In 2017 my husband and I bought a small farm in Sweden. It was an act of spontaneity that changed our lives for good.
A year after, we had sold our house in Norway and moved to Sweden permanently. Yet, being of age, as we both are, and not too far from when we can retire, we decided to keep our jobs in Norway. This means commuting regularly between Sweden and Norway.
Searching for a farm
We found the farm through the online Swedish property market called Hemnet.se. Between November 2016 and February 2017, we surveyed all properties that were on sale in the area we were interested in, which was within a 3-4 hour drive from our base in Norway.
When we first laid our eyes on Bliderud, it appeared to be too late because we were told it had been sold. However, the Swedish property market is different from Norway, and after some time we noticed it was still on the market. It turned out the farm still was for sale and we took the first opportunity to take a closer look at the property. The farm had been for sale for almost a year when we discovered it, and I guess the broken windows, full of dead flies, the peeling tapestries and the overall worn look, discouraged most buyers. It clearly needed lots of love and hard work.
The name Bliderud appealed to us. In Norwegian, the suffix “rud” means a clearing in the woods, and has been used to describe the creation of small farms or homesteads in both Sweden and Norway since the middle ages. It is still a common part of place names in both countries. However, the first part of the word, “Blid” means happy or joyful, so how could we not like a place with a name that indicates happiness?
It also appears to be the only place with this name in Sweden. We took over the farm on March 31st and that is where our blog story starts.
The house was built in the 1955. It had been sporadically inhabited over several years, and most of it was in the original state. Our first plan for renovation was just to make it liveable, but we had difficulties deciding when to stop. Within four months we had redecorated all the bedrooms and built a new kitchen and bathroom. We also changed the windows in the entire house. Before one year had passed, we had even started renovating and rebuilding the outhouses too.
Homestead or Farm?
Bliderud is a small farm, not a homestead, according to the regulations. It has 7 hectares of fields and forest, which is slightly above 17 acres. The farm is located in Dalsland, which is an area with spruce forests, deciduous trees, farmland, and bedrock hills (Coming from Norway I can’t call them mountains).
Today we have lots of plans for developing the farm further. It includes growing fruit, berries and vegetables for sale, as well as offering accommodations or glamping facilities. I play with the thought of arranging small courses, maybe in growing food, cooking, or crafts. Or, maybe just to calm down from the rat race. I have a couple of years before I can spend all my time on the farm, so we still have time to figure out what to do.
For the time being, our focus is to finish renovating the house as well as a few new builds. We are also transforming the outdoor area near the house to a garden and a vegetable patch. Our last idea is to plant hundreds of blueberry shrubs for a future pick-your-own berries production.
New ideas are popping up all the time, and we hope our projects can inspire others to follow their dreams.