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Feminism (?)

 Today, the 14th of june, is the 30th anniversary of the first women's strike in Switzerland. Earlier this year as well, there was an upsurge of news and debates surrounding the 50th anniversary of women's right to vote (7 February 1971). Yes, that's very late compared to most countries. (in Canada, just to remind you, it was in 1918 - although I just read that excluded women of Asian descent, who weren't granted their rights until 1948). For a long time I hadn’t thought at all about ‘being a feminist’. It didn’t seem like a label that fit me. Of course I believe in equal rights for everyone regardless of race, gender, orientation, etc. But to me, singling out women as a ‘minority’ (not in terms of numbers but in terms of society) was a sign of weakness. Women are in every respect the equals of men, and if everyone is equal, groups and labels become irrelevant. I was raised as an individualist. I was taught to search out my own values without wondering about how those
Recent posts

Caravan wiring

  I am lucky enough to have a dad who is an electrical engineer. He planned and installed all the electrical systems in the Carabane. He's the one who really should be writing this post- but I am going to try to explain everything in layperson's terms! Production, consumption and storage I want to come as close as possible to self-sufficiency. In terms of electricity, self-sufficiency is a function of 1) how much power I consume 2) how much power I can produce 3) how much power I can store. So to reduce the power consumption to the maximum, I decided to heat via gas (and not electricity). I do not have a kettle, a vacuum cleaner, television, or microwave. The electrical load is therefore reduced to : the fridge, LED lighting, charging my phone, laptop and other portable devices, 3 ventilation fans (stove, heater, and toilet), and a hand blender in the kitchen.  We calculated the power use to be about 1 kwH per day. The fridge takes about half of that- it's by far the larges

The journey

I have 'finished' building the Carabane. Of course, there are always little things to improve, but it has started its journey in the world.  Getting a license plate was a bit complicated. I hired movers to help me bring it in for its first inspection, and it didn't pass. It created quite a stir at the vehicle inspection bureau- the movers and I sat calmly drinking coffee at my kitchen table while the inspectors all curiously peered in at us! After that, I had to do some minor changes- putting protections on the metal edges, getting it looked over by a certified mechanic, and moving the axles because the weight distribution was too far forward :   Finally, in September, it was all certified and ready to go. I stayed a couple months at a campsite right at the lakeside, which has an amazing view. But that campground closed for the winter, so I've moved to another one tucked away in the forest. I've been recording the interior and exterior temperatures every morning, so

Falu Rödfärg

Falu Rödfärg- Swedish red paint, made of flour, linseed oil, and iron oxide. From the very beginning, I dreamed of this red colour for the walls of the Carabane. Getting the paint proved to be a difficult mission, since I had it delivered to a friend's place in France just before the borders closed due to the epidemic. To bring it back, I crossed into France at an unguarded gravel road border with my bike, biked the last 4km, put the 25kg of paint into my backpack and then biked back into Switzerland! It felt very adventurous. I was very happy to put the wood cladding up. The Carabane had stayed too long with just a rainscreen. Here's how I made the boards fit the curve of the roof. I tried different techniques but this one gave the most satisfactory result. 1. Trace the outline of the roof on the back of the board  2. Offset the trace by 2 cm (because I wanted a 2cm ventilation gap between the roof and the boards) 3. Score with a knife (to reduce spli


It pays to have a design and to stick to it. Way back in January, I had started the kitchen. I found the stainless-steel countertop second-hand. The carpenter who was selling it offered to cut it for me. So I had the countertop before any other part of the house!  And I also started building the kitchen cabinets before I even started the walls of the caravan. And then, beginning of April, I brought the assembly inside...and it fit. To the millimetre. That's one thing I am pretty proud of. That means that my construction is conform to the plans I drew... The countertop came with the old plumbing and faucet. I was able to hook up the old faucet to a foot pump that is connected to a 25l jug. That's my water supply. I thought it would be complicated to make the different pipes fit together, but it turns out I just needed to slide one onto the other: The drain is routed out through the floor of the caravan. I'm going to use a planter as a

Interiors 1

The first step to making the Carabane liveable: put in a bed! I had picked up a slatted bed base for free, second-hand (and hauled it back on the train!). I want there to be room for storage under the bed, so the idea was to attach the bed base on hinges. It was a bit complicated to figure out how to attach the hinges and in which order (first to the bed base? or first to the wall?). It involved crawling around under the bed trying to reach for drills and screws. I was very happy to be finished! Next, there was the skylight to insulate and frame: And next, the wardrobe. I worked on making invisible shelf attachments. I wanted a system with a groove in the shelf that I could slide onto a rail. I thought I could make a groove that was 7mm deep and then slide it onto a piece of 7mm plywood that I screw into the wall. But 7mm plywood splits way too easily. Driving screws through it made the rail very fragile. You can see in the bottom right corner that the plywood is

Hello, world.