Sunday, February 26, 2017

Why bother

The world outside looks as if it has been covered in whipped cream. A fresh load of fluffy, yet wet and heavy snow covered the world I live in and now the temperatures dropped again. before that world was glazed over. Days of thaw, followed by nights of frost followed by rain..... and the roads looked like covered in glass. It was fairly hazardous to venture outside, but for now we can go outside and enjoy winter renewed. And we, or at least I, do actually enjoy it again. This comeback reminded us that it still is only february and thus still winter. Despite the high temperatures we experienced, we even sat on the balcony for tea, spring and all its regrowing wonders is still a long way off. No flowers for us for quite a while I'm afraid...
We'll enjoy these blooms instead

So I am sitting here and think. Think about what to do. With this blog for one.
I have reached the 5-year mark and I have written a great deal about a variety of subjects. In the meantime I have seen most of the blogs I followed, come to a complete standstill or change and become far less interesting. But that's the way things go I suppose. Blogs come and go, get born, evolve, mature and fade away..... or change all together. Just like and because of the people behind them. And sometimes I wonder; maybe the time has come for mine to become quiet too? It has changed a lot I think and I am running out of subjects right now. It appears that people do not want to know about current crises or political/banking schemes. It does appear that they do not want to become confronted with unpleasant articles. Those that do have far better options to go to anyway. Apparently the subjects I am touching these days do not rank high on the demand-list. The days of roaming the woods are few and far between, interests change, personal mindset too.
I ask myself the question as to why I write regularly. What is my motivation? Reaching out to people, yes. But why? To entertain? Not really. Maybe a small part. To educate? Perhaps to show that things can be done? Yes. To inspire and motivate. That certainly too. But not in the least part to connect as well. But lately even those connections are falling silent...
I once read somewhere that people often read blogs like these to escape reality, not become confronted with it. People want to live their fantasies, like roaming the woods or have a little farm or whatever, through the life and writings of others.

The list of concept-posts gets longer, because I am asking myself if it would be worth posting. And often the answer "why bother" comes to mind. Because when there is no response, then why bother indeed? So I will think things over. If or how I should continue. Maybe it has become to diverse, to confronting, to depressing or simply to dull. Personally blogs that ramble on and on on the same subject quickly become boring to me. Someone showing nothing but walks in the woods and pictures of coffee pots over a fire quickly lose my attention, no matter how nice it looks. And the same goes for those showing their seedlings growing. Reports on buying the latest knife/axe/gadget or tray of canned food doesn't hold my interest for long either if at all. But that might just be the way to attract and hold a crowd??
Maybe I need to ask myself the question as to why I really am doing this or what I want to be? Do I do this for me or for others? Am I a storyteller or a guide? A doomsday prophet or a teacher? Or maybe I just like the attention? I sure like to write. And I do think I have something to say. Something meaningful too.
I am leaning toward turning the page, not closing the book, but maybe it's time simply has come.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wasting daylight

These past few days we have had a serious spell of thaw. The sound of dripping water everywhere, singing birds and on the balcony in the sun temperatures reached 20C!! The first flies have been active and our youngest daughter even saw a butterfly yesterday!! Bluetits are investigating the nestboxes, magpies are bickering over what I think should be nesting sites and the black woodpecker calls out to mark his territory.
The theme of change still seems actual. But if the weather forecasts are anything to go by, and they are quite erratic these last days too, winter will not just give in and should return after the weekend. It still is only february after all.
These are days that I feel at my worst. Not enough work to fill my days, one can only do so much household, anxious to get going in the garden, which is still hard as rock and covered in ice. I can not let out the chickens either, since the birdflu curfew still is in effect. Walking the over-dynamic duo has also become a high risk enterprise, since the roads are icing over and the studs underneath the boots do not always guarantee a sufficient footing! Yes, I think the fifth (Swedish) season has begun; vårvinter. That time between deep winter and spring.
So all in all my days are filled with a lot of reading. There are books to be found everywhere and authors like Forstchen, Paolini, Canavan, Rothfuss, Hoffman, Pullman or Sapkowski can be seen lying around or in hand. A welcome change in subject there too. For now no military history, biography, homesteading or gardening books, although fantasy has always been a popular subject with me.... or us. It is more the absence of the others that is noticeable.
And I have picked up my scale modelling hobby again too. Some creative juices are flowing again...
But these last few days my wife has been keeping me company. She is recovering from her flu and so we sit and drink coffee, do some chores together when possible.... and drink some tea.... and do our hobbythings.... and drink some more tea...

