It’s Spring, so we are preparing for Winter!

Over the Easter holidays we have been busy playing ‘Mein Host’, but we wanted to share with you that before the holidays, we cleaned up some of the frontage. Yes, I know there is still work to be done, but we are pushing back the boundary all the time…

…and although we have had some lovely spring weather days, we have also had a lot of cold and miserable ones, including the one where Siabod put its winter coat back on.

Today the weather was magnificent – sunny, relatively still, and not too hot – so perfect for working outdoors. Delightfully, Pips is having a few days holiday with us and she decided she fancied some forestry-type work today – so we have travelled to the back of our land where the gamekeeper’s steps are. Below you can see Freddie beginning the steep descent towards the river…

…and here you can see the tree that fell across the gamekeeper’s steps about two winters ago. There was a storm; the tree fell; we haven’t got around to trying to shift it for a couple of years; mea culpa. But notice how nature had done a good job of covering it until Pips stripped away the brambles and undergrowth and revealed…

…the fallen oak, with me standing vaguely vertically at the root plate to give you a sense of scale. (By the way I hope you are all enjoying these fabulous photos taken on Pips new iPhone11.) As this tree has fallen across the slate steps, it is rather tricky moving around the area, but Pips scrambled down the trunk to establish how we should proceed…

…which mostly involved bringing in the petrol chainsaw. Mike snuck gingerly down the trunk and then made a few exploratory cuts to check whether the wood was rotten…

…and it turns out it is fine! Because of how the trunk was lying he made several cuts to enable the trunk, which is propped on one limb buried in soil below the trunk, to settle again safely if/when the weight moved.

Once a few cuts had been made we liberated the rings and you can see that the trunk is indeed of very healthy wood. Pips has put dibs on this work so we plan to hold progress on this task until she returns on a future holiday, but whilst she and Mike were dealing with the trunk…

…I was busily cutting away the bramble and undergrowth obscuring the slate steps so that, after a few more days work, we should be able to recreate the steps down to the river…

…but we have got to work out how to get the wood rings back to the house first. I’m sure that may sound like an easy task, but these rings (which are at least 35k weight each) are about 20 metres below the path, which is 200 metres from the house over rough terrain – am I giving you a sense of the scale of our problem yet? Clearly, though, it is important we get these back so that they can dry out before becoming next winters fuel. Bigger problems came our way when Mike and Pips walked down to the river to check the bathing pool and work out where Mike plans to site his water wheel to generate electricity one of these days…

…and found that the path was more slippery and uneven than he had anticipated. No need to worry – nothing a good hot shower couldn’t repair!

The reason for all this distraction is that our two-week estimate for delivery of the steels is now running at over seven weeks, so we need to find something to keep us busy for another week or two. Frankly, we plan to take next week off as we are both rather weary (and in my case, committed to a meeting in Llandudno for a couple of days) so will return to building work in a week, and then hope to be reporting on the delivery of the steels very soon thereafter…

2 thoughts on “It’s Spring, so we are preparing for Winter!

  1. Hi everyone, great to see your are able to be outdoors to deal with some green work, I’m sure you will find a way to rescue the beautiful oak. Enjoy a few days away to recharge you certainly earn them, Julie

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