Monday, June 15, 2015

acquisitions and disappointments

First paycheck came in and I went on a shoppingspree!
Here I was, talking about peak oil and how it will become scarce and all and the first thing I bought was..... A car!
Ohh the irony! In order to break free more I needed to become part of the problem more. Why? Well, I need transportation. A workhorse to get the stuff we need. And that is what I got; a genuine Swedish workhorse. One of those spit ugly Volvo 745's in dark blue, well used, dented and scratched. But it has a trailer hitch, the power to pull a (horse manure or firewood) laden trailer, is reliable, was cheap to buy, not so cheap in fuel, but spareparts are easy to come by and cheap too. And it can double as a familycar for 5+ dog if needs be. + roofrack... The only requirement it doesn't fulfill is the 4x4 part. But one of those would cost a fortune, both in acquiring one and in driving/maintaining it. So all in all a very good compromise. It also means my wife has gained mobility, enabling her to work more too, so we'll have our money back very soon.

Well, actually it wasn't the first thing I bought. That of course were books...
Quite a number of books found their way here. Many older books from before the ''age of toxicity'' as I have come to call it, meaning predating WW2. Books on lifestock, on fertilisation and on basic farmers knowledge. Newer books on growing food and on the use of nature's foodsupply. Some books on sheep too, but even as it seems a bit of a waste, they might become of use anyway someday. They're just fun to read as it is. There's something about sheep that makes any bad mood vanish...
It has been mother's day too and as a bit of a joke I got my wife a 1937 Swedish handbook for countryside housewives and a household book/agenda from 1958. Turns out these are packed with householdtips and tricks, how to's and recipes! It even shows step by step how to use intestines for sausages. Both for less than 50sek.... total.

The disappointments lie in the news that I will not be working at the churchyard for 6 months, but 5. The gap probably will be overcome by the then upcoming potatoharvest, but it means no vacation to spend with the family this summer. I will have to take the off-days at the end of the season to start harvesting, so no extra pay either. It does mean another winter of free potatoes, though...

The other disappointment lies in the fact that any hope/chance to keep larger animals, like sheep, got hammered into the ground.
There is a lot of land not being used, directly bordering our premises. About 4000m2. Bit more actually. It belongs to one of our neighbours as does pretty much all the land directly surrounding us. The land we wanted to use, is of no use to anyone, except for the ticks hiding in the tall grass, but might make some decent grazing pasture for sheep. It is hilly, full of boulders, trees and at its lowest point marshy. So we went over to ask if we could use, rent or even buy it. His answer was a brusk ''No''. He does not want any animals in the near vicinity.
This means we are encapsulated on our own little island with no possibilities of enlargement or expanding. This means making do with what we have, finding solutions and possibilities. Quite a challenge! And I do like that, using my imagination, seeing what we can come up with. And it also means much less expenses or loans!
Some of the ideas we had were either buying a tunnel greenhouse in foil or constructing one with old windows. The first would be expensive, some 6500sek, but could be taken down when not in use,so no building permits needed.

A few more purchases are on the list with the next paycheck; accumulatortanks for the heatingsystem, a few more kubic meters of firewood, paying for the hunting school, bees and necessary equipment and hopefully a trailer to transport it all.
Besides that we have begun to stock our foodcellar with supplies. First we want to build up a certain stock of things we use often, like coffee, honey, various tomatoproducts, raisins, nuts and such. And then of course there are the orders of locally grown and slaughtered meat; pork (20-25kg), cow (up to 40kg) and lamb (10-15kg). These will be delivered at the end of summer, beginning of autumn and that will mean a lot of chopping, cutting, processing, freezing etc.

So far spring had been a disappointment too. Cold, grey, wet and windy with occasional outbursts of sunshine. But that gives us many, many rainbows. And we did see some spectacular ones!! Birds are having a tough time finding food for their young and I did not see many of those yet. But we have at least 4 species nesting in our garden and we can hear the young, screeching inside the nestboxes. The few warm and sunny days we did have, made plants grow with almost explosive force. You could almost hear the grass grow! And because of this growth the newly acquired plants are doing well; a handful of brambles and some ''äkta vallört'' (symphytum officinale). Plus I was able to add some splashes of colour by saving a good deal of plants from a sorry end on the compost heap. The same goes for 2 chestnut shoots, just because I like the trees. They're not edible.Various sorts of viola may live to see the end of summer here. The previously saved heath and daffodils are doing good too!
The seeds we have sown, spinach, carrot, beetroot, salad are showing some small progress too, but we already learned that loosened soil+seeds+cats= a bad mix. So next time we will need to cover our plantbeds with nets. I am looking into ways to construct a semi-permanent tunnelframe over those beds, so we can cover them with cloth, foil or netting when needed. Some organic potatoes (maestro) that were not looking to fresh anymore have been planted too and they are growing as well! Same goes for all the strawberries I saved. More than a dozen plants and they are all going strong and bloom.

As far as this blog is concerned, I noticed a sharp decline in hits, ever since I stopped talking about exciting woodsbimbles, shinies and sharpies, but the response has increased. With any luck I will be able to do something about the woodsbimbles later this year. I am planning a visit to my Norwegian buddy Odd in early autumn and a trip to Finland to meet the weekend woodsman in person in late autumn..... or early winter there.

"And in comes a newsflash.....
The mrs. has managed to find another job!!
It is another job as a substitute, but during the interview she already got the question if she would be willing to work 75%, starting in autumn if she feels at home in the job. Cool thing is that she got asked for this job! A friend of ours tipped his superior after that one complained about an acute lack of personnel and they rang my wife..... Our life keeps on twisting and turning in unpredictable ways.


  1. Exciting woodsbimbles, shinies and sharpies? What are those?

    Your photos are absolutely amazing this time. What a beautiful place!

    I think I may have mentioned my first best car was a Volvo 240 DL. I could fit a bale of hay in the trunk and I could make it up the steep hill in our pasture by putting in in low gear. Something I couldn't do in my next car a 4 banger Honda CRV 2WD. I was really sorry to have to retire that car. Just think of it this way. You've bought a recycled car. You're not contributing to over production by buying a new car. If people would just buy used cars the manufacturers would have to cut production drastically. I guess. I don't know. I mean where do all the used cars go? Mexico?

    Overall, even with all the in's and out's, things are going pretty pretty well! Yahoo!

    1. Those are ''exciting'' trips into the woods, showing off knives and axes plus a whole array of gear, preferably backpacks, bags, expensive cookwear etc.

    2. I love that. Woodsbimbles! Shinies! Sharpies! Kinda sounds like Middle Earth if you know what I mean. May I borrow?

    3. Know what you mean. Go right ahead!

  2. I like real life better then "shinies and sharpies." Your blog is still interesting for me! ;-) Being at least partly self-sufficient with vegetables and animals around is kind of master level of bushcraft for me. Not everyone has guts, will and skills for it. I believe you have and that´s great!

    1. Hi Zelva, I see we both share the same ideas. :)
      Thanks for the compliments! Too bad the things you do are documented in Czech (??). Love your leatherwork!

  3. Hello Ron, thanks for compliments, I have to learn so much in leatherwork! Yes, I write in czech but maybe some day... ;-)