kareina: (Default)
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)
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)
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)
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)
It has been a busy couple of weeks, with not really any time to post, let's see, where did I leave off...

Umefolk, which we attended a week ago, was ever so much fun. I spent most of the weekend dancing, which was really good for my exercise log. On that Sunday, since we were already in Umeå, we joined some friends for a filming session to be used as an advertizment for the Nordanil larp I have occasionally participated as a Viking warrior chief (with awesome beard). This meant for a lovely contrast in packing. For the folk music festival I had a small cloth grocery bag with clothes for the whole weekend. For the 1-2 hour film session I had a largish duffel bag full of Viking clothing, all of which I wore at once. Ok, so we were filming outside, in the snow, on a nice, cold, winter day, so I needed that much clothes.

The following week C. was down south cleaning out the apartment she used to have in Göteberg, which she had been sub-letting for the year since she moved in with us. While she was gone D. and I put our energies into finishing up the pantry project that he has been working on for some months. I am quite happy with the result:

pantry photo

It isn't as large as the pantry I grew up with (which I still miss), nor even the one I had in Tasmania, but it is way better than what we had, and we do have the over-flow pantry downstairs.

This week will be quite busy with work, Tuesday, as always this year, is my beloved AMT gymnastics class, and on Thursday I will be missing the Frostheim meeting so that I can go to a course with O. so that he can practice drive with me in the car. Then he can do the driving when we head to the SCA event in Skellefteå a week later.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Once again life seems to have hit one of those phases wherein I am either super busy doing stuff away from a computer, or I am at a computer doing stuff that can't wait. This means that I haven't been posting lately (though likely only Mom really notices when I don't).

What do I remember from the past week and a half?

Nationaldag was fun--performed Swedish folk dance (of course), got called up on stage to be given a Swedish pin and flag to commemorate by becoming a Swedish Citizen last year, and while up there I also advertized the Medieval Days at Hägnan event that I am helping to run next month.

Wednesday of last week the Laser Lab had its first external client, so I spent all day in the lab with her shooting the laser in grid patterns over crystals of her choice in her rock samples so that we could make maps of the trace element distribution in the crystals.

Since I worked 10 hours on Wednesday, and I work only half-time, I took Thursday off. That evening, and all day on Friday F & O came over for sewing. F managed to cut out and machine sew his jester costume coat and legs, and he started hand-sewing the hood with decorative embroidered seams. O worked on several different projects, and I managed to work out the pattern for my jester costume, which will be an odd blend of Eura dress sleeves with a fitted greenland gown sort of body, so now I have both the linen under layer and wool over layer cut out, and have started sewing each. I am sewing them in tandem--right now all of the pieces are still pinned with the linen piece attached to the corresponding wool piece, and a label saying which is which. Every time I unpin two of them together I promptly sew the linen one to its mate and the wool one to its mate. That way they will both be done around the same time.

In between all of the above I made good progress on getting all of the old wallpaper off of the kitchen wall where we will be putting the pantry, and got it sanded and ready to paint. As soon as this posts I will go to the kitchen and start painting. When all three layers (one base coat, and two blue) are done and dried we can start building the pantry. I am so looking forward to having enough shelves for the food that some containers don't hide behind others.

This week I have been processing the data from last week's lab work, and have solved some problems with the data, so am quite pleased with how it is going.

This weekend is Spelmansstämman, one of my favourite weekends of the year, full of Swedish folk music and dance, and, of course, our dance group's performance.
kareina: (stitched)
Yesterday some of our friends from choir came over for home made pizza and movie night. They left right after the movie, which meant that I was able to go to bed around 21:30 and sleep for more than nine hours, which I needed after a busy week of not quite enough sleep each night.

This morning I woke up inspired to actually start working on the new gambeson I have been thinking of making. This one will be done much like a Viking or Rus kaftan, but made from a couple of layers of modern terrycloth towel, covered inside and out with linen (or, more probably, a linen-cotton blend--it has been years since that fabric was purchased, so I can't swear to which it is, but I have my suspicions based on the budget that would have applied then).

I am, of course, sewing it by hand, and have chosen to do it the slow, methodical way )

I managed to accomplish steps 1 & 2 in the 1 hr 40 minutes I worked on this before [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, who had stayed up late making a wall-mounted knife block for the little knife I want within reach of the stove, got up.

Once he was awake I took a break from sewing so that we could discuss our plans for changes to the pantry in the kitchen, and we looked at the 3D model he has made on the computer for what he has been thinking. This got us to debating exactly how big the pantry area needs to be, and how big the open area on that side of the kitchen should be, so, of course, we left the computer and walked into the kitchen to point, discuss, and re-measure.

The plan involves moving the cabinet with glass doors that came with the house from the corner to the middle of that wall, raising the upper part of that cabinet till the top touches the ceiling so that there is room for the microwave to stand on the cabinet base, then building a set of pantry shelves wrapping from the light switch to that cabinet. The question we were debating is exactly where the cabinet should sit when the work is done, and whether it is more important to have a larger pantry, or more open space on the right side of the cabinet.

Therefore I suggested that we give it a try--take down the wall-mounted shelves in the middle of the wall, move the cabinet to approximately where it will be after building the real pantry, take off the upper part and make it ready for the extension, and move the bookshelves that we have been using as a "temporary" pantry into the corner where we want the real pantry.

