JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Finished the west wall

This week we finished the vertical planks of the west wall. We also planted two Belle de Booskoop apple trees.

Wednesday 24 February

It is already Wednesday evening when I start writing this blog. It has been a great week so far. It is nice that it is getting lighter and warmer. Why is it that I have not started blogging earlier? Am I perhaps out of my writing streek or what is going on? No, I am not going to stop writing just yet. Monday, I finished last week’s blog. Yesterday evening I opened my DAW for the first time in ages and started composing music. I should write a separate blog about how I compose a song. That is called track from scratch, and that is nice. I don’t know anyone has done that with words, though. It is done on Twitch and YouTube, but I don’t feel like changing my medium just yet. I have to think about that for a while. The last time I composed a song was before the US election. I made a song about Donald with a voice-over by Robert de Niro. That was great fun, but my eagerness to compose drowned in the house design and the Corona crisis and all sorts of things. Now I am back from my music composing hiatus. I have no idea if my desire to compose is strong enough to make an actual song, but I should not hesitate already from the beginning, so I leave that thought.

Yesterday I went to test for if I had Corona, and that was not the case. Lately, we have had a few sore throats in the family, which has not played out to full-blown Corona. Tomorrow Thursday, I will go to the dentist, and I will get the question if we are all healthy and I cannot possibly lye the dentist right up his face. I am not made for lying. So, because of this, I went to test myself, and I did not have Corona.

Today I worked from home in the morning. In the afternoon, we went to the new house to work on the planks.

In earlier blogs, I talked about “stuff the work pipeline.” We are doing it again, but this time it is working much better. We started talking about the work pipeline management already on the east wall, but the challenge back then was that we did smaller batches. There is not so much time to win when stuffing the pipeline when each batch is small. The time it takes for paint to dry is the limiting factor. When letting more planks dry each time increases the overall throughput. It works well until there is not enough space for storing planks ready to be mounted on the wall. Here my wife measures long planks for the inner layer on the west wall between the windows and besides the windows.

In the meanwhile, I transported the planks of the previous dried batch to the west wall. In the evening, we had finished the top part of the West wall’s inner and outer layer. We had also finished the parts above and below the windows. The sun was still up when we were ready with the wall.

Next, we moved the last set indoors and started painting these planks. If I go to the new house tomorrow evening and paint them, they are ready to be nailed to the wall. If we are fit enough, we could go to the new house on Friday evening and cut the west wall’s outer layer, but I am not sure about that.

Our son was digging holes for the pear trees and the two apple trees we are about to pick up this weekend. Originally we had planned to make a line of apple and pear trees, but now we decided to put them in two lines forming a fruit tree grid. They are nearer to each other, which can be convenient when our sheep arrive at our farm.

It was such a lovely evening. I took the opportunity to turn around the household compost a little collecting the stuff at the base, putting it on top of the heap, and making sure that it is a little more collected. We also got another compost with grass that I cut with the scythe last year. Also, that heap was turned around a little. Eventually, we will build our final compost. It will be a duo construction with two compartments facing each other. That way, you can easily hive over material from one side to the other. We have a place for this design, but we have not built it yet. When it is ready, we will move the temporary compost heaps to the final destination.

Marleen, my wife, also put out grass seeds this evening. It will be lovely when there is grass growing instead of weed.

Around us, more houses are being built. There was a crane further away on our street. When it started to get dark, the builders argued at the new house. I could hear angry German voices. It died out after a while, and the moods were tempered.

Thursday 25 February

Can it possibly be fun for us to use all our spare time for building at the house? Well, I am looking forward to that the west wall is finished. We had such a good pace with the west wall until now that it was disappointing that we would fetch the two apple trees on Saturday. After our work at our old home, we went to the new house before dinner and worked on the West wall’s final planks set.

Planks and music, what is the connection? The current set of long inner layer planks has eighteen planks. That made me think of Getting out of my head by Shane Codd. In Dutch, it sounds as if the singer sings eighteen. The singer sings “I did,” but the Dutch hear eighteen.

