Thursday, 19 February 2009

The Long Awaited Wood Shelter

Yes it's official, I am a very sad person, most women my age dream of lovely designer clothes, the perfect handbag, height heeled shoes that don't rub or pinch.... not me however, I dream of wood shelters!

I am not mad, there are valid reason why I should be so obsessed with having a wood shelter. Our little Stockton stove is a truly wonderful thing, it keeps our tiny cottage very toast (even with me and the cat sitting right in front of it socking up most of the warm) but keeping enough wood dried and ready to use has been a bit of a problem, you see we've been using the greenhouse to dry the logs and store them, however I am now in desperate need of the space in there plus we couldn't really get a huge stockpile as the space was limited.

This is why we decided to convert the old coal bunker that's is on the one side of our shed, the bunker has not really been used for anything since we brought the cottage and has just sat there looking ugly and useless, it leaked so much we didn't even bother to store garden tools in it. So on Monday my Dad came down from Shropshire to help Rich redesign it (ie knock the hell out of it till it surrendered) just the sort of activity you should force a man recovering from a bone marrow transplant to do!

So Monday afternoon Dad and Rich got to work, here they are having ripped the roof off and now contemplating whacking the wall with lump hammers...

I should point out that it was a little more complicated than just whacking the hell out of it, as we have no money the whole thing had to be re-made out of bits and pieces we had around the place, so the breeze blocks had to be reused.

Arr here's Dad displaying surgical precision as he hits it with a lump of case iron...

Once the front wall of the bunker was down it was a case of build the one end up as that had had a door in it.

Here they have managed to get a roof on it , incidentally the roof is made out of the door of a broom cupboard we ripped out of our kitchen 2 years ago, Rich and I never chuck anything in case it comes in handy!

So then it was just a case of getting some roofing felt on to keep it dry, and sawing up an old pallet to keep the logs of the floor and it was all finished, yay!

Isn't it beautiful!! ok maybe not beautiful but a lot better than the waste of space that was there before, and now it means we can really stockpile wood for next winter.

Hopefully the poor old shed will get a makeover this summer too, as this is the veiw from the front room window, but I'm happy to look at my lovely logs which I know will be keeping us warm for free!!

So a HUGE thank you to Rich and Dad who both worked very hard for 3 days to get this finished and for managing to not spend a penny on it (they even reused the nails and roof tacks, how eco friendly is that!)

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Valentines Day

Happy (slightly belated) Valentines Day to you all! I hope you had a nice day? I did! Want to see what I got...

A sure sign of a man who knows me well!

Richard and I have (well mainly me) have been trying to get in the garden for the past 3 weeks or so, but a combination of art jobs, our part time jobs and snow have meant things have had to be left. So as Saturday was dry, the snow having finally melted off and it was actually trying to sunshine I managed to start planting some of Victoriana Nursery seeds I was sent before Christmas.

Technical I think I should have had my Giant Exhibition Onions on the go by now but I had a lot of work to get though...and it was cold...snow...not sitting in front of tv or anything.......guilt.

Anyway down to planting my lovely seeds, I got the Giant Onions started first, I've never actually seen onions seeds before having always used sets from the garden center, they look like tiny little stone chips!

Don't they look all neat with their little labels in. This year I'm trying out fiber seed pots (thanks Rich!), last year I used pots made from newspaper, which worked brilliantly, however this year we have our wonderful log burner so any newspapers in house are used for lighting the fire, meaning their was none left for pots!

I planted a few of the tomatoes seeds, again possible a bit early but a chat with our veg growing neighbor reassured me I'm not the only one starting early, also our greenhouse has been at a steady 20c for the past week (we're lucky it is south facing on an open slope) we tend to get an early spring down here in the south west and if these 4 fail I've got quite a few left (and several people willing to re-home if I germinate too many for us!)

The tomatoes we'll be growing are Giant Delicious, apparently brilliant for sauces and soups with some individual fruit getting up to 8lbs in weight! I hope our little greenhouse can cope with these big buggers! We'll also be growing Sungold's again, we had one of these last year and it was brilliant, I've never tasted such sweet little toms, perfect in sandwiches and salads...I'm getting hungry just thinking about this.

My very generous parents brought us a few bits when we were home the other week, including some more seed potatoes, I've now got Sharpes Express early and Desiree main crops, so the Sharpe's have been started off chitting in the greenhouse.

My Mum also brought Richard a present, a mushroom growing kit!

I haven't seen these before but Richard does like his mushrooms, so we'll give it a go. It all looks pretty easy, although it does rely on me remembering to spray the compost with water regularly so that may be the down fall right there, although my New Year resolution is to be more organized in the garden (and leave notes around the cottage to remind me to do these things!)
Here's the mushroom compost that is in it:

You just empty it in, then put the lid back on and spray with water every few days, then 10 days later you add mushroom seeds (I think, I'm trying to remember the instructions, which of course I've left in the greenhouse, I'm off to a great start already!)

So a busy day, here is the finished results, I keep nipping back out to proudly look at them.

And while I was trying not to kill his mushroom kit off, Richard was being a sweet heart and finishing off my half constructed fruit cage for the Blueberry's.

He even weeded it for me, what a good Valentines Day!

Thursday, 5 February 2009


Snow! Yes snow here in warm sunny Somerset, normally we get a light dusting that lasts about 2 hours before melting off but today the whole of the county has ground to a halt, the buses and trains aren't running, there isn't enough salt to grit the roads and best of all the schools are shut (meaning Rich gets a day off!!) this all just goes to show how rubbish the English are at coping with snow.

Anyway, as no one else was bothering to do any work today we didn't want to be left out, so we got up and went for a walk.

Here's me not feeling guilty about not doing any work on the garden today...

Here's the lane that leads from our cottage to the fields, not many cars where braving it.

Doesn't Bath look pretty in the snow!

Rich and the snowman he built...

and me with the snow dog I built (with help from Rich!)...

And then it was back home for hot chocolate and cake, much better than working!