Wildlife vs. Veglife

Deer - Feb 15We know we can expect to spot a wide range of wildlife once we are finally living at The Secret Acre. Deer, badgers, foxes and rabbits all live at the bottom of the field, not to mention the birds (Slimbridge is just down the road) and a variety of life in our ponds. When we catch more on camera, we’ll post more here.

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Upstairs, Downstairs

The Secret Acre - a bungalow no more!

The Secret Acre – a bungalow no more!

When we found The Secret Acre the original 1930s bungalow on site was in need of modernisation.

Our plans for an eco-makeover included creating upstairs space for two bedrooms and a bathroom.

So it was a special moment for us when the new staircase went in. A bungalow no more!

And Emma and I no longer have to sway precariously up and down ladders to measure up upstairs.

 

The Animals (might) go in Two by Two

PaddockSince finding The Secret Acre, what to do with the paddock field has been, and remains, a matter of hot debate.

Donkey cheese was an early favourite with Emma, but it appears to only have a market of one, a Wimbledon tennis player, and the Alpaca and Llama market now seems saturated. Friends even suggested planting woodland or vines. But sheep and/or goats seem the most likely eventual choice. Continue reading

One Month In: our eco-makeover

The new concrete base in the old house is in, ready for insulation and underfloor heating.

The new concrete base in the old house is in, ready for insulation and underfloor heating.

It started at Easter, with the roof coming off first. So naturally I was predicting a biblical deluge all month long from that moment. Miraculously instead we have enjoyed a month of nearly continuous blue skies and summer like heat.

Our main contractor Stevenson Building Contractors Ltd have made amazing progress in just a few weeks. We chose Stevenson because everyone in the area recommended them, plus they have a lot of experience installing the whole range of eco-measures in big Cotswold retrofit projects. Continue reading

Pole Dancing

Pole Goes Down 2015Legal searches at The Secret Acre revealed that we receive the princely sum of £1 per annum ground rent for the electricity pole in the garden.

But the wire off it that delivered our mains electricity looked like it would be dangerously within reach of small children once the dormer was built. More importantly the pole was slap bang in the middle of the proposed foundations for the timber frame extension. It would have to go. Continue reading

The Orchard Man Cometh

Martin pruning the Bath Beauty 2015A decade and more ago, the Government were paying grants to grub up and destroy orchards. Today there are loads of Government grants and projects to protect, save and replant orchards, which apparently had been disappearing at an alarming rate. It’s what politicians like to call joined up thinking.

So, blessed with a small old orchard at the Secret Acre, prolific in apples and plums, we decided to do the responsible thing and joined the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust, to add our heritage varieties to the County’s register. Continue reading