Sunday, 19 January 2014

just another Sunday..

a fairly typical BCB day.....

  • a wet weekend in January so chose the best of the two days
  • we promise to get up early on a Sunday...woke up at 9, leave at 9:30..dammit!
  • thankfully a lovely day, with a cold mist hanging in the Towy valley below...eerie 
  • Jan painted upstairs, finishing the skirting, door and sills.
  • I continued to line the hidden cupboard.
  • Morgan (our Choc Lab) came with us and spent the day chewing sticks !
  • soup cooked on the top of the fire...v nice, v much needed !
  • Checked the newly planted apple trees (for deer attack) ,and all is far
  • Left at just a few hours of work..frustrating but always progress..inch by inch

Saturday, 11 January 2014

a day in the orchard...

It was such a beautiful and day at BCB today, clear blue skies, no wind at all, but quite cold (barely 4c). So we decided to spend the day working outside.  Gorgous views to the Beacons !

Called into Dolau Hirion Fruit tree nursery, Capel Issac on the way, and bought 6 new Apple trees.
2 Discovery (MM106 rootstock)
2 Sunset (MM100)
1 Tom Putt (M111) , a Cider apple
1 Kingston Black (MM106)
A great place with a massive selection of fruit trees, and the owner was so very helpful and with deep knowledge. We will have to take our apples to him next Autumn to get them identified.

Ive been meaning to go there for a while, as we have a few "under-performing" apple trees that needed to be replaced. So dug out two sad creatures, replaced with 6 ...+4 for the orchard !

Also planted the potted Chrstmas tree, which is now Owen's official tree !

Our(4) children have a tree each, which somehow represents them.
  • Tom's was the first to be planted, a Copper Beech, growing well, and over 8ft now
  • Lloyd's Monkey puzzle tree was planted last year, and is just getting established.
  • Alys has adopted a beautiful existing Sequoia at the bottom of the orchard, but the adoption ceremony has yet to be officially made !. So there may be a swap to a specific Alys planting at some point.
  • Today we planted Owen's Christmas tree...he will come down with us soon to see that it is planted in the right place. 
We spent the rest of the time clearing brambles, tree suckers, and cutting back the two huge overgrown Budlliea near the front of the house. I got to use my new machete (Brazilian Tramontina) in anger...a fabulous tool, definately my new best friend !

PS...Unfortunately gashed my idea how ! (it wasnt the Tramontina in case your worrying)
This will also become a theme !!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Very Cold

Pretty cold at BCB this weekend.
I carried on with the "Hidden Cupboard" in the Inglenook, While Jan painted in the Attic room (Tom's) and whitewashed the end wall in Alys' bedroom.
I managed to find some spare floorboards so fitted the floor in the cupboard, and started adding in the walls.
I had to go into Carmarthen (I love the guys Travis Perkins) for Moisture resistant MDF.

It was very cold so had the log burner going in the Library/workshop all day...worked a treat !

oh and the Chimney is still leaking...Toms bedroom is pretty wet...though we have had some horrendous rain and winds recently !

2014 - first post

Forgot to mention in 2013, that Lloyd and I had started to build a cupboard in the alcove of the Inglenook room (another attempt to make it tidier and give us some safe storage).
I built the frame, and Lloyd started the facing and panelling.
I have this idea of creating false panelling on the partition walls between the Inglenook and the Hall and the Library and the Hall, so wanted to practice on a smaller project.
The cladding is simple T&G, and the panelling is made from 70x20mm (you will have to get used to me swapping between metric and imperial all the time). It looks ok, not perfect, but ok.

Slight complication, I wanted it to be a "hidden cupboard" with a concealed door. This worked fine excect the door opens onto the raised panelling pieces and so doesnt quite work yet...finding hinges is an ongoing project in itself.

2013 summary and a New Year resolution to start keeping this up to date in 2014

So i've decided to start updating this Blog, so that I can at least look back and see how much work we have done. It sometimes feels very slow and very little progress. Also i'm hoping that someone out there may find this of interest..

So before we start on 2014 a quick recap of the acheivements of 2013...

