JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Finished plastering the living room

This week I finished plastering the living room. Started preparing the staircase.

Monday 16 May

This morning when I woke up, my right thumb ache had subsided. This opens up the week with a positive feeling! It had been an intense DYI weekend, so it was okay to relax. Obviously, I had a regular work-from-home day but apart from that, no plastering today.

Sitting still doing nothing is challenging, so I pottered around in the garden and collected thistles in the evening. We are not on top of the thistle situation this year. It is okay where the sheep are grazing, but it is not that good outside their area. Our plan is to use ground cover plants, but it has low priority, so that project is going slowly.

Today it rained a little. Perhaps half a millimeter. Better than nothing, that is for sure.

The Guelder rose is beautiful! We planted those in the 2020-2021 season. It is still challenging for me to remember the names of plants. It is getting embarrassing, but there is not much I can do about it other than continue practicing.



Tuesday 17 May

Today both DW and I worked from our employers' office. We drove to the station where DW took a train to her office. In the afternoon, when she came back, we drove home, and I continued to work in the home office. I really want to finish a project at work that has to be done before I can go on a holiday.

It was not until half-past six I started plastering. I plastered the window heads and the jambs.

The rucola has sprouted in the salad bed! Rucola salad is the instant gratification for the gardener. I have only seen a few cotyledons here and there for the rest. DW is positive this is sprouting rapeseed. We will see. Until now, I called the first leaves "Baby leaves," but they have a proper name! Cotyledons. Will it stick to my brain? We will see.

This evening I finished moving the Crab48 scaffold away from the place on the north side of the house. It came here when we got the halophyte filter installed on 16 December 2020. Then the Crab48 stayed here, and it was not convenient. We had to build the sheep fence around the Crab48 all the time. We are consolidating our compost heaps as well as our scattered scaffold heaps. There is not much grass at this spot, but that will be better eventually.

Wednesday 18 May

I went to the office in the morning. If I could finish the project at work, I could take a week's holiday, but I did not finish, which made me sad. DW was packing boxes at the old house. After work, we went to the new house and had lunch. DW had a fun event at work, so she went there. The timetable of buses and trains had changed. Her commute was down to one hour, almost the same as from the old house. That was a tremendous improvement; it made both DW and me happy.

A friend of DW brought pumpkin plants to us. I planted these on the former compost heap near the salad bed because they have access to water conveniently. It was eight pumpkin plants. We will see how this goes.

I went to the garden center to buy things for a semi-permanent watering system. My idea is that we can have a hose lying going to the salad bed. From that is a T-junction connected with a hose along the driveway. At the end of the driveway is another T-junction. One part goes to the beds in front of the container, and the other goes to the flower garden.

I wish we had a pipe under the driveway for the garden hose, but we don't have that yet. I arranged a temporary solution.

Thursday 19 May

This day started off as a typical work-from-home day. I worked on my project and had a lovely breakthrough. The pieces fell into place, and it started working. After lunch, I went to the office to discuss how the project would be deployed, and on the way to the office, it started raining. It was a legit rain; there came 19 millimeters of rain! That is really good for the garden. Since the project was finished, I decided to take a week's holiday, starting from tomorrow.

Today we got a message from the staircase builder that they would like to come and measure the staircase a second time on 31 May. Then the stairs will be delivered and mounted on 17 June.

This evening I went to the last club gathering of Aquarelmere. I decided to quit the club. It was nice to see the other members of the club. We talked about lovely shared memories. I feel that the club will do fine without me, and I will work on the house, and when that is sorted, I will find out what I want to do with my art and how to do it. The club wanted me to come and hold a workshop about portrait painting. I can do that.

Friday 20 May

Today I had a day off. DW had another event with colleagues in the morning, and DS was working from 6AM to 11AM, so I had the house to myself. First, I moved the fence for the sheep to have a new area in front of the garden doors. It is just a tiny area, but that will do for today.

A slug had eaten one of the new pumpkin plants, so now it was only seven. What can you expect from compost, the slug heaven? I created slug forts, one for each pumpkin plant. It is a short piece of pipe with a ring of copper tape. I place the ring on the ground around the stem so that the slug cannot climb up the plant. That works very well.

Oh, I also put the tray of difficult seeds in the fridge again. I started on this project on 6 February. One Rosemary seed has germinated from this tray; that is all. It is a colossal disappointment so far.

Then I continued plastering the ceiling in the new living room. At the end of the day, it was "finished"! A few spots need a finishing touch, but it is generally done. In the afternoon it started raining again.

My next plastering project is the staircase. I think we would like to have it plastered and painted for when the stairs are measured so that the wall will look nice around the stairs.

My writing is not developing so much lately. Building the house sucks energy, and less energy is left to make the writing more lively. I wish I could bring magic into the text so that it is sparkling and makes you curious to read more about the project. Of course, it is essential to speak out and tell the reader up front what will happen, but sometimes, a glimpse of magic is just right.

While plastering the ceiling today, I was so concentrated on the work I fell off the scaffold! I somehow managed to come down on my feet. The platform is not that high, perhaps a meter or three feet from the ground. It is not pleasant to fall from it, but you will not die. You could break a leg, of course. I did not break anything.

I can see that the Loose Leave lettuce is starting to sprout in the garden!

