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

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

Now I should go do my yoga and get some sleep, as I am tired, and we have to be in Gammelstad at 10:00 for the rehearsal for our Midsummer folk dance performance before the traditional midsummer lunch, before the raising of the Midsommer cross and dancing around it, before driving into town to the other park and doing the raising and dancing again.
kareina: (Default)
I have quite a number of rather longish term sewing projects on the go. My Jester costume is down to only a tiny bit of embroidery left. My lovely white herringbone linen underdress just needs the extra skirt gores cut and inset, then the hem and a small bit of finishing on one side seam. My gambeson still needs the quilting on the right front section finished, the front lining for the left front section cut and that side quilted, then the skirt gores cut and quilted before putting everything together. Then there is the nålbinging pile, and the actual UFO sewing pile.

Did I work on any of these today? Nope. Before heading out to his Baditsu training tonight D. rummaged around in the closet that is mostly full of cotton fabric (the one we didn't organize some time back when we organized all of the linen and wool) looking for his old martial arts belts. He found them, but in the progress made a pile on his chair of all of the fabric, so that he could sort it and see what we have after practice. In the pile I spotted some dark blue knit fabric and decided that it would do nicely for fixing my black cotton knit dress. The dress is one I found at a second hand store some time back that is very comfortable, but its ankle-length skirt was just not full enough. Every time I did yoga wearing it I needed to hitch the skirts up over the knees for lunges, as there wasn't enough room to bend that way with the skirt down. I have been thinking of adding some more skirt gores, and tonight, when I am not recovered from this weekend's cold enough to be willing to do training (and my normal Tuesday Gymnastics class was canceled anyway) seemed like the perfect chance.

So while D. and C. were off at their training I cut a rectangle of the blue cotton knit, cut it into two triangles, cut slits in the sides of the skirt of the dress, sewed in the triangles, cut the hem and was just finished with the final hem seam when they got home just over two hours later. I am now happily wearing the skirt, and enjoying the fact that there is now enough room to sit cross-legged without straining the skirt fabric, and yoga was a joy to do without having to hitch up the skirt to move. The seams are not pretty (they never are when I use a sewing machine (the treadle, in this case, as it is the only one in the house that I like), and they could use some pressing, but I am happy to save the pretty seams for my hand-sewn Medieval costumes, not my edits to otherwise machine sewing modern around the house clothes.

I just noticed that it is after 23:00, so I should get to sleep. Tomorrow one of our PhD students will be defending his thesis, so I should be awake for that. Thursday we have a department seminar, with everyone giving a talk on what they have been up to recently. I have prepared a "Highlights of the Laser Lab" talk to share. On the weekend there is an SCA costume workshop on "really tight costumes", that I will be attending. Not that I need another sewing project, but while I have helped others with fitting late medieval tight (Greenland style) costumes, I have never gotten around to patterning myself for one, so this might be a good opportunity.
kareina: (Default)
I had it when I got to the Frostheim crafts/social night tonight, but very soon after I arrived it became hard to reply to questions as my voice was pretty much gone. This is kinda inconvenient. I sure hope that whatever took it isn't contagious, since we had 8 of us there tonight working on silk painted banners for the group (and a variety of personal projects, too). Luckily I don't really have any other symptoms, other than once every three or four hours I kinda want to cough. If I choose to do so (and it is, so far, totally optional) mostly nothing happens, but once this afternoon I managed to cough up a bit of yellow ick. Also luckily, it is a long weekend, so I can rest and, hopefully, avoid getting any sicker.

Yesterday I asked on Facebook for suggestions for leads to possible sites for Norrskensfesten, and one of my folk dance friends suggested Blackis, a place on the other side of town that is often used for dances, that I had never even heard of. The photos I have managed to find on line make it look promising, in that it has a room that looks plenty big enough to do the feast the way I like to run it, but with less crowding. However, I hear that its kitchen is kinda small. I have an appointment to go look at it on Tuesday, and see if we can make it work, or if I need to keep looking, or just decide to stick with the same site we have been using.
kareina: (stitched)
The last couple of days, when my friends in Alaska were complaining of -50 it has bee 5 degrees above freezing during the days. It has dropped below 0 Cat nights, so the melting isn't as bad as it could be, but still I wish we could just have a proper winter with snow that stays snow and doesn't melt and re-freeze into a lower harder crust. So far the record number of days in a row of temperatures below freezing this year is six days (in December the record was 11 days). This morning it is a lovely -7 C, but my phone says that it will be above 0 again in a couple of days. This makes several years in a row wherein winter has been replaced by winter-spring melting-winter-spring melting-etc.

