The mudroom

Washing our clothes have always been a challenge. In the beginning I washed our clothes in the river. I now know what privilege a washing machine is and how insane it is than none of us even realises.

We don´t have a washing machine. We don´t have the power to run it. To wash our clothes we drive to the nearest little town, maybe once a month, and wash our clothes at a small laundromat.

The effects of not being able to wash our clothes (yes, we are dreaming about a homemade washing machine running on bicycle power)
1. We wear our clothes for a long time
2. We buy all of our clothes second-hand (expensive clothes, treated this way, forget it!) (also; we won´t support a rotten industry) (plus; Do we need all of that clothes? Really?)

Building our cabin have been a challenge, clearly,  not so much the actual building as all of the things that happened around us while doing so. This means that we have had to prioritize….  and clothes are pretty low on the list. For four years now we have been storing clothes in black plastic bags, under the bed or on the loft, never organised, just thrown somewhere.

It´s one of those things that makes you feel like you are in a state of survival.

It´s one of those things that makes you feel like you are… running for your life.

It´s something you  never mention, it´s a daily frustration, it complicates everything. Sigh. Deep sigh.

Now I´m going to show you something.
What I am going to show you now is holy. You probably won’t understand the implications, the story nor the absolute insane beauty of what you are going to see. But I do.

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When going to the lake for a shower you don´t have to spend half an hour looking for a towel. See? When cold, bam! it´s right there that long warm underwear!

You probably won´t understand.

So I did this book tour recently (and I want to do more also I want to connect with independent publishing houses abroad, so hook me up if you know any).

I earned some money. Clearly a lot of the money was used on the kids which let me to think a lot about my role as a parent. Now that most of them have moved away from home I think we´re supposed to be the back-up plan, I think it would be better if we hide some money in a box and bury it down by the roses.  Now that they´re out in the world money has become even more…. of a problem. Would have been better to just keep them here at home.
Anyways. The rest of the money was used on this

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It´s not finished (clearly). Needs more painting, more rugs, more shelving and I don´t know where to put the leftover building materials, never throw anything out!

This is the mud-room I have been babbling about for two years now. An extension to our cabin.

Bought the windows and the shelves second-hand but the rest of it is material bought in a store which bothered us…. for a long while we wanted to produce all of the building materials ourselves… but do you know how much time it takes to make a board? You probably don´t. We didn´t either. So. It was a question of time.
We COULD have done the materials ourselves but then the mudroom would´t be ready for another two years. And we didn´t have that time. Divorce was catching up on us… because of something so simple as clothes.
It was me.
I could´t live like that anymore. Also I could´t pee in the bushes anymore. I was tired. I was broken. I have four years of stamina in me. That´s it.
So you know what he did? He built this for me while I was away on tour.
I think it´s the most romantic thing he ever did for me.

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(it´s a toilet. It´s a real live compost toilet).
It was very sweet of him. Very, very sweet. And clever.

I want to say something about money and work now.
I worked real hard for over a month to get us the money to do this. I slept in the car and put on my fancy dress, I told you about our life here in the woods, old people, young people, I read from my book, blushing cheeks, I stood on stages, I provoked you, confronted you, I comforted you and hugged you and I embraced the fact that my core competence seems to be to make people cry. Crying is good. Crying is needed. I cried too.
And when I got home I cried even more, deep thinking, deep, deep thinking. Walking. Talking. What to do with this? How to proceed? There is also the question about money, it´s always there. How to get it. How to use it. What to make of it.

One thing though. Never in my working life have I seen such a clear connection between what I DO and what I get out of it.
Never has this relationship been so clear. Cost. Benefit. I can SEE the money that I earned, they didn´t disappear into some black hole of electricity bills, insurances or junk food because you just don´t have the energy…

I earned this. I earned to sit with my child playing with letters in my mudroom. I earned it. And I deserve it too.

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Also I love my husband. And I´m very grateful. Content even. You could say that. You could.

Thank you for coming to my speeches!