He was ok with this, so we did. The "nice" dishes that live in that cabinet are now in two banana boxes in the storage area downstairs, the wider bookshelf has been moved into the corner to the left of the cabinet base, the microwave, toaster, etc. now sits on the cabinet base, and the narrower bookshelf (which didn't fit on the other wall) has been brought downstairs, while the even narrower shelf that used to be downstairs has been brought upstairs to act as a temporary pantry shelf.

The verdict is that I really look forward to finishing the real pantry, as we currently have too many things standing behind of or stacked on top of other things, but that, overall, the idea looks like it will work.

Once we got that done he went out to the forge shed, where he is working on building a ventilation hood over the forge, and I returned to the gambeson in progress. I managed to get it far enough along that one sleeve is 90% done--the underarm square is totally attached to one side of the sleeve, and the sleeve has had its lining sewn shut and the tablet woven band has started to be attached. I might have finished it, but it was nearly 21:00 at that point, so I put the project down, satisfied now that my idea for doing the seams will work, and did my workout.

Then I turned in my Chatelaine's report and typed up this. Now it is nearly midnight, and time for me to do yoga and get some sleep before work tomorrow.
kareina: (stitched)
Before heading to Italy at the beginning of the month I kind of wished the trip wasn't on the calendar, since we were having beautiful winter weather, and with C. just having moved in, there would be lots to do at home. As it turned out that beautiful winter weather lasted just till it was time to come home, and then we had a couple of weeks with temps above freezing during the day, and below at night, which resulted in a very icy driveway, but the ice over the walkway was easily chopped away, so that has been bare paving and cobblestones for a while now. The first part of this holiday weekend we were given nice weather again--below freezing, and a fresh dusting of snow to brighten up the world. Not that much of our snow had gone yet--only the part of the yard right up next to the house has melted enough to show the grass.

But what about the part about C's moving stuff in? They did, of course, accomplish some of it while I was gone, but there was plenty more to do after I got back. Not necessarily in this order:

We put her bed, which is a Queen-sized IKEA bed which easily lifts up to reveal storage underneath, in our bedroom upstairs, and we put the King-sized memory foam mattress upon which we had been sleeping on top of the old Queen-sized bed downstairs, after building it a shelf extension to support the extra width of mattress. Should we ever have lots of houseguests at one time, we can take it off again and put it on the living room floor, and some can sleep in the guest room on that bed, while others take the living room.

We moved the bookshelves to the living room, and added her books into the mix, and we put up her nice set of IKEA shelves in the office as project shelves. Her plants have covered every available window ledge (and one, which wants much less sunlight, lives on top of one of the living room speakers).

We went through all of her kitchen stuff and, when her items were either unique or better than the equivalent we already had, her item went into the kitchen cupboards, and ours went either into storage, the get rid of pile, or the "stuff she will take with her when she heads south for that 4-month summer job" pile, but when we already had something in that niche that was better than hers, ours stayed in the cupboards, and hers went into one of the above piles.

And much more--this being a holiday weekend we have been making good progress. However, I won't be available to help for the rest of it, so it is good that we have come so far along in the project. I have just heard from O. His grandmother's health has taken an abrupt turn for the worse, so he and I will be driving over to Finland tomorrow morning to see her, and staying there till Monday.
kareina: (me)
Today wasn't quite as productive as yesterday. It had snowed in the night, so after my morning workout I shoveled the walk ways and half the driveway, before deciding that my fingers on the hand with a hole in my wool glove were too cold (despite the cotton/leather shell I had on over it). Then we went shopping and replaced the filter for the vacuum cleaner before picking up a few groceries. The first store had a "try me" foot massage machine set up, so, of course I tried it. Want! But since my bank account has a much lower balance than normal from having paid for a year's worth of personal trainer last month in celebration of my birthday, I decided not to get the foot massage machine. Though my feet are telling me that they think that one of those machines under my computer desk would be a grand and wonderful thing.

After shopping I took a nap and then had dinner and helped [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar carry the pieces of the old piano downstairs and move the wooden sofa/bench to where the new piano used to be (next to the stereo) and the recliner couch to where the wooden sofa/bench used to be. By that time it was time to head to Folk Dance, but we realized that we hadn't plugged the car back in after shopping, so I plugged it in, and shoveled the rest of the driveway before heading to dance so as to give it a bit of time to warm up. That made me a bit late, but better late than never.

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar wound up staying home from dance. He has a computer that a client gave him to repair before Christmas, but he hasn't gotten to it, and decided that today was finally the time. So he didn't get to meet the two new dancers who joined us. One, A., looks young enough that if she were to tell me she is still in high school I will believe her. The other, K., looks to be around my age or a bit older. She is a midwife at the hospital, and says that she often drives past the Gillestuga where we dance and has seen us here dancing and wished she could join us, and now she has. Since she is a midwife, she of course, knows the other Viscountess in the shire and the Countess, since both are gynecologists at the hospital.

Both of them caught on quickly, and it was much fun dancing, as always. I hope they keep coming back, and both of them seemed to enjoy it enough that I think they will.

Now I should put down the computer, do yoga, and see if I can go to bed at a reasonable hour to go to work in the morning.
kareina: (house)
The old school piano is now pretty much disassembled, and the heavy metal inner bit (to which the strings had been attached) has been carried out to the shed awaiting a time when we have a clue what to do with it. Perhaps that much metal will be useful for something, or perhaps it will go Away, but that isn't today's decision. However, we still need to carry the other bits of the piano out of the living room. The wood will go to the shop to be used in other projects, and the strings, keys, and other piano-specific hardware will be saved in case anything goes wrong with the good piano and needs repair.

