JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Sunnerås February 2018

There was not much of planning for this holiday. We had hopes for snow, and that was all. It is wonderful to go for a week’s holiday without too much of planning. It turned out that we had plenty of things to do even without any planning.

Our first guest arrived on Sunday morning, and it was a doe fallow deer (dov hjort) a new inhabitant of this area. In English one of the meanings of fallow is “pale-yellow; light-brown” and this fits this animal well. The last ten years the only species of deer we had here was roe deer (rådjur) at Sunnerås, but it looks like the roe deer is making space for the fallow deer. Roe deer is called Capreolus capreolus in Latin and Fallow deer is called Dama dama in Latin. The roe deer is the smallest. Then comes the fallow deer in size and the biggest is the red deer (kronhjort). Both the roe deer and the red deer has no black marks at the tail while the fallow deer has an “m” imprinted into the rear.

It was overcast on Sunday. Not long after arriving it started snowing, and I was very excited about this. The people living here are less than enthusiastic about snow. They say, “snow was not necessary” this winter. We traveled 1000 kilometers for the snow, so it is necessary. My parents had invited us to dinner, and when we went there by car, I managed to get stuck in the snow downhill. It is challenging to get the car up from the side of the road downhill when the car needs to go uphill because downhill was only a way of making the situation worse. I had to bring out the tractor to get the car out.

On Monday morning I decided to clean up the roads on our property from snow so that I would not get stuck with the car again. When I was driving around with the tractor, our next guest arrived. This time his name was Johan, and he came in a ginormous machine. He had one issue, he could not pass the bow in the road at the big oak. Johan and my dad and I talked about the issue and found that it was easier to make a new passage beside the road. My dad has a bright orange jacket in the picture. That little tractor you see in the picture is our tractor used for removing snow. We invited Sydved to do maintenance on our forest, and they got a contract with Bäckmans Skogsmaskiner, and Johan works for them. I tried to convince myself that it was good I had plowed because the next time it would be much harder to plow if I had to plow a much thicker layer of snow in one go.

On Monday afternoon we drove to Vadet Gård to meet Carina and her Sheep and the dog Alva. She sold some green eggs as well. It was difficult to drive to her because of the snow. She told us she was going to be on the news this day because there was a group of farmers in the area that started a new initiative “Reko Ring” in Värnamo. It is a Facebook page where producers mention what they got, and customers could tell what they want. People pay in advance, and then there is a meeting organized where the producers and consumers come together and exchange the goods.

On Tuesday the big event of the day was the periodic vehicle test verification of my parent’s trailer. Bil Besiktningen in Sweden often do these tests (but others are doing it as well). It passed! They had a garage pit that I had to drive the car over with the trailer. There they could lift the trailer and test different things like breaks etc. When we came home, we inspected the developments in the forest, and efficient machines are working in the forest. They have a decent pace compared to doing this with a chainsaw and a tractor.

Here is a picture of all buildings on the hill of Sunnerås. From left to right it is the chicken house, wood-store house, the main building and next to it the workshop, then the barn and finally the little milk house. It is the main building we are renting out in the spring, summer, and autumn.

What if I could remake the decorations of the photo myself? For many houses in the neighborhood, it was the local carpenters "the happy brothers" (Bröderna Glader) that made decorations like these about 50 years ago. These kinds of decorations are consequently called “carpenters happiness” (Snickarglädje). Most houses in this neighborhood used to have these ornaments. It is said that the people that owned this house before us was not going well with the neighbors so perhaps the happy brothers did not make exactly these ornaments; we do not know.

The last ten years I have seen one after another of this type of ornaments disappear. I have thought that perhaps a Chinese CNC 6040 would work to recreate these. It could be possible to make a couple of shapes and then move the plank and make the next group of shapes and so on. It would be grand if I could keep these decorations. The happy brothers had their workshop along the creek not far away from the bridge that I built a couple of years ago. They had it there because they used water power for the woodworking equipment. The workshop could have been converted into a local museum if the owners had been interested. At least it could have been preserved. Now it is decaying, and that is a shame for the heritage of this region.

On Wednesday we went skiing around Sunnerås. It was a dull day, no snow and overcast. While skiing we passed the workshop of the happy carpenter’s. The little house is a building on top of a water turbine. The brothers produced their electricity long before there was regular electricity in this area of Småland. Back then this family was at the forefront of technology and modern times. The neighbors of the happy carpenters (the house that we own now) they had a harsher life. There was no electricity, and the house got almost no modernization, but we are happy with that because it feels genuine as that and I am fine with that. The snow was a bit wet, and it got stuck under the skies. In the forest where there was a little bit less snow that was fine because now and then when skiing over a branch, the snow was scraped off the skies.

And here is “Bamse” our little tractor. It can plow snow and bring in wood and pull cars out of snow. It is useful in many ways. When I bring in wood from the forest on my own, then I use this tractor. I connect a wagon behind it and a wire crane. You connect the wire to the logs and drag in the wire, and so the logs are coming to the tractor. The hard part is to get the logs on the wagon. I rarely put down trees myself. Normally I drag in trees that have fallen by itself due to storms.

In the evening you could see that the overcast was giving away for a clear sky. In the winter when the sky is clear, and you can see stars when it gets cold. In the summer when the sky is clear, it gets warm. It is interesting that the same phenomenon has the opposite result. Later this day there came in the news that the weather phenomenon is caused by something called SSW, Sudden Stratospheric Warming.

