Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas in Dalarna

Yes, christmas in Dalarna 2013...
What's wrong with the following picture???

Not a speck of snow or frost in sight! It is late autumn around here these last few weeks. Stormy weather, rain, clouds, fog, wet snow and an occassional night frost. Winter took a few weeks off and is not expected to be back for some time. The ground is so waterlogged that we actually leave tiremarks in the gravel!

And we are not the only ones who are confused. Many plants have started to bud! There are fresh green leaves and shoots all over the place... and even some bloomimgplants.

There's not much to do besides the daily chores than to sit around all day, read a lot and be generally bored. The kids find it hard to get rid of their energy and tend to start to get on each others nerves. I guess the anticipation of christmas to come did play a role in that too.
Christmas is not my kind of celebration actually. I always find it to be a bit of an anticlimax after the initial buildup of anticipation. Most of it probably has to do with my own "ghosts of christmas past".... It does not bring back the happiest of memories. It also underlines a very big empty space in my own life, one which I know will not be filled.... and it is hard to loose that ball & chain. Luckily I do not need to worry about the ones from the present and future...

In order to shake this off, my oldest daughter and I went on an investigation on christmasday. There was a mystery to be solved; the mystery of the missing skull!
Yes, the mooseskull had disappeared! We, and above all I, wanted to know where it had gone. We had witnessed a fox moving through our garden about a week ago. It marked it territory here and there, vanished and reappeared a few minutes later right in front of our kitchenwindow. I saw it and called the kids and we watched the animal for a few minutes and it was watching us too! After that it trotted away, showing us its colours; a pale reddish brown with dark grey sides and back and all black legs. Its tail wasn't as full as the other one we saw a while ago either.
So we had a suspect, but an empty crimescene. In the drizzling rain we started at the place where I had left the skull and started searching in ever expanding circles untill my daughter called me. she had found some tufts of hair!
We again used the same tactics untill we found some more and again and again. The trail led us to a grassy patch next to our own backyard and here we saw narrow paths and more hair. Soon we found the lower jaw of the moose, completele stripped bare! Not a single scrap of meat or hair was left! I had not expected this.
We marked the spot and searched on, another trail and some more hair. We found a small piece of bone, which looked like a nosebone and searched on untill we eventually found the skull itself, a few hundred meters away from our house.
This had only a tuft of hair left ontop of the skull, but otherwise it too was completely bare, apart from a small dropping inside it and some more next to it.

By now the drizzle had turned to rain and we decided to go back home to get a bucket and some gloves in order to collect the lower jaw. My daughter would not go near it otherwise, let alone pick it up. We left the skull where it was after we had studied it. I was surprised to see there were no front teeth and the skull had a much more pointed shaped than I thought it would have.
So we got the bucket and gloves and my daughter picked up the jaw. She was fascinated by it though and studied it too.
When we came home I hung the jaw higher up in a juniperbush. This way no creature will be able to take it (I hope).
I admit that it does look a bit gruesome though, but I hope that by spring it'll be all clean.
Now to think what to make of the jaw. Anyone any ideas??

