Archives for the month of: September, 2015

The copse in the garden has snow drops in the early spring, a carpet of bluebells later on, and is full of red campion and other wild flowers in the summer. To encourage all these plants, we’ve started a wild-flower mowing regime, where we cut after the summer wild flowers have set their seed. This year WWOOFer Jan did the cutting and much of the initial grass gathering.

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This sat to dry for a while so we could shake the seeds free before removing the hay. In one of our more optimistic moods, we thought we could maybe save it for use as hay later in the year. We don’t have a building for it so we’ll try primitive haystacks. I think it’ll end up as tree mulch.

For the final gathering we roped in some traditional hay-making labour:

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I think it’s allowed if it’s your own children.

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When considering the alcove we thought it would be a shame not to insulate it, considering there would be a stove in it. However, modern insulation is often unsuitable for older houses. It messes about with the dew point (the part of the wall where condensation occurs) and doesn’t allow walls to breathe (the ventilation system in older houses). I started to research if it would be possible to apply some kind of lime-based insulation and came up with a couple of options. There is a ready-mixed product available and there is a firm in Cumbria called Eden Lime Mortar¬†that has come up with their own mix following some customer requests.

So I phoned them up and the chap was very patient and gave me a price based on pallet delivery. A third of the price was delivery, so we decided to go and get the stuff and visit friends in Penrith on the way. Cumbria is right next to D&G after all. This was a fine decision because the lime man took us through the whole process, showed us the finished result, and even lent us a proper mixer.

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The insulation goes on in 25mm layers, a week apart. It’s made up of hemp shiv, natural hydraulic lime, and perlite. After a couple of coats, it gets a thin coat of finer render made up of similar ingredients, in smaller pieces, and a bit of sand. Below is the first coat starting.
P1030925 (Large)It’s just a case of starting at the top right and working into what you’ve applied already. The first coat took me a day.

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A close-up of the hearth shows the gaps around the back filled in with the insulation.

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