Friday, June 3, 2011

Spring at Paia-Ojakalda

I haven't posted since the end of March, but there has been a lot going on at Paia and Ojakalda. There is a new pair of storks on the nest, which is a good omen to start the summer.

And even though we're still in Sharjah, all the grounds at Paia and part of Ojakalda have already been cut once.

This includes the river bank, which I've never been able to get to. The area was starting to grow up in woody plants, on its way to turning back into deciduous forest, so this is a very good thing.

It's entirely thanks to Jüri, our newest contractor, who also took most of these pictures.

In addition to the river bank and the yard, he did the main driveway at Paia,

the yard at Ojakalda,

as well as the driveway there.

He even had a go at the old Ojakalda garden which contains a lot of debris, as we've not yet had the chance to clear the grounds there.

Finding someone to do the cutting and some of the other brush clearing is huge progress. We've had to start in cutting every year as soon as we come back, which has always taken up a lot of the time we have to spend in Estonia. Our very good friend Heidi introduced me to Jüri when I was in Estonia back in March, and it's hard to convey how much I appreciate this. Now we should have time to focus on other things, like the renovation of the Ojakalda house.

The demolition there is already well advanced.

The main structure - foundation, log walls and the supports for the roof - appear to be in good shape overall. According to Arvi, (whom I bought the house from), this was an old agricultural building that was converted into a small house.

There are a few bad spots that will need new logs.

The preliminary demolition work (empty the house, tear off the siding, tear out the wallpaper, sheet goods, plaster, etc.) should be finished in a few days and we should be able to get a more accurate idea of how much work will be involved in rebuilding the house. We want to winterize the place and use it as both a guest cottage and as somewhere to stay when we come up late or early in the season.

The Ojakalda röövlihooned and the kõrvalhoone are all gone now. Feliks' crew came in early May to demolish them and haul away or burn all the remains.

We'll spend a lot of time this Summer on cleaning up garbage and old garden structures at Ojakalda. We should end up with a large open meadow-like area, which we'll combine with the meadow areas at Paia by taking down the lilacs in between. Following up on some of the comments Jüri has sent me, I've been reading about wooded meadows, puisniidud. I like the idea of a semi-natural landscape, and the management methods (cutting, picking up the deadfall, cutting back trees and bushes) are pretty much what we've been doing at Paia.

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