JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

The foundation frame finished, and we got the driveway.

Monday 1 June

Today it was a compulsory free day. You know one of those days you must stay away from work, that makes you feel happy, but you had been much more satisfied if you could have chosen to be free on another day. That is not how it works; apparently, you get it for free, but there are strings attached. I already ranted about the compulsory free days this spring, so you know my position on that.

As usual, the weather was perfect. At least if you like sun and nothing but the sun. The problem, though, is that it is so dry. We have not measured rain since last week Monday. That time it was 5 millimeters, and that is not enough. There will be rain coming later in the week.

Today I had planned to plant the tomatoes—the first batch of tomato seeds that I started preparing last Wednesday, 27 May. I had put 20 seeds on a cloth. 17 had sprouted, and 3 did nothing. In my previous blog post, I talked about using the roll of toilet paper to make a potting container. There was just one small little detail, I had not collected any rolls since Wednesday, and today I wanted to plant the seeds.

I looked into another way of doing it, using newspaper paper to roll a container. I don’t subscribe to any newspaper, but there is a free paper being distributed in this area. That could be used. This is how I did it.

I cut slices of paper about 15 cm high. That is about 6 inches. Fold the bottom of the paper so that about an inch overlap, that is 2.5 cm. This makes the bottom of the potting container a bit more sturdy.

I took a green bottle of a hair product because it had a diameter that suited me, around two inches in diameter. This is up to you, how you wish to do it. You can try a can from a soft drink.

Place the bottle on the end of the paper. Leave extra paper sticking out below the bottle or soft drink can. Make it stick out half the diameter of the cylinder.

We only need to let the paper stick out so much that the bottom of the potting container is closed.

Hold the bottle against the table. Fold the excess paper around the bottom of the bottle and roll it as you go. Each crease is locking the previous.

When you cannot fold anymore because you reached the beginning of the creases, lift the bottle a little and let the rest of the paper slide in under the bottle forming a ridge along the rest of the paper.

Continue rolling until you got a square part left.

Fold the square part diagonally.

Continue role so that the diagonal crease is also rolled around the bottle. Now you hold all together and press the bottom of the bottle and the roll too. This makes the bottom of the potting container to become flat.

Gently slide off the bottle. Keep things together with one hand.

With your other hand, you can fold the top of the container inwards. This will lock the pot from falling apart.

The final product, a container so sow plants in. It is reasonably sturdy. When letting the inward fold be a little broader, then the folded paper will be locked in place by the soil when filling the container.


I am not an authority on the art of folding potting containers. This is what I came up with, and it looks like it is working for me. The containers can be planted as is in the soil, and the newspaper will turn into mulch.

I made 16 of these. I also tried a couple of other folding techniques, but the one I outlined here above that is the method I liked the most. Then I filled the containers with soil. I took what I had. It was easier to fill the containers outside because of the spill; I could just brush it away with my garden brush.

Then I placed a sprouted seed in every container. One got two seeds that had not fully sprouted yet. Three seeds had done nothing, so they did not make it into any container. This was so much fun. I expect that in some days, the mini tomatoes will be sprouted, so then I will fold more of these potting containers. It will be so lovely to see bees hovering around the tomato plants.

The next task of the day was to go to the plot and cut the last part of the grass in the future driveway. Since I don’t have a scythe, I had to sit on the ground and cut the grass with a long blade garden scissor. The compost grew to a new all-time high. Here is a panorama photo, when I was finished, that I took standing on top of the hill made from the dugout of the foundation. There is a pile of concrete leftovers in the driveway from the poles that they cut the heads of.

I dared to climb the pile of concrete beams at the beginning of the driveway to take a photo from that position. It is going to be interesting to see how it will look like when they finished the driveway. Super exciting to be able to drive the car all the way to the circle. I already know I need to extend the ring a little to make it easier to get in and out of the driveway, but that is peanuts. Perhaps they work on the driveway already tomorrow.

Since I was climbing things, I decided to go up on the orange device that they all of a sudden placed here last Saturday. It had a square hole in the middle. It looks like a machine doing something with poles.

That was my visit to the plot today. In the evening, I fixed my program, converting word documents into blog posts. It had to learn how to detect the outlining of images. Much better.