But even if the weather isn't living up to my ideal, the rest of life is going well. Work is fun, Frostheim is fun (we had only three of us for this week's social night, but it was a delightful time chatting with them and making progress on the new pair of Thorsbjorg trousers I started at the workshop last weekend), choir is fun, Phire practice is fun, my love life is wonderful, and I am looking forward to dance starting back up on the weekend (it actually started last Sunday, but D & C were too tired after the costume workshop and I didn't want to stop sewing, so we didn't go.
kareina: (stitched)
Tonight's Frostheim meeting was well attended. There were a total of seven of us (though one went home early, and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got home from work late, and soon disappeared to the shop to repair the lawn mower (welding shut the crack in the metal that covers the rotating blades).

The rest of us worked on the banners needed to advertize our Medeltidsdagnara på Hägnan event next month.

I had bought four sheets at a second hand store the other week, and last Wednesday I drew on it the text "Medeltidsdagnara på Hägnan ons-lör vecka 29", and added a cute little medieval style dragonish creature breathing stylized fire that I found in the calligraphy book I looked at before drawing the M and the H.

I didn't get another chance to touch the project till tonight, when I put a bunch of them to work cutting the remaining sheets into half lengthwise (because I decided that the first banner was actually a bit big) and hemming them around a length of rope, while my senior apprentice and I went outside to paint the first banner.

After we painted that banner she helped the others with the sewing, while I started the penciling of the letters onto the first narrow banner they had finished. Everyone else went home at 22:30, after all but one seam of the banners had been sewen, and after they left I finished up the pencil lines on that banner, then drew the black permanent marker outline around the letters and over the dragon. Then I traced the letters and dragon from that banner onto another two, before deciding that I should be done for the night, since it was already nearly 02:00.

Then I sat down to the computer and did some work for the event, processing registrations, posting the forms for the arts and sciences contest, replying to email, etc. Now it is nearly 04:00, and I really should do my yoga and get to bed. Good thing I took tomorrow off of work.

Note that it never got dark all night, though we are, just, far enough south that the sun does set, briefly under the northern horizon, at mid summer, but this late into the day we are up to seriously full bright out there.
kareina: (stitched)
We had seven of us for Frostheim's craft night tonight. Not quite all at the same time though--V. arrived early and left early. S. came a bit later, but also didn't stay long, and J., a totally new guy, arrived during the last 45 minutes we were there. However, I am glad I did, since O. had asked me to bring in my armour and swords and stuff to show him, and he sounds keen to try fighter practice on Sunday. Also, since the armour was there O. spent the evening trying stuff on and thinking about what he will want to do differently when he builds his own, so it was worth the effort of bringing all the stuff.

L. had finished the nålbinding project she started last week (her first, ever), and was ready to be shown how to start a project again. She is one of the students in the group who is also in my department, and trying to decide what she wants to do for her Master's project, so I shared some ideas of projects she could do with the laser. My apprentice, E. is the other, and she is also considering laser-based projects for her Master's, if she doesn't go with a geophysics project. It will be interesting to see what they wind up choosing.

My other apprentice, A. finished a project tonight--a lovely blue wool triangle cloak for which she has tablet woven a maroon and grey edging. I quite like how it came out. I have made progress on my glasses case--the strap is nearly completely attached now, only 12 cm of seam left to do on it, but now it is finally wearable. I made the strap for this one a good bit longer than the last, so it rides down by my hip, instead of my waist, which means that I don't have to remember to take it off when I put on my coat, which will make life much easier. It will also be nice to always have all four pairs of glasses in reach, so I can just grab the pair I need for any given task, and not try to use the wrong ones because I couldn't be bothered walking all the way to my backpack.

Last night's snow actually stuck in a few, isolated, spots, which meant that tiny pockets of the world were fresh and white this morning (if only about 1 mm thick), but, of course, it didn't last, and by the middle of the day it was +5 C. Even so, there is still a fair bit of snow out on the field, even if it is mostly gone in the forest and up by the house. I need to remember to take a photo of the yard tomorrow to compare with the ones I took last year and the year before on that date.
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: (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)
I am home from a delightful evening at Frostheim. There were six of us this week. Both of my apprentices, the husband of my senior apprentice, two of the other students, and myself. While there I managed to help one of the boys cut a rectangle of lovely blue wool into a fantasy pirate cloak with collar, taught one of my apprentices to do nålbinding with the beautiful stone needle [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar made for her (she is also a geologist), made a wool rim for the Lucia crown that she will be wearing for our choir Lucia performance next week, and had a delightful time visiting with people.

After the meeting I did some grocery shopping and after I got home participated in an unexpected defrosting of one of the downstairs freezers when we discovered that its door no longer shut properly due to one of the drawers not having been put back properly last time it was opened, which caused huge amounts of ice to build up between the drawers and the door. oops. Luckily the contents all fit into the other freezers (well, except for the 3 plastic bottles of ice, which we don't actually need till the next time we want to take food along in an ice chest.

