Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dick Proenneke's Alone in the Wilderness (2004)

Via Belgian Birkebeiner's blog, found Here, did I come across this film.

I really enjoyed it and I will be getting myself an official copy before next winter. This I have to watch next to a crackling fire in the fireplace with some good beverages in my hand, be that hot or cold.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Have I been framed?? More Scandinavian framed backpacks.

After all the serious subjects and non-forestrelated posts lately, I thought I'd throw in a gearpost.... Just to lighten things up a bit...

Recently I tried to get the old Haglöfs rucksack back into useable shape. I think I've shown it before, but I'll do it again, just to keep the story complete. This is what it looked like when I got it;


I started disassembling this old timer, taking off as much of the belts as possible and make it easier to asses the state of the materials. The leather belts were hard and brittle, so I applied a copious amount of saddlegrease, hoping they would become supple again. I checked the state of the leather trimmings along the edges of the flaps. Same story there. After removing the frame I got a bit of a nasty surprise; the steel frame showed some serious rust on the side, where it touches the fabric and left some serious ruststains. The fabric had worn thin on those places and even showed some holes. All of the metal fittings showed some serious rust too and one of the eyelets from the top had been torn out.

I then left it all in peace..... and actually forgot about it all. No, not true, not forgot, but did not feel like working on it. Maybe I allready knew what was coming next....
After moving the packs and parts back and forth for a number of times, I figured I just had to start working on it. First it needed a bath! This thing was filthy and did not smell to fresh. Dust and mould make such a nice "Odeur de stockage".... smell of storage. Yes, there was some mould too.
I did not want to risk throwing it into a washingmachine, so I washed it by hand in the bathtub, using a gentle and natural detergent, lukewarm water and a small, not to hard handbrush. What happened next is hard to describe. I'll show you a picture instead.

Yep, the water and the sack had the exact same colour!
I do not know how that much dirt and grime got accumulated on and in the fabric, still many of the stains proved unremovable, but what was not removable were the spots of blackmould. Now the filth ( and I suspect the dye too) is gone, they are more numerous than I thought at first.
The worst possible thing happened when gently scrubbing the fabric... It tore apart... I could've handled the many restitch-jobs on seams and straps and I could have easily exchanged the strap that just simple broke in two... But fabric tearing this easy means just one thing; it is rotten.
Damn... All it is good for now is to be used as a walldecoration and it does not look all that good!

The original colour is very faded now. At places it is a very light sand, almost beige!

The damage on the bottom of the sach, where the frame touches it.

Answer to A Waterman's Woods' question posted as a comment;
"But what do you suggest on cleaning ones like the first one? Wash with no scrubbing, or do you think the black mold means beyond repair?"

Well, there are 3 problems combined here actually;
1) the excessive amount of filth, dirt, dust and stains
2) the black mould
3) the very weakened/rotten fabric.

Problem 1 requires some washing and scrubbing, placing strain on the fabric when cleaning it.
Problem 2 requires some aggressive methodes and substances in order to remove the mould. Not removing it might possibly mean the mould spreading to the contents of the sack and it might also pose a healthissue.
Problem 3 can not handle the previous methodes. The scrubbing enlarged the holes, but I fear the chemical treatment will also further weaken the fabric, which means I can not rely on it, out there.

But the great Gods of Rucksackanism smiled on me the day after and rewarded me for my efforts to bring this pack back from the dead; I found replacements. Yes with a S!
In a nearby secondhand (more junkyard) store I found another Haglöfs backpack + a small rucksack by RL of it for kids!

The backpack has "Haglöfs Torsång" stamped into the green leather pelvisstrap. No date unfortunately.
The backpack also lacks the wasteband, so I might make one myself and maybe add a sternumstrap as well. We'll see how this one performs.

 It has a compartment under the lid, that looks to be of a watertight kind of rubberised cloth, a neat lockingmechanism for the ropes and a similar rubberised patch on the bottom of the pack, so you can put it down on a damp/wet underground.

This one does have a wastestrap, but also tons of rust. That will pose a challenge. The fabric, straps and stitching looks good, though.

 I could not retrace this manufacturer

A comparisson in size picture.
The smaller one has several patches on it from places around Sweden. People say if things could tell stories.... well, this one does! There is a small, round leather patch on top of the lid, which reads:" Sjöviks lägret 1948", which indicates the Göteborg-area and the one one the frontpouchflap reads "renfjället", which should be Jämtland, along with 2 others and the final one is from Härjedalen.

