Rain, rain and rain

OH, how much it has rained this summer… It is so hard to get the clay walls dry… and now the temporary tarpaulin roof is blowing a bit this way and that…

Today we finally was hoping to go and get some roof trusses, but NO… impossible in the pouring rain.

But anyhow we made a few hours working in the chapel today: with the coffe jar windows. Here Threeday from Burma is putting some clay mixture around the recycled jars:

Aurelie who has been wwoof-ing with us for two weeks,  today with perfection put a nice clay cover to one of  the coffe windows.

Tomorrow Aurelie will leave and go back to France.

All other wwoof-ers  – except Vincent – also has left according to their plans and our agreements. We are very happy that Vincent will stay with us yet another month and a half. He is helping with all sorts of things, not only working with his hands but also doing quite some planning and “figuring out” different things and how they should be done…

We hope for some more help soon, one or two wwoof-ers/work-away-ers as soon as possible to become our new friends and companions… because we really need to be several persons – and preferably helpers with carpenters experiences. Autumn is coming soon and we really need to have a waterproof and snow-bearing roof on the chapel before mid october.

We hope that St. Joseph himself will help us get in contact with the right person or persons to arrive as soon as possible!


Cracks and thick layer not dry jet

This whole week we could not work in the chapel. The thick layer that we put on lately has not dried jet. It is a very rainy summe so it is a lot of humidity in the air…

How do I know it is not dry jet? Yes: look:


Of course there are som grains still in the straw that we use for arming. And since the clay mixture is somewhat wet when we put it on the wall the grain gets water enough to sprout!  : )

Another sprout, but one that has not been exposed to so much sunlight:



We have to wait until the walls are DRY until continuing. And how do we know they are dry? Well the sprouts will wither and fall off!

Also unfortunately on some sports a lot of cracks has occured. We have to wait until the wall is totally dry before trying to mend. If we mend before it is dry the cracks will just come back.


It is a good thing that we have a lot of other things to do too! so this week we have been working in the hens house and in the new stable for the sheep. I long to get back to work in the chapel. Hopefully tomorrow we will go to the Timber Yard for trusses : )

Meeting about roof trusses

Now we have had a meeting with a man from our little village, that knows a lot about building roofs. He has listened to our plans and has given some good advices.

We plan to start the building of trusses by the end of next week. But before that still some planning has to be done. At least now we have got information about recommended thickness on beams and other essential matters…

Inside is getting shaped concave

This whole week we have worked a lot with the next layer of clay mixture on he inside of the chapel.

Look how nicely shaped it is starting to become:

Océane and Fransesc has also made a great job in the tiny entrance room of the chapel:

In addition to other work done, Vincent this week has worked a lot with preparing for the fireplace, preparing the walls so that we soon can attache  a fireproof material. Of course the clay is not easily burning, but still… precautions has to be taken. And naturally we follow the instructions of the Fire Inspector a few weeks ago. Here Vincent is preparing the wall so that the special board later can be put in place, but first the wall has to be flat and DRY..

New layer growing with the help of new wwoof-ers

Now it is time for more claymixture on the inside, to start to get the surface more even. And thank God, last week some to us new, “additional” wwoof-ers called and asked to be accepted here with us. They were already in Sweden and were eager to arrive in a few days. Last night they arrived, Jeremy and Thibaud, and today we have had a long nice working day!

After we had blended a nice big batch it today was time to really get going with the inner surface of the walls in the chapel.

We are moving forward from this (above) type of surface to the following.

Already last week, when Katharina from Germany was still with us, we prepared for this next step by “massaging” cocoa-net into the walls on some specific surfaces. For example on all the beams.

And look what we have accomplished today!

It is not completed jet, but coming : ) And thanks to the blessing of being several workers today, we are progressing quickly  : )

Threeday has also continued to work with fastening the coffee jars in the windows.

The icon of St. Joseph

I have received questions about the icon that is the background of this whole blog. The Icon of St. Joseph. Of course I since long have thought that one day I will blog about this icon – so now as I have got the question about it, it is a very good time.