When we arrived at the house, we counted the planks for the outer layer, and it had nineteen planks. We took out the planks. My wife measured the nineteen planks while I was painting the second layer of the eighteen planks from yesterday. That made me think of Nineteen by Paul Hardcastle, released in 1985. That song is having a beat with the speaker talking over the beat. Is that a music genre? Then I cut the new nineteen planks, and we sanded them together. It was getting dark, but I took out our lamp so that we could continue working. When we had sanded the ends, I had the feeling that if we went so far to prepare this set, we could as well paint them, but that was a little bit too much for my wife, so we stopped there.

We had to arrange the planks diagonally into the workshop because they need to be stored indoors. It is no option to leave them outside. We did that a couple of times the last summer, but that is not good in the winter. It was feeling great to have the final set come so far. Perhaps I can paint the first layer tomorrow already. Then the second layer could theoretically be painted Saturday morning. That would mean that we theoretically got a chance to finish the west wall already the coming weekend, including a trip to get the two apple trees.

So what song is suitable when everything is feeling happy according to the voice-over genre? That is HTVI by Julien Créance, R-One, released in 2002!

Friday 26 February

Today we worked from home—nothing different there. When we finished our work, we went to the new house to paint the planks we finished yesterday. Working on Friday evening is unique for us. We usually don’t go to the new house on Friday evening. I suppose we are too exhausted, or we are simply in the mood of working on the new house on a Friday evening. I painted the planks we finished yesterday. That was not so hard.

Not all this evening was red planks and roses. I figured out I had forgotten the jacks for the window sills on all west wall windows. Now I need to create them when they are already hanging on the wall without damaging the window. That will be an exciting challenge.

Next up, we prepared the carriage for picking up the apple trees tomorrow. Last time we fastened the trees in the hood stand. I think it is a good idea to do that this time as well. Now we have the carriage ready. I hope we will get to the new house early tomorrow morning to paint the planks the last time. Then they can dry while we are getting the apple treas and drinking tea. When we are back, the planks are ready to be mounted on the wall. That would be grand.

Saturday 27 February

I stepped out of bed at 7 in the morning. We got to the new house early, and that was great. The planks got painted. We painted both the set of eighteen planks as well as the nineteen. It was essential to get the planks painted before picking up the trees, but that succeeded.

With the planks painted, we hooked up the car with our little carriage with the white hood stand and drove to the fruit grower, Jan Kuijk, in South East Beemster in the Netherlands. He is aiming for fewer trees on his farm and is selling some of his fruit trees.

Here is the road on his farm. It goes all the way to his barns, and there are already trees next to the house. We bought two Belle de Booskoop also called Goudreinet. In The Netherlands, it is more known by the name Groudreinet, while Belle de Booskoop is the name in Britain. This apple is useful in all sorts of cooking.

We got the trees loaded on our little carriage, and then we paid a visit to the sister law and my uncle in law that is good in all sorts of craftsmanships. We parked the car at the same place as last time we picked up apple trees. That was 16 May 2020. This time the same place was much more in winter mode. The apple tree farmer said this was the perfect time to get the trees. The trees from last year we picked up too late. Then we had to keep them in buckets and water them heavily throughout the summer, and it worked out, but this year this is much better to get them into the ground while they are still dormant. The gardener, Jan Kuijk, asked us about the progress of our house.

When we came to our new home, we indeed planted the trees the first thing we did. First, they got a layer of compost and water at the bottom of the hole. Then we planted the trees, more soil on top, and finished off with plenty of water. It will be nice to see these trees with white flowers.

It got sunny in the afternoon, it was great weather, and I was thinking about The sunscreen song (Class of 1999) by Baz Luhrmann.

After planting the trees, both my wife and I had a challenging moment. Not only were we both a little cold but also hungry and tired. The lunch was welcome, and then we went outside to continue working on the west wall.

First of all, we had to move all the painted planks to a convenient place. We placed them such that it was easy to walk with them in the space between the scaffold and the wall and erect them leaning to the scaffold’s north part. It is possible to pick up the planks and fasten them with the nail gun in that upright position.

One hour later, the inner layer with the eighteen planks was fastened to the wall. When all is working, it is just a question of doing it, and it is a speedy process.

The nail gun is not getting tired. Perhaps my arm is getting tired of holding the gun, but that is about it.

It was such beautiful weather today, the sun was shining the whole afternoon, and we were working out of the chilly wind on the west side of the house.

