Saturday, September 20, 2014

My idol is gone

Pets have an amazing ability to conceal their ill health. Jack had lost some weight but this was nothing unusual. This had happened to him every summer season because of the more active outdoor life he always led the warmer half of the year.

We had noticed a slight extra murmur in his purring but didn’t worry much. We thought he was in the process of getting rid of a hairball and gave him some liquid paraffin to speed up the process.

Last weekend we realized his condition had suddenly weakened. On Sunday, I had to take him to the University of Helsinki Veterinary Teaching Hospital. However, the X-rays and blood tests didn’t reveal any reason for his heavy breathing.

Finally, the endoscopy he underwent on Monday showed a tumour in his throat. As the prognosis was hopeless I didn’t have any other option than to give permission to put him to sleep.

I am happy the end was so sudden although we would have done anything to keep it from coming so soon. Last year when Jack had a thorough senior’s physical examination the vet didn’t find any indication of any problems. We were hoping we could enjoy his company, if not for another 12 years, at least for several years to come.

For the first time since we made the decision to sell the house – yes, that is why I have been so busy lately – for the first time since the decision I am convinced this is the time to move on. This place would never feel the same for me now that the sweet king of this hill on the fields will no longer hurry to greet you when you drive to the yard, follow you around whatever you are doing outdoors, walk with you to the mailbox, drowse in his little cat house, sleep on his bed on the porch table, tap on the hall window to be let in, scratch the side of your mattress to be let out...

I never would have thought how incomplete a good hectare of land and a big house would feel without such a small and undemanding creature. Should there be an afterlife it must be the kind where Jack will be joined with his best pal the Shetland sheepdog we lost six years ago.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mushroom toast

Mushrooms have started to pop up, especially those belonging to the Boletus species. We haven’t had any time to visit the nearby forest yet but luckily I found a few pieces behind our barn.

Just chop them up, sauté with some onion in a drop or two of olive oil, add a bit of freshly ground black pepper and a hint of sea salt and you’ll get a delicious toast topping. This will be perfect as a light lunch with some soup, such as the creamy salmon soup below. Yummy!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Time flies

I didn’t mean to stay silent for such a long time. It just happened as we’ve had to divert from the slow life for a while and keep ourselves busy completing many a small project at home. In the long run, laziness does have its consequences.

After an exceptionally chilly June, we had a record warm period in July and early August. On 38 days in a row the temperature rose above +25°C (+77°F), which is known to have occurred only once before, in 1973.

We didn’t notice much of that I’m afraid but it does feel kind of great to witness yourself accomplishing something highly useful each and every day. There will be other summers with new heat waves to idle away in the shade.

All of a sudden, August has passed and life has turned towards unstable autumn and harvesting. But there is the advantage that the house is starting to be in top condition meaning that we could probably consider slowing down a bit. I am hoping to return to more regular blogging but let’s see what tomorrow brings.