kareina: (Default)
2017-07-23 08:46 pm

Home from Hägnan

Now I am home from the event, everything is put away or hanging up to air, showered, and in bed before 21:00. The short version of the event is, as my friend Linda said as she was leaving site "...the best Hägnan yet". With luck I will have the energy to post why I agree beforeI forget the details.
kareina: (Default)
2017-07-17 12:28 pm

still haven't ordered that new computer

We got home from our time working on Gustaf's landscaping project on Wednesday evening, which gave us Thursday to recover. David and I sat down with the internet and looked at some options for a replacement computer (which, if I get one, probably means I won't go to the states to visit my sisters in October due to the costs involved), but rather than ordering one straight away, I instead went to my office and brought home my work computer (which is what I am using at the moment). We have a thing in our Dropbox folder that I can use to log into our server and thus access the files from my computer which are backed up there, so it has been working well enough for now. After the Medieval days at Hägnan event I will figure out what I want to do--if we should just fix the old one (he thinks a new hard drive would solve the issues, but it would still be an old computer with a new hard drive, and I don't actually have disks for the operating system, only the programs), or if I will buy a new one, or what.

Friday we drove down to Skellefteå for their Medieval Days event. This is the first time they have done this--they have a lovely site on a small island in the river, accessible via a foot bridge, and I think it will make a great annual event. I would have loved to have participated the full week, but I was also glad to have the time to work on projects for the house (working at Gustaf's counts as working at our place, since he put in so many hours on our landscaping first, so it is a good trade). It was kinda rainy on Friday, and I spent most of the day working on a nålbindning project while sitting in the pavilion of a cute Norwegian merchant (from whom I purchased some fur that looks good with the grey/black diamond twill wool I bought last year at Visby). Caroline had to work on Saturday, and the others were ready to head home earlier than I had expected. I considered just staying--one of the autocrats tried to convince me that even though I hadn't registered for the event I was very welcome--they have room in the crash space tent, and plenty of vegetarian food available. I considered it, but decided it was wiser to head home and accomplish stuff.

Since heading home we have:

* started painting the south side of the house (it has needed it for quite some time)
* did the hand-smoothing of the dirt on the terrace (which we will probably cover over with some sort of concrete or stone tiles, depending on what we find at a reasonable price) to make a nice outdoor entertainment area that doesn't need to be mowed (it would be bothersome to carry a mower down the steps to the terrace anyway)
* built a base for the support frame for the earth cellar roof (out of some birch trees that he cut down over near the shed on the bottom half of the property as they were in the way of the road that his bother put in)
* cleaned out the container
* bought some shelf support brackets (which he has welded into place inside the container)
* started power-sanding the wooden floor of the container (in hopes of getting the smell of old spilled oil out of it)
* done some baking for Hägnan

Now it is Monday and David has returned to work. I have started packing for the event, and will return to that momentarily. Tomorrow we go set up, and then we spend the rest of the week alternating between educating the public about the middle ages during the day, and enjoying an SCA event in the evening.
kareina: (Default)
2017-07-11 02:58 pm

It might be time for a new computer

I bought my personal computer while living in Italy, so more than seven years ago now. Some months back it started having issues with being painfully slow to turn on or off, so I got into the habit of just leaving it on all the time and only restarting if it was really necessary.

Then it it a time when it was also painfully slow to do anything in it, so David hooked up one of his machines to it and used SpinRite on it, and we did a few other things I don't recall, and it started behaving better. However, it still took ages to restart, so I continued to leave it on all of the time.

However, it was necessary to turn it off before packing it up to bring along when we headed south to Gustaf's house. All was well with it when I turned it on for the first time after we got here, and I was able to update my logs without any issues, after which I turned it off, packed it up and put it back into the camping trailer in which we are sleeping.

Yesterday mor I realized that it is time to turn in my Chatelaine's repot, and so got the computer back out, turned it on, and found it frustratingly slow to respond. I managed to write the report anyway, but had to keep pausing to let it catch up with displaying the previous words before giving it new ones. Then I introduced my computer to the house WiFi and tried logging in to Gmail. I don't know if it was my computer's molasses like speed or issues with the WiFi, but it couldn't manage to display Gmail. So I restarted the computer and tried again, but couldn't actually get anywhere. I couldn't even convince me to let me open Word to look at the report again. After a couple more re-starts I decided that I had had enough and used my phone to send a "report will be late" note and put the computer back into its bag.

This morning I tried again to turn it on, and have discovered that if I push one button or give it one key-stroke command and walk away for some minutes that it has done the task and is ready for the next task when I return. So I have, over the course of a couple of hours, managed to copy that report to a usb and tried to copy my logs. However, it wants to know if I really want to copy those files without their properties, and I have no idea why it thinks that it should discard the properties.

Ordinarily I could have David look at it and solve the problem, but while he is working 15 to 17 hour days on the great landscaping projects of 2017 that isn't an option.

Perhaps it is time to go look at it again and see if it has accomplished that last copying. Or I could check to see if the boys have any tasks I could help with outside (there are some, sometimes, but usually one to drive the digger, one to drive the tractor and one to move the measuring pole with its mini surveying computer into place to check the height of the working surface is enough).
kareina: (Default)
2017-07-11 12:29 am

Its after midnight and they are still at it

Those Granberg boys sure have an amazing work ethic. They started working this morning somewhere between 07:30 and 08:00, and other than two brief breaks for meals and one short coffee break they have been going all day. I tried luring them in for the evening a bit before 23:00 by telling them I had baked coffee cake, but they replied that they didn't want to stop for the day till they finished leveling the part where the new garage will be built.
kareina: (Default)
2017-07-09 09:59 pm

...and today we filled ditches

The boys didn't quit on the landscaping project last night till 00:30, and they got up again at 07:00 and have been at it all day (other than a couple of short breaks to eat) and show no signs of stopping any time soon. This is their vacation!