Two hours later, the west wall planks were finished. That is not to say that the west wall is completed because we still need to apply a kit here and there, make the window sills, and whatnot.

I was exhausted but happy that all the plans for today had worked out well, so I suggested we get French fries from the local French fries farm.

We drove straight to our old home and had a late supper with the french fries. While eating, a thick mist rolled in over the landscape. We had a fantastic day, but I was exhausted.


Sunday 28 February

This morning we were a little slow. Today was “the day after,” and that was fine. If you push yourself to the limits and then go on doing it, things will burst, and we don’t want that. Already getting out of bed had the “day-after”-feel. The soles of my feet were feeling sore. It was misty in the morning. That mist vanished, and it became a sunny but cold winter day. The mist wanted to come back again in the evening, but I think it did not succeed.

The plan for today was simple. We wanted to work on the east wall to finish it in preparation for taking down the scaffold at the east wall. I also wanted to redo the barrier tape and the sticks along the dirt road. Initially, we had that our barrier tape was placed along the border of our land, inside the berm.

I started with the barrier tape task. Before, we had a couple of pallets at the entrance to avoid vehicles to drive next to the road. I had wooden sticks on the border of our land 150 centimeters from the road. There have been drivers that tried to move them. We have had problems with heavy trucks driving beside the road. There are two issues with trucks driving outside the road:

  1. They cause damage to the berm. We want to grow grass there, so we want an even surface. Deep tracks are left on our ground.
  2. When they finally enter the road again, they take mud with them to the road. That stays there and turns in a slush.

Due to the damage, it has been unclear where the road ends, making the damaged area broader and broader. There is a need to define the boundary of the road precisely. That was my goal for today.

I have tried to hammer a wood stick closer to the road, but that did not succeed because I always hit a stone, and then the stick would only shatter from my hammer.

Today I decided on using rebars. We had leftover rebars from the building of the fundament of our house. I hammered the rebars into the ground with a sledgehammer. At first, it seemed to be an impossible task as well since I hit a stone right away. I tried different places, but it was always a stone in the way. Then I found out that if I hammered the rebar as long as I could and then hit a stone, I could wiggle the rebar back and forth. The stone would let loose, and then I could continue hammering. After 15 cm, a couple of inches, the mix of stone and gravel provided less resistance. From there on, the rebar quickly got hammered into the ground. I could repeat this trick along the road for every rebar I placed. It became around 20 rebars with a couple of meters in between.

The rebars have a relatively sharp edge, which is not pleasant. This especially after being hammered into the ground. For that reason, I decided to put on wooden heads on the rebars. An added benefit of the wood head is that I could fasten reflective material to the wood so that it is easy to see the sticks when driving along the road in the evening.

It took a surprisingly long time to finish this project. It did not help that people passed by and wanted to have a chat. We also discussed the need for arranging parking lots on the own land with a neighbor. As a matter of fact, you only get a building permit if you planned for three parking lots on the own land. All the people in this area theoretically have three parking lots except for our neighbor. It is just a fact. He promised to create the three parking lots, but not today. We suggested that he park on our side of the road so that trucks could damage his land instead, and he agreed on that solution.

That thing about having grass growing on our land is because we want to have sheep gracing here. We will try to minimize the thistles and rapeseed plants this season so that the grass is thriving. We got grass growing on a couple of places, but we still got mostly bare clay along the road. It is nice to have this thing with the berm sorted at the beginning of the growing season to get started on the grass.

When I had finished the barrier tape project, I finished two window sills on the east side. My wife worked on applying kits to seams between planks. We are a little uncertain about how robust the water protection is at the window sills. I will have a look at that another time. We did not finish the east wall so much that we can take down the scaffold.

On the north side of the house, we cleaned up the unordered landscape of garden tiles that our son had created on 6 January. We had a pallet with broken roof tiles that we also removed. Here we would like to grow grass as much as possible as well. The grass that grew here was walked over while we worked on the planks this winter. I got a suspicion that the ground here is especially meager and that it could be a hopeless project. Just before the next rain period, we will plant grass. Then we will be extra careful while working on this side of the house until the grass has settled.

We are looking to see our new garden develop. Here is my wife in the sunset, making the ground more even after planting the new apple trees. Her silhouette is lit up of the sun.



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.