All in all does the state of both seem to be pretty good, given the conditions they were stored in and the age they have. For now they will be outside for a few days just to air out. I allready brushed off much of the spiderwebs, grass and other natural debris.... along with dust of course.

So, you win some, loose some... One project scratched from the to-do-list, 2 more added...
I hope to enjoy the big one and my youngest daughter will get the small one.... if she wants it, that is...

I must confess that I seem to have developped a soft spot for this kind of backpacks and that it is starting to look like I am collecting..... Shame on me!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The end of the world as we know it...

Some may consider this a political post and may want to discus, disagree, dislike or otherwise dis it.
Please feel free to do so, but keep your manners and your temper!
Anything inappropriate will be deleted at once!

The titel did catch your attention, right?
and no... it is not about a zombie apocalypse either.
That we allready have...

Lately I have been having some conversations and discussions about our society today and the road we are travelling and the destination we are heading in..... And it got me thinking.... How do I see our world and our future as a species?
It is a given fact (to me) that the vast majority of the people today are totally disconnected from our roots and from the natural world around us. They act like sheep, hence the often used term sheeple, following the herder in the form of the latest trends and fashion, buying the latest and greatest technoligical gadgets, blindly following whatever the established political, medical, nutritional, economical but above all commercial  institutions tell us....

Yet I sincerely believe that these institutions serve but one goal, to maintain their own basis of power. Nothing more and nothing less and by all means necessary. They lie, they cheat and use force, often deadly, whenever they see the need and the sheeple turn a blind eye?
Why? Are people stupid? Or just plain lazy? Is it too uncomfortable for them to comprehend or are they simply to adjusted, maybe even addicted and dependend on the current system that they actively work to uphold it and deny what's wrong?

Bottomline is that many outside the sheepleherds are convinced that current society and even civilisation can NOT go on. It simply is not sustainable! You can not keep on consuming the resources around you indefinitely. It is a mathmetical impossibility....
And yet those institutions keep on repeating that age old propagandaphrase; the economy has to keep growing in order to maintain our high standards of living, where as that high standard is only measured in items possessed or bought. mental or spiritual wellness is conveniently erased from the equasion and happyness is equal to an amount of your bankaccount and a number of items in your shoppingcart. We have been brainwashed with that lie for generations, ever since the Allies brought us freedom, freeing us from one mad tyrant and replacing that dictatorship with that of consumerist democracy. They keep on doing that even this day! But that's another story.... or is it?
The current powers, banks and corporations alike, keep using and consuming whatever they want or need in order to increase their own wealth, man, plant, animal or mineral alike. Loggingcompanies keep cutting forests at alarming rates, miningcompanies keep digging ever bigger holes and mines, oilcompanies keep pumping up oil and gas in ever increasing quantities and what they can not get legally they take by deceit or blunt force.
The foodindustry keeps on poisoning the people with not food, but foodlike products (sugar, additives , chemicals etc.), that have nothing to do with food and the sientific and medical establishment keeps on turning up with "evidence" and "research" that those products are not bad for you (guess who pays for that research) and if you do feel bad, they'll provide you with medication to feel better.
All at a cost of course.....

Many outside said herds are also convinced that this civilisation has to and will fall, come to an end or otherwise be drastically changed in order to save what is left of our world. These current practises have to stop! Afterall there is no planet B. This is our home. This is what we have to work with and live in and on. No matter how hard senior executives of multibillion dollar banks and corporations try to tell us otherwise! Again by all means necesarry.
And I must confess that I am spooked by the negative, dark and pessimistic views many of those "nay-sayers" show.... Allthough I used to be one of them not so long ago. I too thought that it would all end in one huge heap of misery, suffering and despair.
I know that those powers will not yield that easily, not without a fight and there is a very large chance that, when (not if) they fall, they will drag as much with them as possible  It might end up like Germany  in 1945, but on a global scale... The change will be painfull and will not take place without a fight of some sort..... But the longer we wait, the harder that fight will be and the ugglier the picture will be!

Many see our future like this....

or even like this!