  • Chimneys are a theme...started the year with scaffolding still up, Repairing the Chimneys, fitting the steel lining(down to the Inglenook and the Library). Topped off with lead and cement. Replaced all the leadwork, repointed and rendered with Lime...and for a while they didnt leak...more on this subject in 2014 methinks.
  • After the success of repairing the Main beam between the Libary and Owen's bedroom in late 2012 (New end piece, Post and Brace (see photo below). It was time to put the joists back, replacing the rotten ones (8 new oak joists). Then laying the MDF boarding, the underlay insulation, and then the new Pine (12inch wide) floorboards into Owen's Bedroom.
  • Then started on the Landing floor/Hallway ceiling - took out the old crap joists (just plain 4x1 !), and replaced with dressed Oak joists...nice
  • Extended the floor boarrding/insultion and floorboards into the landing
  • Carried on into Alys' bedroom. Ripped up the old floorboards,and replaced a few rotten joists (4). Fitted the biscuit-board/insulation onto the Inglenook ceiling, laid in the sheeps wool insulation. Fitted  boarding/underlay insulation and floorboards. This allowed us to get the pile of floorboards out of the way !!!...phwew that sentence sounds pretty simple...quite a job!!
  • With Owen's floor in place, fitted the fireplace, with nice simple slate hearth.
  • Then on with the Liming ! Rough coat on the 3 walls, Simple whitewashed finish for the Fireplace wall.
  • Made and fitted the widowsill and fitted the sash weights
  • Fitted the door liner, Architrave and skirting
  • Then on with the smooth(ish) second Lime render coat. Limed the Ceiling (between the joists).
  • Jan whitewashed everything in sight !...and hey Presto by December a new bedroom was functional, brought the Iron double bed down from the attic bedroom (Tom's) and put the two metal single beds up there.
  • Meanwhile I carried on Liming the landing (first coat), made and fitted the windowsill and fitted the sashweights.
  • Limed(first coat) Alys bedroom. Three walls. The end wall will be whitewashed.
  • Limed(first coat) the hallway wall(around the door) too. This was a mess, so made quite a difference.
  • Electrics...As well as laying in the ring main on the first floor, Jan took on the task of the hall/stairs/landings. Lots of research, diagrams, and DIY books later and 3 way switches and litghiting in place, very impressive ! 
  • Replaced the old fuse box with a new Consumption box/RCD's much safer
  • Finally wired in the shower in the shed...working hot water !! 
  • In the Orchard this year, we cleared half of the bramble bank ( a big job made easier with the Scythe), and kept on top of the grass (another new lawnmower in 2014 we think). A very good apple crop, made about 7 gallons. One gallon from one tree alone ! (One tree brew)
  • By this time it was getting too cold to carry on liming, so focused on woodwork and getting the Inglenook room more liveable. Fitted biscuitbaord to the partition walls, with insulation. (did the same in the Library room).
  • Made and fitted a windowsill for the Inglenook room. Made it from Ash (As opposed to the first floor windowsills which were made from spare floorboards). Fitted sash weights(getting good at this now !)
  • Emptied the Inglenook of all the tools, and bags of Lime into the Library. Which is now the defacto workshop.
  • Installed a kitchen cupboard (1950s classic from WOTNOT...more about this place later)
  • Finally added a rug, and old armchair, plastic tablecloth on thte old kitchen table, and hey presto a (relatively) liveable kitchen/living room (Inglenook room)
  • Final Outdoor job of the winter....fitted new guttering on the front (black powder coated aluminium). With no downpipe for the last year the end wall was very wet(and was making the corner of Owen's room damp too), so hopefully this will start drying out now.
  • Final Indoor job of the year - Made 4 doors, and fitted 3 of them. Made the two ground floor doors to the Inglenook and the Library from 1.5 inch Tulip wood. Made the 2 first floor doors to Owens and ALys' bedrooms from remaining floorboards. So now the library workshop can be closed to keep the mess in. The inglenook can be kept relatively warm and tidy, and Owen's room is complete ! ALys's door is nearly finished and will be done in 2014.

So quite a list when you write it all out like that...