|Arshak Makichyan, a Russian climate activist.
||The poles were delivered to the plot
The final paperwork is in place for starting the building
Tuesday 5 May
We got an electrician that wants to install the electricity in our house! Today we had a meeting with him. Due to Corona, we had this meeting via a WhatsApp video call. The electrician had a look at the electricity schemes that I had been drawing. He said they were fine. That was a lovely compliment because I am not an electrician. He suggested organizing the groups differently, but for the rest, he would work based on my drawings. We agreed that I would be able to help him installing the electricity. He will be the person in charge of electrical security at the building site, and he will control all the work I do, but he sure can make use of a helping hand.
Today we measured 1 mm of rainwater. I entered this into my excel sheet. I wonder when it will become boring to enter that number. This is my third measurement.
Wednesday 6 May 2020
Today it is the second anniversary of our house project. We started talking about this entire project two years ago. In the evening the day after the Dutch Liberation Day. On 26 January 2020, I published a blog post summarizing the milestones of the project so far. There is so much going on that it is impossible to remember it all, so it is nice writing it down in blog posts.
We received the final paperwork for the construction from the building company today. The building permit that we got had a list of additional plans that we would need to submit before the building activities should start. For example, a detailed drawing of how the roof is anchored to the building: Well, with screws. Who would have guessed? Some of this is ridiculous bureaucracy, I cannot see it as anything else. I submitted these papers to the municipality. On the other hand, I would not be happy if the roof blew off the building in the first storm. I will probably be delighted when I live in the house, knowing it will not fall down on me.
We also had to submit a form informing the authorities of the start of the building. That is done. This tells them when they will start to include our building site into their audits. Apparently, our area is audited by a short lady with the name Sara. We had neighbors talking about Sara. Their kids wanted to do something at their building site, and the mother said it was not allowed because then Sara would not be pleased. We don’t have young kids, so we don’t have this problem.
Thursday 7 May 2020
As a reply to the form we posted to the municipality yesterday, we received more documents about the building. Our foundation builder will fill in these forms for us.
The number of parties that we work with on this house project is growing. Our builder hires a company for building the foundation. The foundation company employs a pile driving company. Apparently, it has to be like this because the foundation company acts as a supervisor of the piling work. There will be protocols generated while they are driving the piles into the ground. These protocols will be presented to the municipality after the foundation is finished.
I spoke to the foundation company today. In the quote we got on the driveway, it said that they would set out the driveway. This was an agreement with our builder. I explained that I had set out the driveway, anyway. The man from the foundation company was delighted to hear that. It will be the first time in his life he has seen a driveway set out with rocks of hardened clay. I think he will be rolling on the floor, laughing. Well, I used what I had at hand. It looks a little like a Viking site. In a way that is not that farfetched. This place has been ground before, then seafloor, and now it is ground again. It is not unlikely that the Vikings explored this part of the world.
We talked about how to plan the use of the ground during the building activities. For this, I created a drawing.
Essentially the red area is the part where we do not want to get any heavy machines compacting the soil anymore. The green part they may drive with heavy machines as long as they have caterpillar and there is no finished driveway obviously. The blue portion is for storing excess ground dugout while working on the foundation etc.
I hope they agree with this plan. At first, I tried to negotiate that the foundation builder would not drive with heavy machines outside the future driveway, but that inflicted too much on their planning. The pile driver machine comes in much earlier than the machines building the driveway. The pile driving machine would wipe the marks for the driveway. The pile driver may drive on our ground because it has large caterpillars, but you know what we have been through already. We would like to save one part marked red from heavy machines.
The land along the driveway on the right side will undergo various future activities. We are planning to put a sea container on the right side of the driveway, for example. There will be a water reservoir on the right side of the parking circle. There will be a water cleaning facility, a helophyte filter, on the right side of the driveway as well. For many of these things, we will have ground dugout, hence compacting the ground is not a problem.
Today we went to the plot to water the plants and weed thistles. I found a beautiful Phacelia in our new garden. It is a soil improver plant, and here it is right now, the queen of the park.
There was also another beautiful soil improver to be found at the plot. A crimson clover. In Dutch Inkarnaatklaver, and in Latin Trifolium incarnatum. This is not the usual clover, at least not to me, this was a dark blood red clover plant. Absolutely magnificent next to all the thistles. The ground has been planted with soil improver plants last year. I suppose the thistle is not a soil improver.
