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You can support my general work via Patreon
and I hope you do, will.

A while ago I launched my patreon page. This was done in order to try and raise some money because for various super depressing reasons we need some extra cash right now. I´m going to keep on doing what I do no matter the financial support (since what I do is rooted in ideology and a selfish desire to express my experience of being alive) so feel no obligation or stress about it (but maybe you´ll consider buying me a metaphorical cup of coffee each month in return for the reading experience, I don´t know).
As I launched my Patreon page I asked you what you would like me to do with this space.
This blog. This soapbox of mine.
(I´m still asking you, it´s an ongoing conversation).

Recently I realised that what´s going on in Europe right now is too crazy and too dangerous to not talk about it, to not speak up, to not raise your voice, sing songs of resistance, tell stories of alternatives (fascism is rising, believe me, official elected politicians are talking about eugenics with a straight face, shots are being fired at refugees by the borders, children are drowning while trying to escape war, we´re building walls and the population is being manipulated, scared into silence, it´s happening, it´s real, it´s evil and it cant be fixed by thinking happy thoughts)
So.
I cannot close my eyes to this.
I will not.

(please remember that this blog is SITUATED. Something IS happening in the Scandinavian countries and Europe as such right now and it´s happening very fast)

When I asked you – you said that you would like to hear stories about other people who live in the forest, people who have made some of the same (moral and practical) choices as us.
I agree. I understand. I think telling stories and raising awareness about the real and factual existence of alternatives to the status qou is important so here´s a story about THE DANES.

It is a story about action. It is a story about fighting for something, insisting and manifesting it over time and it is a story about the importance of rooting ones beliefs in the real everyday mundane actions of living life.

This is Rie (Thomas is not found of having his picture taken)
Rie and Thomas are Danish like us but have been living in the  Swedish forest, a hundred kilomers north of here, for almost 20 years. They started as we did, with nothing, what they have now is something they have worked very hard for.

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I think Rie is a wise woman. I tell her things I don´t tell anyone else. We share a very intimate experience; the experience of being a woman living in the wild. She gives me good advice and when I don´t think I can go on anymore she says “Yeah, well you can”.

We are very lucky to have met Rie and Thomas. We met them via this blog.
Rie wrote me an email and we had a furious debate about whether or not it was fair to have volunteers do the dishes, Rie´s position was clear as mountain air “Everybody wants a revolution but nobody wants to do the dishes”.
I think she´s right. I also think it´s a good way to start a friendship, a little sound and furious debate never hurt anyone.
Now, as I do the dishes each morning, I THINK about doing the dishes while I do the dishes and somehow doing the dishes has become a manifestation of… something (that you have to clean up your own mess, that you have to do what needs to be done without whining about it, that dishes are equally important as building buildings. Stuff like that).

Rie and Thomas has a lot of sheep. The sheep provide them with meat as well as fur. Living a hundred kilometers north of here the winters stays for a little longer and it gets a little bit colder, furs are a valid and important asset of living like this, furs provide you with comfort and warmth, do not ever underestimate the importance of comfort and warmth.
Rie makes the furs. They have a million furs.

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Thomas has, with time, become a very skilled wood worker (I guess it´s inevitable when you live in a forest).
He builds all of their furniture and restores all of their buildings.

We visited Rie and Thomas the other day and this is the guest room where we spent the night.

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Rie and Thomas tell us that they started out just like us, with no money, with total chaos, they say it takes 17 years at least to structure life out here, I suspect they might be right.
Visiting them is always such an inspiration because it´s like getting a glimpse of what things might look like 17 years from now.
This is their kitchen and the door into their pantry (sorry for the shaking picture, I was drooling at this point, look at all that SPACE)

 

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Rie and Thomas moved into an allready existing house. They say it made all of the difference.
I know they are right, we have spendt four years building buildings now, we could have spend the time more efficiently (but I do think that we, as the personalities we are, needed to go that long, hard way). Rie and Thomas´s garden is… well, they make all of their own wine, produce all of their own food, it´s on a whole different level than us… (we´re still questioning ourselves about how much we want to be a farm, sometimes we want to stay hunters and gatherers)

 

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A common denominator for a lot of selfsufficients farms it is that they tend to have a lot of buildings, outhouses, sheds.
Living primitively like we do takes a lot of time and a lot of temper. Not to mention a lot of space. Places to butcher, places to work, places to store things. This is Rie and Thomas mainhouse (all the buildings in Sweden are red, they truly are, it´s some kind of tradition that have turned into some kind of law)

 

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Another common denominator for people living like this seems to be importance of the car- and the fact that the car will break down. A lot. (because of the off road roads)
And you wont have the money to take it to the mecanics- which is why you need a garage.

