Harakka Island – Chapter 6

It’s time for the next chapter in Ice Swimmer’s series Harakka – an Island. Our guide will take it from here. Thanks, Ice Swimmer.


Chapter 6 – Top of the Island


1. Odd Spruce, Rocks and open sea, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

This view is from the top of the island, towards southeast. I wonder what has happened to the spruce.

[Read more…]

Harakka Island – Chapter 5


It’s time for another chapter in Ice Swimmer’s series Harakka – an IslandThanks again Ice Swimmer. Now, take us away…


Chapter 5 – On the Way to the Top of the Island


Fireweed behind the laboratory, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

We come back from the shore and take a closer look at the fireweed behind the Artists’ Building, the former laboratory. [Read more…]

Harakka Island- Chapter 4

We’re on to chapter 4 of Ice Swimmer’s series, Harakka, an Island and today we’re heading toward the water. I’m always drawn to big, open water and these photos show off the sea beautifully. I’ll let Ice Swimmer fill you in on the details.


Chapter 4 – West

The western shore of Harakka is visible from Uunisaari and one conversation with Nightjar in the comments of a posting with a picture of Harakka from Uunisaari sparked the idea to go and explore the island.


1. Open Sea in the Southwest, ©Ice Swimmer all rights reserved

There is a path from near the northwestern corner of the Artists’ Building to the other side of the earthworks behind the building. The path leads to cliffs on the western shore of Harakka. When looking southwest from the path one can see some islands, but also open sea.

[Read more…]

A tree story

Raucus Indignation sent this in a few weeks ago and I had planned to post it on Tree Tuesday, but I’ve now decided that this submission is about more than just the tree so I’m posting it today instead. I’ll let Raucus explain:

I have many old apple trees around my home.  The property is on an old orchard. This one didn’t survive the winter.  It will be replaced by another apple or maybe a hazelnut in honour of Caine.  I’ll send photos of the new trees once they’re planted.

I’m sorry to hear about the lost apple tree, but I think that planting a new one is the perfect way to remember a friend who loved trees and the birds that make them home. I look forward to seeing the photos of the new tree once it’s planted. Thanks so much for sharing, Raucus.


©Raucus Indignation, all rights reserved

©Raucus Indignation, all rights reserved

©Raucus Indignation, all rights reserved

©Raucus Indignation, all rights reserved

Harakka Island – Chapter 3

It’s time for the next chapter of Ice Swimmer’s series, Harraka – An island. Thanks again, Ice Swimmer. I’ll let you take it from here


Chapter 3 – Former FDF Building


1. Main Door, Former FDF Building, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The building is from 1928 and it used to belong to Finnish Defence Forces and nowadays it is used by artists who can hire studio space for five years at a time there. This is the main entrance.


2. The building and the Birch, © all rights reserved

There is a big birch next to the building.


3. Rusty Ring, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A ring fixed into bedrock next to the building. As for the picture, Caine was definitely an influence for me in this kind of photography.


4. Corner, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

We’re going around the building. This is the northwestern back corner.


5. Backyard and Fireweed, ©Ice Swimmer all rights reserved

There was a lot of fireweed in bloom on the island. Now we’re in the backyard of the Artists’ Building, looking at earthworks built when Harakka was partially fortified.


6. Tractor, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The little tractor is probably used for hauling various things.

7. Chemistry Equipment, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights re

The building was used by the FDF as a chemical laboratory. For that reason, while there were plenty of wild raspberries, strawberries and other berries growing on the island, tasting them didn’t feel too attractive. The building is actually the third site for the FDF Chemical Laboratory. At first, the laboratory was in downtown Helsinki, in the same building that housed the University of Helsinki Chemistry Department and after that in one of the garrisons in Helsinki before it was moved to the island.


8. Whose Island part II, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The ratio of shoes / webbed feet is fairly small.


9. Birch stump, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

At the southwestern corner of the building, there used to be a birch.

Now we have seen the building used by military chemists and subsequently artists and some of its surroundings. Next, we’ll go a back, a bit south in the backyard of the building.

(link to previous post, Harakka an Island: Chapter 2)


Harraka Island – Chapter 2

Today we’re back with Ice Swimmer for the next chapter in his series Harakka, an Island. Thanks, Ice Swimmer. I’ll let you take it from here…


Chapter 2 – Uphill


1. Crossroads, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

In picture 1 we’re looking south. The low wooden building is the brackish water aquarium building. We’re going to go uphill, to our right.


2. Geese Uphill, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A barnacle goose family is blocking our way. They’ve got little ones so the parents may get aggressive.


