Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Tile Away

Well after Phil's return to the blog, it's back to the world of "less creative writing with poor grammar".

I returned back to Banceithin on Monday after going for an emergency appointment at the dentists. I have these bizarre wisdom teeth on my lower jaw that are dormant but are actually pointing at right angles to all my other teeth. I had an absess on one of them, but due to the nature of the little blighters, the dentist could do nothing with them and just prescribed my some antibiotics. If I want them out it's a hospital job apparently!!

So after that, I picked up some tiles and then went for my usual trip to the Cardiff Ikea to pick up some more stuff. As usual it was a painful experience but a necessary evil. This mean't I only got back late on the Monday so was unable to crack on with anything.

The following day I started to tile the red kitchen in the barn. I find tiling very satisfying and I've just got to do the grouting tomorrow. As it was a lovely day I treated myself to a spin in Triny to cut the grass and I think I will pop up the veg patch now for some yummy strawberries for pud, Mmmmmmm starwberries.

Whoops, nearly forgot.....


The "Big Clinker" Tile cutter, a real man's tool :-)

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Real Gardener's World

Dig, hoe, sow, grow. Dig, hoe, sow, don't grow. There are certain facts of life for the real gardener that Monty Don and his crew of merry, smug, "look at me I'm so clever" fellow gardeners never tell you about. Like how the birds peck the hell out of your first strawberries. Or how your cat leaves a crafty poo in your roots bed which you then pick up thinking its a stone. (I'm sure I saw Charlie sniggering behind his paw.) And how come Alan Titchmarsh never accidentally uses acid compost when planting out his herbs. Then there's the slaughter of the innocents..... I just can't bring myself to toss the excess seedlings onto the compost heap. Thousands of tiny screams, every one a dagger in my heart, as I rip the little rootlings from the soil. How in God's name am I going to come to terms with slaughtering Pinky and Perky!
Meanwhile, there's a heartbreaking moment for Dave. Trinny suffers her first injury. A flat tyre. Or as Dave puts it, a broken foot. She's propped up, incapacitated and useless. Not good attributes in a working tractor. I swear there was a small tear in Dave's eye when he saw the damage - Trinny just isn't the same with only 3 wheels.

Veg of the Day:
Beetroot - what funny little seeds they are; like tiny alien brains. Runner up for Veg of the Day is the courgette for putting out it's first flower - very tempting to whip it off and deep fry it but that would be a tad cruel when it took so long for the plant to squeeze it out.

Tool of the Day:
Bottle opener - vital for teasing the cork from the bottle at the end of the day as you ease your aching body onto the bench, fill the glass to the brim and drink a toast to the hard day's work in the veg patch.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A wonbamalula-a-one-bamboo

Well another sunny day here but I was destined to spend the day fiddling around with bamboo flooring in the barn. We have gone for bamboo as it is a super sustainable flooring that is harder than most hardwoods. We had real trouble sourcing any oak flooring which was FSC certified, and that came in on budget.

We went for one that had a "coffee" stain and that had a matt finish. Too many samples we had seen previously had this heavily laquered finish which made them look like plastic. We are initially installing it in the three bedrooms in the barn, and if we like the look of it, it will get the thumbs up to role it out (oh if it was only that simple!) across all the rooms in each property.

I've only had to call Paul on his holiday in France a couple of times so far, but it does make a big difference when I am just working here alone, I forget how much I must have double checked things with him.


Flooring bracket

It's not always the glamour power tools that get to scoop this now coverted award. Today a simple 's' shaped metal bracket allowed me to tap all the flooring together

Monday, 8 June 2009

Kitchen numereaux deux

Well it's been a good weekend, Jersey J popped up for a long weekend and we had a good mix of beer, fun and graft. We tried out the Lampeter golf coarse on Saturday, it was completely deserted, but a lovely little course. No bunkers put plenty of ditch, stream and tree hazards. After swearing I would never play "this stupid game again" I did quite enjoy myself, though I did play some shocking shots which reminded me of why I often found the game so frustrating. The visitor from the big smoke pipped me on the last hole though he was giving me a stroke a hole, and I was trying to play mind games with him all the way round.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday were spent installing the 2nd kitchen in the cottage. We've gone for a similar style as the red one, but this time in high gloss white with a wooden work surface. We made cracking progress and finished the majority or it, I just need to get the chippy in to fit the work surface.

