Category Archives: top field
We have just about finished the dry stone walls we started earlier in the summer. Just as well since we seemed to have used up all of the stone that we had left over. It is difficult to believe that the huge mountain of stone that was left over from the old barn and outbuildings has now been moved and forms the new dry stone walls. We moved all of the stone by hand with the aid of an old dumper. We just kept chipping away at it and eventually it was all gone.
We are now left with a new sheep pen (for housing the dumper and other stuff for now) and a new dry stone wall along the top field. Give it a year and it will have all blended in.
Well, we are almost there. Just as well since our mountain of stone has almost all gone. Amazing to think that all of this stone has been moved by hand with just the aid of our old dumper. It has been a little slow on occasion, but we got there in the end.
There was always a wall here, but in days gone by I think the wall collapsed and what is left is hidden under the grass in the bottom field. So now is our opportunity to re-build, but this time not to have it too close to the edge of the escarpment. It is the same height as the back wall (and the sheep pen) in the top field. It will come around to the right of the large oak tree and then join up with the existing wall in the bottom field. This will then enclose the bottom field while not obscuring the views from the house.
All of the stone has been moved by hand with the aid of our old dumper. Compared to some of the other walling we have done, this has been quite a quick job – mainly due to much better building stone.
In order to use up some of the left over stone, we decided to build a “sheep pen” in the top field to house our dumper and other bits and pieces. Part of these walls have been built through the mountain of stone by building the wall a section at a time – we have been moving the stone from in front of us to build the wall. This in turn allows us to dig the footings for the next section and the process starts all over again. Laborious, but it works!
We had a real mountain of stone left over when we demolished the old barn. It was of little use when re-building the extension, but since it had been here for the last 200-300 years, we didn’t really want to get rid of it. So the big question is what do you do with around 250 tons of old stone?
Our first call was to build a “sheep pen” around the mountain of stone. This would give us somewhere to park various bits of machinery where it was out of site. In the short term, it would also be a good spot to store horse manure/compost. And who knows, eventually even some sheep!
The next step was to re-build the wall in the top field along the boundary with the lower field. There had been a wall here previously, but I suspect that it was built a little too close to the edge of the escarpment and it just end up as a pile of stones along the edge of the bottom field. This old wall can still be seen in places. The new wall is just a little back from the edge, so hopefully the same fate will not await our new wall.
I reckon by the time that we have finished this wall that most of the mountain of stone will have disappeared (or rather, been repurposed!).
One of the things you quickly realise when you digging around a property that used to be a farm is that, in the old days, they used to bury a lot of rubbish. I guess it would have been in the days before council rubbish collections. The organic stuff has rotted away, however, there is a lot of metal and glass left behind.
Jo decided to clear the nettle patch next to the new opening in the orchard. The area is around 3m x 2m. It took Jo the best part of half-day to dig this area over. The amount of metal that we came across is impressive and I suspect that there is a lot more to come (should we wish to dig any further).
Over the past couple of months, we have been doing odd jobs around the place. We concentrated on getting the work done rather than keeping the blog up to date, so here’s a quick round up……
We finished the dry stone wall along the orchard and top field last month and had quite a bit of stone left over. With the arrival of our new dumper (well, new to us), we were in a position to move the stone out of the way into the bottom field. This means that in time we should be able to mow the grass up to the new wall. All in all, it took about a dozen trips in the dumper.
Turned out the poor performance didn’t have anything to do with the engine – the right hand front brake was seized on! Good job I didn’t go to the hassle of changing the diesel injector!
The brakes have now been sorted together with new oil, new oil filter, air filter and fuel filter. I am proud to say that I managed to do it all myself. It seems to run a bit better although I do wonder if it was worth all that effort.
Despite its age, parts are readily available and I even managed to find a maintenance manual online.
This is a 1976 15cwt Thwaites dumper. Just in case anyone is interested, it is powered by a single cylinder Petter PH1 diesel engine. We had quite a few problems getting it started, but finally succeeded by bump starting pushing it down a hill. We did manage to start it after this using the crank. We half filled it with stones before it finally conked out going up a slope in the bottom field. Now, it will not restart.
I am guessing that it is a problem with the fuel lines – the engine turns over and has no electrics, so it can’t be much else other than a lack of fuel. The tank is half full so I suspect that driving it up a slope caused dirt to get into the system somehow. This would also explain the lack of power when we started her up. Looks like the next job is to strip the fuel side of the engine and give it a quick clean. I will take the injectors off first, and crank the engine, to see if it is delivering any fuel.
There is a dry stone wall between the orchard and the top field. There has been a gap in it for a while – where we didn’t quite join the new dry stone wall to the orchard wall. We have decided to close this gap and make a proper one a little further along the wall. The ground level in the top field and the orchard is slightly different, so there will be a step down into the orchard. Fortunately, we had a piece of ashlar left over from the renovation. No one can remember why it was ordered, but it seems to fit here a treat.