Archive for August, 2010

Still more roof

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

This week the roof is really starting to look like a roof from the outside as well as the inside. Monday we laid the insulation (50mm cork) on top of the boards of maritime pine, followed by the waterproof breathable membrane. No sooner had that gone down than the weather decided to test it out. We haven’t had a drop of rain since we took the roof off back at the beginning of July (well, apart from a 15-minute shower of dirt) and it waited until the very moment we got the waterproofing on. Considerate weather! Damn! When you’ve lived in Scotland for more than half your life, that’s a real novelty.

Cork insulation and breathable membrane go on to the roof


Quinta wildlife #10

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

The boozing butterfly is a Two-tailed Pasha or Foxy Emperor (Charaxes jasius). Not seen in the UK as its range is too far south. Its feed plant is the Strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, which is part of the original flora of this region.

Two-tailed Pasha, Charaxes jasius, feeding on beer

Bread oven/rocket stove/masonry stove construction workshop?

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010


This post is a preliminary enquiry to see if there is likely to be enough local interest to make it worthwhile planning and running this construction as a series of workshops. The construction will be going ahead anyway. (If you’re interested, please leave a comment below rather than responding on eg. Facebook. Comments on this page won’t get lost or superceded by more recent news.)


Mud packs

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

The thing with dry stone schist buildings is that they’re dry stone. A good wind will whistle straight in through the walls, and the heat from a stove will whistle straight out. And there’s a fair variety of wildlife that comes and goes and sets up home in the gaps between the stones.

We have no particular objection to sharing the building with the local wildlife, but aren’t so keen on the winter winds and losing all our heat.

With the roof now planked and the wall heads being built up and capped ready for laying the insulation, we’re starting work on pointing the stonework in the interior of the building. It’s a messy job, so one preferably done before we get around to replacing the floors.


Not another night on the tiles …

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Today’s progress on the roof … highlighting the asymmetry of the building. I’m very glad now I decided to stay with the original schist roof covering. Not only for the beauty of the natural stone, but because regular tiles would be a nightmare to lay and would end up looking pretty silly.

Roof progress to date

Entire roof now planked


Yet more roof

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Today’s progress …

Roof progress - laying planks

Wayne laying planks, Chris behind him


Now harvesting …

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

… courgettes, onions, garlic, celery, tomatoes, peppers, rainbow chard, cabbage, spinach, lettuce (4 varieties), Japanese mustard greens, butternut squash, damsons, basil, marjoram and the last of the green beans, strawberries and raspberries.

Harvest from the quinta

This morning’s haul

Coming soon: aubergines, watermelon, beetroot, carrots, leeks, chillis, apples, peaches, pears, grapes, quinces and giant mystery squash.

Coming later: olives, chestnuts, almonds, persimmons and broccoli.

More roof

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Roof is really coming on now.

Roof progress on the main building


We can has roof

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Big progress on a Big Thing (the roof) over the last couple of days.

The cleaned, preserved and oiled chestnut rafters, beams and wall plates are now all leveled and in place and work has begun on fixing the wooden planking to them. These photos are from this morning. By the end of the day, the planking had been completed up as far as the middle beam.

Roof progress

Michael, Wayne and Chris lay the first planks


Waste not, want not

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Sometimes, when the number of Big Things needing done threatens to become overwhelming, it’s occasionally worthwhile to do a small thing, just for that sense of achievement, satisfaction and progress it can give. Well that’s my excuse at least.

Battery house door faced with chestnut

Small thing in the foreground. Big Thing in the background