One year with our home Green Footprint

Hello and “what’s up?” . Orest is here and I have got the opportunity to write the next chapter of our story. So the writing style will be a little bit different from what you are used to. 

The summer 2020 is officially a history and it’s already one year since we got our new home the green footprint. It remembers clearly how excited we were when we received a bunch of keys to numerous facilities in the property. So many things to try and learn, and so many things to be changed ! So many ideas! 

No doubt, we are still very excited about our new home and many ide@s have become more clear for us. But realisation of them takes time. Longer than one year. Much longer than I expected. 

In this chapter I wanna cover some of those main projects we managed to do during this summer and, of course, tell about expectations, which have to wait . 

Firewood 

Distance between th firewood depot and storage place in the house

Story about our firewood didn’t end up in the last chapter. After we were finished with cutting and chopping 20 cubic meters of wood it had to be stored outside to have possibility to dry as much as possible it should be moved inside of one of the storage buildings. And the main storage room has a volume for approx 12-14 cubic meters of firewood. So Lykke motivated herself properly and carried most of the firewood with help of little wheel trailer and did it 140 times covering 70 meters each way. That took time… rest of the firewood she placed close to another little building and it was a shorter way for transportation.

We actually can’t say how long time the whole project  “firewood “ took us from the beginning to the “final product “, but we really hope that we have enough of firewood for the cold period of the year.

Grass .

It’s a huge difference between 70 sq meters in Copenhagen apartment and 20.000 sq meters of land and two houses on it. A lot of place to care about… and the most of the land is a nice grassy field. And of course it’s so pleasant to watch on a freshly mowed grassy area. We have a tractor and a grass mower to it. It sounds straight forward, isn’t it? But it takes time… first I had to learn how to safely operate that machine, and after that  it takes around 5 hours to mow the most of grass . And afterwards I collect the whole grass manually and move it to a dedicated to it place in the forest on our property. Spending 1-2 hours each day it takes me around 10-14 days to remove whole grass away… maybe it’s a waist of time, but it looks so beautiful afterwords! And it’s a natural physical training on fresh air. “Natural gym”. 

Compost and the waste issue in general 

We did tell before about the missing municipal service with emptying our waste container on our property. In the beginning the municipality said it was possible for the service truck to drive to us, but at the end we received a message that the truck can’t make last 4 kilometres to our place. So we wanted to find a solution for us. We evaluated in details our waste we produce living here and we started to separate different kinds of waste and sort it into groups. 20 km from us there is a public depot – a place where you can deliver recycled waste . There are categories of common paper, packing paper, glass, cans , plastic and used batteries. Sorting in that way reduced our waste , but still we had a lot of organic waste. And of course you straight think about composting. We know nothing about it, so we tried to read about it and about those plastic compost containers you can find on the market. But they are quite expensive. And then we had an idea : “ why not to build our own compost container from that wood we have and why shall we buy the plastic one?” . So we built it, and now we hope that the exciting composting process will start before the organic waste will freeze in the winter. 

A food cellar

Entrance to our food cellar was totally destroyed last winter due to probably permafrost, which moved walls together and it was no passage down to the cellar. Thanks our friend’s help we managed to move the stones in the walls on their original place and now we can use our cellar again. It’s very practical and it keeps temperatures around 4-7 degrees inside the cellar year around and the humid air in there keeps vegetables fresh for a long time. Just think – it is cool to have a huge environmentally friendly “walk in” refrigerator . Smart thing .

Something what I personally had issues with this summer, was expectations. Especially those expectations that weren’t realised this summer , because they obviously require more time. And these expectations about making our everyday living more comfortable. 

Electricity 

Electricity. As you know, our property is not connected to a local network and we live “off grid”. We have diesel and gasoline generators to produce electricity for various purposes.

We have told about the unpleasant case with a local energy company, which owns electricity network grid and which has a monopoly on the distribution of electricity to customers. They have abused their monopoly and have cheated us several times with the price they want to charge us for connecting to their network. Although the Swedish Energy Market Inspectorate, the authority that controls fair prices on the energy market, agreed with us and confirmed that the price for connection must not exceed approx. 80,000 Swedish kroner (against the company’s “offer” 450,000 kroner!), the energy company Härjeåns Nät AB appealed the decision in a court, so the case is further delayed. And, if the court wants to give the right to the Energy Market Inspectorate, then the electricity company has countless opportunities to delay and not connect our property to their network. It may take several years. So we explore alternatives. And as we said earlier, we are very excited about the idea of ​​establishing an “off grid” system, consisting of solar cell systems, battery storage and a “backup” petrol generator for the winter months when solar cell system will not produce enough electricity due to lack of sun light. I have spent a lot of time finding a solution – there are ideas, but most require more products from different manufacturers. And none of them could guarantee that the system will live up to our wishes 100%. Now I have found and established contact with a Danish company that works on designing and developing “hybrid generators” for industrial use, but they were enthusiastic about our new lifestyle and property and they promised to come with a proposal and of course they have to calculate the price for the possible solution.

Water

As we mentioned earlier, our two houses have a primitive water system, which works ok in summer period, but all pipes can be destroyed by Frost in winter and in the period when you have constant minus degrees outdoors. This is a problem and the entire water supply system needs to be redesigned so that we have running water in pipelines all year round. A well must be drilled and pipelines must be laid and frost-proved. This is not so much about smart solutions, but about money that must be paid to carry out the work.

So the problem of expectations is very much related to the last two projects, which were not realized due to lack of money. We have tried to reach out to several banks and other institutions, but they cannot loan us the money needed to improve our standard of living. We do not have a stable income during this  period when we are in the process of establishing ourselves as self-employed, so we have to get ready for the new season with a lack of water and a small petrol generator, which we hope can give us light and electricity in the winter. And Winter is on its way.

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