Saturday, 28 June 2008

Wood sheds of Europe.

This one courtesy of Niel from Wales. Takes no.1 spot. Be a shame to burn it really, its a work of art. And all done with a wee bow saw and a croquet mallet. Amazing!!

Not the best pic as I could'nt be bothered walking around for a close up. Different method again, the stacker nails four uprights to the base of a pallet and builds them up like that.
Fine if you have access to a forklift or pallet truck.

The one above was at the rear of a hotel in Austria, I'm such a geek you know. While everyone was admiring the Alps I was drooling over this woodstore. I'm going to put myself in a home for woodstore geeks.

This one was in a wee village near Lake Garda

This is mine, there are much more in since this pic was taken. Must tidy up the yard this weekend. I'm not back at work until Tuesday so hope to get a few projects under way this weekend, including the chicken run.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

My veggie plot.

Its all looking pretty good at the moment. There has been plenty of rain and sunshine to get these plants on the move. At front are the broad beans, cauli's, cabbage, next row 3 different types of carrot, parsnips and Brussel Sprouts. Next row leeks, more carrots, Swedes, peas and runnur beans.

Something strange has happened to my garlic. I pulled the first one last night and it was more like a leek. It has'nt bulbed but still quite nice for cooking with, good flavour. I think I might call it garleek. The shallots have all bolted but I nipped the flowers off every day so fingers crossed.

Lots of little tomatoes growing in the glasshouse along with cucumber, chilli and peppers.

This was purchased as a cucumber plant but I think there may have been a mix up at the garden centre because these are courgettes or zuccini and one of them is turning into a bloody great marrow. Makes nice soup........

These are red pepper plants in the corner, and should produce some fruit in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Another big fish.

This is my grandson Josh with a fish of about 6lb. I've already carefully removed the hook and encouraging him to hold it for a pic. Not the happiest looking fellow but he'll get used to it.

I know, I know, I look terrible. I'd had a few beers, hot, hot chilli chicken and been eaten alive by MIDGES, thats the Scottish equivelant of mosquito's. It was half past ten, pissing with rain and blowing an absolute hooligan of a gale. I was just about to reel in my baits for the night when this lovely lady picked up a small dead trout with my debarbed hooks concealed on its flank

Playing a big pike in the dark is awesome because you dont know where it is. It could be fifty yards away or five, very nerve racking. After several attempts by my grandson Josh, he finally got the net under her and by torchlight, I carefully removed the hooks. She weighed in at 17lb 12 oz. Josh needs some lessons in photography but fortunately my mate Barry took some pics as well. He's going to email them when he has time. He also took some pics of Loch Oich and the surrounding scenery so I'll post them later.

Loch Oich with Chrissie 11 and Barry's rods, barbecue, firewood etc.
Please note that however untidy we are at camp, when we leave, we only leave flattened grass. The only thing we take away is pictures, memories, and our rubbish.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Highland Pike.

Took this pic of the veggy plot this morning. Looking good.

This weekend I'm meeting up with my old mate Barry and his son and we're off to Loch Oich for an overnighter. Hope to catch something this time as the last two sessions up there have been hangovers and not much more.

Today, (Friday) I'm splitting this wee pile of beech logs, about 300kg or 1/3 of a ton. Very green, with lots of gnarly bits inside so it will take a while.

The greenhouse this morning. Tomatoes are now over 5 ft tall and growing noticably by the day. Once I start to see small fruits I will have to start cutting back some of the branches. This allows more goodness to go to the fruit. There are now some buds on the peppers and chilli's, and lots of baby cucumbers.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Recent strong northerly winds brought down this small ash just a few hundred yards from the cottage, so I loaded up the Husqy's, put on my chaps, and set to work. I managed to get aprox 0.6 tonnes, thats 2 traler loads.

Since this pic was taken I have completed the front face to the roof. Two more and I can relax and spend more time in the veg plot and hopefully, FISHING.

The broad bean plants are in flower so should produce some in the next few weeks.

Once the carrots start showing I'll start thinning them.
Baby carrots with butter, salt and pepper, almost as good as sex, but not quite.
The peas are starting to flower also so should have in a few weeks.
Speaking of peas, the 45 acre field at front of the cottage has been planted out with peas. They are'nt the sweet garden variety like mine but make excellent pea and ham soup.
I need some rain.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Big Fish

Caught and carefully returned this evening a fine female pike of just over 18lbs. Post spawn this young lady would have gone over 20 but a wee bit lean at this time of year.
Well chuffed though.

Saturday, 7 June 2008


In an earlier post I had sliced up a couple of rather large branches from an old beech tree. These were left stacked in the forest to start the drying process. Last weekend , with some help from Roy, I extracted most of it and brought it home for splitting. The equipment in the above pic is what I use for this purpose. A splitting hammer, sledge hammer and a four way splitting grenade. Also in the background a pair of splitting axes.

Find the centre of the slice and hammer it in. Most times it will split the slice in half but sometimes three or four can be achieved. Once the slice has been broken down into more manageable sections I use the splitting hammer to break it into aprox 4"-5" or 100mm-125mm logs. The splitting hammer is a great tool for this job because it never gets stuck due to the wide blade. It either splits the wood or bounces off it.

We use aprox 2 1/2 cords of wood most winters. A cord is a stack of closely packed logs measuring 4' x 4' x 8' or 1200mm x 1200mm x 2400mm aprox.
It is my intention to fill the woodstore to full capacity of 4 cords this year.
I start off with 2 large pallets set slightly high at the front, then carefully build the logs like bricks, always sloping slightly backwards. This reduces the risk of an avalanche. Once the store is full I will nail a couple of boards across the front for extra security.

At the front of the store you can see some sawn softwood logs. This is wood that I salvage from the Halliburton facility where I work as a handyman. One of my duties is the management of pallets and crates. These are repaired or re-used where possible, but those that are'nt, I dismantle and recycle. I have permission from the management to take home whatever I need so I take full advantage of this. The rest goes to a chipboard/MDF manufacturer. I also manage the recycling of all paper/cardboard/plastic and glass etc.

I'm going fishing this evening with a mate. I'll report back.

Friday, 6 June 2008

What a difference a couple of weeks makes, particularly when you have lots of hot days interspersed with a few showers of rain.
Sweet yellow toms on the left, red cherry toms on the right. A good few dozen flowers hiding in there so should have a good crop this year.
There are four cucumbers on this plant at the moment. They grow aprox one inch a day. Home grown are much sweeter than shop bought.
This is the biggest success though, I never expected garlic to grow this well in Scotlands climate. Biggest ones are about 18' 450mm high and growing all the time.
Had a major disaster with the chilli's. I planted them along with the toms in a mixture of compost and cowshit. I think the cowshit may have been too strong for them and most never got past the 2 leaf stage. However I managed to rescue a few and put them into dung free compost and they are thriving.
I have put a rather unusual tropical plant in the greenhouse this year. Its a bug eating Mimosa. This plant, I hope, will eat any green/black/whitefly and any other plant eating beasties.