First layer on walls… 98% completed

Today, Friday, it is exactly three weeks since His Grace Bishop Cyprian was here and blessed our building process, and it has really been a blessed period! We started the construction work after lunch that friday and this friday afternoon we are almost done with the first filling of all walls.  Three weeks only, not even every day and already we see that IT WILL BE a house. A blessed chapel!

Here Lola is mixing straw with clay soup to fill in the gaps in the wall under the altar window. For the wall to “carry” the window we had to put a check in that spot, and of course we then could not inter twain bushweed there!

Oh, it is narrow and difficult to fill well  – better to work upside down : )

Today we also threw the last handfuls of clay mixture on the inter twained walls.

Here Max and Rowan are putting up the last batch of clay mixture.

Exept….

… for the “French gap”

-WHAT?

Yes, we have spared a little piece of intertwained wall and also a tiny gap to be filled with clay dampened straw for the French couple that arrives sunday evening: Guilluame and Maryse. We wanted them to also have the opportunity to try and plaster the first layer at least a tiny little bit. And this tiny gap that we have had to remind one another not to fill, has now got the name the “French gap”  : )

This week we are experiencing a phase shift concerning our nice and friendly helpers. Already Pierre and Ronan left us. They had to return to France for other duties and preparations for their future studies. We miss them! And tomorrow Max from Hong Kong will leave. On Sunday Rowan and Lola from England will continue on their trip. Together we have had a lot of fun together and also accomplished a great deal theese days.

Pierre and Ronan,who both are studying in Paris to become energy engineers in a near future told a fellow student about our project and their experience with us… and that young man got interested and will arrive here now together with his girl friend. Guilluame and Maryse.

Luckily Gianna and Sascha from Germany are still here for another week. Gianna is doing a wonderful job preparing the future windows. You will soon see… If everything goes well we will try to put the first one in place on Monday.  Sasha is building frames for those windows and many more nice interventions.

We also did some molding:

Here Rowan is trowing a handful of clay mixture into the mold. Molding clay like this is probably one of the oldest ways to prepare building materials.. I think of the Israelites being slaves in Egypt thus preparing the blocks to build … the beginning of  the industry of prefabricating building materials…

Our “industry” is very modest! Only very few blocks, but still a few, now drying in the sumer vind!

Only very few of them are as even and beautifully molded as this perfect one molded by Sascha.

Midsummer, rain & preparations

Our young friendly helpers from several countries of course had to experience all the traditions of  Swedish midsummer…. the solstice when at our spot on the globe there is only about 4 hours between sunset and dawn and it never really gets dark.  That is why we did not work for a few days and after those days a heavy rain came. Luckily Lärkan could fix some better support on the roof and a second layer of  tarpaulin over our construction site.

Our future chapel today looks somewhat like a turtle !  The clay covered walls are now slowly drying. And even though we have worked many hours there are still some spots to be prepared.

Here Rowan is putting wool dipped into clay soup on some spots that not previously had got that  “cover”. That will make the claymixture attach a lot better to the surface. It also minimizes cracks.

Gianna has spent quite some time during several days to test and “experiment” with some jars that we want to use instead of other types of windows in the chapel room.

Giannas vocational training was as a silver- and goldsmith. So she is very good with the small details : )

We have tested and made a few mistakes – and we think we have learned from them to fix the jars with a better technique. Today we had the very first test.

Here we are holding three “pillars” of  glass jars that will let the day light in. We decided that it WILL look nice : )

This is a room in wich we do not make it a priority to look ut through clear windows to look at the view. In swedish we could say it like a play with words:  not a room for “outsight” but for “insight”. Therefor we make the windows in the chapel room not possible to look through but still so that they let the daylight in.

Of curse we could have bought concrete glass…. But, I really like recycling! I have recyceled many things long before it was as common or renowned as it is today….  For example: my dear parents have for many years been drinking a special brand of instant coffee and I have collected many of these jars. For years I have used them for dried mushrooms, rings of dried appeles, etc. Now they get an even more honorable use  : )

Oh, how I like recycling! Like composting! Our leftovers, not considered to be worth anything we put in a compost bin…And in due time it has transferred into the most valuable soil in wich we can cultivate new nutritious food : )  Recycling also leads my thoughts to how our loving Lord handle us… and the bad sides of our characters! If we bring our bad sides/manners/behavior etc. in prayer, to Him, it is quite possible for Him to transform all of that into strengths in our lives. What transformation! What a way of “recycling!  : )  I am constantly “in love” with Our Lord and Savior and thankful for his patience and His ways of doing things with us!

Clay party

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Max here helps out with the blending of clay, sand, manure and straw

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Today we were throwing handfuls of clay mixture from both sides of the wall – through the inter twained wall. This is a building technique that is KNOWN to have been used by the vikings during the Bronze age! So – BACK TO BASICS! Also it is a very environmental friendly technique! Just imagine for example how little transportation is needed for building like this!

