Tree Tuesday

Our tree this week was sent in by Affinity’s newest team member, rq. It’s a majestic old tree in a fairy tale setting and the last shot is brilliant. Perfectly framed, perfectly lit and perfectly peaceful.  Thanks for sharing, rq.


©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

©rq, all rights reserved

Stages of a Flower

I’ve been thinking a lot about Caine today as I tended to some admin tasks. And then I found this in my inbox. It’s from Nightjar and it’s perfect. Thanks.

I’d like to dedicate this set to the memory of Caine, it was 100% inspired by her and she was in my thoughts as I planned and took each picture. It’s the kind of photography I would probably not even think of doing if I hadn’t met her. And yes, flash at dusk, a technique I picked up from her. I wish she could know how much she’s missed.

These are Helianthus tuberosus flowers from my garden.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Jack’s Walk

Big Bob the red oak, ©voyager, all rights reserved

One of the nicest words in the English language is home, and that’s exactly where we are today. Home. We’ve been away for nearly 2 months and, as nice as it was to be seaside, I’m happy to be back. Jack feels the same way. This morning we went to our favourite forest path, Trillium Woods, and Jack ran around like a puppy with his tail held high and a bounce in his step. He peed on trees until he ran empty and then he air-peed some more. Jack grew up on this little forest path. It’s where his big sister Lucy taught him to climb and chase and I imagine these woods still carry her scent even though she’s been gone for a year. This is home to Jack as surely as our little house is and today he’s a very happy boy. There is no better welcome home.

Affinity is growing

It is with great delight that I announce that rq is joining the blogging team here at Affinity. Many of you are familiar with rq from the comments section of the blog where she has been contributing for many years. She is now ready to step up and do some blogging herself and we couldn’t be happier. She brings a lot to our team and we can expect posts on an interesting mix of subjects ranging from Baltic culture to the arts. Perhaps she’ll even share a peek into the random and interesting things that cross her path. For now there will be no fixed schedule for rq’s posts. Instead, they will come as happy little surprises that surface amidst our already mixed bag.

So now we are four. Four bloggers in four different countries, all with different interests and different points of view, but all wanting to share our worlds with you. We’re also a curious bunch and we want this blog to be a vibrant international community where other people share their worlds with us. That’s one of the best parts of Affinity. It has many voices and you just never know what will pop up. We also hope that one of those voices will be yours. We still invite you to share your favourite recipes, photos, arts and crafts with us. You don’t have to be a great photographer or a master artist to contribute. I’m certainly neither of those things.

I would also like to take a minute to acknowledge the founder of Affinity, Caine. This blog was her vision and she always welcomed contributions from her readers. Her voice was always encouraging and it is because of her support that I even dared to try blogging. Caine expressed a desire for rq to become part of this blog and I know that she would be thrilled by the news.

Affinity just became more interesting. I hope you’ll all help me welcome rq.

Harakka Island – Chapter 10

It’s our last day with Ice Swimmer’s series Harakka an Island and we’re back to the port preparing to leave. I’ve enjoyed this series immensely. It’s been like an old-fashioned travelogue and the moving perspectives helped bring the island to life. It’s been so nice to see things from more than one vantage point. I’m a bit saddened that we’re leaving already, but isn’t that just the way it is with any trip…too short and over too soon.  Thank you Ice Swimmer.  It’s been a great adventure and now I’ll let  you lead the way home.


Chapter 10 – Departure


1. Crane, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Now we’re back on the pier. The signal for the boat has been raised (not in the picture), but we have some time take a look at the crane. The other end of our boat trip is the white pier behind the crane.


2. Goodbye Harakka, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The boat is almost here, so all we can do is to take a last look, lower the signaling semaphore (again, not in the picture) and get aboard the boat.

This was our tour (mine in person and yours through these photos) of Harakka in July 2018. We saw some things, but there’s more to the island than this, but that is another story of things that have not happened yet. I actually went to Harakka on two different evenings for these pictures, and I haven’t been there since that. Another time of the day or a cloudy day would show the place in a different light.


Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

The weather has cooled down and it has Jack feeling frisky. He’s been boing-boinging around the house like a puppy and he’s full of mischief and energy. Well, as full of energy as a lazy 10 year old dog can be.  A good walk was definitely called for so we took ourselves to Terracotta Park for a frolic in the woods. A good time was had by all and now Jack is peacefully asleep.

Harakka Island – Chapter 9

We’re back to  Arakka an Island and in this chapter Ice Swimmer takes us to see views east. Off we go…


Chapter 9 – Views East


1. Birches and Särkkä, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

From the front yard of Vellamo, we take another look at Särkkä, also seeing a few birches and the tower of the church in Suomenlinna. The church tower has a dual role as a lighthouse.

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Jack’s Walk

Little blue butterfly


Little blue butterfly with gossamer wings

For once my timing was good. This morning I was taking photos of our sedum turning pink and just as I had my camera ready, this little purple butterfly fluttered into frame and stayed long enough for me to take its picture. That almost never happens for me, mostly because of the impatient and snorfling dog by my side. Anyway, my photo of flowering sedum got an upgrade. I did quick search and I think it may be a female Eastern-Tailed blue butterfly.

Harakka Island – Chapter 8

It’s another chapter of Ice Swimmer’s Harakka an Island.  We’ve climbed down from the top and we’re ready to go. Lead the way Ice Swimmer.


Chapter 8- East Shore to Vellamo


1. A Birch and Särkkä, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A bit to the south of the crossroads, there’s birch and we can see the island Särkkä in the southeast. Särkkä is next to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress and the fortfications in Särkkä were built to support the main sea fortress. Nowadays Särkkä is used by a yacht club as a base and there are two restaurants there.


2. Footprints or Whose Island Part 3, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Also on the eastern shore, webbed feet are quite numerous.


3. Strawberries ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Wild strawberry plants were plentiful, but there were very few berries.


4. Stone Ruin and Vellamo Cottage, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The Vellamo House/Cottage is a nature fairy tale house for kids featuring books and educational play facilities.


5. Entry, Ice Swimmer, ©all rights reserved

This mystery path through the bush starts next to Vellamo.


6. Duckboards or Pitkospuut,  ©all rights reserved

The mystery path features duckboards, in Finnish pitkospuut (free translation: lengthwise planks of wood), to walk on. We don’t (or more like, I didn’t) want to get ticks so, we leave the mystery be a mystery.

Next, we’ll go to the front yard of Vellamo to take a look east.



Tree Tuesday

These photos were sent in by Opus and were taken in a bristlecone pine grove near Lone Pine, California. I think they make a brilliant set. Their beauty is stark and tortured and they evoke feelings of tenderness and vulnerability in me. Well captured, Opus. I’m so glad you shared them. Thanks.

©Opus, all rights reserved

©Opus, all rights reserved

©Opus, all rights reserved

Jack’s Walk

September Daisies, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Pink, ©voyager, all rights reserved

I’ve been waiting for these little daisies to bloom for almost 2 weeks and I’d about given up on them. Every day I’d see one or two small flowers open here or there, but not really together and no big show. Imagine my surprise then this morning finding the whole patch blooming at once with their shiny pink faces cheerfully aimed at the sun. Ha! I say to Autumn…not yet, not yet.