The new fence is in and as we’d hoped, it’s really opened up the view at the front of the house now those wooden bars have gone.
The guys have also hung the gates for us. I just need to get some bolts so they can be locked into the ground, meaning you can open one and leave the other shut, and a loop catch (I’m sure there’s a proper name for it!) to go over the top. Oh, and to paint them green, of course!
Since the fencing crew has been working in some vile weather, I’ve kept them well-fuelled. The favourite has been these homemade hobnobs!
I was down the hill yesterday afternoon, topping up the horses’ hay, when I heard a clanking noise. It sounded awfully like someone was driving a large piece of machinery down my top field. I scrambled up the muck heap to have a look and sure enough, a bright yellow JCB digger was churning its way over towards me. It was Graeme, here to start replacing the 440m of fencing I need doing.
As horses and bright yellow diggers aren’t usually a happy combination, he left it parked there overnight and this morning I had the job of persuading the boys that they wanted to come down the road to the field at 166. They didn’t turn a hair at the digger, or at the enormous tractor and trailer parked on the drive, but apparently a red sheep lick tub that’s blown into a ditch needs a Very Hard Stare.
Anyway, Graeme and his team have had a productive day down the road at Ethel’s House. The little garden area is marked out with strainers and fenceposts.
They’ve put a drain in to tie the extra downpipe Pete suggested we added into the rest of the drains (and accidentally went through the water main, but they’ve promised me they’ll fix it tomorrow! They missed the BT cable though).
The old gate is off and the new wooden main gate and side gate are ready for hanging. I’ll be painting them dark green to match the front door.
The slightly rickety wooden fence is gone from the front and new fenceposts and strainers are in. I’m hoping that the wire fencing won’t get in the way of the view so much as the old fence did.
And it’s been ripped out in front of the byres as well, meaning I’ve got some visitors!
They’ve also put in strainers and fenceposts for the sections we need doing at home and tomorrow they’ll do the same for the big field up the road – then the second digger can go off to its next job and they’ll start putting the wire up.
Last weekend Mick levelled the bathroom floor:
So we’re ready for Derek and his team to come back and put the rest of the heating in, but they’re tied up on a job up the road in Bettyhill at the moment – however, they’re hoping to finish it on Thursday and then will be back 🙂
We’re expecting a bit of a breeze on Wednesday (this is Highland for up to 70mph), so Mick has come up with a clever way to keep the remaining part of the corrugated iron roof in place until Pete has time to replace it. (Plus this picture is proof for my accountant that the two haynets I bought yesterday are a legitimate property expense – the other one is on the other side!)
For now, though, it’s sunny and mild, so what better day to get the tractor out of the shed after its winter lay-up? It started first time and Mick has had a happy morning raising the clutch a bit and chugging around with a big grin on his face.
So fingers crossed Derek and team can make it to us next week and then we can start the final push. I was on a smallholding forum this morning and found a post from someone wanting a croft to do some filming on at the beginning of May, so I’ve replied to see if Ethel’s would be suitable – with a warning that it might not be finished by then if they want to shoot interiors!
Firstly, if the Highland Council is still reading, thank you very much for putting the council tax back down to the 100% rate. I will do my utmost to get the house finished and onto business rates by the end of the council tax year!
David has been in for a day and a half this week and now we have a floor upstairs.
Twin bedroom – turns out that the underfloor heating plus 18mm chipboard (turns out we hadn’t ordered 22mm after all!) was exactly the right height to match up with the 3 x 2 round the window.
Hall – this will be covered up by a cupboard.
I had a bit of a scrub at the bannisters, just to see how easy it was going to be to sand the paint off. The bannisters themselves should be fine, but the understairs cupboards not so much – I can see about three layers of paint there. Fortunately Mick has a sander, so I won’t have to do it all by hand with sandpaper.
Today has been a sheep-wrangling day – our area is bad for liver fluke, so since my brother-in-law was staying, we took advantage of the extra pair of hands to get them penned up and dosed. Two brothers looking very pleased with their herding efforts!
They also hung gates in the gateways between the three fields (they’d been removed before we bought the crofts), so catching them next time might be a bit easier, as I’ll be able to at least confine them to the small field rather than having them racing around all three when they escape!