Tuesday 2 June

Today it was a regular working day. I contemplated going to the plot earlier in the day, but I did not do that. In the evening after work, we went to the plot. It was also the moment for watering the plants. The driveway was finished! Finished is a big word, the driveway was made. I already figured out we need to do work on the driveway as well, but at least, here it is. I cannot say that all my artistic curves survived the translation by the builders, but some of them made it. I will need to look into enforcing the sides of the driveway but applying soil to the sides. There is plenty of dugout material to use for this. I think I got a slightly broader driveway in the beginning and that it narrows a bit towards the end. To really find out, I need to measure it again. I think I have other things to do right now.

On the panorama picture, you can see that the house of the neighbor of Mrs. AB and her husband were delivered today. Yesterday when I cut the grass there was nothing, and now there is a house. There was no roof yet, but they got the walls mounted. That is how fast it goes. The builders came from Germany and spoke German with each other. We had a look at the new building, it is promising.

Wednesday 3 June

Today after work, I went and bought a wheelbarrow. I had been thinking we would need a wheelbarrow at some point, but there was no need to buy one. Not until now, that is. The current design of the driveway is obviously flawed. You cannot have a driveway 35 cm above the rest of the ground. If you drive your car over the edge, you got a huge problem. You will not get it back up again. Well, this was the cheapest driveway I could get. I don’t consider it finished. One of the things I can do is to put soil next to the driveway so that the car is not falling down but slowly sinking into the mud. I know it sounds strange, but it is better. For this driveway project, I need a wheelbarrow. I will rent a digging machine at some point and arrange soil around the house, but it is currently not the correct time to do that already now. So, for the time being, I will look into other manual solutions, a wheelbarrow.

There is also another way. Namely, to figure out exactly how to drive on the driveway without falling off. For example, I noticed that if I got the nose of the car on the exact right spot, then reversing out is a piece of cake. I practiced a couple of times to get the position right. The neighbor Mr. AA and his father started to smile at me driving in and out of my new driveway. Then I placed a pole at the sweet spot. When I put the car towards this pole, then I know two things:

  1. I am very close to driving over the edge, so I should not go any further.
  2. When I reverse, I have enough room to drive out again.

Voila, with this investigation, I don’t need any wheelbarrow. Too bad, I already bought it. No, I am just kidding. I will want to have soil a little packed up against the driveway, especially around the circle, so that I get a little leeway for mistakes. The photo of the car on the driveway is a fisheye photo. It distorts the perspective so that the circle of the driveway looks humongous, but in reality, it is a tiny little platform, perhaps only 7 meters in diameter.

The foundation builders have been busy today. On Monday last week, the piledriver pushed vertical poles into the ground down to a stable layer of sand 6 meters below the house. Now the foundation builders are building sturdy concrete beams to rest on these poles. The house will rest on these horizontal beams, and the beams are cast plastic foam elements. They placed metal rebars in the form as well. The vertical poles have wires in them sticking up into the horizontal beams so that when the concrete has solidified, the poles and the beams are one integral unit. In the background, you can see the crane of the German builders assembling the house of Mrs. AW and her husband. Interestingly, you can put concrete in these plastic foam elements without breaking them. How is that possible?

Thursday 4 June

Well, they are kept together with rebars on the top. That is why they are not breaking.

Today in the morning, I had a meeting with our water pump specialist Gijs. While waiting for him, I used the new wheelbarrow to move soil and lumps of clay to support the driveway of the circle. As I said earlier, I will do this with a frontloader at some point, but it is better to have this early on because that way, I can avoid damaging the car.

Gijs brought pipes to be installed so that he later can connect the external unit of the water pump to the equipment in the house. These pipes are 125mm in diameter, a little less than 5 inches. We wanted to have these delivered to us so that they would work correctly. In the van, he had the curved parts.

We carried the pipes to the place where they will be installed, and there he glued the tubes together. The question was if we would let the pipes go through the mold of the foundation, but they were so big that it was not handy. It will be necessary to dig out a hole under the beams and let the pipes go there. We wanted to discuss this with the Knol people, so we went to another building site to talk about this. There this matter was solved. I also had an issue with electricity. I want cables to go out and into the building, and I would need a couple of extra pipes for that. Gijs had a couple of tubes on his bus. The people from Knol advised how to install them. I was hesitant, but Gijs and the Knol people were amused by my hesitation. Gijs has a unique smile in situations like that. Gijs showed me how to do it, and it was indeed straightforward to do. He went home, and I went to the hardware store and bought more pipes. So now I got two tubes at the hobby room and one pipe below the living room and one pipe out from below the utility room. With this, I can have water and electricity in the garden.

I talked to the people from Knol if I could get leftover pieces of rebar, and they were delighted with my suggestion. That meant they would not need to clean up afterward.

