Our story in pictures

The story is this:
Jeppe and I first time met when we were teenagers. Many years later we reconnected and it didn´t take us long to get married (two months).
I had 3 children from previous marriage  and soon we added a fourth to the bundle. From there on things got crazy.
“Normal life” had us screaming and shouting and crying and trembling- so one day we decided to run.
And ran we did.
Into the wild.

bowandarrow

We ran to a little cabin in the woods called “Svensäter”. We had made an arrangement with the owner of the land- to live in that little cabin while we built ourselves a new one. From the ground. Out of natural materials.

Building a shelter seems to be the most basic of all human needs. We wanted to reconnect with the most basic of all human needs.

jo

To do so we needed help. Someone to teach us the stuff you don´t learn in school. His name is Jo but we called him Captain. He lived 10 years in a tipi in these woods, as a wild man.
We reached out online- he grabbed our hands and he helped us. We owe him much.
He became our neighbour. He lived on a small farm nearby. Our vision was to create a community of families living in the forest, helping each other.

isjovttøj

It was a time of great optimism and joy.

first freedomWe felt free. And unafraid.

bythefire

Every evening turned into nights around the fireplace. We were talking. As a family, for the first time, really talking.
We talked a lot about society and the life we had before.
Those were magic nights!

settelerlife

We wanted a garden, we wanted to grow most of our own food. Allthough Svensäter was a beautiful place, located in a river valley, surrounded by mountains from where the wolves did howl (I kid you not) – we soon came to realize that the soil in the Swedish forest is not at all like Denmark.
We learned that you must grow soil just as much as you must grow vegetables. We learned about forest farming, permaculture and hugelkultur raised beds.

firstcrops

These were our first crops. They were very green.

atbadelillebror

Our relations changed. The kids were not just kids, their efford mattered. We depended on their help.
They grew. They took care of each other.
I will, to this day, claim that children needs to be needed and that what we did changed their life to the better.

BILLEDERFØRSTETOMÅNEDER 1225

And what he did changed his life to the better.

efterårssol

Slowly a house began to emerge from the forest floor.

hero

We were heroes.
But also, underneath all of this – a growing crisis. Who are we, what have we done, is this even allowed? We dealt with the past. And the present. And the future. In a way this experience was a full blown family therapy session that lasted for a whole year. It was very intense.

autumnlaundry

We had to figure out new ways of doing everything. The dustman don´t come to the forest, what to do with the trash? And the laundry? I washed it in the river and it took forever…. and then came autumn.

mor,mindste og mindste

Everything became wet and foggy and cold. We had to hurry. Soon winter would come and 6 people living in Svensäter did seem quite unrealistic.

girlpower

My sister came and lived with us for a couple of months. Everybody worked on the house. We had to get it done! (this is my sister and my daughter and some girlpower!)

community

And the people of the forest came to help us too.

snow

Winter came. We lost morale. It was time to face some hard realizations. Friendships were put to a test.

cold

Minus 25 degrees celcius. Six people at Svensäter. People from the forest would come to our place for coffee and cake. Every day.

We felt that we had to choose. Family first.
We decided to move. We left Svensäter and gave the almost finished building to the community.
Svensäter continues to be a place for many people. A portal into the parallel world of the forest.

takingasmoke

It was hard to walk away. One of the hardest thing we´ve ever done.

In the midst of the hardest winter, on a dark cold winternight we had a family meeting. We decided to stay in Sweden and continue this lifestyle. But we would find another place that suited our needs better. Somewhere with better soil. Somewhere that was not the center of a community. Somewhere not quite as harsh.

We decided to enroll the kids in school. We decided to get electricity. We decided to get internet. We decided that we needed more space.

jævndøgn2

Our neighbours (hence forward called “the angels”) let us live in their guesthouse for a little while. We needed to regroup.
As the ice on the lake slowly began to melt (you have to listen to this. It is so beautiful!) we found our friendships again, we found each other again, we found…

they found cabins

an abandoned cabin the woods. And a barn.  Facing south.
We were inspired…

spring and trees

… to begin again.
We would take down the cabin and the barn and use whatever material that wasn´t rotten. We would build ourselves a home.

