The Progress

Sometimes it’s easy to get disheartened when things aren’t happening quickly enough, especially if you’re like me and have no patience.

Tree stumps and soil mound removed

When I moved in there was a huge mound in front of what had been the pig sty. They had obviously dug out for a septic tank and piled the soil high on either side. Three big trees had grown on the mound in front of the sty and one arched over the gate screening out the neighbour’s sheds. I had hoped to keep it and just prune it back but when the others were removed I was told it would be very unstable. So it had to come down as well.

This just left the mound which had some old shrubs in it and a lot of junk buried plus the stumps of the trees. Now it’s cleared and the area looks huge. They came back with topsoil at the weekend and drove the dumper into the septic tank. I wouldn’t mind but initially they had buried the tank. I said when they came back I wanted to be able to access it in the event of a blockage or some such. Their reply “ah sure we know where it is”……. “That’s a fat lot of use to me if I have a problem,” I replied. So I insisted they uncover it. Of course it was my fault he then forgot about it and drove across it.

They then rebuilt the lid with a raised manhole and gave me the number of a chap locally who fences in his spare time. I need to fence off an area in front of the mickey mouse tunnel for growing veg, away from the destructive chickens. I also need to fence animals out from my yard which means pulling out all the make shift fencing that the old farmer had put up. As my son would say he was a typical old rooter. A hodge podge of a barrier with any old scrap he had lying about. Over the years bits had collapsed and I found myself blocking the gaps with other crap. However the wily goats easily cleared it and now the piglets are in danger of figuring a way through.

The chap arrived last night and we decided posts with high tensile sheep wire. But the area in front of the old pig sty is very visble so I told him I want something that looks good there. In my mind I had a picket style fence that I could use as a support for creepers plus a gate to get into the veg patch. He told me that will be as expensive as all the rest of the fencing combined and looked at me as if I was slightly batty or maybe majorly batty (sometimes it’s hard to tell).

I’m already laying out in my mind a cottage garden full of flowering perennials. I can’t wait to get stuck in. I also have to find someone to neaten up the exposed side of the pig sty. The chap fencing told me he’d just drive a digger into it. Why? It might not be as old as the stone shed beside it but it’s part of the stamp of the place and I use it for my hens. The lack of any real empathy for our built heritage here is why we have littered the countryside with horrible houses and bungalows.

The fruit garden

Last weekend I finally planted my fruit bush cuttings (various currents and gooseberries) that I had brought with me from Moynalty. They’ve been sat in pots for a year and a half now. Last summer I nursed them through the 10 weeks of drought just about keeping them alive. I was so thrilled to finally be able to plant them I stood back to admire them for ages.

Last night when the fencer was here he said its a shame you’ve planted them. I said surely he could drive the tractor between the rows. He then muttered about the old apple tree. I told him I had a soft spot for it. He sighed and said “I thought you might”. It’s the only living thing that survived the house renovation and was only discovered when the trees choking it were cut down. It’s half dead but also half alive and I’m hoping now it’s got light it might revive.

Behind it is the fence line where I often have a chat with Honky. The pigs use that area as their toilet and if I happen to go out while they are there, I get a grunt of a greeting. I tipped all the old straw from the hayshed out there under an old bent conifer and they’ve taken to sleeping on it. That also warrants a grunt when I appear. I love the social aspect of their communication with me. It’s very civilised. It’s an acknowledgement of my presence and a hello.

Having this area totally enclosed from the chickens and any other animals means I can finally grow herbs. All my herbs to date are in pots on the patio. The chickens ate them all so I gave up planting them.

The goats got into the yard when I was away at a wedding (thanks to a gate not closed properly) and destroyed a fig, a wisteria and a Virginia creeper I was patiently coaxing to grow up my freezer sheds. I was so upset but last year they did the same to a rambling rose and it’s come back beautifully so fingers crossed they all do too.

The massive builders rubble mound at the back of the hayshed (from the house renovations) has been cleared as has the mound added to it from the yard. I discovered Honky sunning herself on it one day.

Happy as a pig in….



Then a few days later was driving down the road and the sight of it horrified me. It was like an image of Calcutta and I half expected to see a load of street urchins rummaging through it. Thankfully they landed out of the blue to remove it a few days later with a massive 23.5 tonne digger.

A tight squeeze

The levelled area is now fenced off and I got some grass seed mixes from a farmer who had some leftover. There was a chat on the Facebook page Regenerative Farming of which I’m a member and I said I’d love to seed it with something other than rye grass. He offered to send me some and it arrived yesterday. Hopefully the sheep coming at the end of the month will enjoy it when it grows.

The purple fence will soon be gone

I also got the dreaded Teram “weed control” and gravel pulled up. Weed control in inverted commas because it did nothing of the sort but that was probably because it wasn’t put down correctly. They were able to fill a soak hole we dug with the gravel to try to minimise the flooding in the yard after heavy rain and last night we had a lot of rain and most of today and it seems to be working. I scattered grass seed yesterday evening after raking all the stones up and the rain was very welcome. I’m looking forward to having a lawn again even if it will be very small.

So there has been a lot of progress really. I keep telling myself it’s a marathon not a sprint but I have this vision in my head and I want it done now.

At the end of the day you can only hope you will leave the place better than when you found it. That’s my aim.