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Workshop: Roadworks

August 20, 2016
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Whenever this machine shows up (see photo below), men turn into boys, engineers consider switching their office jobs, and a load of earth-shattering change is about to happen:

Digger making an appearance

The works for the workshop have finally begun!

It all starts with re-routing the last 50 meters of the forest road to the Villa. Because the main road will run through the workshop building, we will need to route the main road differently and also create an auxiliary road for large trucks which don’t pass through the 3×3 meter opening in the workshop. Clearing tree trunks, removing rocks, and flattening the earth for these roads is the first physical act of this project.

Start of road diggingThe road works proceeded at a rapid pace until…, yes, what a surprise in a building project, we hit some rocks that not even the biggest excavator of our earth moving contractor can deal with. That Komatsu PC210 excavator, some 22 tons heavy itself, seems to lift rocks that weigh 11 tons and rolls rocks on the ground probably twice that weight. But some of them are just too big. Like the ones we encountered in the middle of the new road.

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That meant that we had to call in the “dynamite dude” who will break these rocks into smaller parts that can be lifted by the excavator. Until then the road works had to be rescheduled. Which meant that we started digging for other things: we dug out the electricity cables that have been hidden in the way for the new road and the foundation. Archaeological excavations for cables are not fun. While the heavy duty excavator can dug out the majority of the soil on top of the cables until it hits the yellow marker tape, the rest is manual labour with the shovel (to which I volunteered; there wasn’t anybody else on site anyway).

Digging out cables

Lifting the cables out of the trench filled with fine sand is not that difficult. The cables to the guest cottage and the sauna cabin have been placed in that recommended way. However, Vattenfall (the former network provider) had chosen not waste money on a handful sand but rather throw rocks and clay on top of the precious main power supply cable which made the manual digging pure hell. But at the end of the day we had all three cables (main supply, guest cottage, and sauna cabin) out and none cut off (yet).

Road works after day 1

The roadwork will continue once the “dynamite dude” has done his magic. The excavator will continue with digging out the foundation hole meanwhile. But that’s for another blog post…

Goldmine!

August 15, 2016
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You may recall we made the ultimate find a couple of years ago – not even 200m from our property line in the forest: a perfect patch for chanterelles, the gold of the forest. We’ve been lucky since the find, as it seems like the roots are gradually spreading and there is more and more to find every year. And, even more importantly, it looks like no one has ventured into this part of the forest to share our find!

This summer has been a bit unusual (I think that’s said every year) with a really warm spell in May and plenty of rain, which has created the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of mushrooms. However I’m limited in my knowledge of mushrooms, so chanterelles are my pick! (well, they’re the ones you really can’t go wrong with in terms of identification).

So mushrooms were early this year, and plentiful! Usually we would be lucky to get one decent batch in mid-to-late August, but this year we already gathered about 1.5L in mid-July!

This made a lovely sauce we had with some new potatoes.

Less than two weeks later we went to have another look, just to see whether more were sprouting up. And it was a goldmine! In total we gathered a further 3L! This also made a super batch of mushroom sauce, that was enough for two days.

This was already more than twice the annual amount of chanterelles (compared to earlier years), but this was not it! Just last week, about two weeks since the previous batch we were able to get a further 1L.

Batch 3

This time I made a soup, a new experience for both making and eating. I don’t have pictures of that (don’t always remember to have a camera handy), but I have to say it was super yummy! Must make it again, if not this year that next year.

I don’t dare to hope, but if we’re super lucky we might still get some further chanterelles this year, if the weather keeps up in terms of warmth and some rain… Let’s see!

Workshop: Cable Positioning

August 11, 2016
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Things are warming up slowly for phase 1 of the workshop building, the foundation works…

As preparation for the foundation hole to be dug up, an electrician from Elenia electricity provider (well, not actually Elenia as in today’s world of subcontracting everything except management is outsourced) showed up today and marked the routing of the main supply cable.

