May June July catch up.

It’s been ages since I last updated so I will recap the major jobs that have been done in the last few months. At my last update, we were just finishing the top level flooring.

After finishing the floor we put vapour barrier up and then the plasterboard.

DSCN0406

DSCN0409

Then we put up the partition walls, insulated with wood fibre put the plaster boards up (oh and the electric wiring too)

Due to a water infiltration problem we coulden’t finish the room on the western side,

DSCN0639

DSCN0707

DSCN9449

One room finished! (well, we still need to do the joins between the plasterboards, render the far wall, paint and treat the wooden floor and beams. But that is for next year.

We then replaced a poor quality small roof window with a larger good quality Velux in the other room (the one with the leak).

DSCN9450

DSCN0642

DSCN0644

DSCN9455

We can now see the tip of the trees in the distance. (This job was done by a pro to gain time)

The staircase and landing, (I forgot to mention that putting the partition walls included new doors too).

DSCN9453

DSCN9451

We finally received the horizontal water heater and installed it. Hot showers once more, what a treat!

DSCN9699

The plumbing is temporary hence the bucket for the overflow.

June!

Proper double glazed windows! Not as pretty as the original ones but more efficient thermally and allowing a lot more light to penetrate.

DSCN9613

Original window (rotten frames and cracked class)

DSCN9491

The old window was removed, and we rebuilt the contours with cement, nice and flat to receive the new window.

DSCN9610

First new window.

DSCN9671

Almost done.

As I am writing this, I am sitting in my new outdoor kitchen (photos to come soon). I heard a racket in the cellar/workshop next to me and my old fear came back: « RATS ». I went to investigate and found the culprit. What a cutie! here he is. The noise came from the bag.

DSCN9709

A few minutes later, another racket, this time it’s the sound of clinking bottles. A party animal for sure!

DSCN9712

The Attic

First, a few photos of how it was when I first arrive, with the old tile roof. After the old roof was replaced with a nice new slate roof, we were able to start working on the attic to make it more liveable. Now, however, the real work begins: Hemp wool insulation, new pine flooring, and some new windows too. This involves of course replacing the old electric cables and the only socket with an up to date (safer) and more practical electric re-wiring. Plus the boiler which will change place and be replaced as it is now out of order (no hot water!). Lots done but lots more to do!

2005

The old tile roof:
??????????

The old window:
??????????

The way it was.

??????????

2008

Now with the new roof, it all looks a lot neater…

???????????????????????????????

…and liveable!

???????????????????????????????

Old dirty beams:

Photo0715

Photo0714

Photo0718

Photo0719

December 2014

Nice new sanded beams.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

The box on the attic landing as it was when I arrived.

??????????

The box after it was cleaned up:

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

January 2015

The box is being dismantled:

???????????????????????????????

It’s gone…but left interesting surprises behind it:

???????????????????????????????

Unfortunately the jackdaw and/or stock dove nests had to be removed.

???????????????????????????????

Old (sometimes « antique ») electric cable identified, removed and labeled.

Photo0729

Replacement of the blue rotten window seen above.

Photo0738

the old window has been completely removed

The beam above the window is fairly rotten. It could stay but would have to be hidden. The decision has been made, it will be removed and changed.

Photo0739

Rotten beam.

Photo0740

Oops! the wall seems to be coming down whit it!

But we continued with stress levels heightened.

Photo0742

Only a few stones fell. Phew!

Let’s go for it.

Photo0743

Ha! done it! New beam.

Now the stones need to be put back into place. and the window frame tidied up so that the new one can be fixed. The opening isn’t standard size and having windows made is too expensive so a bit of crafty adjustments and a little ledge at the bottom does the trick.

Photo0759

Ta da!

DSCN0123

New double glazed wooden window!!

Insulation Time! (Still January)

The hemp wool insulation arrived mid December, but part of the order was missing (the knife, glue, tape and « airtight vapour barrier ») and with Christmas and New Year around the corner, we didn’t start until the beginning of January. It took about one month. It’s not quite finished as we still have to install a new bigger Velux, and sort out water leaking from the chimney stack. This will be done when the weather is a bit nicer.

Photo0726 - Copy Photo0727 - Copy

Insulation. Lots of it!

???????????????????????????????

First layer.

???????????????????????????????

Second layer.

???????????????????????????????

Some off-cuts.

???????????????????????????????

Done! (minus the window bit and the chimney bit)

Next, we should be putting up the vapour barrier and plaster board but for practical purposes we are first sorting out the floor.

