Day of many blessings

Today we thought would possibly be the day with the mildest temperature in a long time. The weather forecast had announced plus 4 degrees Celsius. So, we thought that this would be the most suitable day for trying to get the dome in place. I have been a bit nervous about that “adventure” but it had to be done before the winter.

When the morning came today it was truly the warmest day in a long time. The snow and ice that had been on the ground for a couple of weeks had melted! It had been a warm night, but also windy. That of course had helped the snow and ice to melt. And oh, was it windy!

As I just wrote I have been a bit nervous for the adventure of getting the Christ Pantocrator and especially the big dome up to the top of the lantern. Since the roof is steep and it is rather high up, about 6 meters. We had investigated different ways of getting the dome up, but not found farmers with tractors with “arms” to lift high enough, so we were back to manual labour. And of course that has risks… We had asked a few persons to pray for this task today, so I knew that there were a few praying persons remembering us today. Encouraging and comforting, but still…  Also during this last night at times I was awake and thinking about the risks of falling down… Then in the early morning when I read the texts for today, I noticed that in addition to this being the day when we venerate St. Gregory Palamas, it was also the day of St. Philip, one of the twelve apostles. I rejoiced! Because I thought of the text in Acts 6 when Philip was directed to the Ethiopian eunuch in the desert… After the task he was there to accomplish Philip was suddenly “lifted” away, to a totally other location. I found so much comfort in this, because it reminded me that our Lord who could lift Philip to another city in seconds could of course also hold my husband Lärkan and Bertil “in place” on the steep roof. So, comforted I set off for the day. Of course we also prayed to St Joseph himself to help us with this “detail” on the chapel to venerate him….

But after some preparations, we noticed that it was really windy. Our helper Bertil, that we had “called in” for the task, told us that he had checked on his trip to our place… it was wind velocity 14 meters per second… Quite windy…  With tears in my eyes I made a short prayer that the wind would calm down in a while. You can imagine my joy when in a short while it did. I was happy and felt  – again – comforted! My eyes filled with tears again, but this time tears of joy and thankfulness.

Then we started:

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My husband, Lärkan, climbed up and unscrewed the lexan-plastic that had protected the hole on top of the lantern. Our friend  Bertil who we have hired many times for special tasks, carried the board with the icon up to the chapel.

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Then Lärkan took the board with the icon and brought it up to the lantern.

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He got it in place and reinforced with glue, wooden plugs and screws. Then it was time for lunch break. After lunch the wind was still calm, even calmer. Thank God!

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A stand was prepared to make it easier to get the dome up. Here Lärkan is thinking of how to proceed… Look how we did it:

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Here Karim, who is on an internship with us, is helping out from the right. Bertil is pushing from below and Lärkan struggling with pulling the dome upwards…

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Here You se how Lärkan is clinging to the dome from the upside. Bertil has climbed up the ladder too. Karim is helping to hold it too. It took a while to get it up…

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Then, finally we succeeded. In the front on the picture above is myself, now also up on the roof to help lift the dome in place. But shortly before this moment, when the three of us were lifting the dome up from the steep slope and Lärkan was standing  “behind” the lantern: himself, Bertil and I lifted it and we all pushed to get the dome in place up on top of the lantern, then Lärkan had a scary moment: he came out of balance and felt he was almost falling backwards… Probably there were angels holding him upright then… just as when by the grace of God Philip was lifted….  Another reason to thank! So many blessings today! But I can assure You that after this adventure we are tired. When the sun set – now at 3 o´clock in the afternoon  – this was the view looking up hill:

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A rather perfected sight I think!  I am so thankful for all the blessings that we have experienced this day, even a few more than I have told here.

Visit from a dear volunteer from last year

This weekend we had the joy of meeting again one of our dear volunteers from last year; Océane from France. She arrived in July and stayed with us about seven weeks last summer.

During her visit last year, that was her first to Sweden, she “fell in love with Sweden” and this spring/summer she applied to have part of her Masters degree studies in Uppsala which she was luckily granted. So this whole semester she has been studying in Uppsala and this weekend she payed us a visit. We had so much to talk about, and long strolls over our piece of land for hours… she wanted to see all the progress since last summer… So not until late Sunday afternoon when the sun was already setting I came to think of that I wanted to have a photo of her in front of the chapel.

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Look at some memories of what Océane contributed with last year:

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Above working on maybe the second rather rough layer on walls inside the chapel, under a tarpaulin. Below she is covering meetings of materials with sheep wool dipped in clay soup to prohibit cracks in coming layers.

