Finnish Ham from Savo
My husband and I have very different Christmas traditions because we come from opposite sides of the great Atlantic Pond. As should be wicked clear by now, I am from New England…. My husband, is from loosely five hours into the center of Finland from Helsinki. The Savo region, comes with it’s own strange accent that you come to recognize if you spend enough time talking to Finnish people from around the nation. Our cultural differences impact how we celebrate holidays. Down to the activities, when you do different holiday things…. And even what foods you eat.In my family, it was always turkey and an almost replay of thanksgiving. My husband learned about thanksgiving from a text book in school. The book called it, “kiitospaiva.” Which translates to thanks day, and no such holiday of a similar nature exists in Finland. Our thanksgiving and halloween, at one time for him weren’t things he celebrated, they were stories in strange american movies and books… He goes home every year to his parent’s place, they play board games, hang out, sauna a lot…. My mother in law, produces this amazing dinner on Christmas eve, a huge ham….. I am trying to get used to this new tradition…. Just as I am getting used to watching the Christmas Peace get declared, and opening presents after dinner rather than on Christmas day morning…. I watch him amused by all my Christmas music, and our strange Christmas movie obsession, and he tries to get used to my turkey.
We may not share Christmas traditions, but we are having a great time learning to honor each other’s. It causes a lot of growth. And as the year is coming to a close, I wanted to stop for a moment to think of family far from the farm. I will never forget my first Finnish Christmas, and that incredible ham.
From my mother in law’s kitchen in Savo Finland, to our Wildflower Farm Christmas Eve dinner table, to the blog…. And finally, to you…. A Christmas gift from Wildflower Farm.
Put ham in the oven at about 200-230 degrees. Cook ham till inner tempature is 165-175 about half hour to 45 mins per pound. At the end, cover it in mustard and bread crumbs put it back in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.
My husband spent all day baking his ham for dinner tonight…. I was starving by the time it was ready to eat. The smell…………. I don’t know how to describe it…. It was beautiful.
It has been a lovely, quiet, peaceful evening… The crackle of magic lays thick in the air… But it is soothing now, not exciting fading into the New England night…. Almost as if it never was…. And I could accept that, except the lingering smell of the ham and the warmth I feel, the little light inside that doesn’t switch off, it keeps the memory alive causing us to look forward to future holidays.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
Amanda of Wildflower Farm
Tags: agriculture, agro, airbnb, B&B, back yard chickens, bed and breakfast, BnB, central mass, Christmas, Christmas Ham, Christmas in New England, farm, Farm Holiday, farm wife, farmer, farming, farmstead, Finnish Christmas Ham, Finnish Food, Finnish ham recipe, food, goats, holidays, homestead, homestead farm, homestead wife, homesteader, homesteading, lodging, massachusetts, metro west, new england, old fashioned christmas, recipe, scandinavian christmas, scandinavian christmas dinner, Scandinavian Christmas Ham, scandinavian ham recipe, wildflower, wildflower farm
Wildflower Farm, is a small New England homestead, B&B and AirBnB, in the Baystate. We came out here 7 years ago, when we returned from the better part of 10 years as peripatetic aristotelian nomads, for my husband's post docs. Upon our return, we had a plan. We had a lovely home. Everything was so clear. Then, I got sick. Things I used to eat all the time during our travels elsewhere in the world and even here before I left almost 10 years earlier made me ill. It took a couple trips to the ER and a trip to specialist... It became clear, something had changed in the way food is processed in this country since last I lived here. Some off label things was inevitably going to be my demise.
My husband and I looked around to see the clear path we were on, had exploded in front of us. We decided we had to create a new path for ourselves. We put children on hold. We found a small piece of land with a house we loved in a rural suburb in a right to farm area. I began researching how to do it ourselves. Grow it ourselves, make it ourselves, survive on our own as much as possible. We bought the property, and began plotting a new course. One that didn't involve off label chemicals. Closer to nature, with a lot more DIY, gardens, and animals for the products they provide. We created a life we loved though it hasn't always been easy and has of course come with compromise with each other, and even with ourselves.
Our family thought we had lost our minds. What were we doing leaving the city? We had no idea how hard this would be. They thought we would be back in 6 months. That was over 7 years ago, now. We have been making it work. They were not wrong, it isn't easy. But has anything worth doing ever been easy? And for us, avoiding as much store bought food as possible was simply necessary so I could live given how sick I was getting.
Then Covid hit.... We were lucky to have this place. It has allowed us a lot less need for public use territories which has kept us a lot safer and spared us much of the risk others face daily. This place, has given us a privilege through this of great meaning to us. To be of use in a difficult time. We have been able to help friends family and even strangers in need when things couldn't be found on store shelves. Or money was tight due to not working, rent being due and a child at home, or some other draining situation. We are so very grateful to have been able to not be helpless like so much of society through this miserable time. Our families, got used to it some time ago, us being out here. They made peace with it the day there was no bread and they had to ask me for some. Or when fresh vegies were rotten due to supply chain issues but they could find plenty in my garden.
Wildflower Farm, was a place I dreamed of. One of those sweet pastoral dreams a city dweller grows up knowing will never come true, that became unavoidable when I became ill. I never expected to get to do this. I never thought I had what it takes to make this work. I have learned pacing myself is important, compromise is critical, hard work never ends, burn out is real so breaks are just a necessary evil.
We are not fully self sufficient, but we work hard in that direction as we create a new path through life for ourselves, always reaching to do even more ourselves and to get closer to the ideal we envision. We are however far more self sufficient than many in this world. 7 years in, we continue to learn and grow in this homesteading lifestyle. We welcome comments and advice and ideas and questions.
We welcome visitors from all over to our home with strict covid policies in place. We spend our time learning to live all over again in a more environmental and sustainable way though even there we are far from perfect always learning and growing doing better as we know better.
This little homestead farm is a magical place named for the New England wildflowers that grow all around. A place where a physicist, watches the night sky on clear nights with the aide of mirror and glass, and a woman, works endlessly in the gardens, the kitchen, and a variety of projects to create and to keep a very unique life style running and functioning. Wildflower Farm, has become so much more than simply a piece of land we can grow a few vegetables on. The longer I spend here, the more alive the land seems, the more I learn about it's function and the more meaning it has. My place in the universe and the next steps on our new path become ever more clear.
We welcome you on this journey with us.