One of the great things about our building works is that they take place indoors! So even when it is blowing a gale outdoors and snowing/hailing/sleeting, as long as you can get from the house to the barn, you’re winning.
It’s all going on somewhere in there.
We are more fortunate with the current weather than many other parts of the UK - watching Countryfile and even the recent documentary ‘The Year that Britain Flooded’ serves to remind us that you don’t have to live on an island to be at the mercy of the weather. Everywhere you go, there it is. We’ve had a fair amount of storm damage from the high winds so we’re busy sorting out insurance claims and all of that stuff. If you look above the bonnet of the jeep you will see one of the new ‘skylights’ on our tallest barn roof.
To all those farmers with fields underwater and a bleak start to the new year, hang in there, we need you.
Our experimental crop of spelt/rye/black oats/vetch is looking a bit worse for wear at the mo - I would post a pic, but it would be one of mud. Hopefully as soon as the sun comes out, so will the green shootlings.
But here’s a pic that’s not of mud - the view from the front of the house, snow on the castle and the hills, quiet and quite lovely.
And now some more images of the blur of activity that is happening within our beautiful old stone buildings. As you know we are effectively building a shell within the old buildings to house our milking parlour and creamery - this was the best way to meet modern environmental standards for making cheese. And it is the most cost-effective way to ensure that we can use old spaces on the farm that might not have been used for a while, without having to make too many changes. Even though we are building new walls, we are very aware of the old building that surrounds us. The new block walls are attached to the old stone walls with wall ties which are basically small steel wires. On the outside of the buildings we are going to re-instate the traditional lime render. This will waterproof the walls while still allowing them to breathe; we can’t wait to see it but we’ve got to have the right weather first.
Insert Milking Parlour here…
We’re only going to be milking two cows at a time but even so it’s starting to look a little too cosy. We’ve bought a two stall abreast parlour from Larchfield in Teeside and somehow J needs to find the time to drive down there and extract it. Luckily its just around the corner from where we have to pick up our cheese vat. Barry from Loch Arthur is kindly letting us use his old vat which is down at Botton Village.
Meet the Bulk Tank Room-to-be
Next door is the Hygiene Control Room, but you can call her Gene…
A bit messy now for sure, but this is our future Action Station, the site where we will make cheese. You have to use your imagination, but that’s what it’s for.
All the walls and ceilings will be clad with hygienic cladding and the floors with Altro safety flooring. The hole in the wall is for a set of uPVC patio doors which we have subsequently decided on installing. The great thing about these doors is that they will enable visitors to view the cheese making from the u-shaped steading facing the castle. We would like to make this weather protected area into a garden in the future, so watch this space (ha, ha).
The walls ARE closing in…
And that’s it for now. Thanks for looking and stay tuned. Cows are getting bigger, days are getting longer, plenty more news in the offing.
And good luck to everyone in the middle of calving and lambing now, hope it all goes well for you.