kareina: (Default)
Last night I tried sewing a single garnet bead in the center of a square on the beautiful 3-in-1 wool twill fabric. Today I decided that I hadn't managed to get it perfectly centered, and that the only way to do that would be to baste diagonal lines from point to point on all the squares, and while I was at it, around the outline of the neck facing.

Luckily for me, today at work my Master's student wanted to try driving the laser for this, her final lab session of her project, so I got to spend several hours basting lines while she did all the data collecting, and I only needed to remind her which task needed to happen when, and how.

lines basted

close up

Now the neckline is ready for beads (which will be *much* easier to center in those squares now that there is an X to mark the spot), and, while I am at it, some red embroidery around the beads, since I have remembered some lovely wool yarn that is the same colour as the garnets. I have also done the math and worked out that I have exactly enough of the white to edge the sleeves, hem and neck of the tunic I want to do. Looking forward to making progress on this project while on the Norway trip this weekend. There is enough embroidery and beading to do that I need bring only the white fabric, yarn, and beads. The blue can stay home and wait till the trim is ready to attach.

Now to finish packing, do my yoga, get a shower, and then leave for the bus in 7.5 hours. Plenty of time...
kareina: (Default)
Last year at Visby's Medieval week I bought a little of a beautiful three-twills-in-one white wool fabric, and a bit more of a lovely dark blue (single) twill wool, intending to combine them into a new tunic. At the time I thought they might look nice with some garnet beads I was given by a good friend last time I was in Tassie.

Earlier this evening I was wondering what project I should take with me when I head to Norway this weekend, since the drive will be something like 8 to 10 hours. I am nearly done with the lovely linen white herringbone twill underdress I have been working on, and since it is nearly complete, it takes a fair bit of room, so it might not be the best choice for a bus project. But the wool twill tunic would be smaller...

So, starting around 20:15 I got out the fabric, ironed, it and begin looking at where on the fabric one could set the neck facing pattern so that the 3-in-1 pattern is shown off to best advantage. Nearly three hours after taking the fabric out, I now have a basted lines showing where the neck will be cut, and the lines where it will be folded under, and I have stitched a single bead down, to see if I like how it looks:

garnet on wool

Right now I am thinking of setting only one bead in the center of each of the fish-bone twill squares, so that the diamond twill squares are surrounded by little red dots. But if I want my yoga done before midnight and to get some sleep before meeting my Master's student at the laser tomorrow morning, I had better get put this down for the night, and take a look with fresh eyes in the morning. In reality sewing down the beads is a stupid thing to do on the bus, but, perhaps it might be possible to get the neck beaded tomorrow, and then sew that part to the tunic on the bus? Just how much cutting and beading can I accomplish after work tomorrow, in addition to packing for the trip? Stay tuned...


Aug. 8th, 2017 12:56 am
kareina: (Default)
In other news, summer is clearly drawing to a close. It is almost dark outside (at 01:00), and I just saw my first stars in months.
kareina: (Default)
We had decided to focus on the earth cellar and other yard improvement projects this summer, so I am not at Visby's Medieval week with a huge number of my SCA friends in Sweden and Finland. Nor am I at Ffair Raglan with many of my SCA friends in the UK. Nor am I at WorldCon in Helsinki with [personal profile] hrj and E., another friend visiting the Con from the West, anot to mention some of my SCA friends in Finland.

However, this weekend is the one wherein the Luleå hembygdsgille does a bus trip to Norway, to Kalottspel. I wasn't certain if I would be able to go. When the announcement first came out I sent a message to the organizer saying "Would love to, but no idea if we will be done enough with the Earth Cellar for me to go, will check in later". Then I didn't think of it again till today, a full week after the registration deadline. So I sent him another message saying "any room left on the bus? No worries if not". He replied "No worries, I had a feeling you would join us so I have you counted in. I will send out some info tomorrow" So, despite being a flake and not actually registering on time, the fact that I sent the "can't register yet" note means that I get a (mostly) free trip to Norway, with good friends, where I will spend my time dancing.

While it does mean that I won't be available to help David with the next step on the earth cellar on Saturday (creating a level platform on the tree-trunk supports we have set up in the the earth cellar, upon which we will build the arched supports, on which we will do the stone and cement arch of the actual roof), he tells me he is good with that, and he isn't available on Sunday anyway, as he will be helping his dad do some work on their summer house.

