|March 2011||The Wwoofer House is finished! This is what we call the Dry Stone Barn with the yellow door between the shed behind the garage and the 'Toy Shed'. This was a great project where Wwoofers enabled us to complete well ahead of shcedule. Follow the link for more onWwoofing and the barn. This has cleard the pile of rock which has been in the veggie garden for more than 3 years now. So the last of the raised beds is in place waiting for some topsoil and manure to be added. Then planting can begin. The green 'fence' round the beds in use are anti chicken devices. They work too! The chickens and the fences!|
|March 2011||We have finished the pond. How long did that take? The final step was to plaster the wall using the same plaster as the house, and put some stones on the top so we can sit on it! The herb garden beyond the pond has had to be fenced against the chickens and the dogs. Not the best for the look of the garden, but a practical solution.|
|February 2011||We are planning to get some Donkeys. Yes I know, yet more animals, but we know some people on the Sheeps Head Peninsula who have 4 donkeys but only an acre of grazing. We woudl like something to eat some of the gorse. They love gorse, so we could have an ideal solution. We have built a stable, with hard standing, and a fence and gate so they can be coralled when required. Thanks to our friend Bert who helped with the fencing. We also had to refence the trees in the field in front of the house to 'donkey proof' them.|
|July 2010||We've got three chickens now. And they all lay eggs. Each of them manage one a day. We have let them roam around the place, so they really are Free Ranging. They are housed in an 'Eglu' from a company called 'Omlet'. Ha! Ha! - Update on the Chickens March 2011 - They are still laying. We get 2 or 3 eggs a day, so they must be Happy Hens. This photo was not taken in July as you have probably guessed, but it does show their accomodation. They are up in the Orchard now, not behind the house as in this photo.|
|March 2010||Early signs of what a success the pond might be! We have still not filled it up fully yet, a slow job! But here is a shot in the morning with the Moon (an 87% Waning Gibbous if you are interested) over the Mizen, and reflecting in the pond with our Standing Stone in silhouette.|
|March 2010||THe Evening Terrace is beginning to take shape. We are filling the pond from the spring (gravity fed) in this picture. The dam can be seen on the right, with a 'Standing Stone' casting a shadow in the sunlight just beyond. We have three levels of terrace beyond the pond. The lowest one, which should be in good shelter, has a fire pit, and is paved in the same way as the rest of the terracing. Ideal for BBQs we hope.|
|February 2010||Here is a truck load of clay being delivered into the newly dug pond. A retaining wall was built on top of a ridge of rock which forms a natural boundry. This clay was difficult to work, requiring the digger and water to get it plyable enough to line the pond. Let's hope there are no leaks!|
|February 2010||More raised beds. The pile of earth has been dug through by Susy, and most of the stones removed. There are to be three beds, a rectangular one in the midddle with the triangular ones each side. The ground here is quite wet, so we will be putting a drain in alongside the Polytunnel. The end of the wood store can be seen in the background, with other beds for various vegetables by the shed. The pile of stone in the foreground will be used when we get to building a stone barn between the Toy Shed and the Garage.|
|January 2010||A new addition to the menagerie are a pair of Ratting Cats. They are sisters, black and white, almost identical whom Susy rescued. However they have a job to do, and they do it well. The rats have retreated from the Guinea Pig shed, and are further from the house than they were. They live in the garage and are 'Outdoor cats'. Poor old Jasper our 'Indoor Cat' is a bit put out, but as they do not come into the house, he can relax there.|
|January 2010||The Evening Terrace to the west of the extension can be seen on the left edge of the picture. The site of another pond is in the foreground, ready to be dug out. The pile of stone left over from the old barn and end of the cottage we knocked down are on the right, shortly to be moved elsewhere. The pond site fills with water when it rains, but quickly drains away.|
|August 2009||Here is the first of the raised beds - AT LAST! The globe artichokes are behind Susy, then the Toy Shed, with a wood store (nearly full) to the right of the shed made from pallets and corrugated iron sheet. An idea Francis got from seeing this method used in the French Alps. Still more digging to do.....|
|June 2009||In the orchard we have scraped off the old layer of grass, and planted a wild flower mix for hay. The trees are not very big yet, well not even a little big, but the flowering meadow is absolutely splendid at the moment. A very convenient stop for our bees which are just a few metres to the left of the photogtrapher. Susy has also created two beds for raspberries and the like.|
|March 2009||Here is a view of the veggie garden from the bedroom. Francis is spliting wood in front of a nice bed of Globe Artichokes. There are several piles of wood from the trees chopped down round this area which we are slowly getting sorted out. The builders scaffolding is in the foreground.|
|February 2009||Here is the finished Toy Shed with Susy attacking the heap of earth which came out of the foundations. There are lots of stones to get out from small ones to the large sort good enough for building walls. This area is earmarked for three raised beds which will materialise in due course.|
|October 2008||Time to build a Toy Shed - Yes you guessed it ..... to hold the toys! The whole thing only took about 4 days from start to finish. The front doors are tall enough to allow us to get the tractor in and out without having to take the rollover bar down. There is plenty of room for the quad and dinghy, as well as the little tractor, and various other implements. Susy wwas not altogether happy with losing some growing ground, but sense prevailed!|
|June 2008||The latest addition to the menagerie is a hive of bees. We built the hive from a kit, then took it over to a very nice Dutchman on the Beara Peninsula who was able to establish a swarm in it for us. We then brought it back home in the car (fortunately no bees escaped!) and set it up in the Orchard. The bees seem quite happy, and will be producing honey very soon. Susy is adding a Super above the brood chamber. You can see her smoking the bees to persuade them down into the brood chamber so she can put the queen excluder in place between that and the Super. Fascinating stuff! The bees are now a hive of activity.........!|
