Posts Tagged ‘sweet chestnut’

A grey water processing greenhouse for the main building

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Another of this last summer’s principal projects has been restarting work on the main building. After the salutary lesson of the badly-built balcony and trellis, this time there would be no short cuts. We started taking apart the roof of the balcony back in spring to reuse the roof tiles on the wee house roof extension, and as work continued there on the toilet and battery house, we frequently raided the balcony for pieces of chestnut timber for floor and roof joists and for pine planking. So when it was finally time to demolish the balcony at the end of May, there wasn’t a whole lot left to take down.

Demolishing the remainder of the balcony



Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Since the beginning of October, we – or, more precisely, Duncan with the occasional help of Wayne – have been working hard in the woods above the terraces. These steep slopes of predominantly Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) have been neglected for a number of years and were overcrowded with self-seeded saplings, wind-blown fallen trees and sparse but flammable understory of Carqueja (Genista tridentata), tree heath (Erica arborea) and bracken (Pteridium aquilinum).

Woodland management

The woods before clearing began



Saturday, December 31st, 2011

In a coincidental but fitting end to 2011, we’ve been finishing up several jobs that were almost but not quite complete. Both upper rooms in the larger building now have new floors and finally we have finished the roof!

Finished schist roof


Stairs finished

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Following on from the last post on the subject – and a bit overdue since they’ve been completed at least a couple of weeks now – we have finished the stairs on both sides of the building. This makes 3 sides of the building now protected from the weather by an extra overhang. All that remains now is to complete a lean-to roof along the back wall, dig a large drain into the bedrock behind it, and we should have a substantially watertight building … even without all the windows and doors.

Outside stairwell on schist dry stone building


Floorless 2

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

As well as work on the outside of the larger building, we’ve also stripped out the floor in the left half of the building in preparation for reflooring and started cleaning and preserving the chestnut timbers. We stripped the right side of the building last November and it still hasn’t got its new floor yet … ah well … the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men …

In doing so the building revealed more of its life story: something we hadn’t been aware of until letting all this extra light in.

Back wall of larger building



Saturday, August 13th, 2011

After a break of the best part of 3 months, we’ve been able to start work on building renovations again. The first priority is to complete the roof of the larger building. The roof over the main body of the building itself is done, but we need to extend it either end of the building to cover the external staircases, and to butt a lean-to roof up to it along the back of the building before it’s finally finished.

Extending the roof area right round the house in this way will, aside from providing covered walkways, give all round protection to the walls from most direct weather action: a major consideration with dry-stone walls, especially ones that are going to be clay-pointed.

The larger building


More on renovations

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Progress. The balcony, patio area and log store outside the main building are now substantially finished.

It has been quite a transformation.



Monday, April 18th, 2011

Both buildings on the quinta are being worked on at the moment. A while ago we fitted locally-made chestnut doors and windows to the smaller building, and today it got a new roof.

Smaller building on the quinta


Balcony and trellis

Monday, April 11th, 2011

We’ve started work on the larger building again. Or, to be more precise, a local team of joiners has started work. We’d planned on doing this with help from local friends, but reassessed when their own building project took off and we got to scratching our heads over where we were going to source sufficient sweet chestnut poles for the job. I’ve been buying some from the Presidente of the local junta (and the previous owner of this quinta) who has a pile of old, well-seasoned chestnut vigas that have been lying about for the best part of the last decade, but he doesn’t have enough, or enough of the right size, for what I had in mind. In the end, it was going to be quicker and far more economical to call in the team, since the team come complete with the wood.

Beginnings of a balcony or alpendre



Friday, November 5th, 2010

Building work on the quinta has been progressing really well lately, despite us beginning to have to watch the weather forecast to plan what we do from day to day. Rain is forecast for next week, so today we removed one of the floors to clean and preserve the chestnut beams so we’ll have something we can get on with under cover next week.

Floor removed from first floor of building

No floor!