 

 

8 thoughts on “The mudroom

  1. Andrea, how beautiful! I mean your new closet, and the toilet are beautiful, and you too! You and your family amaze me. I had been wanting to comment for a long time, but the comment section kept asking to register, so I kept putting it off. Now I can. I love your stories. Love seeing your pictures, your little kid, your winter roars, your spirit, your tipi. Thanks for sharing rye bread recipe. I live in US, but come from Lithuania, right across the Baltic from you guys. And you cannot live there without Rye Bread. I toyed with some recipes, but never achieved anything like what you can get at a Lithuanian bakery. My sister traveled across the Atlantic with her sourdough jar back and forth, probably upsetting some customs people, but I managed to kill it. . Will have to try your techniques. Otherwise I end up whipping up the package of dry bread mix you buy at IKEA with some nuts and seeds added to it, which believe it or not still tastes better than American store bought bread.
    Anyway. I cannot wait for your book to come out in English. What is the timing on that and where can we get it?
    My kids are 25% Norwegian and 50% Lithuanian, so I feel like one day, God willing, we will get back to our Baltic roots, and maybe, just maybe we will be neighbors in your Swedish forest. You said there were some empty lots, right? 🙂 For now, farvel min ven. Love your strength!
    P.S. Although I think I have more closets than I can count, for some reason, we always end up living off one huge clothes pile. 🙂

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  2. Such a nice comment! (I changed the settings for comment, for a while I was real restrictive with it because… well, a sense of control I guess, but I´m braver now and not so afraid of what people might say 🙂

    I love the baltic! I heard that there are some real exiting things going in the Carpather mountains, lots of people moving there to live self-sufficient and off grid. We actually talked about that for a while. Such beautiful nature!
    What an incredible story with your sister and the sourdough! (you can´t kill a sourdough though, that´s the beauty of it, you just THINK you do but you can nurse it to live again). Good luck experimenting and yup, lots of empty plots here, all of the Swedes moved to America, the land of milk and honey, not a lot left (but more and more foreigners are moving here, I love that, I love that something is happening regarding the rural areas of Europe) Nice of you to comment. Hope to see you around!

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  3. I envy you because you are young and can tolerate this fairly extreme life. When I was young I lived this way. Some day I will blog about it. We lived in converted chicken houses in the woods. Now I’m too old and sick to live such ways. But it is a joy to read about yours. Such a big warrior you are! Very brave. Keep looking out for the truth. It seems you are living dharma.

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    1. Thank you.
      I´m intrigued to hear about your youth! We have a book called “in harmony with nature” it´s about families in the 70´yes who opted out and basically did what we have done too. For a long time I´ve been wanting to visit these couples who are described in the book. What happened? Where are they now? It seems to me that there are fairly much literature out there about “the establishing phase” but what about 20 years later? How does it look? How does it feel?
      I definitely think you should blog about how you experienced that life. I´d be a follower in a heartbeat! 🙂

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      1. Andrea, there are a few films on the hippie farming communities of the 70s. In prep to my home birthing I was reading a lot of material by Ina May Gaskin and the Farm. MrGaskin passed away this year but Ina is still around. TJ and others probably know much more, but Ina’s work was a life changer for me. Good to see more people going that direction. Just 10-15 years ago home birth midwives were rare here. Now my midwife is so booked they have to turn some people down. Also good to see people realise it is not all about milk and honey as you referenced USA above. Quite a few Lithuanians I know left this milk and honey land to go back to the poorer life in Lithuania developing eco communities, building mud huts, baking bread. Fake milk and honey gets sour really fast.

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        1. True dat! I know about Ina and the farm (haven´t seen the film though). Once we were visited by a renegrate midwife practising her techniques and it was absolutely fascinating to hear these birth stories! And her dedication! I cannot but respect people with such dedication.

          I wish I had known about other kinds of giving birth when I was younger. Then I would definitely not have chosen to give birth the way I had to. It was awful and I feel like a big part of my womanhood was… neglected.

          Well. But yes. You can´t change time. Happy that Ina had the effect that she had and people continue to explore these things!

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  4. Yay… Congratulations. Big and silent hoorays. On the hard work, on the money, on the stamina, on the ability to know and share that you can’t do it anymore and on the husband who gets it. I think I understand how big this is for you guys. And boy, do you deserve it… Much love from CPH.

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