Sunday, November 24, 2013

Daily doings - Jobs, bargains and a great "inheritance".

This post will be mainly about things... Items that have a connection to the past, but also directly linked to the outdoors in many ways.....

I'd like to do a little update on my recent activities. Recent as in "the last few weeks". Nothing to show for as far as outdoorfunthings, as I have been busy working both at home and elsewhere.
The job I should be doing in the bar in Borlänge did not materialise untill last week, but untill then I have been busy fixing the roofs on several of the buildings of the hembygdsgård and make a small start in the renovation of the interior of one of them. That meant I had the opportunity to take a good look at the buildingmethods of the past and I was surprised how well and clever the people came up with solutions back then. Solutions we'd call ecofriendly these days!
Beneath the many broken rooftiles I found roofing, made water- and windtight by using layers of birchbark underneath on one building, but thin birchwoodstrips on the other! These pieces and strips were layered like shingles, befor the wooden slats, which hold the tiles, were added. I have no pictures, since I needed all my limbs in order to maintain balance and a hold upon the wet, mosscovered roofs.
Inside the building that needs renovation I have been busy tearing out the very old wallpaper, which was nailed to the outerwalls. That stuff was tougher than the current bananaboxcardboard at only half the thickness! I learned that this paper not only served as a decoration, but it also created a barrier against draft. Making the room ligther was another benefit. Behind this paper were the outer walls; logs cut level and then stacked on top of one another, using moss the fill the gaps in between. After 100 years (!!) the moss is still present, with only small sections missing. I noticed a few flyspecies used these places to shelter for winter.
Another outsidejob was with the charcoalkiln, where we have been busy cutting and stacking the timber for next year's kiln. After that we did some work on the new windcover, which is being erected next to the koja. I guess it will not be ready before winter, but hopefully before the summer. ;) For the record; I just rolled the log up and down, so the other guy could cut it to fit. After the morning and this log, my fingers told me to quit..
There'll be one more long log at the back, then the shorter logs to make the side, then the floor, followed by a roof which will cover the entire shelter, but also extend in front of it, so the fireplace, that will be made next to the sawing guys feet, will be covered. Quite ambitious I'd say...

And some pictures of how it looked during warmer and sunnier days...

Another job was clearing the house of an old lady who had died. Since she did not have any heirs, the church, the local elderlyhome and the hembygdsförening (club) were named as heirs in her will. In order to be able to sell the farm she owned, we needed to empty the main house, the guesthouse and the sheds. The barns were taken care of by someone else. Old people have a tendency to collect much and keep what they already have and this house was no different. Some of the furniture was moved to the church and elderlyhome, but the vaste majority needed to be packed and stored or cleaned up, cleared out and thrown away. Inbetween the large amount of things there were several antique gems, which were carefully moved, such as handpainted closets in their original state, a handfull of petroleum lanterns, 2 of those with those large whiteglass tops etc. In the many things that were meant to be thrown away I spotted a handfull of things I was allowed to take, such as an old and dishevelled backpack, a backbasket, some smaller packs and a number of woolen blankets with some minor defects, such as loose edges, stains and strong odours. The 2 in the worst shape will be living in our car as part of the winterkit. Of course they'll get washed and fixed first. I also was allowed to have a handfull of small things such as 2 pieces of cowskin, a piece of raw leather and some other bobs 'n bits...
The main price for me however, was a grindstone.....
This one;

The other things I mentioned are;
the old backpack;
It uses the same framesystem as the m39 backpack and quite similar to the Savottapack, too.

Like I said, the pack is in poor shape, so I will be going nuts on fixing it! Which is a big deal for me, since I have this crazy thing with keeping things in their original state as much as possible...
I'll wash it, clean it, stitch, wax and polish it. Add modifications if I want/need to. Hopefully the leatherstraps will hold, otherwise they'll be replaced too. I just can not pass up on a backpack like this.... The main reason I took it, is because it is a perfect crossover between the Swedish M39 and the Savotta; same measurements, same frame. It has the adjustable shoulderstraps and innerpocket of the m39, but the outerpockets of the Savotta, but the sidepockets are larger!
The next item was the backpackbasket, here known as a "kont", pronounced "coont" in English.
it still retains its carryingbelts and hinges, but is damaged and has moult on the inside. It rides comfortably on the back. I hardly noticed it, when empty. I have another one, also damaged, so I am planning on making this one complete, by scavenging from the other one and turn that one into a firewoodcontainer for our livingroomfireplace. The antique padlock is added just for fun. Makes a nice picture....

