We have now lived in the new house for a year and a lot of work has been done. The dream we had was a new bungalow in the country, with cosy real fire, a dedicated formal dinning room, plus kitchen diner. There was also our hobbies, Caroline wanted her own craft room and I wanted an office to use as my digital darkroom, plus we wanted a room to use as a studio, music room and library.
Around the house we have replaced all the doors and windows, had the chimney reworked so we can have a real fire and replaced all the major lights with low energy 1 to 1.5 watt LED lights. Caroline’s craft room and my digital darkroom are complete so the house is well underway, with only what we are calling the sun room still to start. This room will be a second living room used for music, a library and my studio.
The garden has been a major focus for us this last year, and just this month we finally completed the raised beds. They have been successful and we have now had our major harvest of butternut squash, courgette, beans and peas, plus lettuce, cauliflower, beetroot, leeks and carrots. We learnt a lot, things we raised in the cold frames then transplanted to the garden worked well, things we direct sowed into the raised beds got attacked by birds. Everything worked except the cauliflower, we had netted them off to protect them from the birds, but all that did was protect the caterpillars, which enabled them to decimate them.
One the garden front as well as the vegetable plot we also wanted to keep bees and raise chickens. We bought two flat packed hives, but apart from the stands and the brood box we did not find the time to finish them so thats on hold for now.
At the bottom of the garden behind the garage we built a large compost bin, beside that was a rather nice looking but very rickety garden shed. The plan was to tear this down and in its place build a chicken coop.
The old shed took a lot of getting down, it seems that ivy is the perfect way to hold up a building.
Once down we dug over the area and laid a rectangle of paving slabs. These would help discourage the foxes from digging under to get at the chickens. The bed of the coup run was made up of soil, gravel, sand and topped with bark.
If your on a budget then you can find plans on the internet for building your own coops and runs.
We took the easy root and purchased a coop with integrated run; it came in prefab’ed sections that just needed putting together.
It went together easily and then it was ordering the feeders, waterers, and other accessories.
It was not long before we were ready to get the girls. We purchased four Copper Black’s a modern hybrid cross based on the Maran.
With the girls moved in, we let them have lots of peace and quiet, but did hand feed them a treat just before they put themselves to bed.
By the next day we were surprised to find an egg, so its safe to say the girls are settling in.