I made an extra trip to my native country and cottage in early June, eager to apply the linseed oil onto the top layer of my earthen floor, so that I could finally stay in my cottage in August. Linseed oil takes a good while to cure and since I applied four coats to the floor, I gathered it would be several weeks until it was dry and hard enough. I knew I would still have to apply wax coat on the floor if I wanted it properly durable and water repellent but that could wait, until August.
Now it's August and I have been here for 1.5weeks, working in a very lazy way on my cottage. One of the first things I did, was to make a linseed oil/beeswax mix, which I applied to the now hardened floor with a brush and then rubbing it in with a large rubber kidney (the types one uses with ceramic clay). Two days later the floor was done but remained pretty tacky, so I ended rubbing some of it off with rags. A week later it is still a bit sticky but I have been able to walk on it nevertheless.
And whilst I was doing this:
some other members of my family were doing this:
Afterwards, I would let the floor dry, hoping the tackiness would disappear (which eventually did), although very impatiently and after only few days, I already started planning on when to move in, by buying two foldable mattresses, a tea light lantern and dragging in some sparse furniture...
So eventually, the space would change from this - to this (you have to start somewhere):
Few more weeks passed, ever so quickly, in and around my cottage. I am now back in UK writing this and my head is slowly adjusting to the wetness of Britain and the beautiful forests of Finland have changed to a wide landscape of Yorkshire hills and moors. Good time for recapping and reminiscing.....
Two days ago I left Finland with so many emotions. I had this amazing feeling of thrill, excitement, deep appreciation, but also the notion of fear and anxiety. So much has happened, I had finished my cottage interior, fixed parts of the outside, mainly the primitive 'guttering' on the roof but also mended a tiny hole in the initial waterproofing layer (luckily near the edge and easy fix). We had been working on an outhouse with my father, using leftover materials, like pallets, roundwood, planks, straw. I worked on the building in a very lazy fashion, mindful of my children, who are growing up quickly but who still appreciate my company (mostly). Yet I wanted to have this artistic outhouse, or at least the beginnings of it, to complement my cottage. As what is a summer-house without an outhouse?
Whilst I did the impromptu designing, my father did majority of the work, apart from roof covering, which I did myself. I give you a few pictures of our progress...my mum's duties mainly consisted of babysitting my daughter Pinja, but of course she couldn't help herself and had to come and check the progress at times.
|My mother handing plank to my father as he is building the roof of the outhouse.|
Pinja (3) herself constantly offered to help (Can I help mummy?) and even though I said it was safer for her to stay away, she insisted on climbing the ladder up to the roof of the outhouse, which I have christened 'Huojuva Huussi' due to the way the wooden structure swung underneath us (without the support of walls). That is loosely translated as a 'Swinging Loo'...
So eventually the wooden frame was done, the roof was felted (I am intending to make it into a green roof but we had to waterproof it in the mean time for the harsh Finnish Winter) and the rain was guided to flow through a small opening at the bottom corner and along a chain to the ground (which I was happy to notice was functioning nicely).
I am hoping to collect this rainwater into a large container, to use with a solar powered shower which will be positioned at the bottom end of the outhouse, under the long eaves on the left.
|Getting ready to work on the walls with Pinja...she has already smeared herself with clay in preparation.|
Since my walls didn't need to be very thick yet I had loads of clay available (in our clay pit) and loads of loosely baled strawbales left, I thought this technique would work well for my small outhouse space. I explained to my father that I needed a supporting structure to make the wall cavity, in which I would then add and compact the clay covered straw. Past fully revisited, I dipped into an icy clay pond (a perfect beginning for a natural pool) and started digging my gray gold aka clay. My brother came to help for few hours, although for some reason he left the muddy clay pond well alone...
|Sister, brother and little critter|
|My brother compacting the light clay straw into the wall cavity.|
|'I'm getting in mummy.'|
|Happy feet :)|
|I am working, whilst someone is watching..|
|Happy as a pig... in a bucket.|
In the end I was so covered in mud, I couldn't operate the camera any longer (without having to constantly wash my hands), so I ended up working the next day too, trying to fill up the rest of the remaining cavity space. This time I worked by myself without my little assistant.
|Busy at work.|
|My cottage with the outhouse framework at the background.|
|Welcome, Open House - Eco cottage|
With few people I discussed my plans to run short, natural building workshops at my cottage in the future, during Summer-time when I visit. I already have a few people interested and on my mailing list. This is definitely something I will seriously consider doing, because inspiring people to learn new things and to make with their OWN hands is very rewarding, for them and for me as a creative individual.
On that Sunday night I felt tired but very happy. I fell asleep inside my cottage, hugged by Mother Nature, with weary eyes but warm heart....
In only few days I was to return to UK, and yet again, I realised that three weeks had passed so very quickly. I am already looking forward to next Summer, when I can finish the outhouse and start planning new things....hopefully weird and wonderful things.
Because one must always keep on planning, dreaming, wondering. Whether everything happens or comes to fruition is another matter. But that is part of the adventure.... the journey from dreaming to living. The reason to get out of bed, to see what/if/when happens. And life always does... :)
I leave you with few more happy photos. Until next time.... x
|Talking to Mother Nature|
|With my daughter|
|Exploring the Happy House|