JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Hobby room finished

This week the hobby room was finished.

Monday 9 May

This was a regular work-from-the-new-home day. I decided to activate the new fountains that we bought the day before in the lunch break. The result was not as spectacular as I had hoped. We got two tiny little fountains in the pool. I suppose this is better than nothing, but I am not that impressed. In the photo, you can barely see that there are two fountains because one is obscured by the shore on the other side of the pool.

Tuesday 10 May

I worked from the office today as I should. The pandemic situation in the Netherlands is pretty much over. It is not so that you cannot get infected, but most business is back to the pre-pandemic everyday life. Things are getting back to normal, but we are struggling with what normality is, here and there.

I have been thinking about "team cohesion" lately; it is Human Resources jargon. I do understand what it is about, perhaps. Now "after the pandemic" (if that is a correct term?), it is the strive of organizations to come back to normal. Now I am talking about organizations in general and not only the one I am working for. It is pretty clear that the pandemic was opened questions about "who are we" and "how are we working"? I heard it from people around me, such as relatives and neighbors. I even talked about this with strangers at a bus stop once. This is an especially relevant question for organizations that could send people home and continue the business "as usual."

Suddenly we had to stay away from each other but keep working as a team, and we pulled it off; we succeeded! The company I worked for pulled it off, and I have plenty of stories of neighbors and relatives doing the same at their work, where possible. In a factory with heavy machines, you cannot just send people home with the heavy machine "under an arm"; I am thinking of "modern" office work with a computer. That I have, for example.

So now we are back. Well, most of us. So all is fine. Yes, things are fine, but the questions still lurk below the surface: "who are we" and "how are we working - together"? In this comes the experts, and they offer great advice on creating "team cohesion." They define the word's meaning and then sell the solutions to solving team cohesion problems.

The definition of the word they give is a fluffy ball-shaped cloud, a product. It is like an inflatable bath ball that you can blow air into to make it bigger. You need team cohesion and create it with our solutions; buy the cohesion starter set here! A fun event here, team building here, etc. I am suspicious of that; I feel that it will not work.

Team cohesion is not cloud-shaped, and it is not a product you can buy. The basic building block of team cohesion is a link between two people. Look, I am a computer scientist; we have tools for this; let me explain. The link between two people is a good link or a bad link. This is a generalization, but it is good to generalize because otherwise, you cannot learn anything.

You appreciate someone at a workplace or are annoyed by someone and all variations of that over time. Between each and everyone in the organization, you have these links. It would probably look like interconnected nodes in a three-dimensional graph if you could draw it. That is the real cohesion; you cannot sell it to a company.

I agree that a team needs to foster good team cohesion and that it is crucial to the team's functioning. I see the point that it is pretty hard to build any team cohesion if people don't see each other IRL. There is perhaps room for more fun events going forward?

There is another aspect. The Human Resource people are all of the extrovert kind, and they have a say in these matters. They had a hard time during the pandemic, anything from staying alone in a room to realizing that they were perhaps slightly redundant after all. At the same time, the introverts thrived during the pandemic. You have to realize that usually, extroverts are not the people who will come up with brilliant plans. At best, they can sell something very well that an introvert has come up with. You cannot create just the extroverts' paradise and believe that all is fine because it is not. There needs to be a suitable environment for both kinds of people. I think that the company I work for is trying to create this. That makes me very happy. That said, extroverts are doing their best to take back control of the situation.

At the end of the day, we will always ask ourselves, "who are we" and "what are we doing?"

No, I did not do much DIY this day.

Wednesday 11 May

Today I had a half-day of work at the office. DW worked in our new house, and she finished the hobby room!







After work, I went to the old house, picked up the mail, and collected boxes. At the new house, I sat down and called our Internet provider to cancel the service at the old house. It took one hour to get through to the helpdesk.

After that, I started plastering the living room. I moved the project forward in the evening, which gave me a satisfactory feeling. I applied self-adhesive glass fiber mesh scrim bands to all seams in the ceiling and the corners. I also fastened them with extra staples. That way, they will stay up until I apply the mud.

Late in the evening, it started raining! Woohoo! It was also windy, and that was less good. The pumpkins can collect wind and damage, which I do not want.

