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Organize, organize (thunderboy´s work table)


Organize, organize (the seedlings)


Organize, organize (the pantry, last of the foraged mushrooms, last of the dried leeks- we dry a lot of our food)


Organize, organize (a new shelf for baking ingredients)


Organize, organize…. thoughts, words, past, present, random order, sketches (we cancelled the easter course and decided to write a book instead, this one will be a practical one (but I still think you should buy the emotional one… about our first year in the forest)

I want to show you something

I saw this clip the other day and it just stayed with me. The look in her eyes. His determination. The dynamics. The trying to communicate a deeply personal experience, the small, dark space of the yurt and the fact that the modern comfort you´ll miss the most is the light bulbs (it really is!)

What I see in the eyes and in the determination is hurt and doubt and I RECOGNIZE that.
A bittersweet recognition of people in the midst of a battle.

First year we lived in 16 square meters through winter (while building our first log cabin). Six people.

Second year we lived in two trailers, our kitchen and living room under some bended roofing sheets. We called it “Soweto Paradise” (on the good days) and we lived there while building our second log cabin (here´s our story in pictures)

First year we didn´t make it before winter, we ran out of time, we couldn´t finish the log cabin and thus had to stay in that 16 square meter shed. Alone. In the wild. In the dark.
Second year we barely made it. We just made it. It was close. Working night and day, heating up the trailers by candlelight, eating porrige out of the same old bowl, it was tough… but we made it. We moved into this cabin late november.

Again: the dark… the cold… the incomprehensible amount of work that needed to be done before we could … exhale.

The third winter felt like PTSD.

This is the fourth winter.
The fourth winter has been all right. I mean; we didn´t die.
We always die.
In the winters.

As spring unfolded we began to CLEAN UP THE MESS. Living like pioneers ain´t pretty, the first pioneers who travelled to America had to live in dirt shelters for years before they could allow themselves the luxury of building a log cabin. Food first.
So no, it ain´t pretty, it´s piles of stuff lying around. Building materials. Blankets. Empty glass jars.

As we began to rake and get rid of all of the trash we felt exhilarated (this was just yesterday). As if we´re no longer running behind, as if we are no longer chasing butterflies through eternity.
Then: a second winter.

I´m telling you about the winters to contextualize my emotional response yesterday (in all honesty I DID try to look at the positive side instead of collapsing like a hybrid apple tree breed to bear more apples than it can possibly carry)

I´m also telling you about the winters to warn you.
The lifestyle ain´t pretty. It´s ALSO pretty (more pretty than anything)
It was reassuring to see that clip, it was reassuring to see that this happens to all of us… us, who TRY.
(seems as if we are more and more people opting out, trying to create more resillient homes and relations, more and more people trying to take responsibility for at least their own personal sphere)

When I saw that video I realized just how far we have come (and we don´t even have a saw mill as the couple in the video does) (and sometimes all of these shelves and generators, lego, flour and gardenplans seems like clutter too, I admit).

I know how much heat the couple in the clip will have to take from people sitting comfortable in the chairs, I know how hard they will have to work, how much they will fight… but I think both the doubt and the determination will get them through.
I hope.

We were in the process of cleaning up the white trash, we were in the midst of sorting through the past when this strange second winter hit us real hard but then again: what else can you do but to pick yourself up and begin to organize your way out of it (from the inside out), baking a cake, writing a blog post about it.

I´m sure spring will come back.

12 comments on “White trash

  1. mridler3 says:

    I really liked this blog/post. Thanks for including the video clip.
    Yes, spring will come back!


  2. Dear andrea
    What is it about the end of winter? There is an indefinable sense of instability. Muddiness and water running everywhere. Dogs shedding handfuls.
    It seems many old people die in spring (in my community anyhow), like mustering the will to live through the tough time then slumping into letting life go when things ease up.
    spring cleaning solves the lingering traces of mal-whatever in the house. spring cleaning of the psyche is chancier.
    All best,
    ~ Abigail


  3. smcasson says:

    Don’t remind me of how much organizing I have left to do… 😦
    Why did the class get cancelled? Weather? I remembered it was upcoming but didn’t want to bring it up if you didn’t first.


  4. Sorry!
    We cancelled because we didn´t have quite enough sign ups but it´s not a problem because we´ve been reluctant towards doing the courses anyways (I don´t know what it is, I don´t know why I hesitate so much, if I truly wanted to do it I would work a whole lot more to make it happen…)


  5. BeeHappee says:

    Andrea, thank you for sharing the video, enjoyed it a lot.
    Please stop with all organizing and floor cleaning posts, you are getting me depressed. 🙂
    But I always enjoy pictures of your house. Thank you for posting.


    1. Well think of it this way: this time a year I would usually use all of this energy in the garden, working really hard, my body is in “spring-mode” I need to run around! (even if I have to do it inside of the house 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ncfarmchick says:

    Any more idea on when your book will be available in English? Looking forward to reading it when possible.
    I, too, am in the midst of clearing things out and moving things around. As much as we try to minimize what comes in (have long followed the “one thing in, one thing or more out” policy), I find that things I thought essential just become less so over time. Or, really, the list of things I consider essential becomes shorter and shorter. For example, I had a small stack of magazines I had saved. Looking through them, I honestly couldn’t tell you why I saved them. Clearly, I have changed enough since originally putting those magazines aside that I don’t even recognize the appeal anymore. This realization actually makes me feel a lot better than just thinking I have too much crap.
    I love the pictures of your kitchen and the open shelves. Our next place will have those. I have entire cabinets that are empty. Ridiculous.


    1. ncfarmchick says:

      I like your title of this post, too. Coming from the South (US), it is nice to see the term “white trash” used in a positive way. (But, it may not be a particularly Southern term. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.)


      1. The trash can icon on my computer is also called “white trash” 😉


    2. The book will be out on Two Raven Press this summer and I REALLY look forward to telling you all about it! I´m exited about an english edition….


  7. I guess on an unconscious level I “got” what you were doing. Like a helpful virus. They do exist you know. Then I just got so frustrated with the glacially slow progress we’re making on our move to a new, more appropriate place. We haven’t even found it. He says “when I sell this or that”…. I was even getting angry. All of a sudden it just hit me that part of the problem is that we are absolutely anchored by all our STUFF so tonight I started on a rampage purge. I just look at stuff and say have I used this, do I plan to use this right away, can this be replaced? And I am finding all sorts of things I don’t need. I can’t make him unloose his stuff. It is big stuff like a house. But I can loose my stuff. It is a psychic purge. I want to think about the notion of being “stuck” and how that comes about.


  8. It´s incredible with stuff…. when we arrived in the woods we only brought with us what we could have in our car. Slowly, over the years, we have gathered SO much stuff (allthough we only buy second hand stuff out of principle) but I think this happened: Having lived for a long time without the most basic of all stuff (like tools- we didn´t have a proper axe!) made us into “collectors”, all kinds of weird stuff, broken windowframes, old sofaes, plastic tubes and a multitude of old school tools (most of them we don´t even know how to use). I think it was an understable reaction but the fact of the matter is that we- once again- need to get rid of all of the stuff.

    There is a man here in the woods. He always says “There is plenty in the world. Plenty of stuff!” and he always used to calm us down, there is an abundance of stuff he says, there is more stuff that one can use and the stuff that we need will come to us, like a wave, sooner or later….


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