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A dark wintersolsticeday

I had actually hoped to spend the wintersolstice differently than we did. It was devoid of frost and snow and it was plenty wet, grey and windy. The day after the wintersolstice, 22 december, we were hit by a powerout, the longest we have experienced here so far. Power went off at 10:30 app. and came back on just after 20:30. The probable cause for that was the unexpected stormy weather we had.... again. Many a tree went down and powerlines were hit by them on several places around the municipally. Keeping in mind that it gets dark at about 15:00 on a dark, grey and cloudy day and you'll see that there were plenty of hours of darkness left to see (or not see) that we need to take more precautions in case we suffer from real trouble, as in a prolonged powerout with low temperatures.
The most obvious thing we did, was light the fireplace and plenty of candles, so light was no issue and neither was warmth. What did become an issue was ventilation! With all of us in the livingroom, the fireplace going, the candles alight, the air was becoming stale quite fast. I noticed when I started to develop a headache and we were becoming sluggish and sleepy. I started opening the doors at regular intervals, which helped, but I will be thinking about a less cumbersome solution.
During these hours we encountered several problems, which made life unnecessary more dificult.
First of all we did not have enough water. We abandoned the previous routine of keeping a few liters ready in the fridge. Instead we took to freezing water and storing it in the freezer. Getting it defrosted rather quickly in reasonable quantities proved to be problematic. The upside of this was that the refridgerator was kept cool, by placing these frozen waterbottles in the it. This however did delay the thawing of the ice even more.
So the first thing I did when the power came back on was securing an ample supply of water. Just in case...
A further waterrelated issue was the toilet. With a family of five it will be used frequently over such an extended period. The guys could go out, but not always, and the girls simply could not. Luckily we had a supply of bottled mineralwater in the cellar. This was long over date (if that is at all possible), so we used that to refill the toilet's watertank.
We also have a full deepfreezer and that kept the temperature quite well. This did include several 1,5 liter plasticbottles of water. Yet I also realised that, if a powercut would last longer, like 24hrs., all that food in the freezer would start to thaw, meaning up to 40kg of meat and at least 10kg of vegetables plus the rest would be spoiled! So there's a dilemma; keeping the freezer full at all times or find alternatives to storing food that easily spoils.
Preparing a decent meal (or more) is a bit of a challenge too. It is one thing to cook or bake something for yourself or maybe for 2, but for a family of five with 2 hungry (pre)teens it involves a little more than just whipping up an omelette over a campingstove. Time for one thing.....

Our ability to keep ourselves busy and pass the time was also tested. I happened to notice that especially my son was having a bit of a hard time, but also the girls found it difficult to find something to do. This goes to show much accustomed they are to electricity. This after all was somehing very different from a planned evening spent by candlelight and a fire. The girls eventually managed and started playing games, but my son kept an ipod and headphone glued to his ears... The Mss. and I spent most of the time reading, but we too noticed that it does take a little getting used to. The psychological effect is a part not to be taken lightly.

It is becoming more and more obvious that our house was built during times where there was an abundance of fossile fuels and electricity. The central heatingsystem requires electricity for its pumps. The watersupply too. Even our ventilationsystem comes with a powerdriven fan. 
So that leaves me/us with the following challenges to tackle;
How to keep the cellar and the rooms therein free from frost without a functioning heatingsystem and no fireplaces?
How to prevent food from spoiling during a prolonged powercut (24hrs+)?
How to ensure adequate ventilation without excessive loss of warmth indoors?
How to keep up supplied with enough water?
How to make sure we have access to personalhygienefacilities at all times?

For now the christmaslights are working and I'll have plenty of time to think things over...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The best wishes for this time of celebrations

I wish you all a 
merry christmas
god jul
happy yule
a joyous wintersolstice 
or whatever it is you are celebrating these coming days. Enjoy yourselves, spend time with your loved ones and maybe spend a little thought on those not so fortunate.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

3 of a kind - Scandinavian steel frame backpacks

I'd like to share, again, someone else's hard work; this time about external frame backpacks. It is an article by a guy named Markus and I found it on 74 footwear design consulting. I figured it'd make a great introduction to what I actually wanted to show; my Scandinavian external frame backpacks.

Learning from the past is important and I sometimes think about this from a design perspective. Can we learn from old traditional designs, or techniques and apply them to modern design? Is all primitive design and technology inferior?
I believe that at the very least learning about old ways can provide us with food for thought, a comparison to our new directions and if necessary can inform any necessary adjustments to our course and design thinking.
External frame backpacks are interesting not only of their more versatile modularity, but also because the structural component of the pack is clearly visible and offers a great opportunity to any designer wanting to explore structural innovation. Designing compelling structural elements from diverse materials such as wood, aluminium, or even carbon fiber is something I think most designers live to do.

Here's the link to the full article. I suggest you read that too, if this matter is of interest to you!

On to my backpacks. I have gathered three of these so far; a Haglöfsbackpack, a Swedish army M39 and a Savotta saddlesack 339.
First a little information on the packs.
The Haglöfs; back from the days they were still producing backpacks in Torsång, a village about 30km from here, so a local product. Searching the net I ended up with an image of a ryggsäck m/1935, which resembles mine a great deal, including the single leather attachmentstraps on the backpack. (source; digitalt The label says:" Haglöfs mesryggsäck W.Haglöfs ryggsäckfabrik Torsång." All this indeed indicates a 1930's-1940's origin! Now that's one sweet "inheritance"!
The m39 is a former swedish army backack, vintage unknown and the Savotta most likely an surplus Finnish army backpack from the 60's, according to the Savotta companyperson that replied to my mail.