I helped out on several occasions today, for a total of 4.5 hrs, David and I put drainage pipes into ditches and covered over them with gravel so that Per could later use the digger to fill the ditches in with dirt and rocks.

Prior to moving to Sweden I never had much occasion to shovel dirt or gravel. Now I have tossed enough shovel fulls of gravel that I am getting reasonably efficient at it, and have even learned to switch which hand is on the handle and which on the shaft.

Other than shoveling I have managed to catch up my logs, visit with Jenny (Gustaf's wife) get cuddles from two of their cats (of four), drive to the store for snacks, read a chapter in a book, do my yoga, and some nålbinding. Don't I have such an exciting life? Two or three more days of this before we head home.
kareina: (Default)
2017-07-08 11:13 pm

From wizarding world to ditch digging

Friday morning David and I spent cleaning up a bit at home and packing and organizing things to take with us. He focused on getting stuff put away from the landscaping projects and I caught up on things like vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom. I also vacuumed the inside of Styx, since that car is big enough (when the back seats are out) to put a mattress in it, which I did, and then added pillows and doona as well, and the covered the nest with a wool blanket to keep it clean, and then I added one bag of costume for the larp, one of clean modern clothes for the next several days, one full of sewing projects, one with my comp, another of yardwork clothes, and one of the soft sided ice chests full of food to take with me.

Then he added his bags, and we were off. He drove us the two hours south to his brother's house, where I left him, then I drove 55 minute northwest to the Larp village, where the larp had already been on going for more than 24 hours.

I parked in a small sand/gravel quarry in a spot that looked like it would have shade most of the time, changed into costume, packed a few useful things into a small bag, and walked down the path to the Larp village. Upon my arrival I asked, in English, the first person I saw to please direct me to Academia Octavia. When she told me I had found it I expressed surprise, and wondered where the castle was, but then recovered, introduced myself as Inspector Montgomery from the European Commission for Magical Education, and asked to be taken to the Head Master, which she did. I gave the Head Master my card as I introduced myself, and let him know that I was there to conduct a routine acrediation check and proceeded to pepper him with questions about the academy, his personal qualifications, etc. He eventually got rid of me by taking me out to interview his teachers, who were relaxing at the tables outside waiting for dinner to be served. I had time to interview several of them, in a very brisk manner. Till I got to the teacher of magical energies, who after answering a few questions told me "you sound stressed, here take this rock, which has been filled with calming energies". At which point I agreed that I had been pushing too hard recently, this was my third school inspection this week, and instead of standing, looming over her, notebook in hand, asking about her qualifications, I sat down next to her on the bench and admired the rock, and how one could see the different levels of energy contained in the different layers of the rock (a nicely river-rounded stone that probably started out as a mudstone before undergoing some low level metamorphism and being cut by a series of small quartz veins). We chatted pleasantly for a bit before I wandered off, at a much more relaxed pace, to interview some of the other staff members. The school nurse had trained under Florence Nightingale herself, and served in the Korean war before taking the post as a school nurse, as it would be"less bloody".

Not long after dinner I found myself sitting on the front steps of one of the houses, chatting with one of the PhD students about his research, when the Head Master asked us to step asside so that he could use the porch as a speaking platform.

He then proceed to present two little girlls with a very large hammer as some sort of school honour, and then tried to perform some sort of ritual magic, which failed, so he called for his assistant to fetch him the chest containing the stone of magical power which is the basis for being able to have this school of magic at all.

Of course, when they opened the box it was empty, and the students were dismissed and the teachers summoned to an emergency meeting to decide what to do in this crises.

About that time I realized just how tired I was from several very long days of cooking for the guys doing landscaping, and I decided that the Inspector needed to hurry off to a meeting herself, and I went back to the car, crawled into that nest and went to sleep (at 19:55!) for a couple of hours, then got up, did my yoga for the day and went back to bed. I arrived back at the school the next morning in good time for the classes. The first period had five classes, so I spent just a few minutes in each. Some of the teachers paused their lectures to explain to me in English what they were doing, others just carried on as if I weren't there.

During the second period I started in the care of magical creatures course, where I didn't catch the name of the creature, but I had no problems understanding when the teacher explained that they are fond of fruit and can thus sometimes be lured forth with an offer of grapes and cherries.

She then lead the students (and I) off intothe forest and up the hill, where we actually found a magical creature! Oh, sure, a cynical observer could see that it was just a human in a (very good) costume pretending to be a creature, but the actress had "act like a timid creature who loved fruit" down very well, and it was really quite believable, and I think the kids enjoyed it. I certainly did, and wound up spending most of that hour with that class.

The day ended with the Head Master revealing that he had suspected one of the staff members of conspiring against him, and had this hidden the stone himself to try to trick the guilty party into revealin themselves. Then he hadthe school nurse give all the teachers in turn a truth serum and asked them if they had conspired against the academy. They all passed the test, but when the school attorney took his turn he admittedtjat he had, and ran into the building to try to get away. But the head master and atudents were too quick for him, and working in unison they all cast the spell to turn the guilty lawyer into a coffee pot, and with so many working together, the spell worked, even through the closed door, and the school was saved, and the larp ended. Good thing, too, else my poor inspector would have had to spend the rest of the day filling out her report, in triplicate.

