Our current dilemma…

is explained further down. This week, it has been hot and dry here, so we continue to work outside. For those who may think we have lost the plot, I remind you that we are trying to find/create a new location for our heating oil tanks, because the current one is situated not 6 inches from the building, balanced on an unbelievably unstable arrangement of pallets, in an area we are trying to turn into the exit path from a fire door we are incorporatig in the new design. I won’t give any further details as I don’t want any building inspectors reading this and hot-footing it round to have a look just now…

By the end of play today, you can see that Mike has managed to dig deep enough that we will be able to extend the 8″ depth of concrete by a metre, to form the base we need for the oil tanks.

More excitingly, he has unearthed an old bit of wall (under the casually propped fork above). We have no idea what it was for, but it feels like it has survived a long time and we are reluctant to deliberately demolish it. On the other hand, if it has to go to make room for the new concrete base, at least we know we tried to save it.

Whilst Mike was doing that, I was cleaning this hillside on which Mike was standing just to give a sense of scale. What we can see here is the area where the previous owner kept his poultry, which has become overgrown over the last 4 years. We struggled with dismantling his chicken house, but a liberal dose of WD40 soon eased up the stuck bolts, and a bit of pulling and pushing meant we were able to yank it apart. I then moved all manner of junk – wooden posts, metal brackets, chicken wire, old feed trays, all half hidden in the grass…and once they had gone, I took a set of loppers to the random growth. I thinned away some of the trees to leave a select few to thrive, and even uncovered an apple tree in blossom of which we had been unaware. I have created two new pretty sizable heaps, ready to become bonfires, and we will (I hope) strim this area sometime next week, so we can see the lay of the land.

The picture above shows the area now, with the self-seeded brooms now no more, noting I did spare the native gorse. We suspect that the grass is covering all manner of rubbish that we cannot yet see, but all will become clear in due course.

And this clearance is important. We can’t really show in photos, but this hillside overlooks the area to house the oil tanks; the area that will become the back-doors to the accessible suites of rooms we will be building over the next few years; and forms much of the view from the rooms we finished last year. If we clear this area down, and it reveals the rocky hillside we think is here, we could remove the soil from all three areas to expose the beauty of this rock. If, as we suspect, it turns out this area is full of building rubble, we need to prod around to check its depth, to establish whether we could reasonably clear this all away (plan A) or perhaps throw grass seed over it all to hide it (plan B).

As this is a tricky conundrum, and as our pictures today have not been exactly pretty, I thought you might like to see one of the azaleas we planted behind the long corridor a couple of years ago and …

…one in a pot outside the cafe. I am really looking forward to the day when we decide what we can do round the back of the building, so I can start planning the landscaping !

I carefully haven’t shown you the enormous pile of excavated earth we have created. Mike and I still have to hold the arm-wrestling match to see whether this soil will be put into new raised beds? Or will we spread over existing beds? Or will we move it somewhere else until we can make up our minds what to do with it? Those who know our ability to procrastinate will probably be able to make a guess, but I hope to share more with you next week. In the meantime, stay safe.

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