learning to fix up a summer cottage with no car in sweden

We are living in the country now, the Nordic summer sun finally out after a too-long winter.  The swarms of Swedish mosquitos are out too, and we still wait for blueberries though E picked the first wild strawberry yesterday.

We have an old house, one that was left to gentle decay for a couple years before we bought it.  The fence is disintegrating, the bushes on one side have turned into a bramble (albeit a tasty raspberry one in late summer), a drain fell off the roof in front of our door.  Oh, and we only opened the playhouse today because we fear it is filled with mold and won’t let the kids play in it.

So there is a lot to do, many projects.  We had certain priorities, like taking down the playhouse and building a new one, or putting in a new fence, or carting away lots of extra wood.

Then we come up here and are faced with the reality of a life-style choice.   We have no car – we load up two strollers and take the train and walk through the woods to get here.  And we have no drivers license, though I may get one next year.

It’s tough, you know, to haul stuff to the dump in your stroller.  And bring a truck’s worth of building supplies on the commuter train is, well, frowned upon, though we come close with our two overpacked strollers, two huge backpacks and children forced to walk behind (this is not true … usually)

We can’t really complain because we would not have the summer cottage if we had a car.  So we are learning how to renovate on-site, going really earthy out of necessity, not some big statement.

So the fence?  We are taking it down and not replacing it.  We will saw it up and burn it in the fall.

It looks great with no fence.

The playhouse?  There will be no new one.  We bought a tent.  The old one will also get taken down and burned.

We are ripping out the bramble and filling it with dirt from the overgrown root-filled neglected compost pile in the back.

Not fun, but it is good hard work, and we have no choice.

Eventually we will get someone to bring a truck in.  Or I will get the license eventually.

But that is not a problem today, as we’re still trying to get the lawn all mowed at once (it is a huge lawn, and we have very small kids).

And when we need a break, we can always go hang out in the tent.


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