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Finally got the digger up with some help from Yoni after a week on it’s side, this is just another example of how projects can be put back by days and weeks. Decided to give it a service to make sure it would be operating well so I changed the oil and tightened the fan belt.
I used the rhizome poison on the area of bracken around the the new path to the decking area which is where the digger had been laying. A combination of clearing, poison and attacking the new growth of the bracken in the spring should be enough to transform this area which has been encroaching on the meadow. The overall goal is to push back the bracken and limit the pathways that intersect this area between the two upper meadows and the veg patch.
We are going to move the polly tunnel to a different spot in the veg garden which will create better wind protection for the outside beds so I have measured it for a refit and ordered a new plastic covering.
Got more free rubble for waterfall project which I will start in the winter once all of the scrub has died back and we can see the area more clearly.
The weather is key to so many jobs up here and as we were preparing the job list for the week we realised that the sun was out and the temperature was rising. The weather report was saying no rain and we have been keen to complete the painting of the roof of the black barn. To do this you have to create the longest paintbrush in the world!
We attached paint brushed to the longest and lightest weight pieces of wood we could find and climbed up our ladders to get this finished while the weather was in our favour. It is amazing how as the temperature fluctuated the consistency of the paint did too. What a relief when we finished, it looks so good and although that is all the paint we have right now we will finish off the rest of the building when we can get more paint and the weather required.
One more job for the day, building an onion bed. We have covered areas of the veg garden with carpet to surprise the growth of weeds in preparation for making new beds and today reveal a lovely new spot and built a low wood frame around it which we will fill with seaweed and soil before planting out with a crop of onions. Pulled up the last of the carrots too, can’t wait for a lovely roast with homegrown carrots!
What a blessing to have a day of clear warm weather.
Well everyone just loves saying winter is coming and indeed it is so the time for filling the woodshed has come. This is always an ongoing project and when I come across fallen trees I cut them to manageable sizes and get them in the shed to dry and chop. So this week I started looking through the rhododendron overgrowth behind the house and found several fallen trees. So after cutting a path into the tangled mess I started to cut and remove large sections of tree. I preparation for taking this into the barn I have been chopping down the wood that has been drying over the summer.
During my search for wood I found a cliff that drops down to the top of the mossy glade and it suddenly occurred to me that this area is almost like a natural walled garden with cliff edges on 3 sides and wind protection from trees on the 3rd side. I would like to cut back all of the rhododendrons in this area and reveal the cliff faces to create a new area for plants. I also found some excellent little mushrooms which is one of the fun things about exploring in the deep undergrowth.
The rain has been excessive recently so when the heavens open up there are always jobs to be done inside so during some of these downpours I have been sharpening the sit on mower blades, organising the barn and getting rubbish ready for a dump run. Continued work on building a storage box in the lower barn and Jane, Cat and I have all been taking turns spraying the drive with the pressure hose which has made a dramatic difference by clearing away dirt and moss.
I am currently in the process of working out the power needs for the barn and have been accessing how this can be improved. Another project is to improve the back shed so I have been taking measurements and thinking about what will be required to improve that area.
While doing my usual checks of the walk I found otter tracks leading from the new lower pond up to the well established upper pond on Jimmy’s walk. I think as the season is quieting down they are becoming a little more brave in the explorations.
I cut back the holly trees leading down the boathouse as they were beginning to encroach on the path leading down. There is a lot that could be done down here but at the moment the improvements will have to wait.
Sometime there is so much happening here we can’t even put it into sentences!
8 am meeting to plan the week
Both cars cleaned and washed
Collected water lilies from down the road and weeded the pond for them
Checked and dug out drain at the back of the garage, guttering needs replacing asap
New guttering on lower barn working well and keeping it dry inside
Sharpening chainsaws and organising wood store during heavy downpour
Check the otter camera, got some good footage, new position was better although otters did move it slightly! Battery power could be an issue there as not enough light for a solar pack
Checked the walk, paused took a break to soak up the awesome view!
Drag wood over to chipping area
Cleaned the muck off the front gate from when the new cattle grid was fit
Moved Dahlias from the cold frame to outside granny’s bedroom window
Jane continued chipping
Lifted boat in boat shed to make room for local boats to be stored for winter
Cut doc and bog weed seed heads out of the meadow and put on the burn pile
Strimming lower two lawns, path to lower meadow and the arboretum
Started new section of wind fence around veg patch and planted out more willow along the back edge where we hope to create a natural wind fence
Salvage fence post from jimmy’s walk for new wind fence
Began to clear out and reorganise the greenhouse
Collected seaweed from beach for veg patch
Dragged more ponticum over to the chipping area for Jane
put in post for new wind fence
Cut bracken away in area separating the two upper fields
Rewiring the deer scarer
Today was a hot wet midge day starting with clouds of midges, the aim was to put the guttering on to the back of the barn. After washing all the old parts dug out of the dirt at the base of the barn we set to it with Cat standing in the hell hole of midges holding my legs so I could reach the top side of the roof slowly working our way down the side of the barn in the storm of midges but slowly getting the job done. Jane continued the chipping which seems like a never ending job but must be done.
