Sunday, January 5, 2014

The first post of the year..... Changes & plans

Well, at least if you do not count the best wishes-thingy I did.

A new year has begun and for many that is the time where they make all kinds of resolutions, plans and schemes to accomplish a goal or make a change; loose weight, stop smoking, exercise more... the usual. And so did I, or we.
We will be drastically changing our way of life.... again. We had actually thought and hoped to do things step by step, but it appears we need to make large leaps instead! Our dependency on others for making a living has to stop. The current financial crisis was the last drop. And since I do not seem to do well under a boss I will go for being my own. I am seriously contemplating on starting my own business! I already have all sorts of crazy ideas and plans in my head.
Basically I am thinking about growing ecological vegetables and herbs, using aquaponics, so fish are involved and using bees for polination, (resulting in honey and wax hopefully), all in sufficient quantities to sustain my family and have plenty left to sell, generating an acceptable income and supplying local people with local, honest food.
And SWMBO (She Who Mus Be Obeyed, in other words my wife) must make a drastic careerchange too. Her current job is wreaking havoc on both her body and her mind/intelligence.

Another, minor, one will be to seriously reduce my onlinetime. During the past months I had started bit by bit to very frequently revisit several socalled bushcraftsites, resulting in wasting a few hours everyday roaming these places, only to find out time and time again, they had very little to add to my life. I really can spend my time better. The blog stayes, but my own forum, which is virtually dead anyway, has an uncertain future. The only thing more I need to do now, is to find the inspiration and motivation to actually start doing something else. I guess recent events, coupled with the hopeless weather, have had a paralizing effect on me and that's something I am going to change too. I am fed up with getting knocked about. I am taking matters into my own hands. So there's another resolution, but one that can be closely coupled to the first one, too.

Apart from all this psychological and above all emotional turmoil I experienced these past few weeks I have been doing some things too.
Took the kids up the hill to show them what a great place it is, spent time, like the day after christmas and new year, with the family at some friends and meeting some interesting people. Started working on some old packbaskets in order to restore and use them, while learning about the way they were made and I tested that old backpack I "inherited". It is a keeper for sure!

The final little hike of 2013. 30-12 saw a day with good weather at last! No rain, no clouds, no fog, only sunshine and freezing temperatures! So I took the kids out for a walk; working out those lazy limbs from hangingaround the house all day for days on end and to get a good dose of fresh air.

There were diamonds in the grass!

We hiked up to the clearing I had been before, in order to make some lunch and scrambled eggs, but the sun never rose above the summit, so it remained cold up there. We had a quick lunch, but I did not need to make a fire. My gang just wanted to go home.... This clearing can actually be seen on some of the pictures I took from the balcony of our house and we could see our house from up here as well.
All over the place there were fresh tracks of moose, deer and fox.

We found a spot where all the twigs and suck looked like they were covered in foam or white hair. Turned out to be icechrystals a few centimeters long! Never saw anything like it!

The old pack did well. It felt good and comfortable all day, despite the fact that it did hang low. The wastebelt rested comfortably on the pelvis. The only thing I need to do, is adjust the shoulderstraps, so it rides a little higher.

As for new year's eve, we were invited to one of ours friends house; the local blacksmith's. There we were introduced to a host of new things to us like new people, new food and a piece of Swedish culture.
Everyone was requested to make a course for dinner and we ended up with desert and we introduced the others to a typical Dutch beverage; Advocaat. That is a liquor made with eggs, brandy and sugar, which we used in the desert. We, on the other hand, were introduced to eating lobsters and I must say I was pleasantly surprised!
After dinner we spent a good deal of the evening in a badtunna; a large wooden tub, with water heated by a woodfed stove. This was new to us as well, sitting in a large tub with hot water under the starry sky. There was no snow or frost this time, but it was very windy. I always thought that, if you are wet and then expose yourself to the air and wind, you'd be cold... But no, the heat stored in your body and skin keeps you quite warm for some time. So whenever the water got to hot for me, and it did at 40°C, you just sat on the edge to cool off and it does take a few minutes before you do cool off.
We shared this experience with our hosts and another couple we had met that evening. The other guests had left for home. we talked and chatted and our way of life and our goal in that were mentioned during the conversation. It turns out that said couple thinks and lives along similar lines and that they have a large farm with livestock, which is run by the woman's father, a youngster of 88 years old, and it is completey done the oldfashioned way. No electricity, no running water and no wifi. I was more then welcome to learn how to milk cows, how to make butter and cheese and learn about farming and animalcare in general. Later on we, as a family, were invited to stay over for a week or so during summer! It will be an interesting learning- and livingexperience for sure!

I show you what such a badtunna looks like, since I can not show any pictures taken that evening for privacyreasons. No, we were not buttnaked.....

Reading all this makes me realise there are not much woodmanshippish things going on either, so I need to change that too. Stop feeling guilty for going out, while the rest is working. Even if it means going by myself...


  1. Looks like you and yours got an exciting year to come Ron. I wish and hope that you succeed.
    We share the same thoughts around the bushcraftforum thing. I am cutting out a couple of forums my self from now on, and hopefully spend more time on my own blogg.
    I will be sad to see your forum go, but I totaly understand if you close it down.

    Anyway, I hope to see you the first weekend of february. I do have some car-trouble at the moment, but hope to sort it out before it is time to go.

  2. Een goed nieuwjaar, en wat een mooie dingen heb je op stapel staan.
    Ken je de boeken Leven van het Land van John Seymour, en Terug naar de Bron, van Readers Digest geloof ik..? Hierin staan een heleboel oude bouwtechnieken. Hoe slacht je een kip, hoe maak je een hek dat niet omflikkert en dat soort dingen. De eerste is in elk geval wel ergens als pdf te downloaden.

    IJsbaard heet dat geloof ik, dat op dat stokje. Heel zeldzaam, althans in Nederland. Maar ja, daar is zo veel zeldzaam. En ook zo veel niet.
    Ken je dit blog: Prachtig.

    Heel veel succes met al jullie plannen!

  3. Hej Valhalla,
    de readers digest staat hier al jaren in de kast... Nee, herstel... wordt al jaren gelezen! Is een van de boeken die deze reis van mij deed ontstaan.
    Het wordt een spannend jaar, ingrijpend, aangrijpend, een nieuwe start binnen ons nieuw bestaan, er even vanuit gaande dat de andere partij wenst mee te werken. Maar er zijn zoveel tekens, signalen....
    Het ijs was geweldig en miraculeus. Leek wel heel fijn haar, vandaar waarschijnlijk de ijsbaard. ;)
    Bedankt voor de blog en de goede wensen!!!

  4. I wish you all the best for the journey and would sincerely hope it goes well! It´s good you are so resolved.

    The book by John Seymour started me on this trail, too...