JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Working from the Swedish cottage

This week we worked from our cottage in Sweden.

Monday 7 November

Working from the cottage went smoothly. We got 92 Mbps up and 97 Mbps down with our optic fiber in the cottage, which is more than enough for us two.

We had old monitors already available at the cottage. When we used these monitors last time, we both had laptops with mini display ports. For that configuration, we had converters from mini displays to VGA. These days we got a combination of USB-C and HDMI ports. DW already had a converter for this, but I had to buy a converter from HDMI to VGA.

At a moment like this, you realize how time is changing. I don't care what ports there are on a computer, but that they are changing all the time is annoying.

This evening I continued sawing on the spire. When done with that, I started sanding the spire. All the edges need to be round to ensure the paint is sticking to the edge. I had a sanding machine in the workshop here, but it was broken. I tried to repair it, to no avail. I had to sand by hand.

A cable was loose from the on-off button. I soldered the cable ack, but when putting it back, it did not work. It was not feeling like the moment to take care of an old cheap sanding machine; there was simply no time for that.

Last week, I broke a new record. I have checked eight million words with Grammarly since 2007. Probably not all these words are funny, entertaining, or exciting, but I do feel that I learn a lot from doing this. Writing a blog also helps me remember what happened earlier. In many things I do, it is an iterative process, improving gradually. The improvements are made by evaluating earlier attempts, and it is easier to help myself remember them. There, the blog works pretty well.

My blog reached another milestone last week. It has ten thousand media files, primarily images.

Tuesday 8 November

Today we started work a little earlier. The idea was to stop a little earlier to get to the second-hand shop. Usually, I do not stop earlier anyway, but it was bound to happen this time. Perhaps the second-hand shop had a sanding machine? I was not sure about that.

During lunch, we took a lunch walk on our property. It was a concise 20 minutes walk, but we did it. We walked to Jens bridge and back to the cottage. I noted that I had to replace one plank on the bridge. That will be for another holiday. When building something, it also has to be maintained. It is like a lesson for life. It is better to only build things that you will like afterward. I like this bridge.

After work, we went to the second-hand shop. This time it was not closed. I bought new trousers for myself. Indeed no sanding machine. DW bought two books.

When done at the second-hand shop, we went to a hardware store and bought a sanding machine. We also bought sanding paper for the machine.

Wednesday 9 November

This morning, I worked from the cottage. It works very well with our Internet connection. In the afternoon, I decided to try to start the tractor. It has been standing idle for some time now, so I was worried it would not start. I was correct in my fear; it did not start.

Then I decided to take some start cables and connect our car to the tractor and start it that way. But where were the start cables? I searched for start cables. We got a workplace house with no cables, not in the stable, the tractor hall, etc. After searching for one round, I tried the next round, but still no cables. I tried a round with an extra good lamp, but no cables. I tried one search round together with DW, but still no cables. It took a long time to dawn on me that we don't own start cables. That is strange because once upon a time, we had them? No?

Then I went to my parents, and it turned out to be so that they had cables, but not anymore. They had brought the cables to the second-hand shop.

No worries, a friend of my parents had cables, we could borrow theirs. Fine, the tractor project could continue.

It is a bit tricky to connect the start cables. It is possible to ignite a battery if doing it wrong, and then the battery works like a bomb. So we read the instructions carefully and connected the cables according to the plan.

The tractor choked a little, and then it was over. The instructions were precise in that one had to wait for at least one minute after an attempt. We tried this procedure several times. The third time was the most successful run attempt, but from then on, it went downhill. We tried to wait longer, but it did not work at all. At some point, the tractor did not even want to make a click sound. After that, the battery was completely dead.

I theorized that the car could not produce that much ampere that perhaps the tractor needed to start. The tractor battery is twice the size of the car. It will be necessary to buy a new battery, but that will be another time. We abandoned this project for this holiday.

Instead of trying to start the tractor, I started to sand the spire with the sanding machine we bought yesterday. It worked beautifully. I also sanded manually with sandpaper, and it worked very well. The spire is ready for its first layer of paint. Perhaps already tomorrow evening.

Along one of our roads, I noticed two trees that were standing slanted. It looked like they would fall over the road during the next storm. The road is ours, but the property on that side of the road is from one neighbor. I called the neighbor. I thought I would go out and fell these trees, but that was not how it went. The neighbor sent a professional tree cutter to remove the trees and the wood. Fine with me.

Thursday 10 November

Today after the regular office work, there was something I did not start on: painting the spire. I had the newly sawn and sanded spire in the living room, and I did not want to start on that project this evening. It glared at me, and I glared back.

The two trees were removed today. I had not expected it to happen that quickly! Not much happened today, so this was a pivotal moment of the day.