Tonight we take C to the train station, and then we have about a month to finish up the the changes that will be good to do before she and her stuff moves in. The down stairs pantry shelves are half done, and the boards that will make the other half have been through the planer and ready to cut to length. The single bed that came with the house has gone to a new home, and the first couple of shelves for the area the bed used to occupy (in the boiler room) have been built, and we are ready to start the next set.

We will need to build an extension to the guest room bed frame so that we can put the king sized mattress from our room on top of that frame, and then C's queen sized bed with the large amount of storage area underneath (the mattress rests on a surface which easily lifts up) can go into our room.

Once all that is done we have our eyes on things we want to do in the kitchen...
kareina: (me)
This morning my phone said that it was a "rest day" for everything except for push-ups, and since adding a few pull ups and a handstand against the wall still only brought my workout to six minutes I decided to go for a walk right away. I knew that delaying for breakfast first risked not heading out at all, so off I went.

We had a dusting of snow the other day, and the temperatures are still happily cold--it has been nine days in a row of decent (read: below freezing) temperatures, and my phone thinks that they will stay decent for at least the next nine days. I am cautiously hopeful that winter has finally arrived, and might even last a reasonable amount of time this year.

The walk was lovely--the sky was hinting at the red stage of sunrise, the trees are all still dusted with white. The ice between here and the nature reserve has frozen in layers, so occasionally when one walks on it one breaks through the thin upper layer to the more solid layer several cm lower. I could see by the tracks that the deer have the same issue. However, the strength of the upper layer is variable, so this happens only randomly.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's birthday, was a nice day. I woke up earlier than planed, but that was a good thing, because that gave me time for my morning work out before making a fruit salad and decorating the birthday cake, which he decided to do as two two-layer cakes, rather than one four layer. That worked out well, since one of the fillings he wanted was a custard like substance made from a boxed mix, and I have no interested in that sort of thing. So I ate from the cake with one raspberry-banana-cream layer and one strawberry-cream layer (both were frosted with whipped cream and decorated with sliced fruit and berries). While I did that they decorated the other two smörgåstårtas, and we managed to get nearly done with the clean up before his parents arrived, with two of his nieces who are staying with them just now. We visited for a while, then sat down to taste the birthday cakes and sandwich cake about the time his brother and his wife arrived.

We had a nice time visiting with family (and letting the girls play with most of the musical instruments in the house), but then my early morning caught up with me, so I took a short nap in the bean bag chair before the SCA and larp friends arrived. They arrived around the time I was hungry again, so I had a second serving of everything. We got many compliments on both the birthday cakes and the smörgåstårtas.

After they left we all took a nap, and when we got up we started taking apart the old school piano that he has had since before we met. It isn't in very good shape, and doesn't sound near as nice as the piano his sister gave us last year. We know that it is hard to give away pianos these days, and there are usually some available on blocket, and it is solid wood construction. Therefore we decided it makes more sense to just take it apart and use the parts for other projects. Now we can move the good piano to that spot, and free up the other place for bookshelves, which will free up that spot for C's project shelves when she moves in next month.
kareina: (me)
Tonight [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar finally completed a project that has been on the wish list since we moved into this house: installing the light over the stairway. We have no idea why the people who built the house didn't install a light over the stairs to the basement, but they didn't. Someone did, however, put in a light switch at the top of the stairs which turns on the light in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs, which was better than no light on the stairs at all, but not as much light as we wanted.

Yesterday he and I went shopping to pick up a few supplies needed for the project, including a motion sensor, and today he did the work. Now we have a lamp over the stairs that turns on if you enter the stairway. We still have the light switch at the top of the stairs to turn on the light in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs (there is also another next to the garage door that turns on and off that light, so one doesn't need to go upstairs to turn it on if one is already downstairs), but having the motion sensor for the stairs itself is going to make life much easier, especially when carrying something.

While he did that I accomplished another long-needed project. I have a nice, warm, reasonably long down coat that I bought when I moved to Fairbanks in 1994. I left it in Alaska when I moved to California, knowing I wouldn't need it there, and I didn't bother to get it before moving to Australia, as it doesn't really get cold enough there to need it, either. The coat stayed in Alaska till my visit in 2010 while I was living in Italy. I knew then that I was going to do my level best to move somewhere with winter again, so I picked the coat up. It was still in pretty good shape, but the zipper had taken some damage, and didn't work very well. However, it also had snaps, which worked great, so I didn't worry about it.

For the most part I don't need to wear that one--it is warmer than one needs on normal Luleå winter days (really I don't want it for anything warmer than say -15 C, which is +14 F, if I am doing anything as active as walking). But occasionally, like this week, it actually gets cold enough to want it. Last winter I used it a few times for sledding, and and found the broken zipper annoying, because snow can come in the gap between the snaps. Therefore when C mentioned last summer that there was a store in Göteborg that sells good zippers I asked her to pick one up for me (we also got a replacement zipper for the soft Nyckelharpa case, and installed that promptly after it arrived).

But in the middle of the summer fixing the zipper of a cold-weather coat didn't seem very high on the priority list, so I put it off for later. This morning, when I walked to the office, when I first went outside with the coat snapped shut I was aware of the temperature difference between the part with the snaps and the part between the snaps, and I resolved to fix the zipper as soon as possible.

So tonight I did. I normally don't like sewing with a sewing machine, but for good zippers, which have very sturdy plasticy fabric to sew through, I am happy to make an exception--it was hard enough forcing the pins through that stuff to hold it all in place before sewing, I wouldn't have wanted to do the stitching by hand. It will be interesting to see how many more times this winter (if at all) it is cold enough to warrant using that coat...