Thursday 12 May

I first walked into the newly finished hobby room this morning and whistled Suo Gan.

I had not practiced before whistling the tune. I learned about the tune from the movie Empire of the Sun. The original is sung with colossal reverb, and I remembered that and tried to whistle it in our new hobby room.

It had rained 3 millimeters yesterday evening. Not many broken leaves on the pumpkins.

I found two mushrooms in the beds my wife planted. I don't think they were intentional, pretty nevertheless.

I had just started working when our Internet connection went down. I decided to go to the office and continue working from there.

After work, I was stoked to continue on the living room plastering project. I plastered the corners between the wall and ceiling all around. I also cut an outer metal corner bead to size and fastened it to the corner next to the woodstove. I also dressed the entire woodstove in plastic. I did two double-size buckets, of course, mud.

For me, a double bucket is 1640 ml of water, 2000 g of MP75, and 400 g of TopFinish. I mix that with a mixing rod on the drill. We made the recipe based on the suggestion of a professional plasterer. He mixed a lot more in one go, so we took his recipe and made it smaller. It works.

Friday 13 May

I woke up with my right thumb aching. It was not pleasant. Perhaps I strained the thumb yesterday evening while working on the ceiling? The feeling came over me that I had a couple of times. It is a doomsday scenario where I wake up and am rolled into the new house in a wheelchair, and DW says, "Now the house is finished." I ask her what year it is? She says 2028.

The allium started flowering! I planted these on 14 October last year. It is three sorts of allium:

  • Allium 'Violet Beauty'
  • Allium nigrum
  • Allium 'Miami'

The good thing with allium is that they are not so delicious for slugs. That is a crucial aspect. I must say there are not so many slugs this year. Last year was a dramatic slug year.

Also, the Silver Shamrock has flowers! (Chileense Limoenklaver). I planted these on 29 January this year, but I called them oxalis adenophylla. It is interesting to see and taste it. This plant doesn't like clay, so we will see how this goes.

After the morning walk in the garden, we worked from home the whole day. It was suitable for my sore thumb to get some rest. I could type with it without so much pain.

I had hoped I could finish a project at work to take a week's holiday next week, but that did not work out properly. Perhaps I can round off projects on Monday to take a week off for plastering the living room.

In the evening, my thumb had to work. We had decided to move the sheep to a new area, right in front of the house. Here they are munching on a group of rapeseed flowers.








Last year we got the sheep a tad late in the season. The grass had actually grown too much; it had even started flowering. Our sheep could not really digest the grass and weed. We ended up cutting much of the grass and stuff and making piles. We had 7 compost heaps at one moment. This spring, we moved many of the heaps to one big heap behind the sea container. We sowed grass where the composts had been, and all would be fine. Well, it has been an arid spring so far. The grass is growing, but the rapeseed is growing faster. It does not matter because rapeseed is also beautiful and delicious for our sheep.

The ground is rock hard. We had to use a hammer to get the fence in the ground.

After this, DW picked some weeds, and I fished after algae in our pond. I managed to slip and fall into the pond. That is good; now I have that experience as well.

There was no energy left for plastering this evening. My thumb was still sore.

Saturday 14 May

The Aquilegia is flowering in the middle of the Common buttercups!

After breakfast, DW went to the old house and started packing boxes.

I began sowing in the salad bed.

I put marks along the bed every 20 centimeters (A little less than 7"4/5 inch). The marks got numbered from east to west, 1 to 18. Then I produced a stick that fits in the bed to make a groove for the seeds between the numbered marks. Then the sowing could start! Here is what I sowed and where:

  • 1 – 3: Loose-leaf lettuce.
  • 4 – 6: Dutch lettuce (Groot Noordhollandse veldsla).
  • 7 – 9: Rucola.
  • 10 – 12: Basil Large Leaved.
  • 13: Candyleaf, Stevia rebaudiana, (Zuikerblad).
  • 14 – 16: Carrot Jeanette.
  • 17 – 18: Carrot Rote Riesen.

I marked all the rows with a stick made of rests from our PVC floor. This bed will need a fair amount of water to produce anything, so I arranged a garden hose so that I could spray it conveniently. This part of the gardening is not that difficult. Now it is a question of keeping this alive.