You COULD consider having a horse instead (lord knows we have consider that many times) but we live in a forest and thus have limited access to grassing acres… besides some of the machines we rely on (such as the generator or the solar panel) liberate some time and energy that would otherwise have been spent taking care of animals and so yadi yadi…

Most of us rely to a greater or lesser extend on machines, it´s not something we talk about a lot ( I know I don´t… like to talk about it, because machines make me dependent) but the machines will need tending to.
Hence a good garage is really necessary  (for storage as well as work space)

 

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And then of course a barn

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Besides sheep and hens and the like what´s in the barn is this.

It´s called a Volvo Valp and it´s really the only car that works out here, can be used as both tractor, horse, snowplow and general badassery.

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And this. “The orangerie”
Light is so scarce up here, it´s really important to create ways of being in the light even in the dark times. Cosy times!

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This is the guesthouse (on the first floor) on the base floor Thomas has his wood workshop.

Two very important things that some (us) tend to overlook and not prioritise (giant rookie mistake!):

1. People will come visit you.

You might not think they will, but they will. If you don´t have a guesthouse or room it will be hard to have guests, it will be a giant invasion of your privacy. But guests are nice. They´re like a bridge between society and the wild, you need them. It gets lonely up here in the long run.

2. AND you need somewhere to store you tools. Seriously. Do NOT think you do NOT need somewhere to store you tools, I´ve had too many family dinners with a machine saw placed on the table, I´ve stumbled over mountain of axes running in and out the main door, Jeppe has nowhere to go when he´s mad, I have nowhere to tell him to go. You NEED a workshop!

 

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The sauna is the first thing Rie and Thomas build. Everybody tells us, it´s the first thing you gotta build when you go live in the forest. I know for a fact that it is true, legitimate and needed… we just didn´t and I regret that.

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This is the compost toilet from the outside

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and from the inside (luxury!)

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This is the woodshed (look at all that firewood!)
The first and most important thing to get self-sufficient about is the firewood (when you live in Scandinavia) The second thing are berries and mushrooms.

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And you know, the level of organisation these people have. It´s just awesome.
A designated little room for wilderness stuff such as sleeping bag and trangias!

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Yes. Organisation. Storage boxes for flour. Everything has a place, there´s an order, no piles of… stuff. Everything so organised!
I admit it. Organisation have become a whole new phenomenon to me after having lived two years in tipis/sheds/caravans while building log cabins, our clothes in plastic bags, peeing in the bushes, kitchen utensil you could never find….
Or maybe I´m just growing old. I can´t stand it anymore. I want structure!

Well.
As Jeppe goes to work (digging a ditch) (we´re day labourers, hustlers, gypsies, sharing economy fanatics and we went to their place to exchange gifts)

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Rie, thunderboy and me head for the forest to pick blueberries
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A lot of important conversations taking place while cleaning the berries

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And as the sun sets by the oak tree (danish, it´s so danish with oak trees!) they planted when they got here
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We eat dinner and talk about politics. You´d be surprised about how often politics and the state of the world is debated out here.
You´d be surprised about how many radicals, anarchists, rebels and resistance people are living out here and you´d be surprised about how everyday living can be seen as some kind of opposition, as some kind of protest, you´d be surprised about how many of our actions are rooted in deep, deep ecology and ideology, there is a clear awareness about this among the people I meet out here. It uplifts me.

Next morning, morning coffee glory, we drive home to our own forest and a take a swim in the clear water before returning home

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and I realise and I sometimes forget…. that we truly live an amazing life, this IS living the dream, I cannot imagine a better life for me bear cup baby, a natural life, roaming free nor a better life for my husband who needs to feel proud as much as he needs to breathe air and for me… who sink into depression about the state of world, my salvation complex, my Scandinavian pain. What keeps me up when I´m down is the fact that we DO stuff.

Yesterday I made two kinds of jam, mueslibars, pizzas and kombucha (chopped wood for the woodburning stove, fetched water in the well, picked the berries)

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I need to keep active and to DO things because as the world thighens as a shrinked wollen sweater around my neck, as things get worse and worse I need to both remember and to manifest that I hold POWERS.
I can do stuff.
I can share my stuff.
I can elaborate on how I do my stuff.
My stuff can inspire others to do stuff… as Rie and Thomas has inspired us. We can do stuff together! We can help each other. Inspire eachother. Learn from each other. Right?
Isn´t that what being human is about. Isn´t that worth remembering?