Friday 11 November

The unique thing about this day was that we had a short but nice lunch walk on our property. This time we walked to Jens bridge, and after the bridge, we turned right and walked along the creek on the province road running over our property. Then back on one of our own roads to the cottage.

On the walk, I found a stack of trees I did not know I had put there along the province road. How can a stack of trees arrive from nowhere? I will ask the nearest neighbor if he knows anything about that.

This evening we went to DF and DM to be served home-baked pizza. That was delicious. They were happy to see us again.

The list of things we need to do at the cottage gets longer and longer.

  • Change a plank on Jens's bridge
  • Change wood on the front porch
  • Put on more gravel on our roads
  • Attach the inner roof in the study
  • Buy a battery for the tractor
  • Repair a leak in the roof of the wood-store house
  • Fix the outdoor lamp of the cottage
  • Sand and paint flakes of paint coming off the ceiling in the living room
  • Get an invoice for replacing the furniture upholstery of the couch in the living room
  • Repair the roof above the cellar of the barn
  • Replace a plank on the milk house
  • Replace a plank on the wood-store house

Every now and then, I add a few more items. I could spend months of holidays here. The problem is, I don't have that time.





Today we got a visit from one of the locals. We spotted this common buzzard around the house already last week several times. This was an all-dark version of the bird. In the Netherlands, it has lighter feathers in patterns. It was sitting on the same branch of an oak tree several times during our stay at the cottage. That branch is conveniently visible from the kitchen window of the cottage.

We did not spot any elks this time at the cottage.

Saturday 12 November

The fun is over; we must tidy up the cottage and pack our things. It was an intense day. The only thing I did besides tidying up was to replace one roof tile on the wood storehouse.

I have done that before, and it is slightly dodgy because the roof is old. This time I came up with a genius plan. I put one ladder on top of another. I had the two ladders tied to each other with a ratchet. It worked really well. There are other tiles to fix, but that is for later. I would do this differently if there was unlimited time and money. There is a plank missing at the bottom of the roof, no time for that.

With the wood store roof fixed, I could start to tidy up. I had been all over the place in the barn, the tractor hall, and the workshop. There were tools at various places to get back to their respective home. I have a bunch of second-hand tools I found at second-hand shops. I wouldn't say I like tools "hide and seek." It is so tedious that getting things back to where they belong is better.

Then there is regular cleaning. I usually clean the woodstove in the living room and the bathroom. It is not fun to clean, but it has to happen because we might get guests in the house, and I would not like to invite them to a messy, dirty house.

Since corona, we stopped the regular rent of the house. That might change now, but we will see how it goes. It is not handy to rent out the house in the winter because we have no garbage removal service. In spring, the garbage is collected, making it easier to rent the house.

After cleaning up the house, we packed our things into the car. All was ready to drive home to the Netherlands.

Sunday 13 November

We had set the alarm for 6 AM in the morning. 40 minutes later, we drove off from our cottage. Bye, bye cottage! Before driving away, I took a photo of the treetops in the dusk.

I drove the first stretch on E4 south. This part of the road is the asphalt version of the river Lagan. There were roadworks along the motorway, but nothing terrible, and it was not many people on the roads this morning. Sometimes that changes over the day, but I had the same impression the entire day.

At Glumslövs hills, we switched so that DW drove. I took a well-deserved nap. She drove over the Öresundsbron and through Denmark to the ferry in Rödby. There we switched again, and I drove onboard the ferry.

It was an empty ferry. I have seldom seen the ferry Rödby to Puttgarden so empty before.

We explored the ferry a little and tried to take photos of the front view through the glasses. They were a bit dirty, but I think the photo is okay. At this moment, it was still overcast.

The ferry journey was only 40 minutes. I continued driving through Germany, with breaks for filling up the tank. In the afternoon, the sky was clear, and it was a magnificent sunset. Not so excellent to drive into a sunset, but I had my sunglasses, and they worked pretty well. I must say that I am impressed with the road culture in Germany. We were driving on a section of the motorway with no speed limit while the sunset was "worst," so I decided to temper the speed. Had this been the Netherlands, I would have been passed by several vehicles, I am sure about that. Here all of us tempered the speed and took it easy.

At the Dutch border, we switched again. DW drove, and I could rest.

Since DW was driving, I could do other things. It was a gorgeous sunset, so I tried to take photos through the window so you would not notice how dirty the glass was.

I thought this was nice.

But it became better.

Here is the sunset of Groningen in the Netherlands.

When we came home, it was completely dark. We were tired and emotionally numb from a full day of travel through northern Europe, but glad we made it so gracefully.

This concludes this week's blog. Next week we will prepare for the new kitchen.

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.