So we wait...... not really able to do more.
And that feels like wasting daylight to me.....

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Winter is coming

A phrase from a popular tv-series game of thrones. Great books too as far as I can tell.

But I do believe that winter indeed is coming. Winter for our society, for the world as we know it.
Because I can already see the signs of the following spring; the preparations for a new awakening, a rebirth. Buds have been forming to start growing and blooming after winter. An awareness that spreads. People waking up, seeing that what is today is not good. Is sick and has to die. That will be society's winter. I think we are in the final days of society. It has sprouted, it grew and it is going through the final cycles of wilting. It has spent its vigour, its youth and has only one thing left to do; to die. That will be winter. The time where all things have to stop, all things have to die. That which is sick and weak will not make it to the new spring. The seeds and buds lacking the strength to regrow will never sprout, the seeds that have that strength will.
The buds I mean are the people, who wake up. People seeing the world for what it really is. Understanding that it is wrong, became rotten, ruthless, cruel and ruled by the greedy and powerhungry. People who resist complying anymore and are actively seeking new ways. People trying to awake and inspire others. I see this more and more and I also see the established structures reacting ever more desperate and violent.
This winter will bring death and destruction to many, but that will be inevitable. Winter is merciless. Those unprepared or unfit will perish and probably many that were too. But after each winter a new spring will come and we can only do what we can to make it until then, either by reaching it ourselves or by creating the best possible conditions for others to do so, like preparing "our young" just as it is the way of nature.

And speaking of illness; our family is going through a spell of illness too. The wife's down with flu, our youngest daughter's stomach thought it was time to regurgitate its contents at 02:50 this morning in the middle of the bedroom and hall, resulting in the ultimate sleepless night. We all have the sniffles and feel generally unfit.... But there was that inconvenient truth that homesteading leaves little time for illness. Animals have to be cared for, fed, watered and walked and as I was doing so this morning I was treated to some heartwarming scenes. One of our neighbours is using flower pots as temporary birdfeeders and the trees were positively alive with them. Several species of finches and tits were fluttering about and chattering and I did detect the first notes of the songs they will be singing before long.
A few moments later I was witnessing the "birth" of another day; the sun rising above the hills, heaving itself higher over the summit ever so slowly. I actually saw it grow and the light intensify as it try to pierce the morning haze. Even the dogs granted me the moment and kept quiet, waiting until I was done watching.
Such moments make life worth living.

And as I was writing this post we got confirmation that another, significant change is coming our way. One that is going to force self dependence on us. Our social safety net will shrink considerably. We had expected that to happen, but now it will become a reality and soon, too.
And I have that strange feeling that changes are not over for us just yet.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The drums of war - war with Iran


They have been beating a while now, but I think they are now beating louder than ever!!

A quick rundown of the situation;
Iran has announced to drop the dollar.....

As did Saddam Hussein, when he wanted to exchange the (petro)collar for the Euro -> the second Gulf war....
the guardian article

Gadaffi wanted to do something similar; drop the (petro)dollar and install the goldbacked Dinar -> a revolution starts and Libya gets bombed into the stone age by NATO....

And now Iran dumps the dollar too. Iran, a country that the US wants dead and gone for ages now.

And the propaganda machine for creating an excuse to attack Iran is being cranked up already;
Press-secretary Sean Spicer falsely accuses Iran of attacking us navy vessel

The plan to take out Iran is nothing new either as it was with Irak, Lybia;
General Wesley interview 2007

Now all of these links came up instantly just using google.
Dig a little deeper if you can be bothered and I am sure you'll come with much, much more...
Like why and how the US has been taunting Russia and China. You know minor things like treaties, monetary unions, Ukraine, South Chinese sea, embargos and looming trade wars..... insignificant stuff like that.