Here´s my instragramlife , here´s the facebookpage and here´s the Patreon.

I think we need a recipe soon. Don´t we?

29 comments on “Liberation is in the action

  1. Olive says:

    Lovely photos. You mentioned the creeping fascism in a few posts…..For people in the two thirds world (aka where I live), Europe never really stopped being fascist and colonizing. So these developments do not even raise an eyebrow. I suppose it must be harder to accept if you have been living comfortably shielded from unpleasant realities. At least your eyes are open to seeing the negative changes, as I am sure many are still hoping that by ignoring it will all go away.
    It is really helpful to see how many ways there are for us to go back or find ourselves again…..ways to live! Thrive! In harmony with the world, in a conscious and deliberately minimal way. Thank you for sharing your lives and photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I know… but I think that whats happening right now is a giant awakening in the Scandinavian countries. We really THOUGHT we had an almost perfect kind of society, the wellfare model, the homogenity, the socialism…. we thought it worked, we thought we were solidaric people, we thought it was good and safe… but it isn´t not anymore, and that sorrow and that loss… it´s really something to bear for those of us who grew up thinking that the world was a safe and kind place. A lot of innocense is being killed right now. A lot of white privellige. A brutal awakening. What we do now… will be important for generations to come and sadly it´s not going too well nor in the right direction.

      Thanks!

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      1. BeeHappee says:

        Andrea, psychologically, this to me sounds a lot like what ex-Soviet people went through with the feeling of loss after what some believed as ‘safe’ system collapsed. Even though most people knew it was a lie, still most were content with a degree of safety they felt, the knowing what’s to come, etc. Once it was all gone, people were really lost – to some degree still are, and it has been 25 years now.

        I really liked this post, thanks for sharing. Laughed at the line of Jeppe going to the shed. Some suburbanites here post a sign on the house that says: hers and on the shed: his. 😦
        Outhouse with birdhouses and flowers, sweet. 🙂

        How do Danes feel as immigrants to Sweden?
        Quite a sad cast system there too probably among the immigrants, first Scandinavians, then you have a class of other Europeans, then the lower Eastern Europeans, and then Middle Easterners, Africans..

        What is the ‘right direction” I wonder? Easy to be ‘solidaric’ or liberal and all loving when the issues are not right in your back yard.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I never thought about it like that but I think you have a solid point comparring what a lot Scandinavians go through at the moment with the fall of the wall. Insteresting!

          The Scandinavian countries have special immigrationpartnerships so that you, as a Scandinavian can move more or less unproblematic through the countries (you get all of the same rights as natives to the country, instantly). I had a super weird experience the first year we were here. I had to take Sigurd to the emergencyroom because he swallowed some tar (nothing happened, it wasn´t dangerous but I was very worried). We more or less came in rags, we were dirty (we had been in the midst of a giant project of sorts) and for a moment there, before they realized we were Danish they treated us as if were “normal” emmigrants and it was a horrible feeling. The feeling that my passport instantly seperated me from, say, some of the “real” emmigrants sitting in the room. We walked right in. Got all the care we needed.
          So yeah. There is a hierachy. There is quiete a lot of solidarity between the Scandinavian countries, we´re “brothers” (this culture is so homogenus)

          I don´t know if you are right about how it´s not easy to be solidaric ect anymore because the problems are right in our back yard (climate change, the refugee situation ect) but I do not that our countries are proned towards tribalism….. I used to like this about our “folk soul” (because I believe in decentralisation and close communal bonds with eachother) but now I´m not so sure anymore. What´s happening right now is really the nazi movement all over again and it´s scary as hell!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Funny you should say Nazi. I just said that before I read what you wrote.

            I’ve always said that what this stupid (in general) human race needs is for aliens to come from outer space and threaten us. Then we’ll get off our stupid (in general) position of others being bad and find out that we can all work together toward a common cause. (Hey those Muslims/Mexicans/Africans aren’t so bad afterall.)

            In America we’re going through a focus on immigrants right now because of The Donald and all his blather. It’s so manipulative. We thought maybe he got together with the Clintons and said how can I assure that you will be president and they said run and take the stupid vote away from whatever Republican nominee gets chosen.

            The immigrants here do hard, dirty, dangerous and low pay jobs that Americans won’t do. I can’t understand why they think deporting all 11 million (where did that number come from) is a good idea. They like it but they haven’t thought it through. As usual.

