JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

I started to hang up plates on the south wall

This week, I started to hang up plates on the south wall. It did not go as quickly as I wanted. This was frustrating.

Monday 1 July

This morning, I found the first potato flower in the garden along the driveway! Beautiful!

I worked from home as I usually do on Mondays. DW had a day off because she had a sabbatical.

After work, I received the news that the Supreme Court in the USA turned off honest and honorable governing and started the transition (further) into a plutocracy. A president can now sell pardons for profit. A president can jail his political opponents or anyone without any charges or due process. The Supreme Court approved dictatorship in the USA. This is terrible news for people like me who want more accountability worldwide.

The news about the implication developed throughout the week. Some stayed horrified throughout the week, while others started to nuance the reporting about the implications. It is a complex situation, and not everyone understands what just happened. We will need to give it a little more time before it is clear what the outcome will be.

Sometimes, it is not what is said that is interesting. It is the things not said that you would actually want to hear about. How often have I not heard "Trump might win the 2024 election"? That is not the crucial part. It is what comes next that is not said that is interesting. There are two options: "…and it will be bad" or "…and it will be good". I am done with guessing. From here on, I will ask if it is the first or the second.

Another example is "How could Donald Trump be charged with misdemeanor offenses?" The question is deliberately staged to sow doubt into the judicial process and clear him from his crime. You still leave doubt on the table even when giving the correct answer that the misdemeanor offenses were used to steal the 2016 election, and by the way, the jury found him guilty of that. As a convicted felon, he lost his honorable titles, and he can not sell alcohol at two of his golf resorts. He needs to hand in his three guns. He was already convicted of a sex offense and fraud. He is currently at a 480 million dollars fine, but it is growing.

People freak out about the Supreme Court decision, and if they don't provide any path forward, it could be as saying, "So we should give up," and that is a different message than "So we need to do [insert plan here] to fix this issue."

The apparent plan against dictatorship is to vote for Joe Biden, a no-brainer. So, if you live in the US, register to vote. I am from Sweden, so I cannot go and vote, so you have to do it if you are a US citizen with the right to vote, wherever you are.

You might wonder why this is the plan? Two judges will most likely be replaced at the Supreme Court in the next presidential term. That means there will need to be an honorable president who can install honorable judges. That means that the majority of the court will be ok during the next term, and it is possible to revert and fix issues with women's reproductive rights, the dictatorship situation can be repaired, and so on. So you know what to do: Go and register, tell your friend to register, and go and vote on 5 November. All of you. It is decisive for the next thirty years.

Logically, not only does an honorable president need to be elected in 2024, but it also needs to happen in 2028.

This evening, I sowed carrots behind the sea container. Courgettes and pumpkins are growing there, but there is currently a lot of space left. I think some of these carrots will be eaten by slugs, but I sowed thousands of carrots, so perhaps some will survive.

It rained in the evening, and we went out late, equipped with torches, and hunted for slugs. A couple of hundred slugs missed their lives this evening.

Tuesday 2 July

I worked from home today. In the afternoon, I harvested the radish from the raised bed. Then I sowed cutting celery in the raised bed near the pepper plants. We will see when these seeds sprout. The raised bed is much safer against slugs but has limited space.

Then came the neighbors with their grandchildren to look at the sheep. I am not good at Finnish, so I cannot talk to the kids so well. Actually, that is a bigger problem for my neighbors. The neighbor's son moved to Finland, lives there, and is now visiting the Netherlands. I brought the kids dandelion leaves they could feed the sheep, and they laughed out loud when the sheep ate from the leaves. That was an evident success. Perhaps I can learn a few phrases from a Finnish colleague to tell the kids next time. Who knows.

Wednesday 3 July

Today it was my birthday. I have become 57 years old. I was congratulated by a camera company, an eyewear company, a hardware store, an online bookstore, and the Google assistant congratulated me. It is great to be popular. Well, I am slightly sarcastic on this.

In my morning round in the garden, I accidentally surfaced a potato while weeding around the potato plants. It was a brightly colored Alouette potato. It is gorgeous!

I worked from home for the first half of the day. After lunch, I picked up on the foundation plates project. I had to pick up wooden beams that would support the plates. I went to the hardware store, another than the store congratulating me, and picked up a package of ten beams. They are 4.8 meters long.

I loaded the beams onto the car's roof rack. I made it home with the beams not breaking. I took the road with 15 speedbumps. With every bump, I was anxious that the beams would break. Good beams don't break, and these were good beams.

