Family meeting in 2014

(post first written 11.6.2021)

In March 2014 we gathered together at our home in Espoo with our kids. We had found Iso-orvokkiniitty in February and had decided to buy it if possible. We wanted to know what our children thought about it and what ideas or wishes they might have. We made a mind-map together which you can see on the right.

The mind-map consists mainly of elements that anyone of us envisioned on the new site. The spots are kind of marks of support for the idea. I am picking up some of the ideas.

Our mind map March 2014.
A small trip to the sauna meaning that the sauna should not be in the main house as in modern designs but separate so that you have to go there as a small adventure. Smoke sauna + greenhouse combination.
A meeting place for the extended family. Summer kitchen (meaning a kitchen outside), big room combining kitchen with dining room and living room in the main building called ‘tupa’.
Mushroom cultivation, bees, nuts, wild apples, oak, maple.
Workshops for woodworks, ceramics, garden soil, art.
‘Danish farmer’ meaning the very popular TV series about a Danish farmer striving for self sufficiency on his smallholding.
Self sufficiency.
Place for learning.
Place for resting, yoga and dance.
Big tree for climbing, big swing, climbing wall, wooden tracks constructed in the canopy, nature path.
kayak, rowing boat, fishing, small sailing boat.
Animals: sheep, sheep dog, badger, horse, crabs, pool for perch, hen house, forest garden.
Natural building with natural material from closeby, ecological, firewood heating, log, straw bale clay, reed roof, baking oven.
Kitchen garden, dry toilet outside, compost, raised beds, cellar, big earth cellar, possibility to develop into a herbal doctor.
Stars, telescope
Quiet, no noise of cars.
Homely atmosphere, traditional pole fence.

So it was a rather mixed selection of elements that the family wanted to see in the new place. Not so much about functions (you can guess them from the elements) or needs or answering any questions of why. Important to realise that our children did not live with us any more at this point – they were adults with their own busy life. Some of these elements have been realised so far or will be realised, some not.

Interviewing each other in 2015

On 1st of January 2015 we interviewed each other as customers of a permaculture design for Iso-orvokkiniitty. We had bough the site the pervious June and spent the summer and autumn 2014 mostly at Iso-orvokkiniitty in our caravan. However we still lived in Espoo (Helsinki metropolitan area) and very little had been done at Iso-orvokkiniitty yet.

Here I am translating the main points of the interviews to English:

