Monday 29 July 2013

Living Room Renovation 2

 Yesterday was like something out of ground force or DIY SOS.
I got up quite early and started doing some jobs to the room like blocking up the holes where the joists used to run. Then around 9.30 all heel broke loose as my reinforcements arrived. Jack hammers breaking out concrete, tractors to lug away the stone, sledge hammers banging. All good fun.
Dad getting carried away with the fireplace
 We managed to take the fireplace right back and put in a duct drawing air from outside to help it draw. Dad kept getting carried away and taking another layer of bricks out each time I left the room. Plenty of scope now with what to put back in there.
We also had to remove the floor in front of the front door due to the way the joists ran and were supported, this meant more concreting but it saves a job later.

Laying the plastic
By 4.30 we'd broken up the floor lab under the old toilet, taken the chimney right back, removed all the rubble, laid a layer of stone, wackered it, added a layer of plastic, put down the kingspan (type) insulation and added another layer of plastic.

No idea whats going on with these last two pictures and I can't get them to turn round!
This one shows the insulation though
A neighbour popped round about then and said "it doesn't look like your get it concreted today then". We did.
The mixer went on at 4.30 and with three wheel barrows and two laying we were all finished by around 8 o'clock. Even I was having my doubts at one point but we all pushed each other on and got the job done. Te mixer on the front of the tractor was helpful as I don't think ready mix would have delivered at that time of day!
Concrete in!
Thanks to all my helpers over the weekend -
Tim and Tom on Saturday
Dad, Ian, Harry and Nick On Sunday.
With ages ranging from 14 to 56 everyone worked hard and really well together. Hopefully it was as enjoyable as concreting can be! Thanks again guys!

Now I've just got to wait a month for it to be dry enough to lay a wood floor on it! Hopefully I'll get the fireplace sorted out in the meantime as well as plastering, plumbing etc.
Anyone else get much done over the weekend?

Saturday 27 July 2013

Living Room Renovation

I was going to title this "Oh my God, what have you done". Which I think is what my wife is thinking.
Before - The old fireplace with it's two wings - made storage difficult in this room
 My projects at home have a habit of escalating. Over the winter we decided that although our open fire place looks nice it's rubbish at keeping us warm. No matter how much wood we chuck on to it, it makes no difference. So we decided that in the summer we would replace it with a wood burning stove.
This is the project I've just started. The trouble is I thought if I'm doing the fireplace I might as well do the skirting and architrave (half of it's missing or doesn't match anyway). Then I thought - well if I'm doing that I might as well do the floor as well. So it becomes a complete refurb job.
The floor is a suspended timber floor and although there's no problems with it structurally, its is cold as the wind blows up and through it making the house tricky to keep warm. I could insulated between the timber joists but the old rat and mice nests under the floor made me think I've made the right decision to insulate and then concrete the floor. Although it's more work it should mean that I never have to do work on this floor again (I know I'll get comments on how I should keep the timber joists in but I've think this is the best in the long term).

After - How to knock money off the value of your house!
Once the concrete has cured and dried I'll lay a oak floor on top and then build in some bookshelves and storage for toys as well as a new fireplace. On top of this I'll change the radiator and all the skirting and architraves. Should keep me busy for a couple of nights!

Monday 22 July 2013

Broad Beans

How I love thee.
Shame my wife and daughter don't. I always grow loads and end up eating most of them to myself. 
Not even Using them as a glove will convince her!

She was amazed by this

Possibly my favourite vegetable
Broad beans on toast with a poached egg on top. Doesn't get much better than that. That's food porn.

Sunday 21 July 2013

Moving Bales

The bales have gone today. Dad found someone who wanted to buy them so picked them up this afternoon. As well as this he came with a trailer full of bits and bobs for a rather large project we're starting next weekend (but more on that later in the week).
An enjoyable job

A good, secure load

Off they go!

A flat tyre just to make things interesting!

Getting a wheel off a tractor with no jack - just a few tricks my dad taught me!
Things were going so well until we had a flat tyre on the little loader tractor. The only advantage with this was dad showed me a trick on how to take a tyre off a tractor without using a jack (as I didn't have one).
We did have to continue loading the trailer with the flat tyre, but as the tyre is completely perished where it burst it will need to be scrapped anyway so no great loss, just bad timing!

Friday 19 July 2013


Well I've eaten my entire cherry crop. Two cherries.
I planted some cherry trees earlier this year and to my surprise when I walked down the field I found these two beauties just asking to be eaten.
I was quite please as this is the first year that they've been in. Now the question is where can I fit in more of these trees - they're a great early fruit and I absolutely love them.
This winter I might have to buy some cherry root stocks and graft my own trees. Does anyone else grow cherry trees?

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Ground Layering Fig Trees

We've got some friends in the village who live on a beautiful old estate full of amazing trees and buildings. When we first went round a year or so ago I noticed a huge fig tree/bush against a shed opposite their house and asked if I could try an make a fig tree or two of my own from it.
A lrage fig tree with loads of fruit
 The cuttings I took from my mums last year are doing well but I thought a few more fig trees won't hurt (and if it comes to it I can always sell them if I have too many!).
Stripping the branch
 The first thing i did was to find some low down branches with no fruit on. I then stripped away some of the leaves, leaving around three on the end. Then I scrapped away some of the outside layer of the branch, the plan being that this is where the roots will start to grow from.

Pinning the branch in the ground
I dug a little hole and pinned this branch to the bottom of it. Filled up, the plan to leave it for a few months at least to create some roots. The bamboo cane is so I can find them and to stop the mower from cutting them off
Covered over - waiting for some rain on it now!
I did five of these so I'll let you know in a few months time if any have taken!
The next tree I want to propagate from is their mulberry tree, so any advice for that one will be appreciated!

Monday 15 July 2013

Making Hay

 Another busy week!
Thursday night dad came over and cut the hay. It's been that hot that it's taken hardly anytime at all to make.

Nice field of grass
I turned it a couple of times over the weekend and decided that even though I'd booked the contractor, Spike, for Monday to bale it, it might have been too dry by then so I rang him up and he came over yesterday afternoon. We were having friends over for a BBQ as well so when they turned up I was covered in dirt and sweat as I had only just finished! It's a good job they know what I'm like!

It's made some lovely hay
We made 22 and a half bales. Not a huge number by any ones standards but it keeps the place looking tidy until I find the time to get some more stock (and do some fencing), and should help fund some other things we need like gates and wire.
I just need to sell them now!

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Chicks Have Hatched

Yesterday our chicks hatched!
A happy little girl with her new chicks
 Four out of the seven eggs hatched out. Unfortunately the mother decide to move on with her little brood so when I got back from work another chick was half out of his shell and peeping but the egg was cold. I've broken the number one rule and helped him out of his shell and popped him back under the mother for the night. I doubt he'll survive but he's got more of a chance this way than any other!

A healthy chick
My little girl was so excited to see them but she's so calm around them. She sits on my lap and only strokes them when I tell her she can (she let out a squeal of excitement when she first did). It's lovely to see her with them.
Another hen has gone broody so I think I might hatch out some more!
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