The m39 has all its attachmentpoints securely rivetted by double rivets with a thick leather backing. You will not tear up this pack that easy! It also has a smaller, simple pouch on the front inside. The Haglöfs has a similar pouch, but to the back of the pack. The single strap of the lid means it can not be loaded up as much as the m39 or the Savotta.

 An additional benefit of the m39 are the 2 straps to the bottom, where you could attach a blanket, shelterhalf or a jacket. There are also 2 small straps to one side. At first I thought these were for skis, but turnes out there was a shoval planned on the side. I could not date this backpack, though, but it is in new shape.


You can see the similarity in design of the frame, but the savotta is much wider in the shoulderarea. This gives the backpach itself much more stability, when standing on the ground. Thus the interior is a lot easier to access. It also has a rubberised lining in the main compartment, making it waterresistant, whereas the other 2 are not. It is also a lot less old, probably as much as 2 decades. The function of the strings at the sides is not really know, since the internal space of the pack is not greatly enhanced when loosening them.
Big let down are the incredibly narrow sidepockets. I do not have large hands, but they hardly fit into them!

Looking at them I'd say the Savotta is the biggest of them all, the Haglöfs the smallest, but it has the largest and most usefull outerpockets. The savotta is, as said, waterresistent and the m39 has a handy set of attachmentsstraps. The Haglöfs has the most emotional appeal, since it is so old and used. It would make a great restaurationproject. I think it would also be the most userfriendly of this trio, due to the outerpockets. T

Over time I have really developped a soft spot for backpacks like these, but it is obvious I can not wear them all. So some will have to go. Question is which ones...
I actually had thought of donating the Haglöfs to the company for display in a companymuseum or something like that, but looking at their internetsite I can not help but feel that they do not really care about their heritage and history.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I think way too much, so.....

I skipped household- and dadchores and went out to the woods in order to quiet down my mind. I needed to clear my head, allthough my stomage felt like it was thinking of doing the same thing. Seems to be a seasonal thing around here ...
It would also provide me with a good opportunity to explore new terrain and try out new things. I wanted to check out a new part of the woods nearby and I figured I might try out the footrags during the proces, along with the shoulderbag and the "woodsbelt". The shoulderbag I showed befor and the belt is actually the belt I made myself almost 2 years ago, to which I added 2 double leatherpouches to the front and one large lather pouche on the back. I'll do a more indepth post on those at a later date. But first the footrags or footwraps or fotlappar as they are called here. The ones I have are swedish army issue in a wool blend and they have a rectangular shape.
If you do a search on footwraps, you'll find that this sort of footclothing was widely used in several armies, such as the Germans in both wars and that the Sovjet military actually did up to now, introducing socks in 2013!
Anyway, the reason for using those by me is that these are easier to use in the field. They are dried faster when wet, insulate better and are more easily maintained. I used the previous image as a guide, following the sequence and wrapped the remainder of the wrap higher up the leg. as seen they can be used with socks too, so that enhances my option in real cold weather.
After a few struggles/tries I got the hang of it and slipped into my boots. It felt a bit weird at first, because I could feel the lumps around my toes, where the fabric was folded.
After that I grabbed my bag, filled my canteen, skipped on food, dressed up and headed out. temperatures were forecast to be around freezing ranging from -2°C to +1°. The wind died down to a breeze and it was dry, so quite enjoyable actually.
I left the road as soon as possible and moved through a field and a patch of woods up to the edge of the lake to the right of our house. From there I made my way through the woods, heading for the gravelroad my wife and I took a few days ago. How very different the world looked today. There was no real snow left, only small patches of wet, icecrusted snow and where there had been traffic it was just solid ice. Going up the road was tricky business. It was slippery, yet I felt the soles of the boots freeze to the surface on a few occassions too.
I reached the point where my wife and I turned around and I went on this time, following the now climbing road...


<-- As it was today...                    and as it was a few days ago -->

Some fungi growing on and in a downed birch
The melting snow is showing the tunnels made by voles.
 I took the following pictures to see how well the anorak blended in with the surroundings and I have to admit that I am pleased with it. The boots kind of stand out, though! Maybe I'll tone them down with darkbrown shoescream or something. 