Above our heads, I believe there were a couple of Common buzzards flying (Buteo Buteo) or as the Dutch call them “Buizerd.” (Disclamer: I think it was Common buzzards) It is impressive birds that can have 1.2 meters between the tip of their wings. That is 47.2 inches. Buzzards are common here. They can be aggressive, though during the breeding season, and if they need, they will attack you. Usually, they attack you from behind, putting the claws in the head. I suppose they leave deep scratches. Of course, it is a human reaction to see them as intruders when they attack us. We got all the rights, and the buzzards have, you guessed it: No rights at all. Because it is an animal, but we got all rights to be everywhere at every time because we are humans.
Do I sound sarcastic and frustrated? Well, that is correct. I do feel that we humans take our position in nature for granted, and we are not deserving that position the way we treat the world right now.
We decided on weeding the thistles. It will take some effort, but we are on the challenge. I found it has four good side-effects to weed the thistles:
- You get to learn the ground. Where it is soft, where it is hard. Get to understand the soil quality.
- The weeded thistles form the foundation for the compost.
- The ground is loosened while digging out the thistles.
- Weeding thistles gives a good reason for going to the plot regularly.
Today, we went to my wife’s parents and picked up a trailer. This is a sweet little blue trailer with red wheels. We will use this a lot to move things. For example, pallets that we will need to put under the sea container. We think that we should use pallets, but perhaps it is better to use something else.
While talking about the sea container, we need to re-establish contact with the salesperson again. It is relatively often that the initial sales are going fine, but then the salesperson needs to do their homework, then they are busy with other things, or they just vanish from the surface of the earth. We had this experience with several contacts: water pump specialists (not our current though), diggers, etc. Often it is so that if the salesperson is willing to do their homework, then they get the job from us. We are so easy on this. I hear on the news that building companies are having a difficult time due to Corona, etc., but I don’t agree with this. Our main builder company is fine. For the rest, building companies act like spoiled kids. Indeed, the worst experience so far is Knipscheer BV.
We will try to pick up an apple tree with this trailer next weekend.
We can also put on a blue hood in case it is raining. When we were at the plot, we looked around to find the right spot for the apple tree. Starting dig out a hole for the tree.
Sunday 10 May
I had imagined that I would be productive this day, but I was feeling drained today. I hope it is nothing serious. I had set out to get some more terra cotta pots for planting things. For this, I went on a shopping tour. At first to a second-hand shop because I think it is essential to reuse as much as possible. They had one terra-cotta that was perfect. There were not so many people at the second-hand shop, so that was a good shopping experience.
Next up I went to a garden center. There the shopping experience was hysteric. It was mothers day so that apparently flowers are a thing for Mother’s Day. They had set up a temporary shop outside the garden center and chalked boxes on the ground that people had to stand in to keep a proper distance to each other.
I went inside, though. This shop I went to has the shop organized as one single route. I found the terra-cotta pots, and at the tools, I got myself a rake. We did not have a rake with spikes. Soon, I can see myself raking the ground at the plot.
I find it difficult sometimes in a shop. A person is standing and doing their thinking, and it takes time, and I am patiently waiting for a few meters away to let them make their choice, and it takes time. While the two of us are standing there, the third customer shows up and much less considerate. At first, I let them pass by, but I am done with that because then I can be courteous for another person and another. Damn it. The new strategy is to block the path physically with the shopping trolley. No passage here!
That was essentially it for today. I went home, and then the weather switched, and it started to become windy. The wind gathered force so that at some point, it was stormy. I was not feeling like planting things in a full storm in the garden. Instead, I was resting much and contemplating how things are going.
Monday 11 May
Today it was still windy, and it is colder again. There is no rain to be seen. We went to the plot to give plants and trees water. This time I tried a little carriage with a water jerrycan. The ground is too uneven here to make this convenient. But the container and the cart is a good idea. To make this work, I will need to make a path for the carriage. I am using a battery-driven drill with a water pump. That carriage could easily have two jerrycans if the ground was more even. There is work to do here.
We got contact with the sea container people. They instruct us to get concrete tiles 60 by 60 cm for each corner of the container. The container can be shipped within a week, but that is a bit early, we have to figure out the best timing for the sea container. I think the right moment is when the driveway is finished. That way, we can have it at the correct spot along the driveway and not the other way around.
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.