JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Started on the foundation

Monday 25 May

Today at noon, the piledriver machine would come to our plot, but instead, it arrived in the early morning. The pile driver should drive in the green zone. It went the same way as the roadbuilders went, straight over the neighbor’s, Mrs. PMTs plot, over the blue area to the house, driving over two barrier tapes.

This came as a little surprise. I was not delighted. After talking to the machinist of the pile driver, we agreed that he would not take the same way back. Instead, he would drive the green zone around the future drive-way to the dirt road. Later I reconciled that at least they had spared the red zone, and the ground in the blue area is already compacted by the roadbuilders.

When we arrived, the supervisor from the municipality and the supervisor of the builder was already present. Two people operating the machine were also there.

There was a confusion about what pole was where. The supervisor of the builder said that the first pole was number 13, and the supervisor from the municipality, Sara, said it was number 2. She was correct. The machinists put the concrete bar in position. Then they let it sink into the ground. Of its own weight, it settles a few meters into the clay. Then the machine hit the pole so that it is driven into a layer of sand. The number of hits is recorded in a table, and that is called a calendar. That calendar is returned to the municipality and to the construction company of the house. The building authorities are verifying that these rules are followed.

Sara, the inspector from the municipality, also overlooked other things, that people held distance to each other. I liked that a lot. In the times of Corona, all people need to keep the distance. She also informed about that the critical moment was the picking up of new poles. They tilted the machine slightly and had a chain connected to the bars that were unloaded the day before. Then they were lifted up one by one. That moment when the machine was slightly tilted, it could tip over if the machinist was not paying attention. He kept the pole driver upright.

Here I still could not understand how the machine had arrived at the plot.

It is a great machine. It is made for poles at least three times longer than our bars.

Here are the two inspectors talking about the number of the current pole.

There was not so much to do while the inspectors were figuring out the pole order.

The driving of the pole could start. Helm on.

Picking up two new poles.

This is a critical moment. The machine needs to stay within the tipping point.

Here the concrete bar is lined up.

Here we got a chance to put something under the pole that would follow it into the depth. My wife put one Euro coin and a Swedish five crown coin.

There we posed in front of the coin pole.

Almost half of the pole just vanished without any driving of the bar.

My wife was given a chance to drive in the pole.

There she finished it.

Then the next, and then the next and so on. There were fourteen poles for our house.

It went quick. This was not a challenging project for these people.

In the afternoon, after work, we came to see the result. The pile driver machine had left the plot at the spot we had agreed on. I was pleased about that.

We received foam plastic elements like all other neighbors. This was placed straight over the future drive-way. I don’t see how that is convenient.

Here I am standing on one pole at the northeast corner of the house.


This is the site from above in the evening.

Yesterday it was raining. There were 5 millimeters of rain in the rain gauge. I entered this into my excel sheet. That work is still not tedious. I add the data for the date that I empty the rain gauge, not the moment that the rain has fallen. Later, when we are more often at the plot, I can be more precise when the rain has fallen, if needed.

We gave the plants water. I noticed that the sticks are developing something. It looks like new leaves at the bottom of the stems.

I took a photo of these so that I can compare it in a couple of days. This is the right part of starting a garden diary early on. By writing down and taking pictures, it is possible to go back and learn from what we are doing. We noticed that our work with collecting thistles is paying off. We only have very few thistles. Neighbors got meters high thistle bushes. They develop sticky branches making it less and less attractive to walk around at the plot. We don’t have that.

The apple trees are also developing. There are small tiny apples on the trees, and I discovered one branch that was broken off. I took it home. I hope to transplant it onto another tree. I know that is difficult, but has that stopped me from trying?

Tomorrow we will pick up garden tiles and bring those to the plot.


Tuesday 26 May

Today we received a heap of sand at the plot. I had no idea that it would be delivered today, but that is fine. From here on, it is perhaps useful to let loose what is happening at the plot and why. I am fine as long as we have our red zone untouched. For this purpose, I made a sign with the map of the different zones that I plastered at the building site.

I already started thinking about new welding projects. I still have plenty of shrapnels from the road that I could do something with. There is a welding project that I will need at some point, a way of moving pallets on our property. Usually, you would just go buy a pallet carriage, but I am not that kind of person. I am thinking of making one myself. We will see how that goes.

This evening we went to pick up garden tiles. There is a Dutch website for buying and selling things called Marktplaats, and at that site, you can also find items sold for zero Euro. Such as garden tiles. This is the first time we made use of this site to pick up free tiles. You can search for the distance to your location, and this was only two or three kilometers away, so that was nice. We got the address but entered the wrong street. The person at the first door we tried was not amused. Then we went to the right road, and they were much more helpful.

