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All Fall Down May 27, 2010

Posted by Laura in Uncategorized.
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When we bought our land we there were 65 or so laylandii standing approximately 60 foot tall each on three sides of the front half acre of the site. Being that tall they blocked light like yoiu wouldn’t believe and being on the southern end of the site they limited light on the half acre behind them. They also sucked every ounce of good out of the land and leeched everything dry so while there were 6 apple trees in the front half acre, all 6 of them were covered in moss because they quite simply never saw the sun.

On Tuesday a local tree surgeon knocked down the first tree and yesterday I watched as he knocked down the last one.

Oh my the land is beautiful. It looks so different. As you drive up you can see the cottage instead of trees and more trees. In the recent fine weather the sun is bathing the land that hasn’t seen the sun in decades. The trees were planted almost 40 years so as a hedge. So now we own approximately 3500ft of trunks for cutting up at a later date and a small mountain of chippings.

We are currently waterless on the land and are filling 20L containers from the outside tap of our neighbours across the road (with their permission). On Monday a nephew of the woman we bought the land from came and gave us two hours of his time (when he should have been moving cattle) to check out our well & pump. I have a well! Not only to a I have well but it has water in it. I saw the water and was giddy with delight 🙂 He primed it and when he went to turn on the pump (having broken into the house in order to put a fuse into a fuse box) the motor wasn’t working so he took the pump away with him so his brother (an electrician) can fix it for us. Even if we end up having to buy a new pump it will be SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than connecting to the mains (€400 for a new pump, €4000 for the mains) and as rural water will be metered in the next 2 years or so I am delighted with the prospect of having a working pump attached to my very own well. And what did I pay him? I let him inside his fathers childhood home (the previous owner had locked the door and not let anyone, including the ESB man, in for decades) and in the house he found a photo of his father as a young man which is something he had never owned. So we are all coming away from this happy… him with his past, me with my future.

Once the pump is working or replaced I will have a hose pipe up to the growings and I.can’t.wait! The prospect of being able to put on a sprinkler and just water everything is the stuff of dreams!

Tonight I got a call from him to say that they had fixed the pump and will meet me at 6 on Monday to fit it!  I am so happy!

I now have 10 chickens in residence and one of them, probably because of the fright, laid a teeny egg.

A picture tells a thousand words May 26, 2010

Posted by Laura in Uncategorized.
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Well, maybe not a thousand but it is certainly easier to see what is going on than to try to read about it so here we have:

Mange tout. The one on the end REFUSES to climb up the stick it has been provided with. I need to change the stick at the weekend 🙂

This is 3 rows of onions, white if memory serves. There is about 200 hundred onion plants (white, red & shallots).

These are our elephant garlic. I can’t wait to try them out. I have never actually seen them in person (other than the ones that I sowed in the ground).

One of our 7 blueberry bushes in bloom

This is my first attempt at growing gerkins (I am sure there should be a h in there but it always looks wrong). M is interested in home pickled gerkins. He can do the pickling!

Taking advantage of the heat in the tunnel I am trying my hand at bell peppers

Broccoli. What else do I have to say about broccoli?

Lettuce, bell peppers. The lettuce in this tray have EXPLODED in the last week. They are huge now!

I paid €6 for 12 butternut squash seeds last week and to my delight there is 5 of the 6 I sowed growing.

Check out the newest resident in the borrowing house

I had the run 2/3 of the way built this morning and it was a lovely day. I realised at about 1pm that if I got the run mostly finished then I could have chickens TODAY! The chicken man comes to town every other Wednesday and I realised that today is the on Wednesday. If I didn’t get them today it would be another 2 weeks before I could get them. I need to arrange to collect the 5 that I bought earlier in the year but I really didn’t want to wait 2 weeks to get the extra ones.

At 2.35pm I had half the height of chicken wire done which was enough for girls who were going to be a little shell shocked by the move. Only the one photographed came out of the house. She had a little wander around and then went to bed. They are all in bed now, snuggled up in the nest boxes. I will get more photos when they are all moving around.

As yet unphotographed:
Barlotti beans
Climbing french beans
Corn
Baby corn
Rocket
Courgettes
PSB
Potatoes
Swiss chard
Spinach

More photos to follow…

So long, & thanks for all the fish May 18, 2010

Posted by Laura in Uncategorized.
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The last time I had DSL at home was Saturday May 1st. I waited for 2 weeks for one firm to tell me that the line of sight was not good enough and they couldn’t provide me with a service. I then waited 10 minutes to get a phone line and 5 days to get DSL. This morning the post man rang the bell at 11.15am and while I was unpacking the box (with the router in it) I got a text message from the phone company to tell me that my DSL had been connected. I was like a child I was so giddy 🙂

So now I am back online and like a child with a new toy. I have thought to blog so many times over the last two weeks but to be honest the prospect of blogging on my iPhone is not a happy one.

