Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday 2011

Day two - plenty of friends to sample the view and the lemon drizzle cake - still on form I'm told.
We had Red Kites in the sky all morning until 10.30, but then annoyingly distant until after lunch (when most people had gone!)

Now the silage bales are away the 'car park' is in use. Perfect timing!
Much chat, history, philosophy, stories past and future. Just what we're here for.
good friends, old and new
two kites catching a thermal, just after lunch

First Day open again!

It was a cold start today  9 degrees C, not looking too good, as the days before were hot.

Elaine was at the Easter Craft fair in Castlewellan Forest park (our 24th Year!) and today we were open for the first time in Benraw.

we've spent many hours at work preparing the place, it's like the closer you get the further away the goal becomes. 

A stone wall in a piggery may look OK, and pretty sound. But when it comes to making it real internal space suitable for living and working, then the true extent of the work becomes apparent.

But at last we are now at the moment where we have a new workspace.(There's still more to do, but we are now inhabiting the space)

And it is fantastic! We have tried to keep the best of the old work, the stone walls, floor and, most important, the beautiful granite quoins and lintels.

Thanks to all who came to visit us today, and inaugurate our new home!

inside; old roof , new stove ; furniture modified to fit it's new home
 New double doors let in the southern light and give us unbroken views over the Mountains.

view from the sofa!

from the outside - see the reflection
Charlie in his element

 red kites showed up three times today - here's one soaring on a thermal.
this is the same tree as in the 'view from the sofa 'picture
old and new: the Acer planted in the picnic lawn contrasts with the May blossom by the river

At the  end of the day another 'gift'.

The bales of silage that have been our companion since August last year were taken away (without us noticing!) so clearing the upper courtyard.

This meant we could burn the last of the ivy cleared from the house.

an impromptu celebration fire

Friday, April 22, 2011

Opening: Easter 2011

We will be open tomorrow Easter Saturday 23 April 2011!

We will be open every weekend and bank Holiday until July, when we will be open 7 days, until the end of August. 

Please come and visit us to see where we are and what we're doing.

We love our new home, and are sure you will too.

We will try to continue what we set out to do in 1987 -

  • shift the work/life balance

  • gain more connection with nature and landscape

  • try to take less and give more

  • focus on life's real priorities

    What does this mean in practice? Well, that's the journey!

    In the next few years the plan is:

  • aim towards a more sustainable lifestyle

  • live in the Mournes AONBeauty

  • earn our living by means of craft

  • make and sell knitwear and knitted felt products

  • open a tea room and craft shop at the Turnip House

  • create an open, creative space for others to enjoy and participate in

  • Easter Holiday 2011

    Home made organic vegetable soup,
    wheaten bread
    lemon drizzle cake

    - back on the menu, and on the house!

    We are also please to be back making again - our Unique Celtic Sweaters, from stock or made to measure, Felt hats, jewellery, bags, and many more new ideas! All made exclusively by us.

    We are delighted to show you what we've been up to since we came up to Benraw. Very much a work in progress (that's the fun of it!) Please call in any time - if you want to make sure we will be there, phone or email.

  • We will be open anyway every Saturday and Sunday.

  • You are welcome other times. email or phone to check we will be there.

  • Monday, April 11, 2011

    Felt Workshop in Delamont

    Elaine held another felt making workshop in Delamont park near Downpatrick on Saturday, under the auspices of Down Arts Centre.

    A beautiful day, coupled with beautiful work from the 10 participants!

    There will be another workshop, specifically on felt bag making to come, check out the Down Arts site for news

    Tuesday, April 05, 2011

    Egg Production in 1967

    Whilst clearing out the house we've found the receipts from Annie Stevenson's egg production in the late 1960's.

    a slice of farming history: dockets from 44 years ago, on a wire
    In the week of 21st December 1967 Annie's chickens produced 22 dozen eggs - pretty good for  mid winter!

    January 1968. Still producing well. 

    Our hens generally stop laying from November to February, so to have production in the winter months requires extra measures. The hens were probably kept in one of the outbuildings - now gone. Keeping them under cover would have helped with productivity.

    Elaine reckons that Annie could have had up to 50 hens to produce this rate of eggs, in winter, when they will probably only be laying every other day.

    This is another priceless insight to life in on the farm which is now our home.

    Our two producers - one a day each at the moment!

    Complete with Cockerel - who knows he may come in useful sometime!

    Monday, April 04, 2011

    Mother's Day

    Today after some years, we were again years celebrating two Mothers in the family. As is right and proper, Motherhood moved down the generations, so Kate as well as Elaine now hold that honourable position.

    It's my Mum's first Mother's day!

    To mark the day, we forsook our 'hell for leather' renovation of the Turnip House for some future building: in the garden.

    As we have not yet got to the greenhouse 
    (we've decided to build our own much more fun, but... takes time!)
    we cleared the space for the future greenhouse- leaning against this wall

    looking to the south, it will get the sun most of the day

      In the meantime, we've cleared out and patched up the back porch of the house to act as a temporary potting shed.

    tidied up the outside

    nice space - and a sink for the compost!

    the very fine - but totally woodwormed living room table is perfect for holding pots and things

    we patched the roof to the porch - our first work on the house proper. Pity this is the bit we'll be taking down!
    As we said before, we cleared an awful lot of plant stuff from around the place in September and October, and composted it against the back walls. Some of this is already OK to use:

    saves a lot of peat bogs!

    beautiful stuff!

    the compost heap - with a mighty fine view!

    a red kite - one of our daily companions

    Saturday, April 02, 2011

    Weather For March

    March ended with a blast - on the night of the 31st and the morning of the 1st April, we had 40 miles per hour gusts of wind - shook the pictures off the caravan wall no joke!

    This morning the Mournes look majestic as ever in this chilly morning - 4 degrees C

    Complete weather data for March can be downloaded from our website via the link on the right of this page