The lady organizing this came out and guided us on how to get to the back of the house. That was not simple. We could not drive the car to the place where the tiles had to be loaded. We had to unhook it and roll it manually to the area to fill the tiles. When we arrived behind the house, there came 5 or 6 people helping loading tiles into the carriage. The owner of the garden tiles, the father of the lady, said that our cart was so nicely painted we had to have something protecting the paint at the bottom. He gave us a blanket for this. Such sweet people. The carriage was filled really quickly. We decided on four layers of tiles. Then we took it back to the car and drove to the plot. At the property, we unloaded to a pallet.

We could make two of these trips this evening. It was such beautiful weather this evening. Here you can see me sitting on the tiles of the first trip. On the second trip, we added a little more garden tiles to the trunk of the car. The hood holder of the carriage was in the way for this work. The hood was surprisingly heavy and awkward to get off, but we managed in the end. Behind me, you can see the almost finished foundation of our neighbor Mrs. PMT. There are a couple of more pallets left, and we can continue to make these piles along the road until we got all the tiles from the friendly people. The reason they wanted to get rid of these tiles was that the mother of the lady that helped us had tripped over an uneven surface and got hurt. The family, with all the helpful people, had decided to get rid of the old smaller tiles and install larget tiles.

Do you see now that it would be convenient to be able to move these pallets with some kind of carriage?

Wednesday 27 May

Today we received a new batch of images from the builder.

Here are roof elements being assembled for the house.

This is one of the trailers with building elements for the house.

The building material for the interior.

Impressive to see the house elements on a trailer like this.


At the building site, the foundation builders had made the pile of foam elements bigger. There were concrete beams added as well.

Before we went to the site this evening, I was thinking that I am really eager for the drive-way to be finished. At the same time, I am also wondering if the drive-way is going to be like I want it to be. Then I say to myself that obviously, it will. I am the customer, and the builders will build what I designed. That said, the recent experience with that the pole driving machine went straight over the plot of the neighbor, driving over two lines of barrier tapes to get to the location of the house. They did this although they had promised to avoid doing precisely that, this makes me think I cannot trust these people entirely. But I cannot be there 07:00 AM on a Monday morning if we agreed that they would arrive in the afternoon. Well, what can I say?

The trees we collected earlier are doing fine. Most of them are thriving. There are a few that don’t look entirely happy, but they don’t look dead either. The apple tree branch that was broken off during transport is now regaining strength in a glass of water. That patient seems like it will make it. I have not yet decided how to proceed, but I am thinking of inoculating it onto another tree.

I am almost sure that we will not have a long vacation away from the house this summer due to corona. Because of that, I decided on growing tomatoes. I know it is late in the game, but I am sure that I will enjoy the plants even if it is not going to become anything. I took a tomato and plucked the seeds from it and placed them on a tissue. There are 20 seeds on the cloth. Imagine 20 tomato plants on a row! We will see how that goes, I have no idea actually.


We worked with picking up garden tiles in the evening. We managed to make two trips to pick the tiles. The second time we also loaded bricks. Behind me, you can see the mountain of foam elements. If the house were not poled to the ground, it would be able to float like a boat with this foundation.

It worked very well to pick up tiles without the hood stand. There is one thing with the hood stand, though. When backing with the trailer, it indicates very well the position of the trailer behind the car. Without the frame, it is not visible in the rear window. The solution to this was to put sticks in the corner of the trailer. We used the corner flags for the house for this purpose. They are not needed anymore because the foundation people marked out the position of the house in other ways.

It was late when we finished unloading the trailer the second time. Before going home, we gave the plants and the tree’s water.


Thursday 28 May

Today we had a regular working from home day. No lunch walk, though. The company building the foundation called me to double-check a detail in the construction. He thought that on Thursday morning, next week, they are busy with the foundation of the house. I am not sure about the drive-way, though.

One of the tomato seeds is sprouting! I got the idea of numbering the seeds and making notes of when they grow so that my followers can follow the development of each tomato plant, but I have enough to do, so I abandon that thought. I will talk about them and take photos for sure, but I will not make a championship of it.

In the evening we picked up the last tiles. There were tiles gone that we did not pick up yesterday. Strange to be missing something that is not ours, that costs nothing. We got a beautiful row of pallets along the dirt road.

That is five pallets with stones that we picked up in the garden of the old man. Tonight we could see there were new stones delivered to the man. He is not planning on having any plants in his backyard. It will be tiled with brand new tiles. No place for biology in his garden.

In our new garden, the plants are growing really fast now. The five millimeters of rain made them shoot up in height. This gives a little problem with the drive-way because it is not so easy to see the stones that I used for marking the drive-way. A solution for that is to cut the grass around the rocks. We had a go at doing that with long blade garden scissors. It was heavy work, but we did a little bit. If they work on the drive-way tomorrow, then they got a little easier to see the rocks. It had been more comfortable if I knew that they knew where I placed these rocks, but I don’t think that it is so easy to see anymore. If they start tomorrow, then it is what it is. If they begin after the weekend, then I would like to go over the marking one more time.

