Sweden!

It is hard to believe, but we are nearing the end of our 7th week on our project here in Sweden now, and with just one more to go we thought it was time to write a little bit about what we have actually been doing all this time.

We are living in the giant garden of an old friend from Vienna, a property that sits just a few metres away from a large, beautiful lake surrounded by forest. There are a handful of other houses dotted around it, but so far no other people to be seen! The garden attached to this house is vast, and that’s where the majority of our sweat has been spent. Jobs completed so far are:

1. Cutting the grass – sounds simple enough, but did we mention that the garden is huuuuuuuuuge? And the handy little tractor-mower broke down? As did the handy strimming machine? So it was all done with a hand-pushed mower and also pulled out of the ground with sheer muscle power. It felt like quite an achievement, and we can now add “naked lawn-mowing” to one of our CVs.

2. Creating a picnic spot by the lake – the land here had been almost reclaimed by the forest, so we cracked out every blade we could find and hacked down the baby trees. There was a lot of chainsaw work involved here, and one of us trained the other one in the use of this machine. This enables many chances for horror-movie-scene-recreation and is another skill to add to the CV.

3. A potato field – where once stood a tangled mess of overgrown brambles, stinging nettles, small trees and hidden rocks is now a beautifully farmed potato field. And the potatoes are growing mightily! It was some of the hardest hours of work we’ve spent here so far, and we felt every year of our ages at the end of those days. The most sophisticated tools we used here were clippers and spades, and we are feeling quite pleased with our manual labour efforts so far.

4. A tomato field – we cut away the top layer of grass, built some very fancy growing-frames (using old wood and string, very technical indeed) and have watched the tomatoes grow every day since. We feel we are almost ready to add “professional farmers” to our CVs.

5. Household, shed, cellar and workshop organisation – imagine you bought a fully furnished house, with two sheds full of tools. To that house, you brought all of your furniture from your old house. Then, a family member moves in and brings all of their furniture from their old house. It’s a lot of stuff. A lot. Especially compared to the amount of stuff that fits into a campervan. Well, we feel we can now add “professional home organisers” to our CVs. We just Googled it, and that is actually a profession.

6. The slope – in front of the house, the garden has a steep slope leading down to a path to the cellar, and finally to the road. This slope was also a tangled mess of brambles, stinging nettles, random weeds, rocks and small trees when we arrived. Three weeks of work transformed it a little. It’s best described by pictures, so here’s a photo time-line of our efforts. Landscape gardeners: on the CV.

7. Cow-proof gates – as you know from our previous blog, the neighbouring farmer has a few cows on the land next door. To enable an easy walk through the fences from the house down to the lake, we constructed a couple of gates from left-over forest parts that allow humans, but not cows, to walk through.

For a few more photos from our time here, check out our Instagram page of course! And we always like hearing from you, our readers, so leave us a comment or a guestbook message, why not.

A few countries, a few campsites, a few cows

There has been quite some action since our last blog post! Our excuse is that we have been without WiFi for the last four weeks, and just a few days ago we stepped back into the modern world when a router appeared on the property that is our current home. So here we are, with an update for you all. The last four weeks, in brief:We traveled all the way across England! From West to East once again, with a night on a lovely campsite that we had all to ourselves. Basically, we parked in an empty field. It was awesome. Then…

We took a boat and drove across a little bit of France! Then…

We drove across Belgium! Then…

We drove through the Netherlands! We extended our route there to stay for a couple of extra days, as the roads were fantastic and we enjoyed it a lot. It’s rather flat, and there are lovely windmills, just to confirm a couple of stereotypes there. There too, we also had a campsite to ourselves – we thoroughly recommend traveling around outside of peak season times, although one of the reasons we like these empty sites so much is because we’ve now got used to being around no more thanĀ  five people at a time. So huge fields with no people is where we are at home. Then…

We drove across Germany! We were ready for a police stop as soon as we crossed the border, but were disappointed. No German police found our almighty van suspicious this time! Then…

We took another boat! Then…

We drove across the south coast of Sweden! We were prepared for a beautiful country and so far Sweden is totally fulfilling our expectations. We stopped at a random campsite and parked about three metres away from edge of the coast, facing the direction of the setting sun. We planned to stay for one night. Then we extended. Then we extended again. Then…We drove to our work project and parked up in what has now become our new temporary home. We are a hundred metres away from a gorgeous lake and haven’t seen another person around it yet (suits us perfectly, see above). Holiday time is over for now though, and we’re working pretty hard here and getting our teeth stuck into some great projects. We’ll write more details in our next blog, and there are sneak peaks on our Instagram account of course. Oh, and we have a group of ten cows as very nosey neighbours here. While watching a horror movie in the car one night, we heard a really weird noise which we thought came from the movie. We rewound it (do we still say rewound, or is that from the days of VHS tapes?), and rewound it again and couldn’t hear it. For a moment, we thought we were having a supernaturel moment of our own, until we turned around and looked out the back window. We saw all ten cows, not moving, staring directly at us. Mooing.

Cows are awesome.