            Your friends homestead is quite the inspiration. Jeepers creepers, to be young and have vision and make that vision a reality so one has time to work on it. So wonderful.

            I think acting on one’s vision is an act of revolution. I think acting on how one feels according to one’s inner knowing is an act of defiance.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. BeeHappee says:

              Haha, Renee, I keep waiting for some nice country like Iceland to say, we will help Americans out and build some huge monument for Donald and start a church worshiping him so that his moves there for his ego trip.
              Just like some you say believe Donald is a set up to take the “stupid vote” away, some believe Nazis and Hitler were funded by Jewish bankers and Zionists to make Europe unwelcome to the Jewish people and create Israel, just like some believe the whole race war is largely fabricated to cause unrest. Makes no difference whatsoever as far as I am concerned, German fascists or Jewish fascists, Swedish fascists, American fascists, or Iranian fascists; still fascists.
              Before Mexicans were toiling the fields in America, Eastern European immigrants were dying in coal mines and meat packing plants. Before that it was Irish in construction projects. Before that, it was black slaves in cotton plantations. Names change, attitudes not so much.

              Andrea, it is really inspiring just that, your life in the woods where you can meet people like Rie and Thomas, and support and learn from each other.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. Olive says:

            I have experienced that being “othered” every day for nearly 20 years…..The veil can destroy all that white privilege in an instant! I am glad, in a way, you were lucky enough to have had that experience. I think Bee is on to something as well, and I still have my white privilege checked (the internal book of how things should be) all the time. My half-Phonecian kids regularly challenge all vestiges of white superiority left in me 🙂
            I also agree….beautiful farmstead and lives, and living as you wish as opposed to the pre packaged one chosen for you is indeed an act of rebellion. In many ways it is the most important type of rebellion, and attainable by all who wish to embark on the journey of reclaiming life.
            I am not sure what to suggest to Scandinavian people, but it is interesting to see that when our self-image is challenged, we can see the similarities between ourselves and others……and perhaps choose differently. Unfortunately, fear and ignorance usually flavor choices and I agree, things are not going well for you guys……..however, in my neck of the woods, people are pissed! And finally exposing the decades old corruption and masters of war. SO, maybe it is a wheel…….a cycle.
            Thanks again for posting and hosting us all in this space 😉

            Liked by 1 person

    2. By ignoring it will all go away….We saw how well that worked in Nazi Germany.

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  2. Roo says:

    Is it possible to come and visit you? Not now, maybe first next year, as we are moving to Sweden ourselves right now… but someday maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Where’re you coming from, Roo?
      Brace for impact when you do move…..

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      1. Roo, we´ve had quite a lot of visitors and volunteers so at the moment we´re saying “no thank you but thank you” to all requests, but contacts again when you land 🙂

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        1. Roo says:

          You’re welcome. Maybe spring next year, we’ll see. Thank you, I will 🙂

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      2. Roo says:

        Denmark. We aren’t moving all the way into the woods, cause we have a lot of horses, but pretty close.
        Haha, thank you, we will 🙂

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  3. A gorgeous place, tons of hard work to get it that way AND to keep it that way….
    You been busy, haven’t ya?

    Unfortunately we are facing that very hard reality of not being “one of them” right now. Had some serious issues with our direct neighbour, who didn’t like us from the beginning and what happened did nothing to improve that.
    He’s the kind that hates people for not being local. Anything not 5th generation locally inbred is highly unwelcome. We ended up in the province that even Swedes consider “conservative and unwelcoming to foreigners”….

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    1. Wow Ron that is such a disappointment. I know exactly how you feel. Same circumstance here. We are going to move away as soon as we can after the good-for-nothing house closes. It’s important to have neighborly feelings. Like what Ben and Penny experience in Vermont.

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      1. Even we are expanding our horizons, maybe moving a couple of hundred kilometers further north.
        Right now we are seriously looking into it.

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        1. We’re all eager to hear how it goes. Good luck and best wishes. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all converge on some wonderful few hundred acres of good land and build our own little community? Yet, I think the Universe has planned it so we’re scattered and thus can “infiltrate” to create a small influence every where we go that eventually will make permanent positive change.

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      2. Olive says:

        So sad to hear this! The same issues over here, too. It seems you can never really know people until you live among them…..and by then, you are somewhat invested and it is hard to split. Thats why we are taking soooooo long to buy our land; everytime we have, before building, we find we dont care for the neighbors and their particular brand of tribalism :-/
        We have been lucky emough to sell and move, so this time around we are trying to really check as much as possible, and maybe go more remote too!
        Wonderful that Andrea and friends have had such a positive experience!