Work this week has been good, but long. This was the week that one of the guys from the company that sold us the ICP-MS was here to do training and troubleshooting of the issues we had been having with the system. We discovered several things that, together, seem to explain why we were getting such low signal. There were some small leaks in the tubing connecting the Laser to the ICP-MS. Fixing those, however, didn't bring the signal back up to where it should be. Then we noticed that the laser isn't actually firing at full strength anymore. It used to be that when we asked for 7 J/cm^2 we actually got that much energy reported. However, these days that setting gives only just over 4 J/cm^2. So we tried putting the request in terms of % laser energy, and discovered that to get 7 J/cm^2 out of it we need to ask it for about 60% power. Doing this, AND all of the minor changes to default settings that he made while he was here, and now the laser and ICP-MS are playing nicely together again--the signal strength is as good as it was some months ago before we first started having issues.

We even switched back and forth between solutions mode and laser ablation mode, and each time we got the signal back to where it should be straight away. I am hopeful that it will still have good signal on Monday when the service/training guy isn't here anymore. Wish me luck.
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)
With midsummer past, and C back down to Gothenburg for a bit I had expected that we would make a bit more progress on the earth cellar in the evenings after he got home from work this week. However, it turns out that one of his brothers has his vacation now, and took the opportunity to drive up from the south a really big lorry with an open back that almost looks like an oversized dump truck, but it doesn't dump. Instead its sides fold down so that one can put stuff onto and off of the bed with a fork lift. Since he was doing the drive anyway, he took the opportunity to bring us some tree parts--he had cut down an oak, a cherry, and an apple tree on his property, and since he knows we want to build musical instruments he offered the wood too us. We gladly said yes, but our circular saw can't cut things more than 4" tall (I have no idea why these boys, who live in a metric country and normally use centimeters, chose to refer to wood thickness in inches, but they did), so his brother pre-cut the oak trunk into 4" slabs, and loaded up the chunks + the smaller unsliced trunks and branches and brought them north.

The boys have been discussing for quite some time (possibly years since first mention) cleaning up their dad's property at Hemmingsmark. They grew up in that village, and when the kids were grown and their parents decided to move to a house they built themselves overlooking the water near Piteå they sold the part of the farm the house was on, but kept the largely forested (+ a couple of small fields) property across the street. Their property on the water wasn't that big, and didn't have a lot of out-buildings, so the Hemmingsmark land was where they stored stuff (three old shipping containers full of things the kids left behind when they moved out, and stuff the parents weren't using anymore, plus things like the tractor and digger which also were stored there, and where they took the wood they cut from their other forest properties to chop and spit it into firewood to keep the house warm in the winter. However, in addition to storing stuff that might once again be useful, there had also accumulated a few piles of things that won't be useful (including a very old shed that had collapsed from age).

Now that their parents have moved to a beautiful old farm, with plenty of property and outbuildings they have decided to quit storing stuff at Hemmingsmark, and to move the heavy equipment to the new farm, too. Therefore it is finally time to do the cleaning up and organizing of the Hemmingsmark property.

Therefore, after [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got off of work on Monday we drove down there (75 minute drive) to help the two brothers who had been hard at work there all day. We arrived on time to be given the task of taking off the extra roof that had been over the gap between two of the containers, which provided a dry place to store the cut and split firewood to keep it dry before moving it to the houses where it would be burned.

So up the roof he and I went. He has done lots of on-roof related tasks over the years--they built their parent's last house, and have done more than one re-roofing project together. Therefore, after we took off the corrugated metal over roof exposing the widely spaced wooden boards nailed crosswise over the old telephone poles, which stretch from one container to the other, he continued to move rapidly and with confidence, using his crowbar to pull nails out of the boards from a standing, and bent over position. I, on the other hand, have only ever been on roofs to enjoy the view (but that fairly often--mom couldn't keep us kids off of the roof, even after my sister managed to hurt herself pretty badly by slipping when she was climbing down the tree). Therefore instead of standing up to use the crowbar, I sat down on the boards for better stability, and then pried up the nails. This, of course, meant that he managed to pull far more nails than I did (we won't discuss the fact that his longer muscles + testosterone means that he would have still pulled them faster, even if he had been sitting down and couldn't move as fast from one to the next), yet he still appreciated my help--together the job was done faster than he could have managed it.

That first evening we had time only for that, loading the above mentioned nice wood onto the trailer, and discussing the plans for the next night. Then it was home, arriving around midnight, which meant that by the time yoga was done and we were ready for bed it was 01:00.

