Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Polytunnel's Going Up

Yesterday was an exciting day, and in between heavy rain and in at times very windy conditions we managed to get the polytunnel frame erected.

Photographing it stage by stage for posterity.
This picture shows the hoops all up and the ridge being attached to them.

And this one shows Lovely Hubby attaching the corner stabilisers.

We got our tunnel from First Tunnels, who we also used for our last polytunnel, the frame of which we will be using for the net tunnel we will be erecting next to this one.  This one, which will be covered in the traditional polythene, is the upgraded tunnel with heavier duty metal hoops, built to withstand windier conditions and more stress, and hopefully with the net tunnel sheltered behind it that too will be safe in the high winds we get here.
I cannot recommend First Tunnels highly enough, in fact I am putting a link permanently onto my sidebar as they are one of our preferred suppliers.  During some of the showers Lovely Hubby came in, and over a cup of tea and a biscuit, watched some of the brilliant tutorial videos available on their website that shows you exactly how to erect the tunnels for yourself.  Every stage of the erection is covered in easy to understand and follow clips.
With his mind refreshed on how he did it last time, the frame of the tunnel was completed in no time at all and as the heavy black clouds rolled in, the outline of the tunnel stood proudly on our hillside, changing the look of the field forever.
Sue xx

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Another Day Out !!

A sign appeared on our gate post by the triangular paddock last week.  As the lady was attaching it she spotted Lovely Hubby working in the field and came over to check it was okay to put it there, seemingly it has been there for the last 20 odd years twice a year ...... so who were we to say no!!
Last time it was there we were busy decorating in the house and just didn't have the time to follow the signs and visit the garden ... but this time we did.

Two miles further along the road from us and we found it ..... the entrance to Maenan Hall.

We took a photo of a wall because we need to show whoever comes to build our new walls just what we want.  I love the steps built into this one, but I don't think we'll be able to do that, although as I said to Lovely Hubby it would save Geraint the Post a lot of time!! 
Lovely Hubby sulkily posed by the bust .....

... and then discovered something wonderful in the undergrowth ..... me!!

There were some beautiful settings.

Up on the hill we spied a Folly.

Getting closer I noticed what looked like a naked man ....
... but on closer inspection I realised his modesty was intact thanks to a well placed fig leaf.  
He was Helios, and he was the personification of the sun in Greek mythology.

Lovely Hubby was more interested in the ceiling ..... I don't know why .... I didn't look up ;-)

I climbed the tower and stood on tip toe while waved to Lovely Hubby who stayed at the bottom.  "Look no hands" I shouted, just to scare my gorgeous height fearing man .... hehehe.

After all that walking and climbing we had to sit and recharge out batteries with coffee and cake ....

... I was too slow with the camera to even get a shot of Lovely Hubby's.
As they were raising money for the Red Cross we returned to sample the other cakes after a stroll around the Dell, and had a complete action replay, I didn't want to photograph that as it would have made us look greedy .... Lol !!
It was a brilliant half day out, and feeling inspired we returned home via Snowdonia Nurseries where we had a little spend on some new plants for a new bed I have in mind.  We did get some work done as once home we changed into our working gear, got out the strimmer and got stuck in to strimming, pruning and weeding.
A day well spent.
Sue xx

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Llanrwst Rural Show

Yesterday as soon as we had cleaned ourselves up and got changed from dealing with the concrete we set off for the Llanrwst Rural Show which is held every year in Llanrwst which is our nearest village/small town.
The folk were out in force, a nice mix of locals, neighbours and holiday makers filling the fields with the sounds of the farmyard, fairground rides, chatting farmers venturing off hill farms and meeting up with their neighbours for the first time in a while and of course lots of children having fun. 
There really was something for everyone, but of course this being a rural part of Wales the sheep were the biggest attraction.  Primped and preened to look their best, their woolly coats scrubbed, coloured and combed to show them off to their very best advantage.  Many rosettes were on display around the pens and lots of happy sheep owners were sat relaxing after the trials of the competition ring.

