Sunday, 23 October 2016

Extension Progress - Roof Carcass Day 1

We made a good start on the roof yesterday. 
Dill had got the brick work finished the day before (which is a post in itself that I'll do later) so it meant that Saturday we could start the roof. 
Andy, pictured above, came to give me a hand. He's the man that trained me to be a carpenter many years ago!  
The roof itself is quite complicated as it's trussed and has purlins so some head scratching in a few places but I was really pleased with the progress we made in a day. My brother came over in the afternoon to lend a helping hand.

There's still loads to do but by the end of the day we managed to get all the heavy and awkward timbers in, leaving me with stuff I can do myself. 
I need to now finish the rest of the rafters, support the purlins, install the ceiling joists, fit binders to carry the ceiling, fasica and soffitt to fit, felt it, batten it, line the chimney, tile the roof. I don't think my week without the children will be enough to get it all done but it's a start at least! 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Busy Week

It's been a another busy week.
Bricks I loaded out during my youngest nap time - the trick is to hit the ground running if you want to get anything done! 
The build is still heading skywards, hopefully Dill, my bricklayer, is going to get the wall plate on today (Friday) so that tomorrow I can start to get the timber for the roof on. Unfortunately it's a complicated little roof and I think it might take a bit more time than usual, luckily my friend and mentor Andy (who trained me to be a carpenter) is coming to lend a hand on Saturday. I'm hoping to make a good start on it then and I've then got half term to try and get all the timber work done and get it felted and waterproof. The tiles are going to take a bit longer though! 
A few hours with the boy, while he happily chews on a apple I've got jobs to do! 
I've also been trying to get some other jobs done around here as well. I've managed to get my first vegetable bed prepared and planted for next year. This is a whole bed of hardneck garlic so I should have two harvests, the bulbs and the scrapes. I've also planted this through plastic to give myself a bit less work next year as garlic really hates weed competition. 
I've still got a bed of soft neck garlic to go in but I need to find space first. I might be going over the top with how much I'm putting in but we eat a lot of garlic and I can always sell the surplus! 
I hope he realises he's got to start pulling his weight soon! 
I've also been collecting up some apples from the cordons as well as harvesting some veg for tea, this week we've had a great mizuna salad to go with jacket potato, as well as leeks cooked in butter to have a long side salmon, my leeks this year are looking brilliant, big thick stems with long white "socks" just perfect really.  

I'm hoping once the extension is waterproof I can take my foot off the gas a bit but I doubt it'll work like that! 

Who else is having a busy time at the moment?

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

£18 For 75kg Of Potatoes

"Why'd you buy 75 kg of potatoes Kev?" 
"Why not!?!"

Last Friday I popped over to a local farm after playgroup to buy some potatoes. I normally buy a couple of bags at a time, but this time they had three varieties to try out so I decided to buy a bag of each to compare. I'm the same when I buy flour - big bags are the only way to go.
Three bags like this will take us a long time to get through, but stored in a cold frost free place they'll last just fine. 
Buying direct from the farm is so much cheaper than buying from the supermarket and knowing that there is a few months worth of spuds ready to cook and eat is great as well. 
So far we've only tried Nectar, which is a variety I haven't heard of before, the sign on the farm office door was right though, they make a fine jacket (baked) potato and best of all they all seemed to be a good size (much easier preparing meals for me!).
I'm also thinking about pressure canning some of these potatoes as I think it would be great to have some near ready meals sat on the shelf waiting to go - I'll let you know if I do it. 

What do you like to buy in big quantities? 
What do you find is cheapest to buy direct?

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Vlog Episode 2 - Extension Progress

My second Vlog is on YouTube now!
In this episode I walk you round the extension and show you what's been going on with the lambs and the chickens, as well as a quick look in the garden.

Let me know what you think! 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Obsessing Over Bread

I love bread so much.
I was saying to my mum today that my house might be messy, but I get a lot done, we're all very happy and we eat really well! 
I've been making a lot more "free formed" bread lately. 
I was getting fed up of making a loaf in the bread maker and only eating 3/4 of it, instead if I make a batch of rolls I can pop what ever isn't eaten into the freezer for another time. Much better use of flour and electric. 
I've also messed about with other types of loaves, my friend was talking about fougasses and I thought they sounded like a great idea to add to the freezer as a lunch that my wife could just grab on her way to work. Each loaf has cheese, salami and sun dried tomatoes in and is then topped with finely chopped rosemary and see salt with an egg glaze. 

I also mixed up a batch of dough the other day and took it on a play date with me, a great way to get kids interested in what they're eating (although mine don't normally need much encouragement!)
My little baker making a loaf

Next year I'm going to make a real effort to grow some more poppies, they are simply my favourite thing to add to bread, as a topping or in the dough, they add such a great, subtle, flavour.

I have some great plans in the extension to make a "prooving cupboard" above the new fireplace (but accessed behind it) so I have somewhere warm to keep my bread while it increases in size. Has anyone else done this?
What's your favourite bread to make?
What ingredients to you like to add?

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