When unloaded from the car, the package no longer looked so huge. I could then remove the plate I was working on, and then I could mount the beam. It goes on to the wood between the foundation and the wall elements. Then, put the plate back again. Get into position and then screw it to the beam I just mounted. On 6 February 2021, I outlined the plan. Back then, I decided on ventilated beams. Now, I went for regular beams. The foundation will be ventilated anyway. It will be harder for mice to get in.

Was that easy? The plate is so heavy that getting it to the correct height is a hassle. I used pieces of wood that I put under it, but I had to lift it first. For that, I used straps around the corner. This was tedious and heavy. I was feeling my back. There exist clamps for lifting things like in this situation. I will need to get such clamps.

So that was my birthday.

Thursday 4 July

I woke up early this morning, so I had time to sow more radish in the bed of chard. The chard is doing fine but has never sprouted in a few places. That can happen. I used the void for the radish. It feels great to fill up with something that sprouts quickly.

It was a regular work day, but I worked from home because the new office was unfinished. A team of colleagues arranged the things for the new office today.

In the evening, I collected flowers from common ragwort and thistles. We decided to collect the flowers before they started spreading seeds. Merida was with me the whole time. I had never expected we would get a cat to walk with you around the property. It is nice.

Today, there was a general election in the United Kingdom. Labour won.

Friday 5 July

I first went to the hardware store this morning to pick up a dua pack of Stanley Fatmax trade lifts. It appears the words trade lift are Stanley words for a tool that can lift things from the ground with the help of a handle. It had a nifty price, so now I know what my back is worth: 175 euros!

I was back home before the regular workday started. I worked from home again. The office was finished today. Well, partly. I must arrange the final stuff for my workplace before I can work. But that is fine. Not today, though. Today, I worked from home. I have no idea how next week will be. I think I will go to the office on Tuesday and have a look.

So, while I was doing work things, DW was dying wool. These are synthetic colors, so they are intense, to say the least.

I could work well but did not finish the sprint completely before the weekend. I was just a nudge away from a finish, which was annoying. I like to go into the weekend with a feeling of total accomplishment. I will finish the sprint on Monday, and everything will be fine.

This morning, Merida had her thirteenth epileptic seizure. In the afternoon, she had the fourteenth seizure. In the morning seizure, Merida bit the blanket, holding her chaws tight throughout, and Merida started peeing. In the afternoon, she bit on one of her paws. It was a heavy seizure, and she bitted hard. I was surprised her foot was not hurt or bleeding when it was all over. Also, this time, she peed, but this was on the tiles floor in the living room, so it was easy to clean. This means that her average is 14.78 days in between seizures. Last time, I said it was 16 days on average, but that was not true. I had done a miscalculation. It was 49 days since we were on our way to Sweden last time. That is good, but the total average is not good over time.

Today, DD and her boyfriend came by. We had a cup of coffee and cake, and she gave me a birthday present: A DeWalt laser measuring device. I liked that a lot! They were on their way to Sunnerås.

We had dinner from the alternative store again, shakshuka; it was great. DS ate with ut.

After the dinner, we went out in the garden to slaughter slugs. It is such a lovely evening activity. It was mild weather and not that windy. We both had a lamp and a knife. Right now, we even have things in the beds without slug fortresses that appear to survive. I know it can be over any moment, but as it goes tonight, it is going in the right direction with the garden.

Saturday 6 July

Today, I eagerly wanted to put the new trade lifts to the test. I got help from the three nosy ladies. Selma wondered what a trade lift tasted like, but I don't think it was delicious because she gave up on that.

Before it was too late, I figured it was easier to mount the plate on either side of the window for narrower windows. I got good mounting material for screws there. Below the large doors to the living room, it will not work. There, I will need to create a mounting point. I think I will carve out Tempex at that point and drill two holes in the concrete and, on top of that, a piece of wood that exactly fits. Then, I can mount the plates on that wood. That is a lot of work; I would be happy to avoid that for the narrower windows outside the south hall.

At first, I had thought I would put the trade lifts in front of the plate, but that was not easy. I had to hang the plate in a short strap, which I did not have. Besides, the strap would need to be of precisely correct height and always be different heights. The solution was that I made room for the trade lift feet in the "trench," which worked marvelously. It is simple, and it will always work.

While working on this, the wind picked up. I don't think it was a named storm, but there was heavy wind. When I came with the plate, the wind tried to steer it away. At lunchtime, I was done with this one plate. It was sad to realize that I will work on this plate project for the rest of the summer. One thing that could make the work easier would be a narrower shovel. I will see if I can get one tomorrow.