Tuesday we both went to work, and then again went to Hemmingsmark, where he and I removed the old straw from an old shed, took the rest of the way apart the above mentioned collapsed shed and sorted the components into keep (corrugated metal roof pieces), add to the growing bonfire pile (the old wood), and trash (the tarp that had been nailed over it some many years back), loaded the boards from the roof we had disassembled yesterday onto our trailer to take home to use in the extra shed that we are planning on putting up here (we bought the logs for it the autumn before last, but haven't had a chance to set it up yet--that one will likely be where the forge lives when we get to it), and gathered up more stuff to add to the bonfire pile. In the meanwhile his brothers used the digger to pick up pieces of the old broken huge piece of heavy equipment (too broken to even guess what it had been, but it is larger than the digger, which is huge) onto the back of that above mentioned truck to haul away to where one disposes of large scrap metal. This took long enough that it was 12:30 before we got home.

Wednesday we had planned on heading there again, but at the last minute they sent him to Jokkmokk for work, so he didn't get home from work till almost 22:00, after which he had to spend some time at the computer doing paperwork to close out cases he had been working on this week so that accounting could do their month-end tasks.

Thursday afternoon was clean the water pipes day )
Today being Friday, and my normal day off, I returned all of the stuff to that room, slightly better organized than before, finished building a set of pattens, and did lots of laundry. It isn't yet decided if we are going to Hemmingsmark again nor not tonight. I kind of hope we stay home. I still have a few things I want to do to get ready for the SCA event that I will be heading to next week. On the other hand, all of that time driving back and forth means that we have been making great progress reading aloud from Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones. He is really loving the story (we are past most of the major plot revelations now--just a few last complications to deal with), and I am enjoying it even more on the second read than the first, and I really liked the first (I have always been an addicted re-reader, and this story lends itself very well to multiple reads). Once we finish it we can buy the next in the series, and this time I can read it out loud on my first read, which has the advantage in that we can pause and speculate together how things will turn out, since neither of us knows.
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)
This morning I sat on my porch and enjoyed the view. Spring is far enough along to show the difference between the various trees that grow leaves. The rowan are furthest along, with enough leaves that they are already looking rather green. The birch are next, with a gentle yellowish green hint of colour showing. The third type, which has a greyer trunk than the birch, but I don't know what they are, hasn't really got any leaves to speak of yet.

But the day was rainy, so I devoted myself to indoor tasks. I have now started a pair of pattens, did lots of laundry, including the Pillows! I am so grateful to P&P (the local count and countess), who gifted us with a dryer their house came with that they never use--I haven't been able to wash pillows since before we moved, since one really needs a dryer if one wants to do so, a bit of tablet weaving, and even some reading.

Around mid-day I noticed that the rain had turned to snow! So, of course, I went for a short walk to celebrate. Yes, it is late May, and no, the snow had no chance of surviving in the warm weather (+5 C), and it melted as soon as it touched the ground, yet the sight of large white flakes falling from the sky always makes me happy.

Then, in the early evening the rain stopped and the sun came out, so I decided to try for another walk. This time, rather than going out and back I decided to try a short loop, and turned onto the mostly cleared area under the power lines. This worked just fine for the first part of the way--not much new growth yet, so the walking was easy enough. Then I reached an area where a wide ditch was busy draining the forest to the right. The ditch was much to wide to jump, and the water in it much too deep to consider crossing--when wearing rubber boots one doesn't usually wish to enter water that much deeper than the boots.

Therefore I decided to turn and walk along the ditch to see if there was a place I could cross upstream. Not only wasn't there an opportunity any time soon, the ground quickly got wetter and wetter, so instead I angled back towards the left, got onto a very wet road that crossed an even wetter field, and looped back home again. A fun adventure, but not the loop I had intended.

When I got back from that I decided I hadn't had enough time outside, so I harvested the nettles which are starting to come in behind the strawberry patch. I got just enough to fill the food dehydrator. We ran out of the stash of dried and frozen nettles early in the winter, so this summer I will try to dry and freeze much more of it, in hopes that I can harvest enough to last the winter. considering that I am likely to start using the dried and frozen nettles pretty much right away, they being more convenient when one wants to add just a handful to what one is cooking, this is a challenging goal.

Tomorrow [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar gets back from his trip to Göteberg, where he had a short course, and then stayed for the weekend to spend time with C, since he was in town. after he returns we can start working on the earth cellar again. I am really looking forward to that.
kareina: (stitched)
life is busy

Spring (which is to say weather that flits back and forth above and below zero every day) came early, just before I got back from Australia and is still here, so the snow is steadly melting. However, we had enough that it is still nearly knee high in some places, so I have been out cross country skiing fairly often. Not that I need to mind you, I could just walk on that solid icy stuff if I wanted to.

