roundabout phase 1 complete

By looking at the photo, you would have no idea how much time and effort has gone into getting the Area 5 roundabout to this stage. After a HUGE amount of back-breaking, shoulder crunching clearance work, thanks to Julie, Wayne, Sam and others, I have now formed an almost level central bed for the roundabout to encompass. I’m looking forward to planting it up now, complimenting the existing willow trees.

Area 5 roundabout phase 1 complete

Area 5 roundabout phase 1 complete

The actual roundabout road, will be (as usual) underlaid with a reasonable depth of hardcore, as on digging down, we have found a considerable layer of light brown clay, and beneath this a very dark and somewhat pungent layer of sticky, silty soil. There was also a small band of large grade gravel running across what once was a water cress bed.

The aim of the roundabout is to minimise the infrastructure impact on this area, whilst maximising the space available for landscaping and caravan parking. Even though a large proportion of this area has a concrete slab over it, as it was where the main work buildings were sited, grading up to the concrete with grass should look just fine.

Roller shutter automation

Yesterday, a local firm came over to Cresslands holding in their sizeable van an arm saving device! For over a year now, every time I needed to gain access to the storage unit for anything larger than will fit through an average sized door, I had to chain lift the roller shutter door manually. Being over 6m wide and made of metal, it’s HEAVY! – But now – ta-da we have a brand new motorised unit that does the hard work for me. Oh the joy of just pushing a button.

The glorious control box

The glorious control box

new brood box

After a search on YouTube I learnt how to assemble the flat-pack brood box I ordered. Many gimp pins later it’s complete and ready to go. I need to order some spacers to keep the frames an even distance from each other and a smoker, then just a bit of courage and a bee keepers suit to put it on the bee hive. In order to get the bees to rise up into the new brood box, I purchased a ‘feeder’ unit which sits over one of the crown board holes and draws them up with the temptation of a sticky syrup. Wish me luck!

The new bee hive brood box ready to go (almost)

The new bee hive brood box ready to go (almost)

It’s a sign!

Today another monumental moment in the Cresslands development was reached – we have signage! The long deliberated over and carefully planned main sign for the top of the storage unit was delivered and expertly installed. It fits just right and proportionally spot on in my opinion. Very exciting, as it brings the whole project even … View this gallery

Hedge, bed and roadway

Had a really productive day today. Sam came over to help out and we first set to finishing one side of the front hawthorn hedge up to the main entrance. We have taken it back quite a lot from the inside to provide a neat edge and to give us a little more room. Very pleased with the result, even if my highly critical eye does tell that it rises, ever-so slightly, towards the entrance. Once it grows we can hedge trim it all down to level.

Viewing the hedge from the other side of the main road.

Viewing the hedge from the other side of the main road.

Showing left hand side hedge and bed

Showing left hand side hedge and bed

Whilst Sam set to burning all the hedge trimmings, I collected around 10 bucket loads of soil in the JCB. I brought it over to the left hand bed and continued to build it along the inside hedge, then marked out how far it will extend up to curbs.

Left hand entrance bed, shaping up nicely.

Left hand entrance bed, shaping up nicely.

Left to my own devices, I jumped back into the JCB and went over to the riverside drive, knowing our friendly lorry driver Jim had brought us some hardcore to lay down. He reverses his lorry all the way round the new roadway up to the twin pines and dumps his load. Thanks Jim!! As I was setting the JCB up to use the rear axle, I glanced over and spotted a kingfisher zooming along the river like a metallic blue bullet, beautiful birds and I’m sure it had food in its mouth. Continue Reading

Food for bees

I’ve been doing a bit of research today following on from FERA’s Bee inspector Fred visiting the hive we found on the Cresslands site. He recommended the following as great sources of pollen and nectar for the bees:

  1. Phacelia
  2. Borage
  3. Snowberry
  4. Field Beans
  5. Hazel
  6. Willow
Phacelia = Bee food!

Phacelia = Bee food!

SO, I’ve gone and ordered 2 packs of seeds, hoping it’s not too late to sew them, to create a blanket of Phacelia along the riverside drive close to the hive. Need to remove a few stray bramble clumps but after a rake over let the scattering begin.

Interesting source of other plants to help the bee colony –

We have power!!!

A monumental day today in the Cresslands development – We have POWER!!!

We’ve been waiting for this with eager anticipation for around 6 months now. We’ve overcome lots of hurdles and numerous plan changes along the way, to actually get electricity onto the site again! Whoop! 🙂

It all looks rather impressive and if I’m honest totally over my head – all I know is I now have a 13 amp socket I can plug stuff into. Happy Days.

Electricity at last!!!

Electricity at last!!

Mad Mule!

Much progress was made on the front hedge this afternoon. Sam was in the JCB bucket hitched up to the level of where we are taking the hawthorn down to, hacking and slashing at it like a mad mule! (sorry – I mean carefully cutting and snipping with all health and safety precautions in place!) – seriously though, we’ve got a system going now and looking good it is! Getting the height level is the hard part, but with a few trips to the other side of the road to check I reckon it’s not far out.

Hedge Mule 01

Yes, that’s Sam in a JCB bucket 10 ft off the ground using a chainsaw!

Hedge Mule 02

Riverside Drive – First cut

After a very early start and giving the front fence a second coat, I finally got round to cutting out the riverside drive part of the loop roadway today.

Despite the strong winds and the odd shower this afternoon, I think it’s a good start. I need to do a second cut on the right as you see it; to widen it just a little, but pretty happy with the shape.

Looking forward now to landscaping this area of the site as the ideas are bubbling away – lots of soil to play with!! 🙂

Riverside Drive - First cut

Riverside Drive – First cut

Hawthorn hedge trim

Sam and I had our second attempt at getting the front hedge cut down to a reasonable height. This will do a few things in the long run… help to dampen noise from the road; thicken the hedge lower down to make the site more sheltered and secluded; make the signage on the main shed building easily viewable from the road and is also stipulated in the planning conditions.

Our first go was any but easy and we both ended up with cuts and scratches all over our arms. This time, we got the trusty JCB out and used the front bucket to ease us up to the right height so we can gradually take the hedge down to the level required.

Hawthorn Hedge frontage gets a decent trim

Hawthorn Hedge frontage gets a decent trim