Wednesday, 17 August 2016

I don't know where to start!!









Thank you so much to you all for your lovely comments on my last post.   We have been here a week now and I feel very at home.  The amount of work needed to be done is a little overwhelming,  the bearded one could only take one day off, which was the day we moved and I only had a few days.  Fitting it all in after work and weekends means it is going to take a while!  I also have an extra 30 minutes on my drive to work which meant tonight I got home at 6.45 driving through thick fog for an hour.  No fun.  I have been watching the progress of a certain Cornish blogger who has the whole summer off to do up their new place in France and feel very envious.  I have also found that physically I really can't do what I used to and think I have actually done some damage with all the lifting boxes.  So I have to be patient and do what I can when I can.

Anyway I can't report any progress at the moment, it will be 'before' pictures for quite a while.  The list of things to do grows by the day!   We are having the water, electric and boiler checked ,it seems to have been many years since they were looked at.  We have been drinking bottled water in the mean time. Luckily my hair has not turned green as happened in a previous property we were renting with it's own water supply!  We had the oil tank topped up, the cost of oil is frightening. We are looking into solar panels to help keep the cost of energy down.  At least the water is free, well sort of we have replaced the filter and may have to fit a ultra violet thingy, oh and one of the tanks will need replacing at some stage.  Half of the bulbs in the house need replacing, some of the light switches don't work and there are bare wires sticking out of sockets. I have booked someone to strip down and clean the aga, I'm gradually getting the hang of it but my timings are still all over the place. I have managed to burn several things in the 'warming' oven, seems to be all or nothing with it. The boiler sounds like an airplane taking off with bangs and clanks all over the place.  Unfortunately all of these essential but boring things need to be sorted before we can get onto more interesting and creative projects. Although it is not an old house and a great deal of money was spent on it at one stage, it seems to have been neglected in recent years so needs repairs and replacements.  

So here are some 'before' photos of the 'veg patch'.  It is very overgrown but I did manage to pick some blackcurrants which have gone in the freezer ready to make jam.  There are some raspberry plants with a couple of raspberries on them that need rescuing from weeds and apparently some gooseberries but I can't find them.  There are some strawberry plant and I found a sage plant.  I need to find the time to get in there and have a good old root around.  There has been a load of grass cuttings dumped on there, huge thistles and nettles.  I really don't know where to start!  I am saving all the boxes from our move and will be laying them on the patch to suppress the weeds.  It is a 'no dig' method which is about all I can manage.  By next spring I hope to have the patch in a reasonable condition to start planing some things.




The property is surrounded by huge trees which act as wind breaks but they need trimming which will be a huge task.




This is growing on some of the raspberry bushes, any idea what it is?

The two raspberries, we might have to fight over them




What a faff it is picking the blackcurrants, someone has since suggested using a fork to get them off, I will try that when I tackle the next bush.  Picking the stalks out was also a pain, any suggestions for an easier way of doing this?

Well that's it for now, I'm shattered so apologies for spelling mistakes etc, I can hardly string two words together at the moment.  I'm hoping to blog as much as possible as a record of our new life in the country.

Chickpea xx

p.s. I will get around to visit your blogs as soon as possible, I miss seeing what you are all up to.

p.p.s.  I also treated myself to some new wellies - oooh get me, quite the country lady :)

48 comments:

  1. Such a lovely place with great potential! We are working through similar neglectfulness on our property and while I would love to get it all done NOW, it is better for me to take my time. At least you have fruit, even if in small amounts. We are slowly adding fruit trees and bushes and have put in a garden each year. Next year we will cut the garden back to half the current size as it is too much for me to handle by myself and everyone else is busy. Still I will have a small one as it is great therapy after a rough/busy day at work. Looking forward to seeing your progress, no matter how small.

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    1. I'm just going to enjoy the process and take my time. Good luck with your work on your property :)

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  2. *giggling over the new wellies* <-- a must-have for country-ladies. i hope you're wearing them with skirts. that's one of my favourite looks. ;)

    the reclamation of neglected gardens is a daunting task...but so very rewarding. with the added bonus of some very Zen lessons in patience and letting go. :)

    taking your time is really the only way to get on...it'll all still be there waiting for you. which is sort of brilliant, when you think about it. xo

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    1. I'm sort of looking forward to it.....I think :) Wellies and dresses :)

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  3. Sounds like you have some busy (but exciting!) times ahead. The stuff growing on your raspberry bush is just a kind of lichen.

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    1. We do, I keep telling myself it will be worth it

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  4. You've certainly got your work cut out! All you can do is take your time, it will all get done eventually.

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    1. It will take years at the rate I go :)

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  5. Very envious of your new home, take your time, weed as and when you can, half an hour is good therapy especially after a stressful day at work. Lichen on your branches grow where there is very clean air, or so I have been told. Looking forward to your next post and photo's. Take care

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    1. Good idea, I think I need to break it down into small sessions as and when

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  6. Congratulations on your move - I somehow missed your very important last post! That polytunnel looks amazing and you seem to have an amazing amount of fruit growing (raspberries crop well and are pretty hard, so cut them down properly and at the right time and you'll have loads next year). Maybe the cost of your fuel bills will be balanced out by all the money you'll save on buying fruit!

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    1. Haha yes, or I could set up a fruit stall at the end of the lane :)

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  7. Sounds like you have enough to do without shredding blackcurrants. Shredding seems to fit pulling them off with a fork. It needs to be the word to decribe that.

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  8. Two years on and I am only just starting to make headway with the overgrown garden, it will look better in winter and you will get more of an idea of it all, there is no rush look forward to seeing it all

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    1. You have done an amazing job in a very short time Dawn!