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As we suspected, the main supply cable unfortunately runs in the middle of where the workshop building should be (the red crosses in the photo below mark the outer corners of the workshop and the small blue dots the position of the cable). And yes, the workshop building sits also on top of the current road to the Villa…

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The electricity cabinet was installed well before any plans for the workshop existed, not even Villa Linnea had been positioned at the time. The electricity and water supply infrastructure was done well before the first building was constructed.

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The whole thing took 10 minutes to complete and signing the work order and chatting about the re-routing possibilities took probably as long as the job itself. Now, we are waiting for the digger to show up…

Sunset

August 3, 2016
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Stonegarden

July 24, 2016
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12 tons of rocks. More than enough for a day to move. But that’s what vacation is for. And now it’s ready: The Stonegarden on Northside of Villa Linnea.

File_005What used to be an ugly stepchild of the front- and back-yard is now a beauty on its own. And with plenty to discover.

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In the good old days, prisoners had to work rock for roads or simply to let steam off. I had just the first days of my summer vacation to move one stone at the time. It’s like a three dimensional Tetris with the additional challenge that each rock ways between 5 and 25 kg. But I’m glad how it worked out.

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It should be easy to maintain (no gras-cutting needed here either). I even had some rocks left over for another project, but that’s for another post…now it’s time to enjoy the summer.

Button up

July 18, 2016
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Ever since we designed the kitchen we’ve had a less-than-optimal way of hanging our tea towel – you know the towel where you dry your hands, quickly dry a dish, etc. There was really no good place for it to hang, as I’ve wanted to have it easily accessible instead of hiding it behind a door or drawer. So this is how it’s been:

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Yes, can you believe it! It has been hanging on the drawer handle with a (not so pretty) metal hook. It does the job, but like two years ago this was supposed to be a temporary fix until we come up with something better. Well, nothing better came up, or, better put, we did not get around to implementing anything nicer or better. There was talk about buying different towels, but never got around to it.

That is until the annual summer fair in the village this summer! We’ve talked about getting these types of “button towels” earlier, but hadn’t come across any. Well, let’s be honest, we can’t have been looking that hard:-) Anyways, we saw and bought one. See how nicely it hangs on the drawer handle?

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All nice and pretty! (And no ugly metal hooks involved).

I should have been happy, right? Well, I was happy, but also a lightbulb went off in my head. I could do something similar with minimal effort to my existing tea towers – all that I need is a button, some thread and a needle. Out came my sewing box!

It was quite simple as our existing tea towels had quite long loops for hanging them. I just took some red thread and a spare white button, which I sewed on the “backside” of the towel. The backside is the side, which had the seams on it from the towel edges.

When the existing towel loop was put around the drawer handle and looped around the button the towel was nicely and firmly attached to the handle, and looked really nice! As you can see, in my excitement I did the same trick to a few other tea towels, before running out of appropriate spare buttons.

The only thing I’m left wondering about is what took me so long? Why did I need to buy a new “button towel” before I realized how easily I could have fixed the situation – any time during the last two years! Again a good example of sometimes easy fixes are just too easy for you to realize!

Rhubarb crumble

July 12, 2016
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As you may recall, earlier this spring I planted two rhubarb roots (I thought I did a separate post on this, but obviously not as I can’t find it…). They have been happily growing and prospering, but I wasn’t expecting that we would be able to make anything out of them this year, yet.

But all that changed last weekend! There were so many stalks of rhubarb, you can’t leave all that goodness unused! (I forgot to take a picture before I picked the rhubarb)Rhubarb 1I wasn’t really prepared at all, so didn’t have any idea what to make of this, but that’s what the Other Half is for:-) He suggested to take it easy and make a rhubarb crumble!

You really can’t make anything easier – rhubarb and a mixture of sugar (I used a mixture of dark and white sugar), melted margarine and oatmeal. Clean the rhubarb and layer everything together and stick the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes.

Yum is all I can say! The perfect dessert served with vanilla sauce! Another farm to table dish from Villa Linnea.

Maybe if we’re lucky we still get another batch later this summer…