Sunday, 26 July 2015

Our Cob Shed Story (so far)

In 2011, we had the idea to make a cob building.
I have to admit to being somewhat dubious and would have preferred an ordinary shed
slightly customised. But now I wouldn`t be without the cob shed and I am very proud to think we built it ourselves.
Even more satisfying is, that we have used mainly recycled materials 
and it has therefore not cost a great deal.

In 2011 the cob shed area wasn`t even part of the garden.
It was a bramble and nettle covered space.
We began the clearing by hand but it was soon clear, thanks to Alan Cook and his digger.
IN early 2012 we sourced brieze blocks from around the farmyard to form a circle.
These formed the base and prevented the actual cob from touching the ground.

Cobbing began soon after.
Steve made the round Hobbit-style door in our garage using scrap wood.
We used a mixture of clay sourced from a building project locally at Friars Hill, straw from the farm, sand and copious amounts of water.

Here are some different stages showing how work progressed.

Anne sourced the little round windows on the internet.
All hands were on deck, including campers.

Oh we had some fun
.By August 2013 the walls were complete.
It had taken much longer than expected as the garden still had to be cared for and the weather was against us in the first half of the year..
By October 2013 the roof was being constructed using an old shed, thanks to Andy.

Amongst many other decisions Steve decided to leave two triangular windows in the roof to provide
more light and I`m glad he did.
Inside the floor was covered in a layer of our broken kitchen and bathroom tiles plus any pebbles and stones we found around the garden.
The roof was covered in plastic for the winter.
In April 2014, more refinements were made to the roof.
It was given a layer of carpet, waterproofed with a pond liner, and finally the sedum 
in upturned turf 
(found in a skip outside my school)
We grew all the sedum ourselves starting with only 6 plants.
By June we were ready to start the living roof.

The sedum established itself well and survived its first winter intact.
In November 2014 we began to think about the floor.
In March 2015 we put down a layer of clay which was tamped flat.
A local builder brought us a "clay" mixture which turned out to be full of stones. 
They had to be sifted out.

The floor mixture was just water and clay and spread just like plaster.
We did it in one day.
Due to the very hot weather, it dried out very quickly which was not unexpected.
It formed a very pleasing crazy paving type of pattern.
Using this to our advantage, Steve filled the cracks with sand.
The tools have duly been hung on hooks from the ceiling.

There are many more exciting plans for the cob shed, including the final finish and decoration.
But in the meantime it is a pleasure to have a place to hang all our garden tools.

One thing I would like to try.....sleeping in it for a night.
Now that would be quite something.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Collapsed Cucumbers and Crazy Paving

A long, busy morning at Freshwinds with a list of 24 jobs to start upon.
We got through 10 and some that were not written down.
The ground is too dry to plant anything and some plants are beginning to suffer.

Everything needs a good drenching
and we might get it tomorrow.

In the polytunnel I found a collapsed cucumber. I tried to hoist it up, replacing the broken string.
It looks a bit sorry for itself.

The reason was not clear until I found no less than 7 cucumbers which I had missed.

Here are a few of them.

Tomatoes are coming on. The best for taste .... is Harbinger.

We also harvested out first aubergine. It was lovely when it was roasted.

The polytunnel is a good place to be as long as it`s not too hot.

The bigger melons are now supported in old fruit nets.
There are about 5 now.

 A swathe of  annuals on the edge of the onion patch.

The helichrysum are flowering their hearts out, ready for me to make real flower headbands.

The compost heaps have new fronts and that helps keep it all in.

This is the cornflower path.

The lavatera is stunning.

Our crazy paving in the cob shed.

The tools will all have their own place in this shed.

I trimmed the hornbeam hedge.

My latest owls. They are one-offs. Each one is different and unlikely to be ever repeated.

At home I`ve been experimenting with different toys.....bunnies, 
crotcheted and knitted teddy bears. I followed the pattern for the crotchet buny but made the knitted one up as I went along. I prefer it.

And meanwhile Mabel looks down on us all.

Only 9 days til the opening!!!!