JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

We finished the planks

We finished the planks. Now the rest.

Wednesday 12 May

Today I did not have a full day off. After lunch, when I usually should stop work for my employer and work on the house, I got entangled in employed work anyway. That was not sorted until half-past two in the afternoon, and then I could be off duty for real. I will compensate for this another time.

The first task of today was putting up extra support for the planks around the ventilation hole. If you look closely, you will see a circle where I think the ventilation pipe will be.

Then we started the work with the planks. It is the last time we are doing this work. That feels very special. We practiced this so many times by now that every movement is well prepared and thought of. The feeling of inefficiency is totally gone.

We still wondered if we would select a sufficient amount of full-length planks without too many discarded planks. It was a close call, as we had predicted. Actually, we took one plank that was a little questionable to get a complete final set of planks. We came out just right on the full-length planks. For the shorter planks, we got plenty of surpluses.

At 4 PM, we had fastened the inner layer of the planks. This was going well, the weather was nice. It was a perfect day to finish the wall. When I had taken this image of the inner layer finished, I walked up to the remaining stack of planks, and I said out loud that “This is the very last stack of planks!”. I had not expected it, but a little duck head rose up slowly above the grass, like a motorized periscope. I suppose the periscope head and a ducks head have the same function in that respect. The surprise made me quiet. The duck head was then slowly retracted to a resting position behind the grass.

We put the stack of planks in the middle of the trestles to remember they were designated for the inner layer, and we put the stack at the edge when it is designated for the outer layer. This mnemonic came about after we, by accident, had switched the stacks.

Twenty minutes past 4 PM, we were finished with the outer layer. That was a great feeling. We are done with the planks!

How long we worked on the outer walls depends on what we should consider as the beginning of work. If we defined the starting moment as when we started building the scaffold, that was 1 September 2020. In that case, we worked on the walls for 9 months. No, I am not going to express any feelings about that. I am happy we reached this goal.

The ground around the house on the south side of the house is covered in the lush soft grass. I really like this grass. The idea is that sheep will eat from this. We went to the bakery to talk to the shop owner about lending her sheep. She was less optimistic compared to the last time we spoke to her. She would consider calling us if she were running out of options to let her sheep grass, though she had much more conveniently placed patches close to her farm. But she noted our telephone number and asked us if we wanted to buy any bread instead. So we did. We don’t think she will call us anytime soon, so we will find other sheep to lend. In the evening, we ordered a fence for the sheep. It is a portable type that you can move around.

After the planks were finished, we pottered around. My wife painted fascia board seems on the west side, and I terminated thistles around the apple trees. Unfortunately, I trespassed into an area where we spread seeds for grass, which was not good. A few days earlier, I had cut one of the berry bushes with the scythe. There was a bit of mourning process necessary because of that cut-down berry bush.

Just before it was time to go home, the duck pair walked across our garden. These days we usually got only one single male duck at our pond, but he usually comes and leaves flying, and then we have this pair. The last time we had them visiting us, they were also walking.

Thursday 13 May

Here we go again, another compulsory day off amid a pandemic of all things. This time it was to celebrate another phase of a fantasy figure. Am I not happy with this gift? Yes, I am. Thanks, I used it for building on the house.

Today it was time for the winter jacket to be stoved away. It will be washed, and then there is the big hole in it that I made while drilling while planting trees on 13 March. I think it is possible to put a patch right over the hole. I have no problem with visible mending. While emptying the pockets, I found this extra pocket that I am not using for apparent reasons. It is such a sweet-looking little pocket, and the manufacturer put an icon on it for me so that I would not put the wrong things in the pocket. If the icon had not been there, you would have no clue what it should be used for, and I would put a chocolate bar in there, and that would be messy. I tried to put my phone in the pocket, but it does not fit. Perhaps it is not made for my phone?

Our son came with us today. He was just about to start harvesting gravel from the verge when I asked him if he could not finish the wood snippet paths. He worked on that the rest of the day.

My wife started applying silicone on small cracks here and there. The first thing I wanted to know was if we had enough window sill material, but that turned out perfectly well. We had all we need. There is no room for mistakes, though.

After that, I thought, “what should I do next?” so I took out the polyurethane foam bottle to start applying the foam, but then I realized I had to put up horizontal planks first. I took out the foam a little early. The planks need to be cut and sanded, and painted several times. I also need to cut out corners, and the corners also need to be sanded and painted. When all that is finished, it is the correct time for foam. Then it starts to be time for bending the window sills.

My wife called another person she knew that can lend out sheep to us. This time the conversation was a little more constructive. We need to do a couple of preparations, and obviously, the nets need to arrive. I am curious how this is going. Our sheep contact will have a look at our farm to see how many sheep we can have.

Today our ventilation specialist came to discuss work. He actually had a day off, but he was okay with coming to us to talk about work for a short while since he is self-employed. We talked through the design of the ventilation, and he agreed on the solution we suggested. I blogged about the solution last week. He will also install a water tap for the outside wall, and he will put up a sink in the workshop. It will be so lovely to be able to wash the hands. Initially, there will be only cold water because we still got no heating system, but later, we will also have hot water at this sink.

I cut the horizontal planks above the windows. Some of them need two cuts, but I did not finish these today. Instead, I went to the garden and restored the place where I destroyed the newly seeded grass yesterday.