This was a regular working from home day, so that meant that I could not be at the building site all the time. Although that had been very interesting, curious as I am. At noon, a large truck came with concrete. It was the first real test of the driveway, and I cannot say it withstood the test altogether. There were massive tracks left from the truck, and I am not sure if I can drive there in my car like this. There is a level difference of almost 40 cm. I think I will try to fix that during the weekend.

Most importantly, the concrete had been put into the foundation mold. Here you can see that the top edge of the shell is reinforced by wood held together with rebar. When this is solidified, they will continue to build the floor on top of these horizontal beams.

Here are the two pipes below the door to the hobby room on the ground floor.

During normal circumstances, we would give the plants water today, but we did not do that now. There had come four millimeters of rain. We gave the apple trees some water just to be sure, though. Tomorrow it will rain again. Usually, during May, there should be 61 millimeters of rain, and my excel workbook booked 27 millimeters. That is minus 34 millimeters of rain. We are tempted to try to spread grass seeds, perhaps tomorrow. At least where the tiller machine has been running, it is so empty there, would be better with grass.

Friday 5 June

Today it was raining. It rained on and off the entire day, and there has been more rain forecasted next week. We worked from home as we got used to in these times of corona. When we came to the plot, we found that there had fallen 18 mm of rain today

After work, because of the precipitation, we decided to go and spread grass seeds at the plot. We planted the seeds at the places in the red zone where the tiller machine has processed the ground. In the photo, you can see my wife spreading the seeds from a white bucket. This was the exact same place where I planted grass seeds last time, on 1 May.

The most significant change around the house today was that the builders had mounted the fence around the building site. I think this is a compulsory item at a building site that the build site inspection from the municipality is checking.

Next week these T-beams will be mounted on top of the frame that got molded yesterday. On top of these beams, they will place the foam plastic floor elements. I can see that the foam plastic is formed as arcs. The round side of the arches must be faced up so that the weight is distributed to the beams. If that is the case, then I can see that the T-beams should have the flat side down, like they are lying now on the ground. We will see.

At our old home, the regular tomato plants are shooting up from the planting pots. I say “regular” because I also prepared mini tomato, and they are not yet that quick. When the plants are big enough, we will probably bring most of them to the plot. The containers of the mini tomatoes became a lot better. I learned while doing.

On the way to our old home, it started raining again, and there was a rainbow decorating the sky. Is it not fantastic with rainbows? What would not the prehistoric humans have thought when they saw a rainbow in the air? I have not heard any mentions of rainbows as something mythical. I am not a historian, so that is perhaps not so strange. I have not heard anything about things like that.

Saturday 6 June

This is the national holiday of Sweden today. Most Swedes I know of don’t take it dead serious. If it coincides with a Saturday, I suppose it vanishes into a regular weekend. I lived so long outside Sweden that I don’t know exactly how people are feeling about it right now. I recall that when I was young, it was not even a holiday. It was a regular day, it was a special unimportant day. That was so ridiculous, so the authorities fixed this by switching a Christian holiday with the national holiday. I think Sweden lost the Witmonday and got the national holiday instead. Why 6 June? Well, there were so many historical Swedish events that happened on that day, so why not celebrate the whole lot.

We went on our first shopping round at second-hand shops since the start of the corona epidemy. I found a tool to compress ground. It was mighty heavy. It is not that easy to find tools at second-hand shops. There is one shop near the central parts of the city having tools. They are the most sloppy of the second-hand shops we have in this area. They had the tools I was looking for, but it was not much space to move around in the shop, and that is a problem at times of corona. You do want to stay away from other people. The sloppy shop had almost no corona measurements.

Most other second-hand shops here a tidier with lots of space so you can avoid other people. They also had various implementations of corona measurements. In the biggest second-hand shop, you got a cart with a time stamp. You were allowed to shop for a maximum of one hour. They handled this well. Many times you can wash hands at the entrance.

After shopping around, I went to the plot to try my new tools. It was indeed, mighty heavy. I evened out the beginning of the driveway, and then I compressed it with the device. I did not do this wholeheartedly because I think it is the builders who made the road that also caused the damage, but anyhow, it is better now. The builders left a carriage at the circle, so I cannot practice my turning skills there anymore. I tried the new tool on the soil that I moved on Thursday, but it was not very useful. While working there, a Passer Domesticus landed on the carriage of the builders. The third tube from the left, can you see him? He sat there singing for me for a long time.

