nothing much to tell … woodworking yesterday … great progress.

Then Andreea came home and we had to go back to Cluj (arghhh!) because we got word from the bus-service that our packages from the UK were arriving around 11pm … so a long day turned into a long night … we made it back around 00:30 … I couldn’t find sleep. Woke up at 5am … drew a design of our house that occupied me as I lay in bed … cold morning … smoke coming from the stove (fixed it today) … more woodworking today … shelves on top of kitchen cabinet are assembled … again assembly didn’t go to smooth … but worked out OK.

Tired … hope to get sleep tonight.

Yesterday was all finishing day. Some parts were getting finish applied, others were in sanding. I was working both tasks trying to make the best of the day … especially the sun which taunted and tricked me. When it was very cloudy I started applying finish in the barn, when it got sunny I brought all the parts out … then it got really cloudy again … I was sure rain was coming … so I carried all the parts back in (carefully – one by one because by now they were coated with finish that was drying) … then of course the sun came out and stayed out most of the day. But I was very content because I managed to finish all the parts of the lower kitchen cabinet.

Today started off with self inflicted suffering. I woke up to clear sky and the sun came out. I wanted to make the most of the day so I headed out earlier then usual when everything was still frosted. I dressed up really well (full set of fleece undergarments + thick socks + two layers of gloves) … and I started working … and my hands started to get cold … I continued assuming they would get warm … then my hands started hurting … I insisted some more … until I couldn’t anymore … I ran inside practically in tears with pain and did everything I could to get my hands warm. It took a few minutes and the pain subsided … it’s too cold to work outside too early in the morning … a warm-able workshop would have been so useful … but alas.

So I waited indoors. I made another cup of tea and began to clear the space where later in the day I would assemble the cabinet. Then I headed out and began to work in two stations again. One station was the final sanding and then applying finish to the shelves above the cabinet. The other was final finishing in preparation for assembly of the lower cabinet. Finishing, even the mediocre quality I strive for, takes up much time and space! In the 1st station I had to sand with fine grit, then clean with a damp cloth to raise the grain, then sand again and only then to apply finish. In the 2nd station I was sanding with extra-fine grit and then to run a polisher-pad with the power sander (at least) over the exposed surfaces.

Anyways … I finally reached the point where the remaining pieces were drying and the ready pieces were indoor in their cleared space ready for assembly. My assembly plans didn’t work out very well so assembly was more difficult then I had expected. But I got through it and there is a large 130x80cm counter-top with plenty of cabinet space beneath it and even more shelf coming hopefully tomorrow. It’s very rewarding to see a project come together. Also, with every project I tend to dry something new … either a different structural approach or better finishing … and with every project I make new mistakes which I try to improve on in the next project. Great stuff πŸ™‚

Two packages filled with goods … one from the UK (should arrive in a day or two) and another from the USA (should arrive in a week) are headed our way … which means we’ll have two more frequent trips to the city … but with wonderful goods … including much awaited books (more construction and gardening and the like) which will keep us busy and thinking throughout the winter πŸ™‚

So today was a city (Cluj) day … mostly shopping, mostly for things we still need for winter.

We got everything from boiled linseed oil (rapidly becoming our favorite wood-working finishing), rice, cereals (an occasional snack-meal which we hope to gradually replace with home made alternatives … though that may take a few years), tea-bags (to be replaced with home-grown and dried plants), oil pressed from fresh sunflower seeds (we picked up 15 liters in a village on the way to the city – directly from the room in which the pressing machine is operated) which together with a few liters of olive oil (which we are used to) will hold us through winter, a few red-meat servings for Andreea’s once a month craving and bodily demand (it will complimented by fresh pork meet round-about Christmas when pigs are butchered all over Romania), chocolate wafers (I’ve been eating too much of them … they are a fall-back when my days are hectic and I just want something sweet Now), frozen pasta (for those days when we just don’t feel like cooking), dog-food (though we hope to move to alternatives that are cheaper for us and healthier for the dogs, a sewing machine (finally a tool Andreea will have all to herself), a radiator (to keep our above-ground pantry from freezing), a small heater for our new shower-room (to keep our asses from freezing), sheets of sandpaper (to be complimented by a batch of pads for the power sander – on its way in a package from the UK), some hinges for the new kitchen cabinets, warm boots for Andreea … and so on.

With all these things it’s becoming kind of urgent that I build our planned “fenced box” – a simple wooden frame wrapped in dense hardware cloth (a fence with really small holes) where we will keep all the things we want to keep away from the mice (eg rice, cereals, sacks of flour, etc.).

