Many of our posts seem to be about making progress!  I suppose that is going to be the case for some time to come – there is so much to do here and as we are starting, pretty much from a clean slate, it’s often heavy, hard work.  Often, one thing seems to lead to another – the last few days have been no exception, on both counts but we are both feeling happy with our efforts and to see some marked improvements….

On Monday, it was time to tidy up the bank – weeds were taking hold again and some of the annuals were about finished…

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So far, so good but then I started looking at it more critically and thought a few more rocks were needed to finish off this border and help retain the soil that inevitably, over time, makes its way onto the driveway.  Last winter, Edward nearly broke his back moving HUGE stones from around the barns and garden, to retain the bank further along – here he dug out a load of soil that was eventually used in the island bed in the courtyard.  These stones are just right but soon, we ran out of them…

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So on Monday, I took the wheelbarrow up to the maize field, to ransack the farmer’s pile of rocks that we’ve had permission to use…  It was heavy work and as I could only carry around 3 or 4 at a time, depending on size, it took about 8 trips, down the lane, up the track, into the field and back again, to complete the task….

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It’s done now though and really makes a difference to the look of the drive, hopefully creating a good impression for our visitors!

Next, and the area at the back of the small barn has been a bit of an eyesore, ever since we had the new slates delivered and it became a dumping ground for the old slates and broken down pallets.  Since we cleared the bramble thicket, just beyond the slates, it seemed time to do something about it…

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So on Tuesday, we stacked all the pallet wood in one of the barn ‘sheds’, as it may well be used for something later on…

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We moved all the excess new slates into here too – at least they are out of the way for now and some may be used in later projects.  We found this little fellow hiding under the pallet once we lifted it out of the way.  Actually, he wasn’t that small, probably about the size of the palm of my hand!

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Once cleared, I set about what I’m good at – smashing old slates to make a pathway!!  Last year, the ground in front of the small barn doors became very wet and slippery, it was difficult to walk on, so a new slate path has been made 🙂

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I’ll probably extend it a little to meet the edge of the tarmac road, just out of shot in the foreground of this photo.  The area beside it, where all the pallets were, will eventually be covered in gravel to make a car parking area.  The remaining old slates are earmarked for another project we have planned, perhaps in November, while the cold frames and plants will soon be moved to new sand beds, which we plan to make shortly, just about in front of the last doorway in the barn….

Yesterday, I decided it was time to ‘rescue’ some of my ferns that suffered in, what I realise now, were unsuitable places in the garden – too hot and dry by far.  Some were in the woodland area and others I’d planted in front of the small barn, which had previously been ‘slated’.  Unfortunately, the sun made the slates incredibly hot and crisped up any fronds that were overhanging.  We’ve found that the best places for them are in the bed in front of the well (doesn’t get any direct sunlight) and in the bed at the end of the big barn (gets morning or evening sunlight in the summer).  I have new plans for the border at the end of the big barn, so I set about making the bed in front of the well bigger to accommodate the invalids!

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Looking back, we think that when we were initially setting out beds, we didn’t really take in the scale of the property.  This little border, while pretty, was a bit pinched – it’s probably more in keeping now for the size of the place and is home to some relieved ferns!

After sorting out the ferns in the woodland, I realised that it needed some attention.  Lots of weeds had overtaken some areas and the paths were littered with leaves and debris.  Several hours later and I’d planted 2 kg of daffodil bulbs, planted out some bugle and archangel plants I’d taken as cuttings in the spring, along with a few other bits and pieces to fill some gaps.  Also, as Edward had done such a great job getting rid of the cherry branches on the bonfire the other week, I thought it was time to store the chopped up trunks in the barn – another area finally cleared and tidier!

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In the meantime, back in the big barn, Edward has been slaving away, constructing the new studio – it’s really beginning to take shape and it’s easier to see the real size of the place – it’s going to be great!!!

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Another big window to be installed but first new framework to be made to give more stability…

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More floorboards have been laid, then the backing boards for the rear wall will be set, followed by the other big window, a small window and a door – it’s coming along nicely!

And so, it was time to water the bulbs and plants – a cool wind was blowing but the evening sunlight through the orchard was beautiful♥

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