Project “Köksträdgård”

It’s almost fall. Time to recap our first year as “farm owners”.

We moved here in December. Anxiously anticipating spring…and spring came and with it a lot of work.

We have a huge garden, but half of it was just a big meadow where the previous owner had the horses.

Already in winter we marked an area close to the house where the köksträdgård was supposed to come to life. “What the heck is a köksträdgård” you might think. 🙂 That is swedish for kitchen garden. Simply a garden where you grow vegetables, fruits and herbs that you can consume.

The first piece was the herb spiral I built out of bricks we found in the bushes. I always wanted to make one of these and now it is the center piece of our vegetable garden.

I filled the whole spiral with soil and planted herbs according to their needs. Or let’s say, according to what google says. 🙂

Going from there everything just fell into place bit by bit.

We planned to keep it as low-budget as we could, using materials we already had. Since the ground is very dense out here (many years of horses tramping on it) we went mainly for raised beds instead of digging plant beds in the ground. Bottom layer is cardboard, topped up with branches and half rotten wood and then filled up with good compost soil mixed with planting soil from the garden center.

Hard to imagine that this would be a flourishing garden in summer. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Some plants we precultivated in the house. Rookie-mistake: We started way too early with that which caused, that in March and April we shared our living room with a lot of plants.

Will do better next year. 🙂

Considering that this was our first year as gardeners, we didn’t expect too much. But now in September I can say, we did good!

We grew a lot of delicious food ourselves. Not the amount that would make us self-sufficient, but enough to give us some fantastic home-grown meals.

Things we successfully grew this year:

  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Squash
  • Leak
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Sugar Snaps
  • Potatoes
  • Marigold
  • Tomatoes
  • Chili
  • Bell pepper
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Big variety of herbs
  • Spinach
  • Pak Choi
  • and more…

We learned a lot this year and have quite a few things that we want to improve next year. Already excited for next spring.

But this year is not over yet. We still go strong, having daily small harvests. Pure bliss!

New chapter

In December it’ll be a year since we moved into our new house.

A big step, moving from an fancy apartment in the city center to a small farm 20 mins out of town. My dream.

12.000 qm of land with a little red house (the one we live in now), a small white house (that one is rented out), a big garage with workshop, a little shed which houses my atelier and an open stall for animals.

SO.MUCH.SPACE.

The house is a lot smaller than our apartment was. But it’s all we need. We spend most of our time in the garden.

Since I started living by myself, I was dreaming of buying an old farm to be able to rescue animals.

But also to give those animals we already have a nice living space. Our little zoo grew quite a bit this past year. And all of our animals have their very own area.

Well, Mimi is still all over the place. And so are the cats. Yes!! We got cats as well. They actually kind of came with the farm. A package deal. 🙂 The previous owner was about to move into the city, where those two beautiful and independent boys would have had to be indoor cats for their own safety.

That seemed wrong since they grew up out here. So we agreed to take them and they are fantastic in keeping the mice away. Win-Win-Situation.

On December 1st we moved in. We spent our first christmas here. The winter felt long since we were extremely excited to start growing vegetables. Farmlife at its best.

I did what I always do. I planned. I wrote lists. I got antsy.

So here we were now. In our small swedish house. Waiting for the cold and dark winter to pass…

…waiting for spring…

…ready for new adventures…

The “new” secretary

We remodeled the guestroom a bit. It’s a tiny room. But now tthere’s (somehow) room for a secretary. I’ve ALWAYS wanted one.

So I started searching online for cheap used ones and of course in our local thriftshops. I was a bit restricted by the measurements since I have only limited space.

At Erikshjälpen (of course! 🙂 ) I found one for 275 sek.Ridiculously cheap. Standing in the store, it didn’t look like much. But that would change.

Taking off the feet, we just managed to fit it in our tiny car. 🙂

The next day I went to buy paint. I decided to go colorful. Like a lot. So for the outside I went for this:

And for the inside I had a specific idea in mind. Turned out that none of our local stores had something like that in stock. That’s what it said online at least. Not acceptable for me.

I went to our craft shop “Panduro”. AND there was this one tiny little can of Vintage Paint left. I wasn’t sure if it would be enough, but it was exactly the color I was looking for, so I had to.

First step was taking the secretary apart as much as possible, sand it, wipe it off and cover everything with a basecoat. This is important to make sure that it will be an even result in the end.

After the basecoat was completely dried, It was time for the first coat of that incredible yellow. That one has to dry out for at least 24 hours until it’s ready for the second layer of paint.

So back at it the next day. This time I started with the inside though. The vintage paint only needed 1-2 hours until it was ready for the second layer. While waiting for that to dry, the second coat yellow was done.

The colors were exactly what I wanted them to be like. ( The pictures don’t really show the green undertone in it) But it was a bit “naked”.

It was missing the new drawer pullers I purchased on sale.

Screwed on by hand, took a step back and was the happiest. My personal piece of designer furniture. 🙂

Going through the materials I used, I calculated through what the whole project cost me. Costs for the secretary and the materials add up to 614 sek.

Not too bad 🙂

Chalkboard art

After we bought our summerhouse I made a little chalkboard out of an old mirror.

Right after that I wrote with chalk “Home sweet home” on it and that’s what it said until now.

Now I found nice chalk markers. So it was time to change it and this is what I decided to write this time:

True words Miss Audrey Hepburn!

Snail Home

For the first few weeks, the snails lived in a big transparent utility box. It is really convenient since it is easy to keep the humidity up. But it doesn’t really look good and it’s not nice to observe them.

I had many ideas but one thing was for sure. I didn’t want a simple terrarium/aquarium. I wanted something special. An eyecatcher for our living room. Combine pretty with functional.

I ended up purchasing a pretty showcase at IKEA.

