Friday, 31 July 2015

This weeks catchup

Hey guys, hope you're all ok? Last weekend we put the skirting in wee mans room and James made the windowsills and fitted them. 

Sill getting fitted for size, next we routered the edges.

This week has been all about painting, painting, painting. I've painted the walls, the ceiling, the skirting, the sills and it feels like the whole house! It has taken all the babies naps and the weekends but we're finally there, woohoo. This evening we have put up the blinds and the curtain poles. Tomorrow James' dad is coming over to help him put the wallpaper back up. We are hoping to put his furniture in there tomorrow and have our bedroom back!

Skirting in first then we got started on the sills.

Fireplace is in

We had a delivery of a tonne of wood this week for winter and moved it all to the woodshed. I'm hoping that will be enough for the winter along with the other wood we've got stored.

Our chicken Belle was poorly again, she has issues with soft shells and an egg had broken in her again so I gave her a bath and removed what I could from her vent. She has perked up again, so that's good news. Blossom is still sitting determinedly on her eggs and I am keeping my fingers crossed that next week she'll have her chicks.

Today while baby girl was sleeping, wee man and I picked some plums. There's a tree at the bottom of the garden that is laden with fruit. They're very small plums, definitely not damsons. We picked enough for a big batch of jam and it looks like we've not even touched the tree.

This week I made a batch of courgette bhajis thanks to some inspiration from Dawn. They were very yummy, I made a batch of naan bread to go with the curry and it was amazing!

When I went to get the courgettes from the garden I found a few courgettes that had been hiding from me and turned to marrows, so maybe I should call them marrow bhajis?

This picture doesn't do the scale justice. The courgette was pretty big, the marrows are huge!

Tomorrow I'll should have some pictures of the room all papered to share.

Friday, 24 July 2015

One step closer...

Yesterday I got a really exciting delivery, a couple of crates of these...

They are just so darn beautiful and tactile and I am so excited to try them.

Also I did my first day back at work today. I have so much holiday accrued from my leave that I have another month off, but at least it'll be paid. I've decided to try and get some extra money in to rebuild the savings and so I'm working some extra days. Good news is that today I had no abusive patients and an old lady even said thanks so all in all a good return to work!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Bring on the canning

In the evenings when I've had a bit of spare time I've been completing a canning course online that I signed up to thanks to a recommendation from the lovely Kymber. It was really thorough and I think I'm at the stage where all there is to do now is give it a go. 
So I'm watching the tomatoes with bated breath ready for the chance to get the big saucepan out and try my hand at canning.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Putting up the final wall in the wee man's room

Blossom is still doing a good job sitting on her eggs, but she's set off her best friend Abigail, who is now sitting in the box too. The other girls have started laying in with Blossom and when I had a check on her today she's collected another clutch of eggs from the other girls. I had to mark all her original eggs up so I could remove the rest.

As for the weekend we made up the stud wall to finish off all the major building work in wee man's room. The original plan was to expose what was under the plywood board that was acting as the wall surface. Underneath was some 2 x 2 inch wood and we decided to add our 2 x 4 batons to the structure rather than take it down and risk pulling down the ceiling. 

The stud work as revealed when we took of the board.

We put in a new door frame too as the old one wasn't a door frame and made a step in the wall. We picked a standard size one to make choosing doors easier.

The new door frame ready to go in

The door frame removed

Once we'd made the stud work we infilled the gaps with 100mm Rockwoll to keep it warm and make it quieter. The original wall was just plywood on either side of the frame so it really lets sound through, it'll be great that we don't disturb the little man when he's in bed. 

Extra studding in along with the new doorframe

Sound insulation added. It had to be cut to go between the two stud walls.

On Saturday night we got the plasterboard up and in Sunday morning we added some more screws in and James plastered the wall. He's getting a pro now, it's really smooth. 

Plasterboard up

It's dried really quickly so this evening I started on the long task of painting the walls.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Small victories for both James and Blossom

This evening James managed to finish the pointing on the back of the house, big yay! It's such a great feeling to get to a defined end point. 

It's just the front of the house to do now. James left this until last as it's the smallest wall and also as there's a sloping roof in front so it's a bit awkward to get to.

The front of the house

As for Blossom, you all persuaded me and today I dropped by at Kev's, who very kindly gave me some (hopefully) fertile eggs for her to brood over. A few months ago we picked up a chicken coop for £20 that one of James' work colleagues had used as a rabbit hutch. I planned to replace a few pieces of chewed wood and give it a paint up. With everything else I haven't got round to it, but tonight we gave it a clean up, put it together, filled it with bedding and we've got a baby hatching palace. It's not that long since I was a broody mama, so I feel her pain, she deserves a chance at being a mummy.