Territorial dispute??

I followed the road and but left it frequently too in order to explore the adjacent woods. The area looks like a very promissing area for tracking this winter, but also for roaming in the summer! There were plenty of lingonberrieshrubs present, but I also saw many smultronplants. They showed some of their leaves, which were fresh and green! There were plenty of forestanemonea to be seen too! Overal I was very surprised to see a lot a green plants growing everywhere. It almost looked as if the plants had been fooled into thinking it was spring already.
The road became steeper as I went. If memory served me well there should be a loop at the end of it. At least that was what I remembered from the map at home. I hadn't seen much moosetracks so far and as soon as I had thought that, I came across some.... broken saplings. Further up I also found footprints and they became more frequent to further I went. The woods to both sides had become more accessible, because at regular intervals there were loggertrails cut into them. Many old ones, but also newer ones. I will take those a next time.
At the end of the road there appeared a large clearing. Many trees had been cut down, but they had also left a good deal of them. Against the grey sky I could see a bird of prey circling low over the trees. This will make a great spot for birdwatching in summer I think! I followed the loop in the road, untill I came across yet another loggerstrail. This one did have some snow left on it and in the snow were mooseprints, coming out, but also going in. The trail wasn't wide and I decided to see where it would go. It went further up the hill still with dense and relatively young growth on both sides. Yet there were more moosetrails crossing the trail. How does a large moose make its way through that? I'd be hardpressed to make my way through it! Wondering about that I went on and the trail made a bend to the left. To the right was a patch of young pine and as I turned I could see over the pines onto the clearing I just passed. My eyes were almost immediately caught by a group of dark spots between the trees on the far side of the clearing, about 300 meters away. I always check out those dark spot with my binoculairs and usually they are uprooted trees or the shady side of a rock.... But not this time! There was a moose feeding there! A large one too and I could clearly see and watch it, since the wind blew at me with a stiff breeze. No way it could smell me.... I took my camera I tried to zoom in as much as possible..... I'll help you with a red circle....

I do not know what happened, but something in me got triggered. My mindset changed like a switch being turned. I had to get closer, as close as I possibly could! I went down the trail as fast and as silent as I could and I had to take my eyes of the animal for about 2-3 minutes, befor I reached the edge of the clearing. The crusted snow made a lot of noise to my ears and I used the grassy edges as much as possible. I made my way onto the clearing, making sure I stayed low in the terrain and using the remaining trees and rocks as cover, keeping an eye on the probable spot I had seen the moose, but not seeing it. About 50 meters into the clearing there was a large bolder and a smaller one beside it and I decided to make that my observationpoint. But elas..... I peeked around it and there was nothing. I climbed on top but the animal had gone. Damn.... I waited somewhere between half an hour and an hour, but nothing happenend.
I did not want to cross the clearcut, thus exposing myself completely and I did not want to make my way through the young pinepatch either, in which direction the moose probably had wandered off. The thought of meeting the animal in there, allthough not very likely, did not really appeal to me. As I sat there, I let the rush (for a lack of a better word) wear off, thinking of what just had happened. I was surprised at myself. The physical reaction to seeing that moose was instant. The change of mind likewise....

It was about time to head home again. It was way past lunchtime, meaning the kids were coming home soon and some dad-duties have to be fullfilled. I think someone should be home when the kids come home and the house needed to be heated as well. So off I went, following the road and using the same pattern of exploring the woods.
I found many nice spots, but I also found the biggest anthill I had ever seen! This one was between 3-4 meteres wide at its base and would well reach up to my chest. It sat in the middle of a handfull paths radiating from it like strands in a web. This should be a lively place in summer.....

When I was almost home I found another surprise, but not a pleasant one this time; a textbook example of a widowmaker with add-ons!
I was focussing on the road, which at this point, was one large icesheet. I looked ahead and up and saw it; a birchtree, its trunk a fork from which one end was cut off. The other end had broken off it the recent stormy weather and was resting on the first stump. The crown was hanging on the electricitywires overhead. A decent gust of wind and it would come crashing down, maybe even take the line with it!
The house in the distance is a summerhouse and the power has not been cut yet, so it went unnoticed...
So I tyrned around and took an alternative route.
On my way out I met a local resident walking his dog and warned him not to take this road and explained why. He'd notify the electricitycompany.

