On Wednesday night we warmed up the smoke sauna. I think it was the only mosquito-free area that week not counting the hammocks and the tent we put up indoors.

And it was necessary to put them up. As we know, mosquitoes have a brilliant strategy when it comes to wearing you down. First, they send scouts, one by one, and as soon as the buzzing doesn’t end in a slap, they go on a full-on assault. Hence the annoying sound they make when they fly and the erratic flight patterns. We kept every hatch and window sealed tight but somehow they always found us.

Long-sleeved jackets and thick pants kept us safe outside. Before our vacation Scandinavian Outdoor was kind enough to collaborate with us and we were sporting proper hiking attire to protect us from the bugs (let alone from a rogue blizzard!). I swear we’ll get into the a review of the clothing itself soon. But understand that we need some time to properly test them out.

Full disclosure, on Wednesday night I cried. Trying to keep three fires going for food, warm bathing water and sauna was a bit too challenging with the hunger and fatigue and the bugs. Oh god, the bugs. After returning from the scenic wonderland of Koli and dusting off ash from my sausage for the third time whilst being eaten alive by those little vampires, I just couldn’t cope anymore and had a little cry. Why did I ever wish to come here and why did all the mosquitoes in the goddamn world decide to join us? I hadn’t seen the sheep all day either!

But my traditional Midsummer weeping at the campfire was over fairly quickly and I went back inside. Doing the dishes while staring out the window made me feel better for some reason. And if that wasn’t uplifting enough, the joy of a successful smoke sauna did the trick.

Sheep treatment diary, Thursday June 23rd. Overcast and sunny, temperature about 21 degrees Celsius.

In the morning we noticed there was something wrong with Kolo and Komu, the two brown sheep: a sort of a bloody scrape on both of them. We called their owner asap and sent her photos of the damages. A good first aid would’ve been spraying antiseptic on the wounds but we didn’t have any. Because we weren’t sure what caused it, we moved the herd to the closest enclosure.

The herd wasn’t skittish so it probably wasn’t caused by a bobcat or other type of predator. But better safe than sorry. The distance to carry water and minerals was also shorter, so no complaints there.

 

Sheep treatment diary, Friday June 24th – Midsummer’s Eve. Morning was cloudy but cleared up nicely!

At 8 AM the sheep were chewing on grass in a shelter and wouldn’t come out. But I didn’t have any treats either. When we returned from our hike to Vesivaara, they came to see us and spent the entire day as close to the gate as they could. They had clearly grown to like us! We sat with them so long, the fire in the sauna died out. There are significantly less bugs around and we could roast our sausages in peace tonight!

Even though mosquitoes and gadflies were still harassing our woolly friends and forced us to wear too many layers, our luck with the bug infestation seemed to have turned. A gentle wave here and there was enough to keep them away whereas before we had to keep swinging our arms continuously. I started experiencing feelings of success instead of rabid fire cursing. We also went to see the bonfire at Alamaja which was located at the Koli harbor.

Juhannusyö Kolilla

There are still plenty of photos to come, so we’ll catch you next time with more views like the one you see above here. Oh, and a day hike to Vesivaara! Heikki went to catch the sunrise twice on our trip and you can check the photos out here. Wool Therapy number one can be located here and everything sheperd-y will eventually end up here.

//Anne

P.S. Oh yeah, Heikki’s famous sheep vlog has a part two out. You might enjoy it even if you don’t speak Finnish!

 

We spent Midsummer’s week of 2016 as shepherds at the Seppälä Estate in Koli National Park. Everything related to our adventures there can be found under the Shepherd’s Week tag, which is to say here.

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