Febuary 2012

Timber We bought some constructional timber from Cut my own Throat Scouser. He was advertising on ebay however he would only accept cash so we had to get a roll of cash and turn up at his yard. He had ripped out the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool prior to its restoration. There had been an archaeological survey before the rip out which had said there was nothing of national importance. When they started to take it down some of the beams were discovered to be older than expected so work was stopped whilst more investigations were made. The timber is probably from the local shipyards. Dibbler told us that we were buying the mast of the Mary Celeste. I will try and get results of the dating, as it would be nice to find the provenance. There are makers marks carved into the side and they are big baulks of timber. We now have to fathom out how to move them and cut them to size they are destined to be the purlings. Along with this we also collected a huge pile of planking from a Victorian terraces, which cleans up beautifully. I have also spotted 2 Iroko school lab tops that I want as a kitchen worktop with graffiti.

The structural engineers report is through so we have the go ahead to start building. It is wrong in many many places but as long as we did not do it ourselves that’s all that seems to matter we have bits of inaccurate paper so progression has been made. The final plan is beautiful, I am faffing over ventilation plans now

Slate Late last year we managed to buy some local slate, this will have come from the Penrhyn quarry, at 50p a slate it’s a bargain. We should have enough to cover the whole roof, if not we will only need a few more and hopefully there is enough available that we wont have to buy new. We had to collect it from a field that housed Polly the very friendly horse who climbed into the trailer with the slate several times, she liked trailers.
Next we started to learn about ridge tiles and what a subject it is. We had simply assumed that as we had black slate tiles we would have simple black ridge tiles- but no this was looking unlikely for a while. Contrasting terracotta with black tiles is common, and then having whirls and poncey extras from one end of the roof to the other seem to be the norm. A local builder, rather predictably, said we would have to buy new ones if we wanted something as avant garde as plain black tiles but after about 48 hours search we found what we wanted. A chap had taken down tiles from the camp site barn at Church bay and we collected these; they have a roll top so are a little swanky but I can live with that. This Brummie chap was having a bit of a clear out so as the professional scroungers had turned up he found a considerable area suddenly became clear of all building materials.
The best find was some chimney liners that I have put two slates and a stone on top and     used as a rhubarb forcer and lots of little rhubarb buds have shot up, apparently you can hear them grow but so far mine are quiet.
Pond Now the pond started getting into difficulties way back in June last year. Namely it started going down, I thought it was leaking. But all and sundry around me scoffed at such stupidity on my part. Going on about and the dryness of the season with me mumbling about June in the south of France and really it was not dry here. I was wrong it was evaporation it was the local water table I had to leave it alone so I did until I got fed up of it. I scored some fluorescent drain detector dye and chucked some in. Within an hour it had started entering the ditch so I donned my waders and clambered in finally tracing the water flow. The main difficulty was avoiding causing damage to the frogs and newts that were squirting eggs out hither and thither but these all seemed to remain intact. I found a land drain that must have become blocked over the years but had now cleared and was emptying the pond. We managed to block it quickly and then dug it out more thoroughly now the pond is filling well, it is now about 10cm from its final height but rain in the night brings it up another 2cm a time so we should be full and flourishing in another week
The strawberries have grown in fruitfulness and meandered around the forest garden floor. This needs to be encouraged so I have managed to get many more plants from neighbours along with raspberries. I have collected seeds from the birds foot trefoil which I will plant up later and this lot should cover all the mulched out land. Keeping the couch grass back is difficult but I have a cunning plan to scatter yellow rattle around the perimeter, which is parasitic to grasses and should see that off. Chives are coming through and catkins are on the Alders so spring is srunging abound
Along with our scrounging we have some dragon willow cuttings, which we have spread as a tunnel completing the windbreak rooms. The plan is that this will act as a tunnel to get access to different areas of the land, provide a windbreak and help to dry out boggy areas. I am a bit concerned that we have planted them too close to each other so I will monitor them as they come up this spring. They are very beautiful an early leafing willow with a pink catkin
Chickens will only lay eggs in specific places; the nesting boxes have to be lower than the perch they need to be enclosed so the hen feels protected. Unless a huge pile of straw is piled up in the corner of the hen house and then they take it in turns to lay there, chickens are bad Here is a little movie about a pigs back legPig

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