Where growing, making & good living come together

Demolishing someone else’s living room

Posted by on Friday 6 January 2012 in house | 5 comments

We cleared just about all our stuff out of our living room last night (bar the sofas, the coffee table, the bean bag and, um, a pink flip flop) as we were supposed to start demolishing our giant dated fireplace today.

Demolition has now been put back until this weekend but without our junk in it, we’ve just got a big empty room that doesn’t feel like ours any more. We have photos of us in the completely empty living room the day we got the keys for the house and it feels like that again – someone else’s home. We’ve not done anything to the living room really since we moved in — it’s always been on our “OMG must do!” list but because it’s likely to be a messy job and other things have taken priority for practical reasons, we’ve not got around to it. We were supposed to do it the first spring we were in the house – 2010 – so we’re only a couple of years late, which is pretty good for us.

The decor – which includes the strangely painted (polystyrene) coving and ceiling rose above – is … not our taste at all but we’ve been happy lazily accepted it over the last couple of years. We’ll be glad to see it go though – the fireplace takes up so much space considering how little space there is for an actual fire/stove and the panelling is really imposing.

It is going to be quite an expense but it’ll hopefully be more than just an aesthetic improvement – we’ll gain quite a bit of space where the TV stand thing is (we think there is a deep alcove behind that area), we will be able to get a bigger wood-burning stove (which will be more efficient at warming the house in general than our current little one) & more efficient radiators, and we’ll be able to get better curtains & a door curtain (there is an external door to the balcony just at the right of that top pic) which will stop draughts. From a comfort/usefulness point of view, we’re also going to get a new-to-us sofa that makes better use of the space. Plus demolishing stuff is really fun ;)

I can’t wait to see if our alcove predictions are true and what the original fireplace is like behind the nasty modern one — we found this in boarded up in our office:

We don’t think the living room one will be quite as big but who knows? An exciting weekend of discovery ahead!

What are you going to be getting up to this weekend? Will it include a crowbar too? ;)

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No storm damage but a fluffy bottom

Posted by on Thursday 5 January 2012 in chickens, house | 7 comments

My Twitter feed today has been full of nearly squished chickens, roofs flying off sheds, greenhouses half blown away and house roof damage but despite living near a lot of very tall trees, this was the extent of the damage we experienced in yesterday/last night’s gales:

Because we live next to woodland, wind always sounds much worse than it is around here – even light winds create a constant roar through the trees – and every morning after windy nights, I wake up expecting three trees to be smashed through the greenhouse, half our roof tiles on the floor and the chicken coop have blown away to the marvellous land of Oz. It’s always a relief when I see that hasn’t happened.

The bird feeder isn’t even broken – just the twine that was holding it up – and I’ll get the chickens up to that level of the garden tomorrow (when it’s supposed to be sunny) for seed clear up. I’m sure they’ll love that chore.

Speaking of the chickens – four small things:

  • John’s dad surprised us with a trailer load of woodchips yesterday so they have a nice fat layer in the run – lots of fun to scratch around in and much better for draining a storm’s worth of rain. The woodchips always smell great – usually like a pleasantly woody men’s aftershave but today they (or at least the garden) smelled like raita/yoghurt and mint sauce. Not like mint but specifically like yoghurt and mint sauce. I don’t know why but I’m not complaining.
  • I mentioned this on Twitter earlier but for those not on that mighty social media timesink, the partial roof I put on the run last month survived the winds just fine, therefore I am ace and a master craftswoman. And/or the chicken run is in a sheltered dip and I got lucky.
  • Rain/mud issues aside, this winter (so far) has been much better than last winter for our girls – I’ve not had to defrost their drinkers at all (I was doing it twice a day during the coldest bit of last winter) and they’ve kept laying well – we got four eggs (from six girls) just about every day in December despite the short days, them getting older and the fact it’s been moult season.
  • Blue the chicken has been the last to moult and since the others are all refreshed & perky, she’s dropped right down in the pecking order these last few weeks. As my new joint favourite chicken, I’ve felt sorry for her so I’m pleased to see her bottom is getting nice and fluffy again. Hurrah for fluffy bottoms.

Have you suffered any weather-related damage to your house or garden this winter? Do you have any ideas why the new woodchips smell like raita? How do you feel about fluffy bottoms? All important issues of the day! :)

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