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We were very lucky to have recently had a lovely couple get in touch with us about a 60 year old glass house that they wanted to find a new home for. It was built in the 60’s as part of a market garden and has served them well over the years but all of the wood framework had started to rot and it was becoming a bit dangerous to work in. We came to have a look and were blown away by the size, our imaginations were busy with ideas of what we could grow inside. James decided we could make use of it and so we set a date to come back and disassemble it.
The weather was great and we got stuck in early with the help of Derek and Jane and had all of the glass out before lunch. Once the glass was out we could then begin to see how the structure had been built. Each section was made of a wooden frame that held 4 sheets of glass that was fixed to the metal frame underneath. We did think that the overall design needed to be adjusted some to prevent the wood from rotting as easily next time. Then there was the pile of glass which fell and smashed so it may be that we will rebuild the frame up against a wall or solid structure to save on having to replace all that glass. Whatever we do it will be great to see parts of this old beauty brought back to life.
All in all the breakdown took two days, we were blessed with great weather and great company for the takedown. It is now all neatly stored here at Rudah Mor while we figure out where it can go and what we need to do to rebuild it.
Having finished the outer structure of the lean-to I began to build the shelf inside where we will start growing a variety of plants to be planted out along the walk and in the house garden. The initial plan was the there would only be plants on the shelf as the base of the structure would be covered in wood but I found several old glass windows which I fitted so that we can have some larger plants on the floor where they can still get light. I have also repaired the lock on the door that will be used to access the lean-to and used the leftover carpet underlay stapled to wood the lower section as insulation, soon I will able to start growing next seasons plants.
The winds started picking up yesterday and as it was getting dark I came back to the barn to lock up and found that the roof of our new lean-to was already loose and flapping in the wind. Unfortunately there was not much I could do but hope that overnight the damage wouldn’t be too bad. When I came in to the house I checked the anemometer and the winds were already reaching the mid 40’s. It was not an easy night of sleep as the weather howled outside. When I woke I checked the wind speed and it had reached 54mph and since things didn’t seem to be calming I reset it and between 6-9am it hit 64mph!!
As I was watching the morning news and weather they said that the wind direction was changing and so I went outside to see the damage. Amazingly it was not that bad, the plastic was loose but still attached at the back edge and not ripped. All the windows were intact and the garage was not in shelter as the wind blew from the NW. I ran in to wake Cat and I think she thought it was really bad the way I rolled in but I was just excited that it wasn’t that bad!
With Cat up, her belly full of banana blueberry muffins and coffee, we headed out to get started or repairs. We thought we only had about an hour before the winds would come back around to be hitting us hard so we thought we would just cover it with a tarp but that wasn’t really working and the weather seemed to be easing a little so we decided we needed to do a full repair. It didn’t take too long and we had the roof on and started to finish it of so that the whole structure would be sealed and fair much better.
The storm is not over. By 3:30 we had secured everything by the barn and garage so we headed out on the path to check and see if there were any major trees down or anything along the walk that could be a hazard. All was well and since we had our saws with us we did a little rhododendron removal.
Saw that some of the gorse was in flower which was a nice burst of yellow in the wintery landscape. Snow is expected tonight and over the next few days so we have got plenty of wood in to keep us cosy!
With window of good weather presenting itself we decided that this is the week to get the polytunnel moved. We have already been planning this so we started by pulling back the material we had covering the spot where we want to move the tunnel to.
We then had to disassemble the polytunnel and chip away the concrete from the metal sections that held it into the ground. Once this was done we could dig the new holes which were carefully measured out. We used postcrete and a leveller to make sure we had everything just right as this part of the job will determine how sound the structure is. After the base poles were set we could fit the 3 arches and the beam that joined them all. The days are getting shorter and as we were losing light we decided that we should stop for the day.
Day two involved laying mypex around the base of the polytunnel, adding a base frame which will hold down the plastic, building the frames to hold the doors and adding 3 beams at the top which we will use to hold up the strawberry gutters (watch this space) and they will also make it easier for us to create supports for vine plants. Amazingly we thought all of this would only take the morning but yet again the sun was setting so we packed up for the night.