And it is still nice and early. I think I will do yoga next, and then decide if I will accomplish something else, or just relax.
kareina: (stitched)
In October of 2013 we found a "lada" (small timber barn) for sale on blocket, and brought it home. We didn't have time to put it up that autumn, so we stacked the timber by the side of the car port and waited till this autumn (2015) to put it up. I have never helped put one up before, and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it goes.

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's little brother drove up from Skellefteå this morning, arriving sometime after 08:00, and at 08:36 we went outside and got to work. At that point the place we were going to put it looked like this:

foundation

It took the three of us 49 minutes to unstack all of the timber and sort it to the correct sides of the foundation (whomever took it apart wrote letters and numbers on the logs on the inside, so that it would be easy to put it back together). They carried all of the long timbers, and I moved the short ones (that go on either side of the door opening).

Another hour and 20 minutes later the walls were up higher than the top of the door, and I was getting hungry, so I went in and started cooking a spaghetti sauce for lunch while the boys kept working. They got the walls up as high as they go in another hour and a half (including drilling out old broken pegs and making new ones for the peaked part of the roof (which, of course, doesn't have any logs intersecting it from the side), by which time lunch was ready.

After lunch I helped them unstack and carry out of the shed the old boards we have from their dad for use as roof supports, which took about an hour. By that time my apprentice arrived, and she and I went into the house to work on the Norrskensbard Cloak project, while the boys got to work on the roof. We took a break after another hour for fika (blueberry cake!), and then more cloak progress inside, and roof work outside.

Then I was feeling hungry again, so I started a bread dough to make pizza for dinner, while my apprentice kept stitching. Then her partner arrived to pick her up (he had been spending the afternoon with his laurel), so I ran to the store to get a few pizza toppings.

The pizza was ready to eat about 10 hours after we started work this morning, by which time the boys had gotten the roof this far along:

roof mostly on

and the cloak, which has now had forty hours of work was this far along:

cloak

I would like to point out how it isn't fair that the cloak has had four times as many hours as the lada, yet it doesn't look anywhere near as far along...
kareina: (house)
Back when I first started doing hand-sewing and embroidery I always took my sewing to classes, meetings, bardic circles, parties, etc. As a result I am conditioned to sew while my brain is busy listening to things or participating in conversation, or something. Unless I am in a really difficult part of a project that takes 100% focus to figure out how to do what needs doing, I pretty much don't sew unless I have company.

My current major progress is a cloak for the Norrskensbard, and as such it needs to be done by mid November, when we hold Norrskensfest and the competition to choose the first Norrskensbard. This being a large project I have been doing the applique by standing* at the kitchen table, with the cloak spread out flat across it. However, this means that I have had to work on the project in solitude for much of the time, since if [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I are both home and it is one of those rare occasions we aren't working on a project together, then he is likely at the computer in the office working on things there (often whilst watching cartoons or educational videos on youtube.

With smaller sewing projects I can sit next to him on the recliner while he works and make progress sewing, but the cloak is not a good lap-project if I want the applique to go well. Therefore this morning we made yet another raise-lower table by cutting down one of the large curved desk tops into a smaller rectangle and adding the legs. It is now just big enough to be in the area between the computers and the garb & fabric closets, so I can have company whilst I sew.

Not that we've had time to test this yet, as he is working on building a thing to compress cut grass from the field to make a better/larger archery target then the first prototype he did a few days ago. I helped, until I managed to fail an intelligence test and get hit in the head by a block of wood tossed by a circular saw, and decided to go harvest some more nettles for drying instead. They are now in the dehydrator, and I have updated the world on how things are going (pretty good over all, and the bump on my head doesn't even hurt, since the blood was able to get out, so it isn't bruised), so now I will go check to see how his project is coming...



*we got quite a few raise-lower desks when a local business was throwing them out, so we put one of the pairs of legs onto the kitchen table so that the work surface could be any height we want it to be at a given moment.
kareina: (me)
Now that midsummer has been and gone, and with it our obligations for folk dance performances we are finally free to return our attentions to the earth cellar in progress. We had planned to go shopping for concrete on Friday, but it rained all day, and we decided we didn't feel for bothering with tarps in hopes of keeping it dry for the trip home, nor did we want to re-assemble the trailer cover we had taken to Double Wars, but then had to remove for transport of other stuff locally.

Therefore we did the concrete shopping on Saturday, as well as purchasing a object designed to lure thousands of our least popular neighbours to a tedious death. I am not all that keen on killing over territorial disputes, and I have always believed the advice "eat what you kill", but dead bugs gross me out, so I won't even swat mosquitos, but [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar is also willing to kill things that want to eat him, and mosquitos love him, so he was keen to see if we could thus reduce the local population, so that they would leave us alone while we work on the earth cellar. He is totally willing to be the one to clean and empty the trap, since, as mentioned I am totally grossed out by pretty much phobic of dead bugs.

Sunday he wound up having to work several hours during the day, so we didn't start on concrete till the late afternoon, but that still left us time to do three batches, and make some noticeable progress on the earth cellar well. I am delighted that the project is going once again—I like building in stone.

