Offer concerning the lantern

Last night my dear old friend Hillevi arrived together with her partner, Jonny.  After a late dinner we strolled about the little farm. Finally we, of course, also visited the chapel in its development stage.

Today when they were about to leave, the nice man, Jonny, offered to help with the construction of the window parts of the lantern : ) I hardly believed what I heard!

I have talked with several companies about ordering the windows, and possibly  also the structural elements for the lantern, but all of them had differnt reasons for not being able to do the job. And today Jonny, that runs a company, a carpentry shop, specialized in producing doors and windows with crossbars offered to prepare the upper part of the lantern.

Hard to comprehend what gifts that come upon us! Again I feel overwhelmed with gratitude… St. Joseph is probably “calling” people to contribute to the completion of the chapel  = )   THANK YOU!  And Jonny: THANK YOU! I think I still have not grasped what You have offered to prepare!

Maybe the windows will look something like this around the lantern, the highest part of the future roof:

Now I will soon have to make drawings and discuss with Jonny through mail and telephone about possible designs!


Back to the chapel

NOW, finally, the first layer of clay mixture – that we put on a few weeks ago with the help of our previous wwoof-ers –  has dried. So now it is time for preparations for the NEXT layer!

Since clay shrink when it dries, and we really want this to be a firmly build little house, we “bridge” cracks and “edges” with wool dipped in clay.

Here You see our new young wwoof-ers sealing cracks:

New woofers have arrived

When the previous wwoof-ers had left and we were to have a few days on our own, my husband Lärkan took down the flags that we had had on ur front porch.

Again, it might be good that I mention the meaning of the abbreviation “WWOOF”. It is short for  “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”. When this organisation started, way back in 1971 the letters was short for Working Weekends on Organic Farms. It started outside of London, but through the years the idea of exchange and mutual value for hosts and volonteers has grown over the world. In the year of 2007 it was about 50 000 volunteers that through this non profit organisation found farms to go to and learn some about farming,  keeping animals or just having a break from their regualar life.  The amount of persons interested in wwoof-ing has continued to grow. And for farmers it is a wonderful opportunity to meet people from different parts of the world and also get help around the farm.  In Sweden this summer we are about 150 farms that are open to volunteers. My husband and I were happy to be approved as a host farm in February this year, and many potential wwoof-ers have communicated with us.

We have been very happy and thankful for all the encounters we already have had with nice and kind persons that   have visited us this summer. And as You have seen on previous blogposts we have recieved tremendous help from them all! And moreover we are very happy that THEY have been pleased with their experience of staying with us.

Now our new future friends and co-workers for a few weeks have arrived:

It is Océane from France, Franscesc from Spain in the rear, and Vincent from France.

Their first few days here we did actually NOT work on the chapel, but in the future house for HEN. I had arranged a course with a very good teacher in clay building.  The subject of the course was to lay a floor of clay. I and several others wanted to learn this, and so the new wwoof-ers! We had a few intensive course days. Here we are gathered by the blending machine discussing a certain mixture.

Below Marcus, one of the participants of the course,  captured me putting straw into the mixture I just was preparing:

Thinking about the angle of the roof

This week – with not so much physical work on the chapel – I have time for some reflections about issues that we will have to know our intensions for in a month or so…One of the most important is: WHAT angle to choose on the roof.

Of course I made drawings many months ago. BUT then I was counting on recycling one specific, slightly bended glulam beam (that we had planned to split in two lengthwise)  That beam was, and still is, offered here in our little village. But, I have come to think that I am not as interested of that certain beam anymore…   Now I have the possibility of changing my plans. I think I would like to make the roof a little higher, with steeper angle, than I had previously planned for.

How much higher? And why a different angle than I had previously thought of?  For the harmony of the architecture of course, but also for stability… In Sweden the masses of snow can be very big some years. Our first winter on this  location, two and a half years ago, the first snow fell on November 7:th and stayed on the ground. The last piles melted in late april. A lot of snow fell: more than 6.85 meters of snow during that winter.. ^^ . Packed that amount of snow  measured about 1,5 meters… That is some weight for a roof to carry… or if possible having the angle so that most of it falls off!

The little model I made last night  is NOT ment to reflect any of the expected beauty of the building : ) It is solely a simple and visual possibility for me to twist and turn on possible angles of the roof  : D

Something like this is what I think of now.

The little glass jar on top is to symbolize the lantern that in the end will crown the roof construction and let in as much day light as possible – but will of course NOT be all of glass.

Planning for a furnace

This week as You might have noticed we are not working physically on the chapel. We have a week of well needed rest. However important things keep happening. For example today we had the  – long longed for  – visit of a fire safety inspector who is also a chimney sweeper master.  Oh, how good to be able to ask all questions that had piled in my head:  How to do this, how to make sure that this is not happening.. how to…. ?

About here the fireplace is to be situated : )

After the planning in the chapel, the kind man, Ragnar, sat down at our kitchen table and made drawings to help us remember the technical instructions : )  Oh, how nice… One burden less to ponder on !