First I had to build a bottom that holds the substrate and can handle the constant humidity. I chose to make it out of acrylic glas. Just simply measured the bottom and cut the pieces I needed. I assembled the pieces with silicone thats made for builing fish tanks. That way I could be sure that it won’t harm the snails.

Giving that some time to dry over night, I started working on the background. I still had coconut mat left over from another project. the corners are fastened with plastic straps on the corners and some silikone to keep it from creasing too much.

Since I didn’t want the enclosure to be too high to avoid the snails falling from a big hight and damage their shells, I used some acrylic glass I had left to create one full level, that would be used for plants and one half one that was included in the snail enclosure itself.

The next day I added a little tree that is a branch of an apple tree. I fastened that in the middle with silicone.

After a few hours of drying, I could finally fill in the bottom substrate. I also added a lot of moss and roots that I collected in our garden. Those materials I watered for a few days to make sure that no unwanted guests move into the enclosure.

Then it was time for a test run to make sure that I match the parameters the snails need.

Sure that everything is working out, I put in the snails. They started right away exploring the new place. turned out that they LOVE to climb. All three were fascinated with the mini tree.

It is so much fun to watch them in there.

A few days later I found this little photo frame with a glass front. Perfect piece to add a little fun to this project. 🙂

To controll the heat, I fasted a heat mat on the backside of the enclosure and bought a daylight lamp that is hanging on top of the showcase, also ensuring that the plants get what they need to grow.

The holder for the lamp is just a simple stick we got from the garden.

Mosaic with kids

One of the last art activities I did with my students before my well deserved vacation was mosaic inspired.

All we needed was already there.

Concrete

Water

something to mix

Plastic containers in different sizes

Tiles

And then we started. We mixed the concrete in the ratio it suggested on the packaging.

After all of them chose the container they wanted to use, I filled them with a layer of concrete. About 2-3cm thick. Next they were carefully removing the air bubbles by hitting their container on the table top.

At last it was finally time to lay the mosaics. I’m not sue when I’ve seen my students this quiet and focused. It was great.

And so were the results. After a day of drying I could sent their creations home with their proud owners,

Shine a light

A while ago I made this Make-up corner for myself.

In an unused corner of our apartment. But quickly I realized that the lighting is terrible for doing my makeup. So after a few weeks of trying different options, I ended up doing my makeup upstairs in front of a window. And the table that I made, was used for storage.

Sad…

Two weeks ago then, I went for grocery shopping at Lidl and they had these lights that you can glue to surfaces, for example mirrors.

You know these theater mirrors with lamps along the sides. I looked them up, but they were too expensive for me.

So I totally bought them. For 200sek (20€). Then I went to Erikshjälpen and found a gorgeous round mirror for 80sek (8€). And together it turned out just beautiful.

The lights are dimmable and have three different settings. Cold light, warm light and daylight.

I use my make-up corner niw daily 🙂

Snail Mix Recipe

Some might think this post will be about a delicious escargo dish for humans…

Sorry, but no. 🙂

I’m super into the whole being a snail owner thing right now. Apparently they have certain favorite foods. There are things they love to eat and things they just leave.

And also, they need to have access to a proper balanced nutrition. For example their protein intake. I read a lot about so called “snail mixes”. People make and sell them. But after two days of research, I couldn’t find anyone selling it here in Sweden. And ordering it from the UK, would have cost a rediculous amount of shipping…

So I went to Youtube and found a channel that I got lost in for a couple of hours…

Jades Jungle

And she happened to film herself making her own snail mix.

Snail Mix

So I copied it. But I scaled it down quite a bit because I have only three snails and won’t be able to use it up in good time if I make the same amount she did.

Here the list of things I put in the blender:

100g of dog food (dry)

2g dried mealworms

1 g sesame seeds

1g lin seeds

1g sunflower seeds

1g pumpkin seeds

10g oats

And then I blend it fine. I chose to fill it into a glass that closes properly to hold it fresh.

To feed it to the snails, I take some of the powder, fill it in a shallow bowl and mix it with water until it’s a paste.

I offered it to my snails today for the first time. They were suspicious at first. I handfed some to Peanut and she went staight for the bowl after that, happily munching away.

Hidden Scenes in our home

The other day I took my students to the city library. They were behaving well, so I actually had time to look at a few books myself 🙂 And one of those was about bottle gardens and other beautiful things. And there was a chapter about buiding miniature scenes into those bottle gardens. I loved it!

Yesterday I went to Erikshjäpen, my favorite Secondhand store. And in the Kids section, I actually found some figures for this little project.

I’m starting out with quite simple scenes, but I’m hooked and I’m planning on doing more. 🙂

But for now, let’s see if our guests will notice 🙂

My little zoo…

I would if I could. Have a zoo I mean. I love taking care of animals. Observing them. Getting to know them and create a environment that they are happy and strive in.

Many people have their opinions to my passion for animals, but that is fine by me. I don’t expect anyone to understand what it gives me. I’m always happy when I find someone that shares that passion though.

But long story short, to our two budgies and the dog, we have a new addition to the family.

Three Giant African Land Snails. Their breed is called Lissachatina reticulata. They are beautiful. I’ve always had a fascination for snails. And then a while ago I got to know about those slow lovely giants.

My snails are seven month old and by now 11-12cm big (just their shell). When they are fully grown, they can be up to 20-22cm big.

They are fantasic. Their names are “Peanut”, “Butter” and “Jelly”. They have their own Instagram under the name “peanut_butter_jelly_snailwich” 😉

For now they live in a clear platic tub. It turned out quite nice, but it’s only temporary. I’m planning on building a proper terrarium for them. So stay tuned for the next DIY project. 🙂

But for now, I’m just getting to know them.

Some of my favorite shots:

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