After that I suddenly got hit with an inspiration for improving the organization in the house: First I took the many boxes of larp stuff that [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors has been storing here since she moved to France out of the downstairs closet. Then I put the large pieces of the loom that has been standing in the downstairs hallway into that closet (the smaller parts have been living under the small guest bed in the boiler room for ages, and I left them there). Then I took apart the newer loom we were given this spring, which we had set up in the guest room to check to see if all parts were present and accounted for (they were) and put the large pieces into that closet, and put the smaller bits under the large bed in the guest room. This left the corner of the guest room for [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors's stack of boxes.

Having thus emptied the hallway downstairs I was once again struck by the fact that the fuse box, which is mounted on that wall, sticks out in a rather ugly manner. I hadn't much noticed it with the loom bits standing next to it, and taking up as much width from the hallway as the fuse box does. However, this time I also noticed that the wall would look much nicer if we built a set of shelves onto it, surrounding the fuse box. We have been thinking lately that it would be nice to have an over-flow pantry somewhere downstairs, where it is cooler, but we had been stumped as to where—the server closet would have been a good place for it, if it weren't full of SCA stuff, camping gear, and computer stuff, and all of the other rooms are also kind of full. But that wall is space that is available. Therefore we now have yet another largish home improvement project we have added to the list. It will be interesting to see when it makes it to the top of the list and gets done.
kareina: (stitched)
The other day [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar stopped by a second hand store, and while there spotted a good sized sturdy wooden box/chest that he thought looked useful, so it followed him home. Friday evening, before the band came over to practice, he took the wheels from an old piece of office furniture and mounted them on the underside of the box. This morning we added rails to the inside of the box to support a sliding drawer thing and built a drawer with a divider in it that just fits inside the box. (This project was made MUCH easier because this week's other purchases were a drill press and a table saw.)

Then we emptied the old, slightly broken little wooden box in which we have been storing scrap metal and organized it all into the new chest on wheels, which is plenty large enough to take all of that plus the various yoghurt buckets that had been sitting outside of the box to hold yet more small bits of scrap metal. Then we cut down the old box so that it fits on top of the cabinet and sorted the various odd bits of scrap plastic and foam into that. Once that was done and the floor under where the scrap metal box had been was cleaned we could move the older circle saw on a drop down arm (I wonder what the actual name for that tool is?) into the space we just freed up, and the new scrap metal box was wheeled under the workbench. The shop looks much better with all of that stuff cleaned up and out of the way.

After that we made a small frame mock-up for the new tourney chests we want to make, so that we could check and see if they would fit into the trunk of the car. It was good that we did, because it turns out that if we did the chests about half a cm shorter then it would be possible to get them in without lifting out the lid to the trunk. Since we were on a roll we then started cutting the boards for the chests, until we realized that we really needed to make a pushing platform for the new table saw in order to get cuts that are actually perpendicular to the line of pushing. So we did that, then resumed cutting boards for the chest (with much nicer results). Eventually we realized that we should take a break and go do the grocery shopping, but I am really happy with the day's progress.

Thursday's progress was really good too--I managed to cut all 47 pieces of my new silk bliaut (not counting any of the embroidered and tablet woven bits that will be added later). I did the first bit of cutting at the Frostheim craft night. We meet in a school, so there were tables there wide enough to spread out the fabric upon. When I first went to draw the cutting lines on the silk I was, not surprisingly, having issues getting the fabric to hold still and behave.

Then I got hit with some inspiration and tried something I had never done before (nor have I seen or heard of anyone doing it). I wet the fabric down and then spread it out on the table, and it stuck to the table. So once I got it nicely spread out it was easy to draw the chalk lines for cutting. However, the two hours of the social night was only enough time to draw and cut the first 13 pieces, the rest I cut out at home. Luckily, I had started with the largest pieces first, so the remaining bit of fabric was small enough to stick to our kitchen table.

So far I have managed to sew two and a half of the short seams for the sleeve gores. The first one I did in 45 minutes (flat felled seam, so sewing the seam twice in that time), and it was 40 cm long. This means that I am sewing at a rate of ~0.89 cm/min.

I just calculated, and, not counting the (more than 10 meters of) hems, there are 4,092 cm of seams to hold those 47 pieces of fabric together. Assuming the same sewing rate that means the dress can be assembled in 76.7 hours. Plus how ever long it takes to do the hemming, which will involve sewing on some tablet weaving purchased from another shire member to give the hem a bit of weight. It will be interesting to see how this prediction compares with the actual time elapsed for the project. Somehow, I don't think this dress will be done before Norskensfest later this month.
kareina: (house)
Today was about harvesting things and playing in the kitchen. first cheese making )
then berry and nettle harvesting )
While that was happening I took the left over bread dough from where it had been rising i the fridge and popped it into the oven, so that it was ready to eat about the same time I was done with the berries, and before I did the nettles. Yum! There may be things I like better than fresh bread, hot out of the oven, but I am not thinking of them just now.

Then I took a brief break (yay, reading!) while he kept an eye on the juice production. The berries yielded 4 liters of concentrated juice, which fills one of the shelves in the fridge. What a pity the earth cellar isn't done, or we would have plenty of room to store it, and we could make up lots more (there are still so many bushes full of berries down there).

When that project was off the stove I cooked up half of the panner with spinach, beet greens, and the little bit of nettles that didn't fit into the muffin cups. Then I took the 1.5 cups of extra juice that didn't fit into the bottles and 1 cup of the cooked berries and made a pie. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar tells me that when he was a kid they fed those berries to the pigs, but we don't have pigs, so I thought we should use a little of them for something interesting. The rest of the berries went into the compost bin, which sort of bothers me, but what else should I have done with them?

