Last weekend on our wanders with the dogs we found a wind blown nest!!
The construction of nests is truly amazing and so perfect!
We also have found our first crops!! Teeny weeny strawberries!!!
We managed to get a fair bit done last weekend despite me taking a pile of work to play with!! James chainsawed up his remaining trees!!!!
We waged war on more orchard brambles and nettles and have ended up with a lot more clear space!!! It’s actually going to be a fairly large area!!
Phew think the orchard field battle is getting there!! Now we need to await a little regrowth and spray!!! They will die and we will have a beautiful grassy orchard!!! With a wild flower and herb bank on this side anyway….. I’m thinking strawberries on the bank the slurry pit side!!
James and I took a trip to the smallholding last weekend, mainly because he wanted to chop up the rest of his trees!!! I on the other hand took some work with me!!!
Upon our arrival…… Mid Saturday afternoon….. I unlocked and did a customary wander round and found this in the bucket we have been using as a bin!!!!!
Argh!!!! Three dead mice!!! Three dead mice!!!! Yes continue the rhyme along!!! But thankfully they won’t be running after this farmers wife to be nor will I be chopping off any tails thank you very much!! I actually felt a little sorry for them…. Especially the little one all curled up!! They must have fallen in the bucket and died because they couldn’t get out!!!
Well these three dead mice made their way back into the compost heap from whence they were disturbed over half term and I think I must have used a bottle of bleach on most surfaces!!! Also I now have mouse traps and crunchy peanut butter on my next pre visiting smallholding shopping list!!!
As to how they got in….. Well the back wall of the tin hut is basically a black bin liner!!!! So…… Time for investigations and traps!!! And also mental note not to leave any munchables in the hovel!!
As well as more slurry pit clearing and tree felling, bench building, BBQing, tent building, and child wrangling we found time to clear the fence and the nettles and brambles from the bank of the slurry pit closest to the tin hut. We took down the wire and post fence and got stuck in with the hedge cutters!!!
We coiled up the barbed wire and the squared wire fencing and put it in the barn along with a bucket of ironworks found in the slurry pit!!
Over the half term week we have extended our log pile…..
Created a stone pile as well as the slate heap!!
Strimmed the grassy knoll….
A fantastic, but busy and physically tiring week!!!!!
Whilst my parents stayed we worked hard at clearing more of the slurry pit and Dad started to build a retaining wall for the veg patch that the slurry pit is destined to become, using some of the tyres from the barns!! We have managed to reduce the size of the rubble heap at the entrance to the pit and started using some of the rubble and sand and compost for our veg bed!!!
All pretty impressive for a couple of days really I think!!
Saturday and Sunday over half term we had Mister Moo and Little Miss Zoo, my niece and nephew staying at the farm with my sister Mouse and my Parents!!! We worked hard and played hard!!! But the slave labour contribution was amazing!!! They moved stones, dug the earth, conducted a plant life biodiversity study, slept in a tent and were just fantastic!!!
And one of my favourite shots!!! morning campers!!!
Friday during the day we continued tree felling and slate clearing and we had a quote visit early on in the day from a joiner. Friday afternoon my parents, my sister (Mouse) and her children little Miss Zoo and Mister Moo arrived!!!!! Mum and Dad arrived with a trailer in tow and it was a bit like Christmas!!!! He brought a garden shredder from my Granny, a pair of benches he has made using the wood from Granny’s old pool house, a selection of new versions of power tools, a charcoal BBQ, charcoal, and a variety of other items for the tin hut and the farm in general!!!!!
Friday night started with an unpacking of the trailer and the building of the benches, by all the others, whilst I met with the other two quotes people we had arrive, another plumber and a joiner and showed my sister and the kids around the place a little!!! Brain was fried by the end of Friday talking to different people!!! Then the BBQ got lit and the tent was built by Mouse and I. That was a bit of a trial as the ground immediately inside the gate by the tin hut is extremely stony!!!
Whilst James and his father were felling and clearing the trees his mother and I spent some time discovering and removing a load of slate from the slurry pit. We think the barn’s old roof was dumped in the pit along with all sorts of other stuff during initial building works!!! Grrrrrr……..
So we began with a great mound of roof slates, covered in grass moss and the most giant weeds!!!!
Then….. On removing the moss and grass we exposed the slate face……
Julia and myself cleared 4 or 5 wheelbarrow loads of slate and then my sister and myself finished the job on the Saturday! Ably assisted by our slave labour (see tomorrow’s post!!)
We shifted the slate into the barn to be able to use it to line trenches when they are dug and to maybe use on paths once it is broken up some more!!
While we were digging through the slate we found a large caterpillar!! I think it’s one that was on Springwatch last week, a wooly bear!!
Wednesday, we met the architect who will hopefully be signing off our property at the end!!! Very interesting man to meet and we found out a little more, for example a better idea about how long the building has been awaiting finishing!! As well as some general goss about the previous owners!!! Oo the intrigue!!! Lol!!
Anyway Wednesday I spent the day clearing the slurry pit and the big piece of grass by the tin hut using the strimmer!
A quick after on the slurry pit… And a before on the grassy knoll after James had attacked the nettle beds with the hedge trimmers!! James attacked the banks and the bramble patches behind the slurry pit which I left the previous visits, because the strimmer wouldn’t go through them, with the hedge trimmers!! Scything through large brambles like butter, albeit butter straight from the fridge!!!
This prepared the land for some of our visitors which will be in posts later in the week!!
Thursday morning James’ parents arrived with our “new fitted kitchen” for the tin hut!! In the form of some plastic shelving!!! Hurrah!!! Storage spaces for all our clutter we seem to be collecting at the tin hut!!
Thursday was mainly a day filled with quotes quotes and more quotes!!! We had a window quote, an electrician, a plumber, and an Anglian window quote, where the apprentice was sent out first to start measuring followed by the branch manager!!! The apprentice turned up and despite me standing on the drive drove over to next door and knocked their door!!!! Before being sent across the road to a waiting me!!! Most amusing!! I could resist a quip about the fact that they have windows and we currently have a deficit in that region!!! Especially considering our barn would have been the first thing he saw coming up the lane, not the neighbours house!!!
In between the quotes we managed a small amount of clearances!!! But more about that in another post!!