QMarja interviews ErkkiErkki Interviews MarjaErkki comments 9.5.2021
Who?Erkki 54, entrepreneur couple has been together for over 20 years. Below Erkki is answering the questions. Marja 47, below marja answering to questions. Now 61 and 54 years
What do you think of the current situation?
What works well? The whole is good, location is good. SW facing, different types of forest, fields already in organic, the forest island on the field edge is nice.The place is excellent, easy to access, close to the village. Planning the house in good shape. Survey the forest. Place for kitchen garden excellent. Should grow diversity (species) in the forest, different biotypes. What works: bee hives, summer kitchen, forest, design process, kitchen garden pretty well
What doesn’t work?Water management on the field, drainage in bad shape, no road, no well, no infrastructureWe need a road, more time spent at the site. We should have a process together for doing the permaculture design.
What do we primarily need?a house, road, well, dry toilet, summer kitchen, storage space, electricity during building housemoney, water, road, summer kitchen, storage, more raised beds, dry toilet All ok
Would be also nice:bees, mushroom cultivation, vegetables, forest garden, managing the hazel nut groveto move to Karjalohja, to experiment with straw bale-clay building next summer. Develop the garden, forest garden, growing plants, designing the yard around the house
What are your values and goals?To develop a sustainable lifestyle, also for inspiration for others so that the “world won’t be destroyed”. Values of sustainability. Giving nature value as such. Respect nature, not intervening, harmony not exploitation, However somehow we need to live and make a living. Interest in the marginal, value minor things that others don’t notice. Thinking about the effects of what we do.
Goals: harmony with nature, Do Nothing à la Fukuoka. Understand natural cycles so to know what we are doing.
Humble in front of natures richness and diversity.
OccupatonA sales person for organic food travelling around the world. Worried of my ecological footprint. Want to find a balance. Wondering about the worldErkki: the same except no travelling due to covid.
Marja: permaculture garden design
Income (on farm and external)In the near future income will come from external business, roughly x0000 € per year (our 2 salaries). Slowly to develop income from the farm: target 40-50000 € from f.ex. bees, mushroom cultivation, cultivation (fermented products), baking, courses etcVery little at the momentErkki’s business is the same; Marja’s business starting; income from the farm very small.
External resourcesKnow-how, capacity to learn, entrepreneurial way of thinking, marketing and sales skills. Know-how and professionalism (agriculture), time, money from selling the previous home, caravan, computers and software, children and their knowhow
How much time do you use on the site?What is left over a full-time job can be used to develop the site. quite a lot, at least half my working time. During construction will be practically all time
Transport and travelNow driving by car from Espoo (90km). After we have moved visiting principle companies (business) and getting to airport. Developing sales from the site: direct sales, web-shop (sending stuff)Now commuting from Espoo – we should move to Karjalohja. No need to commute to work. Possible to get by bus to Helsinki.
Hobbies and interestsNature, the world (reading, trying to understand), photography, sustainable development and food systems, organics, permaculture, self-sufficiency in energy, natural materials, history and cultureDogs, handcrafts (using natural materials) growing plants, observing nature, seeds (collecting, exchanging)
Food habbitsLargely plant based, flexitarian, organic, oils, spices, garlic, health benefits of food, superfoods, tasty and easymostly plant based
Growing foodGoal is to produce ourselves. Some experience in cultivation. Diverse crops, local exchange. Also nice to have animals: chicken, ducks, sheep As much as possible by ourselves. Some things will be necessary to buy: oils, grain, Yosa, chocolate. Diet very important (heartburn, health) Food self-sufficiency still small but growing.
Regular visitorsChildren with spouses, family, my mother, my brother and family, old and new friends. More visitors than in Espoo. children, mother-in-law
Personal limiting factors
What prevents reaching goals?Lack of time, lack of money to some extent, lack of know-how (f.ex. construction), tendency to do things alonefinancials: must earn money
health: tired, feeling bad, no energy, physically not able to do so heavy work. Must still live in Espoo. performing everyday chores
Personal resources, Vision, goal, inspiration, experience, networks, time, energy, skills, etc– To quit the business & travel and develop a more self-sufficient lifestyle including some income from the farm in order to service the house loan.
– In 10 years most income should be from the farm.
– a vision of a diverse self-sufficient whole, permaculture design, forest garden
– experience and knowledge in food industry and farming where has seen a lot of different things; knows what could work and what can be done
– experience as a bakery entrepreneur
to find balance in life,
close connection to nature.
fields, farming: I have always liked but should be done so that it feels good and right.
observing nature and its forms (f.ex. Gaudi) inspire, biomimicry.
ecological building, garden, bohemian
What is the financial resources for the project?own money (with Marja) 150000€, from business 50000€, bank loan for house 300000€ ≈ 500000 €total: own money 150000 of which 120000 to buy the site. bank loan 2-300000 €Remaing bank loan ≈ c100000€
MaintenanceDesign goal that the site makes income enough to cover the maintenance. in 10 years financially self sufficient
About the Site
How long will you stay?50 yearsrest of my life
Ownershipowned together with Marja
Security at the siteNo known threats. Our capability to service the bank loan, continuity of business income, maintaining healthmain thereat that we couldn’t pay the bank loan, No external projects pose a threat that we would know of.
Storagefirewood, logsfirewood, logs for mushroom, seed,
from neighbours: manure, straw
stock (building logs)
Storage space has been built
Unused yields nuts, rowan berries, wood from fallen trees (should be left for biodiversity)nuts, twigs, rotten trees, mushroom (Armillaria borealis), rowan berries, herbs
Animalsbees (13 hives), 3 dogs, In the nature: dear, insects, fox, badger, rabbit, lynx. in future: chicken, ducksbees, dogs, birds, squirrels, moles, deer, rabbit Bees, one dog, wildlife (too many deers)
Site historyWe don’t know a lot. The fields have been a long time in organic lay (20 years?). The building site has been logged in early 1990’s after which Aminoff’s had bought it. Old farm house north from us we don’t know a lot, apparently parcelled out of a bigger farm. farmhouse where Nk is now, fields been permanent lay for decades
Local resources and servicesKarjalohja village 2 km from here with basic services, Enäjärvi saw mill, a tryffel farm, grape farm (greenhouse), several organic farmers with direct sales, local people, Puujärvi-lake, about 2000 summer residents, all surrounding fields are organic the village 3 km from here: supermarket, service station. pharmacy, bank, library, flea market
Lohja 30 km from here: bus several times per day.
Like minded people.
Bank was closed
RestrictionsFields: heavy clay, wet. Can we get permission to build on farm land? Possibility to buy more field, forest? Buidling permission and rules, we own the site 50-50 which makes decisions difficult, field drainage in bad shape, clay field challenging to create a garden, no connection possible to the main road
Road rightsNot possible to get road directly to Karjalohja main roadwould be good to get connection to main roadHappy with connection to Varkalahdentie
NeighboursWe don’t know them except Px, we have met Nk to the north once. We are planning an open doors event for neighbours in the spring. we don’t know neighbours yet, can be wondering both ways, we know quite a few people in the community but not the close neighbours.
Energy sources and storage/ soil resourcesFirewood for heating house, sauna and greenhouse, drying, barbecuing. Must use less than annual growth of the forrest. Solar, wind for electricity. Clay from the field for building the house. wind, sun, geothermal
clay in our field, sand must be brought in.
Off-grid. Winter electricity partly with petrol generator
Loss of energy and resourcesThe farmer harvests the biomass from the field for his animals. We get some manure back. Water, ponds, reservoirs water: store and use rainwater, solar, wind
Problems in designProcess of designing and planning not managed well. Difficult to see the zones apart from the house, where to place other constructions.
Detailed budget not done, how much money for other projects than house.? How to use the field?
Surrounding of house should be designed
Location of workshop, windmill, well, parking place,
Design the house, garden and “forest island” into a good whole
Permaculture design still “under construction”
Schedule of design – SMART [specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, time-bound]Permaculture design ready by end of March.
Land use, activities, when to start. Building the house 2 years.
Spring 2015: road, well;
Summer 2015: summer kitchen, storage,
autumn 2015: the house has a roof.
Container? Barrel sauna?
Finalised next autumn / in a year
– frame and roof of house
– road, well
– summer kitchen, dry toilet
– workshop
– practising gardening: what is needed in 2016
– design ready for forest garden, greenhouse
– mushroom cultivation, bees
– plan for educational activities
– relationships with neighbours
Permaculture design and Educational plan still “under construction”
Other plansNukes from the beehives => & hives
Inoculate 100 logs with mushroom
Take about 20 trees down in the hazelnut grove for mushrooms
facilities for holding courses: catering, accommodation, camping on the fields, taking fields for our own use, constructing the road, making a pondfacilities for courses mostly still not here.