Instead I returned to David's brother's house and spent a couple of hours helping him with hand-finishing ta drainage ditch (the digger had been used to start it, but to get it exactly the correct level to add the drainage pipes needed carefully adding back just the perfect smount of dirt).

By then I was too tired to do more and went into the house to do my yoga. Then I kept them company as they atea late meal before crawling into bed and typing this. But now it is after 23:00 and I can no longer keep my eyes open, though I can still here the boys out there working.
kareina: (Default)
2017-07-06 01:25 pm

The next day and a half of landscaping

As I mentioned on Tuesday's post, the guys went back out after dinner and continued working, and didn't come back in to the house till after 23:00. Therefore they opted to sleep in on Wednesday, and we didn't get up till around 07:00. Once again we worked all day and then some--this time they weren't done till after midnight! I participated a little with outside work (transplanting berries, setting in stone steps, etc.), but spent much of the day inside the house cooking food for them to eat on their rare breaks.

Wednesday's yard-work accomplishments, roughly in order of accomplishment (some things happened at the same time, others happened in tandem--a bit of one, a bit of the other, etc.):

* clean out ditch at edge of field
* transplant more smultrons from area by shed
* dig up really big rock from the field
* look at, and re-bury an even bigger rock in the field
* put really big rock on top of the buried even bigger rock, so that no one ever tries plowing over that one* dig up two remaining bushes by shed and set in small tractor scoop for later replanting on other side of the house
* surround earth cellar with large rocks to support the dirt that will go over it* dig trench for earth cellar ventilation system
* install earth cellar ventilation pipes and bury them
* level area between shed and earth cellar
* dig down and level the start of a new terrace on the far side of the earth cellar between birch trees and raspberry patch
* set large rocks around the curve at the edge of the terrace to keep higher part of lawn from collapsing onto the terrace
* set/dig in stone steps to get from the upper lawn to the terrace
* start piling dirt and rocks between the earth cellar walls and the ring of stones
* use large rocks and dirt fill obtained from leveling elsewhere to extend the terrace several meters out towards the field
* extend the terrace extension along the side of the hill a bit and then down to create a place the digger can drive down off of the terrace


I was especially pleased with the steps. On Tuesday when I briefly watched him working on leveling the area behind the sheds, when he was at the stage of "use the grasping attachment for the digger to pick up the big rocks and put them in the trailer to be hauled away" stage there was one stone which caused me to say "oh, that would make a lovely addition to a set of stone stairs!", but, of course, I didn't expect to see it again, since there are so very many big stones, and they were being dumped in a pile and most would go into fill where needed.

However, as luck would have it, he happened to dump that particular load at the edge of the temporary pile or rocks, and that stone happened to fall directly onto the grass, with nothing else atop it. I saw it there early in the day, and made a mental note of it. They found a couple of other nice stones for steps when digging the terrace area, and set them aside for use as soon as we had the terrace flattened and ready for that part. While they were doing the the final bits of finishing the part of the terrace right next to the upper yard, packing dirt around the big stones that mark the transition area I took the rock-carrying cart down to the field and tried putting the stair step I had noticed onto it. Of course, it turns out to be just out of my ability to move on my own, so I waited till they had set in their first step (which is much longer than mine) and then asked David to help me fetch the one I had chosen. It was small enough that he was able to roll it onto the cart, and then we used the little drive-on lawnmower tractor (which, these days, is only a tiny tractor, as the thing that covers the blades has rusted off, and until he has time to fix it we can't use it as a lawn mower--so he removed the blades, too) to pull the cart up the hill to the stairs in progress. The rock was just large enough (and the ride on mower just small enough) that I needed to walk behind the cart and push in order to make it up the hill.

My chosen step is kinda triangular with a nice flat top and bottom, and one edge is a very nice width to make a good middle step, so we set it over their first step, with the point of the triangle dug into the hill behind the steps. Then we tried setting their rectangular third stair step on top of my triangle, just far enough back to leave a step-width of the triangle showing. However, this meant that the top step was 2 to 3 inches too tall compared to the nice level upper lawn. (Ok, upper packed & level dirt area, right now, but plants will grow on it, even if we don't encourage them.) Around the same time they found another, slightly smaller rectangle stone that would make a good step, but even it was just a bit too tall to stand atop my step.

Therefore I suggested that, since my step was triangular in shape, we just dig away enough dirt to set both of the rectangles behind the triangle, and we would have a bi-directional access to that step. Both David and Gustaf thought that there were too many rocks to bother digging anything, and they both moved on to other tasks. Undaunted, I first dug a place for the larger of the two top steps, and started trying to get the stone into it. Seeing me struggling with it, Gustaf came over and helped me set it into place, and it was a perfect fit--the length of the rectangle is exactly as long as that side of the triangle. Then we both noticed that it isn't a perfect rectangle (no surprise there, it is a stone!), but the edge towards where the other rectangle should go happens to be curved, and (this is the good part), the other rectangle happens to have a curved edge on the side that should face this one--at the two curves are perfectly complimentary! So we dug in the spot for the second stone, and, sure enough, its long straight edge is exactly as long as the side of the triangle of the step below it needs to sit against, and the two curves where the top two stones meet match up perfectly. I love it when that happens.

Part of the reason things went so late last night was the fact that sometime shortly after 18:00 the hydraulic cable that controls the digger's ability to use the grasping extension broke (normal wear and tear). Of course, both of the shops in town that sell such replacement parts for diggers close at 18:00, so we were out of luck and all large stones from then on had to be lifted by wrapping chains around them and attaching one end of the chain to the digger scoop to drag/lift them into place, which, no doubt, added hours to how long the stone placement part of the project needed.