I have been itching to see some mountains (not that they are so visible from the site of the event, but one drives through them to get to the event) and get to Norway, so I can't really pass up the chance, and it does make up quite a bit for all of the other fun things I am missing this week. (Why do we get only one body in any given day?)
kareina: (house)
Every so often one does fall in love at first sight. Happened to me tonight. I had commented to David that I plan on heading out to the site for Norrskensfesten on Friday to measure the rooms and sketch building maps so that I have them for planing how tables will be arranged for feast (and how many can be seated), and to have available for putting in bids for Kingdom University later. So this evening he says, "when you go out there, you can borrow my new toy", and shows me his laser measuring tool, and then whips out his phone and shows me the corresponding app. I wasted no time at all, but was promptly downloading and using bluetooth to introduce my phone to the tool. Minutes later I had a sketch of my living room, annotated with the measurements. This is going to be so much better than heading out there with a tape measure, and I won't even have to take a friend--one person is all it takes to drive the laser.
kareina: (house)
I have finally gotten photos off of my phone from this summer's major project, and put them in the FB album which has all of the earth cellar and other yard work photos, but I will share a couple here for those of you who can't be bothered clicking through:

Here they are hard at work, from right to left, the oldest brother (Per), David, and the youngest brother (Gustaf)

in progress

This terraced area didn't exist before they dug up all the rocks from behind the shed and relocated them here. It will make a lovely bbq area:

kareina: (BSE garnet)
This is the second week I have been back at work after vacation (and pretty much no one else in the corridor will return till next week at the soonest), alternating between gathering data and processing it. One of my Master's students is finally getting in her LA-ICP-MS time. (She was off in Svalbard for a course when the other students were collecting their data for their projects. I might be a bit envious of her for that.) So Monday we ran her another trace-element composition map, Tuesday we started her spot-analyses, today she started the data processing for that while I kept working on the lovely garnet maps I made last week (damn, they have some interesting trace-element zoning patterns!), and tomorrow we will do more spot analyses for her.

Monday and Tuesday evenings I didn't accomplish much at home, but this evening I was inspired to get out and do some stuff. I dragged a couple of rocks up the hill from the field to the area behind the sheds, where they will be used later to stabilize the change in slope between the bit we leveled and lowered earlier this summer and the upper level the shed sits on. In hind sight I probably shouldn't have put both of those rocks onto the cart at once, since between them they weighed so much I couldn't drag the cart up the direct route to the upper yard, but had to go around the tree the longer, but gentler sloped, route. Even so the only way I manged to get that cart up the hill was to lean into the pulling rope with all my strength, then carefully move one foot up the hill, then lean some more, then move the other foot. Repeat. Yes, it would have been smart to take one rock back off the cart and go back for it after I got the first one up there, but it was hard enough to get onto the cart in the first place I didn't want to, so I stubborned myself through the job.

However, once I managed getting them up, I did not go back for any more, but instead decided that today would be a fablous day to lift up the six paving stones at the base of the steps to the porch, remove the grass between them, add some fresh sand under them to adjust their lean so that they will no longer have a puddle when it rains, and put them back again. It has been four years since I put those stones there, and it took till this spring before the freeze-thaw cycle had tilted them enough for puddle formation. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts this time.
kareina: (Default)
Today David and I finally had a chance to start really putting stuff into the container. First we built some shelves, and then we took all sorts of things that had been in the shop downstairs out there, largely organizing it as we did, though the scrap wood will need better organization later, when we have everything there and can see what all we have.

By the time we were done the shop felt positively spacious, and I celebrated by doing an easy project that I have been avoiding doing due to the lack of space available--I cut and sanded a couple of thick wood blocks that will be better for using in my workout than the books I have been using. They are needed both for the pushups where he wants me to have my hands elevated, so I get a larger range of motion, and, in between each pushup actually lower completely to the floor and take the weight off of my hands before putting them back on the block and pushing up again, and for the "plate-walks off box", which means put my hands on the floor, and my feet up on a box or bench, then spend 30 seconds moving one hand at a time from the floor up onto one of the blocks, and then, after both hands are up, moving them back down again, repeating till the timer says go on to the next task.
kareina: (Default)
Before Hägnan I managed to paint part of the south wall of the house (the bit to the left of the leftmost office window, and the bit under both windows). Sunday after Hägnan I was busy putting stuff away and out to dry (while it only really rained on set up day (Tuesday) and a hint of rain early on Wednesday, the event stayed pleasantly cool enough to need to wear wool all the time, so things that got wey early didn't really dry, and linen things that were never unpacked still felt a little damp after the event.)

Monday I ran a four-hour map at work, and am pleased to report that the new ICP-MS computer didn't do the werid crash thing (which was the goal of replacing the old one, but this was my first chance to trst it), but that got me home late enough (it takes a couple of hours to set up the experiment) that I had no energy left for home improvement.

Today I also worked later than I should have, in part because I was enjoying looking at the results of yesterday's experiment (this garnet has the same cool Y and REE zoning patterns as in the other Nautanen sample I have analyzed, I really do need to do a fine scale close up map across a rim segment of one of these garnets to see how many pulses of fresh Y and REE were introduced to the rock as the grains were growing, and see if is possible to date any of those pulses). But the other distraction was the fact that one of my Master's students (L.) was in the office working on her own data reduction, and, while we both made progress on our work, she and I also kept getting diatracted talking, sometimes about my results, sometimes hers, sometimes about the SCA (she was, of course, at Hägnan last week), some about the week long Nyckelharpa course she attended, and about the nine-month course she hopes to do someday, and even about cookies.

Nonetheless, I managed to get home early enough to get in a nap before dinner and then do some house painting, so now the bit between the office windows has had its first coat. With luck I will get time to do the second coat tomorrow afternoon.
kareina: (Default)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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