Craft · Professionals

Let there be light

Our outdoor electrics have finally been commissioned (I think that’s the correct term). That means that our caravan hook up in the field is ready to go.

 It means out outdoor lamppost by the patio is working.

It means our outdoor electrical sockets are working.

But most importantly my cabin has light and power.

It’s been a long time coming but worth it. I think household chores will be put on hold for a bit whilst I spend every evening sewing! 

Life in the Countryside · Professionals

The drive

Winter in the cottage was not an easy or pleasant time as I’ve already mentioned before. And one of the main problems was the drive. Because of the rain and the work we had done in the field back in the middle of winter, it basically turned into a massive muddy puddle. Which might be alright for Peppa Pig (can you tell I have a toddler) but is not fun if you want to not have said toddler constantly covered in mud, or if you ever want to wear anything other than wellies. We even had a couple of moments of nearly getting a car stuck on the drive which was less than ideal. The picture below was from when the work was being done and shows just how bad it got.

Not exactly what you expect a drive to look like is it? Certainly a long way from how the drive looked when we first moved in, in the height of summer (picture below). 


So, as part of the outside works currently being carried out we have arranged for a gravel drive to be laid. And yesterday on my way home from work I received the exciting call from J to say that I might have to park on the street as 40 tonnes of gravel had just been delivered to our drive. Now I’m not going to spoil it with pictures of the partially completed drive but here is a teaser of some gravel. Give it a couple of weeks and I should have finished pictures of the drive once its been edged properly. 


The outside works end of week 2

Slightly late in putting this up I know but all three of us had a sickness bug so I didn’t manage to get any good photos until now. So week two is over of the outside works and despite horrendous weather midweek good progress has been made. So we now have trenches all dug and pipes laid and started to be filled in. The prep work has been done for the concrete slabs in the field (for the caravan), the orchard (for the three sheds) and behind the recreation area for my craft cabin. We did struggle to find where the mains water pipe fed into the land (and when I saw we I don’t really mean me at all, we being our fabulous builder). But there is a plan in place to locate it apparently so all the pipes can be joined up. Photos below of the progress so far.

Professionals · The field

The field

So I’ve probably already mentioned the field, it’s where we put our lazy beds, but I thought I’d divulge a little bit more about it. Having a field sounds very impressive and like quite an exciting thing to own but when you think about it what would you do with a field. The obvious answer would be to rent it out to someone to use, where we live there are always people looking for someone to keep their horses. But for some strange (read stupid) reason we just don’t want to. Last August when we just moved in I discovered that the hedges that border the field were heaving with blackberries and C and I spent many an hour wandering round and picking them and I don’t want to not do this. 

J and I have bandied about ideas for what to do with the field for some time and I don’t think we’ve settled on a long term plan yet but we have a short term solution at least. The grass on the field needs to be kept down and it seems ridiculous to either pay someone to mow it weekly or for J to spend every Saturday mowing it. So we’re having sheep on it. They aren’t our sheep as we know even less about sheep than chickens and we just don’t have the time to commit to learning how to look after them. Whatever we were going to do, the field needed a bit of prep work doing to it as it had been left unattended for a while. Cue calling in the professionals to help us out.

So in January J organised for an old school friend of his to do some big outdoor works for us. So in the coldest couple of weeks of the year we had the hedges circumventing the field cut right back and then post and rail fencing put round it so it kept any animals we had where they should be. We’ve also had a corner of the field fenced off separately (where the lazy beds are and where the caravan will go eventually, but more on that later), new secure metal gates put in and a couple of mounds of earth removed. There was an old pig shed in the field which had to be knocked down and a diseased ash tree which had to come down before it ended up collapsing on our new fencing. It was a massive load of work but they did an amazing job, I would highly recommend them. So the field is now sheep ready. I’ve put some pictures of the work in process below to give an idea of the scale of the work. 

Life in the Countryside · Professionals

The outside works end of week 1

So we’ve reached the end of the first week of works on the outside. Mostly the weather has been good, although there was some very bad rain today which halted some of the progress. We’ve had two men working here for the week and they have worked their backsides off. We have filled two 8 yard skips so far and are part way through skip number three. The trench has been dug from the electrical feed at the original front door (which is what we really call the back of the house) through the back garden under the hedge and down the whole side of the house up to the hedge by the drive. The pipe for the electrical feed has been installed into this part of the trench and the trench has been back filled up until the well. What well I hear you ask? Well when the side of the house was cleared the other week of greenery we discovered a well. There had always been an old water pump that we could see and that J remembered from his youth but neither of us had any idea that there was a well. It does have water in it although it is in very poor condition. I quite like the idea of trying to rebuild it above ground and have it as a decorative feature as it will be fairly close to where our new front door will be. However, that is for another time. 

The trench continues on the other side of the drive towards the area that has been dug out for a concrete slab as a base for my craft cabin. There is then a trench starting at the back of the orchard and running under the hedge and into the field with pipes ready for the electrical and water feed. This trench has already been back filled. Then the dug out area for the concrete slab for the caravan has been started. It is a monumental amount of work for a week, especially as the trench around the back of the house was hand dug out as the digger wouldn’t fit round the corner of the house. Not only that but where they had to move the cold frame and dig up part of the borders in the back garden they have replaced it all so neatly that I doubt you’ll be able to tell in a couple of weeks time. 


Diggers and professionals

Sometimes you just have to let the professionals step in. The overgrown garden area down the side of the house needs removing and levelling so that a trench can be laid to carry electrics and water to other parts of the garden. So, today we have called in an old school friend of J’s to do that for us. He has previously done some work for us in the field (more on that another time) and we were very happy with the work so he was an obvious choice this time. We had already got a skip sorted for the soil to go in and anything burnable is going on a fire in the field. Whilst J and I could have had a go at doing this work ourselves, it would take us several weeks to do by hand and that just isn’t time that we have. Besides getting the professionals in guarantees a good job, and means we get to see a digger and dumper truck type thing by our front door which is kind of cool. They’ve also removed a hazlewood tree for us behind the raised bed area so we just have an apple tree down that end.

J has continued to be plagued by man flu today and so his progress has been a bit slow but we now have the recreation area completely edged, most of the bark bags emptied and distributed and the swing is in the process of being completed. We have also adjusted the sand pit area slightly below the climbing frame to make it larger and it is now filled and lined. C adores it and has spent a large part of the day happily playing there. No eggs yet from the girls and Henry has been limping a bit, consultation with the poultry seller suggests it could be simply a scratch or a sprain so just to monitor her. Hard to know how to help her in this situation, just make sure she is able to get access to food and water and gets to rest it I suspect. The battery arrived today so the fence around the chicken pen is now electrified which should be an extra preventative measure to keep foxes out hopefully. Henry managed to put herself to bed so hopefully she’ll be looking better in the morning.

J’s dad came over late this afternoon and helped him make and fit the swing arm so all that’s left to do on the climbing frame is the roof (which will require the use of two step ladders to fit) and the slide once the spare part arrives. No pictures yet today but I’ll put some up first thing tomorrow when the light is better. Tomorrow we are aiming to do the lazy beds for our potatoes, finish the bark in the recreation area and start painting the log store.