Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Felting Studio part 2 - stones and more stones!

We live in a post-glacial landscape. 
from the Windy gap to the Mournes
A significant part of the charm of the Mournes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is the pattern of stone walls (or ditches as we call them) built, over the centuries, to demark field and lane.

The stones were not quarried, but dug from the earth, when the land was cleared of glacial debris for cultivation.

It's amazing how these stones are lifted and placed. many are huge and must weigh a great deal.

Our admiration grows ever greater as we encounter our own relatively small crops of stones buried in the ground!

Once the washroom and store had been 'opened out' and the new part of the roof fitted, it was time to start on clearing the inside

a test dig seemed to show thin concrete over soil - not bad!

nothing that a little hard work won't fix
there was quite a lot of it though

and many layers of activity
 It felt quite archaeological at times!

Under the thin (ish) concrete floor, was mud - and stones - big stones - and water!

Whether this was a fallen wall, and old drain, or stones in situ is hard to tell. There are some 'finds' a clay pipe, some crockery, no gold so far...

stones and mud


these are the smallest ones, from just half the area!

a sample of the harvest

some of the bigger ones
 After we removed all the stones, and levelled the ground it was time to make good - two layers of thick damp proof membrane, and concrete paving slabs - this floor is to be industrial.

tiny wash room!

so much bigger looking now

not the smoothest floor but....

the washroom end

looking up towards the Turnip House
We were most pleased with this! But to make sense of this space, we really needed to connect it with the Turnip House, which we renovated first back in 2011.

They are joined, so we thought it would be possible to 'knock through' to it. there is a level change, but only 2 or 3 steps.

The Turnip House - the felt studio is to the left

The Turnip House is a beautifully constructed stone building - the smallest, and yet the finest - on site.

The next post will show how we got on knocking a hole in the adjoining wall. 

You guessed it: more stones!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Creating Spaces. The Felt Studio. Part 1

We love our place!

The stunning view is inspirational.  The remnants of this once great farm have given us much scope for renovation.

So far we've turned some of the buildings into room for the knitting and felting. and the Gallery  & Tea room where hold events, exhibitions and serve our food and refreshments.

This works well, and we are lucky to have it.

There was a need for more space, particularly when Elaine was felting large pieces, or hosting larger groups. The Gallery works fine, but it can be a pinch at times, and the floor is not waterproof!

This month we've solved that by finishing another place - Elaine's Felting Studio.

It all came about as a result of a wonderful gift: some windows! 

Our great friends Tracy & Jimmy renewed the windows in their house, and offered us the old ones. 

One of our policies is wherever possible 'always say "Yes"' so we took them gladly, with no idea where they were going to go!

The two bay windows gave us the idea to opening up one of the smaller outhouses, not something we'd considered before.

back in 2010 - lovely, but a bit unassuming We had no plans for this

fist there was a lot of clearing to be done! Thanks to Niall
This year 2014:

The windows, when put together, were nearly 9 foot wide, and would make a lovely sunny garden window on the south side of the outbuildings.

These were currently employed as washroom, and store. The store would be more aptly called glory hole or dumping ground! A total waste of space and resources.

there was a wall between the 2 doors

just a dumping ground!

First of all some structural work: make the opening, and build a low wall:

widening the opening

my assistants on the new wall

which opens right on to the garden

ready for the lintel and removal of the doors and wall
Next we put in place the windows and added roof joists to support them (and the roof!)
windows and roof joists in place

it's going to be lovely and light

and looks out over this

a hint of things to come

so bright in the sunshine
 Next step involved moving inside and digging up the sloping concrete floor - a task that soon took on a whole new dimension, when we found some enormous stones lurking just below the surface!.

More on that in our next post.....

Friday, November 21, 2014

Up on the Roof

Almost a year to the day since our expert builders finished the bare bones of the roof on the house, we have finished putting the salvaged slates on the front - hooray!

Much celebration is in order, even if we're only half way there.

it is lovely to see the clean lines as you approach the house, and this means that we can get the scaffolding down from the front - a big visual improvement.

Here's a few pictures - old and new - of the progress.

up on the roof - a spellbinding view!

work in progress - about half way

pretty much there - this side

A sorry sight, once the ivy was cleared away - October 2013. Note the left hand bay, which was raised up later, has smaller slates

Arguably even worse that the last pic! This was all we were left with, once the unstable bits were removed - October 2013
Looking better, brand new chimneys, eaves, and a steel ridge!
November 2013, watertight - more or less, waiting for the slater!

November 2014 - complete! not that all the slates are fine big 14 by 24 inchers. 
Not up to a professional's standard, but a tidy job nonetheless

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Misty Evening

The sky was clearing rapidly this evening, bringing on a distinct chilliness - quite nice and seasonal actually.

As it did so, the evening mists were coaxed out of the fields:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November - Autumnal colour remains, and we have our first sloes!

November already!

The woeful lack of posting on this blog speaks more of the lack of time, than the absence of activity....

Still, not good enough and priorities will have to be changed!

We have had days of wind and rain, causing much flooding in the local area, 

The odd gaps in the deluge reveal the garden still ablaze with points of colour, mainly form the berries barks and vestigial leaves.

Ernie - our new cat (7 months) on his daily expedition into the garden

our wee river in spate after the rain

all that's left of our mighty willow - rain and winds have taken their toll this year

Ernie on the prowl

subtle reds of the willow hedge


the last of the rowan leaves punctuate the mountainscape

Charlie catches some welcome sunshine

day lilies - more spectacular than they were in summer! that's a flock of starlings rising from the field behind

the felt studio- behind fuchsia bush

tight-rope walker!

rose hips

guelder rose hips (viburnum opulus)

Vincent's Oak

another vibrant willow

at the bottom of the garden

more, different rose hips!

looking across the valley

our first sloes - from the blackthorn hedge we planted in 2012

changeable times

the more I look at this field wall the more I see a circular enclosure