Here is a photo of me in front of a bush of very soft plucks of snow.

During the night from Wednesday to Thursday, the minimum temperature was 13 degrees Celsius. The Thursday morning started with that the forest company had brought a man with a chainsaw as well. His first job was to take down some trees around the chicken house. One of these trees was an oak near the main house that had lost a branch in a storm and split the tree down from the top down to the ground. It did not look any pretty this way. I filmed this.

The snow was not sticky anymore. It was perfect pouder snow and that on a track from yesterday, fantastic skiing conditions.

And here below is a piece of art by the happy brothers! A window.

When we came back from the skiing trip, a second ginormous machine had arrived at Sunnerås. The same company drove this. I missed what the driver's name was. This machine is used for collecting the logs that the first machine had been cutting. He arrived through the same alternative route.

After the skiing round, we went to Värnamo together with my parents. We went to Vandalorum, a local Art Museum. The Vandalorum museum got a big mirror in the room where you can leave your coats, so this was a perfect place to make a “groupie”.

There were many beautiful things at this exhibition, but my father and I came to stand in front of this painting and talk about art for a long time.

Staffan Johansson made this oil painting 2008, and it is called “Tjärpapp”. Staffan was born in 1965 in Örby. The sign about the artist said that he sees making art as a craftsmanship and I find this interesting because when you see art as such, you make the process of creating art into an earthly process as the opposite when you see art as a gift or skill of someone or something. It speaks to the secularized mind to think of art-quality as the result of craftsmanship.

My father likes to talk about art and photography, and usually, he is saying that art should say something. I can agree, but for me, the meaning need not be “written on the outside.” Perhaps sometimes there could be something that the art tries to say, but we are just not capable of deciphering the message? Another possibility can be that there are several works of art from an artist that when pieced together is saying something while every individual piece is just parts of the message, we cannot see the message because we don’t have the full picture?

Other things that my father talks about is the use of the composition in the art. There has to be a proper use of the composition. There are a couple of composition models such as the golden ratio, rules of thirds, the center axis composition, the dominant diagonal. Of all these models that with the center axis is perhaps just that you should avoid putting the most important part in the center because that often becomes so boring, that is perhaps not a complete composition model.

If you got an image where the dominant diagonal is present in the image, then it has to go from the bottom left corner up to the upper right corner because that is harmonious. If you want to present something disharmonic you do the opposite.

There is something about the dominant diagonal I cannot fully grasp though. Suppose you hold a pen in your right hand and in front of you a paper. Put the pen on the paper at the bottom left corner and move your arm but let your elbow rest on the table, draw an arc to the upper part of the paper. What do you see? You see an arc that is looking very much like the dominant diagonal. I suppose this is harmonious because this is a very natural movement you can do with a pen and paper. The pen stroke is sideways, that is the way a pen works flawlessly.

There is just one problem. I am left-handed. I don’t have the pen in my right hand. I have it in my left hand. To me, as a left-handed, a line from the bottom left corner up to the right upper right corner is a movement where the tip of the pen push in front of the pen. The elbow cannot rest. If it is a very pointy pen and a soft paper then the pen will get stuck in the paper. Bottom left to upper right is one of the least harmonious lines a left-handed can draw. Can it be so that the right-handed dominant diagonal is not speaking to me as harmonious at all because it feels naturally awkward? The left-handed counterpart starting at the lower right going up to the upper left corner feels very comfortable to me.

We need to discuss if perhaps the dominant diagonal composition rule for right-hand people really should be seen as the beautiful and harmonious norm while the left-handed dominant diagonal is not? Is white skin more beautiful than brown? Is this a question about if one group of people does not belong to the right-handed sort? We wrong-hands are supposed to accept the strokes and the thinkings of the correct-hands without being accepted as we are? Is it not so that if a composition rule is excluding one part of the humanity, makes it disqualified?

The rule of thirds easy to make use of and it is often available in the viewfinder of modern cameras. Divide the sides into three equal parts both horizontally and vertically. The horizon either goes on the upper or lower third. Place vertical things at one or another of the vertical thirds. You can put a thing of the image on the cross lines of the helplines. The rule of thirds helps you from avoiding the center. This rule is doing a good job as such, but it can get boring in the long run. I use it a lot, and sometimes I need to revolt against it, just because I can.

It could be possible to have the rule of thirds but divide it with golden ratio instead, but that is less common and less intuitive, perhaps. The golden ratio is a relation between many natural phenomena. The knuckles of a hand for example usually has the golden ratio relation in size. You find the golden ratio in very many things of nature.

My father and I talked about the painting for a long time. It was feeling good. I was impressed by the expression of the water in the roof. The roof and the bird were dragging us into the motive. We felt as if we were involved in the painting because where was this? Was this painted from a window in a house and what was that roof? Or was it a roof? And what is happening out there in the forest?

On the way home the sky was on fire. It was very beautiful.

The Friday was a slow day. In the morning we had boiled egg for breakfast. It occurred to me that the eggs had the same colors as the cupboard. The cupboards used to be blue but last summer my wife started to paint the cupboards green, the same green as the eggs.

We had a walk in the forest where all the work had been carried out. There is so much more light that will be let into the forest. It will be fantastic here in the spring and the summer.

On Saturday we started cleaning and packing the car. The owner of Bäckmans Skogsmaskiner came in the morning together with the driver of the green machine. They carried out maintenance. The weather was fantastic. We went out skiing a final time around the property.

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.