I dropped Andreea off at Nora’s place at the end of the day – they will be working through the weekend preparing for the coming Doula course they will be teaching together – and I continued to make my way home (including a stop to pick up the sunflower seed oil). The car is packed full and will stay that way until tomorrow morning. I got back home at around 9pm and already the ambient temperature (according to the car’s thermometer) was below zero – so the car will be a fine fridge until tomorrow morning and I can unpack it in daylight.

I am running the rocket stove at full capacity – feeding it only thin and dry sticks … so I can get it’s mass thoroughly warm before I fall asleep – then that heat will continue to spread into the room and keep it nice and warm into the early morning hours. Β It’s been only 30 minutes and already the top of the stove is warming up nicely. A cup of tea awaits me … and then maybe a movie to switch my mind off from the day.

Today looked really wintery at first … and though some more light and eventually some sun came through it stayed wintery throughout.

I spent the first part of the day with a second-sanding , then raising the grain (since I am using a water based finish) and then another quick sanding. All in all this sanding took longer then I expected (and I am not working to rigorous standards). But eventually I got it done and finally moved into applying finishing. Got all of the bottom cabinet pieces with one layer on one side and the side panels with a second layer. All in all very good progress. I just remembers that I forgot to check in on the counter-top finishing progress (stored elsewhere) … oh well.

And this time I showered … again … well actually for the first time since the other day Andreea used up most of the water and I had just a minute or two of hot water. This time I was in first and WOW … huge pleasure both from showering and from doing so in a shower stall I designed and built from the ground up. Though I do not claim objectivity – this is one of the nicest shower stalls I’ve showered in πŸ™‚

Tomorrow we go to the city (haven’t been in 2 or 3 weeks … hurray) with a hopefully final shopping list Β of winter stuff we still need. Andreea will be staying at Nora’s over the weekend to complete preparations for the doula course (next weekend) so I will be returning home on my own. Word is really spreading about the course and in addition to the 2nd course in Brasov there is now a 3rd course planned in Bucharest for early February πŸ™‚

 

Today I spent almost the entire day with a breathing mask on my face and an orbital sander on my hand. Sanding was more difficult then it can/should be because I am using green (undried) wood … all we could get our hands on. Green wood does not respond well to planing – some of the wood fibers escape the cutter while others get torn out (more then necessary) … which ultimately leaves more sanding work. This will improve with time as the wood continues to dry naturally. I’ve completed the first sanding (the roughest sanding) of the bottom cabinet parts … which means that tomorrow I’ll be able to put the front facing parts through a second (more delicate sanding) and then into at least one layer of finishing (maybe even two if the sun is out and the water-based finishing dries fast enough).

I took a small break to help Andreea and our neighbor in preparing a huge load of cabbages for pickling … we now have a 120 liter plastic barrel filled with cabbages going through their first phase of pickling. They will require some attention over the next 10 days … and after that we will have loads of cabbage for winter.

Andreea is continuing preparations for the course and the birth of what promises to be a unique book for Romanian women.

Dinner (mamaliga) is cooking … I’m tired and hungry … signs of a day well spent πŸ™‚

I started the day a bit earlier then usual and chopped my way through more fire-wood.

Then Andreea joined the day and we went to the market – picked up my custom tailored sheep’s-wool vest … Β great stuff from the neighboring village. We also purchased ~3kg of locally made cheese and stored most of it in the freezer.

The rest of the day I spent working on the kitchen cabinet. Got almost all of the parts cut, shaped and ready for finishing. Tomorrow there will be lots of sanding.

As I write these words Andreea is in the shower … FINALLY … we have a working shower – the pump from the well is pumping water, the wood-boiler is fired up and heating water, water is flowing without any leaks into the new shower stall (wood frame and floor, polycarbonate walls and a pond liner drain base), it is running onto and over Andreea and then flowing without any leaks out of the house … otherwise known as a shower. I’m next πŸ™‚ Wow … what a journey!

First thing in the morning hopped to the village to get more silicon … then applied a first layer … and went to work outside in another sunny day.

I started with finer sanding of the counter top and started applying boiled linseed oil finishing to it … I started early with it so I can give it a good number of layers to protect the surface as much as possible from the abuse it is bound to take πŸ™‚ Then I continued mostly with planing of the remaining pieces of the main cabinet body … and made good progress. Next up is routing the legs and then sanding everything in preparation for finishing … which is when I will start to work on parallel tracks with the remaining parts of the cabinet. Hopefully in the coming week this project too will come to an end.

Andreea started our fall-pruning project by going at the strawberry tree next to our summer kitchen with a handsaw and at one point I joined her with the chainsaw to get things moving along.

I got another layer of silicon into the shower stall … unfortunately it has not yet dried which means that the shower is still on hold until tomorrow … umph … did anyone say patience?

πŸ™‚