At the end of last week’s blog I said, again, that I hoped this week I would have started cutting and clearing some of the wood that we have cut and is lying around the ‘estate’. Now is a good time as we continue to enjoy some fantastic weather in the daytime, clear dry and occasionally warm. However, in the evening and overnight it is increasingly obvious that autumn is nearly with us as the temperature falls away quickly.
I am pleased to say that I have started, but I haven’t got anywhere near as far as I’d have hoped!
The first thing I thought it would be sensible to do was make a small amend to the wood store that I constructed earlier in the year. When I put the roof on, I had hoped that butting the metal sheeting as close to the back wall and under the cladding plank above it, would be sufficient to prevent the rain getting in. However, it hadn’t proved as effective as I had hoped. After a heavy rain shower, especially from the south west where it is facing, the rain that hits and falls down the rear of the building continues into the wood bays getting the back wall and firewood damp.
To address this I have now added a strip of damp proof membrane to cover the gap. This was more challenging than I had anticipated as I wanted to slide it between the cladding planks to make sure it held in place, and the cladding planks didn’t want me to! Thankfully, I eventually won the battle, and it is place although, as it hasn’t rained since I don’t know if it will work! No reason why not, but equally, I am not sure how UV tolerant the membrane is so it may be only a short-term fix.
When this was done I started splitting some of the wood we generated when we felled the large trees on our boundary to allow us to build Grange. The branches had been cut into large logs by the tree surgeon but, as we hadn’t anywhere to store them properly in the dry they have been lying outside since they were felled in December 2015. The pictures on the link show just how much that area has changed in the last 3 years.
Having been outside all this time, and some of it directly on the ground, it has, unsurprisingly, started to rot. On the upside this has made splitting it easier than I had anticipated but, has also meant that it doesn’t have the same heat potential as firewood as it used to. The other dilemma it as given me is … where to store it.
I am probably being super cautious, or just paranoid, but I am very reluctant to store wood which has started to rot in my wooden woodstore behind our wooden garage. While all the cladding and structural timbers are treated I really don’t want to risk introducing rot or gnawing insects if I can help it. As such, and very reluctantly, we have had to extend the life of the ‘temporary’ woodstore where I have stored what I have split so far. We will look for a more permanent temporary solution in the spring!
If anyone has any advice or reassurance on the above I would be very interested to hear.
The other jobs we have done this week have tended to be smaller but no less important. Having cleared one of the garage bays earlier, principally so Dave’s uncle and aunt could use it for their open top car when they visited us last week, it has also allowed us to protect some of our garden items over the winter. For the first time ever our large BBQ and chiminea have been put into ‘storage’ so will be protected for the winter and, next year when the remainder of the bays will be empty (promise!) all of the garden furniture will also be afforded better protection.
As you can also see, I have built some new shelving units. These are not a permanent feature, there at least, but this week one of the brico stores have an amazing offer on them. Again, now that the garage bay is free I can start (finally) to empty the old ramshackle manshed, put all of the items on these shelves, and when done start its demolition and rebuild. This will be a huge step forward and will be my major autumn / winter (/ spring?) project. The shelves will then be used in the finished shed – perfect!
Having put our BBQ into storage for the winter it gave us the ideal opportunity to clear our own back terrace completely. While we have been using the terrace for the last couple of years, not the first as it was an absolute state, it was still a dumping ground for a number of items that we hadn’t got around to dealing with.
Unfortunately, we haven’t taken a ‘before’ picture of the terrace but the walls were covered in ivy; there was a large self-set ash tree growing next to the building; there was a pile of large slates which the previous owner had cut from the wall; and numerous pieces of old, increasingly rotten, garden furniture that we had inherited.
The old garden furniture is now in the wood store waiting to be burned; the slate is on the slate pile for the next wall which will inevitably be built; and with our own furniture under its tarpaulin the cleared space looks HUGE. It is certainly in the best state it has ever been in – at least since we moved in and probably before!
Finally, I have planted the last of my lonicera cuttings in the new bed we have created on the back entrance. Initially, I wanted to buy some more well established plants which would have given us a greater impact immediately. However, I was persuaded to use the remaining cuttings we took in 2016. They are not in a great state as have used all the stronger ones elsewhere and these have been a little neglected in the drought this year but lonicera is a tough old plant and, most importantly, they are free! They have 2 chances, and if they die we can replace them in the spring.
I am posting this early as we have a fun engagement tonight which I will tell you about next week – with all the work that I will be up to in, what looks to be another dry week.