It has been quiet on this blog for the last couple of weeks. So either “quiet is the new loud” as the Kings of Convenience stated – and they are Norwegian, so they must know. Or I got something cooking, something that is so completely and utterly occupying that no time could be found to even spill the beans about it. Well, it is a little bit of both. Since arriving on Bergsmyrene I feel much less the need to tell and share a lot. I am having trouble keeping up with phoning friends and family, I work long hours and love every bit of it. It’s been many moons since I watched any series or movie and I do not get anywhere with my books. I do force myself to some news every now and then, but I feel weirdly detached from what is going on in the rest of the world. It has so little to do with my life right now, and admitting to this is an emotional mixed bag. How can I be so idle when there is a global health crisis going on? Not to forget about all the other preexisting crises.
Whenever I get ashamed and anxious about this shift of perspective and priorities I do try to remember that this is exactly the place and the state of mind I wanted to end up in. Doing something good for the people around me and my community, on a scale that is actually within my circle of influence. And letting go the overwhelming thought that trying to put out fires in all the hot spots at once is the goal.
I was dreaming of getting away from the buzz of the city, away from spending too much money on rent, from buying food that I didn’t know anything about. I did not want to be caught up in an unsustainable lifestyle and not being able to alter it anymore. And I certainly did not want to work in offices and watch the sky through the window. All together, it did make me feel quite miserable.
Playing violin to the seagulls
Instead, I wanted to live a life based on simplicity, love and care for the people around me and the place I ended up in. I wished to sit in a tree, sleep in a hammock and play my violin for the seagulls down at the fjord. I wanted to learn about growing vegetables, about seeding, planting and about harvesting. I wanted to go foraging in the woods and learn about all the edible plants and flowers. I wanted to taste dandelion spaghetti, nettle pesto, spruce shoot sirup and chervil blossom popsicles. I dreamed of living in a place where there was no need to lock doors and where even me, a light sleeper, would found ear plugs ridiculous. Where it was okay to have some staying black muck under the nails, not shower every day and let ones hair grow wild. I didn’t know how much pleasure I would find in cooking and baking, in learning about braiding hair, in slack-lining to the sound of birds, in going off-track running to the woods on endless summer nights. The sun rises at 4.21 and sets after ten o’clock now, and I have to force myself to bed.
Now, if you’re starting to think that this all sounds way too good to be real, and that life could not possibly be that idle, you’re not alone. About five times a day I feel like I have to pinch myself. It all feels surreal these days.
Weeding 100 meters of carrots by hand
What else is going on? I find way too much joy in pranking the people on the farm, at least to the taste of my boss. So far, I filled beds with straw and lunch packages with chicken food. I gave new color and meaning to clothing items and told some quite believable stories about magic mushrooms. When you sit in a 100 square meter carrot field and pull out weeds by hand, you have some time to come up with ideas. We play a lot of games while working (my favorite so far: “If I ran a cult”, that was about coming up with ways of setting up a cult that people would actually like to join.). We teach each other about things, sometimes we end up in heated discussions, we laugh a lot. It is great fun to hang out and work with the Bergsmyrene squad, with Doro, Severin, with Abby, Raphael and Toon. We could need more helping hands on the farm, and hopefully some people will find their way to Bergsmyrene. The intimacy of a small group is nice though. Departures are tough and it pains me to let people go, like Abigael last week. It feels like a break-up.
Café Koselig, your supplier of good coffee and delicious vegan cakes
As for the spilling of beans I did start a little project on the farm that has been occupying me in addition to everything else. I opened a little pop up café that is part of our farm shop. It is called Café Koselig (a Norwegian word with quite a few meanings and layers, “cozy“ is just one) and is open on weekends during the summer. I bake vegan cakes and try to use as much of our own produce as possible. And I serve good organic and fair trade coffee. I didn’t want to make a big investment, so I just bought the bare minimum of equipment: high-quality coffee beans and organic ingredients, a coffee grinder and a milk foamer to make a decent caffe latte. We got a sofa and nice chairs for free from people in the area and some granny-style porcelain service.
We opened last weekend and so far it has been very nice. A lot of people who come to the farm shop end up staying a bit longer for a coffee and some cake, a lemonade or a popsicles. The nicest thing is not having to worry about money, not having to pay rent, or paying off debt from an investment, and making the project profitable as fast as possible. I just hitched my café wagon to the Bergsmyrene farm and if all goes well, this will be a wonderful summer occupation. I do love serving good food, so why not in a small café setting? So far, the feedback has been very kind and generous. People seem to be generally appreciative and open to new things, comments on Koselig being a vegan café have been only positive so far. All together, I am quite busy these days. Yet, I still find the time to watch the clouds, lie in the meadows or stray through the woods, almost every day. How did I ever consider life fulfilled without?