Monday, 31 December 2018

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We've had another few months of just run of the mill things. The big work of clearing the land this year has taken most of our time and energy and hasn't resulted in many beautiful pictures. We've also spent lots of time working overtime to pay for the plans for next year.

James has continued to work every evening in the extension and in the last month or so has boarded the ceiling and as of today finished boarding the walls ready for plastering.

On Saturday we have a carpenter coming over to discuss our dining room extension. We've been waiting since August for our turn to have the dining room built and he's finally coming over to finalise the plans before he goes back to his workshop to commence the build.

The pad was laid along with the main extension over 2 years ago and has been waiting for it's day to shine. Hopefully towards the end of Jan we should have an oak frame dining room.

What makes a lovely change is that someone else is going to make, erect and roof it, leaving only the wiring, plumbing and plaster boarding for James (poor James). Once he's done all that we're also going to get someone to plaster it along with the new living room/kitchen. It's such a large space that he's admitted that plastering the ceiling will be too much for him, so I will find a plasterer once the whole area is ready.

During the Christmas break we have finally managed to put some guttering on the cabin. We got hold of an IBC a few months back and can't wait to see it full. Only one side got done with bits lying around, with a few more fittings we'll do the other side soon.

We've also tried to spend some quality time over the season with the kids. I have taken a few weeks off work over Christmas, I was ready for it!

We've been Xmas shopping, spent lots of time having snuggles on the sofa, been ice skating, walking the hills (traditional Xmas eve activity), written to Santa and visited with all of our favourite friends.

We've determined that next year we will keep pressing on with the house, we hope to be using our new sitting and dining room by the summer. The kitchen is unlikely to be in for a few years. 

We also plan to spend more quality time with the kids and with our friends. I'm also determined to be more selfish with my time; when you have so little free time you need to spent it wisely. I won't be chasing people next year and instead spend the time being a little less stressy by spending time doing jobs when the kids are out of the house so I can be more with them when they're not.

Wishing everyone a year full of joy.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Halloween 2018

It's been a few weeks but I've been away with work so I'm just catching up. 

We decided to have a little party for the kids for Halloween. 

James and I spent the week before making some gravestones and putting together a fire pit in the woods. We made a trip to Bookers and some bought tubs of sweets, there was more sugar in our house than in Tate and Lyle's factory!  We also got some Halloween bits from poundland and spent the day putting it all together. 

A few hours before everyone arrived we hung candles from the trees in jars and hid buckets of sweets around the paddock. Our kids were so helpful and enjoyed the set up with us. 
All the kids had fun hunting for sweets and the adults got to have a good catch up, which I enjoyed, it's been so hectic around here I've not really kept up with everyone. 

Here's hoping the kids will remember it when they get older with fondness.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Repurposed chicken shelter

We had the last week of the summer holidays off work and decided to get some things done. We've both been a bit lost with where to go next with the house so wrote a list of a few things to get done. Now we've made some progress we're both feeling a bit better and I think we've got the motivation back.

One of the jobs we wanted to get done was a new chicken shelter. I think you'll agree the one we made 5 years ago form pallets is past it's best!

When we bought the new land last year, amongst the brambles we found an old oil tank. Unfortunately the digger driver drove into it and left a big hole, rendering it pretty useless for it's original incarnation. So like all tight asses we cut it in two and made two chicken shelters.
The girls took a while to grace it with their presence, but now they're at home.

We also decided to put up the post box we bought at Easter, so used some wood that James got from the 'goods in' department at work (rescued before going to the tip). As you can see the wee man got in on the action. Looks pretty good just inside the gate, I'll put up a pic next time.

The new lawnmower was delivered a few weeks ago and is awesome, it flies round the field and so the grass is looking lush.

Baby girl had her fourth birthday a few weeks ago and did her first day at school this week. She's been so grown up and wee man has settled back in. 

She also had her first haircut and was treated like a princess so loved every moment.

Last weekend we went to a friends wedding and the kids looked beautiful.

Lastly James has MOVED THE BOILER!!! And what's more it works so we'll have heating for winter. That means a vast network of pipes has been removed leaving the house looking tidier and greatly reduces the risk of frozen pipes like last year.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Catch up and trip to Chester

So we've been plodding along here but lack of money has caused things to slow. The grass is coming along a treat (along with many nettles).

James has managed to complete the plumbing for the boiler move, but needs a few strong men to help him move it, but you'd be amazed how everyone's offer of help disappears when asked to name a date.

He has also managed to wire everything so that the thermostat can work again, hopefully it'll be moved and operational in time for the cold weather.

I have been passing the time by making a new flower bed, some of the plants I've grown from seed can now be moved into the space we've made. I've also made a tonne of raspberry jam.

Unfortunately the mower died this week, having done us nearly 5 years service (plus 25 years before us). We've had to spend all our savings to order a new one, which hopefully will manage the new paddock with ease.

We had the week off work so booked a few nights last minute in Chester. I used to visit often as kid to stay with a great aunt and those visits inspired our life in the country. On the way we stopped at a national trust house and the candle factory which was a vivid childhood memory for me and the kids loved dipping their own candles. They sit proudly at home in all their gaudy beauty.

 Unfortunately baby girl got a vomiting bug the first night away and so the few days were spent carrying her around Chester. It was still beautiful and we walked the roman walls and visited the amphitheatre and cathedral. Luckily the house I booked on airbnb was 2 minutes from the city centre so we could go back frequently whenever she felt poorly and we needed a rest from the carrying.

We're both a bit fed up with the whole process at the moment, our progress is hampered by lack of funds and we don't have family who can help us. It's hard to balance doing the house and land and giving the kids a childhood that isn't all saving and not enjoying life. I am constantly torn between you don't know how long you've got enjoy it (make memories with holidays/days out) and work like a dog and save every penny to complete the house. Anyway I'm sure it'll pass and we'll get back to having the drive to keep ploughing on soon.