Been working on that paper from my Italian research, and managed to finally finish editing a 75 page manuscript for some of my colleagues. Still no laser at work.

Tomorrow we head to the Skellefteå area for an SCA event.

My bliaut isn't done yet, but it is getting closer--one last seam to finish before I can start attaching the trim to the hem and do the side lacing.

We decided to head to Double Wars in May, which will be a long drive. One could do it in 15.5 hours if one didn't need to stop, and could do the speed limit the whole way. We will have a trailer, so no faster than 80 km/hr, and we will stop often to stretch, and at least once to nap, so we guess at least 24 hours.
kareina: (stitched)
We bought a few more bags of concrete early this week, since we had run out the last time we worked on the earth cellar. I have no idea if it was the new bag, or if I was just feeling paranoid since the very last bag of the old batch we had done turned out to be to wet to use for wall building, and instead we used it to fill in some of the gap between the platform we made for the huge lathe we now have in the shed and the stone foundation of the shed, but on Wednesday I wound up mixing the best batch of concrete I have ever seen. The consistency was absolutely perfect and thus it was a joy to work with. I could set it on any surface, at any angle, and it would happily sit there waiting for whatever happened next. I could even set it on the underside of a rock, and it wouldn't fall off. Such a joy to work with! I only planned to mix that one batch that day, since I was working on my own after spending the morning at Uni working on my paper revisions and applying for a job, and I just had the one small section of the wall to finish leveling out so that we can start using the nice large cut stones on that side, too. I think it was probably a good thing that I stopped there--it would have been terribly disappointing if the next batch was more normal. Much better to stop for the day after the one batch, and be left with the feeling of satisfaction and joy.

One of our friends, who lives three hours inland and a bit south of here, had a birthday last week. She had plans to be in Umeå (three hours south of here) on Friday for a friend's farewell party, so she decided to invite people to a picnic in a park in Umeå for Saturday. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors, and I decided to go, so I spent Friday afternoon cooking food for the occasion--I made raspberry filled bread rolls, home made noodles with a spinach-avocado-pistachio sauce, and a broccoli-egg pie. Yum! We ate some for Friday's dinner, and the rest went to the picnic with us.

I managed to finish the cooking and get the upstairs vacuumed before [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's dad arrived for a visit. I am pleased to report that I spent a good half an hour talking with him in Swedish before the others arrived, and we did just fine understanding one another (he doesn't speak English, though he has a few words here and there, I try to avoid using it when speaking with him). Granted, once [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors joined us I was mostly content to just listen and work on my sewing project whilst trying to guess the topic of the rapid conversation.

Since we had his company on Friday evening we did the drive south Saturday morning, arriving in Umeå on time to drop off [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors at the home of some of her friends she wanted to see, but who were going to be busy later in the day, before heading to the park, where we had a good 20 minutes to visit with our friend before the next guest arrived, and soon there was a small group of us, and a few more (including [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors) trickled in over the course of the afternoon. We spent the whole afternoon in the park talking, listing to the violin and nyckleharpa that two of us had brought, and doing silly people tricks (I love being hoisted to a shoulder and holding my body out flat like I am flying!). Then some of us went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and then over to another friend's house for more conversation and music.

Eventually we decided that it would be smart to head home, so we did. The first part of the drive she slept and I read out loud to [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, but then I got tired and [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors moved to the front seat and I took a nap. This meant that when we finally got home, just before 01:00, I had energy to not only unload the car but also empty the ice chest and put away a few things before massaging the back of the poor, sore driver.

This afternoon some of our friends from choir will be coming over to discuss what we will be doing to try to recruit new members now that students are arriving once again, and folk dance will start up the first week of September. Summer is pretty much over. There may be a few more opportunities to work on the earth cellar before snow flies, but the project will take a least three years to complete...
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: (fresh baked rolls)
When I was a kid I was taught to wash the sheets and pillowcases every week. In those days I had a single bed, only one pillow, a large top-loading washing machine that took only about 30 minutes to run a load, and a dryer. This meant that the whole process from stripping the bed to making it again (IF I wanted to re-use the same sheets) took not much more than an hour, perhaps an hour and a half, tops.

These days I have a king-sized bed, between the two of us we have eight pillows (and I use two pillow cases on each), and we each have our own doona (mine is a real one, filled with down, his has a horrid polyester filling). We don't have quite enough pillowcases, and we still have only the one fitted sheet that fits the new bed, so it is necessary to get it all dried and put back on the bed before we want to sleep in it. Our front-loading washer is small enough this means that it takes four loads of laundry to wash all of the sheets, doona covers, and pillows cases. Even using the "extra fast wash" button on the washer each load takes 1.5 hours to wash, and we have no dryer, which means either I wait for a good enough day to hang them outside, or I hang them in the sauna with a heater/fan running in hopes that each load is dry enough to take down before the next one comes out of the washer.