Yesterday, on the other hand, was an outside projects kind of day. We started the morning with more plowing of the field (he had done some of that on his own on Friday, but then discovered that there are far more rocks as one approaches the edges, so he saved the last bit to do with me). I follow along behind the plow and pick up the small and medium sized stones that get exposed and toss them to the field's edge, but if there is a large one I mark the place so that he can come use the forks on the tractor to dig it out.

We were partway through that project when I got a phone call from our friend Oskar who lives in Kalix (the one we visited on the way home from buying the forge), saying he was in town, and would we like him to drop by. We said "of course!", and he came over. This was his first visit to our place, so I gave him a tour of the property while [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar did a bit more plowing on his own (which means getting out of the tractor often to toss away the rocks himself), then we both helped toss rocks while [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar drove tractor for the last little bit in that corner of the field.

Then we went in for fika, followed by doing some work on the earth cellar. Since we had Oskar to help we managed to do twice as much wall building as we would have other wise done--the boys worked on filling in the back of the other concrete ring with bricks while I worked on the wall next to the ring. This meant that Oskar had the easiest job--sit behind the brick wall in progress, and smooth out the cement on that side as [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar keeps adding more bricks and cement and keeps checking to be certain the wall stays level as it grows.

We worked till we ran out of bags of concrete, and then we made home made pizza for dinner (and I put the left over bread dough into the fridge for later). This time I used the left over cooking water from the nettle harvest of the day before as the liquid in the bread, and added some thawed kale as well, so the pizza crust had flakes of green, and was very tasty.

After that Oskar went to meet up with some other friends and we did the last bit of plowing on the other side of the field. Note that the plow had, in fact, bent again, but this time, rather than taking it back to the forge for yet another repair he just folded that blade up out of the way (it is a two-blade plow, and only the one of the two blades keeps getting bent) and kept plowing with the good blade. Takes longer, but we were so close to done with that project that it made more sense to just continue, rather than loosing another day to repairs.

In other news I have been working on learning to play the song Hårgalåten (which our choir sings) on the dulcimer, and it is finally coming together. With luck I will actually be able to play it by the time choir starts up again this autumn. However, I have had to change the tuning of the instrument to accomplish this. My hammer dulcimer is not a chromatic instrument, but there are enough strings that most notes appear in more than one place on the instrument. Therefore some of the strings contain a sharp (or flat) variant of a note so that if one needs (for example) a normal B one can play one string, but if one needs the B-flat instead one hits another. However, at the high and low ends of the range there are not so many duplicate notes. The tuning the dulcimer arrived with had only a F#3 and not a F3, and it had only a B3 and not a B-flat3. Before I started learning this song none of the songs I have tried to play needs any of those notes. Hågalåten, on the other hand, needs the F3 and the B-flat3, and not the level3 notes that it came with. So I opted to re-tune those two strings so that I would be able to play this song. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before I wind up needing the notes I lost due to the change...
kareina: (house)
When last I posted the plan was to head to Haparanda (two hours drive north of here, buy a forge, a couple of anvils, and some hammers and tongs, assuming no one else had purchased them in the 24 hours since last we had talked to the guy. Luck was with us, and he still had the toys, so when [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got home from work on Friday we had a quick bite to eat and hit the road.

The toys were exactly as advertized, so we bought them and started driving south. However, we didn't head straight home. Instead we called a friend who lives in Kalix (about half way between Luleå and Haparanda) to see if he wanted a spur of the moment visit on our way home. He replied that they were just firing up the sauna, and come on over. We had never been to his place before, so we consulted google maps on the phone to find the house, which is actually in a small farming village some km up the river from Kalix. As we pulled into the driveway another car also pulled in. The guy in that car asked if we were also here to "helsa på" Oskar, and we said yes. We checked in the house, where there was a seriously cute tiny kitten and a young lady I had never met, who said that everyone else was at the sauna. The other guy knew where the sauna was, so he hopped into his car and we into ours and drove a short way down the road and over to the river side, where we found our friend and a sauna in one of the prettiest settings I have yet seen for a sauna.

The sauna is on the riverbank overlooking a quiet cove on the Kalix river, and it was lovely to sit in the sauna for a bit, then go into the river (which was just cold enough that I wouldn't have wanted to have been in without the sauna), and repeat.

After the sauna several of us first followed the road a bit further, to the end of the little peninsula that starts there, where one of the guys in the group lives. Talk about a beautiful farm! He has water on both sides, cute old fashioned red farm houses, and a very friendly herd of horned sheep. He took us out to the paddock to meet the sheep, and they all came over to sniff at us, and some of them accepted scratches.

After a short visit at that farm four of us (Oskar, the guy with the other car who had arrived at the same time as we did, and the two of us) went back to Oskar's place, where we sat up late talking medieval music and stuff (and I did my yoga). Around 01:00 in the morning we finally got back on the road to head home (we had had the offer to just stay over--there was a perfectly comfortable guest bed available, but we decided that if we went home we would actually make progress on our various home improvement projects), which got us home around 02:00. This made for a very long, but very fun shopping trip.

Saturday morning we finally got back to working on the earth cellar--it took four batches of concrete to set in the row of large stones that we had prepped and set into place the week before. We have both come to terms with the fact that this project isn't going to be complete this summer, but we still want to do a bit more along the back wall and around the corner so that we can fill in dirt and gravel behind that part--if we do then the walls will be nearly at ground height on the up hill side, and we won't need to worry about erosion in the spring taking away enough soil to endanger the flag pole.

