Monday, 13 April 2009

I cannot believe how much time has flown since I last wrote on this blog. I am sure you have all gone away and forgotten about Park Mill by now, but I’ll carry on regardless. I blame the sunshine totally. It’s addictive to be outside. Especially now it’s getting so light in the evenings – and there’s so much to do! So what’s been going on? Well, firstly, we had a number of trees cut down – about 17 in total. It’s made a huge difference to the light that is cast on the house and made us realise that there is so much more to be thinned out, although we will wait now until winter. Unfortunately, we only paid the tree surgeon to cut the trees down and not up. We now have the arduous task of cutting, splitting and stacking all the trees to logs which may take us a few weeks. However, we do have a least a couple of years of firewood there, which is perfect! The garden is coming on fantastically. I am beginning to take great pride in weeding and planting and getting it all looking great for summer. I think part of this is the frustration of not being able to do anything to the house yet. At least I can start to make a difference to the garden. Olly has built me 6 brilliant raised veg beds and I have planted lettuce, parsnips and carrots outside as well as nurturing tomatoes, artichokes, courgettes, leeks, peppers, onions, cabbages, pumpkins, etc inside to turn out at a later date.

We also have some new, temporary residence. A local bee keeper asked us whether he could keep a hive here for a couple of weeks. Keeping bees is something I would definitely like to do here and so this is a very welcome opportunity. Although, I do worry. I am normally the one in the pub garden who suddenly jumps up and does a flamboyant fandango of arm and leg movements making appropriate screaming and hysterical noises because a bee or wasp came within 6 foot! I figure you would probably have to get used to them a little more before handling a hive. (Also, would it be wrong to imagine yourself as an astronaut when wearing the bee suit??!)

The house has had it’s minor progressions as well. We have decided on an Architect and that in turn has given us a Structural Engineer, which is all good news. The Structural Engineer got us to dig a hole along the front wall of the property to try and ascertain what was happening to the building and we have our fingers crossed that the drain that runs across the front of the building can be sorted enabling the clay ground the house is built on to dry out and therefore harden, and then the building be merely underpinned or even better, braced. The clay has gone off to be tested for it’s shrink ability and we are talking to the Architect at the moment re plans and fees (more importantly, fees!). I very much doubt we will be in a position to start any building work until at least, this time next year.

In the meantime, our thoughts turn to what Park Mill Farm can do for us. I would very much like to produce as much of our own produce as possible including fruit, veg, meat, eggs and honey. I would also like us to harvest our own energy in the form of solar panels, wind and water turbines. I could never be without my luxuries, but we also have an opportunity here to make ourselves as self sustainable as we want to be and I believe this is something we should research extensively in order to maximise the opportunity that we have.

All in all, it’s been a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend. The weather has been exceptional and I even managed to get a bit of a tee-shirt tan which is always sexy!! I was weeding one of the flower beds close to the kitchen back door when I saw our little brown chicken wonder into the house. A few second later I heard lots of flaps and went into our kitchen to find her up on our ‘Sheila Maid’ making an absolute racket! We also made big head roads into the village by going to church on Easter Sunday. We were very welcomed by everyone there and luckily had my best friend’s in laws (I know!! They live in the same village as us – what a coincidence!) introduced us to practically the whole congregation! It was great! I have just got to remember everyone’s names and where they lived so I can drop round invites for them to come over!