JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

We received the planning

Here is a blog about a week at the end of April 2020.

Thursday 23 April

Today I brought the car to the garage. Do you remember I had scratched the door? We got the door polished and a little paint here and there. It was not a full restore, but it looked much better like this.

Friday 24 April

Friday evening, we went to the plot to water the plants again, and the plants are doing fine. Several new neighbors got their building activities started. Giant machines, tall stacks of white foam elements wiggling in the wind. Even higher pile driver machines on caterpillars. Some got the compulsory building fence and one colorful construction site toilet each. We noticed that people had set up signs with their house number. We will also need that.

Two days earlier, we got planning for the house. At first, we were over the moon happy because they told us they would start to build the foundation in one and a half weeks. The day after, they came back with a revised plan. A subcontractor had planning issues due to the Corona, so the start of building the foundation will start in four weeks.

Next week the building company will begin to build the elements of the house in the factory. I contemplated if we would like to go and visit the factory, but due to Corona, we will not do that. Perhaps I may get some photos of the building process sent to us from the company. I will ask about that.

Due to the revised start moment of the foundation, the builder of the road (Knipscheer that I blogged about earlier) got four weeks to repair the damage to the plot. We will see how that goes. There has been no rain for several weeks. Can it be so that I got an idle rain gauge somewhere in my storage? It would be handy to bring that gauge to the plot and so that I can measure how much rain has fallen.

On Saturday, I finished the painting of Elliot. I am entirely sure he will not like it, so much. The highlight of the day was a walk in the neighborhood. We encountered the local sheep herd on our hike. We usually stop and enjoy the sheep when we meet them. They were grazing near an impediment area where I found a wild birch tree that I snatched. Birch is not growing well on clay ground, but I did know that until later. We are contemplating keeping sheep at our new house, and I have no idea how that will work. We will have the sheep primarily for the grazing but also for the wool. My wife is doing wool art. It is also so that the sheep will create fertilizer for our garden.

Here is a slideshow of the hike we took on Saturday evening.

We took a break in our walk and ate an apple. It was such a lovely evening.

Fluffy little dandelion seed balls.

I enjoyed the evening sun with my eyes closed. My hair is getting longer and longer.

Almere can be magnificent.

Two siblings were talking to each other.

The lambs looked so peaceful.


Sunday 26 April

We had a slow start of the day. I found the rain gauge in the shed, and it has been lying in the shed for at least 15 years. The next project was to plant trees I collected this week.

I bought no single new pot for this project so far. It is a little disturbing that I obtained this sizeable amount of terra cotta pots over the years without realizing it. The trees are doing fine so far.

With the trees planted, it was time for the sign that we will need for our plot.

I decided on using material that I already had available. Instead of buying a new pole and plank from the hardware store, I decided on using a branch from our acacia tree that we have in our old garden. The idea is that if we already got sufficient material, then we should not spend resources on something new. Save money and energy going to the store and, and by the way, not going to the store lowers the risk of getting Corona. I see a considerable number of benefits to this plan.

Every couple of years, we cut the branches from the acacia tree in our old garden. Well, it is my task to do that. If we were not doing that, the tree would dominate our garden. More than that, it would also dominate our neighbors’ yard. Last time we did this, we kept two branches. It has a hard type of wood. I had one acacia tree branch that ended with two stems ideal for this project.

I also had a leftover plank from our fence. That would become the sign. At first, I made the letters the same size as the number. That was a bit massive, so then I cut off a little part of the plank, so then I had a small extra piece. You cannot see it in the picture so easily, but I cut the plank in a slight italic angle. I thought that looked nice.

I also wanted a floral motive on the sign, so I introduced that as a green fantasy festoon that I let growing up along the branch. That garland took one stem and over on the plank. From there, I made it continue along the other stem of the acacia branch.

In the end, I figured I had to have a grand finale of the festoon. A firework as it were. For this purpose, I invented a fantasy flower with different sorts of flowers. My wife commented that it was impossible with a plant flowering like that. She was quite right on that.

The other acacia branch can be used for the rain gauge. Tomorrow we will go to the plot and water the plants and put this piece of art in the ground on the right side of the future driveway. The regulation stipulates that it should be on the right side. Hence we comply. We will also plant ivy at the foot of the sign.

Monday 27 April

Today it was the birthday of the king in the Netherlands, a compulsory free day. Of course, I am glad to have a free day, but it would be nice if I could choose what day I would like to have a day off. I know it is imperative to celebrate the birthday of the king, but the king is not celebrating my birthday, so it is not a mutual celebration, that is unfair. I have my birthday on 3 July and if Willem so wishes he is welcome to celebrate it with me. Just make an appointment a couple of weeks ahead so I can plan something special, bake some delicious Swedish kanelbullar or so. The king would not need to take a whole day off. I am okay with a short visit. We could talk about how he sees the future of the Netherlands when there has been a blue ocean event in the Arctic, and how he sees his future as a king when the kingdom is underwater?