It wasn't really an option to just quit and wait till 07:00 today when the shop opened again, because we had a different set of tasks for today's (Thursday) to-do list that are too important to skip before they move the base of operations to Gustaf's place to do some major landscaping there before Per has to drive south again in a few more days.

Since we didn't finish last night till after midnight, we slept in this morning, again rising around 07:00, and set to work. So far today (14:30) we have accomplished:

* pile more dirt and stones between the earth cellar walls and the ring of stones
* pile unused large rocks in a very tall decorative stack
* sweep dirt off of the stones edging the terrace
* fill the trenches which are to become the container base with gravel and use the compacting machine to get the gravel base suitably thick and solid

Now the boys have driven off to fetch the container from Hemmingsmark, after which I will feed them home-made pizza and they will unload the container and get it situated in its new home. Then they can rest for whatever is left of the evening before they drive two hours south to start Gustaf's yard work.
kareina: (house)
2017-07-04 07:26 pm

and the real summer work begins

On Sunday we managed only two batches of concrete for the earth cellar, as that was how many bags we had left from last year. (Or was it the year before we last bought concrete? Either way, those last few bags were not the best--despite being stored inside the shed under a tarp they still had been exposed to sufficient moisture to cause clumps of very solid concrete to be in the bags, meaning that we had to break them up before use. an by "we" I mean "he" this time, since he was the one that was wearing the breathing mask--no way was I going to be breathing concrete dust if I could avoid it, and since it was really a one person job I didn't bother going to get a second mask, but kept myself busy with other tasks elsewhere when he did that.

The store where one can purchase concrete locally is closed on Sundays, probably because they cater more to business purchases from companies in the construction industry than home improvement hobbyists. However, they open at 07:00 on weekdays, probably for the same reason, so we got up early Monday morning and bought another ten bags. Then we did a Major grocery shopping trip, stocking up on lots of stuff to feed David's hungry brothers when they take working breaks. After that we finally managed to get the walls of the earth cellar as high as they are going to be yesterday afternoon (using three of those ten bags of concrete). There are a few detail things to be done near the earth cellar door, but it is basically ready to start work on the roof.

Monday evening two of David's brothers arrived, with toys. Per drove up from the south of Sweden, with his digger on the bed of his lorry, dragging a huge trailer, which carried his rather large tractor, and a smaller, but still really huge, trailer that the tractor can pull. On the way he stopped and picked up Gustaf (who lives only 2 hours south of us).

I was a bit confused when they arrived, because when I went out there was the lorry with the digger, and the tractor with its trailer, but no sign of the large trailer I had heard would be involved. Then they explained that rather than trying to deal with dragging that really huge trailer down the hill and around the sharp bends in the neighbourhood the stopped at the entrance to the neighbourhood, disconnected the trailer, and Gustaf drove the tractor and its trailer off of it and to the house, while Per drove the lorry and digger. First they unloaded the digger and unhitched the trailer and emptied all of the digger accessories and other toys that they brought with them.

Then we walked up the road to the first sharp bend in the road, and they looked at the lay of the land there. They decided that the two branching off streets made it possible to hook the lorry back up to the trailer, bring it to the bend in the road, unhook it, then hook up the tractor to the trailer, push it backwards down one side street, then pull it forwards down the road to our house, where they could park it in the yard behind the house (which is to say the side towards the road, because the people who built the house had the good sense to face the house towards the pretty view of our field and the water at the end of it). This all sounded complicated to me, so when we returned home and the boys hopped into the lorry and tractor to make it so, David and I ran up the hill to the corner so that we could watch the process.

(Side note: I remember when I first moved in with David, 6.5 years ago, that I couldn't manage to run more than a very short distance, couldn't keep up with him, and got quickly out of breath. My fitness training has NOT included a running component, yet I had no problems with that short run).

Once the hooked up the trailer to the tractor Per asked Gustaf we could ride back, and when he said yes we three climbed up onto the trailer. The boys started out standing, but I am not accustomed to being on a trailer that huge, with no sides, being pushed backwards by a tractor, so I started out squatting, hands pressed to the trailer bed. But, by the time he got it completely backed up and was ready to drive forward I had gotten comfortable, and was able to stand up and walk around as the others did. It was actually helpful for Gustaf to have us up there, as it gave the other two a very clear view over the sides of the trailer to see if our tires were clear to miss the deep ditch at the side of the road, and let him know if he needed to make any adjustments.

We all sat up talking till pretty much midnight, and then we got up at 06:00 for breakfast and were out the door to begin the day's work at 07:00. They went straight to the heavy equipment, and I went and pulled tall grass out of the smultron patch, so I could see where we do and do not have smultrons growing. I only worked for something less than an hour, and then I went inside to start cooking, and spent the rest of the morning making yummy food for them.

They started in the area behind the sheds, which has been a very irregular, and extremely rocky surface, with some of the rocks covered with mosses and plants, and others visible. The goal was to make it a flat surface, sloping very gently away from the sheds so that rain would run towards the ditch instead of the buildings. In addition they were to put in a road from that area, between the trees and down to the field.

I am really surprised at how quickly and efficiently they are accomplishing these goals (because I have never really had an opportunity to watch a digger in action). They divided the labour with Per driving the digger, Gustaf driving the tractor, and David standing, in the rain, with the surveying equipment to tell Per how much deeper he needed to go, and, when he removed rocks that were so big that he went too deep, how much fill he needed to put back. One of the rocks they found was so big that they couldn't move it with the digger, so they paused to use the really, really big drill that Per had brought with him to put a few holes in it, and then split it into two still quite large pieces.