Day three and we were ready to skin the polytunnel. Thankfully we had some help since Hannah and Gavin were up and Jane came out to give us a hand too. Once we had most of the plastic in place Hannah and I ran off to make kimchi using a huge cabbage from the bed that used to be in the polytunnel while the other guys finished tightening the plastic.
Day four and James and I built the doors, stretched them with plastic and got them hung. With the tunnel tight and doors closed we put the min max thermometer in and went off to work on getting the main path back in good shape in preparation for the party coming up.
Today has been a day of seeds and planters. It started with some frustration trying to make two-bed frames in the polytunnel, but with a little more space I soon got both together and in place waiting to be filled with dirt. Meanwhile far off at the start of the drive Cat has been busy working away making two little trenches for poppies and wildflower that we will sow some seeds into today. Fingers crossed the weather is going to hold and it will be a year filled with flowers at Rudha Mor.
After having a quick coffee break the delivery van finally turned up with the quad parts. Rushed off to the lower barn to whip off the old wheel and get the new one on. Turned the key and nothing! Checked battery and decided to put it on charge. Will need to change over the starter and will try to get it up and running by tomorrow.
Back to watering and planting out seeds using 6×48 trays. Did 4 of flowers and 2 of veg. Realising we are well ahead of where we were last year as the weather seems to be amazing, sun is out most days and hot for this time of year around 11-16C. Nights are still cold whitch is going to be my problem but working on solutions for that. We’ll steam ahead hoping that the weather keeps getting warmer and the ground dryer.
Cat and I head off to sow the poppy seeds and wildflowers. We also potted up two clematis and have placed them on either side of the drive about half way up where the tree came down a few years ago. Then we went for an explore to see if we could find any fallen trees. We headed off down Ian’s walk and then following the boundary line around and down on to the back of the property. Its really diffrent when you get down towards the water level here, we must be walking on a variety of bog and heather species. We find three trees down which will make great fire wood, it may be hard to get them out but now that the quad is fixed they will be manageable to remove.
At 8:30 this morning we saw the Jewsons delivery truck drive by so we quickly got up to Rudha Mor to organise the delivery.
Now a quick flit up to the school to help brake down the stage seating now that the festival of plays has finished. News travels fast and everyone already seems to know we have had a delivery. Got all of the wood moved up to Rudha Mor before lunch.
After lunch everything is stacked up and tidied. Then finished off the first cold frame and had a quick walk down to Jimmy’s walk to see how the plants and tree are settling in. The flax look like someone has troden on them. The daffodils are out and the big yellow rhododendron is still holding its flowers and looking good. The other rhododendron is not looking so good so Jane and I begin working out the next steps that need to be taken with them.
Back to the veg garden and Jane moves the potted plants in the polly tunnel to make room so I can cut the wood for the new bed that we are putting in there. Jane and I discuss the blue planters outside the front of the house and what direction we’re taking them this year. Cat paints the Rudha Mor sign for the front gate and makes over the rockery planters witch have been devoured by the deer.
Now off to the Horticulture committee meeting to arrange the bulbs and baking show.
Full strength team today and a lot to sort out before the delivery of wood supplies for the new platform. After a good watering in the greenhouse and polly tunnel. Cat and Jane get to finishing the top of the front cold frame. Meanwhile I emptied the van of all the new plants that we have been donated by Heather strawberries, gooseberries, lavender and clematis. With a plan to put the clematis into the gap in the drive where the tree came down a couple of years ago.
Cat cleared the area behind the greenhouse to absorb the coils of wire and general bits that had stood in front of the garage. We mypexed (suppressing fabric) the space behind the greenhouse and started to remove the rocks piled at the end wall of the garage. I moved rocks around the the cold frame and to the area becoming a wall leading down to the barn.
We measured out the platform area and made an action plan to get all the wood when its delivered to the bottom of the drive. Getting up the drive without the use of the quad as we’re still waiting for parts will be difficult. Also added two new raised beds to the veg garden and planning to add more just need to spend an evening cutting tin and prepping wood. Deer have started eating the flowering heather.
The walk Raised £31.75 this week! whitch seams very high for this time of year. Year on year we only received between £7- 14 double it amazing.