Today was a nice enough day that I could dry them outside, and between the wind and the sun each load was dry before the next one came out (which is good, since the clothes line won't hold all that much at one time). This means that I started laundry at 08:30 and brought the last load in from the line at 15:50. A lot of time and bother, but I am so looking forward to sleeping in the nice clean sheets!

No wonder I put off washing the sheets so long these days! The fact that it can be several weeks before I am willing to invest that much time into the project also helps explain why I want double pillow cases--without a dryer I won't wash my pillows, so I would rather give them extra protection.

However, while the laundry runs one can accomplish other things. Today, in sessions of 1.5 hours or less I:

*took the car in for service and replacing the break pads (and got a ride home from [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, who followed along in his work car).

*Picked enough black currants to fill three trays in the food dehydrator (I could have picked many more, but the alarm went off to take sheets out of the washer)

*cut my round shield for the Nordanil Lajv from the boards I had glued together the other day (these had previously been the top of a pallet we had on hand, so this project is costing only time, not materials)

*cut the center hole for the shield

*glued down the reinforcing ribs and handle to the shield

*gave the shield a base coat of grey paint (same stuff we painted the concrete floor with)

*made a pattern for the shield-boss

*cut out a shield-boss from some scrap sheepskin that had once been a coat that shrunk after getting wet

*read more than 150 pages of my book in progress

*picked up the car after service/break repair

*ran enough almonds through the hand-crank grater to re-fill the almond flour jar (and sifted out the big chunks, which I ate in some oatmeal)

*cooked up the zucchini the neighbour gave us from her garden with some snowpeas, leek, garlic, left over rice, cashews, sesame seeds, egg, and butter

I still need to go for a walk, since, as you can see, that list is rather lacking in exercise, and do my yoga. I guess I should turn off the computer soon.

Tomorrow needs to be another go to the office and work on the revisions to that paper day. If I have a productive morning doing that then my reward can be more projects at home.
kareina: (stitched)
We aren't doing any real travel this summer, but we did start [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's summer vacation with some short adventures. His summer holiday started last week Monday, and he spent the first two days being one of the folk musicians being filmed playing music etc. for a movie (I used the time to finish that paper, which I already mentioned here). Then we had a couple of days mostly at home, doing various tasks getting ready for the big projects we wanted to accomplish this summer (but he got called into the office to help out for a bit of that time, anyway--the disadvantage of not actually traveling during one's vacation--they can still reach you at need).

Then on Thursday, after we spent the morning cementing a large stone into the earth cellar wall, we hopped into the car and drove to Tällberg, a tiny village nearly as far south as Skellefteå, and a bit inland. These days the village is mostly summer houses belonging to one family, but back before the 1930's people lived there year round. Apparently in the 1930's the government paid farmers to give up their farms and move to the cities, so that there would be more workers available for the factories. This village was one where people took the offer, and then, years later, when the forest service decided to sell the houses, the family bought them back to be used as summer cottages. We know some of the younger people in that family from the SCA and "Lajv" (LARP.

These guys were some of the first to do Lajv in northern Sweden, and, since their family had a bit of land, they decided to build a(nother) village on that land upon which to hold events. Every so often they get their hands on an old timber house that someone else wants to get rid of cheap (or sometimes free if you haul it away), and they add another house to the Lajv village. This year is one of the years they are building a new house, and we were invited down to join them.

Since this sounded like fun to us, so we spent from Thursday afternoon through to Sunday afternoon living in one of their summer houses in the original village, and most of those days, walking the 1 km up the road to the Lajv village to work on the new house in progress. The others spent hours there each day building, but I only did a little work there--the rest of the time I spent at the summer house working on sewing more hair to my beard that I need for the Viking-themed Lajv event that will be held on this site in August. Since I was based at the house I also made time to cook meals for the others, so that food was ready when they got home from a day of building, and I think they appreciated it.

In addition to those projects we also went into Skellefteå twice that trip. Friday night three of us went in to the opening concert for the Spelmanstämman (gathering of musicians). [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar joined the other musicians from the Luleå nyckleharpa group, and they were the second performance of the evening (the other two of us in the car for that evening just enjoyed the show (and, of course, I worked on a sewing project whilst I listened).

That concert was held in a large church, which has some statues from the Middle Ages. One of which was a Madonna (long since missing the babe in her arms, along with the hands that once held him), who dates from the 12th Century, and is wearing a bliaut! I didn't expect to see such a statue in northern Sweden, though the church flyer says that particular statue "probably comes from Germany".

