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The Return - Thursday 19/10/10

Arrived back at Lammas at 20:00 Sunday evening. Was a fantastic feeling. Definitely one of returning home, which says alot to me.
Monday morning i was thrown straight back into the mix for what turned out to be a phenomenal days work. It was the stage i have been looking forward to. A stage that gives this build the visual and psychological leap forward into tangibility and manifestation.
The timber framework at this point resembles a henge.
Had great fun playing with a tripod i made with Rudolph. Ayres had a bit too much fun i fear.

Although we were only gone from Lammas a week, therer appears to have been an explosion of progress and activity in our absence. Andy and Jane's turf roof is on, as is Katy and Leander's, Paul and Hoppi have also finished roofing and waterproofing their barn. And as of Monday morning Simon D has begun work on his workshop and already made substantial headway.
Another leap has come in the form of long term volunteers. We now have 6 more people here, three of whom arrived during the week we were away.
This, and the aforementioned changes have resulted in me feeling rather out of touch, if not lefty behind somewhat. Am hoping in a couple of days i'll have settled back in and caught up.
Ayres and Marianne had a visit from the BBC today. Was rather surreal really.
Woke up around 08:30/09:00 and stepped outside looking nicely dishevelled, to be greeted by a camera and sound crew filming Ayres chopping firewood. As sods law would have it, our awning door was right behind Ayres and bang in the middle of their shot. Will no doubt make an entertaining out-take!
We looked after the children whilst the crew interviewed Ayres and Marianne, i think on the subject of money and their relationship to it.
Don't think i can imagine a more mundane 15mins of fame quite frankly.
If they had asked me about my relationship to money, i'd have to say it is very much akin to a one night stand, as illustrated by my trip to the petrol station today. Can't help feeling i've been screwed/

Late afternoon i took to wandering and delivering bottles of my hawthorn brew. Am very glad i did. Was humbled and grateful to meet a chap called Dave, who it transpired was a reader of my blog and gave some very kind feedback. A very very big thank you Dave! Hope to see you back here again soon!

M Jones

The Protesting Kitten - Wednesday 13/10/10

Have returned to see friends and family for a week. The whole trip was nearly scrapped after Didi, our friendly neighbourhood kitten, staged a 'sit on' protest.

So far we've crammed in the TV, DVD's and internet but are sorely missing the countryside.
Appreciated, i'm on holiday so to speak, but i have an overwhelming feeling of not being able to do anything.  A very painful memory. When you're living in a Barratt box modern home with bugger all land, what can you do? No, or very little garden is great for people who are at work all day busy paying bills.
Night time has literally illuminated something i sorely miss and will prevent me ever returning to live in or near a major city or town.

I miss the stars.

Caught a shot of carpets going over the bales before we left.

No photo collection would be complete without an accidental tummy/floor/foot shot

My friends dogs Vinny and Denzil. I think this picture is a real metaphor for the lives many of us live.

M Jones

An Alarm Is Inhuman And Unholy -Thursday 07/10/10

Was pre-warned yesterday to set my alarm in order to get up and be ready for work at the ungodly hour of 09:00. This was a shock to the system, as we have gotten used to sleeping our fill each night and rising when we feel we're ready. This is normally around 09:00 and breakfasted by 10:00. Between the numerous and repeated groans and protests from Emma, i joked about how awful a life it would be if you had to do this everyday. The hardship of only being allowed to wake when you feel like it, just two days of the week. Then it hit me. As perverse as it sounds, i believe alot of truth was said in my jests,. No other creature on earth forces itself to wake at a set time each day.
No other animal in nature forces itself to work when ill. In fact, i dare say, there are very few other beings that continually force themselves to engage in an activity they do not want to do 5 out of 7 days a week, then kid themselves they are happy doing it and that's "just life".
Today was about milling timber. Ayres had booked Adrian and his 'Wood-Mizer' and we processed 13 or so logs. What surprised me was how little usable timber is milled from one tree.
Got a good amount of practice reversing with a trailer which is invaluable when you own a caravan.
By 17:30 i was very tired. Slept soundly in the knowledge no alarm waited to disturb my restful slumber.

M Jones

A Morbid Thought - Tuesday 05/10/10

Paul W invited me up to his for a quick chat. Turns out he wanted to give me the heads up on a really good opportunity to buy some land nearby. We walked over to check it out and it is gorgeous.
We were so taken by it we rang both our families to see if they could help us out. They said no. Couldn't help but feel disappointed. Especially as it is likely to be snapped up by the end of the week.
I guess we'll have to do it on our own, which i respect. I don't want debt, and up until recently, people saved, not borrowed. Since the financial meltdown, it would appear to be our only option. That and wait until the very people we wish to share our experience with, croak. An unhappy and morbid thought.