And then you might see connections!
Iran has alliances with Russia and China. Yes, those same two countries the US has been pecking and jabbing at and relations between those are tense..... Very. very tense.....
The US attacks Iran, a country not really loved by its neighbours, but maybe those neighbours recognise the common enemy here. You know the one that brought liberty, freedom and democracy to their countries as well. They might just join forces.
And maybe China will not directly get involved militarily, but might just see an opportunity to raise the South Chinese Sea-issues to a whole new level.....
And maybe the Russians will see an opportunity to join that merry band in showing that bully of the world once and for all that he is done for....
You are seeing a pattern here??

Oh and besides....
The elite in the US is busy bugging out and digging in on a massive scale....
Yes, the rich folks are running.....
Why??? government retirees bugging out

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Turning things around

After that wonderfully dismal, depressing previous post I figured I'd level out my whining with some other, non relevant side information.
Winter has returned. We are seeing the sun these days and temperatures dropped. Fresh crisp air that cleanses the nostrils and sinuses are ours to enjoy again.

We have become convinced that our Rex not only is a German shepherd-Alaskan husky male, not only is the older half of the over-dynamic duo, but also the reincarnation of an old, grumpy man. He at times is moody and indeed grumpy, groans and moans when he lies down, wants to lie on soft bedding and he even looks like an old man!!! More and more I believe he was sent back to Earth as a dog, subservient to humans to learn his place and as punishment for being a total jerk in a previous life.
But he is learning. He is getting more gentle, more friendly and he really is a good pal to all of us, including the cats. He is learning to contain and withhold himself, trying to accept that someone else is getting attention, but not he at that time. His overprotectiveness is getting less and overall he seems to become less anxious, although his brain still works on overdrive and his fierceness has not lessened yet...
Doesn't he??!!
Odd and I are on a roll too with that whole bog out food box. It went from BOB F-72 to M T-72 (Matlåda or foodbox, T for timmar or hours) to M T-90 and that one become a part of the bigger picture, called MEK-5 beta, standing for Modular Evac Kit for 5, development-version. I'll get back to that sometime later on. But it is fun; 2 no more spring chicken roosters, balling back and forth ideas and going nuts over it like small boys with new toys. Like he said": Got to have some fun too. Can't all be serious..." The MEK Beta is his idea by the way.

But keeping with the whole change-thing; there's more change in the air for us.
The other night we had a familymeeting, something we do when there are issues to discuss concerning the whole family, so everyone is involved. It all started with my wife finding a house and dreamily commented that that would be something for us. My typical reaction was rolling my eyes, but still I looked at it..... And she was right. It really would fit us. Enough room for us all, easily adaptable to off-grid, a larger piece of land, so more room to grow food and have plenty of space left for us and the dogs and located in a community of which we know we would fit in much more.  And precisely that is the keyissue; we do not fit in her. We feel tolerated, but not really accepted, let alone welcome and above all we feel lonely here, especially the girls. No other kids in the village for them to hang around with. That place even has a Waldorf school right across the street (If there is a thing we miss since we left the Netherlands, than that would be it), so the girls would not only not having to take a 30-45 minute bus drive to school, they'd also have much more opportunity to meet friends and hang out with them.
So we had this meeting.... and all were positive!! We talked everything through; housing, schools, social aspect, but also finances and other potential pitfalls. The main thing that struck me however, was that we were unanimous. We are all ready to leave this place. That really hit me.....
Now there is a next to none chance we might pull this through, but we feel that every step we take will increase our chances. The first babysteps have been taken and we have many more to go, but the most important one has been taken.
Now I realise that this place has served its purpose; we found a place for ourselves in a new country. We learned what it is like to live out in the country here, have learned to be relatively independent and we have come to appreciate that very much. But we also learned we are not loners. We need people around us. We need a small community, preferably with a similar mindset to really thrive, interact and cooperate with. We have outgrown this place and the time to move on has come.
I truly believe that destiny has given us this place to learn and grow and I do believe that when the time is right we will move on and grow more.
Maybe this is that time....

We feel ready.....

