Well it’s a year on since we moved, and what a year! Of course I’d got plans for everything before we moved. Where the veg plots were going, renovating the old walled orchard, creating a herb and decorative garden being just three things.
Nothing ever goes to plan though. First of all we were hit by the worst winter in a hundred years. Being snowed in is fun for a couple of days but after a couple of weeks it gets wearing. Still we were lucky in getting the multi-fuel stove fitted before the snow arrived in force.
What we didn’t have was any fuel for the stove, so trudging up the track through the snow with bags of coal and sacks of logs was the order of the day. Didn’t need to light the fire after that, warm work!
This year I’m prepared, we’ve had a coal bunker that holds 250Kg of coal. The local coal merchant delivers so no more carting bags up the track (I hope!) Instead of buying individual sacks of logs, I’ve had a lorry load of hardwood logs. So now we’re prepared for the hard winter some are predicting is coming. Knowing my luck it’ll be the mildest on record after I’ve done all this.
One problem with the logs is where to keep them. I could stack them outside but even with a tarpaulin they’ll be pretty damp. I also want to keep them so the air can circulate and help dry the moisture out. The dryer the wood, the more energy comes out as heat rather than turning moisture into steam. It also reduces deposits in the chimney so it doesn’t need cleaning as often.
I looked in one of the big DIY sheds and they had a little log store for £150. Being me, I muttered like Victor Meldrew, “I don’t believe it!” So rang my local builders merchant and got some treated 3×2 wood. It’s the stuff used in roofing so fairly cheap as it’s a standard size.
I made a simple frame up with the 3×2 and then nailed on the pieces from some old pallets to make a slatted base and sides. Some 2×1 made up some bracing for the rear and cut up a sheet of plywood to make a shelf for the top and a box for the kindling wood and the job was a good ‘un.
So a purpose made 3×1 metre log rack and shelving unit for under £50 and a day playing in the shed. Not too shabby.
Eventually I’d like to grow all our own wood, but that’s at least 5 years away. I’ve got some hawthorn and some kindling from pruning the sycamores but that’s about it for now.
I suppose when I look back over the year we’ve accomplished an awful lot even if we didn’t do what we planned. The house is liveable and we’ve got the cowsheds renovated to a high standard.
The potting shed is up and the greenhouse base nearly finished so we’ll have a greenhouse for spring. I’ve realised the only realistic way to grow vegetables here is raised beds and hopefully we’ll have those ready for next season as well.
There have been a few times, usually when the cloud has come down like a thick fog or the wind makes it difficult to stand upright when I wonder if we did the right thing moving here. However, on a sunny day it’s a piece of heaven.
Even with the clouds low it feels like you’re in heaven John!
Fron Dirion is lovely!!!
Hi John & Val,
Firstly congratulations on such a great website, I originally found it whilst looking for a rotovator, which I’m still looking for, but then read on a bit and found it to be a really useful little site which I keep popping back to for advice.
It wasn’t until this evening when I was reading the above article that I realised where you are. I have a smallholding in Llanbedrog further down the Lleyn.
I’m glad you are enjoying it here, I’ve been in the area nearly 10 years now but have only recently moved into the 2.5 acres that we now have.
As it turns out the people who lived here about 15 years ago were big into their veggies and I have discovered a very overgron kitchen garden and a greenhouse with cold frames in front.
I’m slowly making progress into them both and hope to have everything set to grow in the spring, if not a little bit before!
Keep up the good work and enjoy the challenges and benefits of living down this end of things!
@Tim Long: It’s a small world! Hope your land is lower and it better condition than ours. I enjoy a challenge but this is a marathon 🙂
Still, in just 10 years we’ll have it in shape…
Indeed yes we are a little lower than you guys. We are situated just less than 100m above sea level and we are in the lee of Llanbedrog Head which goes quite a way to sheltering us from the prevailing SW winds.
From what I’ve discovered, the land is all in pretty good order, however the kitchen garden hasn’t been touched in about 15 years and was more than head high with brambles when I arrived. Just some digging now to get the roots out, then I’ll plan and build over the winter and hopefully get a crop next year.
I’m a bit unsure as to what to do as it’s one hell of a big area and I’m tempted to put some raised beds in, just so I can do a bit at a time!
My inlaws had a place up a mountainside in Llanelhearn until a couple of years ago, and that was bleaker than your location and they still managed some good vegetable crops.
Don’t give up or be beaten by the ground as with your previous expliots it’ll be worth it in the end.
I would quite like a couple of your books, would it be out of order for me to pop over some day soon and collect from you?
@Tim Long: Thanks for the reassurance! You’d be ever so welcome to pop over – kettle’s always on.
I’m not a great lover of raised beds, but think it’s the only way we can go for now.