Midsummer’s Eve and the 9 types of Flowers

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<1. May Lily (Maianthemum bifolium), 2. Lingonberry (Vaccinium bitis-idaea)>

The day before yesterday was the Midsummer’s Eve. The night of mystery, huge bonfires, magic, the search for unreal (like flowering ferns), lightest night of the year, the tradition of picking 9 different kinds of flowers so one could stuff them under one’s pillow when she finally sleeps and see their future spouse in their dreams. A special festive night, the true start of summer, big expectations and anticipation.

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<3. Arctic Starflower (Trientalis europaea), Chanterelle (Chantarellus cibarius)>

To be quite honest, I don’t think much of the particular day any longer. Staying up all night only means being tired and groggy the next day. Consuming (large amounts of) alcohol has very little appeal for similar reasons, and also for the reason of not being able to enjoy the night properly in the first place, while being intoxicated. And to top it all off – it’s not really the beginning of summer or the real solstice in the first place. Like Christmas, the real astronomic event takes place days earlier. [4. Cow Wheat (Melampyrum pratense)5. White Nettle (Lamium album L.)]

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[6, Red Campion (Silene dioica)7. White Clover (Trifolium repens)] Nevertheless, there’s still a sort of tingle inside when the day approaches. SOMETHING should be done. And I do love bonfires. And picking flowers.

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Thus we had our own little private adventure on moss, wet grass, beaches by the Baltic Sea and in the back yard. [8. Sweet Clover (Melilotus)9. Eastern Galega (Galega orientalis)]

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My apologies for the pictures being of poor quality. I guess they are fine for night-time photography, though.

This lovely month of May

The wonder of buds opening and fresh new leaves shooting out is still an absolute wonder each year. Always, ALWAYS, it seems like it’s eventually happening just too fast and I end up feeling like I’ve somehow missed something. For days and weeks the spring hangs in the air and and the buds seem to be swelling just a little with a speed agonizingly slow. And then, the next minute you know it’s fresh new greenery everywhere and the leaves seem to be getting bigger by the minute and lawn mowers are out and only moments later you realise that the thing that just hit your nostrils, tugging on some pleasant memories and creating odd sensations, was the smell of freshly cut grass – first time this spring.

The spring, is also about (splitting) and piling firewood to dry over the summer for the next winter:

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And occasionally it may happen that your friends have really great ideas for birthday celebration. I absolutely love sunday birthday parties that begin early, take place somewhere in the wilderness and include pancakes baked on a tiny portable gas stove, fresh coffee brewed in a proper coffee press and a real bonfire – among other things. Here’s one with my teacup waiting on the bench.

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The forest was littered with millions of flowers – hepatica nobilis or liverleaf:

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and beautiful Pulsatilla Patens or Eastern pasqueflower to name a few:

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The views were glorious as was our hike as we had packed with the plan of camping straight next to the car. In reality, as it appeared, the camping/fire building sites were some 3 kilometres from the parking lot. So we went, carrying pots and kettles, a full litre of milk to lighten some coffees, selection of 3-4 different kinds of jams in case people had different preferences for their pancakes, a small portable grill, etc. Reminded me of the time when in the TV series “The Persuaders!”, where Lord Sinclaire’s idea of camping included a pavilion, proper china, table and chairs, etc. while Danny had nothing but a sleeping bag. Of course, there is also an entire tradition of clamping, with a special new word coined for it and all. Not sure if we really qualified for that, though – after all, we had forgotten to bring the honey, 3 litre bottle of apple juice and there were no blankets and pillows available…

-Maarja