DSCF6073

He cut down trees and worked very hard- but he also remembered what raw experience had taught us. You cannot work too hard. You cannot drive yourself off the cliff.

soweto trailer park

Friends gave us two trailers and we created a trailerpark to live in, while we took down the old houses.

our outdoor kitchen the forest can be a jungle

We had a gypsy home in the middle of the jungle.

to dismantle the old cabin

And the work began.

still taking care of the little one

Same procedure as last year.

we made a sign

A new era began. We were better. We knew more. We had learned from experience.

everybodys helping

Everybody was in it together.
We had established ourselves in the forest and connected with the broader community.The younger kids began in school and part time daycare to learn the language and get some friends (also homeschooling is illegal in Sweden). We worked according to schedule, we knew what to do.

But then two things happened.

DSCF7607

These boots were made for walking.
The twins turned 17 and it was time for them to enter High School. It was important for them to meet new friends so we enrolled them in a boarding school system they have here in Sweden. A “Folkhögskola”. They would only be home on the weekends.

mommy sick on the couch

I became very sick and had to undergo major surgery (removal of my uterus among other things). This completely immobilized me and I was tied to the couch. Getting a solar panel allowed me to be online and write some.

i got sick but we were happy

We advertised for help- and we got it. Our first “wilderness au pair” was the fabulous Christina. Then came Ann-Sophie and Mikkel, then Pernille and then Josephine. Thank you SOOOO much for your help!!!
Our neighbourgs also came one day, bringing with them a team of woofers (Willing Woorkers On Organic Farms).

motherinlaw

Mother in law also came. Later she kindly donated money for rockwool insulation. We wouldn´t be here without her.

my daddy is building a house

Meanwhile all these changes, people coming and going, sickness and sunshine… little Sigurd grew and a house grew behind him.

entrance

roof

We used scrap material and everything we could find. As soon as the roof was on we moved in. That night, the first night….

lighting the fire for the first time

…and the first time we lit the fire…

wow.

This house in now our home. This is where we live.
We taught our children to do things themselves, we taught them teamwork, we taught them how to overcome stuff and we taught them to be proud.
I´m proud.

Here´s some pictures from our house.

15 thoughts on “Our story in pictures

  1. Sidder m tårer i øjnene over din smukke beskrivelse af jeres liv. Tillykke med jeres beslutning om at leve livet som i gør. Det er meget inspirerede! Alt muligt held og lykke fremover til dig og din seje familie! Kh Signe

    Like

    1. Thanks you. Yes I have more or less. Having trouble accepting that I can´t do all that I want to do, that I don´t have the muscle or the energy, that I´m getting older. The body is a strange phenomenon. Jusst getting to know if after all those years as a head 😉

      Like

  2. Jeg er rørt til tårer. Smukt Andrea.
    Sidder ved min egen brændeovn og funderer over livet.
    Har fået kendskab til din bog og dermed denne blog fra en gammel klassekammerat på Østfyn.

    Glædelig jul
    Susanne

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    1. I think you just have to wait for the page to load, alternatively try to reload. It should work, havn´t heard this problem reported before. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I stumbled across this via the “Dark Mountain” blog and I’m glad I did! You’ve shown that it is indeed possible to disengage from mainstream, western, consumer led society and connect with each other and the landscape around you, in a fulfilling and soul satisfying way. I hope that many others are inspired by what you have done, to re-connect with their own landscapes and elemental selves.

    Beannachd Leibh. 🙂

    Like

  4. Jeg har lige læst din bog, og kunne virkelig godt lide den. En af de tanker jeg sad tilbage med var at du altså har nogle fantastiske børn! De lyder til at være noget helt særligt, dem kan du godt være stolt af!

    Efter at jeg havde læst bogen fandt jeg din blog (Elsker billederne af huset indefra, hvor ser det hyggeligt ud), og det var som at læse bog nummer to. (Den kunne du da godt have skrevet 🙂 ) Og så endda med illustrationer.

    Angående billedstørrelsen som en anden læser kommenterer: Jeg kan også kun se små billeder i dette indlæg. Hvis jeg klikker på dem kommer jeg videre til en side hvor jeg kun ser billedet, men stadig i lille størrelse. Når jeg så klikker på det endnu en gang bliver det stort.

    Held og lykke med jeres videre liv. 🙂

    Like

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