These last few weeks have been pretty productive and we are seeing quite a dramatic change here, which isn’t always the way when much of the work seems to be just a drop in the ocean!  Of course, it’s a great motivator having visits from friends and family on the horizon (May and June)!!

While the weather stayed fine, if a lot colder than a couple of weeks ago, we continued working outside….

Just this weekend, I finally finished painting the fencing and archways in front of the terrace – while the fencing was relatively quick to do, each archway took around 3 hours and they all had two coats – I was glad when it was over!!

I also finished preparing the borders in front of the fencing….

… and, as luck would have it, we were able to fill a trailer load of compost from one of our local villages, which meant I could add some as a mulch to help keep the moisture in, both on these beds and the new one created around the stone seat a few weeks ago.

 

We have plans for this bank, in good time (!), but as we progress, more mulch can be applied, when it becomes available.  In the meantime, I’m hoping to start planting up the terrace borders this week… 🙂

After finishing the fencing to mark the meadow boundary…

  

….. Edward set about making a gate for the entrance to La Biochère.  We don’t think there has ever been one before, what with it previously being a gite and before that, a working farm; there are certainly no remnants of one.  So time to roll out the cement mixer – one of our recent second-hand buys in anticipation of work to come!

First posts were in pretty quickly….

 

Then it was a case of making the gates themselves….

   

A shortage of timber and iron work meant a short delay in finishing the gates, so rather than kick his heels, Edward made a start on making up some fencing to go around the nursery – providing a screen and windbreak…

   

As the entrance becomes more inviting, the pile of slates, from when the roof was replaced, is becoming a bit of an eyesore….  I’ve been using them as much as I can around the garden to make pathways but other priorities mean the pile hasn’t diminished much lately!  In addition, we’ve planned for this area to be used for car parking – squared off, lined with mypex and gravelled, it should be a relatively easy job….  So, where to put them all??  For some time, I’ve been wanting to get some bark chippings to line the pathways of the woodland area but as we have the slates on site, it seems a bit extravagant to go buying more materials for pathways.  So, I’ve lined the first path, leading to the orchard…

    

And so on Saturday, I started wheel-barrowing slates down to the path, ready for smashing later…

   

Back at the gateway, Edward finished making fencing each side of the gates, re-set the post box and fitted the ironwork….

Feeling more like a home than a farm, and Colin seems to approve too!

After finishing the gates, Edward returned to the nursery fencing, completing the section near the mini-tunnels (there are two now!) and making yet another gate, with a lovely ornamental panel…

In between jobs, we bought a tunnel for the vegetable garden – seemed like we hadn’t given ourselves enough to do!!  Edward has levelled the ground for it and hopefully, at some point this week, he will get the supports in place….

When there’s been a spare moment (!) we’ve done a few ‘little’ jobs too.  Edward made another wooden planter, which I painted to match the first one and planted up with bamboo.  He also made an new table top, which has been painted too…

Now the fencing and archways are finished, the urns at the front of the house needed to be moved.  Edward set some slabs with concrete at either end of the fencing, along with some at each archway to lessen the height of the step up to the terrace, so we’re ready to move the urns into their new position… We made a start on Saturday evening, but ran out of energy for the second one – later this week, perhaps!

All in all, we’re pretty pleased with our efforts over the last few weeks.  It’s felt like we have moved from one job to another in quick succession and we’ve been buoyed up by the results, which have made a marked difference to the house and garden.  We hope to get a few more bits finished before our first visitors arrive on Friday night, but we have our French lesson, a trip to Angers on Wednesday, followed by a French/English exchange evening chez nous and then final preparations for our visitors – I wonder how much we’ll get done! ♥