Elevating the tea House to New heights

It has been a while since I have had time to work on the tea house. I found some immediate problems with the cabin’s main building that I had to repair. My dad came out to help me with that, but we also got time to do some work on the tea house šŸ™‚

We added boards underneath the building, to prevent a draft from coming up trough the floor. The idea is that the insulation will rest directly on these boards. Also we prepared the floorboards inside the house. Next weekend I hope to be able to add insulation and seal the floor up.

While doing all, this my dad discovered that the building was crooked. Using his engineering skills he discovered that the NE corner needed to be lifted 4cm and the NW corner 7.5 cm.

The very next day I ran out and bought at jack meant to lift cars. I inserted it underneath the beams of the tea house and lifted it up enough so that I could insert a wooden board between the beam and the concrete pillars that it was resting on. That way I was able to lift the NE corner 3 cm and the NW corner 6 cm. Measuring inside, the tea house was almost perfectly level after this operation. Iā€™m a bit proud, I have never elevated a building before šŸ™‚

Finally I was able to go the lumberyard and pick up all the exterior wood. I bought Siberian Larch. Supposedly this can stand untreated for a hundred years. Itā€™s a huge pile of wood, and it is going to require a lot of work to get it onto the building.


Storehouse to Teahouse

Since the Chabarn ended up being too expensive, I have started a smaller project. At my cabin, there is a small storehouse (“stabbur” in Norwegain), that I am going to turn into a combined Tea-house and guest-house. I’m looking at three mats and a 80cm by 320cm mizu-ya.Ā Ā But first I need to renovate the building. I have started to demolish most of what was there originally, and intend to keep the frame only.

During my six day vacation, I was able to remove all the interior wood. This was a lot more work than I had planned for. I removed the interior walls on the ground floor, as well as in the loft. In addition, I tore down the interior part of the roof, along with the floor between ground floor and the loft. See attached photos of the huge pile of removed wood.

The wood I removed on the first day, was all burned on my Easter-pyre, but the rest is left for another day.

I was able to replace the entire south wall, and half of the west one. I removed the old planks and replaced it with wood fiber boards, and a layer of soft wind barrier, that also happens to be water and vapor proof. In reality, this is the wall, but to protect the barrier and to make it more appealing to the eye, one would normally add wooden boards. I’m going to do this, but I didn’t have the wood available, so I haven’t started on that task yet. in the photos you will see a network of 1” by 2” beams that have been nailed on top of the wind barriers, this is to get some air between the barrier and the wood. In all essence this is the way most Norwegian wooden houses are built.


The Dream

Burning Dreams

I had a dream that went up in flames. After a lengthy process, I got some price quotes for building the Tea barn. Unfortunately, they were two-to-three times higherĀ than expected. This makes it impossible for me to build the barn. :'(

I’m currently working on some other plans that might be more affordable. Last month, the government announced a change in building policies, starting from July this year. With these new laws, I can build more without applying for building permit. I have a small storehouse, and after the government announced their new policies, I started dreaming about turning this into a mizu-ya, and build an almost identical Tea room next to it. I even envisioned a corridorĀ between the two so the host wouldnĀ“t be bothered with rain when going from one to the other.

We are spending Easter at the cabin, and the first thing I did was start measuring. Turns out, the storehouse is so high that I would not be able to build an identical building even within the new laws. So while I am looking for other ways to build my dream Tea house, in the meantime I have decided to upgrade the old storehouse, making it a Tea house with a tiny mizu-ya. That way I have a nice place to practice Tea while I ponder the best way to build my Tea house.

Day 150

Taking a quick Tea break, before I go back to bulding my Tea hut (more on that later). Today was the 150th day in a row that I did temae, which is a new record for me!:)
Happy Easter to you all!

TeaLife Audio – Podcast about the way of tea

TeaLife Audio is a podcast about the Japanese Way of Tea that I’m involved with. You can listen to the show (for free) on our web pageĀ http://tealife.audio/Ā or you can also find the show on iTunes and Stitcher by searching for TeaLife.
A podcast, for those not familiar with it, is a type of radio show distributed for free on the internet. You can either listen to it on our web page or go to iTunes/Stitcher and download it to your PC, phone or tablet. By subscribing you will automatically get new episodes sent to your device.
TeaLife audio is a round table discussion of topics related to Chado/the way of tea. We will release a new episode every second week. As of today there are three episodes available, hope you enjoy them. Please let us know what you think of the show, either as comments here or on our forum.

Looking back on 2014

Memorable Tea moments

I arranged Hatsugama for three friends in my yojo-han. This was a nice gathering. My old teacher travelled in from a town about an hour away to participate. It was great to catch up with him again. Due to the distance between our homes, we meet all to seldom. But that in turn made this Tea ceremony all the more special.

I started in my new job February 3rd. I had been looking for a new job for a while, and was very excited to finally be able to start at the new place. To commemorate the event, I bought a special chawan. In the morning before going to the office for the very first time, my wife and I shared a bowl of koicha using this chawan. My wife was also considerate enough to buy me a specail Tea bowl for this occasion, but I didn’t bother to use it. (PS. In case you wondered, whenever the content is not too full of errors, it is because I have forced my wife to edit the text. Sometimes she also make some changes šŸ˜‰ )

I’m no fan of ValentineĀ“s day, mostly because it is an imported tradition, but any way I surprised my wife with an impromptu tea gathering in the morning. I had spread rose petals in tokonoma and chosen special sweets. Definitely the best ValentineĀ“s celebration I ever arranged.

In June, an old friend from Australia came to visit me. We shared a bowl of Tea – which happened to also be my 1024th (1K for computer geeks) temae. We had not met in several years, so we also found time toĀ reminisced about our old adventures together.

Later in the year, I did Tea outdoors in several mountain locations. All of them memorable for their own reasons. The most specialĀ one was at Dovre. We had excellent weather during our camping trip, and before heading home I wanted to record a Tea in unusable places video. I found a nice location and started making Tea. As I was scooping the Tea out of the natsume, all the Tea blew off the chashaku. Maybe I’ll make a bloopers version based on that event.

2014 in numbers

  • 354 temae during 2014
  • I did 170 temae in the 148 days from 24th of february untill 21st of July. During this time, I did at least one temae every day.
  • 5 temae under Ula-sensei
  • 3 temae under Aaron-sensei
  • 2 Trips to Poland
  • 26 days without Tea
  • Temae outside Norway
    • Lituainia 2
    • United Arab Emirates 6
    • Latvia 1
    • Denmark 5
    • United Kingdom 3
    • Poland 8

2014 in pictures