Posts from June 2008

Food production underway

The fruit is forming on this Golden Spire apple. We could really do with some rain as we've had around 7 weeks of significantly dry weather which is mighty unusual. I'm not expecting too many apples this year as the stock is only a year old and I'll need to learn the best way of pruning apple trees to ensure good healthy growth. In the border between the hen enclosure and the stone wall we've planted peas and broccolli amongst the cottage garden flowers and greenery.

We've planted Desiree and Kerrs Pink potatoes this year, both good Scottish stock, the former producing firm red skinned tatties and the latter for salads. Although we thought we'd just plant the 3 bags this year I bought far too many seed potatoes and after giving away loads to friends we've planted the remainder in fairly rough soil behind the top of the long stone wall. Despite planting late they're coming through nicely. We aim to create our raised bed veggie garden this year with plans for it to mature into an attractive parterre style affair over time. We'll be using joists from the old house to create the structure and hope to get that underway in the school holidays which start here next week.

One year since moving here

It was one year ago this week that we moved from our old house, a Victorian sandstone place, into the caravan here. As we turned the key in the lock it started raining but we laughed as we set out on this journey of housebuilding. I know there are a few people reading this who are just commencing on that journey so I just want to say its so worth it, although unquestionably hard work, and to keep plugging away as you will get there. One year on and we're unpacking our worldly goods which have mainly been stored in one of the outbuildings here. Thankfully no damage has come to them after 12months+ of storage.

The newell caps are one of the snagging items - the design is excellent being square with a shadow band but unfortunately someone at the manufacturer has used indelible pen to mark the house name/contract number on the top. No-one is actually looking to deal with this so we're going to see if a joiner friend has any ideas. I think sanding it off isn't going to work as the pen has absorbed into the wood. Our on-site joiner tried rubbing it down but I think its one of those small items that we will end up sorting out as no-one else is 'taking ownership'!

These pics are of various internal finishes. There are lots of reflective surfaces, black glass and oak on the hall wardrobe illustrating the light coming through the windows in the dining area. The 'flowers on the wind' stickers coming from the velux window are from Pedlars. Door handles from Carlisle Brass. We bought all our velux blinds online at Bumblebee Blinds who seemed competitive and were certainly efficient.

Building Control Certificate

Last Wednesday the joiner returned to fit this to the large upper floor window and on Thursday building control visited and all completion certificate and paperwork were handed over. Another key landmark in the creation of the house. The window illustrated is a fixed light 1.8m x 1.8m and affords a stunning view. We were so disappointed to be advised that this would need an internal barrier in place to comply with building regs. If we had known then perhaps a different design or different specification might have been created in the first place. Looks like a play pen.

BT have failed to meet four appointments to connect the phone. OK they pay compensation of £10 each time but we'd really rather have a phone line. So hopefully order number 5 will work...........

The wonders of nature never cease to soothe, we have an abundance of brown hares who are particularly visible in the early morning

Fine days

Last week our good buddies from Norfolk came for a holiday. As always it was lovely to catch up with them and it was also fun to have the house busy with the noise, mess and activities of two families. This marks one of those transitions between this place being a home rather than a house. Other self-builders have commented on the time it takes to settle in after designing, planning and constructing a house. Tamzin and her family bought us a beautiful handcrafted box for collecting apples from the orchard in years to come and some herbs for the garden. The herbs are being planted in the beds we've created between the top of the stone wall and the hen enclosure until we have formed our raised beds. The trailer in the picture above is full of plants ready to be put into the bed.

We officially had one rainy day in May.

Simply stunning skies

May has been such a fabulous month weatherwise and in the past week we've had some gorgeous sunsets. Official sunset time is 10pm but the sky is light much beyond then. I love this time of year especially with this amount of sunshine. We haven't mounted the solar pv yet (time constraints) unfortunately.

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