I finished plastering the wall on the left side of the staircase. It will be a project to get this plastered, and how are we going to use the temporary staircase when I am plastering the walls?

Saturday 21 May

The first task for today was to move the sheep into the next area, the west side of the property. DW and I put up the fence so that the sheep could reach the new shed and eat on the north of the fruit trees towards the dyke.

Today the next batch of paint arrived. We stayed with our regular supplier for paint, Duller & Co. The issues with flakes in the paint that I talked about on 22 January were not severe enough that we would choose another supplier. Not that there are that many suppliers of organic paint to choose from.

I continued on the staircase today. First, I did the west wall of the staircase, so far I could reach. With the scrim bands, you first plaster one side of a corner and then plaster the other side when the first is dry.

Next up was the east wall of the staircase. The last time I worked on plastering the east side of the staircase was around 2 January. Then I made the first layer. On 7 January, I made a second layer. This was all in preparation for the floor tiles glued on the first floor. The issue here was that the wall below the beam was not in line with the load-bearing beam. There is no such thing as a thinner gypsum plate. We decided that we did not want to make the entire staircase smaller just because of the 40 centimeters of the beam. The solution was to build up plaster on the level with the wall.

The second layer was not sticking sufficiently to the wood. The plaster is loose; you hear it is hollow when tapping on it. Worse yet, there are cracks as well. If we leave it like this, it is a question of time until big flakes fall down.

I decided to remove the plaster and do it again. Since it was letting loose easily, removing the plaster was a simple task. It came off in big chunks. It consisted of two layers. It is interesting to see how something holds up. This plaster job from 7 January did not pass the test of time.

So much junk came off the wall. While I worked on the task of removing the old plaster, I started thinking of how it should be done instead.

However applied, the plaster layer needs to be anchored to the wood. I went to the hardware store and asked if there were products for this job, and the salesperson almost made fun of me. Needless to say, I went to another hardware store. At the next shop, I bought galvanized chicken fence! On top of that, I bought extra wide fiberglass scrim bands.

The chicken fence is tucked in under the PVC floor tiles. I hope that the decision to do so will not come back and bite a big chunk of my self-confidence.

I cut the chicken fence to size at our new home and screwed it onto the wood with extra-wide rings. It will not let loose that easy. Then I mixed a bucket of mud and applied that to the chicken fence. On top of that, I applied the fiberglass scrim band. I did the plastering of the load-bearing beam with the temporary stairs still in place. Then I had to remove that to do the edge of the staircase. Combining a layer of the chicken fence and scrim band will form a bonding in the plaster. Even if it cracks, it will be held together. I cannot imagine I will plaster this another time.

I used a stick to make the plaster have the same level as the wall. This is so much work!

Tomorrow when this has dried, I can put a layer of TopFinish on this, and when that is dry, the temporary stair can be put back. It will take longer to let this dry because it is thicker. That does not matter; there are plenty of other tasks around to do first. I think that I will concentrate on finishing the bottom part of this east wall so that I can put back the temporary stairs.

In the evening, we went for a walk in the neighborhood. Two parties were going on in the adjacent street.

Sunday 22 May

This morning when I woke up, I thought it was already Monday! I brought a cup of tea to DW and DS, and I must say it is not that easy to bring a tray of tea when climbing a ladder.

It was beautiful weather. It looks like there will be three days of possible rain next week. I say, "bring it on." Every other day with rain is just fine, and then 18 to 25 degrees Celcius sounds like perfect weather for all the plants.

The compost heap now got 3 pumpkin plants left. DWs friend brought eight. I do hope that it will be possible to keep these three. The pumpkins on the south side of the container are doing fine.

DW worked on priming the living room; then, she started painting windows and corners.

At lunch, I looked at the calendula that I planted a week ago. The first couple of days were fine, but the snails had started to feast on the calendula plants during the night. I had to do something about it. I decided on building a slug fort. I took a stripe of the leftovers of the PVC floor and drilled holes in it where I fastened copper wire connected to a 9V battery. Then I embedded the fort around the calendula. It is very well possible that the plants have already eaten so much that there is nothing to do about it. I think that perhaps I will put more calendula seeds inside the fort. It is easier to make a round shape, which is also more robust; I will make the slug forts round in the future.

It is somewhat inconvenient with a ladder in the staircase, so I had to continue preparing the east wall of the staircase. The top part of the wall was still not dry, so I could not work on that part, but the lower part, where the temporary stairs are, was dry. It got a layer of TopFinish. When that was dry, I put back the stairs.

I forgot one detail of my plastering action yesterday. The scrim band had preferably overlapped slightly with the gypsum plate below. As it is now, there will be cracks below the load-bearing beams. I will have a look at that another day.

After our DIY work today, we sat in the garden and ate a bowl of chips and a glass of wine. We sat right outside the garden doors, and next to us, the sheep were. In the beginning, it was not that harmonic, and it took a while to figure out why. I had a red bowl of chips, and DW had a stainless steel bowl. We use the same type of stainless steel bowls to give the sheep their food supplement. They clearly thought DW sat there outside the fence eating their food supplement, which made them somewhat upset. It took a while to calm down and start minding their own business.

We had an evening walk, I checked out the calendula slug fort, and ten slugs were circling around the fort but non inside. I think that is a success!

This concludes this week of activities. The main achievement this week was that I finished plastering the living room.

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.