After lunch I went back to work on the re-paint the east wall of the house project while he set up the new forge and fixed the bent part of the plow. This meant that I could, once again, be lifted up in the tractor scoop to do next section of the upper part of the wall, since he didn't need the tractor for plowing while he was fixing the plow.

After he got the plow fixed he needed to try it out, and it worked beautifully, so I spent the better part of an hour following the plow and carrying away rocks that got turned up. However, the hour was late, and the gnats were getting annoying (why must they commit suicide by flying into my eye?), so we called it a night.

We started Sunday morning with a walk in the forest--the first I have taken in months. Then he wanted to return to working on the field, so I once again started following the plow to carry away small rocks. Until he hit a large enough rock with it that the plow bent again. This time the metal also cracked at the bend location. So I went back to work on painting the wall, and he pondered how to fix it this time, since we don't have welding equipment. Luckily, the neighbours were out, and he showed the bend/break to them, and the neighbour made us the offer that if we straighten it back out and grind open the crack he will weld it back together for us. So we did, and he did, and then we put the repaired chunk of metal back into the forge to heat it up again and left it to cool slowly overnight (as per instructions).

Then tonight (Monday), when [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got home from work he once again re-assembled the plow and set back to work on the field. Right after the gnats started being annoying again (this time one killed itself flying up my nose instead of my eye!) and I decided I wanted to go in, he hit yet another large rock, and, sure enough, it bent, again.

So now he is contemplating if he wants to fix it, again, or what. From where I sit the real problem is that mechanism that is supposed to flip the plow up out of the ground when it hits a rock--if that were functioning the plow wouldn't be bending when it hits a rock.

The good news from all this is that one of those large rocks now sits in the upper yard, near the beautiful fir tree, so I go out and sit on it in the morning shade and eat my breakfast. Also, he is getting better at straightening 2 cm thick pieces of metal.

In other good news, today's painting session got the east wall done. We don't need to do that one again for about five years. However, we don't intend to get to any of the other walls this summer--there is still too much we want to do with the field, the earth cellar, and preparing for that Lajv later this month. If his estimate that the walls need repainting every five years is accurate I guess that meas we do one wall a summer for four summers, then take a year off, and start over. This is such a weird concept, since I have always moved at least every three years, so contemplating projects that take longer than that is kind of mind-boggling.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Today I actually made time for that uni work. At first I thought I would just work from home, since I had the work computer here. However, it took about thirty seconds of trying to look at comments from two different computers and the paper itself to decide that two monitors is not enough, so I packed up the computer and some lunch and hopped on my trike for the first time all month to head into the office, where I managed to make a good start on the revisions, starting with the easy bit--looking at the edits both reviewers suggested and either make the same changes in my document or make some other change that also fixes the problem. So far I have managed to do this for the abstract and introduction sections.

Doing that plus a short break to apply for two more administration/technician sorts of positions at the uni (on the off chance that I don't get the one I applied for back in May that the hiring committee will start thinking about again in a couple of weeks, when they get back from their holidays) took just over four hours, which I decided was enough for a single day when I am unemployed.

So I went home and took an hour's nap, and got up on time to have dinner before picking some strawberries from the patch and then heading down to the bottom of the property to check on those åkerbär I found on the weekend. Sure enough, they were now ready. Yum! I was able to find about 15 of the berries, most of which were really really small, but each one is totally packed with flavour. These berries have a shape rather like a raspberry, made of little individual globes. Most of the berries had only two little sub globes (which is what I meant by "small", but one was a fully formed clump of at least eight little sub globes. Wow, was that one good. It will be interesting to compare future years with this one--there are hundreds of the plants there, but only a tiny percentage of them are growing berries this year. I wonder if this is typical?

Then I helped [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar to move the longest of the big stones into a position around the deck, where they can serve as a bench until and unless we need them elsewhere. Then we tested the new plow we bought yesterday. Even though one of the two cutting disks that precede the plow itself doesn't rotate the tool is still wonderfully effective, doing just what it is supposed to do--taking a nice deep chunk of soil/plant cover and flipping it over. In the process he occasionally exposed small stones, so I followed after the plow and picked them up and carried them to the edge of the field. Sometimes he turned up a stone too big for me to pick up, so he would pick up the plow, turn the tractor around and use the forks to pick it up and carry it away. Once the stone he found was too big for him to dig out, though he tried for a while. Therefore tomorrow he will call a friend with a larger tractor, and see if he still wants to come play.
kareina: (house)
I commented here yesterday that today I ought to look at the comments from the reviewers and do whatever it takes to get that manuscript revised to suit them. I even went so far as to add it to my calender. Did I do that?

Let's see:

I started the morning by discovering that we have way more red current bushes than we had thought. Last year we found the few red current bushes on the west side of our field, right next to the sharp bend in the property line. I had picked most of the berries from those bushes the other day, but one of the plants had a bunch of berries that weren't completely ripe yet, so I left them. On that day we had also walked down to the bottom end of the property to see how the black currents were coming along, and on the way back noticed another red current bush at the south edge of the field, but since I didn't have a bucket with me then I had resolved to go back later, and today was later.

I picked the few remaining berries from red current bush location #1, then went to location #2, picked those, then saw another bush a bit further into the trees, and picked those, which led to another bush, and so on till I got to the little shed down there (where the previous owner's horses went when they needed shelter). That is about where the black current bushes start. There is a rather good sized chunk of land down there which is now mostly nettle and black current--the current bushes had been planted as a small scale commercial venture some decades ago, and have been left to run wild for at least a decade (though one can still see the hints of rows in google earth).