If we purely consider the actual result, this was a useless day. It was feeling good, though. We are still happy that we reached the goal of putting up planks all around the house. The main goal now will be to finish the small details. Only then can we take down the scaffold. With that, the wall is really finished. From there on, we can start working on the inside. We are also starting up the next significant chapter of our farm, bringing animals to the land.

We had ordered groceries to arrive at our old house this evening, so we had to be there. I had the feeling I would like to stay at the new house and continue with the planks longer into the evening, but alas, not tonight.

We learned a new thing about collecting compost. With compost, it is also possible that we bring in snails. When we move compost unconditionally from all garden places into our vegetable garden, we also collect snails. It is mainly weeding thistles that brings with it snails. From here on, we will try a new method. The weed is first composted where it was created. We make little heaps here and there. Then we remove the snails from the compost before we move it to our main compost. That is the idea. Putting compostable material on a heap works like a snail magnet. We will need to become better at this.

Saturday 15 May

We were slow in the morning. When we arrived at the new house, we had a walk around the garden to inspect the spectacular growth. Surely enough, our duck was resting between the pond and the helophyte filter. This walk was not finished when we started talking to future neighbors. We chatted with them and also showed them our garden. When we said good buy to the neighbors, we had to have coffee. Had it not been for this situation with Covid, we had invited them for a cup of coffee. When all talking and walking was finished, we had spent almost the entire morning doing nothing on the house.

After coffee, I finished cutting and sanding the planks to be placed above the windows on the south wall. It was time for painting them, but that was a task my wife wanted to do.

Next up, I had decided to start cut out corners of the windows. I had the feeling we were really inefficient today. It did not help when it started raining when I had cut two corners. It feels a little challenging to cut these corners. There has been much work getting the planks up on the wall, and now I am cutting in them. Well, this is for a good cause. The window sill will be mounted in this slot.

It has been growing so much the last couple of days. In places where our grass is well established, it can compete well with thistles and rapeseed plants. We don’t have established grass everywhere, though. Especially around the borders, we still need to get grass growing. Before that has happened, I think it is better to cut the thistles and rapeseed plants to not dominate the place. It is as if I give back the advantage to the grass when I cut there. There is always a little grass, and grass has no problem being cut while the thistles and rapeseed don’t like that.

Along the road, we can see tiny little stems of grass sprouting. It can be so that it will manage to grow out to a lovely grass at some point. I suppose I need to be patient about that area.

Sunday 16 May

Already when I woke up at our old house, I could hear the rain this morning. From the weather forecasts, it looked like it was going to be primarily rainy in the morning. Little did we know. When we ate breakfast, it looked like it was holding up.

When we arrived at the new house, it was raining again. I suggested that we work inside, and this was okay for my wife. She could not paint anything when it is raining like this, so we decided to work inside. This turned out to be a wise decision because the rain came and went the rest of the day. It was not until late in the afternoon it held up a little longer.

We decided to work on the east wall of the kitchen. First, we had to tidy up the place because we had placed many things in this area just for the reason to be out of the way. As soon as we had cleared the clutter, I took a photo of the wall.

It had been nice to put a second layer of isolation on the wall. Behind this wall, we have the washing room, and it could be nice to isolate the wall so that if we are running a noisy washing machine, it will not be heard in the living room. But do we got enough isolation material? After a bit of inventory, we concluded that we will buy more if we need more isolation. With this conclusion, we decided to start the work with the wall by putting in a second layer of isolation.

But where will all the outlets be placed? So then started the following research. With this, we had to find out how wide the different appliances will be. Luckily I had a cad drawing of the kitchen as I had designed it. But now it was time for less theory and more practice and with every question answered appeared another new question. Is there room for the outlet behind the appliance? We put the outlet beside the appliance for the dishwasher, and for the stove, we put it behind the stove.

But where will we have the power outlets for the workbench? Under the top row of cabinets. But how high will the top row of cabinets be placed? Not to mention how high the benchtop will be placed? We decided on a benchtop at 92 centimeters from the future floor. 55 cm from the benchtop to the upper cabinets. The ventilation above the stove at 75 cm above the benchtop.

It just went on like this. At some point, though, we got all the things together, and we could start putting in the second layer of isolation. It is time-consuming to solve these riddles. I must say, though, that I am pleased with the result. It is good to have this done.

We decided on one block of outlets and a power switch in the middle of the kitchen. There are three outlets for appliances on top of the workbench. The stove got a 3-phase, and next to the water, there is an outlet for a dishwasher. Above the stove, there is an outlet for a ventilator. Next time we have time for the kitchen, we will prepare plates with holes where they are needed and then fasten the plate. For today this was the result of working on the house.

Then we went outside. For a short moment, right at the golden hour, there was sun lighting up the grass. It looked marvelous. I took out the scythe and cut thistles here and there. They now reached a phase when they overgrow our capacity to weed them. This coincides with the moment in time when some of them are starting to flower. We do not want them to start flowering and spreading thistle seeds around. That is why I walked around and cut the thistles as much as possible.

Our son came with us today, and he worked on harvesting gravel from the verge. Every now and then, he went inside to wait for the rain to end. He liked that it rained because that made it easy to see where it was necessary to apply more gravel on our driveway.

The conclusion of this week is that we are happy that we put up the last plank of the south wall. It is not such as that we call the south wall finished just yet, but we are almost there.

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.