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Pierre checking the result ; )

Oh, how “clay-y” we all became  ; )  except for Lärkan who sticks to the carpenter-jobs!

And look how many we were today – as never before!

From the left: Lola in blue overalls and Rowan in the back row, both from England. They arrived yesterday and will stay ten days. In the back row then Max from Hong Kong who has been with us since May 29 and will stay another few days. Then in light blue T-shirt and my husband Lärkan. In green T-shirt Ronan from France and Pierre also from France. They arrived june 7:th and will stay a couple of days more. In the front row from the left – next to Lola in blue overalls is Three Day from Burma and next to her Eh-Htoo, also from Burma. They live in the nearby village and come here monday through friday for a few months. Then in black vest and skirt is me, Marjo, who writes this blog. By my side is Gianna from Italy and Germany and next to her is her husband Sascha from Germany. They arrived june 12 and will stay a couple of weeks more.

There is another person that has contributed tremendously to our work this spring and also with the preparations of this building. That is Saulus from Lithuania. He got a job offer in America and very quickly had to leave us on june 7:th. He had the been with us since april 17:th . Below You see a picture when he and Lärkan were preparing the foundation for the chapel.

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Oh, how much that has happened since that picture was taken one of the first days in June! Thanks to ALL our friendly helpers and glory to God!

The two Burmese ladies are here due to a cooperation we have with the unemployment bureau. But all other helpers have come here as “WWOOF-ers”.   = World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. They have choosen to come to just our farm out of the about 140 farms in Sweden that have applied to be accepted as hosts for woofers. So they contribute with their work and we provide a bed and food.

Work with wool & straw

Wool from our sheep – the dirty wool that is not good enough for felting or spinning – come in handy for this type of work. We dip in in a clay-soup; just whipped clay with water and….

…”massage” it in on the edges and on spots where different materials meet. The wool then prevents cracks in the clay plaster that is soon to be applied.

This is what it looks like when dried. Hopefully it will all dry before the clay plastering tomorrow!

 

In some small gaps where it is impossible to intertwain bushweed we put straw that we have “impregnated” with clay soup. Here Pierre is atttching a piece of bord so that he can press more wet straw into the little gap. As soon as the straw is in place we take the board away.

Here the third upper gap is filled. And look: today even the Altar window got in its place!

Also the entrance door and the two side windows are now in place! We choosed a wider door than the one we were thinking about the other day. With this door in place even a person in wheelchair can enter the chapel.

 

 

 

 

The rod/walking stick

Here our friendly wwoofer from Germany, Sasha, is holding a walking stick – the kind of rods that the whole little chapel is built up by.

I had a look in a book about religious symbols… and guess what?! The symbol of  St. Joseph is just that: a rod! And here is why; accoring to that history is says that when Maria  –  The Mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ – was twelve years old the priests called for representatives of all of the linages of Davids house. They were all to bring a walking stick. The Lord was to show by a sign with the stick who was to be the future husband of the young Maria. Only the stick that belonged to Joseph showed the sign: green leaves bursting out on the stick after it had been in the temple. According to this book it says that Joseph did not want to accept… He thought he was to old and Maria too young. He had been married before and had already children from that marriage.  But the prists insisted and said he had to accept this as a sign from God. So he accepted.

The walls are taking shape more for each day!

Here Ronan from France and Max from Hong Kong are intertwaining rods for another wall.

Intertwaining bushweed to be “core” of walls

Clearing the bushweed nearby is a good thing!

Using it to build with is even better!

All small branches are cut off.

Above  Sacha from Germany is cutting, and below Eh-Htoo from Burma is producing “salad” for the sheep : )

The sheep are happy to be served so much “salad” .

Above Gianna from Germany and Italy together with Max from Hong Cong are serving more salad!

Over and over again we have to get new bushweed.

Together we intertwain the branches of the bushweed to become the inner core of the walls. Eh-Htoo and Three Day both from Burma are enjoying the work of intertwaining. They have been building with bamboo previous in their lives.

Gianna uses the little saw to fit small branches perfectly in place.

Still some walls to be prepared…  We sense that the process is blessed and goes on steadily… today it is one week since the blessed visit of His Eminence Bishop Cyprian, the blessing for the chapel and the start of our building process. In cheerful companionship a lot has been accomplished already!

“Sceleton”


From the local sawmill we got some material, the dark ones even for free!

My husband is working with making the “sceleton” of the little chapel right.

Here we have a discussion about using this narrow door or not…

THE START

Bishop Cyprian of Oreoi, from Athens, blessing the foundation on wich the chapel is to be built.

 

His Eminence had brought invaluable gifts: four stones from The Holy Land. He inserted them one after the other in the foundation. I regret not having taken photos of the stones before they were put in … but I was more occupied with experiencing the moment than thinking of documentation – as often in the most memorable moments of our lives  : )

 

In the afternoon we started with the construction. Laurentius, my husband,  called “Lärkan”, and our three helpers for the time being: Max from Hong Cong, Ronan and Pierre from France. Here rising one of the eight loadbearing pillars.