To catch you all up on what is going on.

– We sold out house on May 5th
– We have settled in to the borrowing house
– We have resubmitted a potential design to the executive planner & are waiting for her return
– We are trying to arrange for 60 45′-60′ trees removed from the land. Quotes are ranging from €2500 – €8000!
– We are ready to take delivery of a mobile home* so that we can have somewhere clean and dry to sit if it rains & ultimately somewhere to sleep when the water & electricity are hooked up
– I have ~70 garlic (most, if not all of these varieties: Albigensian Wight, Chesnok Red, Early Purple Wight, Iberian Wight, Lautrec Wight, Wight Cristo, Purple Moldovan Wight, Elephant), ~200 onions (10 shallots, 50/50 split of the rest between white & red onions), ~40 early potatoes which are being burned by the frost 😦 & mange tout. I have some climbing french beans out there too but they are struggling 😦 M moved 15 raspberry canes from the old house garden to the pit last week so we don’t expect them to fruit this year.
– In the tunnel I have ~30 2″ tall mixed lettuce, 5 broccoli, 8 mini bell pepper & 4 gherkins. This weekend I sowed swiss chard, purple sprouting broccoli, radish, sweet corn (thinking of Kate & Trish), rocket, mixed lettuce, carrots, spinach, beetroot, barlotti beans, runner beans, butternut squash & courgettes.
– Beside the tunnel we have strawberries (which are starting to fruit) & 7 blueberry bushes in flower.
– I have almost finished my chicken run and the chickens will move in next week.

Today we opened the door of our small rotting cottage to 2 sisters & a brother whos father grew up in the house. They were filled with joy to have access to the house after years of being unable to step inside their fathers childhood home. It was lovely to watch them recounting stories of people & events that happened in the house and on the land. They were so happy to see a young family starting something new on the land.

When all the cards are played May 7, 2010

Posted by Laura in Uncategorized.
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It’s time to count your chips & check the damage. For the last 2 weeks I have given myself permission to eat whatever I wanted which usually included a bag of NCC jellies & a pack of dark chocolate rice cakes each day. We ate take out food for lunch & dinner for a week & the closest I got to drinking water was buying it in the shop but not actually drinking any!

This morning I weighed myself. During maintenance I had regained 2.3kg (because I didn’t really do maintenance at all). This morning I was 300g heavier than I was the week before I hit my goal, 1kg lighter than I was at the start of the house moving chaos. Now I am not recommending house moving as a way to lose or maintain your weight and I know that there is a limit on how long I would get away with eating the crap I ate but I am delighted to have come out the other side of that part of the insanity without putting on 4 or 5kg!

Now I need to go upstairs and punch a new hole in my belt to stop my jeans falling down 🙂

In bed in the borrowing house May 5, 2010

Posted by Laura in Uncategorized.
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We sold our home yesterday & it looks like my life vomited all over the borrowing house. I can honestly say that I had NO idea how much crap I own. At the beginning of the process I was being concentious about sorting through stuff & sticking to put/give/throw away. At the end I was simply chucking stuff into plastic bags & promising to sort them at the other end!

I would safely say that if I deal with one box/bag/basket a week I’ll be done by Christmas! Christmas is still 33 weeks away!!

So I started today as I need to go on. I emptied a laundry basket so that I could do the first of 4 loads of washing (which resulted in me emptying 2 plastic bags), built some IKEA drawers & put away 2 loads of laundry & the contents of 2 plastic bags. Then I tackled the plastics mountain. The boxes, pots, tubs, bowls etc that can & do store food IF they are not broken & have a lid that fits them were just in a heap on the kitchen counter taking up space. Now there is no broken pots in the cupboard & every pot in the cupboard has a lid. If the pot was broken, lidless or just plain crap it went into the recycling! I don’t need or want the stuff that I wasn’t using anyway.

All in all I dealt with four plastic bags, one laundry basket & one set of IKEA drawers. A productive day!

I haven’t made bread in 2 week & I miss the act of making bread so tomorrow I am making dough & I can’t wait.