Given how many red current bushes I had found scattered here and there among the trees I suspected that over on the other side of the black currents I might find more red currents, so I continued working my way down the property, and went all the way to the water's edge. I did, in fact find more red currents ready to be picked, and, even more exciting, I spotted some åkerbär. They are not yet ripe, but they are showing a hint of colour, and you can bet I will be checking them pretty much daily from now till they are ready to eat--their flavour is worth crossing through the mosquito rich portion of the property!

I spent nearly 1.5 hours picking berries, and wound up with two full liters of red currents to put into the freezer. On the way back up to the house I also discovered that we have a few high-bush blueberry plants growing between the red current location #1 and the change in slope from the field to the level the house sits at. I had never actually seen high bush blueberries before, but I knew they existed, since I had a field assistant from Bulgaria with me when I did my field work in the Brooks Range for my Master's degree; when he saw the tiny low-lying alpine blueberries I was happily eating during the last half of that field season his reaction was "you would bend down for this?". He then explained that back in Bulgaria blueberries grew on bushes at waist height.

Therefore, when I saw bushes at waist height in my own yard that contain clumps of berries in various states of ripeness ranging from whitish pink to full dark bluish purple, I happily started eating the dark ones. Yum! Even better, when [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got home and I showed them to him he tried one (he had never seen high bush blueberries before either) and said that he isn't all that impressed with them, so I get them all to myself!

After the berries were picked, washed, and into the freezer I curled up with a book and lunch. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got home for lunch just as I finished eating mine. I checked the wall we had scraped yesterday, and it was dry (despite yesterday's rain), so I had him raise up the tractor scoop and I went to work painting the next bit of the wall while he went in and had his lunch. I managed to finish before he had to go back to work, which is a good thing, since, left to its own devices, the tractor scoop will gradually lower itself.

This wouldn't be a problem if not for two factors: 1) the way the hinges are set up for moving the scoop one can drive right up to the wall, start raising the scoop, and in the process the scoop becomes further from the wall. Therefore it is necessary to then drive further towards the wall if one wishes to stand on the scoop and paint the wall. Therefore, if one were to just let the scoop sag over time it would also come a bit forward in the process, and would thus eventually hit the wall. Strangely, we don't wish this to happen. and 2) in addition to simply lowering, the scoop also rotates as it ever so slowly sinks. This means that when we raise it we angle the base of the scoop, where we are standing to paint, nearly flat, but tilted such that were we to spill water (or paint) onto it, the liquid would flow towards the back end of the scoop. However, over the course of the hour it took me to do the painting the tilt gradually changed, passing through horizontal, and ending with a slight lean outwards. Not enough to make anything sitting on the scoop fall off, but enough that were water spilled it would run off the front of the scoop and land on the ground below. Needless to say, if left to do this long enough, eventually the solid objects (including the paint bucket) would fall off the scoop. Since I don't know how to drive the tractor this means that I can only use the tractor as scaffolding when he is home to lower the scoop when I am done. (...and to be available to make minor re-adjustments to the position of the scoop if needed. This wasn't needed today, but yesterday, when we were both standing on the scoop it did that slow sink a bit faster due to the extra weight, so he needed to take the ladder down twice to go re-lift and tilt the scoop to a better position.)

After he lowered the scoop and moved the tractor away I had time enough to also paint the part of that section that one can reach from the ground. Soon after I was done and had cleaned everything away for the day it started gently raining. After it had rained for a while I checked the wall, and was delighted to discover that none of that rain was actually hitting the wall. The overhang of the roof is just wide enough that such a soft rain, falling exactly perpendicular to the ground, completely misses the wall. Now this wall is more than half done (since it turns out the tractor scoop is a bit over 1/4 of the width of the wall. Hopefully we will have a few more windows of painting opportunity in the next few weeks.

After I cleaned up the painting mess and got a shower it was time to play in the kitchen. When we were in the grocery store last night I was delighted to see some beet greens (with beet roots attached), so I bought them. By this afternoon the greens were looking kind of wilted, so I cut them off and put them soaking in cold water to perk them up a bit while I made a beetloaf with which to restock the freezer.

Today's beetloaf recipe, on the off chance that anyone wants to try it. )

The beet loaf was delicious, and holds together really well when sliced. We ate a slice each straight away, and the rest of the slices have been packed into two ice cream boxes and put into the freezer to be eaten whenever we are hungry but have no time/energy to cook, or want something easy to take with us.

Then we went out and bought a second hand double-bladed plow he had seen advertized on blocket (the Swedish on-line source for second hand everything). He had been wanting a better way to smooth out the field so that, eventually, we can host Medieval camping events, and this should do the trick. The plan is to plow the field both north-south and east-west, then use the other tool that he has from his dad to break up the plowed earth into clumps, then he will be able to drag some sort of smoothing device (perhaps made from logs, perhaps one of those long stones we bought) to level the field off. It will be interesting to see how much of that list he can accomplish between now and when we need to return the tractor to his dad at the end of the summer, given that we also want to work on the earth cellar and have other projects, too.

After we got home I also mixed up and baked some oven pancakes to put into the freezer. With all of the hot weather we have been having we had run out of the last stash--I rather enjoy getting out a slice of frozen pancake and gnawing on it while it thaws. It is a nice, cold snack, and usually lasts more than a page or two into a book (unlike the thawed version).

So, nope. No uni work today. Perhaps tomorrow.

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