Here is the finished Toy Shed with Susy attacking the heap of earth which came out of the foundations. There are lots of stones to get out from small ones to the large sort good enough for building walls. This area is earmarked for three raised beds which will materialise in due course.
Time to build a Toy Shed - Yes you guessed it ..... to hold the toys! The whole thing only took about 4 days from start to finish. The front doors are tall enough to allow us to get the tractor in and out without having to take the rollover bar down. There is plenty of room for the quad and dinghy, as well as the little tractor, and various other implements. Susy wwas not altogether happy with losing some growing ground, but sense prevailed!
The latest addition to the menagerie is a hive of bees. We built the hive from a kit, then took it over to a very nice Dutchman on the Beara Peninsula who was able to establish a swarm in it for us. We then brought it back home in the car (fortunately no bees escaped!) and set it up in the Orchard. The bees seem quite happy, and will be producing honey very soon. Susy is adding a Super above the brood chamber. You can see her smoking the bees to persuade them down into the brood chamber so she can put the queen excluder in place between that and the Super. Fascinating stuff! The bees are now a hive of activity.........!
The Polytunnel is now beginning to produce results. We have mulched the beds with composted rushes spiced up with Cow Poo from a neighbouring farm. A good crop of courgettes can be seen in the foreground, but other produce includes delicious strawberries, peas, beans, herbs, peppers, aubergines and some flowers to encourage pollinating insects. Nice and warm in here today!
Planting the Arbutus
This month we took advantage of the visit by Jon, Karen, Megan and Jessica to plant an Arbutus Tree, in memory of my Mother and Father, beside the top pond. Jon & Megan are in the picture busy watering before putting a sheep proof fence round it. This tree which is native to this area in Western Ireland is also known as the Strawberry Tree. It thrives in acid soil. There is a song associated with the tree called 'My Love Is An Arbutus'. My Mother wanted to buy us an Arbutus tree and plant it on a visit here. She also wanted to accompany Susy on the piano to sing the song. So this tree is a special memory for us.
Rotavating the Polytunnel
Having dug all the stones out, well most of them, we then Rotavated the beds. Francis is enjoying this great bit of kit, makes mincemeat of this sort of ground. Having prepared things, the irrigation system was added, by running water from the garage to the Polytunnel, and connecting up the automatic timer valve and running drip pipe along all the beds. It does seem to work well, but we do need a flow meter to be able to calculate water usage.
At Last the Polytunnel cover has arrived.
Fortunately it was a nice calm day to pull it over the frame and tension up. Now we can start planting, even if we are a bit late. The trees were topped in advance, and will provide a wind break, especially from the west.
The Polytunnel frame is erected,.
and the concrete base will be added shortly to hold it down. There was much digging involved to remove wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of stones from big to small in this area. The earth is good having been moved here from the bank where the ponds are now placed. However there was a stone wall of sorts there, so the stones ended up being moved as well! Susy is hard at work with Truffle the dog supervising as always!
The Waterefall is Really Running!
Our Waterfall between the two ponds which is about 6ft high has benefited from the several inches of rain we have had since Christmas Eve. It is running very strongly at times, and here is probably at it's most spectacular - Unfortunately not a sunny day, but you can still get the general idea.<br>'Lucy', the blue statue we have lying on a rock, was washed into the pond later in the day by the rising water level, and had to be rescusitated!
The Orchard Is Planted
We have fenced and gated the area to keep the sheep off. Using the builder's digger and dumper we have planted about 20 fruit trees and bushes. Unfortunately the rain came. We have had rain every day from Christmas Eve until 11th January with a total of 226.6mm (9") of which 189.2mm (7.56") was this month. The trees and bushes are all somewhat waterlogged, but the waterfall is spectacular!