We went to visit the farm today and explore the surrounding area a little bit. We still have to wait a few weeks before we can move, but the current owner was kind enough to let us store some stuff there while we work on selling the apartment in Oslo.
It turns out Notodden, the town closest to the farm, is amazing! It’s a small town with a lot of personality. Here is a view of main street, which actually reminds me quite a lot of Orillia, Ontario, where I went to university.
We got some lunch then wanted to explore the town a little, so we asked this random viking for directions and he showed us his boat at the docks.
Every few minutes, a scrappy low riding car with thundering bass would roll by. Apparently Notodden is known for something called “råner”, which google translates to “greaser”. Basically, my understanding is that it’s a subculture where people just cruise around town with lowered cars and powerful sound systems that can literally shake pieces off the cars. I love big bass and when we first met Tux’s car had a sound system that could blow my hair around so we just grinned at each other every time one of these cars went by.
We also spotted a rather strange sculpture in the middle of town, but that’s something I’ve come to expect in Norway. Not too sure what the story is behind this one, or any of them really.
So we left town on our way to the farm and discovered a stave church, which it turns out was build in the 1200s and is the biggest one in Norway. There is also an open air museum with medieval buildings around there, so there will be no shortage of local things to see and do when we get visitors from Canada 🙂
Finally, we left civilization and headed into the wilderness towards our new paradise. On the gravel road up to the farm a fox crossed in front of us, and we spotted what looks to me like a beaver dam in the river. We will have to watch for moose and deer when driving here, and our chicken coop will need good protection against hungry foxes.
Here are some pictures from around the property. The buildings are in good shape, just the barn needs some attention (possibly a total rebuild).
We love the house, the location, and the property as a whole, but what I’m most excited for is the natural abundance that is already there, and the potential for so much more. I spotted at least five different kinds of berries, including black currents, blueberries, raspberries, I think gooseberries, and Norway’s very special little wild strawberries that are so sweet you’d swear they were actual candy. There is also a young cherry tree that just started producing fruit last year.
There were also these cute but rather sketchy looking orange mushrooms in the lawn. I have absolutely no idea what they are.
The place was humming with insect life too. Many different butterflies, bees, and other pollinators were hard at work in the wildflowers.
Of course, we will have to get used to bug bites when we live here. Twice I found myself standing (in flip flops) on a nest of biting ants, and though the sun was out this time, the last two times were cloudy with some rain, and we came home with many black fly bites. We haven’t seen any mosquitoes yet though, so fingers crossed those won’t be a big issue here 🙂
Oh and I’m sure the day will come where I will have a tick on me and I’m really, really dreading that, but it’s a small price to pay for living in such an amazing place.
There is one sad thing about the property, which is this:
I guess the owner felt that having the forest so close felt “dark and gloomy” and he mowed down almost every tree in the vicinity of the house, right up to the edge of the property. Just to “brighten it up a bit”. Not sure why he painted his house almost black if he wanted to brighten things up, but I guess everyone has their reasons for doing things. One of the reasons I loved this property from the start was that it had (on the satellite map) a beautiful forest surrounding the house on all sides. I was looking forward to getting to know these woods and calling them our own, having a place we knew would be allowed to thrive and remain wild for as long as we were there. However what’s done is done, and we will make the most of it. I am looking forward to watching the site come back to life, and I am interested in starting a “food forest”, so maybe this area will work well for a project like that.
I am so, so looking forward to starting our new life here. I can’t wait to really dig in and get to know the natural ecosystem, and I can’t wait to start building our farm ecosystem. Since it all starts with good soil, the first thing I plan to do is build a compost pile, and I want to start a worm bin for vermicompost too. We are planning to build a chicken coop this fall so that we can raise some laying hens in the new year. So many things to do and so much to plan for, but right now all we can do is sit in our nearly empty apartment and wait.