Meet the new Barn, same as the old Barn – Part 4, Larch Cladding

With the structural frame of walls and roof safely constructed, it was time for the cladding and roofing membrane.

Like the pig sties, we again used British Larch cladding supplied by Vastern Timber, which had recently arrived across the fields.

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Meet the new Barn, same as the old Barn – Part 2, Second Foundation

Having safely demolished the old barn, and removed the asbestos, before it fell down, it was time to start preparing the foundations.

Since preparation is key, the first act was actually to install a new field gate in the paddock to allow access to get materials deliver to site.

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Meet the new Barn, same as the old Barn – Part 1, Gone!

Last year, we rebuilt the pig sties, turning them into useful sheds.

This year we are tackling the Barn, which has miraculously survived the last two winters without falling down completely, although we did lose part of the roof.

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Hello Zappi

It’s now two years since we said goodbye to fossil fuels, and went fully electric with our Renault Zoe.

And despite some periods of Covid travel restrictions, we have been very happy with it, driving the length and breadth of the country, discovering the rapidly increasing numbers of charging stations in lovely spots off the motorway. Nice, like driving used to be.

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Rebuilding the Pig Sties, Part 2: We have the technology to rebuild them

In between this year’s growing season at The Secret Acre, from Flaming June to September’s Harvest, we have also been carrying on with our project to rebuild the Pig Sties.

Having completed the demolition with family help earlier in the year, we enlisted ‘Bob the Re-Builder’ for expert guidance in the shape of Al from Omnijob.

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Rebuilding the Pig Sties, Part 1: We’re on the Eve of Destruction

It’s been a while since we undertook any major building work at the Secret Acre. Choosing instead to just enjoy living in the house for a while after its extensive eco-makeover.

However, the need to eventually also replace the yard’s pig sties, barn and shed complex was always being planned in the back of our minds. And with it, a much needed sorting out of the various materials that ‘might one day come in useful’ which had been stored there after the house renovation, along with our growing collection of gardening equipment as we reinstated the vegetable garden.

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Goodbye Fossil Fuels

Well mostly at least. Yes, we have gone fully electric on the car front, even if the garden tractor and tools still need the occasional can of unleaded. Our own personal divestment at The Secret Acre.

With the old car in urgent need of replacement this winter, it simply felt wrong in 2020 to still be buying an old fashioned, polluting petrol engine (politicians take note).

Which is not to say we still didn’t um and ah for a long time. Not getting another petrol car was the easy decision, but whether to go hybrid or fully electric much harder. Here’s what we learned. Continue reading

Racking up the Wins

It wasn’t just the greenhouse that was running three years late at The Secret Acre.

I had also promised Emma a boot rack for our, well boot room, which like a torture chamber without an iron maiden, has remained rack-less for the last few years in anticipation. Continue reading