Just thought I'd better to clear something up before I continue with this blog... if you were wondering why Liz is never in any of the images - you should assume she's probably taking the picture. (Or that I'm camera shy, you're not in many either Andrew) We both work together on everything - and make a pretty good team. Obviously, Liz tells me what to do, and I just get on and do it.
Anyway, It was really great to see things progressing at speed. Now that the external walls had been built and the new shiny roof installed, we just needed to finish the weather proofing ready for the harsh Welsh winters ahead. I do love living here on the edge of the Black Mountain. However, we do have our fair share of the rain in Upper Brynamman. When we first moved up to the farm, we were constantly battling with the weather - much to the amusement of our neighbours no doubt. Thankfully, we received lots of help and advice along the way from an experienced farmer in the village.
Ty'r Cwm Farm had been neglected for many years. Drainage ditches needed digging across the land to guide surface water away from the back of the farm house and into the nearby river. Masses of rambling brambles, bracken, sedge and goat willow also needed clearing. It took several years of back-breaking work to get the land back to a workable state. Obviously, the Berkshire pigs helped considerably with the clearing process.
Its been pretty hard work running the farm, building the processing unit and keeping down a full-time job. Add to this the need to chop, split and stack enough firewood during the summer, to supply our hungry biomass boiler throughout the winter months. In previous years, we've made the mistake of relaxing on the lawn in fine weather (sipping the occasional G&T) only to freeze indoors the following winter from the lack of dry firewood. The lesson learned has definitely been to make hay while the sun shines :)
No time to moan - there's still work to be done
So we took delivery of the wany-edge larch cladding. I deliberately over estimated the amount of wood needed to clad the exterior to take account for wastage. I think Atherston Firewood & Forestry did the same when they cut it - so we ended up with more wood that we could shake a stick at. The remaining planks will be used for the smoke-house we plan to build later in the year.
Installing the cladding was pretty straightforward. We'd had the upper exterior section of the farmhouse clad with cedar a couple of years ago, so I had seen how to do the job. I also spoke to one of our stockists - Tom at Bubbleton Farm Shop and Farm Kitchen in Penally, Pembrokeshire. Tom clad the outside of his farm shop in larch, so after tapping him up for some insider info, we decided to go ahead and clad the whole thing ourselves.... I mean, how hard could it be? Well I'm glad we did, it was pretty simple. Thanks Tom!
Once the cladding had been completed, all that remained to be done before winter set in, was the guttering and drainage pipes. Reaching this point was great, as it gave us a water-tight shell of a building where we could begin work on the interior, come rain or shine. And on to the next stage...