My wife cut my hair today. We are in the midst of the Corona crisis, and hairdresser shops are closed in the Netherlands. Of course, we don’t have the right gear, but a bed sheet would do. Back in the days when we were a newly engaged couple, 32 years ago, we could not afford the luxury of going to the hairdresser, and she cut my hair. She is good at it if I may say that myself.

She asked me the rhetorical question, “what style did I want my hair to be cut in” and I said it would be wonderful if she gave me a haircut as she did it 30 years ago. So she did, and it feels good to get that rid of that excess hair. I had not believed that such a simple thing, such as getting the hair cut, would become an issue in 2020. I expect this to be another data point on a row of strange turns of events that will happen to us and the world.

The next point on our mission of this day was to go and put out the sign for our plot. I had been thinking of ways to anchor the pole in the ground. In my old garden, the previous owner had left behind steel L-beams. They have been lying on the ground well over 18 years. I took one of these beams and cut it to a proper length. It is surprising to see how little rust they developed all these years. The acacia tree branch could be screwed on to the L-beam. This way, the wood part of the sign can be over ground and thereby avoid rotting, and this worked out very well. In one screw hole, the heads of the screws broke off. It is such a hardwood in this acacia branch. The third screw made it.

At the foot of the sign, I planted ivy that I brought with me from the old garden. I just cut a couple of branches of the ivy. At the sign, I dug a hole and placed the ivy. I let a little bit of it stick out from the hole. Here in the photo, I am watering the ivy. The idea is that the ivy will climb along the branch of the acacia and decorate it. It will take a couple of years before it looks beautiful. In this photo, I just took off my cap, so my hair had got flattened. I cannot always look attractive when there is work to do.

Next up, we gave our other plants water, and then we placed the branch that will hold the water gauge. The ground near the road, where we put the sign, the top layer is the leftover from when they built the road. That ground is pure clay. In our “garden” where we have our little plantation, the earth is more like it should be. It is a mix of organic matter, worms, and of course, clay.

There are little patches of grass growing on our plot except where the heavy vehicles have been driving. I can see that thistle plants are doing fine without any trace of water for several weeks. Nature is remarkable.

In the evening, my spelling check service mailed me and told me that I had my first anniversary of continuous writing streak. 52 weeks of writing! They call me a Full-Year Hero. Since 7 October 2017, I have checked two million, one hundred and six thousand words.

I have been working on my writing for some time now. I am approaching the writing the same way as I do with painting. Doing and doing it again. Some times I make a gorgeous painting, and that is nice, but many times there are mediocre paintings in-between. The same goes for blog posts and other texts that I am writing. It is a question of: keep doing.

Wednesday 29 April

This morning we were visited by the local gang of Passer Domesticus birds. They are quick little critters, and the light was not optimal, but I still tried to get some picture evidence of their visit, photos that I took through a dirty window glass with my telelens.

I got a feeding table in the old garden. The Passer Domesticus birds have not visited us for several years. The climate is changing. Insects are dying, and the birds are having a difficult time because many birds are feeding on insects. Heatwaves are also killing many birds, and last year we had a hot heatwave in the Netherlands in the summer.

It is so funny to see that the young are being fed right at the feeding table. You would think that it is easy enough to eat by themselves, but apparently, the parents need to continue the feeding.

It started raining yesterday. Not much, but the hope is that it will go on for a while. It has been so dry for so long.


Thursday 30 April

Tonight it is Saint Walpurgis Night or rather Valborg as it is called in Sweden. We are not celebrating it. Actually, due to Corona, you are not supposed to celebrate it this time, not even in Sweden. It might be so that next year we light up a bonfire outside our new house, you never know.

We went to the plot and had a look at the plants. They are alive and thriving. We had collected 4 millimeters of rain in our rain gauge. That is our first rain ever as owners of this plot. The numbers on the rain gauge are actually indicating liters per square meter. So here we collected four liters per square meter. That is almost precisely one US liquid gallon. We received that amount on a square of around ten feet.

The ground looked completely dry. There are about inch wide cracks (two to three cm) in the clay.

Four liters per square meter is not at all doing anything but adding moisture to the dust on the surface and feeding thirsty thistles.

There will be more rain tonight, but I have no idea what that will give. Until now, I mostly did not care about the rain. That will change immediately. We are eager to be able to plant grass on the plot. The grass will compete with thistles and other sorts of plants we do not necessarily want to thrive. It is also a preparation for the sheep we would like to have grazing here. It is a little bit of an issue that we have not been able to equalize the ground, but we will do that later. There is simply no other option. To be followed.

I was born 1967 in Stockholm, Sweden. I grew up in the small village Vågdalen in north Sweden. 1989 I moved to Umeå to study Computer Science at University of Umeå. 1995 I moved to the Netherlands where I live in Almere not far from Amsterdam.

Here on this site I let you see my creations.

I create, that is my hobby.