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Some things never change

The weather's been grey and dreary for quite sometime again. Seem winters are similar to the Dutch ones we left behind more and more; not really cold, humid and overcast. Today everything's just..... light grey. Where snow ends and clods start is hard to tell..... A good, depressing atmosphere to tell a bit about recent events.
It started the previous weekend. Our youngest daughter was going to have a scouting overnighter and we would go grocery shopping afterwards. A usual routine these days after payday. Except..... payday was a little not what we expected. Due to administrative errors beyond our control my wife got only about 40% of her salary.... That was friday. To make things more interesting my wife, after leaving our youngest one at the scouting, turned out to have run a flat tire. That was saturday morning...
This meant changing a tire with the tools supplied with the car. We did that before last summer, but now conditions were quite different; cold, with snow and ice on the ground and wheel, grime and sand and did I mention cold? Snow and ice melt when you touch it, but metal stays cold. This was a useful lesson though. Changing the tire in itself is not that much of an issue for us. We do it twice a year at least. But I wonder how many people do not? Have you ever changed a tire on your car? Can you unfasten the bolts on the wheel with nothing but the handtool supplied?  We do not fasten the bolts with powertools, so we can... Having a spare set of gloves in the car is another must have. Wet gloves make for numb fingers very fast. A rubber mat to sit on would also have been nice. Makes for dry and less cold knees.
Well, the tire was changed in under half an hour, so we could go on our way. Fixing the tire was a no-go however. There were 3(!) holes within a 10cm row. Maybe she hit a lost horseshoe?? This meant a new tire and another hole in our budget. You can see where this is going, right.... We did the shopping and loaded up the car real good. And we do that once a month, so we have some supplies at home just in case we happen to run into trouble like low funds, a broken down car or any other circumstance unabling us to do shopping. Plus buying in bulk means you get more for your money. Not just because of larger packages, but also because of less visits to stores.
And that night, again my wife,,,,, This time her cellphone died. Just like that.... A little over one year old, so no guarantee. Wouldn't you know it... That means more expenses coming our way. And then, last week, we got a letter from försakringskassan, a government institution that is supposed to help people with benefits. Supposed to, because if you hear and read the everyday stories about those people.... They help you alright (*insert major sarcasm here*) and so did they with us. We got the final calculations from 2015 and now we have to cough up and repay a very substantial amount in housing benefits, which they deem we received unnecessary. True, we did get it and yes, I worked the summer at the churchyard. Yes, I reported that and no, they did not alter the benefits, saying it was of no consequence and yes, we did spend it. Turns out in hindsight that my income was of no consequence to any health benefits I should want to claim! Not housing!!
But wait! There's more! Due to financial shortages we had to suspend the road tax from our Pajero (roughly the amount of a week's salary), which means I can not work on weekdays and I haven't been called to substitute since before christmas, which means.... You guessed it; no income for me.
And then there is a large car maintenance coming up shortly. A job I can not do myself, so.... Another week's salary down the drain in the near future.
And now we finally got a building permit from the municipality, allowing us to change the sewage system that that same municipality forces us to change! Meaning an increase in mortgage.
As you see some things never change. Finances are always an issue, especially when things are turning out ok and we seem to be having more room in that matter. The more room we get, the harder the blow afterwards is! It is as if something is trying to teach us to get by with very, very little and whenever that little gets more and we adjust to that, lesson 1 is put back in power again!

Thou shalt not receive and thou shalt not spend it!
Thou shalt live as frugal as possible!! 
Thou shalt get by with as little as possible!!!

But there is one change though; a quite significant one. My wife has landed a fulltime job now, meaning a steady, if not massive income. It will be slightly over the barrel scraping minimum we have lived on these past years, but a vacation to the homeland, as my wife would like, will not be a possibility. At least not for all of us at the same time. For us that also means that we will roll into a set pattern; my wife working for an income and me staying home, taking care of kids, household, animals and garden. Very little, if any paid work for me, except maybe during the weekend or school holidays.
We get by and still have the most essential things we need; a roof over our head, wood for warmth, food and warm clothes and gas for the car. The usual bills get paid and we can afford luxuries as cellphones for all.... Although those bloody things seem to be quite mandatory these days. But it showed us just how dependent we are on those devices; social contacts in one form or another, banking and even navigation... It all is gathered in one, battery driven, hitech, prone to fail (because that's the way they are designed, called designed redundancy) handheld gadget, doing it all for you. But when it breaks.... Who knows the phone numbers of their families and friends by heart? Who keeps an up to date copy of the roadmaps in their car? Banking is not even longer possible without such a thing!!
A grim lesson again.