February 2015

The Floor

The floor will be covered with pine floor boards, but first the old (fairly rotten- noticeable especially now that we are taking it off) floor boards need to be taken down. Also, the beams are sanded as we go along because the will be showing in the rooms below.

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

First boards are off and beams sanded down before putting on new ones.

???????????????????????????????

Day one.

???????????????????????????????

Day two went very fast

Now the tricky bit around the staircase.

DSCN0325 - Copy ???????????????????????????????

Removing the floor boards, and the plaster ceiling underneath, then cutting the floor board to fit around the top of the stairs…longer job.

But finally:

???????????????????????????????

That bit’s done too, it took all day!

Now we have to remove the floor boards and the ceiling above the bathroom. The bath tub and sink are covered with hemp insulation « mattresses ».

DSCN0333 - Copy DSCN0334 - Copy

How strange to see the bathroom below.

???????????????????????????????

We continue with the floor until…

???????????????????????????????

Yeah! more than half done!

Late Spring, or confused seasons.

I should have posted this two weeks ago, when sudden signs of spring became evident. Now they are disppearing again as November and its colder showers has settled in. Flowers or blossoms that are usually only seen in spring or summer started to appear in late October. Common daisy, dog roses, pear blossom and others.

???????????????????????????????

DSCN9899

DSCN9896

DSCN9900

Autumn Harvests

The forest in autumn is awesome and I wish I had taken more photos of the beautiful scenes I have witnessed in the woods. Mostly I forgot my camera when I went mushroom picking. I didn’t collect as many berries as I had planned due to lack of time (work on the house) but it has been a convincing taster. There were many sloe-laden trees lining the nearby fields. Sadly the hedges were savagely trimmed to make space for harvesters and such monsters and now the remaining sloes are inaccessible. Many of those harvests have been eaten, but most has been processed: macerading in alcohol (sloe gin), drying, jam making and lacto-fermenting and very little freezing due to the very small freezer.

Early autumn, a day's harvest.
Early autumn, a day’s harvest.
Pied de mouton, hedgehog mushroom. A discovery and a delight!
Pied de mouton, hedgehog mushroom. A discovery and a delight!
Sloe
Sloe
Girolles and chanterelles.
Girolles and chanterelles.
Never seen such big ones!
Never seen such big ones!
Garden harvest. Beans galore!
Garden harvest. Beans galore!
Big Borlotto
Big Borlotto
Haricot
Haricot
Echenan: tastes like sweet chestnuts.
Echenan: tastes like sweet chestnuts.
Drying chanterelles.
Drying chanterelles.
Dried mushroom mix. The smell is unbelievable!
Dried mushroom mix. The smell is unbelievable!

Our mini pantry! Our mini pantry!

West Wall

High pressure water to clean to stones and between the stones. Messy and wet work!
High pressure water to clean to stones and between the stones. Messy and wet work!

Poor advice by so-called professionals means that the work on the western wall has been very slow due to lack of adequate materials. When it’s worked, it’s worked well though and the ingenious double scaffolding contraption has proved to be stable and secure and allowed us to reach all of the 9 metres!! Health and Safety officials would probably not be too impressed though.
Here are a few photos showing the removal of the old cement rendering which was causing dampness and was detrimental to the whole building, our super scaffolding to reach to very top and the re-rendering with a lime based render which is necessary on old stone buildings.

Only the beginning.
Only the beginning.

west wall 2

Friends at work. Removing the old stuff.
Friends at work. Removing the old stuff.
Man at work. Securing the scaffolding.
Man at work. Securing the scaffolding.
Final bits to remove.
Final bits to remove.
Super structure.  Superbe structure.
Super structure.
Superbe structure.
On top of the world.
On top of the world.
mat de charge
mat de charge
Phase 2 started, begging of the new rendering.
Phase 2 started, begging of the new rendering.
After spraying the wall.
After spraying the wall.
First part of new render.
First part of new render.
Finito!
Finito!

Petite Cigue, Aethusa cynapium, Fool’s Parsley

Horror! I found it in my garden! I’ve always been apprehensive of umbelliferae / apiaceae because some are not only edible but apparently delicious, but others are highly toxic. After lots of searching in books and the net, I am quite sure this is Aethusa Cynapium, or Fool’s Parsley. I decided to take lots of close-up photos for easy identification. I leave you to do your own research regarding the plant itself.

 ???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

DSCN9094

DSCN9093

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

DSCN9109 2

DSCN9108

DSCN9107

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

DSCN9097

DSCN9095