Among the accessories Per brought along was a brand-new sifting scoop for the digger, which lets him pick up a scoop of mixed dirt and rocks, shake it a bit, and soon he is holding only those rocks that are larger than about 20 cm wide. This is a very useful tool. Now the area behind the sheds is smoother than our front lawn (which is still smooth enough to drive a lawnmower over), we have a road to the fields (which has been well trampled by the tractor and trailer full of rocks), and they have dug the pits to fill with gravel for the supports for the container.

I went back out in the early evening to transplant smultron from the area to the left of the shed so that when he levels that area tomorrow or the next day we won't loose the berries. Now, at 20:00, they are finally done for the day, and enjoying the late dinner that Caroline cooked for them (I did lunches and fikas).

Tomorrow will probably be just as busy...

Edited to add: and after dinner they went back out to work some more! Now they are leveling what will become the archery range, between the field and the black currant bushes. It may be that there are better brothers out there somewhere, but David has some of the best brothers I have ever heard of.
kareina: (Default)
2017-07-01 10:02 pm

just an ordinary summer weekend here

I finished my last day of work before my summer holiday on Thursday, and was tired enough that evening that I went to bed at 22:30, and then slept for 10 hours! Later in the day I commented to a cousin of mine in a FB chat window that therefore I could tell that vacation had started. He replied that it wouldn't start till Saturday, and then he would have to work Monday anyway, and I was confused. Until I saw people posting about An Tir-West War, and realized that my cousin was talking about the holiday weekend in the states. I had totally forgotten that there was one there this time of the year, though, of course, if anyone had asked me "when is the US National Day and what is it called?" I could have answered correctly.

So this weekend many of my friends are off to one or another big SCA event, depending on which part of the country they are in, and my friends in northern Sweden are off at an SCA event in Sundsvall, and I am at home, happily working on projects. I would have loved to have attended the event, but we decided this winter not to do any SCA travel this summer and instead finish the earth cellar and do some major landscaping and other yard work. So I got my SCA fix this spring, and am content to work hard at home most of the summer (though, of course I will attend the local Medieval Days at Hägnan event in a couple of weeks.

Today David and I spent 6 hours working on the earth cellar, and now the walls are getting quite close to done:

earth cellar

We will work on it more tomorrow, and, if needed, Monday, and we will try to also accomplish everything else that needs to happen before his brother Per arrives on Tuesday, with his digger and tractor (his tractor is much larger and more useful than ours, probably also much younger, since ours is my age, give or take a couple of years). The goal is to have the walls completely done before he arrives, so that he can pile up huge amounts of dirt from other areas on the property next to the earth cellar, so that when we finish the roof (later this summer) we can easily transfer the dirt to the roof. He will also place a ring of very large stones (too big for our tractor) around the outside of the earth cellar, to form a base for the hill we will build atop it when the roof is complete.

One of the places he will get dirt and big stones is the area behind the shed, which we will have smoothed out and the slope changed so that the yard drains away from the sheds, instead of getting a small pond between them each spring when the snow melts (except for this spring, when most of the snow just sublimated instead of melting). He will also put in a road from the field to the area behind the sheds, and create a level area behind the sheds upon which we will put the container, which has been stored at their dad's property Hemmingsmark. I am not certain we need a container for yet more storage, but his dad has been clearing out that property, and I think he wants David's container gone. (David has already taken the things he had been storing in that container to our house, and his brother Gustaf, who also had stuff stored in that container (in addition to his own container) has gotten all of his stuff out of it, so it is empty and ready to load onto Per's truck (with the help of his own digger, plus their dad's digger). I am not clear how we are going to get it off the truck when it arrives, but they know what they are doing, so I am content to let them do it.
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-28 11:49 pm

crazy travel ideas

So, my sisters will all be in Seattle the first week of October, and have been suggesting that I join them. We haven't all been in the same place in 8 years (one of us lives in Australia, one in Seattle, one in San Francisco, and I am in Sweden). I have zero interest in going to the states at all, given the current political climate, and have been assuming that I can't afford the trip.

Today one of them mentioned it again, and this time I asked skyscanner what it costs to get to and from Seattle from Luleå. There were flights in the 6000 SEK range (around $700), which is much cheaper than I was expecting.

However, if I am that close, I would want to see more than just my sisters. So I checked the West Crown web page. October Crown is the weekend after Kirsty returns to Australia. Drachenwald Crown is the weekend thereafter, near Helsinki. Would it be crazy to fly to Seattle, see family and friends there, then head south, stopping in Portland and/or Eugene to see friends, on the way to West Crown, then fly home via Finland and Drachenwald Crown? But that sounds much more expensive than the above mentioned 6000...
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-28 04:52 pm

Was that 6 or 7 batches?

Today we finally got another chance at concreteing rocks into the earth cellar walls. In the 18 days since our last chance to play with concrete we (but mostly David) have been finding more decent sized rocks and moving them to the wall and finding them places to fit. This meant that when I got home from work at lunch time today we were ready to just get straight to concreteing them into place.

I lost count somewhere around batch 3 or 4, but I think that we wound up mixing 6 or 7 batches total. The downhill side of the earth cellar is now looking much better, and those walls are nearly as high as the uphill side (which is as high as it is going to be before we add the roof).