After eating maybe a million midges and fixing the guttering back on we licked our wounds in the barn while I taught Cat how to replace and sharpen chainsaw blades. Finally found a replacement handle for the 20″ timber pro it seems fitting to get the rest of the chainsaws sharp and ready for the onslaught of timber prep as i’ve waited far too long for dry patch in the weather. Began clearing the backlog of wood in the wood store as we have a lot to bring in.
Today was a fishing day after a late call last night offering me a day out on the water bringing in as many prawns as fast and as effectively possible. Was a hard day of work but proves to me that if you want it then set it up right and focus everything you have on the goal.
We had weekend of all things horticulture with the annual Plockton District Autumn Horticulture Show so it was an early Saturday start pulling cabbages out, picking dahlias, making flower arrangements and prepping vegetables for presentation. Its was a rush to get everything ready and get down to the show to help setup before the judging started. Boom! Plockton here we come with excitement to be entering our first show. We seem to have done well on first sight with our massive cabbages. The day flew by with James flying selling raffle tickets and finding out all the local secrets, Cat taking photographs of all the impressive entries and Jane presenting the awards for the winner of each cup.
Sunday was a day of planning and clearing up after the show after a long night we’re straight off down to the hall to put away the rest of the marquee and head off to take down the show signs that we had placed on various roadsides in the area. As we hit Achmore we remembered that there was a book launch and sculpture show on in the village hall so we popped in to have a look. WOW! The walls were crawling with these amazing climbing people sculpted in clay and the book was written by the wife and daughter of the artist about there amazing two year family cycling trip from Alaska to Patagonia! We talked over several cups of tea, bought the book and exchanged numbers. These are are kind of people we what to know. Then it was time to head off to grab the rest of the signs.
Monday comes around fast and we start with a 8am meeting into what needs to happen this week. We make a proper list of the many jobs around the property and start to form a plan. After tea and breakfast James moves the chicken hut from the end of the garage and gets the digger out now its finally fixed. He starts be begging to clear the earth behind the end of the garage and as he starts to level it becomes clear that it could be a very is a useful space. Around here one project always leads to another and so all this clearing next to the garage means that we now need to begin thinking about where the extra soil is going. Wherever that is going it will first need a lot of work to riddle the bracken root out. After lunch James check the otter camera that he placed down near the newest pond on Jimmy’s walk. We hit the jackpot! We have otters, but the camera wasn’t at the best angle so James adjusted it to see if we can get a better shot. Back to digging and moving rock, there is plenty of stone in all this dirt which will help begin the stone wall bending around the corner from the back of the veg patch toward the lower barn. In the late afternoon James began to prep the ground area where the hut will go.
Tuesday and we are praying for the ground to dry so that the grass can be cut. While waiting for the morning sun dry things our it seemed like a good time to pull some of the plants in the polly tunnel beds and get the veg garden back under control for next year. The weather just seemed to be drying out the grass so James jumped on the mower and got the lower lawn cut and Cat then went off to do the paths through the meadows and the arboretum while it was dry. The next big job of the day is to start clearing the ponticum from around the back of the barn now that the area next to it has been excavated.
Wednesday is time to move dirt and make a raised corner bed in the front corner by the entrance to the veg garden. Both Jane and Cat clear root and weed from the pile as James drives back and forth with the digger. It starts off a mess and is slow progress but by lunch we have the pile together with a little shaping and tapping down its ready. The plan is to plant it out with lavender which is a midge deterrent, looks good and will ad to the wind defence that we are trying to create around the veg plot. After lunch James continues to clear the ground around the platform working out how to get the tea hut in place, looks like wood chips are the solution but just waiting for mypex before we can start that process. Looking around the property it’s becoming clear that what we need most is clear signs and one path to lead people around where we what them to go as to many people are exploring the deer tracks.
Thursday all three of us focused on removing a good 6 feet depth of ponticum from behind the barn and clearing the ground around the base of the building. We found several lengths of the old guttering hidden in the dirt and brush which we will save to see if it can be reused. The midges were terrible and we were all pleased when the job was done. Cat stripped back and prepped the big raised bed with seaweed and more soil for planting out the purple sprouting broccoli that we have seeded in the greenhouse. We then turned our attention to the hut area and continuing with the ground prep and James worked on the new path that will remove the need for walking on the edge of the meadow and will mean that we can start to push back the bracken which has been slowly creeping in from the edges of the meadow and making the area smaller.
Friday we got Jane set up with the chipper and started dragging over the ponticum that was removed from behind the house and has had a week to start drying out. It makes for great chipping material as it is an acid plant which helps to keep down weeds. The first day of hot sun and clear skies so James decides it is a great time to start painting the roof of the garage with a protective tar paint. This is going well till around 3 in the afternoon when the clouds roll in and the temperature drops. Did a big tidy up at the end of the day so we can start next week in an organised fashion.