|May 2008||The Polytunnel is now beginning to produce results. We have mulched the beds with composted rushes spiced up with Cow Poo from a neighbouring farm. A good crop of courgettes can be seen in the foreground, but other produce includes delicious strawberries, peas, beans, herbs, peppers, aubergines and some flowers to encourage pollinating insects. Nice and warm in here today!|
|April 2008||This month we took advantage of the visit by Jon, Karen, Megan and Jessica to plant an Arbutus Tree, in memory of my Mother and Father, beside the top pond. Jon & Megan are in the picture busy watering before putting a sheep proof fence round it. This tree which is native to this area in Western Ireland is also known as the Strawberry Tree. It thrives in acid soil. There is a song associated with the tree called 'My Love Is An Arbutus'. My Mother wanted to buy us an Arbutus tree and plant it on a visit here. She also wanted to accompany Susy on the piano to sing the song. So this tree is a special memory for us.|
|March 2008||Having dug all the stones out, well most of them, we then Rotavated the beds. Francis is enjoying this great bit of kit, makes mincemeat of this sort of ground. Having prepared things, the irrigation system was added, by running water from the garage to the Polytunnel, and connecting up the automatic timer valve and running drip pipe along all the beds. It does seem to work well, but we do need a flow meter to be able to calculate water usage.|
|February 2008||At Last the Polytunnel cover has arrived. Fortunately it was a nice calm day to pull it over the frame and tension up. Now we can start planting, even if we are a bit late. The trees were topped in advance, and will provide a wind break, especially from the west.|
|January 2008||The Polytunnel frame is erected, and the concrete base will be added shortly to hold it down. There was much digging involved to remove wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of stones from big to small in this area. The earth is good having been moved here from the bank where the ponds are now placed. However there was a stone wall of sorts there, so the stones ended up being moved as well! Susy is hard at work with Truffle the dog supervising as always!|
|January 2008||The Waterefall is Really Running!
Our Waterfall between the two ponds which is about 6ft high has benefited from the several inches of rain we have had since Christmas Eve. It is running very strongly at times, and here is probably at it's most spectacular - Unfortunately not a sunny day, but you can still get the general idea.
'Lucy', the blue statue we have lying on a rock, was washed into the pond later in the day by the rising water level, and had to be rescusitated!
|January 2008||The Orchard Is Planted
We have fenced and gated the area to keep the sheep off. Using the builder's digger and dumper we have planted about 20 fruit trees and bushes. Unfortunately the rain came. We have had rain every day from Christmas Eve until 11th January with a total of 226.6mm (9") of which 189.2mm (7.56") was this month. The trees and bushes are all somewhat waterlogged, but the waterfall is spectacular!
|December 2007||The site is prepared for the extension to start.
Note the new grass, and full ponds. The end has been taken off the cottage, and alot of rock has been broken and removed from behind the cottage for a drain, nad the rock has been used to build up the platform you can see to redy the site for building. Well done to Danny the rock breaking king!
|November 2007||Topping the Orchard Trees.
Susy is busy burning the small stuff following the tree topping. Thanks to Dick for braving the ladders with a chain saw. We now have plenty of firewood to prepare. The cottage is still there in it's entirity, but very soon the left hand end will be removed to make way for the extension.
|September 2007||Now we have our Ponds.
There are two ponds with a 6ft waterfall fed bu the small spring, so running all year round. When it has been raining the stream feeding the upper pond can be quite full, so the waterfall is wonderful then. The earth from the bank has gone into the orchard area for raised beds. Note the long shed behind the garage for protecting the water holding tank, the small trailer and as a wood store.
|June 2007||The Garage is Built.
The Barn has gone, demolished and used for dry stone walling in the lower pond and elsewhere. We plan to build a new stone barn next to the garage in the orchard. Note the sheep and the rushes growing well!
|March 2007||Here is the old house as it was and is no more!
Our sturdy 'Ifor Williams' trailer has been extremely useful. Not only on transporting things from the UK to sunny West Cork, but also here we bring it into action quite frequently for all sorts of things. Where would we be without it?
|August 2006||A New Garage
What progress! The old shed is knocked now, and replaced by the splendid garage. Thanks to Susy's brother Peter for painting it for us. The barn is still standing. The Rushes are growing well. Nothing eats them unfortunately, so we have been cutting them, and getting them so weak that the grass will take over. Susy has even tried some weeding to get rid of them. Sheeps Head can be seen in the background across Dunmanus Bay, a lovely blue in the summer sun.
|August 2005||Re-roofed Boarhouse
With improved drainage, a proper spring dug out for our water supply and a proper 'Poo Tank' we are beginning to settle in to our visits.The cottage is gradualy feeling more like home. We have replaced most of the windows with PVC, thanks to Chris for his help in supplying them! The orchard on the left is quite lush and the fuschia has been cleared away, leaving the banks exposed. Susy with her friends Lorna and Catherine took the old roof off the Boar House, and stacked the tiles. Francis and his friend Tony came along to put it all back again!
|July 2004||Our Beginnings
Susy is busy checking out the plan of the land on one of our early visits to the property. You can see the size of the fuschia overgrowing evrything, even hiding the Boar House (see below). The rusting corrugated iron roof of the stone barn can be seen in the background. Choughs have nested in this barn until we came to live here permanently. We think they did not like the cats. Fortunately thay re only half a mile up the road in a ruin. This has now been demolished to make way for the extension on the house.