The end is nigh – well, the end of below ground works anyway… April & May 2014

After the busy Easter period, we have made a huge amount of progress, again aided by some regular, and some new helpers.

At the end of April, Chris, Thom, Claire and I set about sifting a shifting the remaining brick rubble from its current resting place in what we hope will be our garden, to the infill area, one day to become our drive.

Using the transport box on the back of the tractor, we moved plenty of not quite usable bricks and a lot more completely unusable brick and mortar rubble.



This process also unearthed another 50 or so good bricks.


Over the following few weekends and a bank holiday, John, Viv, Guy, Jim, Archie, Tony and Gareth all pitched in as we scraped, levelled, packed, stacked and filled our way through most of the remaining foundations.  As I write this, we have completed all but two walls worth of foundation, including the foundations under the stairs.

IMG_1128                           DSC_7350


Katie, back into the fray, whilst Rose spent some quality time looking after Grandma!


Archie rehearsing his role as Kevin the teenager


The trench for the stair footings ready for its’ tyres



IMG_1164 The stair footings in



John and Katie levelling the floor of the final trench


Tony (aka Grandpa) taking instruction from our younger “foreperson”, during a break from shovelling

Archie, too tired to barrow gravel, also found time to clean another 30 or so bricks!


Archie’s brick tower

A few weeks ago, during a break in the building, Chris and I visited a couple of local nature reserves to collect some of the hazel and ash stakes that will eventually hold the straw bales together.  This proved to be a very pleasant experience, as the stakes (a gift from the local wildlife trust, and a by-product of their coppicing habitat management in the two ancient woodland reserves) were located in the middle of the woods, amongst a fine show of bluebells.


Bluebells, greater stitchwort and hazel coppices


…..and Dog’s mercury


Some of the ash stakes, showing their rather scenic origins


Me carrying some ash stakes back to the landrover

 Chris cut a fine, medieval, Bruegel-esque figure, carrying his ‘faggots’ through the woods back to the almost medieval landrover!


Medieval peasant encountered in the woods…..

So, nearing the end of May, we have completed all the below ground work on all but two walls’ footings, and are thinking about the work we need to do to prepare the footings to take the walls, both brick and straw.  Over the coming few weekends, we’ll again be visited by some of our wonderful helpers (young and not so young, two and four legged) to complete the foundations.  More soon…..

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About scampifield

I'm a conservation scientist, working in UK, European and African habitat conservation with NGOs and academic institutions. I am interested in the impacts of land use on conservation and ecosystem services. My wife and I are building a new house, paying particular attention to the resources used in both its construction and daily running. Follow our progress on this blog as we attempt to marry up resource protection, conservation and sound construction.....

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