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Below, with Marjo and Vincent at the claymixer-machine, getting a full load in the wheel barrow to continue building walls

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And some weeks later making a nice surface on the inside wall below the “Coffee-windows” (above). In addition to all hours, days, weeks of work that Océane poured into the chapel she also helped out with  the building of the hen house and other projects that we were working on at that time last year.

Nice memories, and this year as we all know the efforts are starting to pay off even more… when we look at the “state” of the tiny chapel this fall. Thanks again Océane for all Your contributions, Your joyful spirit and good companionship!

Winter is coming

It has been many days since I wrote a blogpost the last time. Everything up here in the north goes slower when the cold is coming… On this little farm we have many things to prepare before winter is here for real. We have been blessed with many days in november with mild temperatures. Most nights it is freezing but many days have been sunny and rather nice, with mild temperature. But the days are short. The sun rises 8 o´clock in the morning now, and sets at 3 in the afternoon. So the dark evenings are long…  and many hours when no work can be done outdoors. (And the days will continue to get shorter and shorter until it “turns” in late December.) And since our bodies adjust to the “pace” of our location we are slower and much more tired than in the summertime when the long light days and nights gives us extra energy. Now it is time for “hibernation”  : ) But that will only be the case for some animals… for example the bear that goes into hibernation at the right slope of the slope across our little valley. But for us humans anyhow shorter working days and work at a lower tempo, and tiredness… It is impossible to fight that “instinct” when living in the countryside like this.

Anyhow, we have been blessed with  – as I said – many days with mild weather, and the energy to prepare some more at the chapel. For example this:

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Karim from Irak – who is on an internship with us right now –  climbed the ladder inside the tiny chapel with all the eight windows  – one at a time – and handed them over to Marjo up in the “ceiling”:

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Marjo lifted them carefully up through the hole in the roof.

And out there, on the steep and a bit slippery roof  Lärkan was waiting

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He fastened every window, one at a time in the perfectly prepared slot for each one. With glue and thin planks, to unify them to the lantern: The beautiful construction that Jonny has prepared as a gift to St. Joseph was finally put in place. Oh, what joy to see that step been taken. A “milestone” in the building process.

Last friday was another milestone: the onion-dome arrived! Delivered by Eric and Kjell.

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Eric had shaped the dome carefully in Kjell´s workshop. It had taken Eric about a month longer than he  – and we  – planned to get the dome ready. And when it arrived to us last friday the resin was not dry, not the paint either. But Eric was forced to deliver – since he was leaving for the U.S. And he won´t be back until march 2014 or so… So we just placed the dome in the best place we could find outdoors… Because it is far to big to pass through a door, so we could not take it in anywhere. Thank God for sunny hours many days even though most nights have been freezing…  And, some days later, finally the resin dried. But we were a bit worried about some spots that felt soft and with holes. The latter few days Lärkan has mended and sanded.

Notice the snow on the ground! Today was the first day that the snow that fell did not go away after a little while. It remained on the ground the whole day, even though it is not a thick layer so far..

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And today:

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I finally could cover the “garlic-dome” with another thick layer of the paint we trust to make the fiberglass totally waterproof. But we are a bit worried about the conditions for the paint to dry… May God grant us that it will dry quickly…. so we can climb up the ladders outside the chapel to the top of the roof and attach the dome at the top of the lantern before it is too dangerous with ice on ladders and roof… And may He also bless us with sturdy feet and strength to carry the dome up the ladders and balance it without anyone falling down…

Before carrying it up there, of course the Christ Pantocrator icon will be fixed under the dome. One step at a time… Now first; the paint has to dry – despite the cold weather! Oh, Lord, please….

Finally Christ is glued

Our friend Eric, who a few kilometers from here has been sculpturing the union dome ran out of material. He had to order more resin and glass fibre,  and then he had to go abroad for a planned trip, therefore we got delayed.

He is now back, and working again. He now has some problems keeping the warmth up in their workshop in order to let the materials dry….  The last picture I got over the mail was really nice.

However I smile when i see it; it looks like a GARLIC DOME more than a union dome : ) But it will be so pretty on top of the chapel!  I can´t wait to see it… hopefully in a few days.

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While waiting for the dome to be delivered – waterproof and painted – we try to use the time. Lärkan has prepared some more on the roof; some more details of the “foundation” for the windows.

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And, yesterday we finally, after some extra prayers, dared to glue the icon Christ Pantocrator to the board that is going to be attached UNDER the dome before we lift it in place.

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We measured well and several times over before glueing. And finally there were only some small corrections to be done:

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Now it has also got a thin layer of varnish.

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