Reading the interviews six years later, it seems we had relatively realistic expectations and a lot of what we planned has been realised. The house was built pretty much as planned and scheduled and we have lived here since spring 2018. Now we need to do the interview again.

Holistic Management Statement of Purpose, January 2016

In 2015 I got interested in Holistic Management and in January 2016 we formulated our Holistic Management Statement of Purpose:

  • Develop sustainable and ecological lifestyle that is suitable for us.
  • Create in Iso-orvokkiniitty an ecological whole that is as healthy and biodiverse as possible and that offers us possibility to thrive and a good quality of life in harmony with nature and our surroundings.
  • Act in open interaction with our surrounding society.

We made a Quality of Life table analysis (we did this in Finnish but I am trying to translate as closely as possible):

Quality of LifeBehaviours and systems
Life close to nature, in harmony with nature.Live in the countryside, ecological life, nurturing a ecological system, renewable energy, learning about nature
HealthNurturing our own life vitality?
– living space that supports wellbeing and healtha healthy ecological house
– healthy diverse local food that we have produced ourself, wild food, medicinal plants and mushroomproduce and prepare our food
– not too much work and stresstime planing, self regulating systems, effective use of resources
– secure finances even when pensioned and oldpensions, forest garden, effective use of resources, invest in minimising future costs
– income from activities that match our valuesdesign services, education, experiences, sales of extra production
– openness, interaction and respectoperate in an “open-source” manner, share knowledge and wisdom
– harmony with nature as a part of the Iso-orvokkiniitty wholeall activity relates to Iso-orvokkiniitty – dependency in Kurmakka (our business) income to be reduced
sovereigntyself-sufficiency, sovereignty from institutions, direct sales
self-sufficiency (as mush as is reasonable)food, energy, mobility, health
Spiritual well-being
– a mode of production that supports spiritual well-beingactions in harmony with our values
– possibility to focus on things that interest and inspire“free time”
– possibility for silence, calming down and rest“free time” aesthetics
– create our own traditions (calendar celebrations – vuodenaikajuhlat)create celebrations and spiritual “holy” places
Social well-being
– offer others the possibility to experience and take partcreate surroundings that enable people to come and take part, trainees, volunteers, b&b, courses, workshops.
Social media and other media
– opennesscommunicate openly what we are doing and why
– care for our close onesspace for parents, children and other family to come and be
– Erkki’s business (Kurmakka)
– networking for Iso-orvokkiniitty: travel together
– not depending on Erkki to be always present
– sometimes it must be possible that we both are away
– A model for a sustainable and ecological lifestyle
– A healthy and diverse ecological whole
– Harmony with nature and our surroundings
– to do a permaculture design and act according to permaculture principles
– nurture our surrounding nature
– Act in open interaction with the society around us– take part in developing a sustainable local ecology and culture
– participate in developing the permaculture movement in Finland and beyond
– offer inspiration to the wider society for developing a more ecological and sustainable lifestyle.
VISION: How to act
We are open, receptive and respect each other
We participate in local activities– to start a local permaculture learning circle
– to develop local economy
– participate in the local nature conservation association

My feeling is that our thinking has remained largely the same even though a lot has happened between our interviews in January 2015 and the Statement of purpose in January 2016 and now (June 2021). Now in May and June 2021 we interviewed each other again on video. Next I will go through those interviews and take the main points into a “Vision and Purpose 2” posting. We will need to review the Holistic Management Statement of purpose as well (actually that should be reviewed every year but we have not done that).