It seems like a lifetime ago when I did this 'mock up' picture (in summer 2008) of what our house would look like in the field once completed. The view is from the stream, looking up to the road.
A lot has happened since then. We got our permission in 2008, started building in 2009 (groundworks, shell up and some internal work) before having to stop building last October because of a planning error (that was made before we even owned the land).
We're still waiting for planning permission to be approved before we can start building again.
To be honest, it has been very frustrating. We've been stopped for over 5 months now and we've lost a lot of time - and morale - while we've been waiting. Our schedule is completely out the window and it all feels a bit chaotic. I'm finding myself in a rare situation of lacking drive and enthusiasm. It seems like I'm in need of some motivation.
We never expected a self build to be easy, but we couldn't have foreseen such complications and the resulting stress. There is nothing as hard as looking at work to be done and not being able to actually tend to it, not being able to progress.
We haven't been on site too much, because of the cold weather - and not being able to 'do' anything - and I've missed the place.
Word on the grapevine is that we'll be able to resume building very shortly. Fingers are crossed.
Although it all seems a bit daunting right now, it's not all bad. I know we'll have a great house at the end of it all and we have great neighbors and there are lots of friendly people nearby. That means a lot.
We have a few lovely sunny days and a bit of sunshine makes me think of gardening (actually I think of gardening all the time anyway, but the sun makes my fingers itch to get planting).
I have some broad beans in modules, waiting to get a permanent home when things warm up just a little more.
I did have some sweet peas I started last Autumn, but the cold winter was a bit much for them (see below). I'll start a new batch in a while.
The chickens and ducks are moulting a bit. I feel sorry for them, as it's still frosty and a bit cold out, but they seem to be in good form and have laid throughout the winter.
Hopefully, I'll have some good news to report soon about the build and I'll also be able to get started on the 'kitchen garden'. Watch this space.
If, you're itching to start growing veg in the garden yourselves, or fancy having a small holding and are in need of some advice or inspiration please check out the Sallygardens Smallholding. It's run by my friend Rebecca Allen, here in lovely Leitrim and she has some great e-booklets on growing veg, raising animals - and making wine :-) They are well worth a look, and there's a great forum too.