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.

a slow start to 2015

Where does the time go?

Partly to dealing with some sort of virus for a while, the rest of the time on the land, continuing, for the most part with brilliant weather, with various projects of which I still have to photograph.  

The virus was a special one, nothing particularly drastic, it just sapped me of energy for a good ten days, starting on New Years Eve.  I went to bed as 8:45 and woke up the following year!

I pottered about, thankfully at Heathers, doing a bit of research on line, various drawings for construction reference, reading reference books on lime plastering, electricity instillations, solar power and a fascinating architectural book on design considerations, though nothing specific or taxing as my mind wasn’t that keen on functioning much.

Heather’s hip operation was a success and she was home, recuperating, with frequent visitors popping in, I am always included when there is tea on offer and have increased the number of people I have met in the neighbourhood considerably.

One fine day I cut back the shrubs that I had planted last month and prepared several hundred cuttings.  It’s not the ideal time of year as I have no way of keeping them frost free, but better to try and have a few take, than not bother at all.  The soft friable soil on the floor of the ancient stable is ideal for rooting cuttings and as there is no longer a roof, they get well watered every time it rains.  Not that we have seen much rain at all this year.  So far the weather has tended to be mild, sunny and fairly calm, though we have had some decent overnight frosts.
work station for cuttings, with my great new rug that I sit on as it's so warm and snug

Elaeaguns x ebbingei cuttings,  I have my fingers crossed for these as it's the wrong time of year,
they won't get any warmth and will be outside through the worst of the winter. Good Luck.

a selection of seeds and cuttings ready to go into the plant nursery