I didn't get a photo as it was starting to rain as we finished, so we just covered the work with a tarp, cleaned up and came inside. With luck I will remember to take one next time I am outside.
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-23 11:17 pm

another delightful Midsommer

I stayed up way too late sewing on my cool witch's hat in progress, so slept in till it was time to get ready to go this morning. It was a lovely cool morning (+7 C), so it was lovely to put on my wool folk dance skirt and bodice over the linen underdress. Since the underdress for the local area has sleeves that barely go past the elbow, I made a point of bringing the long fingerless gloves I made special to wear at Midsommer (since it is often cool here for Midsommer) and my viking coat (turned so that the black with red embroidery side is out, since that goes better with the folk costume).

We made it to the Gillestuga early enough for me to eat my breakfast and wash the bowl before time to do the walk through of today's dance performance. Then the 30 of us ate the traditional lunch Midsommer together. This year instead of cooking it ourselves they had it catered, and the caterers made a point of making dishes for those of us who turned in our list of food restrictions. Therefore, instead of eating only potato and boring lettuce salad from the meal, as I have had to do for the past six years (since the traditional Swedish Midsommer consists of a lot of pickled herring and other things I can't/won't eat), I got to eat a lovely vegetable and lentil dish, with a nice spinach and other interesting greens salad, something in the falafel family, and a nice "home-baked" bread with brie. I don't know how the others felt about the catering, but I was surprisingly happy with it. The only place they didn't do better than our tradition was that while they did serve the traditional fresh strawberries (imported from southern Sweden, since up here the strawberries are in flower but don't yet have berries), they had only ice cream as an accompaniment, no fresh whipped cream. This may be a good thing, as it meant that I didn't go back for 4ths on the strawberries and cream (of course I didn't take any of the ice cream, since it wasn't homemade).

After lunch we went over to the open air museum at Hägnan, where, since this year we were a smaller group than usual, with fewer strong, tall people than usual, we skipped the "carry the Midsommarstång in a parade around the grounds" part, and just put it straight into the hole in the ground to stand it up before dancing around it. I really enjoy the silly dances we do around the Midsommarstång. I think my favourite is the one where we stomp around like elephants with one arm stretched out like a trunk and the other wrapped around it and pinching our nose. (yes, this really is a thing in Sweden--the first verse of that song is about little frogs who are fun to see, as they have no ears nor tails. The verses about the horses, pigs, and elephants are more fun).

Then we did our on stage performance of folk dancing, which, as always, was much fun, and seemed to be well received. After dancing I had just time to hug a group of my friends who were in the crowd and talk to a lady who came up to me and asked "I so want to dance with you guys--do you have to be Swedish?", I told her that I am not Swedish, and she would be so welcome to join us. Turns out she is a PhD student at the uni, from India, and I gave her my name so she can look me up on the Uni web page and I can get her more info on Swedish folk dance. Hope that she does, since I didn't have time to talk more, since we had to head off to the other park, in the city center, to do it all again.

As always there was quite a contrast between the two city-sponsored celebrations. The one at Hägnan charges an entrance fee and is really crowded, while the one at Glitzudden is free for all, and has much more open space, so feels much less crowded (I have no idea how the actual numbers compare, but I think Hägnan really does have more people in addition to less space). Because Glitzudden doesn't have a dance stage we modify what dances we perform there--choosing things one can do safely on the grass (we don't want to do the spins of the polskas on the grass). As always, after doing some performance dances we then invited the audiance to join us for a couple of dances--the ones where we play follow the leader and walk in a pattern--one needs lots of people to make these work, and we have both enough people and enough room at this park.

Then we packed up the sound equipment and took it back to the gillestuga before heading home, arriving at around 17:00, so just over seven hours after leaving. Since then David and I spent some time talking about the upcoming plans for yard improvement when his brother arrives with the digger and tractor next week, and the earth cellar work we want to do this week. Then he took the new lawn mower down to the black current patch to create some paths between the bushes, while I had a quick bowl of popcorn for dinner, and then went outside and dismantled the "corral" we made last autumn out of old pallets to provide a semi-sheltered area for my car to park in the winter. There being no blowing snow this time of year it is no longer needed, and we will need to be able to drive the tractor and digger through that space when we create the place for the container (as in one of those big things that are used to ship things internationally--the container that has been living at his dad's property is moving here as an additional storage building), and the road we are going to put in from the area behind the sheds to the field. By the time I got that done and started moving O's winter tires which we store for him (since he lives in an apartment) from behind the recycling shed (where we will be doing some major landscaping) to the other side of the forge shed David had finished his mowing, so he helped me carry the pallets to the other side of the forge shed, too, and we agreed that I would move the pile of scrap wood from behind the shed to beside the house tomorrow.

Then I worked on my witch's hat embroidery while they had their (somewhat late dinner) and then we had a house meeting, catching up on everything we three ought to know about how things have been going and upcoming plans. Tomorrow C. will work, David will go help his little brother empty the last of his stuff out of that container, and I will stay home and accomplish useful things (like the aforesaid moving of scrap wood, and moving the wild strawberries from the area that will be landscaped, and baking with that pack of milk that went sour when we weren't looking). O. is also planning on dropping by so that I can re-braid his hair for him to have it presentable before he takes his driving test next week.
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-23 12:52 am

social sewing time

I spent all of yesterday afternoon and evening, and this evening helping a friend with her jester costume, as she likes mine and wanted one in the same style. I think it will look quite good on her, and it was fun to help her with it. She is studying to be a physiotherapist and works as a massage therapist now. She was nice enough to work on my right leg and hip which have been bothering me recently before going home yesterday, and boy did it help. Today I offered her the books that I got when I was a massage student, and she was very pleased to take them--she especially likes the anatomy and physiology colouring books.

After we finished fitting the linen under layer to her, we unbasted it and used it as the pattern for the wool, so while she was busy pinning those pieces to the wool and cutting out the wool I took the chance to finish up the waistband modifications to my grey wool folk dancing skirt, and am really happy with how it came out.

