Monthly Archives: August 2013

Old keys

Written by stephen gale

When we lifted up the old stone sink, we found these keys underneath.  They need a bit of cleaning up.

We found these under the old stone sink.

We found these under the old stone sink.

Update on the ground loops

Written by stephen gale

We have the first 800m installed and have a further 1000m to go.  We have now back filled the area over the initial 800m and are now excavating the 2nd part of the field.  However, we had to move all of the top soil first that we had piled up on the other half of the field.

This is turning into a lot more work than we first imagined, however, there is no turning back now.

This is the second part of the field that we are going to have to dig up to install the final 1000m of pipework.

This is the second part of the field that we are going to have to dig up to install the final 1000m of pipework.

Here we have removed the top soil and a strip of subsoil.  This takes the soil level down about a 1m - just enough for the ground loops.

Here we have removed the top soil and a strip of subsoil. This takes the soil level down about a 1m – just enough for the ground loops.

More of the field exacavated.

More of the field exacavated.

This is the heap of sub soil that we have excavated as the second part of installing the ground loops. There is a lot more to come out before we are ready to install the last 1000m of pipework.

This is the heap of sub soil that we have excavated as the second part of installing the ground loops. There is a lot more to come out before we are ready to install the last 1000m of pipework.

It is difficult to get a sense of the scale, but this heap of top soil is around 8-10m high.

It is difficult to get a sense of the scale, but this heap of top soil is around 8-10m high.

Gates in the orchard

Written by stephen gale

We have installed two gate posts in the orchard.  These have been installed so that they fit two gates – a 10ft gate and a 3ft gate personnel gate.

Longer term, these will be used as as the main entrance to the property.  Once the gates are installed, we will repair the dry stone wall along the roadside to fit with the new gate post.

We dug the holes for the gate posts today.  One was easy, the other had some large stone in it, but this was soon dealt with!

We dug the holes for the gate posts today. One was easy, the other had some large stone in it, but this was soon dealt with!

Old stone sink

Written by stephen gale

There was a large stone slab outside the old chicken shed that was used as a step.  The stone slab was so heavy that I couldn’t move it, so when I erected the polytunnel, I only managed to move it a few inches.

We suspected that it was an old sink as it had a hole in it that was lined with lead. But again, it was so heavy that I couldn’t flip it over. 

Today with the help of Richard Morson (Mr Messy), we managed to flip it over.  And yes, it is an old stone kitchen sink. We aren’t quite sure what we are going to do with it, so we straightened it up and left it where it was – as a step just outside the polytunnel.

It takes a couple of hours to get the hoops and ridge pole installed.  Then the corner stablisers are installed.The stone step from the old chicken house needs centering.

It takes a couple of hours to get the hoops and ridge pole installed. Then the corner stablisers are installed.The stone step from the old chicken house needs centering.

It took two of us to flip this over.

It took two of us to flip this over.

This is an old stone kitchen sink.  Probably dates to the original house.  It has a lead sink hole, but had been turned upside down and was used as a step into the old chicken shed.

This is an old stone kitchen sink. Probably dates to the original house. It has a lead sink hole, but had been turned upside down and was used as a step into the old chicken shed.

Current progress

Written by stephen gale

We have just started digging to install the second half of the ground loops and the spoil heap is pretty impressive.  The top of the spoil heap is a great place to get a view of the overall state of the building work.  The 3D image below, although taken from a slight different perspective, shows what the building will look like when finished.

The concrete slab is due to be poured on Tuesday – the concrete pump required to pour the concrete has broken down, but has now been booked for Tuesday.

In the meantime, working is progressing on installing the second half (the last 1000m of pipe) of the ground loops.

This is the current view from the top of the spoil heap.  The concrete slab for the new extension is due to be laid next Tuesday.

This is the current view from the top of the spoil heap. The concrete slab for the new extension is due to be laid next Tuesday.

New extension to the left and the existing cottages to the right.

New extension to the left and the existing cottages to the right.