As far as the footwraps is concerned.... I am pleased and surprised!
I stopped feeling them within 10 minutes. I guess they took shape around the feet and in the boot and stayed there. I did not have cold feet, not even a bit. Only when I was sitting on that rock did it become a little cool, but other then that, no sweat. Literally as it turned out, when I got home. Absolutely dry feet, despite walking for almost 4 hours straight. I'll be using them a lot more in the future!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A window of opportunity??

Yesterday I had a revelation (brainfart as I call it).
There have been so many things going on, yet I failed to see the connection, but here it was..... A window of opportunity is starting to show itself (or maybe it's just wishfull thinking by me). It might be because of the weather these last days. It is awefull; the snow has gone and so has the sun, the temperatures are constantly shifting between freezing and non-freezing, snow turns to rain and back again and as icing on the cake it is very windy too. Large patches of watercovered ice develop and one of these caused me to come into close contact with a concrete set of stairs in a non-regular manner, greatly enhancing my allready significant physical discomfort the weather causes me.... But I degress....

Let me tell you the story.....
Once upon a time, there was a Dutch family, the father, the mother, a son and 2 daughters, living in Sweden and in need of a home for themselves. They had no money and they had no jobs, however they did stroll the internet looking for houses, just to get an idea of how the market was. Among the hits, he found a house within the limits of the community, but it was far too expensive.
Then one day the family was in the direct vicinity of said house and he decided to go for a look. He dismissed the house as being located too far off, to expensive etc. etc. and thought nothing of it. By this time she had a parttime job and he worked a few hours every now and again too. The collective imcome however was still not sufficient to be able to afford a house of their own. Untill one day, while searching houses again she discovered that the previously mentioned house had been lowered in price.... and shortly afterwards again! To a level they just might be able to afford it!! The people at the bank twisted and turned every rule to make the purchase possible and even the children were immediately unanimous on all accounts regarding the house. (Those with more than 2 kids know that this is very, very rare indeed! Some might even consider that to be "a sign") The seller of the house had lowered the price drastically and we were actually required to wait untill the openhouseweekend. Yet the seller also specifically requested the house being sold to a family with children, so he agreed on a early sale and not to wait.
Unfortunately the father has also a problem with authority. He can not work under a management, that bosses him around and shows little respect for him as a human. Hence he keeps losing jobs.... apart from the ones on a local potatoefarm and heritagemuseum. There he performs very well and is very liked by colleagues and employers alike.

While they were living there, there were a number of things that at first seemed totally insignificant and unconnected. The parents had allways had a love for the outdoors and for gardening and they started making plans. Plans for growing their own crops, to have some chickens and maybe even some bees, allthough he never liked (processed store)honey.... Untill he tasted some of the local, unrefined honey! Now he eats it by the spoonfull. They came across an article in the local newspaper about an elderly couple, living in the direct vicinity who grew herbs on a commercial, yet small scale and the parents thought :"Hey. Why not ask these older folks if they can teach us how to do that in this climate?", but that never materialised. Not even after a similar article, more outspoken in context and photo's, appeared again half a year later. The same thoughts, the same action.

The local heritagemuseumgroup has a traditional christmasdinner each year on 3 consecutive days. They allways need people to help and the mother volunteered for friday and saturday. The oldest daughter helped out on friday too and she was spoken to by an elderly man, asking her who she was. Then the mother meets the man and his wife and is met by the same question. Guess who they were?? The mother mentions the family's plans of chicken and bees and the elderly woman points immediately to her husband and says:" He has beehives". A conversation unfolds and the mother learns that the elderly couple indeed used to grow herbs commercially and have several beehives, but that they are only doing it during season these days. It just becomes too much work. The parents end up being invited to the elderly couple's home.
We drive past a couple of greenhouses and roadsigns everyday that say "greenhouse" and "beekeeping", but it all looked vacant. Guess who ownes those?

A few days later the parents went for a walk together in the snow, without a preset plan or route. They went left, they went right, looking here, seeing there and taking unknown pathes..... and their walk lead them past the elderly couple's house...

