Thursday, 26 March 2009

We sow the seeds and scatter......

Hurrah, what a good day we had today. We reached another milestone today by sowing our first seeds in the all new exterior raised beds.

The timber turned up last night, cash in hand, say no more, wink wink, nudge nudge (that does go on a lot here :-) Dad and I built 9 beds following Philippa's detailed diagram to the letter. We are going to be doing a six bed rotation system for all you keen gardeners out there, with three permanent beds for rhubarb, asparagus and strawberrys. We've never done anything on this scale before, so this is all coming from Phil's research, but it does make sense. We are trying to over produce certain crops so we can sell the excess to our captive audience in the holiday cottages.

Once we had completed the first bed mum took on the laborious task of de-stoning the topsoil (there are a lot of stones, I think I may have mentioned that before....and I will again!)
She then planted three rows of broad beans and two of peas, yum scrum bum.

In the afternoon the folks rocked up with some rhubarb plants which we planted in a heavily manured bed (triple yum scrum bum).

After that it was time to pack up and I had a great sense of achievement, I mean glass of wine..

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Help is at hand

Well I haven't done any updates for a while, mainly due to the fact that painting rooms white is very tedious and I'm sure it doesn't make interesting reading. This week has been a bit different though.

Philippa came up for the weekend and the parents have been staying this week. Apart from painting we cracked on in the garden and have made great progress. Dad and me built a three bay compost bin to Phil's exacting requirements and mum and Phil marked out all the raised beds and laid the membrane for the paths to stop grass and weeds growing. Luckily our next door neighbour runs a small sawmill so we were able to order a load of long planks to construct the beds. Hopefully they will turn up tonight so I can make use of the parental labour while it's still here!

Another milestone was reached as we managed to get water up to the polytunnel. We T'd off from the spring supply to the house and there was just enough natural pressure to give a reasonable flow.

We also managed to annoy the locals up the pub on Sunday by arriving late for the quiz, actually winning the thing and then immediately leaving with the winnings! I think we're going to go for a meal up there tonight to make amends.

Monday, 16 March 2009

I hate painting!

Well the title really sums up how I'm feeling right now. I've spent the last two days on the task of painting and it's already starting to pee me off. The main problem is that on fresh plaster, you have to first paint with a watered down white emulsion, then a full fat version and then a final coat. Painting all in white starts to give you a head ache after a while. When it comes to painting the coloured walls, it will probably need 4 coats!

It's very depressing when I think of how many rooms I have to do, but Phil and the folks are up this weekend so I'll try to get all hands to the pump.

I can't wait until I start installing the kitchens so I can put the brushes down for a while. (the pictures are of the kitchen in the barn. we're keeping it white as we've plumped for cool gloss red kitchen units)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


Well the plasterers have virtually finished, and the holiday cottages look completely different. Things are starting to race along here now. We've got to think about colour schemes and the finishes.

Choosing the lighting is proving the most difficult. If we weren't doing these as eco-friendly properties it would be easy, just shove a load of halogen spots everywhere. But with us only using low energy lighting, it's quite a challenge to know how bright the rooms will be when we finish, so there is a fair amount of finger crossing going on. I know people staying at an eco cottage will expect lower powered lights, but we wanted to show people you don't have to compromise style and luxury just because you are green.

We had some freaky weather here today, a three hour snow blizzard followed by a glorious afternoon, but at least I can work in the Poly when it's nasty, and I finished the raised beds today, hurrah!

Monday, 2 March 2009

The Barn

The Barn is the larger of the two properties, having 3 double bedrooms with a separate lounge and dining room. It's been great fun designing and seeing the transformation from an old cow shed and pig sty.

We first had to clear all the mess out which included about 3 foot of old pig muck out of the sty. The cow stalls were cut out with an angle grinder and we then knocked a large hole in the side of the building so we could get the mini digger in to break up all the flooring.

A new level floor was poured and archways built between the main communal rooms. All of the original windows and doors were filled in, and new ones knocked out.

The glazing went in last week and at the moment the plasterers are in. I'm keeping out of the way, whilst I did do a plastering course, these guys are amazing and absolutely fly through, so it is just more economical to get them to do it (thank god!).

I spent the day up the field constructing Phil's new tool shed and carried on building the raised beds in the polytunnel - it was raining :-)