No more clay

The building process is getting well along. As You have seen. I like to think it is due to the blessing of His Grace Bishop Cyprian and the monitoring of Saint Joseph himself…

Although, the pile of clay that we have been relying to had almost come to an end. What to do?

Then I asked for help from our neighbor Kjell. He happend to have his huge digging machine  at home. Usually the machine stays on some remote building site… But right now it was at home. The kind man came and dug away some soil and found good blue clay under it. He gave his time and effort and use of his machine without any expectations on payment . So yet another gift!  THANK YOU!

Now we are set again!

Windows in place, glass wall growing, last wwoof-ers for this period left

Oh, how many hours of handiwork with precision Gianna has contributed with! Finally friday afternoon she and her husband Sasha carried the second big window up to the chapel:

Sasha put it in place:

Through the cooffe-jar-glass Gianna looks like a queen with the crown on her head!

For her to be crowned for this work is really appropriate!

Sacha is checking if there will be a possibility to look at the view through these windows:

I think NOT!

But as I have said many times:  this little house is situated where the view IS NICE but in this house ones gaze should rather be directed inwards and upwards than outwards : )

The latter few days I have been walling the glass blocks we received from Olle and Gudrun. They now have shaped the lower part of the wall that will divide the “entrance room” from the “church room”.

And this is how high it became. Only two blocks are not used out of the amount given. Later on there will be another solution for the extension of the wall… In due time You will see…

But what is it that Sasha is measuring over there in the corner?

A tiny shelf for the tiny hallway!

And on the other side:

A minimal bench seat by the window in the direction of the sunset in west… one of the many nice and skilled actions Sascha has contributed with!

We together designed the bench and shelf so that they are minimal and do not “steel” space in the tiny entrance room and also have an organic shape and fit in well in the house that feels very “organic” in several respects ….  and on a foundation that is shaped oval – like a kiwi fruit!

In a few weeks the inner edges of the shelf and bench will be embedded in the second layer of clay plaster.

And as her final action Gianna prepared for the window that later on will be inserted above the door between the entrance room and the church room:

This saturday morning they packed their mobile home, left our little farm and went on for the last part of their two year long honey moon! I and my husband are so happy that they entrusted us with four weeks of their lives, and thankful for all the contributions they have done. May luck and happiness always follow them!

Roofing shingles

A few weeeks ago Lärkan brought down a big pine on our land. Several of us has taken turns in taking off the bark. Yesterday Lärkan cut it into smaller pieces with his chainsaw. Today was the day when the pine was to be turned into roofing shingles.

Our kind helper Janne arrived early. He, Lärkan and our son Daniel loaded as much as our little trailer could carry.

Then Lärkan and Janne drove some 40 km to a man called Hans and who owns an old fashion machine that “slices” wood into roofing shingles. It is a strong and dangerous machine so Hans wanted to run it himself. Lärkan and Janne assisted the whole day:

Finally they loaded the trailer with bundles of shingles to bring home.

Soon we will take care of the shingles and prepare them. In due time they will embellish the roof of the chapel.



Gifts, wall and church coffee

The sad news today is that our expected “friends to be” from France could not come. Due to sudden unexpected health problems in one of their families they had to cancel the whole trip.  : (     We hope they later will find their way to us.

But we also have some really good news today:

Yesterday we got an unexpected and very nice gift from Olle and Gudrun who also reside in this little village. They came here and gave us a great number of glass blocks that was unused from their own housebuilding. HOW NICE! Then these glass blocks will form the lower part of the wall between the minimal entrance room and the church space.  We had planned for the molded clay stones at the lower part of that wall, but this wil be much nicer and will let in a lot more light in. The clay stones we have produced will come in handy somewhere else!

Here Janne, who also lives in this tiny village and helps us some hours three times a week, is cleaning the class blocks. What gifts we receive! Both material gifts and many helping hands of kind persons! We are grateful to all our helpers and to our loving Lord.

Another gift is that we were allowed to pick – for free – is “leftovers” from the tumbstone masonery nearby. Here Sascha is checking all the stones to see wich ones would suit the best as foundation for the wall.

Here the wall will be aligned:

And Sascha starts the preparations:

Also today came the great day when Gianna had finished all the preparations of the first “jar-window”. Proudly she presents it!  Oh, how many hours of work she has put in! Fantastic!

After I had worked a couple of hours putting in cement around the jars it looked like this:

It was impossible to put in more cement today. We have to wait until tomorrow so this first parts will dry before continuing.  I had chosen to put in cement and not clay for this part. I have heard that some persons with rich experience from clay building have had problems with glass jars in clay that got loose after some rainy periods… And I did not want that. I probably will put clay on the cement later, but the cement will hopefully keep the jars in perfect place no matter if rain hits! Not as environmental friendly with cement as clay, but…

Now it is time for some coffee:

In many churches it is an appreciated habit to have church coffee… mostly after the service. But in this tiny chapel one might say that we will have church coffee ALL THE TIME since the whole window is built up by old coffee jars! ; )