Friday, December 17, 2010

Spectral Light

The longest night of the year being upon us soon, these are the days of short, flat light on which everything appears the same color. It's easy to feel a bit like a ghost under the pale sky.
Black on black
In Rainbows
These brief dark days are no reason to look as serious as I do here (especially if a certain someone has just sent you the above lovely frock). This is a time to hunker down, eat well, read books, do crafts, play music and go to bed early. And wear stones that are protective, calming, energizing, and even boost your immunity.
It's a time to recuperate, pet you cat, and listen to your sweetie sing Leonard Cohen's Suzanne (Of which the lovely, older singing ladies that I took my weekend trip with performed a heart-achingly beautiful rendition. And they damn near knew the words by heart too, which is pretty amazing.).
Future Bread
But most importantly: it's time to bake. I brought back a few loaves of my favorite bread from Finland baked from a 100-year-old starter in a traditional masonry stove (the likes of which I have high hopes for-did I ever mention that Hubby's other occupation is a stonemason?) by a woman who's family starter and stove they are. One of the easier ways to make sourdough bread starter is to take the last few slices of bread, add flour and water and let it sour for about a week. And voilà! you know have your own 100-year-old starter. Thanks to Kristiina, I also have another centennial starter to try out.
Soup now!
While the bread was rising, I made a hardy Finnish-style root soup with our own potatoes (Yellow Finns), carrots, garlic and onion. Add to this, if you will some hamburger meat (I like to use local lamb) fried on a pan with black pepper, parsley (our own-we have soooo mcuh) and some peas, and you've got yourself Lihakeitto. That's hearty stuff and it warms you spirit as well as you belly.
Bread Now!
Since the bread needs about five hours to rise I also made some of my modified rieskaleipä to go with the soup. Hubby on the other hand, was busy making some sauce from the last of our apples. The longer you keep them, the sweeter they get. Until they rot, that is.
Future Sauce
While we waited for our concoctions to cook I knitted the wrist warmers I've been working on.
Work, work
The only bread loaf I get to go to
Then we had fresh bread with butter and chunky applesauce. More dark nights like these, please.

How are your shortest days and longest nights going?


  1. That's wonderful! You have such a magical life Milla, or you definitely have a knack at making it seem that way. :) I love that your kitty snuck into the first photo with you.

  2. LOVE that song!!! and what a sweet and homey looking house with the warm colors and baked bread! Mmmm... I feel like getting my jammies on right NOW! :D Have a fantastic day!

  3. Oh, yummy, yummy bread. I'm glad you're getting the most that these dark nights have to offer. I'm going to have som womanly wine and chatting tonight and I am sooo excited :) Gotta be cheerful when it gets a bit gloomy outside.

    Also, you make a very pretty ghost.

  4. oh that song and your pictures warm my heart! i've been in a bit of a fowl mood today and needed some homey, positive-ness :D your bread looks amazing, super cool to have a starter that old. your dress is fantastic. perfect for all the baking and knitting.

  5. fresh baked bread is one of life's greatest joys! we're about the have the longest day of the year here, so evenings are spent on front porches with friends and beer.

  6. Well, first off, it warms my heart to have found that dress a home where it can take part in such lovliness!

    We had dinner at our friends' house last night then left Clover and their kids with a babysitter and went to a party for another friend's birthday. Then got up early and drove to Fort Bragg to visit Grandpa Bill for the day. There WAS a hearty soup involved with the visit, and a rainy walk on the beach before heading home.

    Lucas' sister called and invited us to dinner on the way back so we went straight there. When we finally got home, it took forever to get Clover to sleep since she slept most of the drive home.

    Throw in some christmas shopping and it seems we've been anything but hunkered down! Your post has me feeling inspired to make this stormy weekend one one of a hunkered down sort though, we'll see how that goes!

  7. Days like that are my favorites :)

  8. i loved the photos - brought up childhood memories :) anyway, the bread looks fantastic!

  9. Wow. I discovered your blog by typing in "Finnish traditional clothing" into google. I love it!

    Are you going to watch the eclipse that's happening on the solstice?