zondag 17 maart 2013

Buying local

Here Barbara is buying at the local market. Obviously these two are enjoying their company. All foods come from local smallfarms. It is within a reasonable distance. What we don't have we buy. We have no hesitation in buying local. And the quality is all the more compared to supermarket goods.

Optimal vehicle combinations

Somewhat ominous here you see how our trailer is filled with a cubic meter of sand. I googled the weight of that. It seems a cubic meter weighs up to 1,5 tons. The trailer was way over it's maximum therefore. I took it easy. Anyhow, the mazda pickup and the trailer are the best buy if you know you are building. If you are building your own project and involved in buying and transporting a small pickup and trailer are indispensable. Masses of material can be bought by truck. In between and smaller loads you have to do your self. Otherwise the supplier is going to take the most effective way to get the goods to you. You will not know when they will arrive. Also transport costs are going to go up. The trailer is 3 meters long. The pickup is up to 14 years old. Technically that is also an advantage. These days auto builders are more and more choosing to build cars and profit from repairs. Therefore the cars are less durable. I am glad I bought a slightly older combination.

Googling in piles of paper property documentation

Every country in the world has it's own system for organizing, documenting and storing. The separation of Yugoslav countries also had to take place on administrative level. Through hundreds of years ownership, use, inheritance etc of real estate was done between people. It wasn't updated with every change in reality. Someone died. Family continued use of lands. Hey, we live here. What do we care about administration. Life is more important than paper. If you want to know something, if it is in the piles of paper they know their way in and the pile of paper has your document hidden, they know how to find it. They have some system in their head and they know how to google in age old piles of paper. They walk straight to it, pick up a bundle and out comes your document. And mind you, there are I think miles of those piles.

Guests from Leiden travelling to Mozambique

Our dutch friends the Colijn family from Leiden on the road to Mozambque arrived at our place in september 2012. We had a lot of fun together. Cooking and eating together. For their trip they have the best tools. A safari trailer and an air cooled landcruiser. For the jeep to cross the Mediterranean there was separate barge. They arrived earlier in Egypt. Some days later the barge arrived and they were reunited with their mobile camp combination. They are experienced overland long distance voyagers. Earlier they made a trip down east Africa and up west. They took more or less 2 years for that. In the meantime they experienced all kinds of adventures that have to do with border crossings, repares and long distance travelling in general. Let's say that every country has it's own culture of how they organize and administrate things. At least they are enjoying their house on the coast of the Indian ocean now. Marcel is contemplating going into farming. We are looking forward to their next steps.

Working together to create beauty

Ian posing as rightfully proud woodworker, designer, lifter of people to a higher quality level. 19 years old when he came and visited Bogata Suma end of 2012 he was an example in thoroughness, dedication in detaildness and also in influencing his surroundings to work on a high level of quality. He was an example for Mile, Mirko and last but not least me. He is from Philadelphia US. His father is a longstanding architect in the area. Ian must have inherited something from his father in the way he works. We will remember him when we feed rabbit in the cages he built. When we breed plants prior to planting we will work in the hothouse in the hothouse he created. He left a lot of traces. We are looking forward to his creative next steps in life. The porch was a created as exercise for Mile, Mirko and me to jump to a higher quality level of working with heavy wood. We will by successfully finishing this project be able to advertise what we are able to do. We will use the acquired skills to offer building capacity to projects in the region. Thereby we will probably start a new activity in building. Also inspiring a team to move on to a high level of quality is a challenge. The mind wants easy solutions. It takes concentration to maintain the course. It also shows these things can only be done as a team. So we thank this team. We are looking forward to many new projects where we can exercise creativity, dedication and fun and create beauty. In being together as well as the building results.

Porch takes shape

Cutting bricks to fit cones that later receive pillars. Here you see Mile cutting the cherry pillar to length. It had to be lifted off after measuring in place. Every step is new. The danger of making a measuring mistake is always present. It will mean a trip to the woods to find a new tree. The design is such that the pillar rests on a brick fundament that matches the diameter of the pillar.If you cut it to short there is no way back. A step forward to putting the first chestnut horizontal in place. It fit in one go. For a team that has never worked on this kind of project you can imagine we brought out the rakia to celebrate the moment.

