Friday, February 06, 2015

first snow of the year

wood store is holding out well
(mainly because I'm still staying with my neighbours)

can't find my hammer anywhere, sure I left it somewhere out here

the car won't start.  I think it's the cold.

Monday, February 02, 2015

architect visits

With several failed attempts to engage an architect, I now have a good ‘un, or so he seems for now.  We’ve had two productive discussions in his offices and a very useful visit to site.  He was impressed with the location and am very proud with the fact that he thinks my plans should fit in very well with what remains of the old farm.  We tiddled about with a few details inside and even moved the house  by a few metres, from it’s initial location.  I think it’ll be a much better arrangement now.

For his visit I had cleared the front of the old house of all the brambles and mess of collapsed walls and detritus that has gathered over the last thirty or so years.  The building looks a bit more proud than it has done up till now, and definitely worth keeping, even if it is going to become a workshop rather than a home.  There is a concrete path running along its length which will marry in well with the proposed covered terrace and has set levels for the whole project.

Not much treasure yet, just some lovely old bottles and a couple of pan lids.  The rest is tiles, mainly broken, which is no surprise, along with roots of brambles, brambles and more roots.  Stupidly or otherwise I am taking the time to sort the rubble as I go.  The tile fragments will be ideal hardcore for later use or even rough track grade for more solid access around the site.  The beams, rafters and other timbers are fairly rotten to date, but still coming in useful for raised bed construction and any excess will be put to one side for future projects.  I’m still waiting for some decent bits to construct a frame for a fruiting arbour.

in need of attention
beardy man clearing brambles in french farmers uniform

my first treasure

concrete.  a bit of a rarety here

all clean and tidy

The ruin is going to be saved in part.  The walls are going to come down to the height of the window sills on the first floor then a structure is going to be erected within the footprint of the building which will support a new roof.  The walls will be left intact but will not be expected to bear the weight of the new roof.  Facing due south, an excellent place for a few/plenty of solar panels. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

leaves and bin bags

How do you fill bin bags with leaves easily when there is no one to hold the bag open?

Here’s how....

find a cardboard box that fits inside the bag whilst in the shape of a box

pop out the bottom of the box, flatten and fold the box to get it inside the bag, then reform the box
fold the top of the bag over to keep the box open and in shape

fill the bag with the help of 'big hands' pieces of scrap wood that are used as large tongs to lift
large quantities of leaves at a time.
Fill the bag, allowing enough spare to tie off, remove cardboard box and start
all over again

one tidy village.  Thanks for the leafmould Vieuzos

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

raised beds and clearing

For the most part, the weather has been incredibly kind here for outdoor work.  The evenings stay lighter that the UK too, so the days are longer.  I can easily be outside till six now, before the light is too poor to carry on.

I attacked the large mound of soil that was left after the drive earthworks.  The guys left far more soil than I had anticipated and some is rather poor compared to the rest.  The poorer part I have started to spread about to flatten the ground off a bit and just to loose it.  The better soil is lovely, the raised beds have had a good fill, along with more leaves and leafmound, gathered from around the village, before a blanket of straw to keep them snug for the winter.

mounded topsoil for new raised bed

the piles of earth are getting smaller

clearing the ruin.  This is where my new house is going to be

raised bed complete with salvaged wood sides and leafmould mulch

As I start to clear the ruin, there is plenty more wood, old beams and the like, which are put directly to work retaining more raised beds.  It’d be a shame not to use the good topsoil for another year and I’m going to need plenty of space for sowing seeds if the new seed catalogues have anything to do with it this winter. Long dark evenings are ideal for increasing the workload later in the season, it’s what gardeners dreams are made of.  The difficulty is in limiting the varieties that need to be bought, so they all have to be useful in some way.  Either for me, or the birds, bees or insects or a combination of all the above.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

panoramicos fantasticos


from overhead

Annoyingly, most of the video footage we took is too long (large) to upload onto blogger and I don't have the software to edit it down.  So here are a selection of arial photos that show most of what we saw.

from the west, the dots are fruit trees that I planted in November, including some within the huge bramble
patch, the paths really stand out.  Over the road, the new drive, veggie plot with raised beds to the right of the drive.
Huge oak tree still with bronze leaf cover and the village of Vieuzos off to the left in the distance.
from the east

from the south east

right overhead, that's Me and Tom on the left by the chalet, my new wooden panel pathway and a
big store of lovely clay under the tarp.

there you/we are

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

tom's drone

A friend of Heathers, Tom, enthused about his recent new toy, a drone equipped with a camera, one afternoon whilst we were indulging in tea and cake.  It sounded fascinating.  

It's a little, remote controlled, battery powered helicopter with a range of several hundred metres and a top speed of around 30kmph with a still and video camera mounted on the undercarriage.  He didn’t take much encouraging and the following day returned with it and we spent a fascinating hour or so looking down on my plot from above.  Hopefully the videos upload and work as well as they do on my computer.  Here goes.