Now I should go do my yoga and get some sleep, as I am tired, and we have to be in Gammelstad at 10:00 for the rehearsal for our Midsummer folk dance performance before the traditional midsummer lunch, before the raising of the Midsommer cross and dancing around it, before driving into town to the other park and doing the raising and dancing again.
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-19 12:08 am

doing it over can take longer than doing in the first place, but sometimes is worth it

Nearly five years ago David and I made me a grey wool herringbone twill folk dance skirt one evening. According to my phone log, we started it at 20:30 on Friday 3 August 2012, and finished it at 23:45. He did the machine sewing, and I hand-finished the waist and hem. Part of what made the project so quick was the fact that we opted to simply gather the waist, which takes very little time to accomplish, and I typed up a description of the project a few days later.

I don't wear this skirt for our dance performances, as I now own one in the special hand-woven fabric that is appropriate for the tiny local area my dance group is based in. However, we didn't have a performance today, the third day of Spelmansstämman, so I chose to wear it today, along with the apron and pocket I made for my folk costume to make it fancier to attend a friend's wedding in January. I so love having somewhere to carry my phone, keys, and even small sewing projects!

It was a fun day, with time to do a short workout before heading out. Pleasant conversation with one of the visiting Norwegians before marching in the parade from the Medieval stone church to the open-air museum in which the musical festival takes place. Then, after the allspeal I walked over to one of the tourist shops and bought some summer weight nabbskor of (more or less, it is hard to tell in their tiny photo) this sort. I have a larger, sturdier pair with very thick nålbindined liners that I wear in the winter, but they are much too warm for a summer day. I have been meaning to get a summer weight version of either the boot or the shoe for a while, but hadn't stumbled upon any in my size second hand, so I finally decided to just get some locally. Sure, I probably could have saved money ordering them on line, but these I could not only try on, but walk out of the store wearing them. After shopping I spent the rest of the afternoon listening to music, working on a sewing project, and visiting with people, returning home on time to eat my dinner curled up with a good book.

This evening, as I was putting away my folk costume, I decided that the grey skirt would look better with a pleated waist than the above mentioned gathered waist. Being one who likes to suit actions to words, I promptly lost three hours this evening to removing the old waist, ironing it smooth, then experimenting with how deep/how many pleats would be needed to fit my waist, and finally replacing the pleating pins with basting. Any guesses as to how much time will now elapse before I get a chance to press in those pleats and attach them to the waistband?

Tomorrow is a department work meeting in the afternoon, followed by a group dinner. We had talked about doing a bbq, but tonight's email says we will go to a restaurant in town. I may be the only person on earth who thinks that going to a restaurant sounds like a terrible idea. I had liked the idea of gathering at one of our homes (I even volunteered our yard) for a bbq, but I really don't want to go into town at all, nor to a restaurant. I guess I will see how I am doing and if C talks me into going anyway. She did last time we had one of these.

Tuesday we have yet another folk dance performance, and Wednesday my friend S. is coming over to do sewing projects and/or trade massage. So that could be a chance to return to this project, if I don't spent the time helping her with hers.
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-17 07:06 pm

Spelmansstämman day 2

I was feeling a bit sore last night in the hips and legs after sitting briefly at the computer for my quick post here. Therefore I took the time to use the foam roller and lacross ball to massage my aching muscles, did yoga, and took a hot shower before crawling into bed at 01:40.

I managed to sleep just over five hours before my hip started aching again, so I got up and did the warmup routine my personal trainer gave me, which includes using the foam roller and the lacross ball to massage my muscles.

This helped enough that I was able to enjoy the morning without discomfort. I was back on site at 09:40, which gave me time to find the workshop in Finnish folk singing, taught by the tallented long haired woman from last night's concert.

It was a very enjoyable workshop, and I learned a lot. Sadly I, and two other students, had to leave a little early to go to the last practice before our folk dance performance. This was an important practice as two of our group were sick or injured (one of each) and couldn't dance, so we needed to change the pairings accordingly. Despite the last minute changes the performance went well and was much fun, as was listening to the musicians allspel(everyone plays).

The day was unusually warm for so early in the summer this far north (so not hot at all by California standards), and after dancing in the sun wearing all that wool I decided to break my own rule--the one about not eating ice cream unless it is home made.
So I went into the cafe to get a cup of their soft serve. But as I waited for my turn to order I noticed on their menu that one can get a waffle with åkebärsgrädde(cream with arctic berries). These berries are the most delicious berries ever, though those of you living in the south will never get to taste them as they don't travel well and are not exactly common even in the north. I couldn't resist them, so first I asked if it would be possible to get my icecream with the åkebärsgrädde, but she said they were too busy to give the kitchen special orders, so I ordered it on the waffle and the ice cream on the side.

Then I first ate the fruit and cream with the ice cream (every bite half of each), which made the ice cream less sweet and therefore nicer to eat. By then the waffle had cooled, so when I was out of the cream and berries I put the rest of the ice cream on the waffle and ate it quick before it melted. This did wonders to cool my core temperature.

It also meant that I didn't eat any more of the food I had brought with me, as I was still feeling full a couple of hours later, when I decided to head home for a nap (not that I wasn't enjoying the music and company of friends, but the short sleep had caught up with me).

