Thursday, 28 July 2011

Country life

Living in the countryside is fantastic. Its always green and delightful, the swallows whizzing around overhead while your family works as a contented team at entertaining sustainable projects such as making elderflower champagne from your very own trees. Its easy to imagine - maybe something like this...

 It would bring a smile to even the most hardened city dwellers face - maybe something like this...

Of course its not really like this very often. At the end of the last blog the "contented team" of myself  and Dad were about to tackle another asbestos chicken shed with "hygiene issues" ... maybe something EXACTLY like this... (imagine working in this when the "hen pen" was fresh from the chicken !)

Countryside living at its best ... all the "hen pen" and plastic bags you could possibly ever want to sort by hand. Not enough you say? Well how about.....some more !

Or maybe.....NO!... surely not !  YES..... MORE !

Of course, I've got ahead of myself here and skipped  the hugely unexciting asbestos removal that surrounded that stupendously large pile of  ####. We'd been collecting all the asbestos cement panels into a big pile in the yard along with thousands of fragments that had been liberally left everywhere around the farm.

Some of them were really heavy - a good example being the chicken-saturated example below - almost too heavy to pick up between us. (Note the unorthodox HSE unapproved skip door support !)

Two days of loading got well over half the awful stuff loaded - 14 cubic yards - 6.1 tonnes !  The really painful thing was the cost (due to the landfill tax on the "special waste" nature of asbestos)   . Have a guess what it cost to get rid of, before scrolling down....

...and bear in mind that the UK alone imported  hundreds of millions of tonnes of the stuff (and as far back as Roman times  asbestos was known to be seriously hazardous to health )

  One THOUSAND pounds to legally dispose of one skipful weighing 6 tonnes!   I was pleased to see it go though (the skip that is, not the money !)

 Luckily there was no money riding on the "who can grow the biggest radish" competition. A spread bet on the difference would have cleaned me out completely !

I suppose all the chicken manure has its uses after all ! The radishes arent the only things taking off, almost everything has got going at last - some of these sunflowers are over ten feet high now !

The area where the silo shed used to be, has transformed into a kids play area (and adult slackline !) and a ...(big breath)... pumpkin, squash, brussel sprout and even more sunflowers patch.

 Remember this used to look like this... yes really !

Those sunflowers definitely look better I'm sure you'll agree

The glasshouse has been repaying all our efforts - those wizzened old sticks have a healthy crop underway

The strawberries are as tasty as they are colourful..

The melons  are experimenting (Victorian upturned turf solution versus growbags)

 The courgettes are abundant (April grew 19 plants !)

 There was even a fine crop of highly dodgy ladders

...luckily I read the HSE warning so didnt use this next one !

Apart from a few setbacks such as a minor rat invasion...

...and April having  hurt her back ( but not from pulling up this monster radish !)... has been quite a busy few weeks.

What with entertaining the kids... visits... 

...celebrating birthdays...

...combatting ridiculous rising gas prices (with a new woodburning stove)...

...dangerously dicing with death in dodgy demolition demonstrations..

...and the obligatory burn up, amongst many other things...
(I knew those ladders could be used for something!) really has been fantastic living in the countryside and experiencing our first summer at Grove Farm.

Worth making  that elderflower champagne to celebrate for sure !

Cheers !

1 comment:

  1. Really Good Blog mate
    All the best to you and family
    Darren Heaton