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(not so) little updates

Happy New (Gregorian) Year, everyone!
Full of joy, creativity, some mess, much magic and well, health!

I also hope 2019 will be the year I take my resolution of blogging more often seriously.
Well, I promise I’ll try. Truth is I cherish this small small space way more than I do Instagram and wouldn’t it be nice if we all gathered once more around blogs and became once again active in actually typeing addresses to read new posts? Instead of focusing so much on the “insta”, giving attention to the things that take time to accomplish and appear online, respecting each one’s individual time and, likewise, focusing on things that take actual minutes to read through, and on the poetic ways images, in the plural, can pair up with words.

Beautiful words these are, but I’m still far from it.

Anyway, while pondering in all of this, here are some of the things that have been going on recently, meaning, since I last posted (because 2 months and a half, in internet time, is probably the equivalent to 3 years).

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Reading The Lord of the Rings in the early hours of the day. Which I should have done, mmm, 15 years ago?
It’s funny because, as I grew up, the Harry Potter books were coming out. So I totally grew up with Harry (well, it was Hermione for me, my all time heroin). And maybe because The Lord of the Rings movies were released as Harry Potter’s were, I kind of associated the two. And I believed, goodness knows why, that there were two kinds of people in the world: Harry Potter fans and LoTR fans. Which don’t mix, so you’re either one or the other. Period. Cleary, I was on Harry’s side - believe me, back in my university times, I was part of a political/LGBTIQ activism group cleverly called Dumbledore’s Army.

Anyway, I just debunked the myth I made myself. And I’m glad I finally did it.

On another note, the house, my friends, the house!

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Many buckets of lime, sand and water later, the house is standing strong. The window is in (even though not in these pictures yet), and the next steps are the wooden floor (which we’re ordering tomorrow!) and building the door. And I don’t want to jinx myself, but I have this tingly feeling this may be the month we move in. This may be it.

Also woking with stone again, for more retention walls. Folks, I guess that caravan isn’t going anywhere now! But there’s a plan for it :)

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That’s it for today. The night is growing late, the air is growing cold, the fire on the stove has gone out for a while and the bed is calling me. Tomorrow shall be another frosty morning that turns in to a sunny afternoon.

Stay warm & bright!

Love,
Cat x

The Polish influenza

Last month, we received a crazy volunteering form in our inbox, all the way from Poland. We somehow lost contact along the way {OK, not somehow. Our reception was worse than ever and my inbox never updated}. Then, one day, I receive a phone call from a friend living in a community not too far away from us.
"Cat, there's a bunch of people here asking for you."
Oh my goodness, they did it! The next day, this beautiful VW is parked in our land.

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It was a group of five, and it was the best group of five we could have asked for. Big smiles and a refined sense of humor, patchouli and beautiful dresses, and a dog that would drool every time she saw our cat - drool as in I like you so much I could eat you. 

It's hard to believe we did more work in a week than we would have done in a whole month {even though Sam was going out for work almost every day}! Here are some of the things we checked off the list:

  Clearing land - we did one of the most critical parts, which was the totally overgrown forest on the upper part of the land
 ☑ Clearing the inside of the house - debris and stones out, almost ready to start working on that floor!
 ☑ Taking down the walls of the old pigpen, to lay the foundations of the future bathroom
 ☑ Making new garden beds  

Yes, we were busy!

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That's the work on the old pigpen/ future bathroom, above.

And below... Well, we're one step closer to have this as view from our front door

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I really can't put my finger on what is my favorite part about having volunteers. There are so many things that warm our hearts about these helping visitors. The shared meals, the new kitchen flavors, the late night {sometimes deep} conversations, the different opinions on how to do something, the indelible touch people leave on the land and buildings... I love looking at something done with friends and thinking "oh, I remember how hard it was to place that stone there", or smiling upon the memory of the joke someone did while we worked together. These memories build up. And so does reality. And suddenly, our land and our building is no longer our land or our building. Embedded is the physical memory of the people who passed by, and in the air lingers the light breeze left behind those who moved around bringing something new, every time.

Like the remains of a cough our friends had upon arrival, that turned into cough for us that turned into fever that turned into a flu that put everyone here in the valley down for three weeks. We've called it the polish influenza but hey, now that is has passed I'm proud of it. It too tells a story.

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Scenes from early autumn

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To identify the woodpeckers pecking the trees near our trailer - they're nor shy of shameful.
To think, and rethink, and build with winter in mind, helped by friends who wear banana stickers on their foreheads.
To forage and cook, and share and trade for fresh sourdough bread. Always with a some knitting nearby.
To dream about the next batch of chickens.
To dream about the house-to-be.
To overcome insecurities and make new things for selling. And to have the support of your beautiful friends.
To try new kitchen adventures and laugh at the little one sniffing the air. To dive into warm apple and cinnamon, because the weather forecast says rain next week.

Stones and more stones

Building happened during summer! We worked on stone beds around the house to help shape the space and create a more lively outdoors, as well as more sitting areas - yay! Remember the ruin we took stones from last year? We came back once again for material (once? What am I saying? We must have went there over 40 times with our old rusty  wheelbarrow). With all the people we hosted this summer, and the experience from last year's, building this one was almost fun.

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And since we have our hands on it anyway, let's remake the old one just across. - Sam

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And since there are new walls, let me climb them all. - Jade (and fall once, not pictured)

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Do you see the curvy corner on the right one? That's where our future cob oven will be! There's a hole in there, inside the bed, which will be filled with stones and whatever old hard material we can find, to make a stable base. And then, on top of it, we start the cob construction. We're still looking for models and different ways of doing it. I personally love the way Dreamweavers Collective shape their ovens and the light touch to it. But anyway, we sense that will be something for next spring.

For now, we'll fill the bed on the right with aromatics, loads of lavender and a tree in the center.

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Thank you so much to all the wonderful people who helped us doing this! It's a special feeling to live in a place that carries the work and intention of so many different persons