Self Deficiency

An amateurish attempt at a good life.

My brother in law and his family picked the apples for us this weekend. He’s collected two large boxes which seem to be a mixture of bramleys and eaters. My search for a cider press continues.

Running away from the old mill is a man made channel lined with brick and stone, possibly used to feed water to/ away from the water wheel. We can’t see any evidence of the mill having a wheel at any time but it’s the only explanation we can think of… either that or it’ a moat.

Below the rear courtyard is a west facing retaining wall made from stone and a small area of grass. I’m wondering whether it would it be to train fruit trees on this wall? Possibly fig or peach trees.

The hedgerows are quickly filling with haws and elderberries. To quote Mr. Fearnley-Whittingstall they are perhaps some  of the fattest reddest haws I’ve ever seen.

It’s September and the orchard is starting to fill with apples. There’s definitely more than one variety but who knows what they actually are. Hopefully I’ll get my act together in time to make cider this year or we’ll most probably lose most of them. I need to acquire a cider press quickly.

This is my least favorite view of the house as seen from the main road. Shortly after taking possession of the property we started to lose mature trees along this bank at an alarming rate. The ground is relatively unstable and due to the high winds we experienced last winter the trees began to collapse along the roadside. Although we really didn’t want to we were forced into cutting down the remaining trees which has left the bank, and more importantly the house, very exposed. 

Now that the area has been cleared we can see that there seems to be a channel leading from the stream through this bank, down to the old mill. When we begin restoring the old stream we’ll need to examine how and where to channel the water.

To install the new peculation pipe for our septic tank we needed to hire a man with a digger. Even though we only needed him for a few hours the minimum length of time we could hire him for was one day.
We put him to use afterwards clearing out the old stream and leveling some of the land in one of the back fields. It certainly looks a lot neater.
After living with a leaky septic tank for the last eight months I’m delighted to say this has finally been fixed. The faulty internal pipes have been replaced, new manhole covers have been fitted and most importantly a new peculation pipe has been installed. I’ve been dreading this as it always seemed like such a mammoth task but the project was actually completed in one day flat. Needless to say it has been huge relief to both my mind and bowels.
My heart goes out to the poor souls that did the job for us. It’s true that there are few great jobs, but some jobs are certainly worse than others.

So much for free water. With such a large well on the property we presumed that we would have an untapped supply of free water. Sadly not true.

First we needed to buy a very expensive specialist pump to get the water out of the ground and into the house. Also, due to our friends the cows constantly crapping in a neighboring field we discovered that our water supply was rife with coliforms which meant an equally expensive uv filter whose bulb needs to be replaced every 12 months. The mineral salts in the ground mean our water is very hard so a water softener is also essential, which again needs to refilled every few months to prevent the water furring up all of our appliances. After we purchased all this equipment next we needed to think about fitting an outside power supply so we could run all of the associated gizmos and because all of the equipment sat outside the main house the pump room this needed to be insulated from the cold and made water proof to prevent expensive maintenance charges. Oh, and don’t forget about securing all this loot against potential thieves.

Bring back the grid I say.

One of the most interesting features of the house are its windows. Pictured here are the internal frames of the windows of the first floor which have internal wooden shutters built into them. We’re not sure if they’re original but they’re certainly very old. There are also some arched feature windows.

All of the windows are single glazed. We’re certainly not replacing them with pvc and wooden windows would cost far too much so I guess we’ll just have to live with that.