The soil must be moist initially, so I covered the bed with a sheet of plastic that we had lying.

Actually, every kind of plant is its own project that requires its own regime of soil and watering. I would like to learn more about those things, but for now, this is it. I sat there spreading the seeds and thought I should have considered how many seeds per cm I could sow. Now I freehanded the seeds into the groove I had made with the stick.

This is an exciting project! Will slug prevention work? Will I be able to harvest long into the autumn?

When I was finished, I concluded that I would like to have a hose running to the flower garden and the beans in front of the sea container. It must be convenient to give the plants water, and apparently, that is what we need to do this year because it has been an arid year so far.

You cannot only do exciting garden things but there are also less funny tasks to do, such as plastering the living room. It is not true that plastering is only tedious; it is also a lovely task. It is just that I got a sore right thumb right now, so it is a bit painful to plaster.

Initially, I wanted to plaster the corner between the ceiling and the walls. First, I tried to do this clockwise, but I used my right thumb more. Then I tried to do it anti-clockwise, and that way, my right thumb could rest a little. It is so handy to be double-handed while doing DIY.

The area around the chimney was particular. I had to apply a thicker layer to overcome the different plates, but it worked out nicely.

I started with a new method today. I had a bucket of water with me, and if a surface became too coarse, I dipped the trowel in the water, and the surface became really smooth.

When all the corners were finished, I started plastering the seams in the ceiling. Around here sometime, a neighbor came to tell me I was working hard and that she admired that. Funny in a way, but okay. Some parts of this project would not be possible if we did not do things ourselves. I could not tell her that I had just mixed a bucket of mud, and if I was standing talking, I could throw it away. So I did not say that. It went well; I managed to finish the bucket well on time.

With the last bucket of the day, something happened. I did something wrong with the recipe. The mud became too liquid. I do think that perhaps I had used too much water. Had I switched a 6 for a 9 and used 1940 milliliter of water instead of 1640? To compensate for too much water, I freehanded in more MP75 and TopFinish until the mud had the correct consistency. That is also a way to do it.

Now I had way more mud than I had planned. I could start plastering things I had not planned, but I don't like working like that. Instead, I continued with the plan as well as I could. While working, I was thinking about cement trucks keeping cement fluid by continuing mixing, so could I not try to do that with my extra-large bucket of mud? That worked beautifully! I had my bucket of water that I dipped the trowel, and then I gave the remaining mud a stir keeping it workable until all the mud was finished. I was feeling like a pro. Now the coarse layer of plastering was finished!

After supper, we pottered around in the garden. DW picked thistles around the pond, and I started moving the Crab48 scaffold from the north side of the house to a new place behind the sea container. This way, we get fewer minor interruptions in the area where the sheep can graze.

We looked at the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. It was a full moon this night. Ukraine won. Sweden did a good performance.

Sunday 15 May

This morning it was evident that this would be a warm day. Even before breakfast, I walked around and had a look at the various plants in the garden. It is as if much is happening with plants during the night. A leaf can sprout, or it can be eaten by a slug. The allium is flowering beautifully!

It was tempting to go and buy the things for the garden hose, but I abstained from that. More important things had to be done today.

DW and DS went to the old house to pack things. I stayed at the new house and started on the top-finish plastering layer; this is the product name.

I was curious if I could try the same trick as yesterday, keeping the mud alive by steering it from time to time. For this test, I created a triple portion of mud. It did not work; it got lumpy and not workable at all. Then we learned that lesson: MP75 you can keep alive by steering it, while TopFinish has its time, and that is it.

At lunch, I had a cup of mint tea from our own garden. It is easy to make; cut a couple of branches of the mint plant and pour boiled water over, done!

I finished all walls of the living room. I got one corner between two walls still to do. The window heads still need to be done. Not a bad outcome at all.

DW and DS had packed the content of several cabinets. The boxes are stacking up.

In the evening, I finished removing the Crab 48 scaffold from the north side of the house. I gave the plants water. Perhaps I already got the first lettuce germinating! DW said it looked like rapeseed, and that is possible. We will see. Since I planted the seeds on a line, it is easy to see what belongs and what does not.

This concludes this week's activities! The main achievement this week was that the hobby room was finished!

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.