We took Charley with us but left the other two dogs at home.  Rosy finds this sort of thing a bit stressful and Suky is not coping well with the hot weather and is currently only having short walks.  We wanted Charley, however to be exposed to all the noise, smells and sights of the show field.  It worked a treat and after a nervous, shivery start she settled down and took it all in her stride.
It did mean though that every six yards we were accosted by folk asking all about her and cooing over the 'little puppy'.  She was cuddled by a whole family of small children, much admired in the beer tent and got us speaking to so many people it was lovely.

We showed her all the animals both large and small, and introduced her to every dog we came across, which of course meant we heard lots of doggy tales from fellow dog lovers.  It made for a very pleasant few hours.

Of course I couldn't leave without having a good look at the competition tent to see the standard of the local entries and to see if I should be tempted to take part next year.

Lots of lovely eggs ....

... some homemade bread ...

and lots of tasty looking pies and shortbread were just some of the exhibits.  There was also of course table after table of vegetables and novelty makes by the local children, as well as a wonderful photography competition and a vast display of hand knits and makes by the local branch of the WI.  But I didn't get to photograph all of them as we were stopped over and over again by people interested in Charley.

Seeing all that lovely food on display made me go a bit mad in the food tent, buying us some Bara Brith, some very tasty little Welsh Cakes, a pack of digestive style crackers to go with cheese for supper tonight, and a lovely handmade white loaf to pop in the bread bin ready for toast in the morning, but it's nice to support some of the local businesses and then we won a lovely wall hanging tile on the Tombola stall that was raising money for the local Air Ambulance.
So a lovely relaxing few hours after a hard mornings work, some tasty treats to eat at home and an educating day out for Charley.  Can't be bad :-)
Sue xx

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Concrete Poured

This morning saw us up bright and early, and after a quick slice of toast and a cup of coffee we were out on the hillside having a final tidy up of the trenches and holes dug for the base plates of the poly tunnel.
It's been heavy going for lovely Hubby who has come across lots of huge boulders, annoyingly coinciding with the exact place the polytunnel uprights had to go.  Luckily my man is an engineer and has a brain that thinks inside, outside and all around the box.
While he had a final tidy at the bottom of the hill I had a bit of a weeding session at the top of the hill.

There are a couple of Courgette plant and some Cucumber plants in this bed and I had purposefully left the weeds to hide them from the rabbits.  Now the plants need to get all the sunshine they can get so I have weeded one bed and left the other to see if it makes any difference.
This year it's all been about being experimental rather than rushing to grow us food.  I now know that the time frame for outdoor Cucumbers does not work here on our hillside, even with the hot weather we have been having they have come to nothing, so next year they will all be grown in the polytunnel.  I also got the Courgette plants in much too late for them to grow well.  So it means early starts for everything in the future and lots of our food will be grown in the two tunnels rather than on the open hillside which I think instead will be used for tougher crops.

With one bed weeded and LH all ready for action the concrete truck arrived and after a false start because there was no fuel to power the mixer, we sprung into action.  (To get things going LH got some tubing and a bucket  from the shed and syphoned some diesel from the trucks main fuel tank into the mixer tank, while the guys stood back and watched.)

Once things were pouring freely we all got stuck in to barrowing and shovelling the cement into the trenches and holes, and filling them all in and making sure that the baseplates and their poles were in the exact positions needed.

Just over an hour later we were done.

And all Lovely Hubby's efforts in getting the trenches so spot on were proved invaluable.

Now we just have to wait a day or so for it all to go off and then we can begin to put the framework of the polytunnel together.  Once this is done the raised beds for inside the tunnels will be built and the support for the work bench installed, then all that will be missing will be the polythene and the netting.
BUT .... we have decided to wait to get this in place as our driveway will shortly be turned into a building site as the foundations are laid for the garages and workshop and we have decided not to risk our tunnels being damaged whilst all this is going on.
Anyway at the moment we are another step closer to have a polytunnel again, I'm happy ... I see homegrown food on the horizon :-)
Sue xx

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

When Chug Meets Chicken

Charley and Caldwell having a face to face meeting today ..... and yes Charley's head is through the netting!!

She can get it out, she can also push herself right through if she decides she wants to, as she has before now.

But today it was just a silent 'hello, who are you, I'm Charley the Chug' kind of conversation.  Caldwell wasn't totally impressed.

She even waved goodbye to him before she came back to the house to eat her tea :-)
Sue xx