Emma using the time honoured method of swinging your arms to survey a potential building site.

M Jones

Firewood, Five-A-Side and Japanese Game Shows - Monday 04/10/10

Joined Ayres, Simon (the tree surgeon) and volunteer for the week, Helen, in the woods to collect firewood felled a while ago. Had an interesting time trying to turn a land rover and large trailer around on a narrow woodland trail, overlooking a deadly drop...
Football night. This time Ayres joined us. He likened the new pace of the indoor game to watching a Japanese game show. "Blah blah blah Brother. Blah blah blah October". I know what he means. With the ball bouncing around you can find yourself a spectator, but for a frantic few seconds pitched headlong into the thick of the action.
He won't be returning until April when the guys play outdoors again.
I on the other hand have been asked to play in the 5 a side league...

View through the trees.

The building pad being reclaimed by nature after a spell of inactivity.

M Jones

Hedgerow Tonic - Sunday 03/10/10

Finally bottled the Hawthorn Brew. Double checked it had finally finished fermenting with the hydrometer. This also gave me the ABV. (OG - FG) x 7.46 + .5 = SG in this instance (1026 - 1000) x 7.46 + .5 = 3.98% ABV.
Gave away four bottles. Two to Katy and Leander and two to Ayres. Barrelled the rest. From the small amount i sampled, what started as a mash that resembled, and smelt like vomit, it appears to have transformed into a pleasant hedgerow tonic.

M Jones

An Engaging Community - Saturday 02/10/10

Picked up the battery after its 18 hours of resurrection. Forgot today was a 'Community Engagement' day. The intention of this was to invite the locals to see the progress and answer their questions. A bit difficult when apparently hardly any of the large number of visitors were local. Didn't particularly want to stick around with all the people about so we took a day trip to Cardigan instead.
Whilst there i picked up six of those LED stick on lights, a huge adjustable spanner, 3 books for Frances (Classic Ghost Stories,Children's Encyclopedia and British Wildlife) and some food. Wanted Fish and Chips but they were shut :-(
With the battery back online we settled down to watch one of Frans new films 'The Ant Bully' Pretty entertaining, certainly passed the time.

M Jones

Electrical Resurrection - Friday 01/10/10

The battery is dead. The remedy, electrical resurrection. Drove it over to plug it in to the mains. What I didn't take into account, was how long it would take to charge a 110 amp hour battery. A 'fast' charge puts in 6 amps an hour, taking 18 hours. Preferable to a normal charge that would only put in 2 amps and therefore take 55 hours!A pain as it means not only relying solely on our two cheap hurricane lanterns, but also Fran will have to go without her usual 'movie night' tonight.
Rang the mechanic, Lawrence, to book the car in for a service. Due to the fact i haven't a clue when it was last done, everything needs doing. The minimum damage - £400! Have arranged to drop it to him Tuesday morning. The justification in my mind is a) this should lower the risk of breaking down in the middle of nowhere b) once done, most areas won't need replacing for two years or so, i hope.

Our celestial power station just ain't juicing the panels like it did...

M Jones

Mouldy Brew - Thursday 30/09/10

More plastering, but only two hours today.
Tasted my hawthorn brew today. Definitely alcoholic but rather watery. Noticed the other day the scum that has been sitting on the top had developed a few patches of green mould. Rather hastily grabbed the sieve and scooped that out. Spoke to fellow brewer Simon D about it and to my surprise he told me he'd brewed a damson recipe that had stipulated to wait until such a mould appeared. Don't think i'll leave it much longer before bottling. Am still undecided whether to treat it as a wine and rack it off into demijohns or, or add 80g/3oz of sugar for carbonation and bottle like a beer. Am leaning towards wine due to the high alcohol taste and wateriness.

My Eco-Dishwasher being harassed by the cat.

The bales go on Katy and Leanders Roof.

M Jones

Reggae Lime - Wednesday 29/09/10

Lime plaster. But first a punishing session with the gas powered nail gun. My task was to nail thin strips of wood to the panels creating a rough surface for the plaster to adhere to. Punishing, as i failed to notice the heat of the gun burnt the first layers of skin off my thumb!
Next job, plastering. The mix was something like two parts lime 1 part sand? some horse hair in there too... good messy fun to a background of reggae tunes.

Simon D mixing it up

A bag of horse hair

The panels to be plastered.

The 'factory' floor.

Katy and Leander hard at work roofing.

M Jones