Sunday 16 June 2013

New Doors

Saturday sees the arrival of this big yellow builder's van, a pile of tools and some stacks of wood. This all signifies that our friend, local-living but Dublin born and bred carpenter (who we will call for the purposes of this blog...) K-Dub has turned up to replace all 5 doors and door frames in the outbuildings, 2 on the Tígín, 2 on the yard side of the chicken and goose houses (formerly milking shed and calf house) and one on the back of the chicken house.

K-Dub is a brilliant Carpenter and builder whose normal work is houses and sites in Dublin but who has built for his own entertainment and practise, a working, street legal, ride-able wooden motor bike. He is geared up like our own 'Sparks' with plenty of toys including the familiar 'Paslode' nail gun, an elabourate portable bench-saw and a multi-function circular saw called a 'skill saw'. These doors are going to be SOLID, not like our own stable-door efforts made from tongue and groove which has proved to be the very devil for expanding and jamming in the damp and shrinking in the dry.

These doors are faced with one inch grooved decking timber and framed with 4 by 2 timbers for the horizontal 'ribs' and diagonal bracing. The old rotted, wood-worm riddled frames have all been ripped out and replaced with whatever size of wood worked, and here K-Dub had that same fun and games that we had on the build of the main house; the walls are hard blue sandstone randomly mixed in with not particularly hard concrete. Getting frame fixings to 'stick' was a case of trying to hit the sandstone rather than the mortar with the drill, but when you do hit stone your fixing is as solid as the proverbial rock. He also coped well with that old problem of none of these doors being exact rectangles and very few of the corners being right angles, lintels horizontal or walls plumb.

K-Dub did the whole job in a day from ripping out the old, through building the doors from planks on site, to fitting. He re-instated a horse shoe we had over the door to the chicken house, made the chickens a new pop-hole through the door and even knocked me up a fairly sophisticated window frame for the Tígín window (see 2nd picture for the tired old one which has now joined the scrap pile.)

I took this picture of the goslings at 3 weeks of age (Saturday) so that I could proudly show them off on Facebook and here but, sadly, Pride comes before a fall, and I have to report another tragedy. My 'grown up' dog, Deefer (the name on this blog), caught and killed one of them today, so fast that neither of us really know what happened. Back in Faversham in Kent we had both our dogs, Megan and Haggis completely trustworthy and able to stroll among the chickens without attacking or killing any and I was dreaming that I might get Deefer and eventually the pups, to this stage. No end of people have warned me that "you can never trust a terrier" and today I have to say, I believe them. I'd had Deefer off the lead SUPERVISED and able to walk among the horses, chickens, the young chicks and the gander.

Today I trusted her to come with me into the fields around for a walk and we returned to the garden without problem. She went off to gaze at rabbits while I headed for the poly tunnel to talk to Liz, who was weeding. There was suddenly goose mayhem outside, honking, splashing in the water, no end of noise. I ran out to see Deefer chasing through the goose family, shouted at her and stopped her, grabbed her and collared her to the house but I could see over my shoulder only 5 goslings on the big pond. Liz found the sad little corpse of a gosling on the grass. We can only assume that Deefer ran from her rabbits towards me, set all the geese off and then lost the run of herself so that instinct took over and she snapped at this poor bird as she went by. It's what terriers do. Once more I find me kicking myself.

Ah well, we are down to 5 goslings but this has spurred us on to completing a job we had been putting off. We love to see the geese and goslings on the big pond but that was never intended as a goose-pond. It is a wildlife pond. Liz had also been pushing for the geese to be contained rather than completely free range so that the damage they do to garden plants is reduced. So today the geese got herded into the orchard AND I dug the 5 foot diameter pond in the bottom corner of the orchard where there was already a handy, saucer-shaped dent and (also handily) we have on off-cut of the butyl rubber to fit. So the geese can graze the orchard where they have almost a 30 m square to graze (i.e. 900 square meters), they have the split-barrel pond, the enamel bath and now this new pond to play in, the rabbits and baby bunnies for company AND they are safe from escaping dogs. The dogs are all back on leads in the garden till geese are safely shut up at night.

Deefer was shouted at, at the time and then left to sweat it indoors for half an hour but has now been forgiven and is back among us. I have abandoned my dream that she will ever be as bird-friendly as Megan and Haggis, but we can cope with that. My final picture shows that we have, at last, some strawberries from the poly-tunnel plants, and very nice they were too, if in a limited way. These are 'maiden' plants which were very small at planting and , anyway, a bit held up by our not having completed the poly-tunnel till later than planned. The plants are now a decent size and we hope for good things from them in times to come.

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