        Like

  4. Dear andrea
    Re nascent fascism in first world countries: I remember one of my first trips up to Scandinavia–this was ca 1968, just after the assasinations of Robert kennedy and martin luther King–I was sitting next to a Finnish guy on the Loftleidir plane and we were chatting about US vs Scandinavian countries.
    He kept repeating, “but you don’t understand, we have only 4-7 million people in our countries and we are basically all the same. It is easy to have social support and equality when “do unto others” means identifying with people like yourself. But give us diversity like the US, and we’d all be intolerant racists!”
    Actually, when i spent a bit more time in finland, it became clear that the Swedish Finns did look down on the suomi Finns. We humans are ever looking to discern the most minute differences and maximize their significance, instead of looking for those qualities that unite us,that are universal and widespread.

    In my imagination i too am coming to visit you! You are certainly welcome at my place when you come on your first north american speaking/book tour–you do need to take a ferry to get here.
    All best,
    ~ Abigail

    Liked by 1 person

    1. waterworld says:

      Good point there in your story Abigail .
      scandinavians like to think off themself as open minded – but the in realety this opend mind is not so wide .
      In sweden you have even a conflict avioding mentalety and a obidiend belive in auktoretys . The problem in that is not to face upcoming problems . Not to talk . This is a growingground for anger .
      I dont like fashism , but worse are the silence ones .
      like somebody here wrote before – babylon was allways fashist.

      I see the uppcomming problems as a result and a chance for people to open there eyes and hearts . With open mind we will make it throw the caos off babylons fall .
      off course people will fight a war against each other – rather then fight for life with each other .
      It has nothing to do with us – its the way babylon works to protect its power .
      babylons power is selfdesrtuctiv .
      We can be free from that . We will be free from that .
      The task is to handle that freedom . To organise it .
      it takes skills and hard work to life simple – practical and social .
      Im afraid most off us will be forced to action .
      We can sit and talk about babylons war – and it will march on .
      we can work and join our way out off it and we be ready for its disapearense

      Like

  5. BeeHappee says:

    Abigail, that story sounds a lot like when my dad first visited the USA in 2001, and said: “I am amazed this country works as well as it does, and no wonder you need such a police state.” Coming from a country just as homogeneous as Sweden, he thought it was amazing that many cultures, colors, and traditions could coexist semi-peacefully, because in our homogeneous country there is still plenty of discrimination.

    Andrea, interesting on visitors. I am finally getting around to reading “The Good Life” by Helen and Scott Nearing, their 60-year journey of the self-reliant life. Chapter 15, on Visitors and Helpers, they write: “Before we moved from Vermont to Maine, the trickle of visitors had become a stream. During the next years in Maine it became a flood. By the 1970’s the number of visitors by head count has ranged between 2000 and 2500 in the course of a year. It often reached dozens in a day.[…] We and they, we hope, have enjoyed our contacts together. There has been an apprentice-learning side to our endeavors, a sociological-communal side, a constructive side and an entertainments side. The results generally were educational, healthy, beautiful and useful.”
    I have no idea how they did it. They go on to describe in the book how they kept on working, and involving the visitors, having lunch with 20 some people on daily basis, selling off some land to young couples, etc. After many years on taking in even unannounced visitors, they implemented some limited hours, and later on, visits by appointment only.

    Recipe for those muesli bars, please. 🙂
    I have a stupid question on structures. Are there benefits of having all separate structures for the sauna, garage, and the outhouse instead of having them connected to the house?

    Like

    1. waterworld says:

      If one burns down – you still have the others .

      Like

      1. BeeHappee says:

        🙂 Yeah, but Andrea insulates with all that moss which does not burn, so that should not be a factor. I was recently talking to someone about straw bale houses, and it really surprised me to find out that straw bale houses are three times more fire resistant than conventional homes.

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        1. David says:

          Yes, straw bale is very fire resistant. But once it ever gets wet, there’s really no recovering from it (from what I understand). So, we pick our battles.

          Like

    2. David says:

      There are at least four benefits for separate structures:

      (1) If one building burns down–barns are especially troublesome here–the others will still survive. It much rather rebuild only one building, and not the entire homestead.

