Sun On The Snow: Moving Update

It has been roughly a month since the big moving day into our house, and we are only maybe about halfway unpacked. The reasons for that are many, and most of them are not that interesting (catching a cold, holidays, things which inevitably needed to be fixed, some more renovations after we moved in because library hadn’t been finished before we did, etc.). Instead of complaining about all of those things which are just life, and aren’t even terrible in themselves, here are some pretty pictures from a recent day of shoveling snow, when the weather gods decided that a 40-50cm snowfall in one day is what new house owners in Telemark really need to get acquainted with local conditions.

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Yes we moved all of that with a shovel.

We found the car, we piled the snow downslope as advised by the neighbor who knows what it looks like when it will all start to melt, and our retired neighbors didn’t have to embarrassingly come and dig us out, and perhaps after this, they think that the city folks may actually survive the winter.

The interior renovations are now finished (at least for this year – we have some things that we’d like to fix in the house, but they are low on the priority list of things that need doing), and we have actually begun to sleep well, finally unbothered by the near-faded smell of paint from the library, and on a new and comfortable bed. The pre-moving stress insomnia wasn’t fun, but it appears to be blissfully gone.

We have also received the final bills for this round of house renovation. This (initial) round of renovations was massive, since we wanted a lot of things finished before we moved in that are the types of things you want done when you are not living in the house, such as ripping the bathroom and kitchen out in their entirety, and building them completely new, with plumbing and wiring. And the bills were, too, proportionately massive. So massive, in fact, that we ran out of money. Not permanently, since we did budget for all of this, and for the cost overrun – we just didn’t budget for the overrun that the cost overrun had.

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We think we need to invest in a car port, actually.

In order to minimize the impact this has on our cash flow, this month I am going to focus on cooking and eating things we already have, and only shopping for fresh produce and dairy. Things I already have include a full box freezer of meat and seafood (and several bags of frozen wild blueberries we picked last summer), and a full pantry of grains and legumes, as well as 3 sacks of nice potatoes in the cellar. Oh, and a crate of chocolates and cookies we didn’t eat over the holidays because of having been sick after the move. We aren’t about to be living a deprived life. All I am saying is that perhaps what I need, now that I am less exhausted, and the kitchen is closer to being actually unpacked, is to inventory my freezer and the drawers, finish unpacking (because somewhere in those remaining boxes is a jar of chili flakes that I really need really soon), and make at least a loose meal plan week by week, and stick to it.

I had hoped to actually start cooking large batches of food for freezing, but the large freezer which came (for free) with this house and that I’d hoped to use because it was working when we got the house, has died the week before our move, which put a cramp in a lot of those plans, logistically speaking. We can’t afford another freezer until next month, or a couple of months down the road preferably. My small box freezer works, but it’s full so I have to think creatively not just in terms of what to make and when, but how to reshuffle food so that I can freeze the prepared meals when making larger batches.

That said, I am really, really not complaining. In fact, it’s difficult to complain when the outside looks like a glorious winter holiday postcard,

View of back garden from the bedroom door.

…and inside, there is a rack of dry firewood, and the cast iron fireplace (renovations spoiler!) that we have decided was one of the best renovation decisions we’ve made.

It’s a new Jøtul F3 clean-burning stove, and it’s awesome. The stone wall was done by a local murare (brickmason) some 35 years ago when the house was built.

In short, I am well, the move went well, the renovations had cost overruns as is traditional, the cats are well, and it’s mind-bendingly beautiful out here. And with that in mind, I need to head to the kitchen and unpack a box or two. The chili flakes are out there, and they need to be found.

Provided I can tear my eyes from the window long enough to go do that.

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View from living-room balcony.

You can see how that’d be somewhat difficult.


5 thoughts on “Sun On The Snow: Moving Update

  1. I can sympathize. We get an average of 126″ (320cm) of snow every winter where I live, and shoveling snow gets to be a real drag after awhile. If this kind of snowfall is common where you live, you might want to invest in a good snow blower. And definitely a car port. I would kill for one.

    1. Hah, so you know the pain in the diagonal abdominals that it is, then? I don’t actually know what the usual annual snowfall is, but the neighbors didn’t seem to think this was out of the ordinary, except for the fact that it fell “about 3 times what’s normal” in one day. We had been keeping up with shoveling the normal daily snowfall before, but this was challenging. Same neighbor (who is 75 and shovels his larger driveway like a pro with hand tools) mentioned that this sort of large-dump happens about every five years, so the jury on gasoline-powered snowblower is still out (but it’s an option and they are common here).

      Car port is definitely in the plans, but we would need a bit of earthworks done before we put it up (retaining wall and some driveway/parking area work, likely involving a large cement mixer). Next projects up are reflooring the balcony, fixing cladding, and painting of the house. And then we’ll see how much money we don’t have. ;)

      1. If you’re like me you’ll forget all about the snow when the first tulips pop up in the spring, then get an uneasy feeling around October, followed by an unending sense of dread by late November. But this frozen hell is what makes the coming of spring all the more joyous. I keep telling myself this.

      2. The funny thing is, we moved here from a far colder place with longer winters – the temperatures and darkness are mild in comparison to where we lived in Finland. But, the amount of snow, and also buying the house and having to shovel your own snow rather than waiting for the municipal plows to do it for you are new. As to tulips – I can’t wait! I planted a couple of dozen bulbs last fall, dug them well and deep, so I have some hopes for bright colors come spring, even if the garden doesn’t have any other bulbs (which I think it does, because I ran across some small ones when looking for a place to put the tulips in).

        Now I can’t wait to see what will come up in the garden come spring!

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