Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mothering Sunday

We celebrate Mothering Sunday by opening a bottle of Prosecco and sit out in the sunshine to enjoy it surrounded by daffodils. Unfortunately both boys are working so I will have to catch up with them later.

The peloton

On Sunday morning I have a slightly leisurely start and having seen no traffic at all start to dress by the window. Fortunately I heard the peloton arriving before I saw them (and they saw me) although having just come up the hill I doubt very much that they were looking up at the window!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Woman power

Using the same method that I believe was used for the pyramids and Stonehenge I manoeuvred this post into place using pieces of piping!

Hubble, bubble

Not quite the witches cauldron but grout for our tiles!!!! Prepared by the building team while Dave and I watch!


Our cleaned floor ready to be grouted. The tiles look good although the cleaning has made them look very red and black! It's not often you have three men cleaning your living room floor before you've had breakfast. My role was to mop.

A hare and two guinea fowl

It sounds like the title for a song (or a dish on a gourmet menu) but we wake this morning to see a hare and two guinea fowl in our newly dug kitchen garden.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


Two of the quarry tiles have this shield and cross on the back. I assume it must be a maker's mark. We decide to lay these so the mark shows.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


We start work on tiling our living room floors. The first has a straightforward chequered pattern but the second living room has it's original, more complicated pattern, to be re-laid. However many hands make light work and Dave's carefully plotted plan of the layout is invaluable. Dave and I help to clean and move the tiles - manual labour once again proving to be my forte!

Monday, 24 March 2014

It's warm and toasty

With the heating working - hard to believe just powered by ground source energy - this butterfly appeared. I think it must have been hibernating indoors. I fed it sugar syrup which it lapped up then next day let it free into the sunshine.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Pot of gold

We arrived back at the farm to see an amazing double rainbow which you could actually see ending in the field opposite. A pot of gold would come in very handy!

It's cold outside

When I wake this morning the house is amazing and warm with our heating on. I take my early morning - 6am! - cup of tea outside and enjoy seeing the sun rise over my freshly dug soil. There is a heavy dew but we have escaped the forecast frost.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Switch on

Just as our heat pump is turned on a rainbow lights the sky. Within hours we have hot water and heating (that was always the theory but ....)


We take delivery of a large amount of 'brine' with which the installers plan to come and fill our 900 metres of pipework. Earlier in the week they came and pressure tested the system.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


We have blue sky again and as I look up through the new gap in the cart shed roof (damage caused by yet more very strong winds) I notice the amazing red stems of the moss that grows here.


The doors are all being re-fitted and it is a pleasure to be able to open and close them properly for the first time.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Back to normal

The trenches have been filled and levelled. I was expecting much more disruption but we have been lucky both with the weather and also with the skill of the digger driver who has worked very hard and very carefully - thanks Steve.


Harry discovers digging and goes crazy running from one part of the vegetable patch to another (fortunately at this stage it's all just bare earth). He says everyone is digging and it looks like fun!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Spring that feels like summer

It is amazing weather, for once there is no wind just sunshine and blue skies with the daffodils flowering in huge numbers (to think I was worried that there were no buds). We are so pleased to have company to share this with.

I have just researched my daffodils and it appears the closest match is Pencrebar, its date is given as pre- 1929. My daffodils are a little taller though and their backs flushed with green. Some of the petals are also very narrow at the outside of the flower. I would say they are fragrant but not strongly so. It is likely this is a different but similar variety.

"For many years known as Queen Anne's Jonquil, now renamed after the place in Cornwall where a single plant was found surviving. This attractive and fragrant dwarf double daffodil is excellent for naturalising and for borders. Later flowering in April, Height about 9".

"This narcissus is short in stature yet perfectly proportioned,  pre-1929, all yellow double has its centre full of petals and, being a jonquil seedling, is strongly scented. These historical daffodils have particular interest for us, this one was lost but found again in an ancient garden in Cornwall. They have a quaintness and informality that is largely lost in modern daffodil breeding, yet they have stood the test of time having been at their peak of popularity in Victorian times. Many more remain to be rediscovered and loved again. However these are early days and the stocks of these are still not huge."

