JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Tractor usage

This week I made good use of our tractor.

Monday 24 April

It is the first day of the holiday at our cottage in Sweden. We began the day by cutting more chunks of wood and splitting the chunks.

Another project we would like to get sorted out this week is maintaining two of our roads. We got four stretches of road at our cottage for use by regular cars, 787 meters in total. There are more roads, but they are more for tractor usage. The new house owner takes care of stretch number 1, 282 meters, which can only be reached via our property; it makes sense they do maintenance on this road. This road stretches from their property to the main road going south. From this stretch, at the big old oak tree, go stretch number 2, 135 meters, passing our barn and ending at our workplace house. This stretch is in good condition still, but I would like to give it a touch-up anyway. Stretch number 3, 275 meters of road, is the worst; it goes from the main road to our cottage in a straight line. At its lowest point, it has been sagging a lot. Stretch 4, 75 meters, is maintained by DF and DM, and that also makes sense because they can reach their house via that road. I took photos of roads 2 and 3 as they are right now.

The road along the barn. Road 2.

The swamp at the side of the road is at the lowest point.

A ridge along the road in the middle. No problem if there are no potholes. Road 3.

Here road 3 has a dent. Our car scratched against the underside on the ridge when heavily loaded.

I found a supplier of gravel that can deliver to us. They estimated one 15-ton lorry with 0 – 32 millimeter material and two 15-ton trucks with 0 – 18 millimeter material. It was unclear when they could arrive.

Tuesday 25 April

Today we started by cutting more pieces of wood and splitting them. In the afternoon, we went to the city to buy groceries. We also went to a second-hand shop. It is one of our great joys when going to the city. Bought paint for the decoration that I planned to prepare for the house. No idea when I will have time to make it, though?

In the afternoon, I spoke with DM, and she told me they had a challenge with their stairs entering the house. The current stairs were made of metal, and the steps were made of wood. They wanted to replace it with stone, but the local hardware store could not come and install the stairs for them, so that project ended there.

I figured I had more possibilities to help them. I offered to help them renovate the metal stairs.

In the evening, we got a visit from a roe deer.

Wednesday26 April

Today I wanted to look at the metal construction of the stairs in front of my parent's house. I took two pallets as temporary replacement stairs. Their stairs I brought back to the workplace of the cottage. Pretty soon, it was clear that the metal construction required a lot of renovation to be safe. The wood planks were in good shape, actually.

It was time to rethink the original plan with stone slabs, so I went to the local hardware store, Tarllberga Shopping Centre. They got regular groceries, petrol, hardware, paint, wood, gravel, sewage systems, stones, and pavement of various kinds. It is a fantastic place. The man running the business is Mikael. He is a really kind person. He is also a businessman but of the good kind, if that is a thing?

He gave me prices and details of how we could create the stairs. I went to my parents to discuss the plan. That was okay; we had a go!

Here come the granite slabs. They are 210 kilos per piece.

1500 x 350 x 150 millimeters.

Mikael got a pinching mechanism to grab the slab. The two top slabs were turned upside down, so they first had to be rolled over.

Here is the first slab rolled and now placed on the trailer. The trailer wheel had too little air in it; that was clear.

Then we did the same for the two other slabs.

The person in the truck is Robert.

Here the trailer is loaded. The portable tank of air was used to fill up the tires. I brought it back to the filling point.

Voila! Here are the slabs near their end destination.

The green bag contains sand, and there are four smaller concrete blocks as well.

Now the only question is how to get the slabs into place?

It became a busy day. In between, we cut more pieces of wood and split them. But that was not all; the first lorry with the gravel for the road came in the afternoon.

This is the first truck with 15 thousand kilos of 0 to 32-millimeter gravel. That is 33 thousand ponds (lb), and it is 2645 stones (US) and 2362 stones (UK). This is about 13 small cars in weight or 15 heavy horses. It can also be compared to 154 average-size washing machines.

The plan was one truck of this kind, but when the driver was finished, I decided I wanted another one.

With our tractor and the snowblade, I evened out the gravel as much as possible.

Thursday 27 April

The trailer was still loaded with the three granite blocks, 210 kilograms each. I went to DF to see how the preparations were going. He was short of sand, or rather the sand he got was not enough.

I suggested that we remove the granite blocks from the trailer, put them on the ground, and get more sand with the trailer. Now, this is the thing; we have never done this before; it is all theory but no practice. I was confident we could lift the blocks with the crane on the tractor and gently put them on the ground without breaking them.

We took off the snowblade and mounted the crane on the tractor. Now it was supposed to happen. My parents had suitable ratchet bands to do the lifting. It is 210 kilograms. We did some heavy lifting here, but it worked flawlessly.

With the load hanging in the wire, I drove the tractor to the pallets and slowly lowered the blocks onto each pallet.

We usually use the crane with the feet down, which is unnecessary here because it is only 210 kilograms.

With the blocks removed from the trailer, we could get to the hardware shop and get more sand.

When the sand was delivered, we left DF with the task of using the sand to prepare for the blocks.

We went to the cottage to split wood from our stack of logs.