Here is the mountain of foam plastic elements that they placed at the beginning of the drive-way. If they put it somewhere else, then I had been thinking that they do know where the drive-way is, but now I start to wonder. Feelings, feelings.

There was a party going on at neighbors a little further away. There were nine cars parked at their plot. At some point, there came a pizza delivery. I find it creative to do a party at the building site, and they were disturbing absolutely nobody. This was the ultimate moment to do a grand party here.

Friday 29 May

It is Friday. Today they started digging out the foundation under the house. This was around noon.

Here they just started working on the foundation.

Look at the sky. It is so blue!

Here a helping hand is measuring the depth of the ground to be dugout.

It needs to be exact.


Here you can see the signs of the builder, and next to it, I placed the zones picture.

I wish I had these photos in high resolution.


We could not get to the site until the evening because we were working from our old home. I was curious about how the builders handled the drive-way. When we came to the site, I concluded they had driven straight through the future drive-way, but they had restored the clay stones afterward. I was pleased to see that. Perhaps the sign of the zones in combination with that we cut the grass yesterday evening around the markings made them see the future drive-way. I don’t know. Either that or they heard from their boss that there is a drive-way marked and “you should not disturb the marks and if we do it will take hours to fix and we got no time for that.” It does not matter.

It is anyhow rewarding to see that they respect the wish of the customer. A couple of days ago, they placed a mountain of foam plastic at the future entrance of the drive-way, and it is a little challenging to make a drive-way under all that plastic. We could see they started to clear the foam from the opening of the drive-way, that pleases me. They only left a pile of concrete beams. The drive-way cause me more feelings than the house right now. For my sake, it had been much better to have it a long time ago, but on the other hand, it had perhaps been in the way for other construction work. I don’t know.

Tonight we went to the site to water the plants. The apple trees, they look beautiful, the pink mallow plant that was run over by the road builder, also looks gorgeous. You can make tea out of the mallow. I need to try that. It is funny because I called the plants from the dutch name “kaasjeskruid,” and it is not until now I realize it is mallow because I write about it in English in this blog and that I have had mallow tea sometime long ago. We also got the ivy at the sign. It is not entirely dead, but it is not doing much above the ground. I hope it is active down in the soil, though. We planted ivy like this before, and I recall it took almost a year before it started growing above the ground.

When we arrived at the plot, Mr. AA and his father were busy at his house project. He has been working on the foundation on his own, he got no company doing it for him. Today his concrete floor had been cast. He was a bit curious about what the reason was that we had to come so regularly to the plot. He had not noticed our plants. I asked him if I could get some rest piece of his rebars. I got a couple of really straight pieces from my neighbor. I will try to make another rake with these. This was another reason to become happy tonight. Here I am standing on the hill created by the digger today. He placed it on the north side of the house. That is fine for now, but the entrance of the building will be here. At some point, this hill needs to be moved to another spot.

The builder had also delivered the construction fabric that they will put under the drive-way. To me, it looks like a regular woven polyethylene tarp. The more knowledgeable reader calls it Tarpaulin.

Saturday 30 May

Already in the morning, I read about news from the United States. A police officer had killed a black man by kneeling on his throat, although the man said he could not breathe. He said it eleven times before he died of suffocation. The episode had been filmed. The police officer had a long track record of violence against black, but he was allowed to go on and on. Now groups were protesting against this chain of events. It is tough to understand what happens in America right now. It is sad to receive this kind of news. I think that the United States is riddled with troubles caused by that the women of all races in their society do not have a more significant say in the nation. If men stood back a little in the USA and let women decide more, they would stop poverty. They would solve the school shooting problems within a couple of years. People would get an education, and race issues would be addressed, Black lives would matter. Their health care system would be repaired. They would fix problems with water quality and pollutions. They would make the US into an environmentally friendly role model for the entire world. That is how I see it. The male side of the US has derailed.

This was a day of many small tasks both at home and at the plot. I started at home with plants. My first task was to do something for the branch of the apple tree that broke off during transport. I had it in a glass of water, and it recovered nicely. I read on the Internet of different ways to handle a branch from an apple tree. With the right timing, earlier in the spring, inoculation would have been the right choice. Inoculation means that the tree branch is patched on to the stem of another tree. In this situation, that was not a good option anymore.

