Every working day starts with the smell of dogshit.This is my perception at least. The good point is in this climate zone everything which touches the ground get frozen quickly. Once turned to ice it is nearly odourless and the only thing that lasts is the admittedly unsavory appearance. But this is something one get used to soon. We clean the fences always in pairs: One breaks the dog poop with a spade out of the ice and snow and the other gather it up with a rake and a kind of big dustpan. Cleaning after the dogs is actually one of the nicest work of the day. Sounds a little awkward, but it is actually relaxing. One can switch off its brain and just do. while cleaning we check if the dogs are all ok. We ask them to leave their houses and greet us. Most of the dogs are waiting for us yet. They like our equipement- I guess it smells interesting- and it is the only moment of the time when there is minute to muck around with them and stay some extra minutes with ones favourite dogs. They are happy to get your attention and play, jump and watch intensively how we do with our cleaning tools. Some of the hairy darlings have the annoying habit to jump at my back while I'm showeling their shit. I'm standing yet in dog poop,still somebody wishes to kick me in my ass. :)
I noticed that my teammembers have a tool they prefer: I'm definitely a 'spade-girl'. To break the frozen surface keeps me warm. Especially for really cold days I would always recommend the spade. But gathering up has the advantage that you can cuddle the dogs a little longer, because you have to wait until the 'ice-breaker' finishes.
The fences are arranged along a corridor. On the right side live all the male dogs and the fences on the left side are inhabited by the females. I guess this division has a certain background. In any case it helps me a lot, because most of the names are so strange to me- I'm not able to identify the sex of a dog just by the sound of its name.
But to come back to the topic, I noticed that my teammates seem to have also their favourite side when it comes to cleaning. Some girls tend to go straight to the female part. Meanwhile the most fast male ice-breaker always starts at the right side where the males live... Who knows why...
I was wondering a couple of days ago why the fences are so low. Today somebody mentioned that in summer they are over 2 meters tall. I totally forgot about the one important fact: The under part vanished in the snow we are walking on in this days. Furthermore I was told that it is soon about to become a problem, since the dogs actually get easily out of their fences. I'm curious when they will start to introduce countermeasures.
One of the girls I was living with for the last two weeks is about leave. She has been here for nearly 2 month and has become a valuable member. Most of the things I know yet I learned from her (that her English is better then the language skills of most of the others could be significant in this case, too). I will miss her.
We had a nice conversation a couple of days ago about how she finished here at the Erä-susi farm. As a student of an outdoor-wilderness school that trains future wildlife guides she had to absolve an internship. I never heard about such a school in North- Germany. Probably because their is no need for. Despite of winter sports North-Finland has to offer friendly, cheerful company, sauna, beautiful landscapes, national parks and ...yeah.. that's it! A paradise for outdoor fans, who in any case need professional guides to enjoy the Finns' nature heritage without endangering it or themselves. She told me that most of the time the students learn the things they have to know in a practical way, which means: skiing, fishing, learning about flora and fauna etc....to sum up skills and knowledge one could need to survive out there and protect what the Finns' love-their nature! The awareness of where they live and what they live of is iindeed remarkable. I really love my home region and I would consider myself deeply connected to this place I call home. But according to my impression what the Finns' feel and do for their home is something which goes even deeper. They love what they do, but also because they have the 'privilege' to do it right here. It feels intense and authentic - this has nothing to do with ecological movements, alternative life style ideas etc. which seems to be a trend in Germany right now.It seems to be even nothing you have to loose a loads words about, but when they speak about...how they speak about touched me!
It's a pitty that I found out about her skills so late- I would have loved to learn a lot more about.
Yesterday evening we had the pleasure to be guests of Mr. and Mrs. Wolf in order to say goodbye to our leaving team member and to be welcomed for those who just arrived here. I can't get used to the prices in Finland- everything is soooo expensive compared to what I'm used to. We had a really nice and cozy evening and I'm really grateful for their hospitality. Thanks to the great atmosphere among the people living and working here I feel already somehow at home.
Knowledge of the day: "Take less snow and more shit!"
If you want to see the light, than look for the shadows.