After lunch came SIL and BIL. He is SILH, but they call him BIL in English anyway. That means there can be confusion between the real BIL and this BIL, but who cares. We are all brothers. He grew up on a farm and knows what we are doing here. We went for a walk near the alternative grocery store. We parked near the store and walked to the nearby forest. The wind was picking up, but it was excellent in the forest. On the way back, we walked over an open field when the wind peaked. It was 59km/h, 7 on the Beaufort wind scale. We walked back to the grocery store and the café. It was nearly impossible to open the door to the café. We had a cup of tea and cake, sat there, and had an excellent time. The wind slowly subsided while we were at the café.

In the evening, there was almost no wind. I climbed up on the sea container and repaired the wires holding up the grape wine. I could hear people watching soccer while I was up on the roof. I will need to look at the damage tomorrow for the rest of the storm's impact.

Sunday 7 July

I woke up early. Our neighbor wished me a happy birthday at 6 AM via WhatsApp. She is such a sweet lady. She recognized she was a couple of days too late for the wishes. I could sleep again and woke up at 7. Early enough.

It was actually not that bad in the garden. A couple of days ago, I had removed many slug fortresses for the courgette behind the sea container. That was really good because the courgette plant shakes back and forth during a storm, and the leaves get damaged by the ring. No ring, no damage. A couple of plants still had a fortress and a couple of knacked leaves. They will survive, that is good.

After breakfast and the garden inspection, we went to a garden center. A proper garden center. It is huge. We bought a regular spade, a polystyrene burner, and bamboo sticks. That was it. Jokes aside, it was a weed burner, but I call it a polystyrene burner for apparent reasons. You could also light a grill with it. Can you imagine how helpful a polystyrene burner is?

When we came home, I concluded that the polystyrene burner worked well, but where was the soil burner? The polystyrene has cavities where the soil has accumulated, and these mud pieces are hard to burn, even with a proper polystyrene burner.

I started working on the spade. We bought a regular cheap spade. The idea was to cut it so that it became narrower. Since it was cheap, it was just made of sheet metal. I marked up the cuts and then ground these parts off with the angle grinder. It is as easy as that.

Unfortunately, much of the blade's strength comes from the round shape. I cut away that round material to make the spade less robust. The shape of the blade was, for the rest, working as intended.

I tried the new tool for a while, but although I was satisfied with the width of the blade, it was not strong enough. It was bending too often.

After lunch, we visited an aquarelle exhibition with our neighbor's wife. She attended a course, and the participants displayed their work. I cannot publish photos from the exhibition, but I can say that it was lovely. It was in the same area as we live in. It was not a large exhibition, so it was over quickly. Our neighbor was there as well, and she liked it that we came and had a look.

Back home, I considered my options regarding the spade. So, have you done A? You also have to do B. I decided to make the blade stronger.

Long-time readers recall that I got a welding machine from BIL, or was it SILH? I picked up the welder on 16 May 2020. Back then, BIL said I could borrow the welding machine. Then, they sold their house and moved to an apartment. I asked if he wanted the stick welder back, but that was not the case. He had no place for it and also no need for it. So now I wanted to weld. Exciting! Now, this is the kind of thing I really like about living in a rural area. I can take the angle grinder to cut off parts of a spade without disturbing neighbors. At the old house, I would feel awkward if I did that.

In my dreams, I have been welding pretty seams. In reality, it is not pretty. The plan was simple, I wanted to reinforce the blad with a rebar. I bent the rebar so that it followed the blade and the handle. Then, I set up the equipment in the doorway to keep the machine in the house and the stinking part could stay outside.

It is a heavy machine. All my helpers were ready; they thought they could give me a helping hand or advice on how to weld. I was most worried about Merida; she would be curious about my activities. This was no problem. She did not like the noise, the smell, and the ultraviolet light.

At first, it did not go well at all. I continued welding and made a couple of okayish beads after a while. The wood handle burned, and flames came out, but I just chilled the blade.

It rained a little occasionally, but I was standing on the east side of the house, and the wind came from the southwest. It worked pretty well. The spade is now slightly heavier and still not so robust that you can put your total weight on the blade, but it is doing fine with polystyrene.

I removed polystyrene along almost the entire south wall with the modified spade. It might be so that I have to come back and remove more, but this is more or less it. I produced many bags of polystyrene snippets. I placed these in the small trailer with the blue hood.

After finishing the foundation project for the evening, I found an alternative use for the new spade. I could eliminate slugs with it. With a knife, you have to bend down to the ground, but now I could just stab with the spade. It worked nicely.

Here ends this week's blog. See you next week!

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.