It was possible to put the branch in soil and keep it moist, and eventually, it would develop roots. I opted for this method. I had it a couple of days in a glass of water, and it looked happy about that and started to produce leaves. I hope it will be satisfied producing leaves also if it is planted in soil that I keep moist. I placed the pot in a tight bowl so that it is standing with the feet in the water. In a couple of days, I will move it out of the outer pot so that it can start becoming dryer, and eventually, it will also be able to breathe. It is an experiment. I just do what was suggested on a random page on the Internet.

The tomato seeds had an accident. They had mold spots all over, and it looked terrible. I decided to transplant the seeds to another cloth. When doing that, I saw that many seeds had little shoots going on. No photos of that. Next up, I took a cherry tomato variety and extracted the seeds of that. I think I got 22 of those seeds. We will see.

If you follow my blog, you might remember that I cut branches of various tree sorts on lunch walks this sprint. I already planted some of these in pots. Today I examined the remaining tree branches, and there came out a couple with roots. I planted these in pots. I had a couple of new terracotta pots for this purpose.

Next up, I went to the plot, but on the way, I bought an angle grinder. This will be very useful in my experiments in welding.

At the plot, I noticed we received a yellow machine that is used for cutting off the top of poles. I did not see why that would come on a Saturday. I went around and repaired the barrier tape. On Monday morning, the pile-driving machine had destroyed a couple of places of the tape, or rather bamboo sticks used to hold up the tape. I replaced these sticks. Then I cut more of the grass around the border of the drive-way so that the line is easier to see from within a digging machine. I also moved a little of the foam so that it would give room for the making of the drive-way.

When cutting the grass, I was thinking I really would like to have a scythe. I have one in Sweden but not here. Oh well, I will get there, and then I will bring it to the Netherlands.

In the evening, I was so tired there was no energy left to practice welding. That is for another time. I could read and see more clips from the riots in the United States in the evening. It just goes on and on, and it escalates. Horrible.

Sunday 31 May

Today things were more of the same at home. In the world, it is chaos. My feed is destroyed, it is full of violence, and I feel it is hard to cope with. I don’t like violence.

I have been so much out, and about that, I had to do some tasks in the old house. It did not feel tedious or boring at all. We talked about how to handle the tomato plants when they need to be potted. We came to the conclusion that it would be nice to have more terracotta potts or, in any case, some kind of container for the plants. For this purpose, we went to the second-hand shop, but they were closed. It is a long weekend; Monday is also a compulsory day off. When that plan failed, we decided we will use inner rolls of toilet paper that we cut into convenient small containers, and in those, we can plant the seeds of the tomato plants. We can put the rolls in a paper tray. When the seeds have grown so far that we can put the plants outside, we will plant them at the plot. It is windy at the parcel, so we can use a couple of pallets to form a support for the tomato plants.

Since we go watering the plants every other day, it was time to go to the plot tonight. On the way, we stopped by the place where we found pallets the last time. To our surprise, there were new pallets to pick u for free. Instead of starting watering the plants, we got the trailer and went back to the place with the pallets. When we arrived, a man was trying to get a pallet into his car. It was squeeze fit, and actually a little too big. I offered to bring a couple of pallets to his place. We loaded the trailer and brought the three pallets to his home, and the rest was for us. He was so happy, and I can understand that. When we came to his place, there was a neighbor of the man, and that man knew to tell us that the best days for finding good pallets were Wednesdays and Thursdays. That is the information we can make good use of. That became the reward for us helping the man, and a bit of karma obviously. When we finished unloading the pallets of the man, we went to the plot with the remaining pallets. Then we gave the plants water.

We noticed that one apple tree had blessed us with a flower. It means that the tree is reasonably happy with our treatment of water every other day and that the location is excellent. We got two trees, the one doing most apples and now this flower got the battered by the transport the most. I had fastened the pot in the angle that it had to the stem when standing on the ground, but the bucked was loose when we arrived. The worst-case had been that the root system of the tree had been broken. Now it is flowering, so that appears not to be the case. The other tree, not doing so much, made the journey much better. The pot was still fastened on arrival like it was when we left.

Yesterday I started on cutting the grass in the future drive-way. Today I continued to do that, and I collected the cut grass and placed that on the compost. One of the foam plastic packages had blown over and was back on the future drive-way again. I moved that plastic out of the drive-way again. When I finished cutting the grass on the future drive-way, it will be so visible that it will be visible from space. There is only weed in the circle left to cut. From the sky, you can clearly see they left the ring intact.

The compost does need to be filled. Any organic material that we can collect is valuable for the compost heap. The content from the drive-way is an excellent addition to the compost. The neighbors around us don’t take the weeding of thistle so seriously as we do. They got bushes of thistles getting one meter high. We also got onion on our new farm. This is leftovers from what has been growing here earlier. There is one onion that will soon be flowering. We think it will be a white flower.

There was no time to do any practicing on welding. That is for another time.

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.