I do not believe that that scenario, that ending is inevitable. On the contrary!
I do believe that we have options!
But.... those options comes with work... a lot of hard, honest work. We need to get rid of those mega-institutions, go back to smallscale communities. Communities that can take care of themselves, self sustaining and maintaining. Communities with many small businesses, based on a zerogrowth economy. And it is my humble opinion that a large step into the direction of changing it all is food. If we start to grow and distribute ecofriendly food on a local level we will tackle a handfull of problems at once. We stop concentrated use of resources in and polution (herbicides, pesticides) of one place, avoid transportation and long supplylines, create a healthy way of feeding ourselves, eradicate a good deal of today's healthissues directly linked to today's scrapfood and the effects of all that are like ripples in a pond after casting a stone into it...
Of course Big Aggro, Big Pharma, Big food and the oiltycoons will not like that... not at all and will use their political minions to try and stop that...

I do believe that scenes like the one shown should become commonplace.

And those options will require sacrifice too. We must let go of that unbridled consumerism we have been taught... no programmed to follow. We must learn to be content and satisfied with having a roof over our heads, clothes on our bodies, food and drink on our tables and enough means to warm our houses in winter to a comfortable, not subtropical level. Which all in all is no real sacrifice, if you look at it.
We need to relearn the old skills in order to break free from the dependence from machines and computers to do things for us, yet there is no need to abandon the current of technology either! We just need to learn to use it to our and the planets advantage, not to be enslaved by it.

There is no reason why our future can't be like this...

or even like this!
The possibilities are endless.
We have the technology!

But how to eradicate the egotistical, superficial and meaningless lifestyle most of us lead these days? How to undo the hunger for power and excessive wealth? How to tame the beast inside each and everyone of us?
When we master that, then we will truely have evolved.......

I read somewhere recently that hope is a false emotion. That it deprives one of the will to take action and hope instead. I say that that is not true. Hope will also inspire one to take action, in the belief that it will be for the better.

Many will call me an idiot idealist, but I truely feel that I owe it to myself and my children to work towards that goal in order for us all to have a future and a free and good one at that!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Exploding spring and venturing into new fields.....

We just had the most wonderfull easter/springbreak with spring hitting us full swing! A full week of sunshine and temperatures even reaching 20C at the end of the week....
Of course this meant practically living outside! Besides my continues work at the glasshouse, if I can call it work, and the ongoing gathering, cutting and splitting of firewood, I also spent a good deal of time in the garden. The grill got cleaned up after a winter of gathering rust and I also cleaned up and sawed a lot of thin, dead wood and branches, part of which I stacked last year for the wintermeet that did not materialise. Now there is a nice pile next to the fireplace.... which saw some use as well.

A test of adding videoclips...

There is a small episode regarding the fireplace. 
One night I was having some real trouble sleeping. Woke up for real at 03:15, tossed and turned untill I got up at 04:30. The sun wasn't even up yet. As not to disturb the rest of the family I made the sacrificial decision to make myself some campfirecoffee and watch the sun come up. Things did not go quite as planned though.... First I used some quite fresh wood to start the fire, which resulted in a serious disruption of the inhalation of the clean fresh morningair... *cough*..... Secondly I used a grind of coffee I am not used to, so that did not turn out to good either. Thirdly, in a blaze of optimism due to the good weather that week, I had cut my hair really short..... only to find the morningair to be just above freezing. Did wake me up properly though and after I got my jeepcap to keep my nogging warm, I enjoyed watching the sunrise, while hearing the birds wake up too, one after the other, as if the morningchoir was tuning in to one another. There was not a single manmade sound, other than the occassional russle of my anorak.

The rising sun's rays illuminating the scene
I enjoyed it all, untill the morningpaperdeliverer drove by in his car and my neighbour's wife came out to take care of her horses, banging with the stabledoors, after which she went to get her dogs, who loudly greeted her, before she marched down the gravelroad to get the newspaper with the sound of grinding gravel beneath her boots... She gave me this strange look, when she spotted me.