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  9. Welcome to your new home, you have your work cut out, but it will be worth it x

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  10. That is lichen on the raspberries, it only forms in really clean air areas. If you have already picked the blackcurrants this advice will be to late, cut the branches (to a bud) bearing fruit then sit down and remove the berries at your leisure, as you are short of time freeze the fruit stalks and all and when you have time make blackcurrant jelly, no need to remove the stalks that way. Ideally you want to prune the currant bushes and gooseberries to form a wine glass shape so air circulates through the bush. You have all the time in the world to get it done, there is no rush, the gardens not going to disappear. It looks like a lovey spot. Did you find that bottle of champagne yet?

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    1. Good idea, I have some more to pick and will make jelly with them. Yes but haven't got around to drinking it :)

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  11. Hard work indeed, but it will all be worth it in the end living the dream. Some areas have a consortium for oil delivery which brings the cost down a little when several have deliveries at the same time, might help to look about.

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    1. We have signed up for something similar

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  12. I can hear (read) your exhaustion - take it easy on yourself.

    Loved the sneak preview and love the wind protection trees - we could do with some here.

    Hope you manage to install some solar - even though we could do with a little extra (our initial install was a little short sighted) so I can run a freezer, I LOVE being off grid.

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    1. It would be great to be off grid!

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  13. It all sounds so exciting. Do take your time unpacking those boxes - they won't go anywhere and you really don't want a back injury. Our new neighbours moved in yesterday; we popped round to say hello and give them a 'welcome' gift and even with their removal people it was all hands to the pump shifting boxes. Like childbirth, it's easy to forget what hard work moving is. I can't wait to see how your lovely, new home progresses. Have fun. xx

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    1. Haha I was saying to someone the other day it has been like a very long pregnancy with a painful birth at the end but soon forgotten

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  14. Long time since I have visited blogland, so glad to see that you have moved in your new home. Take your time and just do what you can. My children have been singing a song this Summer, the lyrics are (translated from Norwegian) : "how does one eat a whale? A piece at a time! How does one walk to Nepal? One step at a time!" Best of luck with everything, and look after yourself. In time, things will come together. Pam in Norway (p.s. I make blackcurrant drink instead of jam, means I don't have to remove the stalks. An old lady I knew, used to use a fork to pick them for jam - like you mentioned)

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    1. Thank you Pam, I have just looked up a recipe for blackcurrant cordial, looks good

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  15. Just keeping thinking of the end result, one step at a time, do what you can, you will then have a wonderful home.

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    1. Yes, you are right, the other half is rushing to get it all done, but I would rather take my time and enjoy the process

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  16. I must have missed your move but so happy it has happened for you even if it's going to take a while to sort everything out. It will be worth it in the end!

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    1. Thank you Gina, It will be worth it :)

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  17. Our garden at the smallholding looked like yours when we started, with the added extras of 3 old caravans, 4 rough looking sheds and mounds of broken glass and binder twine hidden among everything. We did get it all sorted but it took a while! You will get done a bit at a time so don't be overwhelmed.
    I was going to suggest pruning the blackcurrants and bringing in the stalks as someone has said and make jelly instead.

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    1. You both did an amazing job with your smallholding, if I could grow a few bits for ourselves I would be chuffed :)

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  18. I think you're going to be busy for quite a while but it will be great when you know all the services are working properly.

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    1. It will, it takes a while just to get used to new heating systems etc.

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  19. That does look like a lot of work but slow and steady is always best, nothing is going to spoil from a little more neglect. Look after yourself, particularly your back!

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    1. What a good saying I will have to remember that 'nothing is going to spoil from a little more neglect'

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  20. I don't envy you getting that garden in order-x-

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  21. wow, that is some property, well done you, the land alone would have scarted me off.. looking forward to seeing it progress.

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  22. Hi Chickpea. Congrats on your new home and hoping you can tame that garden given time. I wondered if the bush with lichen could be your missing Gooseberry? It looked as if it had some small thorny bits. As for the blackcurrants, I prune my bushes by cutting off the fruiting branches and then bring them indoors and sit at the table and tackle them, listening to the radio. I use a fork to strig them, or sometimes just pick by hand.

    As everyone has said, you will get there, one step at a time. Good luck.

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    1. I will take a closer look when I have time, found some more raspberry bushes this evening buried under climbing weeks thingies ( you can tell I know a lot about gardening)

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    2. Congratulations on your new home. It will be brilliant and you have got to keep telling yourself this over and over again ... I did, each and every time we moved over the last 8 years.

      You just have to act as if you have blinkers on and focus on one thing at a time. The fruit picking is a good example, and yes prune off the remaining branches and sit and pick off the last of the fruit in comfort. Jelly or cordial rather than jam is the way to not have to pick off the little stalks.

      Your no dig cardboard approach will be a good idea 😊

      As for the oil, don't worry too much about the cost, it should last you ages ....unless you have a leak in your tank like we did when we first moved here!!

      Buy a thermometer that you can hang in each oven of your Aga to find out the exact temperature it's running each oven at. Then you will be able to work out your cooking times easier. Oh and make sure you have a 'cold plain shelf' for use when baking. I didn't at first and cremated a good few pies 😉

      You have lots of exciting times ahead .... but rest that back first and build up to your challenge gradually, good luck. Xx

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    3. Thanks for all the good advice Sue I have a lot to learn :)

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  23. I'm soooo excited for you! To have martens nesting on your house too! It must be a good place ;-) xx

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    1. I'm chuffed to bits about them, I love watching them whizzing around the house.

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