The next day we returned to the church because a friend of ours was doing her confirmation, and everyone staying at the summer house (five of us), agreed to go to that and then check out the market at the Spelmanstämnan. I was not very comfortable attending a religious ceremony, but since we were in a group, and I had sewing to work on, I opted to sit with them and stitch. Granted, I stitched for part of the time, then went out to the car, got some food from the ice chest and enjoyed second breakfast, and then wandered back in after I got cold (it was windy that day) and stitched a bit more before the event was over. Then our group joined the family of the girl getting confirmed for fika at the cafe on the cute little island near the church before heading to the old town for the market. It was nice to see everyone, and fun to visit with them all.

Our plan had been to come home Sunday evening, but by Sunday morning I was itching to head home and get to work on the earth cellar again. I suggested this, but [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar really wanted to stay and keep building the timber house. Therefore we compromised and stayed till lunch, and then we headed home.

For the trip south we had taking the main highway south, then turned inland to the Tällberg. However, for the return trip we decided to take the scenic route by following the little dirt road upon which the village is located further inland until it hit a paved road, and then took that road north. This village isn't that far south from Hemmingsmark, the village where [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar grew up, so it was easy for him to guess correctly at each intersection we then came to, since all were labeled with the name of the next town or village one would come to, and he recognized all of the names. But I am glad he was driving, since it took several roads before I recognized the name of a village.

It turns out that going that way takes only 1 hour and 34 minutes, which was surprisingly quick, considering that taking the highway (which has faster speed limits) all the way to Skellefteå takes about 2 hours. However, while one can't drive as quickly on the little roads, it is a more direct path than the highway, which tends to follow the coast line.
kareina: (house)
Today has been productive. Since I came home from our mini vacation (remind me to post about that later--it deserves its own write-up) with an email from my colleagues at the Mine saying that they were happy with the paper draft and I could go ahead and submit it to the journal I spent the morning at the office. It took about 3.5 hours to get the submission together )
Then I biked home and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I added re-bar to the frame for a concrete slab in the shed (which we had build the day before). The slab will be holding the huge lathe that we got from his dad when we picked up the tractor and the huge trailer. It has been sitting in our carport awaiting its move to its permanent home, so we are finally preparing said home for it so that we can get our carport back.

After that we counted the bags of concrete we had available, agreed that the 18 bags are NOT enough for that lathe base, and drove to the store to get more. Last time we did this be borrowed a trailer from the store, they loaded half a pallet worth of concrete bags (20 of them) onto the trailer and charged us about 1000 SEK to take them home (it isn't an option to put more than 1/2 a pallet worth of concrete onto the trailer at once). This time they said that they are out of that size bag, but if we want there are huge bags available. The huge bags hold the equivalent of a full pallet worth of the small bags, and so is much too big to put onto one of their trailers.

Therefore we went home and he got the tractor and huge trailer and went back to the store, while I took a nap. I slept for nearly an hour, and woke up on time to make a serving of oatmeal in the microwave and start eating it before he got back. Luckily, I was able to finish eating in the time it took for him to lift the bag off of the trailer and get it moved onto a pallet so that we could carry it into the shed. (He could lift it down using the carrying straps it comes with to dangle it from the forks, but the door to the shed isn't high enough to put the bag, which was well more than waist height, and as wide as a pallet, through like that, so instead he carried it on the forks from underneath.)

By this time it was 17:00, so rather than stopping to cook him dinner too, we opted to start to work straight away, since we wanted to be done with it before it got so late that the noise of the concrete mixer was too much.

We quickly settled into a routine: I would fill two small buckets (the kind they sell for normal house cleaning tasks) with dry concrete. He would pour them into the concrete mixer, and I would start filling the buckets back up again while he added water to the mixer. I normally had time to fill one of the two buckets before he had added enough water, and then we would carry together the large concrete bucket into the shed and dump it into the form. Then I would go back to the other shed and fill the second small bucket with more dry concrete while he spread out, shook, and smoothed the concrete we had just added. He normally finished that task about the time I had finished filling the small buckets, and we would dump out the wet concrete into the large bucket and set it aside while he emptied the next two dry buckets into the mixer and the whole process repeated again.

It took 27.5 batches of concrete done this way to completely fill the frame we had prepared, and now it is happily drying. In a few days we will have the fun of trying to get the huge lathe through that small shed door and onto the platform. That last half batch we used to start cementing together bricks to create a back wall to the large concrete rings that have been built into the earth cellar walls as interior cabinets. By the time we had done that and cleaned up 4 hour and ten minutes had elapsed since starting.

