The last few days here in Hossa have included making bath whisks for sauna and other local summer activities taking place this time of year. A bath whisk is simply a bunch of leafy, fragrant branches of Silver Birch that is used to gently beat oneself in a sauna. This has a relaxing effect on the muscles, stimulates blood circulation and of course brings a wonderful summery fragrance.
Bath whisk has to be made from a specific species of birch, Betula pendula because it´s branches and leafs are tough enough to be used in beating yourself and others. They are dried in an airy place away from light so that the excellent aroma does not evaporate. A lot of bath whisks have already been made to ensure that you have the chance to experience the Finnish sauna in the best way possible, even during the winter time.
Actually this extraordinary tree, meaning birch, would deserve a whole post of its own because of it´s special features besides its wood being good building material. Birch bark is one of the most durable materials found in the forest and it has and is been used to make different types of containers and many kinds of decorative and usable items, shoes and even backpacks. Black diamond-shaped marks on white background make it a beautiful material also. During the spring, birch runs a nutrious sap from it´s roots to the canopy to start the growing season and drinking this liquid is known to increase general immunity. Sap´s ability to ease rheumatic diseases and pollen allergy has been known for centuries. Besides all this, a tea made of birch leafs highly promotes urine flow and thus helps in nephritis and cystitis. It is a special plant indeed!
In July it´s also time to make some hay for the reindeer. Sunny and windy weather has made it easy for us and the mown hay is being dried on wooden racks at the moment. When the hay is dry, it´s all taken to a barn and served for the hungry reindeer in about six months from now. Subsistence fishing is practiced through the whole summer of course and my latest trip to a small pond close to the Russian border rewarded my effort handsomely as you can see, perches attacked the lure like blazes. Fish fillets made from the biggest ones were absolutely delicious when breaded and fried with butter. The freshness of the fish itself is always the best spice of course. We catched some vendace with nets the other day too and they were very tasty as well.
On Saturday I served as a fishing guide for a nice young couple from France. We spent one afternoon and evening row trolling and spin casting on a local lake here in the Hossa area and ended up with a good catch including greylings, perches and a couple of small brown trouts too.
Greylings cooked on open fire, remoteness, purity and silence made an impression on my guests and I had the most wonderful time too. Dear Lydie and Guillaume, thank you for the day and I wish you all the best for your future!