Blossom is making herself at home already

I have never hatched any eggs before so it's all a new learning experience, super exciting!

I also took a picture of my Sunday roast the other day to show you what an unimaginative meal I made with all my veg, just the meat bought at the co-op. Great ideas though from you all.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Broody Blossom

I've had another broody hen in the nest box for the last few days. This particular lady became broody about two months ago and I had a hell of a time breaking her. She was excluded from the chickens pen and she spent her time running back and forwards at the bars like a reverse prison escapee. It took a good three weeks before she could be let back in with the others during the day. 

This time as soon as I saw her spending too much time in the nest I came to inspect and she did that indignant clucking noise which signalled another broody episode. She's in for another lengthy exclusion, but as she's bottom of the pecking order anyway I hate to make it worse. So what am I to do with poor Blossom? 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Fireplace Restoration

You may remember us taking the cast iron fireplace out of the little man's room when we started pulling all the plaster down. With only the stud wall left to do, which we've pencilled in for next weekend, I thought I'd take a look at cheering up his fireplace.

It's certainly not an a antique victorian one, it's not even 20's as it's got no art nouveau or even art deco styling. I'd guess maybe 1940's or 50's. I can tell you one thing though, if you could count it's layers of paint like rings on a tree it'd be about 100 years old!

The before picture doesn't do it justice. The previous owners must have bought a vat of magnolia paint to sell the house. Everything is the same colour, the walls, even the ceilings, woodwork, windowsills and this fireplace was painted in matt magnolia.

First job was down to Nitro Mors. It's not quite as caustic as it used to be, I remember when I first used it having little red burns all over my arms. We had an old paintbrush in the garage that had been used for doing the oil based gloss and it had dried a hard as rock. A few dips in the paint stripper and it was almost as good as new though.

You can see the blistering from the first coat, so satisfying.

It says on the tin one coat will strip up to 15 layers. The *up to, is the clue, bloody liars! I borrowed one of James' chisels to peel the paint off, not sure how pleased he'll be when he reads this. I also borrowed one of his wire brushes to get in the crevices. After about 4 goes with the paint stripper and implements it was finally down to the original rust... I mean metal.

Two coats of paint stripper done

Just the details to scrub

After final layers of paint have been removed

I ordered some stove paint that withstands high temperatures. I don't plan on using it as a fire in the kids rooms but it gives the matt black finish that's traditional for cast iron fireplaces. When we've done this before we've used a pot of paint but as this fire was out of situ I opted for spray paint to try and keep the detailing as much as possible.  So now it looks lovely and smart and ready for the room when we get around to finishing it.

Restored to it's former glory

Friday, 10 July 2015

Today's harvest

Here's today's harvest from the garden, we're steadily getting more and more each day, except from the strawberries which are coming to an end. I think we could almost have a whole meal out of the garden today if I had any imagination!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Long weekend in sunny Devon

We had a lovely long weekend away staying close to Bideford in Devon. James' friend from work had booked a weekend away and had to go away with work, so him and his family very kindly asked if we'd like to go instead. So we asked some family to look after our dog, feed the chooks and water the veg and off we went!

We spent a day in Tintagel in Cornwall and went to the castle where legend has it King Arthur lived. There are a massive quantity of stairs leading to the top of the cliff and little man climbed every one, he was a trooper. Honestly he walked better than a lot of adults there, I was super proud.

The bay below Tintagel castle, with Merlin's cave.

Just some of the steps to the castle

Waterfall to the cove at Tintagel


The old post office in Tintagel is a 14th century medieval manor house and is also very pretty. On the way home we stopped at the beach in Sandymouth, as little man just didn't stop asking to go to the beach.

We also went to Ilfracombe and walked around the harbour and visited the beach at Instow. They had amazing sand dunes there and the little man was in his element.

Today we stopped at a little village called Clovelly. It is still all owned by one family as part of an estate and you have to pay to walk around the village. This goes against the grain with me but it was a beautiful place that hasn't changed in hundreds of years and was well worth the charge. The harbour dates back to the 14th century and some of the houses are around 500 years old. They still use sledges to move goods around the very steep cobbled streets as cars are not allowed into the village.

The house to the right is the oldest house in the village built in the 1300's. It had evidently been added to since.

Charles Kingsley's house, the writer of The Water Babies.

The kids were so good all weekend and there wasn't a peep from either of them, little man in particular loved every minute and was manic from the moment he got up until he was fast asleep at 7pm. He really enjoyed a little bit of attention and after all the work we've been doing on the house and garden he deserves some time.