Our son refreshing his fishingskills... 
and it allmost feels like summer!
They spotted this spider. It was as long as his indexfinger, which matches my ringfinger!
When he touched it, it shot under the branch, into the water.
Spring does have its disadvantages too. My youngest daughter fell victim to the first mosquiteattacks, we "harvested" the first ticks off the cats and my son found one on his thumb, still crawling around. We also had the questionable pleasure of having new neighbours; Loads and loads of forestants! The lawn was literally moving as they travelled across it. We backtraced them and discovered their nests; 2 new ones and one from last year! All within 10 meters from the house, on the north side...
We are fully aware that those creatures serve a purpose and a good one for us too, but this near is too near. How to get rid of them without using pesticides or other contaminating chemicals? We foubnd the answer in sugar and salt! 1 part powdered sugar, 1 part sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), mix them well, sprinkle liberally around the nestarea and within 24 hrs. all were gone... We don't know if they died or just relocated. We did not find any antbodies on the previous nestsites.

I can also cross off one project from my to-do-list; making a storagechest for the wintergear, so that at least all the woollies get stored away mothfree!
I started with this one a long, long time ago. Actually the first picture is from september 2012.... Shame on me...
The basis is a, I think, Swedish surplus military insulated chest, made out of thin plywood with metal reinforcements around the corners. The inside was filled with an aluminium pan, imbedded in a cast foam filling. The pan itself was glued to a wooden frame around the edges, which in itself was tacked to the wood. Getting rid of this all required quite a bit of force, labour and swearing! But those who prevail, triumph!!

I could not do it without causing quite some damage and there still remains some foam, which is very hard to reach or remove. I had to reinforce the edges with wooden beams again and to protect the clothes from the remaining foam(dust) and splinters I decided to add an inlay of protective cloth..... which I did not have....

But since I am a thrifty person (I hate to think of myself as a cheap person) I saved some of the old clothes my kids wore out, of course all in greens and other subdued colours. You just never know when and how those might come in handy... So I used those, after removing the non-subdues colours or oftherwise non-useable items, like buttons, seams etc.

The 2 camouflagecircles are actually the tops of 2 of my old outdoor/workcaps, both in what I call touristcamo. The green strip on the sandcoloured background comes from a t-shirt and reads "on duty". Thought that was a neat feature... All my winterstuff fits in.... if only just.
Now is my chest tacticool or what?!

And today we got to meet some very nice people, who introduced us to some breeds of animals we are planning on having in the very near future.
Tough guy bottlefeeding the lambs...
It all began when I started researching some old Swedish breeds of sheep. No, not really.... I started with sheep in general and stumbled across some old, Swedish breeds of which I like the look. I read a little more and I found this club that actively promotes the preservation of those old breeds, since they are getting less and less in numbers. The advantage of these breeds are that they are hardy and bred for the climate we have. A hint of chauvinism made that I looked at some locally bred breeds, one of which is the socalled Svärdsjö-sheep. It originates from a town/village some 35 kilometers from here. A small, gentle breed with fine wool, which could be very usefull to my wife's woolworking.
So I contacted the club to see if they could give me the details of someone in the area with such sheep and after I got those, I contacted the people in question. We were quite welcome to come and see and learn about the sheep and that showed today! They had 1 male, originally 5 females, but 2 had to be put down due to problems when giving birth to this year's lambs, and 7 lambs. What a social, nosey and glad looking breed these sheep turned out to be. It made us all, even our grumbling, bored teenage son, feel good and glad!
Unfortunately the sheep had just been shaved, so we could not get a good look on the adults when wearing their woolcoats, but we got to see the wool that they gave; a very gently curled and finefibred wool. It would probably make great wool for the Mrs.!
We talked a little bit more to the owners, who loved to talk btw, and we found out they had chickens too. We talked a bit about our plans and it turns out they keep the same breed of chickens as we want to keep; Hedemora-ckickens! These are also a local breed, so will fit in with our plans perfectly.

The lady of the house looked at us sideways and jokingly asked if we were interested in having some horses some day and we responded that we wanted to, but maybe in about 5 years or so...

and that we would like to have a Swedish breed as well; Nordsvenskar. Guess what she had standing in a nearby stable..... We skipped looking at those this time, but I am confident that we will be in touch with them again soon. She told us all this years lambs were spoken for, but that we could have a reservation for next years lambs. We ended up spending a few hours there and our kids turned out to be as enthusiast as we by the time we were going home and we all felt that there indeed was something missing at our places; animals.....
I'll be in close contact with a few thousand of them soon.... I'll be starting on a beekeepers course may 11th.... and it is a hands on kind of course.
Reading and rereading, buying and loaning....