Monday, 29 April 2013

More hours in the day please

We seem to be hectically busy at the moment, with demands on our time and energy coming from all different directions. Work on the house, work on the potager area and 'business' work are taking up most of our time, although we have made time for a couple of good rides on the roadies since the beginning of the month when weather has allowed.

Talking of weather, April has been a bonkers month with wild fluctuations in temperature. We had a gloriously sunny spell earlier in the month when it peaked at 28 degrees but just 24 hours later the temperature plummeted to just 3 degrees and we had snow down to 700m! Last week was the same - I was getting sunburn on my back whilst working outside midweek but then come Friday the temperature was back down to 4 degrees and snow at 800m. 

With Spring knocking on the door, thoughts have very much been turning to the potager and growing more veggies with the aim of being self-sufficient in vegetables by the end of the year. I decided we needed an additional area to be created for growing soft fruit if I am to make more of my own jams and jellies this year. After a word with our lovely neighbour farmer Alain, he came down with his tractor and turned over an additional 250m2 of land at the end of the potager for us....
... part of which I covered in cardboard with a layer of rotted horse manure on top and then a layer of black polythene to suffocate the weeds/grass...
... and then we erected a 18m2 polytunnel alongside the potager where the tomatoes, capsicums, chillis and various sowings are now biding their time until the proper warmth eventually arrives and they can be planted out.
On Friday, just as the weather was turning, we managed to re-fence the whole of the above land (all 400m2 of it) as one plot, which makes much more sense. Andy is going to build me a potting shed in due course which will sit next to the polytunnel. It's going to be a 'proper' kitchen garden by the time we're done!

As far as work on the house is concerned, we have been working on the second bedroom. This weekend, with the arrival of poor weather, work transferred indoors and we have now completed the decoration of the room, which has also been completely rewired and the ceiling insulated and plasterboarded. Here are a couple of 'before' photos;

... and the 'after' shots...

I am really pleased with how it has turned out.... lovely and bright and fresh, but with the warmth of the restored chestnut beam and original wooden floorboards. We just need to rehang the curtains, find some pictures for the walls and add a small rug to the floor at the foot of the bed. So now we just have the stairs and landing to do and that will be the upstairs (at that end of the house at least) finished! 

On the exercise front, the roadies saw more action in April with a couple of lovely 70K rides in hot sun. When the weather plays ball in April, it really is a beautiful time of year for road biking. The fresh green foliage, the frothy white and pink of fruit blossom, blue skies and the snowy peaks.... just stunning


gabriele gray said...

It is so wonderful to see all the progress you've made..I'm remembering the first photss and now this! I love the way the house interior is developing, I imagine the house likes it too..
How are the neighbor's horses? Do they look longingly over the fence at the herbage?

penny said...

Thanks for your comments. I must say I am *loving* transforming the interior of the house, revealing the fantastic old, timeless chestnut beams and making the rooms beautiful. It is a lot of work though, as it isn't simply a question of 'decorating', but it is so worthwhile.

The horses are down in one of the neighbour's other fields at the moment, but yes, I can imagine that they would be drooling if they could catch sight of our lush, green field at the mo!