Waste not…

Living in a very small house with no running water or other means of quickly disposing of your garbage brings awareness to one thing; humans are bloody disgusting creatures. I mean really. The sheer amount of waste and rubbish and filth and dust created by one (quite small) human is staggering.

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I will spare you the illustrations on this one and instead post a picture of some lovely and not at all symbolic waterlilies 

I spend now probably two to three hours each day just keeping things clean and that still leaves me with the question of what to do with such things as dishwater. Now you may think that when you live in a large house with plumbing all your waste is brought by fairies to a magical land of loveliness, but all sanitary stations rely on chemicals, creating on the whole more problems than they  solve.

I still use the ‘normal’ garbage system with local recycling opportunities for household rubbish, and my toilet remains is neatly disposed of in appropriate compost heaps (the toilet is actually my least problem, sanitarywise, I thought is would be te greatest)

The biggest problem is really the water, the water used for dished and laundry and me. Humans create a great deal of mud. I really believe that the greatest problem is the idea that we are meant to live all our lives indoors, so that even the largest house will be small compared to the amount of space needed to not overtax one space with our treading, our weight, our waste and water. All of this is not a problem when spread over a large area (and, of course, properly dealt with and not just left anywhere) but when clumped together on a small space by too many of us creates nothing but death and suffering, to put it dramatically. Living in a small space has really made me aware of how much space one human being takes up, and how little of that space needs be indoors.

Meet my monsters

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it time to introduce you to the many little monsters of La Chouette, The owls, of course, are excactly what they seem

IMG_20181017_163206186Inside, in the kitchen, the morning coffee is watched over by my favourite Gorgon, Medusa. A whole line of her in fact, so she won’t get lonely or overpowered by some brat on a winged horse.

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My sofadragons you have met before, here they are basking in the morning sun.

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Or candle light, same difference. In the corner, you can get a glimpse of the fellow here, Pan himself reciding over the fruit bowl.

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And underneath the library, on the opposite wall, is my drinks cabinet, protected by other happy little forrest creatures.

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So cheers to a happy Hallowween from the house of tiny monsters!

Life on the threshold

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I have found that I spend most of my time, when the weather allows, on the porch. That is, the small step that serves as a porch. Not inside, not outdoors. This place holds something special for me. I don’t suppose I’m alone in preferring these places, but one so rarely hears anything written about the importance of the exisistence of such spots. At one’s home and in society. The places in between, the places that are the threshold. Not just a thin line between this and that, but a place in itself. Most of the things I like, only exists in these spaces. I think one of the most important things for me in my new life is to make this inbetweenworld larger, more spacious, create a room that is in itself inbetween and by this, make more room for the things inbetween in the world of ideas and creatures.

 

The seven day itch

I have now lived in my house, full time, for a whole week. So far it’s perfectly fine, but there are several little daily things that makes up not exactly problems, but tiny itches. Such as, where do I place the coffee kettle after I’ve filled it and while I light the alcohol stove? Do I take my shoes of before I go in or indoors? Because keeping your shoes on is seriously not an option. Where do I place the last step on my ladder down from the alcove without blocking the window and also, how do I get the window to close fully while keeping the bookshelves intact, etc.

I don’t have water or electricity, so every daily activity, from washing in the morning to brushing my teeth and doing the dishes is a tiny little adventure (I suppose this is where the ‘tiny living’ tag comes from). In the morning, I light the fireplace and have a pot of water placed on it for warm water during the day. I take care to wash all the dishes directly after use, and if I’m boiling an egg for breakfast, I’ll use the hot water from that to wash my coffee cup. And such.

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Part of my kitchen in its orderly jumble

Considering this, I have chosen wood for my cutlery and dishes, both for their light weight, the fact that they won’t break during driving, that they’re antibacterial and easy to clean and with the added bonus of the sound. No more sharp clacking or scraping during those tender morning hours, but the warm whisper of larch.

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Every day there are new things to adjust and to adjust to, I’m still settling in. Probably, living like this will affect both my body and psyche in new and interesting ways yet to be seen.

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Me on the porch, photo by Even Tømte

Icharus revisited

Last friday I moved my house out of the building site. Or, I had it moved since I failed my drivers exam for the extension needed. A minor setback.

Winter is, indeed coming. Actually, it’s already here, and it was about time to get the little owl on her wings over the mountain. Bergen is pretty much cut off from the rest of the world, landwise, during winter. if I am to have any hope of spending winter under a warmer sun, or any sun at all,  I had to have it moved. So I hired a fellow from Bruvold service, a local company, to drive the house from Bergen to the east of Norway, where the climate is better and the roads lead southwards. Of course, I have not moved the hanger or house since I started building, and all the calculations were just that, calculations. I had no idea if they would actually work.

It was probably the most nerve wrecking thing I had ever done. I did not sleep at all the night before, with feverish horrors of houses gliding towards me and smashing into the front of my car. Also, there was a certain amount of sceptics among family and neighbours concerning the height and the light-framed construction of the creature. This, of course did not help. I’m not used to having anything to prove, but this time I felt a certain responsibility on behalf of weirdos everywhere.

And the morning came, dark and full of rain. And as we attached the house and pulled out of the driveway, we did so under a cover of autumn gloom. But she stayed on the road for the first turn, so I had a pretty good hope that she would last a while longer.

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At about an altitude of 6000 feet, the skies cleared, and the colours of autumn came forward to match those of the house. And she glided through the landscape as part of the green and gold.

 

But then, at the plateau, the wind started to pick up. Now, this is a fairly tall house in relation to the width and weight, and there were a few times when part of the roof-shingles flapped unsteadily. And just to make sure, I stopped the caravan and climbed up on the roof to fix the tiles, trailers and semi-trailers thundering by and together with the icy wind making the house shift and shake nervously. But we all stayed on our feet and on the road.

The rest of the drive I spent pretty much in a sort of tense disbelief that it had actually worked. And so here I am, at the edge of a forest near a lily pond,which is not only beautiful, but solved the question of how to cool the champagne.

 

I’ll be staying here for a little while, improving and adjusting the house, getting the details of daily living, the new routines of the new space and how I will move in it on a daily basis. And hope my health will last while I do so.

Evolutionary snuggles*

They *” say that evolution is incapable of taking one step back in order to move forward in a better direction. I’m going to claim this as the reason for my deep reluctance to fixing the afore-mentioned leak in my roof.

I mean, properly fixing it instead of just adding new bits and pieces to something that was obviously never going to work. Or at least, not at my skill-level. What was not working was this:

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A rather intricate mosaic of burnt cedar wood, using the technique of yakisugi or sho sugi ban. This is me and a closeup of one of the pieces.

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When this did not work, I tried to remedy it with huge blobs of tec7and sikaflex.  I’ll spare you the details.

And when this still didn’t work, I tried to cover the atrocity with asphalt roofing felt.

In order to fix this I had to remove all the roofing felt, all the bits and pieces and replace them with something more whole, more practical and, alas, a less interesting solution.

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But here, at least, is a glimpse of the resulting hygge, proving that evolution does not always know where it’s going and might be highly overrated.

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*There’s no point to writing snuggles rather than the more obvious struggles, just that I’m tired of the endless yapping about evolution as some sort of special olympics. The universe cares nothing for your stupid games of dominance.

**I’m not really sure who ‘they’ are. Possibly Darwin, or my 8th grade biology teacher. It’s just one of those phrases.