3. Geese Uphill in More Detail, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A closer look at the geese.


4. Uphill, © all rights reserved

After a bit of an undocumented detour, the goose family is elsewhere so we can try going up the hill. It seems there’s a dead tree at the end of the road.


5. Dead Tree and a Windmill, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Indeed, a dead tree, a lamp post and a windmill/wind turbine. And there are a few gulls.


6. Footprints, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Going up the hill and looking at the gravel, one begins to wonder: “To whom does this island belong?”


7. Building, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The gulls are observing their surroundings and we can see a vaguely neoclassical building.

(link to previous post, Harakka an Island: Introduction)

Harakka Island, Finland

We’re starting a new series today on Affinity, courtesy of Ice Swimmer whose photos are always a delight to receive and to share. This time Ice Swimmer is taking us along on an adventure, one delightful chapter at a time and in the spirit of telling a good adventure story we’ll be posting a chapter every few days. I’ll let Ice Swimmer take it from here.


HARAKKA – An Island


This photo series is dedicated to the memory of Caine. The pictures had been taken while she was still alive, but I didn’t get around to making a writeup, so I never sent these to her and then it was too late.


Chapter 1 – Introduction

Harakka from Kaiva, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Harakka is an island in Helsinki, Finland. It is located in front of the southern end of the Helsinki peninsula. The island is accessible by boat from Kaivopuisto. The introductory picture is taken from the hill Ullanlinnanmäki, the highest point of the park Kaivopuisto. The island has been home for a lighthouse in the 18th century and during 19th and 20th century in military use, until 1989. The buildings in the island were built for the Russian garrison before the independence and for Finnish forces after that.

Now the island is a nature preserve and there is a Nature Centre to educate children at daycare and in schools about the environmental issues, renewable energy, natural history and conservation coastal and archipelago flora and fauna and also further develop said education. A community of artists also uses one of the buildings in Harakka as studio, exhibition and meeting space.

The Finnish name Harakka means magpie. Supposedly something on the island has looked like a magpie. The Swedish name, which is older than the Finnish name is Stora Räntan. In modern Standard Swedish the name would mean “The Large Interest Rate”, but it was probably something else in the local dialect.

[Read more…]

Blade Braider

Earlier this summer Marcus Ranum and Kestrel gifted Caine with a very special knife. Marcus custom made the blade and then sent it on to Kestrel who hand wove a beautiful braided leather handle for it. It was a gift that Caine treasured. Today Kestrel is sharing with us the story of how the handle was created. I’ll let Kestrel take it from here:

Marcus made Caine a knife as a gift, but first he sent it to me so I could cover the handle. I chose to use black and red kangaroo leather. Kangaroo leather is incredibly strong and durable, and I knew that Caine would like that color combo.

©Kestrel, all rights reserved

[Read more…]

A Living Remembrance

Nightjar has sent us photos of a Barberry shrub that she planted in remembrance of Caine. She says:

Here are the photos of the shrub I planted in her memory, it was in such a small pot and badly in need of being planted. The colour red, thorns and berries that attract birds are all things Caine loved, and that’s what made me pick this shrub.

That’s a beautiful way to remember someone, Nightjar. I know Caine would approve. Thanks for sharing.

Barberry shrub, ©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Thorny and Red, ©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Berries, ©Nightjar, all rights reserved

More thorns, ©Nightjar, all rights reserved



Remembering Caine

Descent of Night, ©Caine/Chris Ford, all rights reserved

In April of last year Caine blogged about the creation of this painting, Descent of Night. I fell in love with it instantly and wrote Caine to tell her how much it reminded me of shooting off fireworks at a place called Corner of the Beach. My husband and I do this every year on our anniversary and the colours Caine chose are the colours of the cliffs surrounding the beach. The rich reds and oranges with browns and touches of green. And all those stars are so full of energy, just like fireworks in motion. I asked Caine if it would be possible to get a good quality photograph of the piece and she said yes with no hesitation.

Imagine my surprise when I received a package that was not a photograph, but rather the painting itself. I was dumbstruck. Caine only knew me at that time through a few photo submissions and some comments I’d made on the blog. I was essentially a stranger to her and here she had sent me this incredible piece of art. Imagine! The painting is now a cherished possession of mine. It not only reminds me of fireworks, but also of the kindness and generosity of a stranger who became a treasured friend.

I know many of you also have stories or thoughts about our beloved Caine so we’ve created this thread for you to share them. It will be left open and once I can figure a few things out it will be linked in the sidebar. The rules that Caine put in place still apply. Anything disrespectful will be immediately removed and don’t be an asshole.