Long ago, in the mid seventies until late eighties, I often visited “St. Davidsgården” on “Berget” in Rättvik, Dalecarlia, Sweden. Berget is a Christian community that seek to promote spiritual deepening, and serves within the Church of Sweden (Lutheran). By that time I was quite active within the Swedish Lutheran church. I attended several retreats, courses in Christian meditation, worships and services on Berget until the late eighties when I came in contact with the Orthodox Church.

One time, maybe 1986 or so, I had brought my eldest son, then about 7 years old,  to a parent and child retreat/course. There were well planned activities for the youngsters while we parents that attended the course, in another house had a couple of silent hours of meditation over a certain bible text or so. On one such occasion the youngsters were offered to choose among postcards with printed icons and to produce their own icon by gluing their chosen postcard on a little thin piece of wood that they first sanded for a while. My son then picked just that picture and glued it on the piece of raw wood. Ever since he showed it to me I have loved that icon.

Moreover that was the first icon that came into our home! Of course I had seen icons in some churches. But icons are not as common in Sweden overall, neighter in the Swedish church, nor in free or independent churches in Sweden as in Orthodox or Catholic traditions. Nowadays though, icons tend to be more frequent also within the Swedish Lutheran church than previously.  Anyhow, that postcard, glued on a simple piece of thin wood from a simple fruit box was  the first icon to find its way into my life. The boy, my son, since long has moved away from our household, and nowadays being a well trained and developed esthete, he probably thought that that simple handicraft was nothing for him to bring into his own home. So it was left with me.

That icon has followed me ever since. Christian Orthodox believers often say that icons are windows between heaven and here. So maybe it was St. Joseph himself who in this way, through this simple postcard-icon, attracted me to Orthodoxy even if I myself have been thinking of totally other things as the reason or circumstances that brought me in contact with Orthodoxy = )

Angles rectified

When we have not been working UNDER the beams in the ceiling, my husband Lärkan finally had the chance to correct some strange angles of the crossing beams that connects the upper parts of the walls and will be the foundation of the roof. For a long time he has wanted to do that but not dared to do it when we were under …

How come they were strangely and not put up totally parallell from the beginning? Because they were put up during POURING RAIN and while a heavy plastic tarpaulin was pressing down Lärkans head and hands with tools while he was trying to fasten these heavy beams to hold the temporary roof construction in place!

Now he could loosen long screws, and fix the angles in a better way!

We hope to soon be able to start working with the roof. But first some more clay work next week!


When I first published this blogpost I had wrongly spelled angles as angels. There are some difficulties for me blogging in a language that is not my mother tongue…   Luckily I got the comment from an Orthodox Father pointing out that it was not wise that my husband tried to rectify ANGELS!  As he pointed out  ” they are mightily powerful creatures and may not like a mere human trying to rectify them!”

 So now I have corrected my silly misspelling : ) 

More building material needed

For several days now we have blended, produced and used a lot of clay mixture.

One thing that has to be done in connection to preparing each batch is to sit down and do some preparations together. That part of the preparation is not a hard work, rather it gives the possibility of relaxed chat together for a little while:

But what is it that we do together?

Dispersing horse manure!  That is one of the important ingredients in the mixture!  It contributes some arming but also enzymas that help the plaster to stick nicely to the surface.

But now, as Fransesc pointed out, we have to do something else for a few days so the horses can catch up on producing in the pace that we need the building material! So, now for a few days: no more blending of mixture or clay work! Other things to be accomplished!

Top of walls over windows

Now we have had the chance to close more holes in the walls. The upper part of the walls on the long sides of the little chapel over the “coffee-windows”

First my husband, Lärkan, drilled some holes for sturdy rods:

Then the wwoof-ers intertwained bushweed that they had cut down in the close surroundings:

After that they clay plastered the sticks. Now it is only the holes in the coffe-windows that still has to be filled. I hope one day soon we will fix that.

Next layer on the outside

Now all clay from the previous, first layer on the rods has dried and we had the time to fill out irregularities and roughness on the outer surface of the chapel. As I showed some days ago, this is how it looked – very un-smooth and irregular:


After a couple of days work of our kind wwoof-ers and myself the result is like this:


At least ONE little step closer to the expected final appearance, but there are several more steps to be taken… in due time… But as always in life: ONE step at a time : )