Planting my orchard

Rob helps to dig the holes for the trees. I have bought six trees, four eating apples, a cooker and a crab. We spend a long while moving them about as initially we are trying to place five, and despite gardening law saying you need an odd number to look natural we end up with various strange placements. In the end we achieve a circular planting but it still looks good.

Saturday, 15 March 2014


Rob has done a fantastic job of putting on the rabbit guards. Each day we could see more nibbled stems so really there was no option other than to protect them all.

Friday, 14 March 2014

The workers

The workers stop for a moment so I can photograph them. It is lovely having a helping hand and it spurs us on, it had started to feel like a long slog.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Copper labels

I notice a cheap packet of copper plant labels - they are just the thing for my trees and look decidedly 'bling' in the sunshine. Unfortunately they are very thin and the wind deforms the edges in a moment.

I have planted: Spartan, Discovery, Greensleeves, Worcester Pearmain, Bramley's Seedling and Crab: John Downie.

Monday, 10 March 2014


After a difficult day we are delighted to welcome family in the shape of Rob, Ran and Harry, who have stopped to give us a hand with our project.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Timber treatment

Dave dons a mask and a borrowed sprayer to use a timber treatment on the stairs. We are glad it's a nice day and we can have the doors and windows open.

Dahlia planting

While Dave sprays the house I have the much happier task of planting up my Christmas present dahlias into large pots.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Pantry tiles

We are so pleased that it has been possible to relay the very old, very thick quarry tiles for the pantry floor. Originally they just sat on earth and so we were able to reclaim them easily. The others sat in concrete which meant inevitably they were damaged as we tried to lift them.

The love shack

I decide to work at clearing the bottom section of the cart shed. Dave comes to ask if this is 'The Love Shack' ... I never knew he was such an optimist!!!  When we were house hunting someone actually had a sign saying this on their barn door.

Mowing the lawn

The lawn gets its first cut of the year. The weather is so mild and everything, including the grass, is growing well.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Duck crossing

Driving home we spot a pair of ducks standing at the side of the road waiting to cross to a large puddle on the other side!


It's been a lovely day and we decide to take a photo before we leave.

News flush!

I am delighted to announce that we now have a toilet that can be flushed, in a room with a door which can be locked!! This is most certainly progress.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Digging continues

Well they say you 'can't make an omelette without breaking eggs'. To think last week I was worried by the damage badgers had made digging up the field!! After three days of wonderful fine dry weather today we had rain all day and things have got distinctly muddy. However we now have two of the three loops in place, although the driver never stops for a moment and we wonder if he will survive to finish the job.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Forget me not

When I go to move the raspberry canes I find a forget me not has stowed away and reached us from Somerset. I carefully plant it into the kitchen garden.


Dave continues with the grouting but is suffering from 'grouter's hands' which are now dark grey and very rough! He earned a reprieve when the grout supplies ran out.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


We must have found the hardest working digger driver in the country - which is good as he has a lot to do.

Dave helps to unroll the first loop. The system is based on three separate 300m loops of pipe which need to be laid out first to judge where to end the outward part of the trench.

The soil varies from pure clay, through sand to a small patch of actual sandstone.

Not exactly whiter than white

Today I decided to have a major clean up of the house and in the process shook out and then hung up all the dustsheets that had been left in heaps around the place. Sadly I looked like the lady who didn't use Persil but rubbed her washing in the local stream instead!

Monday, 3 March 2014


I carefully transplant the raspberry canes. They were at the side of the field where we popped them last summer, now the grass and weeds are starting to smother them, so I carefully moved them into our freshly dug beds and gave them a good drink. They are an autumn fruiting variety but generally they start to fruit as early as July and go on till the first frosts.


This cyclamen appears untroubled by it's journey here from Somerset and it has had to endure all the construction mess as I've moved it from room to room to try and protect it. The flowers were glorious backed by a brilliant blue sky.

With Love

This photograph was taken today from the Leeds to London flight. I love that Hill Farm sits at the bottom of the heart. Oh to have a brother's eye view of the world!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The digger's here

Arriving at the farm today we find that the digger is already here. This week we need to excavate 900m of trench for the ground source heating pipes. After a very dry week it has now started to rain steadily and heavily ...