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May - June 2016
Chanson de la Semaine

'The Lost World'

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May and June 2016
The Chestnut Tree

This month was a real family affair. We'd arranged to have the chestnut tree cut down. It grew between the barn and the hangar, directly over the suggested location for a fosse septique. It was also a bit dangerous, given it's location to a number of rooves. One of which - directly below - had already been damaged by a falling branch. Finally, because of it's position, it placed the house in shadow for the best part of the day. But we did feel like monsters for having it cut down. That being said we did end up with a massive amount of wood to cut, split, shred and stack. Fortunately help was at hand in the form of brother Rog, Barb, his wife and old faithful Gwen - mother. So a chunk of their holiday was spent disposing of the tree. We had to tidy the hangar to make a place for the wood stack. It was overgrown with brambles, ivy and full of all kinds of junk. Anyway...job done, and have you ever seen a happier bunch of campers before?

The Piggeries' Roof

This was the last of the barn rooves and wasn't in too bad shape.The main job was to rebuild the gable top and put in new wooden beams to support the chevron - which carries the roof laths - as well as re-inforcing the roof perling which had rotted near the wall. On the other side of the roof, a branch had broken some tiles and had allowed rain in for a number of years. We did a temporary repair job to both rooves and will retile them some time in the future. While the roof tiles were off, we cleaned out the mess that had been left on the upper floor. Yuk.

The Old Barn

We began the process of cleaning out the barns. When we've complete this we can clear out the house and start the renovations at last. Anyway we've started in the older of the two barns, which is directly opposite the house. This was in a pretty bad state because of years of weather getting through the exposed roof. A lot of the upper floor beams had rotted through, as had the floorboards sitting on them. The floor below was a foot deep in old straw, leaf mould, broken tiles and rotted wood. The first job was to clear this out, as well as the manger trough, in the middle. After that we cut away the old beams and supported the central horizontal 'A' frame beam with a perling and acro poles. We salvaged a lot of the beams, cutting off the rotten ends where appropriate. They are now neatly stacked in the hanger. They'll go back into the barn at a later date, but a metre or so higher. We did leave one beam, which was supporting a swift's nest. It looked like it was still being used, so we'll leave that till the end of the summer. The Chestnut tree has almost been completely cut and stacked. There is a bit left, but at least the main garden space has been cleared.

The last of the Chestnut tree and the ever growing veg plot

Finally the Chestnut tree has been chopped, stacked and bagged...phew. The hangar has been cleared for the second barn clearance which involves shitloads of hard core. The veg plot has been part rotavated and the rest covered over to kill off the weeds and couch grass. The main garden area has been strimmed and mowed...we can see the hedge at the end now.

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