Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Kullfallet, Sweden 

Becoming a hillbilly again

So a new chapter begins in my life. I have bought a remote 15 acre forest property in the heart of Värmland, Sweden. My intention is to repeat what I did in Thailand, to create a small farm and live off the land as self-sufficient as possible.

The area is famous for rolling hills of never ending spruce and pine tree forests, full of wild-life such as moose, bears, wolves, boars and deer.

Climate is similar to southern Canada, with winter temperatures at 0 F (-18 C) and summers at 75 F (24 C). When I visited the property this February, the snow cover was around 15 inches.

The closest town is Sunne, 30 minutes away, where some 5,000 people live, and it has some useful shops. This is a cultural center that draws a lot of tourism, both for nature experiences in the summer and down hill skiing in the winter.

Half the property is cleared spruce forest, that was cut down several years ago. The rest is 80 year old spruce mixed with birch and other broad-leaved trees, with a total standing log volume of 450 cubic meters, which is around 1,000 trees. So there is plenty of construction and fire wood available.

As can be seen in the satellite shot above, a small creek runs through the 230 by 270 meter property. It also has a small run down cabin (bottom left corner), which possibly can be repaired or at least used as temporary housing while something better is constructed.

The cabin is a typical Swedish farm dwelling, wooden and red in color with white corners. Its primitive construction makes me guess it was built in the late 1800-hundreds.

The name of the property is Kullfallet, which in Swedish means "the clearing in the hills". It used to be all cleared, possibly for raising livestock, but then got overgrown around 100 years ago.

What I especially love about the place is the hilly landscape and remote location. It is very scenic, and gives a peacefulness that is hard to find. Imagine standing in the spot below, looking out across the landscape and being in total silence, only hearing the faint sound of the wind in the trees. Fresh cool clean air, and no one around.

I don't have any summer pictures of the property, but to give you an idea I've included one was captured at the closest neighbor, 800 meters away (photo by Mikael Klarström).

There used to be a large thriving farm community here, but sadly this part of Sweden suffers from depopulation, with locals leaving for a better opportunity in the city. 

The below picture shows the scutching of flax, at a nearby farm. Karin Olsson, born 1887, is the woman sitting down on the left, and she lived in Kullfallet at the time (photographer unknown).

I am very excited about creating a future here, with so many opportunities for farming and nature experiences. 

Instead of reforesting the cut area, I'm thinking of planting fruit, oak, hazel and other useful trees. The property does not have electricity, so finally I have a good reason for playing around with solar power. The stream might fill up a pond with rainbow trout and crayfish.

Time will tell what the property transforms into. My intention is to post frequent updates about the progression on my blog. Now I'm in the planning stages, while waiting for the snow to melt away. I just got a Husqvarna 545 chainsaw. Next mission is to find a decent second-hand car to buy. 

Project Kullfallet is under way!

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