Project Dingle

Restoring an old cottage...

Month: May 2017

Harvest at The Dingle

Vegetables! Every day this week, Vicky has had a giant plate of rocket, chard, spinach, and lettuce, and two hard-boiled eggses — all from the bountiful Dingle.

Here’s what we’ve been growing:

Spinach & rainbow chard

Spinach & rainbow chard

Lettuce, strawberries, wild rocket, and raspberries

Lettuce, strawberries, wild rocket, and raspberries

Potatoes

Potatoes

And in the background behind the potatoes is asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, beetroot, carrots, and cabbages.

Oh, and we took a bloody great dead ivy-choked tree out and created space and light. From this:

Big old stump

Big old stump

To this:

Cleared fence

Big space

That big space there is where the beautiful new mower shed, chicken house, and chicken run are going to go. Handbuilt by us.

Skellington Floors

It’s been a while, but things are moving on. Fish has created a skeleton floor with the new oak beams — which are gorgeous — and new oak joists.

We were going to go for cheaper softwood joists and cover them, but Fish managed to find some green oak that was pretty much the same price, so we’re dead chuffed. They look great.

Oak beams and joists and a temporary platform

New oak beams and joists in the skeleton floor

In the process, Fish created Mount Dustmore:

A pile of sawdust fenced in with an offcut

Mount Dustmore

There’s space for a final joist once the holes in the wall are fixed:

Gap between joist and wall

Room for a little one

So that’s where we are for now. We’ve still not decided on a final floor plan — we need the architect for that — but the windows are hopefully going into the front of the cottage before the end of May. I’ve got some paint test pots from Little Greene, so I’m pretty impatient…

A Little Dingle Tragedy

It’s been a sad week at Casa Dingle: we lost Nanny Egg and Amelia Eggheart to a fox.

In the middle of the afternoon.

We didn’t even realise until the next day when Vicky found two sad little piles of feathers up on the footpath in the woodland. We were actually pretty upset — they have such distinctive personalities and we miss them.

And poor Granny Featherwax was all alone, and that’s unacceptable.

So Vicky got straight onto the British Hen Welfare Trust and arranged to adopt two ex-battery hens. It is an eggcellent charity, so please consider it next time you find money burning a hole in your pocket. (Now we have more eggs, we’re leaving them out with an honesty box, with all proceeds going to the BHWT.)

Anyway — meet Nugget and Shirley Bassey:

Two ex-battery chickens

Shirley Bassey & Nugget

Shirley is big and strident, and fought Granny Featherwax for top place in the pecking order (Granny won). Nugget, on the other hand, is half-bald from the waist down, quite small, and completely adorable. She looks a bit like a nugget, hence the name.

And we also picked up two more hens from Wynne’s of Dinmore, where we got our original three. Meet Betty and Mrs Pickles:

White chicken and grey chicken

Mrs Pickles & Betty

Mrs Pickles is small and white and is a Cheshire Blue — she lays beautiful blue eggs. And Betty is a Bluebell, and she lays pretty grown eggs.

They’re all settled in and completely awesome. Granny is getting over her bad temper at the new arrivals…

UPDATE

More drama at Casa Dingle: Nugget got ill. She was shivery and fluffed up and sad, so Vicky took her to the vet. She had egg peritonitis, which can be really serious. She may not be long for this world, but she had a week of antibiotics and seems much, much better…

We’re just hoping for the best really. It doesn’t seem fair — she’s spent her whole life in misery, with no sunlight or grass, and we wanted her to have years of freedom. Fingers crossed — at the moment she’s doing great. All her feathers are growing back — even after two weeks she looks better. She’s putting on weight, and is a bundle of fun. She’s interested in everything, is super friendly, and is just awesome.

Nugget the chicken

Nugget: with more feathers than she had when she arrived

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