Back filling the ground loops and testing the drains

Written by stephen gale

It has been a busy couple of days and we have started to reinstate the field over the 800m of ground loops that we have installed. We have pressure tested these pipes and they still seem to be holding 1 bar of pressure.  The good news is that we will know straight away if any of the pipes get damaged.  I suspect that they are more sturdy than we give them credit for, but we don’t want to take any chances.  No one wants to have to dig them up later.

The drains are now all installed ready for us to pour the concrete slab in the new extension.  We have also connected up the drains to the septic tank.  We have put a rubber bung into the drain and then filled all of the drains with water.  If there are any leaks, they will show up straight away.  The building inspector turned up towards the end of the day and signed off the drains.  Tomorrow we will remove the rubber bung and let all of the water drain into the septic tank and then cover over the drains.  There are just too many holes now on this site and it will good to get some of them filled in.

This was taken by Ricky (one of the guys installing the ground loops) while stood on the spoil heap.  The stones have been used to weigh the pipes down while it is being back filled.  They are removed as soon as the sand is laid down.

This was taken by Ricky (one of the guys installing the ground loops) while stood on the spoil heap. The stones have been used to weigh the pipes down while it is being back filled. They are removed as soon as the sand is laid down.

Sand goes down first on top of the ground loops first, then the subsoil is carefully put on top the sand.

Sand goes down first on top of the ground loops first, then the subsoil is carefully put on top the sand.

We have started to fill the area where the first 800m of ground loops have been installed.  We have also finished sorting out all the drains in the new extension (see picture left).  The hose is filling all the drains with water to test for leaks.  There aren't any!

We have started to fill the area where the first 800m of ground loops have been installed. We have also finished sorting out all the drains in the new extension (see picture left). The hose is filling all the drains with water to test for leaks. There aren’t any!

This is a manhole full of water.  We have filled the drains with water to test them.

This is a manhole full of water. We have filled the drains with water to test them.

Pressure testing the ground loops

Written by stephen gale

We have installed the first 800m of ground loops and have decided to pressure test them.  This means filling the pipework with water and increasing the pressure.

We have put 1 bar of pressure into the installed loops and will see what happens overnight.

Of course, we had to repair the water supply to start with!

We have put 1 bar of pressure (water) into the first 800m of ground loops.  If this goes down overnight, we know we have a problem.

We have put 1 bar of pressure (water) into the first 800m of ground loops. If this goes down overnight, we know we have a problem.

Flushing toilet

Written by stephen gale

It seems strange to get excited about a flushing toilet, but when you have had to put up with a plastic toilet for the last three months, it makes all the difference.

We have connected up an inexpensive toilet pan and cistern to the newly installed drains.  This means we now have a flushing toilet on site and we are starting to re-use the septic tank.

This drain is going to be the last manhole before we get to the septic tank. The blue pipe is the repaired water supply.

This drain is going to be the last manhole before we get to the septic tank. The blue pipe is the repaired water supply.

Parapet wall in Jo’s study

Written by stephen gale

There is going to be a parapet wall between Jo’s study and the stairwell.  This will be stud work that is plastered with an oak handrail.  There will be an oak upright post in the middle connected to the king post truss above.  The stud work was installed this weekend.

There is going to be a small parapet wall in Jo's office.  There is an oak handrail to go on the top, but for now we have installed it for health and safety reasons.

There is going to be a small parapet wall in Jo’s office. There is an oak handrail to go on the top, but for now we have installed it for health and safety reasons.

The view from the stairwell.  The gap in the middle of the parapet wall is to accomodate an oak post that will connect with the king post truss above.

The view from the stairwell. The gap in the middle of the parapet wall is to accomodate an oak post that will connect with the king post truss above.

We have found the water supply

Written by stephen gale

While looking for the main drain to the septic tank, we seem to have found the water supply for the property.  Unfortunately, it was all a bit late. 

The good news is that it is easily fixed and we know how and where to turn it off.

While looking for the main drain to the septic tank, we seem to have found the water main.  It is only a plastic pipe and easily repaired, but it means no cups of tea until it is fixed.

While looking for the main drain to the septic tank, we seem to have found the water main. It is only a plastic pipe and easily repaired, but it means no cups of tea until it is fixed.