Working

These little fellas were all over the osier the entire weekend.

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I’ll take a leaf from their book for the upcoming week, when there’s a ton of things to do: paint the house, record a radio programme, and grade my pupils just to name a few. And of course my long dormant writing inspiration takes this opportunity to rear its head. Ideas for an Advent story are crowding into my mind, believe it or not. Must be something in the water.

Goodbyes

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This weekend at the cabin became a little different. A new couple has bought the house next door, and the previous owner harvested all the trees that he owned in the surrounding forests. We came there just in time to see it happen.

Some trees are always left so that they can drop new seeds and secure the rebirth of the forest. They were marked with these red ribbons of salvation.

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It reminded me of the song Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree, which I kept singing all through the weekend. “Do you still want me?” Yes, these happy few were still wanted alive.

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As an aside, down by the stream a different kind of forester had made short work of the best birches. If all goes well, I’ll have a post about beavers sometime during the summer. I just need to muster the patience to sit there with my camera and wait…

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Paradoxically, everything seemed to be fading and dying, wilting and withering. Maybe to make way for the new.

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Rebirth in neon green

I almost want to apologise for how fake these photos look, but if anything, they’re less intense than reality. Wherever you go, the sun pierces through millions of breaking birch buds, creating tiny explosions of green light. Like chlorophyll stars, fallen to Earth.

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Sick of birches yet? 🙂 Here’s a closeup.

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And one of a felled tree whose leaves haven’t died yet.

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The lower the sun sinks, the more intense the contrast between that neon green and the darkening background.

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Or if you half close your eyes, it turns into a yellowish fuzz.

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The stream is still overflowing with melted snow.

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We ended the evening on our new balcony – where we still don’t have a door, so we have to climb out of a window! But who cares when the view is 360 degrees of hilly forest? A taster:

Hubby is quite contented. 🙂

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First day of summer

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Yes, I’m branding this a summer’s day, because I wore a dress after nine pm and wasn’t cold!

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All the snow has melted and the lake is swollen with water.

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It was 25 degrees during the day – too hot to function, but it made for a lovely, sunny evening.

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The birches are covered in a light green mist. Soon they will be heavy with leaves that give shade and hide these views.

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Moving Pictures…

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… and other stuff, but who can resist a Rush reference?

Anyway, there’s a small room with slanting ceiling on both sides that I’ve used as an office, but I’ve always felt that it was underused and difficult to organize. There are so many dead spaces and weird angles that if you put furniture in the corners, you either bang your head when you get up from sofas and whatnot, or it makes the room feel cramped.

It used to be ugly as well, but I fixed that the first year that we lived here. That wallpaper is some sort of speckled grey, and the floor used to be a yucky dull green. It’s painted a light grey now, but I’d like to put some laminate flooring in there sometime.

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For the longest time, it was decorated with nostalgic stuff like my childhood cuddly toys and mementoes from my trips to England, and I wrote my novels at that desk.

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I tried to make it both an office and a sort of tiny living room, so you could both work and read for pleasure, but it never functioned like I’d envisaged it. Neither of us ever sat there just for fun, so the space used for sitting was wasted.

And the other week, I read a blog post from my favourite blogger who was redecorating her studio, and it struck me: I could make this room a kind of studio as well. It’s a small room, so it wouldn’t be a studio in the traditional sense, but the light is really nice, it’s high up and the window is to the north, so it could really work. The challenge is to use the space creatively and efficiently, and that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment.

Another problem with the house has been that we don’t really have any designated area for artistic stuff – pictures, photos, colours etc, but turning this room into a studio would solve that problem. While it does seem a bit wasteful to dedicate a whole room to pictures, paints and brushes, when I started organizing it all I realized that we actually do need that much space for them. We’ve had all our paintings and artist’s materials in the attic, and I’ve lived with constant lowkey worry that they would be ruined by damp or cold. And also we never used all the things we have because who can be bothered to go into the attic just to fetch a piece of paper?

So, a change was in order.

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All that fine art paper that used to sit in boxes, unused, was ripe for sorting into piles according to colour, size and quality.

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This worthless desk (horrible for sitting at but picturesque because it’s made out of old sugar boxes) now hosts paints, ink and crayons.

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A shelf for the stuff that wouldn’t fit into the desk.

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I threw out the sofa I never sat in and left a single chair.

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All our pictures and paintings are now gathered in one place. Like these efforts from when I was ten, fifteen and eighteen.

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There’s even an easel, which has been kind of difficult to find a place for but which is now allowed to take up quite a lot of space.

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The standing desk doesn’t really fit in with the whole artistic vibe, so we’ll see how long it gets to stay. There’s not really any room for it anywhere else, and I still need a novel-writing nook. Pity not all work stuff is pretty. There’s only so much you can do with a computer screen…

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Careful carpentry

I’ve mentioned that we’ve had a balcony built, and it’s on the attic floor, so there’s a need for some floor laying so we can actually reach the balcony. We’re also waiting for a door, but we’re hiring a carpenter for that job. The floor is doable enough for an amateur, though.

Today the work began.

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Well, hubby worked, while I mostly took pictures… I did some work of my own, though, but that’s for another post.

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Half of building something is thinking.

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There was a lot of saw dust, but it looked really atmospheric in the warm light.

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You find all sorts of things in an old attic. Money, toys, and ancient newspapers.

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Seriously, the light up there… When everything is made of wood and the window faces south, it really makes for a warm glow.

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Softly, softly

And so it begins. Slowly unfolding, cautiously reaching for the light.

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Yes…

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I wasn’t even going to go for a walk tonight, because I was beyond tired. But I’d promised a colleague to snap a few pictures for her and the light was really pretty, so I forced myself.

And good job I did, because wow. I sometimes have to pinch myself, because this is where I live.

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The village is so perfectly nestled into the nooks and crannies of the wooded mountains.

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The beauty of puddles.

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Some parts of the forest are more photogenic than others. It’s hard to put your finger on, but it’s a combination of moss and the density of trunks.

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One of my favourite spots to photograph, and I arrived at just the right moment.

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The buds aren’t quite there yet, but they’re trying.

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There are still relics from last year, though. Drained and brittle, but still pretty.

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Things you don’t notice until you lie on your stomach at the edge of the lake with your elbow in a hole filled with dirty water…

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Ten o’clock and goodnight.

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A sunshiny day

And finally we got a glimpse of what May should be – on a Saturday, no less, and on the weekend when we decided to pay a visit to the cabin. Couldn’t have asked for more.

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We moved a bit of stuff from the house that hubby’s mum is selling to the barn by the cabin, not only because there’s room for it there, but because we’re planning something big for that place.

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Right now the interior looks like this:

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But a space like that can be made into something cosy, and a kind of museum where you can also sit on warm days and eat. So in the future, when all our other million projects are done, we’re going to clean it up and put olden thinges on the walls!

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I really long to do these kind of really physical, concrete projects. I guess five years of living exclusively in my head does that. It’s so nice to see things take form in the real world as opposed to just a text.

And that’s probably why I still so enjoy snapping pictures of natural beauty as well – of which there was an abundance this weekend. First out, the forest floor. New grass struggling out of the old, and moss, moss, moss.

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The sun cast a whitish glow on the pale yellow grass from last year.

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Later it turned into gold and copper.

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Merging into coral and purple as it dipped below the horizon.

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Sunset 4

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Wow.