A totally new chapter has started in our life. Although we have partially lived in our own house for some periods, we still had our “office” in the village. The office was what we called the house we rented for living. We have stopped renting it and thus also said goodbye to some privileges and facilities. From the First of March we have lived in our own house without electricity and water system. And yes – that is a challenge. The most basic things are both incredibly time consuming and physically demanding. We have to pick up firewood for warming house and water for the basic needs must be collected from the lake every day.
In other words, the hole must first be drilled in the ice, after that we pump water up by hand driven pump into 30 liters plastic reservoir and driven to the house by snowmobile. Then we have some water can be used to flush in the toilet. We collect snow in the garden and melt it and use for washing, cooking, bathing, as drinking water for the dogs etc. Do you know that filling a 10-liter pot with snow turns it into 3 cm layer of water in the same pot?
So it’s not just like catching a quick bath. In addition, the bathroom at this time of year is close to the freezing point and must first be heated with a gas heater.
Potentially, three stoves must be operated at one time. This means that you do not have many minutes to relax before you need to get up again to keep things done.
Our everyday life is not easier for us with that unbelievable amount of snow. Recently 1.8 meters of snow have been officially measured in the forest. We really can’t walk with our dogs without first riding a snowmobile track and wearing a pair of snowshoes. But the nature around us is really beautiful. It’s indeed absolutely beautiful, and it’s so quiet around us.
We wash our clothes at the community house in the Storsjö village. We have an old outdoor water warmer driven by firewood stove and when the snow is melted, we can use it to wash clothes in the spring and summer period.
And then we bought a washing machine, which we hopefully can use again, if we will manage to find possibility to install an off grid electric power supply system. In May, when the ice has melted, we will again have running water in the house. Then we can pump water from the lake into a 1000-liter tank. It is existing system and it only works when it is frost free, otherwise the pipes can be destroyed by water frozen inside of them.
It is wrong to say that we do not have electricity – we have couple of fuel generators we use for different purposes. The smallest one with 2.000 watt we turn on when we have to work with the computer, charge phones and other devices. The bigger generator is used for pumping water in the summer time and other equipment. Our big dream is to install an “off grid” system with solar panels in combination with energy storage battery system and back-up fuel generator, so we can be self-sufficient with electricity all year round. We have been in contact with several manufacturers and technical companies that offer “off grid” solutions. We have had to totally drop the idea to be connected to the local electric grid, owned by the regional company Härjeåns Nät AB. They have a “natural monopoly” on electricity distribution, which means, that they have manipulating with “solutions” they can offer for our property, so their final “proposal” and solution for the connection to the electric grid ended up at a very high price of 400,000 SEK (the story is described in our previous blog about “Swedish Wild West”). And this is excluding other technical work must be done for the connection to the property, so the full price can end up at 500.000 + SEK (!!!) – and this is just payment for the connection to the grid, and afterwards you pay for the “distribution” of electric power and maintenance of the system and, of course, for the electricity itself . On the opposite side our brief calculation for the “off grid” solution installation cost brings us to the amount of approx. 300,000 SEK. And then we can get electricity from solar panels and batteries free of charge during approx. 9 months during the year. During the darkest winter months, the batteries can be charged with our generator. And it of course will bring some cost of fuel, but still it will be much cheaper than the yearly cost of electricity sold and distributed via the local grid. We hope that the “off grid” can be installed already this summer! Only our economic situation can kill the dream, so keep our little media company Big Lake Media.se in mind if you need to create a website or know someone who could use our services. We are very competitive on price. Here is an example of the latest website we created for the local fishing community: https://www.storsjofisk.se
We have also decided to rent out one house this summer so that everyone interested can rent it until the artist refugee comes up and run. So if you want to spend the summer period in the wilderness in the authentic primitive conditions without electricity, you are welcome to get in touch with us. And if you have dog(s), they are also more than welcome!
The first week after we moved here we spent on decorating the house where we live. Until now everything was as when we bought the property. We have built wardrobe, sofa and computer desk. All from the recycled wood that we got with the property. We have put up shelves and removed some furniture. For summer we will paint in the rooms. Now it’s too cold and we can’t just open windows for ventilation. But we have been fine here, we think. And we are really proud that we have succeeded in furniture building project with our poor experience as craftsmen.
The next project is to make our second house ready and get some furniture into it. We also hope to have rooms on the first floor finished and use it as a studio. The floor in the rooms needs to be insulated and finished, so it can really become beautiful. As soon as the snow is melted, we want to build a sauna. The outdoor bio toilet will be rebuilt into the sauna. It is the best and authentic way to bath in the winter, and you can quickly heat a water tank in there so you can both enjoy the sweat sauna and finish it with a hot bath. We have all the wood we need so we are looking forward to getting started on that project. We have a busy spring☺
And now we have a little challenge with our original food cellar.
The entrance has been partially blocked because some large stones have been moved into the stairs entrance and they are close to collapse. Right now, it’s not a problem, because it’s still cold outside, but it needs to be repaired as soon as possible. When the snow is melted, we will have to get to move the ground from the outside of the entrance and move the stones back on their position and somehow to ensure that they won’t move again. No one has lived in the house for some years before we overtook the property, so we think it is the heating and vibration that have caused the stones to move. As a temporary solution, we have cut large blocks of ice out of the ice and placed them in a big freezer, which doesn’t have electricity.
Hope that solution will act as a refrigerator until the snow has melted and our food cellar can be repaired and ready for use again, where we can store our products in temperature with +3-4 degrees Celsius.
And it should also be mentioned that our car can’t be at our property right now, because the last 4 kilometers of the road is not cleaned for snow. I hope we can solve this issue for next winter. Now the car is parked on our former neighbors’ ground in the village and then we drive from and back on the snowmobile when we need to use the car.
All these challenges we have just to keep our daily life running is a long process. We knew well that with such a place we would have to deal with challenges and there is no time in between any completed project and a new project to be started. It is an exciting process, but it can certainly also cause concerns. And then we learn many new things every single day. For example fishing on ice.