Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dog Eat Dog?

Well, I think I over did it... one wheelbarrow full of stones too many.. and got a nasty bug which put me in bed for a few days. But I have started building the wall, the stone foundation for the studio. I decided to use lime mortar and it's not hard at all to mix.  I still need lots more stones. But for now I am just letting it all wait.

Before the wall

Mixing the lime and sand.

Meanwhile, the good news is that the water tank that R made so lovingly last summer is now working. No leaks! It will hold 9 cubic meters, which is a lot! We can now take water from the roof (rain) and take it down to the big tank via the 'elephant' tank. It is connected to the mains and the garden so it is multifunctional, for fire fighting or gardening, or eventually, household use.

Another piece of good news is the 'Alascan mill' (a way of cutting boards from felled trees in situ) works. The chainsaw is only just strong enough but R made some fine sturdy planks from the pine tree he felled last year. It was far too heavy to move and also at the bottom of the very steep hill. Taking it up in slices is much easier! This also means that we may have chestnut planks sometime, too.

Of the two chicks that finally hatched, one turned out to be a cock. He just started to try and crow the other day and big daddy cock sent him out of the flock. Nature is quite adamant about some things. So I did a swap with Gail, who was short of a cockerel. In exchange we now have another red hen. It was fun trying to catch him. I did it with grain and a piece of string tied with a slip knot. That was the first time. Then he escaped and so I had to be very cunning and watch his moves for a while. Eventually Big Daddy cock helped me by scaring the living daylights out of it. It almost jumped into the sack!

In the garden we have favas and peas ready to eat. And lamb's lettuce is nearly over. So tasty. Carrots and onions coming up and cabbages ready to eat. Some cabbage seedlings which I planted on the site of an old compost heap are doing so well it tells me just how fertile I need to get this ground. A lot more than it is. The Fig trees are just coming into leaf and the red kiwis which I moved to grow under the fig have come to life and looking really healthy. I moved them this winter as they were doing nothing. They are beside some cumfrey which is a great companion plant. The garden is full of flowers. Freesias ,Gerber daisies, teatree bush, poppies, blue daisies, and other stuff. It looks colourful.

Bonnie has been coming up from the cistus patch with various bones, of a dead sheep, we thought. Until yesterday. I was sitting looking at an old jaw bone she had been chewing away on for weeks and I suddenly realised that it couldn't be a sheep... wrong kind of teeth. Hmmm... Dog? Oh my God... could that be Ginger?!! That was a rather shocking realisation. I took the jaw bone away and buried it (in the compost, of course) and thought about my old faithful friend. These life cycles. Dog eat dog?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mad Rock Lady

I have been on the look out for good stones. Whenever I take Bonnie out for a walk I look along the sides of the road and into the fields where new wheat is coming up. When I spy the glint of white I go and investigate. Anything bigger than my fist gets carried to the roadside and piled up for my return with the car. I got caught in the act the other day when a car load of locals passed... I tried to look nonchalant but all heads were turned in my direction as they headed off to the bar. The stones around here are beautiful white quartz with crystals locked in them.

Today I decided to look closer to home, on the field next door. I found a lot and chucked them over the fence. Later, I took four wheelbarrow loads down to the site. Patience. Step by step, I tell myself.

There is already double the amount that is in this picture.

While waiting for the track to dry out I did the plumbing, to get the mains water down to the site, and to have another stand pipe in the garden, so as not to drag a hose all over the place. (I hate that.) The new plastic pipes and fittings are relatively simple to use, but I did have to have a couple of goes before I got the knack. You have to shove the tube right into the thingy before you screw the thingy up. So, now I have water at the site, and stones.... next, hopefully, I will get the gravel and the sand delivered, maybe even this week, as the weather report looks promising.

This is the dresser that R made for the kitchen. It puts my brick shelving to shame... It works a treat, and I love the wooden branches that he has put in for mugs.

It looks like I will have to dig more ground for the tomatoes and beans, and I desperately need manure for the ground. I will go and see the riding school, soon.

Finally, this is how green the fields look when the sun shines. It is not cold and the days are getting longer and the blackbird sings in the evenings... Heaven.