Today was just magical outdoors. It was a cold and frosty start to the day with strong sunshine at first which quickly gave way to freezing fog. I had planned a walk today however the fog put me off a bit and I took the easy option of staying in by the stove – after all it had been a very busy week and I was happy to do very little.
In the early afternoon I decided to take a trip into town to get some groceries and get some more peat briquettes for the stove – the weather forecast is for more cold weather. I was glad to be out and about and was enjoying the fresh air with the window open, hat and gloves on.
Everything looked very pretty as I drove downhill and I was surprised to find that the hedges and fields were more heavily frosted the further downhill I went. It was so beautiful that I had to often stop the van to admire the view – unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me so you will have to take my word for it!
Every now and then I would come around a corner and just gasp at the beauty of the frost rimmed trees standing so white against the backdrop of pale green fields or hedges of startling white with the strong green of ivy spotted throughout.
I really wished that I had my camera with me so that I could share the images. The advantage of not having the camera is that I will remember these sights better myself. I know this from previous occasions on which I wished I had a camera, looking at the scene as though planning a shot, wondering about the best angle, breathing it in. Somehow I find that I can be more present without the camera and I do remember the scene better.
The snow is softly falling now and tomorrow is another day filled with beauty to be discovered just around the corner…
We had good weather to work on our house building project today after I got back from getting some building supplies.
The first floor joists were put in this afternoon and it is really satisfying to see them sitting on the beams that span the “stilt” style foundations. We have a very sloping site and so the southern face of the house will be close to six foot off the ground on sturdy stilts which are on concrete pads. The concrete pads are set about three foot into the very solid clay subsoil.
We really would have liked to avoid using concrete however we really could not afford the alternative of cut stone and there is no stone naturally occurring on our site. There are some compromises which we find we are making, mainly due to budget constraints – our budget actually being almost non-existent!
Our floor design will be a little unconventional – quelle surprise! We are fixing galvanised chicken wire between the tops of the sturdy beams and on top of this we will spread a breathable fabric which will in turn be fastened to the tops of the beams. The floor joists will then sit on top of this fabric, nailed to the top of the beams and the spaces created will in time be filled with insulation and the floor boards screwed down to the joists.
We will not be adding the insulation just yet for two very good reasons – firstly we need to get the roof on in order to keep the insulation dry and secondly at the moment we do not know what sort of insulation we will use.
The second consideration will depend on budget – if we win the national lottery – highly unlikely but not impossible – if only we remembered to buy tickets!! I digress – if our budget changes we would love to use sheep’s wool or something similar.
What is more likely is that we will source some local timber and use our free electricity and an electric planer to create wood chips which we could mix with lime and maybe some hemp hurds and a little water to create a sort of woodchip insulation.
Any suggestions about alternative, easily sourced, environmental insulation will be most welcome 🙂
I have put up some mileage over the last ten days and seen blackthorns in all their beauty. Blackthorns and whitethorns, known as hawthorns in other countries, abound in our hedges and brighten up this time of year so much.
The blackthorn flowers before it comes into leaf and the whitethorn comes into leaf before it flowers, so the whitethorn flowers later in the spring. Every year I look forward to seeing the thorny dark hedge bushes of the blackthorn brighten with a foamy creamy blush.
A few weeks ago I saw them flower in the west of Ireland and in Wicklow and slowly the foamy tide has moved northwards. Last week the thorn bushes were flowering at the bottom of the hill and and over the last few days the flowers have opened up along the hill road, still they haven’t reached our track yet.
It’s lovely to drive along the road into town every few days and see the difference that those few days have made to the colour in the hedges. The whitethorns have been coming into leaf as the blackthorn has come into flower, up on our hilltop the whitethorn leaves have opened from gentle green buds to beautiful fresh green leaves. We are still waiting for the balckthorns to flower up here and I think that it won’t be long now.
Meanwhile we have the birdsong and the green opening buds of the whitethorns to distract while we wait…
A beautiful morning was followed by a beautiful night. I don’t know what the night sky is like where you are dear reader, here in Leitrim it is only gorgeous right now. It’s almost nine o’clock and I have been popping out to keep an eye on the sky for the last hour or so.
Unfortunately I cannot provide a good photo of the night sky that would give any indication of the beauty I can see so words will have to do.
Yesterday’s east wind has wheeled around to the north and as I stand outside it gusts from strong breeze to good wind, it has that north wind bite to it and I stand in a sheltered spot with my back to the hills to the north of me. The trees around me are singing in the winds (aren’t I being lyrical tonight?).
Those hills behind me are blanketed in conifer forest and as the wind moves across the forests in the distance it sounds very much like waves washing up on a gravel beach.
The sky was very clear earlier and now is becoming a little cloudy, the half moon hangs above my home and it is bright enough to lighten the clouds, which are slowly moving in from the north and east.
The stars are crystal clear, sparkling bright and seem really close for some reason. It’s very cold outside and it’s well worthwhile wrapping up warm so as to be comfortable and to have a good look at the sky, enjoying it’s beauty…