During the same period of time several other things developped.
The family learned more and more about the ways of life of their grandparents and the people befor them and they started to see that the modern ways were not the ways they should be using to live. Instead they grew more and more convinced that the old ways, with no exuberant use of resources and power were the better ways. The swing of the pendulum of modern day consumerism, capitalism and destruction of the world had gone to far. It needs to come back...
Especially in recent days their interest in basic things, like handcraft, food and ways of living started growing and they started to see the wrongs of today's society in regard to everyday life. They saw the lies of the big companies, banks and governments and the more they looked for answers, the more they were shocked, horryfied and alarmed with what they found.

Strangely enough there is this sort of "foodrevolution" developping in the country, where people from all over are starting to see the many wrong things within the everyday food and foodindustry, even the equally wrong connections to science, governments and the medical world in regard to feed. And that picture is spreading like an oilstain on water toughing more and more branches, showing their interconnection... Sites, informationgroups and the like start popping up all over the place showing how mislead the people have been all this time and the father himself is becoming quite involved, discussing, spreading the word and connecting the dots.

Within the family's community there is this small group of people, including the family, that spontaniously formed last summer, bonded and became friends and they started to share meals and food and tips about food with one another. If there was a local source of good, honest and affordable food to be found, they shared the information, so that all could benefit. And that extended to non-fooditems as well. Whenever someone had something they did no longer need, it was passed on and slowly the family's network is expending.

Within the larger circle of the community a lot of things regarding local and honest food develloped too. After many years a slaughterhouse was built by the owner of a large ecological chickenfarm. Now local, ecological pigs and poultry could be slaughtered and sold locally. The same goes for locally hunted animals and very recently the last missing group was announced to be added very soon; cattle.
This owner also bought up a local grainmill, so it would remain and he is a part of a local commercial foodnetwork, including all sorts of local and ecological foodproducers, ranging from potatoes, to said chickens, pigs etc.... There was another section that was destroyed recently; a woodfed hardbreadbakery. It was bought up, dismantled (destroyed is the better description) and sold off again. Local entrepeneurs tried to save the bakery, but ended up buying the empty building. Last week they announced to try and resurrect said bakery on a smaller scale and under a different name and they received massive support!

And suddenly there popped up this seemingly innocent looking post on one of the larger social mediasites from a another new member of the community they lived in, saying people should stop supporting those large companies, banks and politicians and go local. grow local, buy local, work and live local... and said poster was busy setting up a network of similar minded people, asking for their participation, based upon the work of one of his contacts, who is succesfully doing the same in another community. He also seems to emphisize the need to spread the trueth about current
The poster happenes to be a baker, baking sourdough bread using ecological ingredients too.

So there is this community that is slowly waking up, growing and focussing on the local area and the father is convinced that that is the way people should be doing this; local. That by no means turning a blind eye or away from the rest of the world by the way!
He also sees that there are some keyfactors missing; vegetables! many folks around here have loads and loads of fruit, mainly apples and berries, but you seldom see a vegetablebed. It is just too much work or too difficult for many to grow edible crop from seed.

Now picture this;
You have a man, willing and driven to work, but with a constant problem regarding authority at work and hence unemployed. That same man loves being outdoors, loves plants and growing them, but only in an ecological way.
There is this community that is developping toward a local market for honest food, but lacks a good source of available alternatives in regard to enable people to start growing their own vegetables.
There is this elderly couple that has the knowledge, the means, but no longer the youth and energy to deliver. It would be a terrible waste to let their lifework go to waste as there seems no one there to continue it.
And finally there is the added topping of a society that is profoundly changing, both local and nationwide, when it comes to food, dismissing the large industry approach and looking for honest, and preferably local, alternatives.

Now I don't know about you, but I do see a pattern here. I do see a picture developping..... And I do not believe in coincidences, especially not if there are that many.

It is time to set things in motion!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lessons in life - Predestination, karma or Nature showing the way??