There had fallen one millimeter of rain since yesterday. I also went around and collected thistles for our compost, but they are not that many anymore. Four neighbors came and had a chat with me. Mr. LB and his wife came and looked at the new foundation and driveway. They arrived while I was showing Mr. DvD and his wife around at the plot. Mr. DvD and his wife showed me their building project as well. I could also teach them how to find and remove thistles. They concluded they also had to acquire a garden fork. This project holds a lot of things to learn. I learn all the time, and I like to learn.

The tomato project has steady progress. The regular tomatoes have come up above the soil, all but one container. These were from the first batch of planting-containers that I made. For the next installment, I started making the upper fold much broader so that the soil would lock the fold, but for the first batch, the fold was not that wide. When all had sprouted but one, I started to fear that the plant had begun growing behind a fold. Sure enough, there was a sad tomato-plant growing into the fold that I could release from its trap. This means I got sixteen pots with one sprouted regular tomato plant and one container with two plants. The mini-tomatoes are lagging behind the regular tomatoes. There are two that have emerged out of the soil of twenty-two.

Sunday 7 June

This morning I read a couple of pages from the book Factfulness by Hans Rosling. After reading his words were tumbling around in my head. He had been useful in this corona crisis. I got this book more than a year ago, and I am reading it on and off. Hans’s thinking is so Swedish, so practical. I recognize myself in his way of thinking. Unfortunately, he died in 2017.

It is raining. I asked for rain, and I get rain. Today I measured 13 millimeters of rain at the plot. That means we received 35 millimeters so far. Last entire month, it was 27 millimeters. Let us hope this continues a while so that the grass can sprout.

Already 2 May, we planted the willow branches in pots in our old garden. At the same time, we tried planting willow branches directly in the ground in our new garden, but we mistakingly planted Populus branches. That experiment failed. The sticks we planted directly in the soil showed no signs of life at all. At the same time, the willow in our old garden started to develop shoots. In fact, they began to look like they needed to be repotted. Today we decided to solve this. We decided to take out some of the dead looking Populus sticks and examine their progress. If they looked promising below the ground, then we could keep them. Otherwise, we would start replacing them with other sorts that we prefer. But first, we would take a detour to see if there were any free pallets to get.

There were no pallets to pick up on the way to the plot. We took out the first Populus branch, and it showed no signs of developing roots. The next stick we took out even more carefully, but it was also showing no signs of growing roots.

Instead of the “dead” Populus sticks, we planted the willow. We made a row of willows along the border to Mrs. PMT. The willow can be cut at about 2 meters above ground so that they produce a knot. In Dutch, this is referred to as “Knotwilg,” and I find it surprising that in the Dutch language, the word Knot is not used anywhere else what I know of except in this form of willow trees. They say Knot is derived from the Dutch word Knoest and from there in warped into Knot. That can perhaps be true, but I see the English word Knot in there. We planted the willows two meters from the border to Mrs. PMT and four meters apart. That will look great in a couple of years, I am sure. While we worked on this, Mr. DvD and his wife showed up, and they had acquired a new shiny garden fork. With that, they started hunting for thistles. It is such a rewarding pass time to pursue thistles.

While we were working on our willows, I noticed a couple of thistles as well. It is as if some of them can hide inside rape flower bushes. It is much easier to work on the ground when it is a little moister.

Finding the thistle before it finds you, that is the goal of this exercise. Holding my defense tool in front of me as a precaution.

This is a big one. How can we have been missing this? Stealth thistles, are that a thing?

From here, it is simple. Point the garden fork next to the root of the thistle. Put the foot on the fork and press it into the soil.

Here comes the exciting part. Will the thistle give in or have you applied the fork on the exact right spot for lifting out the beast.

Look, here it comes. It is still a question if you get it with most of the root or if you left some in the ground.

Look, here it is with a long root as well. Wonderful.

Finally, the greatest reward of it all; adding more organic material to the compost.


Today I also brought the rake that I welded to show Mr. AA and his father. They enjoyed seeing the rake. Mr. AA’s father even asked if he got get one, but I did not promise that. It was a little to much work to do that, but you never know. For now, I am not up for producing these as giveaways. Mr. AA was, in any case, promising that I could get more of the rebar leftovers, so that is excellent. Very happy about that.

Tomatoes? How are the tomato plants going? The regular tomato plants 100% have sprouted, although there are a couple that looks a little less. Of the mini-tomatoes, 27% have emerged out of the soil. I will keep an eye on these babies.

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.