Saturday, April 4, 2015

The big clean-up....

Lately large groups of swans and lapwings have been gathering on fields and meadows in the area. Maybe they are waiting for spring to advance northward so they can continue their journey. Last tuesday we heard and saw large numbers of cranes gathering and flying northward in small groups and in pairs. Somewhere on the southside of one of the lakes they had gathered in larger numbers and we could hear that!
The ant colonies too are stirring. Whenever there is a sunny period they gather at the sunny side of their anthill, but their movements are still kind of sluggish and slow.

Spring is here and with every spring there should be a spring clean up, right?
Time to clean up and put away those packboots, thick coveralls, wool mittens, pants and jackets. But I'll keep a wool sweater and blanket close... Just in case. Either cold or withdrawal... ;)
Airing out the house, opening windows and doors, sweaping dog- and cathair, sand and more muddy pawprints,
The other (cold) day I fired up the heatingsystem with 6(!) years of redundant administration; old insurance policies, salary- and taxrecords, warrantypapers..... the whole shebang. Normally I would throw it all into the old paperbin, but this is information I'd rather not see lying around in the streets. Now we have extra room and had warmth in the house and more ashes for the garden... I actually mixed it with a lot of woodash, so it would wind up spread evenly throughout the garden.
We also finally got rid of the Mitsubishi 4x4. A car recycling company came and collected it. It did hurt a bit as it had been a damn fine car. Not really economic or ecological in use, but comfortable, safe and roomy. Getting it fixed was beyond our economic capabilities.... All the other metal junk that had gathered went to the recycling station, including our old refrigerator and stove. Both were old (from the 70's at least), used a lot of electricity and were starting to malfunction. They already were in the process of falling apart anyway. We were able to replace them with newer items (someone else's "junk", because they were cleaning up) for free or real cheap. Amazing what people want to get rid of these days. Both appliances still work flawlessly and the much smaller fridge is practically new!
I found an ad saying someone had a lot of wood from torn down buildings they needed to get rid of. The collector of that no longer needs it and his heirs did not want it.

So we helped them by cleaning up a large part and got a large part of it. I hoped to have enough for a few plans I had. What I ended up with was much more than I thought! Sorting, loading, putting the leftovers back in a pile, unloading and stacking it all in a neat pile again.... Felt sore and stiff as hell after sitting around idly for so long, but I experienced that wonderful fatigue of actually doing something again, too!
I will use some for a woodstorage next to the house, a good deal for the henhouse after that, a compostcontainer and I might even have enough to put a partial floor in the attic! What will not be used, will end up as firewood, like many of the rotten ends. In order to get the wood I needed some large transport, so I asked the potato growing farmer I work for during harvestseason if I could loan a tractor and wagon. And while I was there he asked me if I could take care of another order he had to place in Holland, this time for spareparts. And that's the way things should be, I think. Helping out each other without waving wallets or workhourstats.
While working with the wood I came across a marking that made me stop for a little while. This wood was more than 60 years old!! And much of my things do come from that era. In fact this specific year does pop up regularly......

And then it hit me! A memory from the time I was a young boy, about 7 or 8.. We are living a life and in a situation I used to look down upon! When I was that age I, or we, looked down upon people who did not have a job, who did not have money, who scrounged material or who wore secondhand cloths. We regarded them as unfortunate, as poor sobs and below our standard, maybe even as lesser persons! This was what we were taught. It affected me, my view of the world and my development for many years afterwards...... And now I AM one of those people. Largely by choice, partially by circumstances beyond my control.
Is this karma biting me in the butt? Is this one of the lessons I had to learn? To make me see that this was all wrong?
The realisation did come quite as a shock....

I am also in the process of letting go of stuff that was once pretty important to me, because it defined who I was. I sold off my heavy metal record collection. 35 vinyl records of the more heavy calibre within the metalscene. Made a pretty penny with it and I invested that in the purchase of 2 cherry- and 2 plumtrees (2 prunus avium gårdebo and 2 prunus domestica reine claude). These things are insanely expensive here, but I just want to have cherries and plums!! Should make some good barteringmaterial in a decade or so... ;) These species are hardy here, taste good, yield a decent harvest and are not too big in the end. And since I want to avoid issues with self fertilisation or a tree dying I play it safe-ish. Both images are from, but I got the trees from a local gardencentre.

Another bonus was the ability to go and buy a quarter pig from the local, ecological pig farmer, who do everything themselves from growing the pigs' food to growing the pigs themselves.. And then they get slaughtered at the local slaughterhouse. It felt so good to be able to eat decent, real food again! Not just the knowledge that the Animal in question had a real life, but also the taste and consistency of the meat. It even smells differently... The sight of a large slab of bacon made our mouths water.... And while we were busy cutting and packaging we were closely watched....
Soon the pigs will be out on the fields again. It is a local tourist attraction and many people take their kids to go see the pigs and piglets, roaming and feeding freely.
Thanks to Maria and Anders from Forsa Gård and a bit of extra advertising hopefully goes a long way. Supporting the local economy and all...

I wish you all a happy easter if you're into that or otherwise a good weekend!

My wife's latest woolfelt creation.
Real flowers to the left and eggshaped candles to the right.


  1. What a lovely post! It's so good to see you out and about doing productive things. Congratulations on the wood! I am writing a story about a huge 150 year old barn that still stands in Chester, CA. Going into the interior and laying my hands on the beams that were hewn by hand with broad axes gave me such a good feeling! The life of the wood was still there!

    Funny how time and experience changes our viewpoints on things we once thought were distasteful, eh?

    1. Well, we learn all the time and youth gives way to wisdom..... At least for some.

  2. OH we are cleaning up, too! I felt such joy taking my "goodies" to the local no-kill animal shelter to be sold to raise funds for the shelter.

  3. Great stuff, Ron. I am also in full "spring-cleaning mode," doing some of the same stuff as you, but I'm a lot further behind your great progress.

    1. Progress? I am just beginning.
      And you are behind?? Who has his own, traditional homestead kind of property??