Thanks again to Jonners.


After the introduction of this new feature it was pointed out that I failed to mention it in my last post, sorry to all you folks who were saddened by my thoughtless omission.

Today's tool is the manual £15 mitre saw from B&Q, you couldn't make one cheaper for that :-)

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Springwatch at Banceithin

Well what another fabaroonie day, I could get used to this. I decided to kick doing any work in the cottage into touch and decided to have a day pretending to be a farmer :-)

I finished the west side of the veg patch fencing, including a little gate which I'm very proud of, I then dug over the remaining outdoor bed in preparation for the planting party next weekend. I finished planting all the peppers, tomatoes and chili's in Poly, and then spent the rest of the day setting up a brilliant and intricate automatic irrigation system. When the big switch on happened, only about 6 of the 24 nozzles seemed to work. It appears we haven't got enough pressure up at the poly to run the hozelock system, so we either need a battery or solar powered booster pump (the poly is to far away from a power point), or I've wasted a lot of time and money. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

It was 5pm by now so I decided to give the land a hair cut before the predicted rains arrive on Saturday. I hitched up the topper to Trinny and we had a fab couple of hours trundling around the fields. A couple of Red Kites have learn't to follow me to pick up any rodents I happen to decapitate, today a large kite dived down about 10ft in front of me and carried away a small furry thing, it was an amazing sight, those things are massive. Springwatch has got nothing on us here :-)

Well I've got a cheeky, I mean cheap little Californian in the fridge, some I'm off to sit in the sun and admire my handy work

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Cor it's hot!

It's been another glorious day here at chez Picksters, I can't believe I'm finding myself wishing for a bit of rain!!!!! The poor recently transplanted broccoli have really struggled today and have gone a bit Larry Grayson (limp wristed).

Paul the builder is off for a week and a half so it's just me for now, although Jersey is coming to visit this weekend. Paul left me in charge of the mini digger s I was able to crack on with the fencing around the veg plot. It's a real slog putting up fence posts in this ground, even the digger struggles with the size of some of the rocks, and then I have to mix up a load of cement and transport it back to the field as it's the only way to secure the posts.

poly is starting to feed me with salad crops which is a real buzz. I'm currently munching on various leaves including rocket and Pak choi, and our first new potatoes, Red Duke, arrived today, I was going to harvest more but I think I'll wait until next weekend when Mrs P is coming up for a weekend of planting.

Tool of the Day
This is a new feature to pay homage to the tool/implement/machinery that was particularly useful. Today's winner is Trinny the tractor, without who I would have never managed to concrete in the fence posts

Monday, 1 June 2009

Jeez it's hot in Aunt Poly

Well today I had various lists of tasks to do. Task one was to paint the first colour coat on the walls in the cottage kitchen. We've gone for a pea green, which should go well with the gloss white units and dark brown floor.

Job 2 was to trek off to Lampeter to restock the larder and purchase some angle brackets.

Job 3, using said brackets, construct an end panel in the red kitchen, fit the dishwasher and fit it's door

Job 4, put some longer sticks into the pea bed as the little blighters have reached the top of the first load of twigs, and construct some supports for the broad beans

Job 5, rig up the auto watering system in the poly, not a chance!!!! I lasted 10 minutes in there as the temperature was 37C, the poor plants were gasping even though I watered them this morning. I moved the early potatoes outside to cool down a bit (they're in big bags if you were wondering), the salad bed was fine which is good news as the soil does seem to retain a fair amount of moisture, but all the seedlings in pots were struggling a tad.

I've attached some pics of the two new front doors I managed to pick up at cost at Travis Perkins. We're really pleased with them and they set the buildings off brilliantly.