We’ve had some busy times lately, with two new family members in our household:  Maya gave birth to two beautiful puppy girls on March 21.  Next winter they’ll join the husky team as sled dogs!

“Talvikki” is a Finnish name meaning a child born in winter. It is also the name of a flower. And she certainly is as beautiful as a flower!

Her name

Her name “Tuisku” translates into “blizzard”. Nomen est omen. Here she was captured in one of her rare calm moments!

Husky puppies Talvikki and Tuisku spent most of their time sleeping in the first few weeks of their life.

Husky puppies Talvikki and Tuisku spent most of their time sleeping in the first few weeks of their life.

A new member in our husky team since Christmas:  Ms. Maya!  A beautiful little husky lady, three years old, an excellent sled dog!  And keeps the boys in line!
Maya2MAYA.Winter has come and gone.  Here in Kilpisjärvi this means that we are experiencing “late winter”, one of our eight seasons.  The days are long and frequently filled with sunshine, the blanket of snow is at its deepest (close to one meter now), and the village is filled with people engaged in outdoor fun.
We’ve had a myriad of nationalities participating in our guided tours this winter season:  American, Australian, British, French, German, Japanese, Latvian, Russian, Singaporean, South African, Spanish, Swiss….  How did they all find their way here to Kilpisjärvi?
“Nous vous remercions pour votre accueill et votre gentillesse.  Grâce à vous nous garderons un très beau souvenir de votre magnifique pays.  Nous avons adoré les activités que nous avons faites…  Merci d’avoir fait de ce voyage une réussite. L’accomplissement d’un rêve.”  For those of us not understanding French, this lovely family thanks us for having fulfilled a dream of theirs.  What can we say…  except thank you, kiitos, for choosing Kilpisjärvi as your holiday destination!
Husky Peppi, 13 years today, and Husky Kiara, our newest husky family member

Husky Peppi, 13 years today, and Husky Kiara, our newest husky family member

With the huskies near the Norwegian border

With the huskies near the Norwegian border

Sledding on the fells in Kilpisjärvi

Sledding on the fells in Kilpisjärvi

This is what I told my newest member of the husky team when she arrived here last month from the south of Finland:  winter lives in Kilpisjärvi.  And so it does.  Winter surfaced again, bringing us a blanket of snow deep enough to go sledding this afternoon.  Today’s sled trip, the first of the season, was also to celebrate the 13th birthday of Husky Peppi, the oldest of the team.  The others are:  Peni, Pyry and Sulo, husky boys who will be four years of age in January, and Kiara, a beautiful lady husky, our new team member, who turned 6 years of age two weeks ago.

The arrival of winter equals the arrival of what is called the Polar Night.  In Finnish we call it “kaamos”, and as far as I know there is no accurate translation for it, but polar night is close enough, because the sun does not rise above the horizon for nearly two months.     We have less daylight then, but we have many other types of light:  the Northern Lights, which are frequent, the light of the moon and that of the stars, both of which seem brighter than at other times of the year, and the reflections of all those lights in the sky on the white snow..  Furthermore,  we have what we call the “blue moments”.  They occur in the morning hours and in the afternoon hours, created by the sun which is hovering somewhere close to the horizon, where it is not quite visible,  but it colors the air around us in various hues of blue.

These phenomena cannot quite be described, they have to be experienced.  Come and see for yourself.

Did you know that we have eight seasons here in Lapland?  In addition to summer, autumn, winter and spring we have “early summer”, “late summer”, “early winter” and “late winter”.  It only makes sense because our nature changes constantly according to temperature variations and the amount of daylight.

Summer starts in the latter half of June when we celebrate the Finnish midsummer festival (yes, for those living in southern Finland the end of June marks the middle of their summer while we are just starting out up here).  This year our festival weekend turned out to be freezing cold, with snow and sleet and stormy winds.  To compensate for the cold start we then enjoyed exceptionally warm weather, with lots of sunshine and barely any rain for weeks on end.

Kilpisjärvi

The village of Kilpisjärvi viewed from the lake

Huskies were delighted to find a patch of left-over snow where they could cool off on a hot day – temperatures over + 20 C are indeed hot for these arctic dogs.   Taking swims in the lake – the water temperature reached an unheard of + 15 C – was great fun for us all, visitors, locals and Siberian huskies!

Peni swims   Peni and Pyry in summer snow   Kilpisjärvi on August 2

Now we are gradually leaving summer behind.   Before settling in for winter the nature is giving us a show of spectacular colors, which we call “ruska”.  The ruska season is particularly popular among hiking groups.  Hikes to conquer Saana Fell and across the Malla Nature Reserve top the list of routes and terrain bikers like the challenge of the road up Jehkas Fell.

Ruska    Hiking in Malla Nature Reserve  Terrain biking

And now we, too, start preparing for winter and eagerly wait for the first snow…!