Welcome to my blog, where a 30-something couple from the UK renovate and extend an old cottage, build some outbuildings, raise some hens and grow firewood trees and vegetables on our Acre in Hampshire. It's a bit like a smallholding but without too many animals, so we call it a homestead - living within our means, relying on ourselves and having a wonderful life!


Friday, 12 September 2014

Global politics, wet concrete and a £300 egg....

It has been quite a fortnight - LOTS of time at work and a good deal of time spent recovering afterwards. The NATO conference in Newport was held last week - I had volunteered to work some months ago - and it was a fascinating, exhausting and very lucrative week, with five consecutive 16 hour days. Plenty of helicopter spotting, a fair amount of golf-cart driving, some Prime Minister meeting and (for once) fabulous food went some way to making for six hour's sleep for a week. Loads of great memories though (I cried with laughter every single day...) and some strong friendships forged and rekindled. Good times...

Here is Yours Truly in the dashing yellow jacket, trying to look serious and business-like as Mr Poroshenko announces the Ukraine ceasefire to the world's media...

The concrete slab was poured while I was away. To be honest the finish wasn't what I expected, which is a real disappointment after the rest of the job had gone so well. I was insistent that I wanted a power floated finish, but the contractor was confident that a speciality concrete would give an equal finish. The ground worker is coming back on Sunday to tidy up, and we will inevitably need to have a frank discussion about the standard. I suspect he will suggest a further latex screed - my preference is for a reduction in the bill to pay for a professional concrete polishing contractor. Let's see what we negotiate!

The hens are settled in - there was some trepidation when they moved in, as the Chick had never slept in a raised house or on a perch before. That hasn't stopped her though - tonight we discovered that she has climbed up the perch 'ladder' and is right up in the rafters of the hen house! Monty goes bananas around their enclosure - not helped by the Chick, who can fly out of the enclosure despite clipped wings. We had a near-miss the other evening, and I'm sure it won't be the last...

This is the Chick settling in - they love the log pile as all sorts of critters live under the wood...

And here is the result of all the hard work - a £300 hen's egg! Despite the fact that the coop was home-made, by the time we had bought fencing, feed, feed bins, feeders, drinkers and a gate, this is one very expensive egg! 

The chick is still to small to lay, so Mummy is maintaining production for now.

Some sad news to report - my faithful companion has passed away. I have used this Leatherman Wave almost daily for many years - it was a real shock when it finally gave way. Fortunately, Leathermans (leathermen?) come with a lifetime guarantee, so a replacement should be incoming next week.


  1. That barn looks a great size and a lot of concrete, pleased to hear you had a good time at the Nato summit, I had driven passed it the week end before on the M4 and security was high, but it seems to passed without incedent thank goodness.

  2. When we recently laid a concrete screed INSIDE our barn, the builder went over the surface with a 'helicopter' to smooth it. The poor man had to return during the early hours to catch the concrete when it was 'just right'. We now have a very smooth, almost polished, surface.

  3. Dawn - LOTS of Officers, but it did the trick.

    Cro - that machine sounds like the power float I wanted. Still, I've negotiated a big discount which will pay for a polisher - happy days!