So this week we sit among ever increasing piles of packed moving boxes. An alarming reminder of just how much unnecessary stuff you accumulate. The uncomfortable feeling is particularly acute for Emma who moved into the house in Bristol with just a rucksack and no furniture. Now 15 years later we are going to need two large removal vans to shift it all! Continue reading
Of course the whole reason for moving to The Secret Acre is to grow our own and be more self-sufficient(ish). So it is frustrating this year, while the house is getting its eco-makeover and we are not yet living on site to properly tend a veg patch, that our planting plans have had to be made for 2016, which still seems a lifetime off. Continue reading
When we found The Secret Acre the original 1930s bungalow on site was in need of modernisation.
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.
Since 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
A 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
Like most eco-warriors I had the standard comprehensive list in my heart of eco-bling I wanted at The Secret Acre – PV, solar thermal, rainwater harvesting, green roof, etc.
So making it warm and properly insulated for the next 100 years has to come first, and then worry about the bling. And as with every retrofit, you have to work with the existing building you have to do what is possible, practical and appropriate. Continue reading
On collecting the keys for the Secret Acre in July 2014, one urgent task was to excavate the greenhouse and save it from the Triffids.
We’d inherited a splendid 18 foot old greenhouse, but like everything else it was ‘in need of repair’. About a third of the glass was broken, and a dense thicket of brambles had colonised every square inch inside, sprouting out in escape bids through the missing panes, and generally putting so much pressure on the remaining glass that the whole structure looked like a pressure cooker ready to explode. Continue reading