Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Peacock

It's almost September and we've seen our first Peacock Butterfly of the Summer!

We've noticed a marked decline in butterfly numbers up here compared to last summer, The Guardian says:

The summer of 2012 may become the worst year for butterflies since records began in 1976. If butterfly sightings are lower than the sodden summer of 2007 it would suggest there are fewer butterflies than ever in the British Isles, as numbers have been in steady decline since the 1970s.
And the BBC:

The British butterfly population is continuing a marked downward trend.
This is according to a national survey  which revealed that numbers of the insects fell by more than 20% between 2010 and 2011.

We had give up hope of seeing this sight this summer, so that at least is a reason to be cheerful this morning: 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ben At Work!

We had a great week with Ben, building walls, walking the dog, and, most importantly  cleaning up the main entrance.

Job Done!
 The Left hand Pillar had been removed in order to get the mobile home on to site, so this had to be rebuilt, and a cap, kindly donated by our good neighbour Frank, put into place - definitely a two man job, and I couldn't have done it without Ben's help

the scene two years ago

cap in place on the rebuilt pillar

finishing touches
 It's always good to have an extra pair of hands when mixing cement - and moving heavy concrete blocks.

But also good to get some R&R in Donard Forest by the Glen River

After repairing the Pillar, attention turned to the gates themselves.
Many years of neglect had left them in a sorry state, so much time and effort was spent by Ben in cleaning them up and applying primer.
As the clean up progressed, the makers mark became visible:

years of paint has covered up the maker's mark

now the fun bit!
And so the gates are brought back to life.
Happy 100th birthday!
J Walker Ballyward (2 Miles away) 1912

Thanks Ben, Great Job!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mournes Panoramas

Ben, our nephew is over on a working holiday, and trying out the powers of his new Galaxy S3, he's taken some amazing panoramic pictures with it - here's some of them:

Newcastle beach, yesterday, looks like two different days!

great skies!
Turnip House from the field

brilliant sun

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Our First Compost Toilet

After a year or so, we finally have a commissioned compost toilet, and  it has successfully completed it second week.

toilet gallery and greenhouse

as it was last year - some change eh ?

new door

neat and tidy, (in need of paint )

covered in sawdust - and no smell
 Strictly speaking, it is a compost toilet, not a composting toilet, as the composting is done separately, in a dedicated compost bin.

I theory you can leave the emptying for a few days, and there is no smell, but we've decided to empty it every day, as part of the 'shutting up shop' routine, so it will be nice and clean for the start of each day.

This may sound like a chore, and not very pleasant, but so far it's been fine, not smelly, and worth it, as we know it's for the good of the garden.

bucket, compost bin, and rain water to hand for rinsing out 

After a year or so we will have good fertile compost. Opinion is divided about whether it is safe to put the composton vegetables, so to be on the safe side, we will use it on the other parts of the garden. We have plenty of other compost for the veg plot.

inside the compost bin, every so often we cover this with a layer of grass cuttings as odour control

the instructions!

We are happy with our work, and so far the 'customer' reaction is good, with such comments as: 

"Very light and airy"
"Much nicer that a portaloo"
So, good beginnings, we'll keep you posted of our experiences 

Here Comes The Sun: Newcastle Arts Festival

Get down to Newcastle Co. Down this weekend for a great Arts Festival, lots to do for young and old, and all in glorious sunsine!

These pictures were all taken this morning:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Newcastle promenade yarn-bombed

Some lively yarn-related goings on in the town this morning!

Newcastle promenade yarn-bombed « newcastle rocks:

'via Blog this'

2nd Anniversary

It's two years to the day that we completed the purchase of 64 Dromara Road - and what a time it's been. So much done and yet the time seems to have flown. We were so excited that first day.

From the initial clearing of the site, to moving the mobile home in, starting the gardens, renovating the Turnip House Workshop, and now finishing the Gallery, it's been non stop 'doing'.

Still, the enthusiasm has not waned, we're just as excited and full of plans as we were then. 

Parts of the project are more or less realised, (or at least in a usable condition). 

So along with the anticipation of what's to come, we can enjoy what we've achieved.

Now that's an even happier state of being!

Monday, August 06, 2012

International Felting

A great day today felting with new friends from France.

Test pieces and felt pens in the morning, and then fortified by soup and cake there were major bowl creations after lunch:

getting started - mop tops!

just add water - and effort!
getting stuck in

the finished products - riotous colour!

justly proud of their handiwork

very creative

all my own work - well done