Now I have had a 1.5 hr nap, eaten dinner and spent an hour reading/listening to Anne på Grönkulla and am ready to stretch a bit before heading in to this evening's dance.
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-17 12:34 am

Spelmansstämman, day 1

This weekend is Spelmansstämman, northern Sweden's larges folk music gathering. We started with the concert, which was very nice. When the Finnish trio Ilmoi walked in to perform at the concert tonight I took one look at the lovely lady's hair hanging past her knees and commented to David "I think I am in love", and then she started singing, and suddenly I was certain. They do really amazing music.

Then I danced for 2.5 hours before it was my turn to flip hamburgers, and now I need to do my yoga and get to sleep so that I can get up on time to attend the singing workshop that the singer from Ilmoi is running in the morning. Then we have our folk dance performance (provided no one else gets sick or injured--we are already down two dancers, one of whom is in the hospital).
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-13 12:17 am

but that isn't translating

One of my favourite books growing up was Anne of Green Gables; I have read it many, quite probably literally hundreds of, times in my life. Therefore it was one of the first books I obtained translated into Swedish, since I know the story so well even in my first year in Sweden I didn't have to pause while reading it to look up words, I could tell from context plus my own memory of the story what everything meant.

Now that I am making it a habit of reading books at the same time as I listen to the audio version I have purchased an audio version of this book, and am enjoying listening to/reading it. Until I hit places where the translator completely left behind the words of the original and put in something totally new. Just now a chapter ended by deleting one of my favorite quotes in the book and putting in new word that are completely out of character.

At the end of the chapter En storm i ett vattenglas (originally "A tempest in the school teapot"), when Marilla finds Anne crying because she has been busy imagining how, when she and Dianna grow up, Dianna will get married and the two girls will be parted forever Marilla first tries to hide her amused reaction, then laughs outright, then (when she recovers enough to speak) says "Well, Anne Shirley, if you must borrow trouble, for pity's sake, borrow it handier home. I should think you had an imagination, sure enough."

For reasons I cannot understand the translator (Karin Lidforss Jensen), chose not to translate the bit about borrowing trouble at all, and instead the text says:

--Kära barn, pustade Marilla så fort hon kunde tala, så du kan sitta och göra upp saker och ting! Men det kanske ändå för säkerhets skull vore skäl att du började med skolan igen, så du ändå hinner vara tillsammans med henne en liten rid innan hon gifter sig och du börjar hata hennes stackars man. Vad säger om mitt förslag? (Dear child, panted Marilla, as soon as she could speak, you can certainly sit and make things up! But, perhaps, for safety's sake it would be better to go back to school again, so that you have a chance to spend time with her before she gets married and you start hating her poor husband. What do you say about my suggestion?)

This departure from the original annoys me not only because it skips the fun quote about borrowing trouble, but because it had only been a couple of pages since Marilla resolved to follow Mrs. Lynde's advice about not mentioning School to Anne again till Anne mentioned it herself. There is no way Marilla would have ever said the bit about going back to school here!

(Edited to add, I can't even complain to the translator--according to Wikipedia she died 4 years before my father was born...)
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-13 12:15 am

Today was a long day

I worked 8.5 hrs, then went home for a few, then back to the lab when my technician called to say the IC-PMS was working again. Then we spent 2 more hours to get it working properly with the laser and passing performance reports. Finally went home at 23:00.

In between work and work I met up with a friend who dropped off some sheet metal at our forge shed so that he cam come back another day and work on armour, read/listened to another chapter in Anne på Grönkulla, chatted on the phone with a friend who was going to have an interview over skype later in te evening and wanted to practice English a bit, and helped David pick up a load of old large size cobblestones that he found for sale on blocket. We were nearly done loading them into the car and trailer when I got the call to return to the lab, so the poor guy needed to wait an extra 15 to 20 minutes before I could return.

I don't get to sleep in tomorrow as we need to take David's work car in for service and someone needs to drive his car so that he can take it to work from the shop.
kareina: (Default)
2017-06-07 06:44 pm

What a pretty site

Today I went to check out a potential event site, Strömsundshemmet, a beautiful site on a pretty lake, comprised of mostly very old historic buildings that have been relocated to this place to make a nice site for weddings, conferences and church retreats. Between all of the cabins they have 90 beds, and a nice big kitchen (with separate adjoining room for washing up). The dining hall isn't as nice as the big gym at the site we used for last year's Norrskensfest, but in the next building there is a small church with amazing acoustics, and another large room as well. This means we could eat in one hall, then go to the next building for bardic performances and dancing, and then return to the feast hall for the next round of food. Seriously tempted to go with this site. I just need to get her email with the final numbers of what she would charge us, and then the ok from the Seneschal.

I think the site would also be great for a Crown or Coronet tournament or Kingdom University.
kareina: (house)
2017-06-04 10:22 pm

earth cellar progress again, at long last

Today marks the start of our fourth summer of earth cellar work. When we had to stop working on the project last autumn, we had a very large stone that we had dragged near to the earth cellar with the tractor, and then managed to get it even closer with the pulley system we had, but it was only rated for 1 ton, and couldn't really handle getting it upright and into its final destination.

This week Kjartan managed to find a bigger, better pulley system for sale on blocket which can take 1.5 tons. Today was beautiful weather, so while I went to the Frostheim 25th anniversary party and fighter practice in the morning, I came home early so that we could test it out. It worked beautifully! With this tool I can lift the stone myself (leaving him free to hold the big steel rod that he uses to adjust the position of the stone as it gradually rotates and slides towards upright. Here is the "before" photo:

ready to move rock

And after we got it into place:

rock in place

On Tuesday (weather permitting) we will raise it just enough to put lots of concrete under it, and then settle it back into its permanent home. It feels so good to return to this project--and if we can manage a couple more of these huge rocks then the walls will be ready in no time and we can start on the roof.