If I were sensible I would have called it a day there. But no, instead I took a shower, baked a cake, washed the mixing dishes while it baked, and started a load of laundry. That laundry should be done in another 15 minutes, and then after I hang it to dry I can do my yoga and head to bed. Tomorrow I need to re-do the submission again--somehow I missed out noticing that I need to add my own damn line numbers to the document--they don't do it for me (by the time I saw the email saying so I was too tired to turn on the work computer and deal with it) and he needs to do some work as well--one of his colleagues needs to fix some computer stuff on a system that can't be shut down whilst fixing it, and since [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar has way more experience with that type of job than the colleague, he agreed to give up a bit of vacation time to help out.

Then we can get back to work on the Earth Cellar in progress while we wait for today's concrete to finish drying.
kareina: (house)
Today (Thursday) is a holiday in Sweden, so we have had a productive day:

*one load of laundry washed
*one wall in the downstairs room painted (2 coats)
*one new strawberry patch location has been prepped including decorative stone fronting and a wooden frame
*one third of the strawberries from one of the two old patches has been transplanted to the new location
*one dead tree cut down
*part of a gravel pile moved so that it is now possible to drive the mini tractor/trailer past it
*one custom fit screen built for the downstairs bedroom window so we can open the window without letting in bugs (really important now that there is fresh paint on one of the walls.

Yesterday was the end of the semester party for our choir, held in conjunction with our normal band practice for those of us in the choir who like to make more music than just singing. We had seven of us here (which, sadly is most of the choir these days). I made nettle soup from the nettles growing in our yard (I could do this daily all summer and never run out of nettles) and they liked it so much that most of them had seconds. I also did a lovely gluten-free apple and red currant crumble, and I have a second batch of (possibly) non-gluten free oat and walnut crumble topping sitting in the fridge to use on another occasion; I remembered at the last second that I should have grabbed the other (certified gluten free) box oats, so rather than poisoning my friend I made more topping (without walnuts, since the last of them went into the first batch), and used it instead. I also made some yummy bread rolls, and one of the other members brought some yummy apricot bread he had made. It was a fun evening, and the last time we get to see a couple of the guys, since they are exchange students and will be heading home to their own countries soon (and one had already left and so missed the party).

Tuesday was our normal choir practice, and Monday was nyckleharpa (and dulcimer!) night, so it has been a music filled week.

Sunday we had Swedish Folk Dancing--we are now doing the final few rehearsals before the summer performances, so it is much fun.

Saturday day we helped [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's dad cut and split wood for the year. No where near as much as we did last year, since it was such a mild winter no one used up all of what we cut last year, and he and I don't need any, since we still don't have a wood stove, so the only time we used any of the wood was for one camping event.

Saturday night I spent on line at my 30th highschool reunion.

OK, I confess, I typed it like that because that phrase will not conjure up the correct mental image in anyone who didn't go to school with me. Steller was not your typical high school. It was an alternative school aimed at self-motivated students and it was an amazingly fun place to be for the six years I was the correct age to attend. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Steller's founding, so they hosted a party at the school and Stellerites from all over went home for it, and a bunch of us connected to the event from our computers at our homes (including locations in Sweden, Germany, Main, Colorado, California, and Washington, that I know of).

I really enjoyed the evening. Because of the time zone difference (10 hours) between here and Alaska, I was on line for the event from 23:30 to 04:00, and loved every minute of it (well, except for the short time where the connection broke and it took a couple of minutes to get it back). I got to see some old friends and lovers, I got to meet some interesting new people, of all ages. One woman who was in the internet chat had been part of the first class to attend Steller the first year it opened (and so was just enough older than I that we wouldn't have met back them--she would have graduated before I started at Steller), another (the one in Germany) graduated last year. It was interesting comparing notes with them and learning that the wonderful school I attended was pretty much the same from the beginning, and is still pretty much the same as of last year.

One of the things that has eaten a fair chunk of my time lately was preparing the Memorial Wall, with posters in tribute to those Stellerites who have already died. This was a difficult task that wouldn't have been possible at all without the facebook groups for Steller alumini, but seems to have been much appreciated. One of my old boyfriends, who was actually at Steller for the party, came in to the computer lab to say hello, and let me know that he appreciated the wall, but when he came to the poster for Steven, one of our mutual friends, he burst into tears. This did not surprise me, I cried a bit when I gathered up photos of Steven from the yearbook. His was one of the deaths that would have been so easy to prevent, if he had only made some different lifestyle choices. But it was his life to spend wisely or to squander and I can only hope that he enjoyed as much as he got.

Friday was my student's and my last day in Finland working on the Microprobe, followed by a band practice at my house (which I got home on time for, because we finished with the probe nice and early that day)

Thursday was a quiet evening at my host's house in Oulu while she was at choir, and some fun visiting with her before and after her choir session, and that brings me current on the major happenings in my life since my last update. Hope things are as fun for the rest of you.

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