Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Like the pheonix from the flames ...

... she will arise again!!!

Oh yes, the lads took it upon themselves to resurrect the polytunnel frame - further down the field (out of the 'development' site) yesterday afternoon.

It'll be a while before I get the plastic to cover it and get the ground properly mulched and trenches dug .. but its lovely to see the old girl again .. I had missed her. Hopefully, she's be operational by August / September, so I can overwinter some crops .. to avoid a 'hungry gap' next spring.

Here she is, all set up and ready to go.

Really, we're too busy inside the house to do more than that right now. With visitors still here - and still happily working, it has been really busy. I've, finally, got stuck into doing the dry linings (taping and jointing) .. here's my early handiwork in the hall coat area.

Yes, thats up now.

The upstairs bathroom is boarded out now .. and the shower tray is awaiting fitting in the near future.

Theres been more doors fitted, more plasterboards put up - its been full on. We've been here most of the time for 3 weeks now - its been strange - just building - and having the 'simple' life while on site i.e. sans lecky and running water ... I spend a LOT of my time cooking and washing up and drying dishes .. but - a team needs feeding, so its well worth it. Its been strange being without mod cons for so long and away from our normal routines and lifestyle. In a way its been refreshing.
With all the focus on the house, the garden has taken a back seat and I just occasionally get time to tend to it. Still, its doing well and the plants are growing well .. and the weeds are slowly being cleared. (I've put white plastic over areas where I'm going to plant out very tender crops, such as sweetcorn or french beans or courgettes).

The paths are still being mulched with straw - and the outer ones topped up with gravel, so its starting to look a bit neater now.

There have been some fierce winds lately - that have been blowing the windbreak netting over !!! A few taps with a sledgehammer has helped keep in in place. I'm hoping that it keeps the worst of the gusts off my plants. Its also been very wet, but the plants don't seem to mind any of that.

Neil goes back to England on Saturday and I have a feeling that we might just have a day or two off 'building' to rest up and come back to the build refreshed next week.

Battery is running out -so I'll sign off for now

(I'm still looking forward to mains electric and seeing how the rest of the world is doing these days .. miss reading all your blogs dear friends XX Ferris)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Work cracks on a pace here - and as we've the gennie running, I thought I'd give a quick update.

We've been doing the last of the structural bits inside - both are storage areas.

Yesterday was the larder / pantry - vital for storing all those home grown veggies :-)

It was packed full of cardboard - but on Sunday that was lifeted and deposited down the field .. to mulch the spot where the polytunnel will ressurect itself in the not too distant future.

So, once it was cleared the lads got it studded out (its amazing how many decisions there are to make - exactly where to have the door - what size of door etc .. it can all get a bit mind boggling after a while - and it all needs to be done quickly .. no time to ponder. I'm sure I had it all figured out at one point .. but it feels a bit like decision making from scratch).

Then they got it insulated (there's an air vent in it that runs to the outside - so the larder stays cool ... but we don't want that cold air to easily get into the warmth of the rest of the house).

Now its ready for taping, jointing, painting, shelving .. and storing all our produce.

The pile of plasterborads is finally gone from the hall - which now looks bigger than some places I've lived in before now. Before I get too used to it, we need to put in the coat storage area.

Of course, Sally has a supervisory role.

Wasting no time (after some final decisions on size) work begins.

And it progresses as I type.

The cat flap will go into the coat storage area and I'll have a curtain up, so there can be a buffer from cold air that could come through the flap. We'll also store shoes in there. It'll be the first time we'll have a 'shoes off' policy indoors - I reckon it'll be relaxing (and it will a lot less muddy than if we didn't - especially with oiled wooden floors). The house should be warm underfoot .. and I've plans for obtaining and making a whole load of different house slippers for ourselves and guests.

We shall see.

Anyway, power is just about to be turned off again .. and I have, as usual, a lot of tidying up after the lads, cooking and sorting out to do, so best sign off for now (I dream of future times where I can leisurely browse and catch up online .. but for, now, that part of my life is still mostly 'offline' .. but at least I now have good internet connection when I do get some online time).

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Happy cat, happy me :-)

Elvie has found his new favourite place - on the chair in the greenhouse (which was also the chair in the polytunnel - which he loved).

Its good to see him happy, as he didn't settle as well as Leo at first, but he is doing better now and is getting more confident again.

So, that makes me happy - but theres something else that has really got me grinning yesterday ... broadband!

Yes - I have the new broadband - and its a vast improvement - so I'm delighted - all hail the National Broadband Scheme :-)

So, now I can blog from site (as long as I have some laptop battery - which I'm nearly out of today - so I'll be QUICK).

Last week we pulled wires through the upstairs walls.

This week Neli is over from England, so work goes on a pace - they're insulating walls upstairs and ready to put the other side of the plasterboard on already.

The garden has been a bit neglected - and there is a LOT to do. There's the mint to tame ..

Spuds are coming up well.

We got the windbreak net up.

The ducks have been hunting slugs in the straw mulch in the wet weather. (There has still been a little bit of slug damage to some plants, so I'm unsure whether to continue with the straw mulch)

I'm still hardening off some plants too.

There are also seeds to sow for the flower border - which is still in poor condition, so I need to get at that, so I can get seeds sown in may.

Battery low - time to say goodbye.

I look forward to having mains electricity so I can catch up with all my friends here in blogland and see you (and your gardens) are all doing.

Won't be long now - a few weeks maybe.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Rooms upstairs and greenhouse outside :-)

Its been all go on site lately. The 'dream team' re-assembled - as our wonderful helper re-appeared for a few days - and the results were wonderous .. not least the fab structure seen to the left here .. but more on that later.

First up was the plasterboard on the stud walls upstairs. The pile of plasterboards downstairs is rapidly dwindling .. which is somehow very exciting.

Now the stairs are boxed in - luckily there's light from the veluxes up top AND the window at the bottom, so it doesn't feel dark.

The veluxes look great now.

Here's the view into the study / guest room .. from the landing / library. Its fun to have the doors in place already.

Heres the current view of the veg beds from the study .. they're shaping up well.

As its been so dry, I've left the straw mulch on some of the beds that I'm not ready to plant out yet, and I've spread it over the earth paths - to stop weeds. Its a thin layer - too thin for slugs, I'm hoping. Not sure if I'd have tried it if the weather had been very wet. Its been warm and dry for 3 weeks now (the rain just came tonight).

I seem to have a 'self-seeded' Sally dog on the front straw bed...she likes the feel of it!

Here are the peas, settling in.

The broad beans are flowering well.

The garlic is enjoying the heat.

Actually, the past few days have been VERY windy - from the east / south east mainly .. so the plants have had a hard time, it was very strong, so I suspended planting activities.

Mind you, I had good distraction ... the creation of my greenhouse - from old plastic from the polytunnel and some old / mis-shaped wood.

The dream team lived up to their reputation and had this knocked out in a few well spent hours.

I'm delighted to have shelter for my tender plants, room to sow and re-pot .. and to grow on my tomatoes and peppers. Also room to shelter from showers in.

Finally, Sally got a trim, as she was wilting quite severely in the heat during the day - with her long coat. Don't you just love the bows!! (They won't last long I can tell you).

Now, while we're up North .. time to find those cats and get them down to site.

Once we're back down, is time to look at the upstairs wiring, then get the other sides of the walls plasterboarded, then tape and joint, then paint ... then maybe have a wee rest ... and potter in the garden :-)