Well, the weather this week hasn’t really eased up. We had a large dump of snow on Sunday night – probably around 6 inches – and we have had high pressure (stable) weather since then. So there is still a lot of snow on the ground. The good news is that rain is forecast for the weekend. Did I just say good news? A couple of weeks ago, I wouldn’t have believe that I was looking forward to rain at the weekend. However, on this occasion, it means the end of the snow!
This is a lovely location to live (which must explain why we bought the property!), but somehow the snow makes it just look that little more special! Looks a bit like a Christmas card.
Somehow you don’t need to look at the data from a weather station to know that it is cold!
Snow hit the UK last weekend and we got our fair share here in West Yorkshire. Combined with the cold conditions, it effectively ruled out any dry stone walling this weekend – with snow on the ground you would have had to have found the stones in the first place!
With planning permission granted a couple of weeks ago, our attention turned to stripping out the smaller of the two cottages. We started upstairs. Removing all the partition walls, central heating, electrics (all the sockets and lights), carpets and then finally pulling down the old ceiling. In old properties, the wiring can be a nightmare and the labels on the fuse box can often bear very little resemblance to what they really control. The safest approach is to turn the electric off all together and make sure that you double-check that the wiring isn’t live (using an electrician’s screwdriver) before removing it. Since the electric is now turned off, the central heating no long works. This is just as well as it give using the opportunity to drain the system and remove the upstairs radiators.
All of the plasterboard and carpets went into the skip. However, we separated out all the wood that is now forming part of a large bonfire where we burnt the sheds from a week or so ago. With the cost of skips being so expensive, you only want to throw away material that you can’t dispose of otherwise. Timber can be burnt and old stone can be used as hardcore with the foundations of the new extension are built.
The only thing left upstairs is the bathroom and we will remove that next weekend. Some of the ceiling also need to come down too as we didn’t have time to complete pulling down all of the ceiling. This is a difficult and awkward job as you inevitably end up with your hands above your head for large periods of time. It is one of those jobs that will take longer than you think. We will see!
I have just managed to get our weather station onto the internet. You can access it via the menu button above or directly using this URL: http://www.haggleysfarm.co.uk/weather.
The weather is updated every 5 minutes, but you will find that the wind speed and wind direction is updated pretty much in realtime (updated every 30 seconds). You can access this data using the gauges page (found here). The weather station is measuring temperature, air pressure, rainfall, wind speed and wind direction. The weather station is also providing a forecast.
As soon as I get time, I will write up some notes on how this all works.
There was telephone pole in one of the fields. It didn’t seem to be connected to anything and had a coil of black cable hanging from it. A nail on label (see below) seemed to suggest that it was surplus to requirements.
I sent the folks at BT Openreach an email via the BT website on the 10th December and I got a pretty quick response. They pointed me at the External Network Relocation team (0800 917 7381 option 6) and they said that they would send out a survey team to have a look at the site. All seemed pretty easy.
Well, at the weekend, I noticed the pole had been removed. Not sure when it was removed, but either way, I am impressed with the quick response. Thank you BT.
When building a dry stone wall, it is important to stand back and look at the work that has been completed. It is often difficult to see potential issues when you are working right on top of the wall. I have got into the habit of taking photographs at the end of each work day. Often these photographs reveal issues that even standing back cannot reveal.
If you look at the top image, the far left hand edge of the coping stones (the ones on the top of the wall) you can see that the wall trends downwards. This is more obvious if you look at the line of the wall directly underneath the coping stones.
The next image shows that this issue was corrected, but in the next section of the wall, the course of stones just underneath the coping stones now trends upwards. In the bottom image you can see that this issue has been again corrected. With a dry stone wall, it is relatively straightforward to strip off the coping stones and rebuild the wall and replace the coping stones.
So how do these errors occur? Simply put, by not religiously following the line that has been set up. On the other courses in the wall, you can deviate from the line of string knowing that this can be compensated for on subsequent courses. However, on the final course (the one before putting on the coping stones), you have no such leeway and the line of the string must be following very carefully.
Well, two of them anyway. Now we have got planning permission, we can start to “tidy” the site up. Although we don’t need planning permission to remove the sheds, part of the justification for the extension was predicated on sorting out the overall use of the land – we didn’t want to start on any of the “tidying up” until the plans had been approved. There are 2 large sheds at the back of the property and 2 large sheds in the orchard. This weekend the plan was to remove the two sheds at the back.
The sheds are of a wooden construction and I have no idea how old they are. Let’s just say they are not modern! During their lifetime, they have been moved (the insides had markings for left and right) and repaired. Although much of the wooden was rotten in places, they were still remarkably robust. The plan was to disassembling them and burn the wood on a bonfire. They come apart reasonably easily – the roof comes off first and then the sides are bolted together. The bolts in the first shed were easily removed, but completely rusted up in the second shed. In the end, I used the chainsaw to cut out the bits that were bolted together. The worst part of the process was removing the roofing felt off the roof panels before putting the wood on the fire.
Burning the wood is the most economic approach of disposing of the material. If these sheds had gone into a skip, it would probably have cost in the order of £200 to get rid of the wood. Burning the wood avoids this cost just leaving us with a pile of wood ash that can be put on the fruit trees. It is amazing how little ash was generated by burning two sheds (as well as a pile of cuttings from the trees).
It took a day to dismantle and burn each of the sheds. The bonfire was going for the entire weekend. Removing the second shed has vastly improved the view down the valley. Since it hadn’t been used in years (possibly as many as ten years), I have no idea why the previous owners hadn’t disposed of it years ago! Anyway, it is gone now! Only 2 more to go (in the orchard!).
I decided it was about time that we had our own URL. So here it is. Haggleysfarm.co.uk. I have moved the blog from the Blogger site and installed Word Press on the server. Blogger has served us well for the last 6 months, but we had outgrown the site and I was starting to run into problems with the number of images that we had included. Yes, I could have got around it, but in the long run it is just easier to move the site in it’s entirety.
The format of the blog has changed since we have moved from one blogging platform to another. I must admit that first impressions of Word Press are very good and it would appear to be more complete than the Blogger platform. However, only time will tell.
Moving to our own URL and server also provides the opportunity to do some more things on this site, including publishing live pictures from our bird cam. But I am sure that there are a whole heap of other things that we can try. But more on this later.
This site is hosted by WebFusion in the UK. I have used them before and have always been very pleased with the reliability of their service – it is also very competitively priced. More information here.
The plans for the renovation have now been officially approved and the status has been updated on the Kirklees website. We know that they had been approved earlier in the week, but it is always good to sit it written down in black and white – somehow, it seems a little more real.
The only downside with the approval was that we had to remove the plans for the change of access. However, our intention is to re-submit plans for the driveway once the building work is underway.
The application will be found here on the Kirklees website: http://www2.kirklees.gov.uk/business/planning/application_search/detail.aspx?id=2012/93474