I also glued a shoe of DW. She got these here at the cottage for working, and now the sole started to let loose. I cut some wood blocks for inside the shoe and then clamped the sole with the shoe. It will be interesting to see how the shoe will feel when the glue has dried.

It is so beautiful around the wood storehouse! There are growing spring snowflake flowers here (Leucojum vernum in Latin). It is usually an overwhelmingly beautiful sight when this flower creates a carpet over an entire hillside.

During a previous holiday at our cottage on 5 November, I started to recreate the cottage's front porch decoration. I made it entirely; it just had to be painted.

I took it to the Netherlands to do the painting, but that was when I hesitated about the choice of material. I decided to recreate the entire thing in plywood suitable for outdoor use. In the Netherlands, that is a regular product; in Sweden, that is an unknown product.

So here I am; I transferred the pattern of the previous model over to the new plate. I took with me the jigsaw machine from the Netherlands so that I could work on this here. This time I left plenty of material at the bottom of the decoration, making it possible to fasten it thoroughly. We will see how this goes. There is no need to rush this through but take it step by step.

There came two trucks this afternoon as well. They placed more gravel on the road going straight from the main road. I am curious if they remember to put gravel on the last road or if it will be forgotten. When the tractor has the crane mounted, it is not easy to quickly switch to the blade, go out, and even out the road. I had wanted to do that, but there is just so much energy to spend in a day, and I think this is about the level I can output.

Next week we have regular office work to do, although we will work from home, and in this case, the cottage is home. It is funny that I have still not found an easy way to describe that I work for an employer, at the office, or at home. Usually, I call that "working from home," but when I work at the cottage or the house in the Netherlands, I work at home. Then I work for myself. I am also alone when I work from home for my employer, but you get the gist. Next week we will work from home, but home is the cottage. Can you follow? This week though, the work is at the cottage. Not home.

In the afternoon, I made more pieces of wood, and DW continued to split. I made a considerable heap of pieces.

Friday 28 April

This morning, we had a unique visit of two foxes! I was not quick enough to get a good photo of them. I can safely say we have not seen foxes for a long time. I know that we had a fox nest with cubs near the cottage in May 2009, but they were discovered by guests. That was fourteen years ago.

While DW split pieces, I went to the workshop house and continued on the porch decoration. It is a tedious task compared to cutting logs into pieces. I made the blade narrower, allowing me to cut sharper curves. I held the blade against the sharpening wheel and ground away perhaps two millimeters. Excellent!

After this effort, we went for a walk to inspect the property, especially the southeast part, where we had been collecting fallen trees the previous holiday. Only one more tree had fallen, so that was good. The more standing, the better it is.

We also tried to find the southeast corner point, but it had been lost when the neighbors cut their forest. It will be necessary to find that point and mark it thoroughly at some point. We got friends in the Netherlands with precise geo-positioning equipment we could eventually borrow. It will be an exciting project for another holiday.

At the creek, we found marsh marigold flowers; they were very decorative! They grew along the creek's edge not far from Jens Bridge, the bridge I built 7 years ago.

We also discovered that one plank of the bridge needed replacement.

After our walk, it was time for the final load of gravel on our roads. Now I will need to even these layers of gravel, and then the roads are done for this time.

After the gravel, we went to DM and DF to see how the preparations for the stairs were going. It was almost done; just a few things had to be finished, and then we were ready to move the granite blocks into place with the tractor.

The blocks are 210 kilos per piece, which is 463 pounds! The tractor could handle this weight very well. We connected the blocks in sturdy ratchet bands and hoisted the blocks well enough for ground clearance. Drove the tractor so that the blocks were ready to be lowered. I lowered the blocks really slowly so that the blocks could be pushed into the correct place by DW, DM, and DF. It was a team effort!

Saturday 29 April

This day we went to the second-hand shop again. One of the items I found was a jigsaw that looked better than the saw I used. It was great fun. In the afternoon, I switched the crane for the shovel blade on the tractor. Evening out on the road is like plastering with a tractor.




And I can plaster; you already know if you follow my blog.

Sunday 30 April

This morning I sawed more pieces of the logs. It became one wheelbarrow of wood pieces.

During our walk, we found that one plank of Jens Bridge had to be replaced.

I could not find any plank with the same width, but that does not matter. It will work anyway.

As long as the bridge stays intact, it will be used. I noticed it is not in top condition anymore but it is still safe.

Here are the new granite stairs of the DF and DMs house! We went to a restaurant to celebrate the effort, that was really lovely.

After the visit to the restaurant, I continued cutting the decoration of the cottage's front porch. I even had time to start sanding the piece. Next, I will need to sand the other side, and then the plate will be primed after more sanding and perhaps even priming. We will see.

This week much was going on at the same time. The road renovation was finished, and I helped build granite front stairs for my parent's house. Next week will be dull because we will log in to our employer's networks and work from the cottage. Perhaps we will see more animals around the cottage because we sit behind our desks?

I was born 1967 in Stockholm, Sweden. I grew up in the small village Vågdalen in north Sweden. 1989 I moved to Umeå to study Computer Science at University of Umeå. 1995 I moved to the Netherlands where I live in Almere not far from Amsterdam.

Here on this site I let you see my creations.

I create, that is my hobby.