Then I have this set of saddlebags.
they were destined to go nowhere too. So I snatched them. Had no idea what to do with them.... Well, I did have some ideas, but nothing solid. They might make nice bags for my bushbike (a future project, turning an old mountainbike into a bike for forestdwelling), but thought it would be a shame to ruin the old canvas and leather (here we go again) with mud and rain. So I figured they'd make a nice pair of daypacks, but then I had to surgically seperate them and remove their connecting straps..... which are in a sorry state as they are. Untill I got the medicbag, so I have no direct purpose for them anymore. Not just yet.
The interior is lined with a thick cardboardshell across the sides and back. These are deformed, probably due to storage and moisture, so the front collapses inward. There is one large compartment, with a small pouch in front, under the flap.

The rest of the furniture and many items we packed and stored, are meant for an auction next summer and I already decided I'll be there! There are some things I'd really like to have, such as some old tools (especially a large saw and a dito carpenters axe), a couple of scythes with several blades.

After we had cleared out the house, sheds and garage I stood alone in the now empty kitchen, looked around, thought of the woman and her husband, thanked them for the gifts I, and we, had received. I told them they were going to a good home, where they would be a welcome addition and would be put to good use. I was rewarded with a cold wind blowing across my neck..... and a deep inner feeling that is was ok to take them.


With the approaching winter, and items that did not perform satisfyingly during that period, I also went bargainhunting again. I just love doing that.
The first one was a wintercoat...... for the Mss.! She didn't have a decent one, so I searched and came across a coat, called "livspäls". That is an old armycoat and in full it's called livpäls m/1913. They either come in a shade of green or offwhite (I even saw some in beige) with brown or white sheepskin resp. They reach down to halfway of the thigh, have a cottoncanvas outershell and a real sheepskin inner! She loved the one I found; a white one with the rankinsignia still attached. So I ordered it for her and got it real cheap; 120sek. They usually go for about 500sek. However, SWMBO was not happy with it. Although it will be (very) warm in winter, she didn't like the very wide fit and the thing weighs a ton! 9kg's to be precise.... And it was dirty, too. If I understood the shoulderrankinsignia correctly it belonged to a fänrik (sec.Lt.) of the 2 Göta ingenjörsregt. (2 Göta pioneerregt.).
While it would make a great coat for static outdoorlife in winter, such as sentryduty or while riding horseback, for which I guess it was initially meant, it would be unuseable in activities. So we are thinking about reselling it, again. I do have the matching hat, which does not perform to my liking either. It exposes my lower half of the ears, which I do not like below -5 and with wind. Maybe it is too small after all? So I'll sell them as a set. Maybe that way they'll reach a collector, who appreciates their authenticity.

Because of the afor mentioned unsatisfying results with the Swedish sheepskinhat I got myself a new hat; a Finnish m/39 army winterhat.... and I am already loving this thing!! It resembles the Russian ushanka, which I thought of getting at first, but it just looks too..... Russian military... and I was told it would be too warm, even for southern Finnish winters, which I think resemble ours.
The outershell feels like some sort of woolfelt and the furliner feels like sheepskin.
I removed the Finnish nationalcoloured pin from the front and I will have to change the 2 straps on the earpieces. Way too short and flimsy for my liking.

Another piece of redundant gear I received was the old medical bag of the scoutgroup I (still) work as a volunteer. No longer as a leader, but as an equipmentcaretaker. It is a M39 förbandsväska or medicbag. All canvas and leather (yippee), but with the closingstraps torn off and missing (not so yippee). Because of that it was no longer useable as such.  Another not so yippee factor was the large blackmarkerwriting on the lid, saying:" Arkhyttan scoutkår", in 5cm large lettering. So this and the broken straps made a nice fixingproject (yippee).
I was to take it home with me and in return I will be providing them with a new medicbag; a modern British haversack/respiratorbag, made out of synthetics, so water-, dirt- and scoutproof! For good measure I bought a medicpatch and stitched that on, together with the scoutgroupbadges.

So there you have it; a lot of extra stuff and a lot of extra funprojects to keep me busy, besides my bedroll/swag 2.0 and the other projects waiting..... Well, the förbandsväska has been done already, actually and will be my "new" outdoorbag.


  1. Good stuff Ron!
    I can see a lot of good, warm inndoor shoes (töfflor) being made out of the sheep skin coat.

  2. Slippers? Out of that skin?
    No way! I'm hoping to get a few 100 kronor out of it, still. And it would be a shame to cut it up, as it is still good. Just not suitable for us, here.

  3. Not slippers, but more like this:

  4. Hi! I have a question to you Ron, but I find no mail address and only your wife is listed with a phone number...