow nature´s own rhythm. This concept has originated in Lapland among reindeer keepers. An excellent book on the topic is “Erämiehen kahdeksan vuodenaikaa” by Martti Peltomaa and Seppo Saraspää.   

 

Winter

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January and early February. Heavy moose hunting season has finally ended. Hare hunting season is at its peak at the farm although the daily hunting time is short. The number of Eurasian lynx (lat. lynx lynx) has increased in the region which also takes its toll on the hare population. Twice I have been lucky enough to see a lynx from the main building window. It is a magnificent wild beast! The village moose team´s wild reindeer (lat. rangifer tarandus) hunting season continues until the end of January; the population has gradually increased in the region. Additionally, deer (lat. capreolus capreolus) has become more common in the region. We feed game with apples, carrots, potatoes, hay and grain at the farm.

In addition to this we clear the snow at the farm and keep the lodge´s large fireplace going from morning till night. In case we need more building material winter is the best time to cut down logs. Even better if it is full moon when the trees are cut down. Snowshoes or Altai Skis are the best way to move about at the farm. No need for lubricants and you also manage the tricky spots with them. I recommend using poles and always carrying with you a small backpack, which includes a mobile phone, knife, matches, some rope, compass, map, raisins, energy bars and something hot to drink. When alone in a winter forest it is important to respect the nature and be prepared for changes in the weather or other sudden occurrences. Our forest guide will show how to light a fire in a snowy forest no matter what the weather is like.                

 

Early Spring

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End of February and March. The hare and pheasant season continue until the end of February. Pheasants have returned to Ilola; this means that they have to be bred and fed.

First Spring activities are being done at the farm. Hares are still fed, i.e. willows are cut down on top of the snow and the hares are given carrots. Owls start to hoot and the eagle owl (lat. bubo bubo) is a newcomer nearby. Foxes bark to protect their territories: at first it may even sound a bit scary to hear a fox bark nearby. It happened one time that a fox came to bark as close as five metres from the main building terrace.

I also spend time in Utsjoki ice fishing arctic chars and hunting willow grouse (lat. lagopus lagopus). If this tickles your fancy, send me a message!

 

Spring

April and early May. Animals are busy with their activities, the place is bustling with life. Cranes are performing their mating ritual, buzzard (lat. buteo buteo) returns to its territory, frogs spawn.

Busy season starts at the farm. Firewood is chopped, coppice forests are cleared, and if need be summer tree cutting is prepared. Lettuce, herbs, root vegetable and early potatoes are planted. The season for false morels starts. It feels like there is no end to the chores.

 

 

 

Early Summer

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End of May and June. Roads are being repaired after winter frost and culverts are being checked. Game fields are redone. False morel season is at its peak; these mushrooms really are the delicacy of forests. I recommend boiling them three times, eight minutes per boiling time. I do not think this affects the taste.

 

Summer

July and early August. On 10 August the hunting season starts with the pigeon hunt! Better see that the hideouts are ready in the forests surrounding the fields. Chanterelle season begins. It is also the season for picking berries; wild raspberries, wild strawberries, blueberries, lingonberries and cloudberries. Our vegetable garden produces new potatoes, lettuce, carrots, dill, parsley and other local delicacies. In order to be used, the vegetable garden should be set up as close to the kitchen as possible. The vegetable gardens of the farm are planted in wooden boxes and the distance from the kitchen table is only 20 metres. Sannäs shooting range will become a familiar place when the moose teams “obligatory” training starts. On the other hand, to train properly before the season begins means that hunters respect the game.

 

Late Summer

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End of August and September. It is time to put out salt pieces for moose and cameras for game in their places. Duck season begins on 20 August, and mushroom season is at its peak. We dry mushrooms on pieces of wood on top of the oven and once dry we store them in glass jars. This way they last for years and are an excellent and healthy addition to a meal. On 10 September it is finally time to start hunting fowl, which means black grouse (lat. lyrurus tetrix) and hazel grouse (lat. tetrastes bonasia) in Råmossa farm. Wood grouse (lat. tetrao urogallus) is protected in Porvoo. It is a handsome bird and when it spreads its wings to fly it can be heard from far away. There is a wood grouse rock at the farm, but unfortunately its master, a large male wood grouse was found dead in the forest a few years ago. My friend made fly fishing baits of the bird´s pitch black feathers and uses them when salmon fishing in Utsjoki. 


Autumn

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October and early November. The Ilola moose team´s big game hunt started in mid-October. The season start has been postponed: it starts when leaves have fallen and there are not too many mushroom pickers in the forest anymore. This is the highlight of the season! Raccoon dogs (lat. nyctereutes procyonoides) are hunted with traps, and the mushroom season continues. At the farm, we do clearance work and prepare for winter; among other things we turn over the vegetable garden and make sure that there is enough firewood. There has to be around 15 cubic metres of firewood in the shed for winter. Birch, spruce and pine. Personally I like spruce even though many people underestimate it. It burns a bit noisily, but it is easy to light and there is plenty of it at the farm! A dried-up spruce is especially nice as firewood as it does not spark so much when it burns.

 

Late Autumn

End of November and December. The moose hunting season is at its peak and freezers are filled with this truly organic meat. At this stage the hunt normally reaches a point when it starts to feel like work. First snow. The hare hunting season continues, and winter feeding is about to start. When one starts feeding wild life, one has to continue with it all winter long. Animals get quickly used to being fed and a sudden termination to feeding may cause them to starve to death. We have new feeding sheds which are already used by several species, and when it snows it will be interesting to see which animals visit them.

The last autumn chores are taken care of at the farm. It is time to attach the plough into the crawler. And prepare for Christmas. We eat an untraditional Christmas meal at the farm, including among other things moose meatballs and moose roast. When making a moose roast it is essential that you remember to marinate it already the day before (spices, Worchester sauce, honey and oil), batter it with bacon and remember that the sauce brings the most flavour! I take particular care when thickening the broth and make sure there is enough of it. You must also give the roast enough time to retreat inside an aluminium foil.

First Spring activities are being done at the farm. Hares are still fed, i.e. willows are cut down on top of the snow and the hares are given carrots. Owls start to hoot and the eagle owl (lat. bubo bubo) is a newcomer nearby. Foxes bark to protect their territories: at first it may even sound a bit scary to hear a fox bark nearby. It happened one time that a fox came to bark as close as five metres from the main building terrace.

I also spend time in Utsjoki ice fishing arctic chars and hunting willow grouse (lat. lagopus lagopus). If this tickles your fancy, send me a message!

 

Spring

April and early May. Animals are busy with their activities, the place is bustling with life. Cranes are performing their mating ritual, buzzard (lat. buteo buteo) returns to its territory, frogs spawn.

Busy season starts at the farm. Firewood is chopped, coppice forests are cleared, and if need be summer tree cutting is prepared. Lettuce, herbs, root vegetable and early potatoes are planted. The season for false morels starts. It feels like there is no end to the chores.