      (2) It allows for community use of some of the buildings. This might just be a matter of having one house for each generation of adults, or for several related nuclear families, or they might be for folks who are not related by blood. Either way, every family unit has their own house for living in, while sharing things like the sauna, barn, workshop. Until recently I was living in just such a situation, and it worked remarkably well. We even had an outdoor summer kitchen that was shared three ways.

      (3) Depending on your situation, the outhouse almost certainly wants to be its own structure. We had an above-ground composting toilet. The enclosed area that you use is on a raised platform. Do your business with a seat over a chute that opens into a chamber enclosed by wire mesh, and cover by sprinkling in wood shavings down the chute. When the area under the chute is full after a year or two, switch the chute to the other side, where it opens into a second, separate chamber. After another year or two, when it’s time to switch back, you have beautiful composted soil in the first chamber, that you can easily remove. This is much, much easier than an in-home composting system with buckets.

      (4) The roof. If everything were connected, you would need either a very high long roof, or lots of complicated pitch changes, or both. With smaller, separate buildings, the roof lines tend to be much simpler, especially if you’re adding on one thing at a time. Build one small thing, get it done before winter. Next year, build something else, get that done before winter. Etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BeeHappee says:

        Thank you, David! Interesting point #2. Thanks for the explanation on the composting toilet.

        Like

        1. David says:

          You’re quite welcome, Bee! I’ve been spending a large part of the summer building various small buildings, so it’s been on my mind…

          Like

  6. Benedikte Exner says:

    “Most of us rely to a greater or lesser extend on machines, it´s not something we talk about a lot ( I know I don´t… like to talk about it, because machines make me dependent)”

    Andrea, thank you for talking about dependency on machines even though you don’t like to. I don’t either – but still it’s better for me to talk about it than to be silent about it. Every day I recognize how dependent I am. Every year I learn new skills and get a little less dependent, but still … I don’t live in the wild woods. I am much more dependent on technology than you and many of the other writers on this blog. Sometimes I find it really scaring. When I look at my fear and deal with it and talk abut it it’s also very interesting – and in some way – healing for me.
    We have solar panels for hot water and our woodburning stove also warms som water and it all depends on electric pumps. One day i asked our plumber “What if electricity goes down for a longer period?” He said that it would be quite serious, and suddenly we had very good talk about energy dependency – and he shared with me his fear of being dependent on “gaz from Putin”. Scaring conversation – and also connecting, freeing, living..

    Like

  7. ncfarmchick says:

    What a beautiful place your friends have created! I imagine it has created and shaped them as much as they have it, though. Having been in the forest for 10 years now I can only too well see the years it has taken for such a place to emerge and have the utmost respect for what they have done.
    I find it so very interesting to read about the Scandinavian perspective described here and in the comments. Throughout my life, I have heard many interesting conversations between my conservative Republican father and my Norwegian grandmother and great-aunts. Mostly, I remember my father getting all frustrated at them while they very calmly agreed to disagree with him. I remember hearing something akin to the idea expressed above, that it is easy for homogeneous cultures to get along and that one of the strengths of the US is also its challenges – we are all different and so don’t agree on much of anything which means nothing gets done much of the time. I am not a very politically minded person, I admit (a defense mechanism?) but I do see how this has played out in my own search for my extended tribe (outside my own.) My husband and I seriously considered living in an intentional community before fleeing to our own forest. A huge part of me wants this type of living to work. On paper, it does, I think. But, there’s always someone who doesn’t want to “do the dishes” and everything falls apart. More than that, our freedom-loving selves couldn’t quite get over the communally owned property part (though we recognize the fallacy of any of us really “owning” any land – we are borrowing it from future generations and are being given the gift of living where we do by the Earth.) Though we now have the freedom part we struggle to find others who believe in the community part. Americans can be individualistic to a fault and we see evidence of that on a daily basis. Are people afraid to need others as it shows a sign of weakness? Do we all just want to be left alone because we can’t deal with our own lives and, so, have no room to let others in? I don’t know but I know the idea of self-sufficiency can swing much too far to one side to where we are cutting ourselves off from one of the things that makes us human – each other.
    I love the concept of the multiple buildings, something I wish we had done more of here and might be one reason we move to where we can do this more. In the mean time, we are clearing some area near our creek for tent/hammock camping and an outdoor kitchen is a much-discussed idea. I will say my husband laughs at me when I say we need a sauna (I tell him my Scandinavian genes are calling out for one.) He says, “We live in the South. It’s called ‘go outside in July and August.'” And. sometimes June and September, too! I am inspired, though, and thank you for being responsible for that, once again.

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