I keep running into the same problems over and over again.
One is that I can not seem to find, but more specifically keep a job. I end up being jobless, because of the same reason; my incapability to be absolutely obedient.
My joys of finally having found a job here were shortlived. Within 2 weeks my employer and owner of the bar/café talked to me, saying he was unsatisfied with my performance and that he had his doubts about my future there. I was flabergasted.... We had a discussion, where he claimed that I needed to step up my performance by at least 5-6 steps, totally neglecting the facts that I just worked there for a total of 36hrs, in a job that was totally new to me, not just in tasks, but in mentallity and regulations as well. I on the other hand knew I had done well. No matter what I said, he disagreed and he was very obviously irritated by the fact that I disagreed with him! Long story short, in the end the truth came out. He wanted me to be totally obedient to him and to the other person who worked there! Behind my back, she had complained on several occassions, telling him I did not blindly do as she wanted me to. He told me plain and simple that if she wanted me to jump, I just had to jump. There was no room or time for discussion and new ideas were not appreciated there!
I had the same issue with my last employer back in Holland and before that the large furnishsellingcompany I worked for, was not to happy about me, or my colleagues, speaking up, when they wanted to dramatically change our way of working, seriously effecting everyone's life both on the job as well as privately.
But it actually goes back my entire life.... Parents, teachers..... each and everyone trying to command me into doing their bidding found me argueing with them. It is not that I do not comply at all. I just have a problem with doing what they tell me, simply because they tell me no matter what. Give me a good reason, possibly a dialog and a decent, respectfull tone of voice and there is no problem.

Also everytime for the past few years, my family and I seem to hit a financial black hole in december, not because we spend copious amounts of cash, but simply because we run out of sources or we get hit by large bills, due to someone else's fuckups... and we somehow allways end up with a christmas blessed with each others company, very little presents under the tree, yet with heartwarming gifts or gestures from our friends. Just plain, simple and unspoiled.

This all got me thinking; are these happenings related to the lessons in life I am, or we are, supposed to learn?
Should I learn to shut up, do as told and be an obedient minion in order to fit into current society's hierarchy, submitting to the slavery of money? Or is it that I should stop trying to be as everyone else, slaving away for a paycheck every month, doing my master's bidding? Am I to break away from it all, be rebellious and find my own way, to make it my own way? The first would be the real easy way, but I am simply uncapable of doing so. The latter is the hard way, which, I have to admit it, wears me down quite a bit.

Looking at the circumstances makes me realise that I have always questioned authority, especially if they demand obedience. It is a different matter in following orders or rules in order to achieve a certain goal or getting a job done, that needs to be done.
My entire life has been about not falling in, doing what everyone else thinks is right and always ask questions, especially the WHY. Give me a sound reason and I'll comply. Tell me, because you said so, and you have a problem at hand. (Writing this suddenly makes me realise why my daughter and I always argue..... She's even worse then me!)
The reason why I am writing this, is that I really start to wonder if I make all these choices or if I am being steered toward something. If there is a bigger purpose to it all. If I need to learn urgently, because the lessons seem to become more and more pressing.
Is there a reason why my love for the outdoors, the woods, nature has become so strong in recent years? Why have I all of a sudden lost all interest in my old ways a few years back? Is there a reason why I am so interested in learning the old ways, the ways of living without modern conveniences. Is there a reason why I want to be independent and selfsufficient? Is there a reason why I so despise man's modern ways of living, consuming and wasting? Is it what some call predestination, karma or fait? Meant to be?
I know I suffered from a total burnout some 5 years ago. I felt as if I had died within and I literally felt reborn afterwards. That event triggered a search, a queste to see... to learn...
Is that all connected to the things I quite recently have started to see happening in society and have started to understand the connections (or think I do). The lies of the major industries in food, pharmaceuticals, finance are blatantly obvious to me, but many do not (seem or wish to) see them. The lies of governments, corporations and banks are equally visible to me... and could be to others too, if they wanted to. It is all readily accessible thanks to the internet. And I always seem to be drawn into discussions about this. I just can not shut up and wake away. It would be so much easier if I did, but something is driving me....

Deep down inside I feel that we are approaching an era of change, an age of transcendence, a coming to pass of our current ways and a renewed awakening of the old ways, with respect, love and understanding of everything around us; man, animal, plant, water, earth and air alike.

Maybe I am meant to be a tool in this struggle, this awakening or maybe I am just going nucking futs....
Yet I do know that I am not alone in this. I do know there are many more out there, feeling and thinking in similar ways and all of us do so independently from one another. There are many more waking up every day....
So something IS going on....

But there are allways the woods, the outdoors and nature to sooth a worried and overactive mind. I do not know how and why, but even the shortest walks seem to ease the thinking, to drain the worry from the mind and to restrengthen the heart and soul. It doesn't take away the problems, but somehow does take away some of the sharp edges.
It is allways comforting to lay your head to rest on Mother Nature's bosom.