Processing the heavy cherry pillars

Ian Rosenberg of Philadelphia found out one can sit on a skateboard and easily skin a tree of this dimension by riding back and forth. You see the faithful traditional tool on the tree. That cleaning prevents bugs and fungi creating a world under the bark. That process will quickly reduce trees to earth. Next we lift the supports in place by our old digging machine. In the background you see the tent under which we did a lot of work. No tent means a lot of stopping. Lengthening an otherwise straightforward project. It was meant to be the last project of 2012. Which it was. It is actually waiting completion because of weather conditions in the meantime were not permitting.

vrijdag 15 maart 2013

First result of experimenting with splitting wood with a froe. The material you see under the froe is the next project. Making gates of split acacia. For the roof the kind of wood we chose is sweet chestnut. Length is about 30 centimeters per piece. The tool we used is a froe. Wooden handled & the bit is to be slammed into the top of a segment of tree. The result should be a shingle. You can even the rough surface a bit through honing with the cutting device you see in the previous picture. We are showing results not process now. The showing of process will be the next level in showing what can be done with natural materials. For process we will need youtube or so. Anyhow Ian and me were surprised about the speed with which things could be done. While I was welding and grinding away at the froe, Ian was making the frame under the shingles. The frame you can't see. Froe and test set-up were realized within 2 hours. The froe bit is made of an old blade spring of a car. It does not need to be so very sharp. It's just a grinding so the profile of the froe has a splitting effect. It will keep on working for ever probably. We calculate we need to make 1200 of those shingles for the porch roof to be. It started raining in the days after we created this experimental test roof. We put a plastic bucket under the shingles. Not a drop came through. In principle a good result. Except we don't know if sweet chestnut is the advisable kind of wood. There are shingles made of evergreens that are pretty much the best. We will end our experiment with a definite choice of wood for the porch within the next supposedly nice months. Spring and all. No more snow!!! ;)

Porch of natural beams heavy woodwork

Ian Rosenberg had already put in place rabbits cages and a hothouse in a hothouse. The hothouse in the hothouse had been finished in a high quality way as had the rabbit pens for that matter. We learned quickly from Ian that dedication and quality get a deeper meaning with his kind of thorough and detailed focus. On his own he lifted our level of quality more than the proverbial inch. I experience myself as sometimes pretty stubborn, but his level of quality left no space for denying. For this 19 year old I take off my hat. As did Mile and Mirko. I was thinking of a new project that could challenge all of us. Meaning Mile, Mirko, me and not in the least Ian. The heavy woodwork is meant to have a different effect than an efficiently built, precisely calculated, sterile porch. I wanted some heavy duty verticals and ditto horizontals that made one solid impression. Something one might expect in a movie about dragons. An idea of future projects. For ourselves as well as to inspire others. Maybe that we might be hired to build in a natural way for clients. So a challenge to later advertise our acquiered skills. In the meantime, as I write, this exercise is already bearing fruit. About which later. As Ian is the son of an architect in Philadelphia, he was already familiar with sketching a structure. Here is what he came up with after discussing the ideas.

donderdag 14 maart 2013

Natures special effects

Looking west over the Radonya valley towards east side of Gorski Cotar still hidden in mist and clouds. In the morning a splendid view. Especially through the special effects nature daily provides.

Party time and friendships

Party time. Roasted pig ready to be prepared for eating. It has lived on the land with it's siblings and at some moment in time it's life is taken. It has been fed natural foods and that one notices. It is flavored with herbs from the countryside and simply is irresistible. Next to that the pigs fat is used in many preparations. Also delicious sausages are made as well as bound smoked meat. Along with good company, a glass of good wine and a salad that is why we came to Croatia. They still know self sustainable living. In times that food prices are soaring something that needs to be cherished. As an original city dweller we are not yet so far we can prepare our own pigs yet. We learn step by step. And for sure from our neighbors who are becoming good and trusted friends. A pretty intense way of life actually. In the city I experienced relations with many as fun and entertaining. Here it is more basic. We live with a kilometer of forest separating us. We see each other a couple of times per week. Much more intensive that in the city. There it is minutes or seconds of quality time. Here it is sometimes hours. It feels closer to me.

Water mills in Rastoke

Rastoke, a little village near ours. This village is constructed around water. It has various nice restaurants and various watermills. Many are used to make flour. The watermills are completely of wooden construction. The sound of water is continuous in that village. The water flows on to our summer swimming place downstream.

Life in the kitchen

Sometimes we indulge in something really delicious. A small raw tuna in this case. We buy at the local farmers market. Fish comes fresh from the Adriatic. Other goods come from around Karlovac. We use examples from the whole world if they appeal to us. Volunteers from all directions also are inspiring in that sense. They bring all their special recipes. Some are delicious. We love being in the kitchen. It adds to our idea of the good life.

Results after cleaning front terrain

House in frontview. Still a lot to be cleaned. Building material cluttering the front yard has influence how we experience our house. As a place to live it is not yet quieting. Removing the material to a much more convenient storage place is the solution to that. Also covering the materials against the elements is a must. Old oak parts rot away in no time.