Monthly Archives: July 2014

Tranquility base

Yesterday I spent far too long in the searing Cumbrian heat paving a step up to the rear door of the “Man shed”. Hard to believe it could have taken so long. The bricks were reclaimed and had originally been used to brick up the now reopened back door. They are very old and handmade, full of pebbles and brittle,which made cutting them rather difficult.

The Buzz.  “One small step for a man. A giant leap for Man shed kind”

One small step

One small step

Herringbone

Herringbone

Reclaimed bricks

Reclaimed bricks

Brick detail

Brick detail

Brick detail

Brick detail

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The black square (Tribute)

With Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square being exhibited at the Tate I thought it would be fitting to post a couple of images of my “Tribute”


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The work is intended to expand on the original icon format with this being a travelling version.  It is painted on oak panels covered in raw silk and plaster and bound in black leather. The paint is oil and the silver is metal foil.


The Black Square

The Black Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a travel icon it is definitely not a hand luggage item as it is 12.5 inches square 1.5 inches thick and weighs in at roughly 8lbs.

In the words of Toyah…’it’s a mystery’

Mystery seed

Mystery seed

The Armathwaite show is in September and we have entered the mystery seed category. last years effort turned out to be a pak choi which bolted and was a disaster. I  entered it anyway and was up against Chris, who had the previous year entered a lettuce, which was the only one entered and still came second ! Neither of our pak choi entries were placed.

So this year In May we paid our pound Stirling and got 2 ovate cream coloured tiny seeds and the instruction to ‘plant immediately and treat as tomatoes’. I duly planted them and put them in the summer house. 2 months on this is the result and they remain a mystery….any suggestions gratefully received.

 

 

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We had been looking to move to  Armathwaite for a full twelve months before the property we now occupy came onto the market. The owner of the neighbouring outbuilding saw it as an ideal opportunity to part company with a building that had been used as a canoe store for an outward bound activity centre that was no longer operating.

The local estate agent rather fancifully marketed it as “the old schoolroom”. Our solicitor took to referring to it as the “bunker”. When the deeds dropped through the letter box, it was documented as  a “bus shelter”. Despite many conversations with locals whilst working on various aspects of refurbishment the building’s historic uses are largely  unknown; some say joinery workshop, others blacksmiths, even a suggestion that it may have been a reading room, which may have led to it being elevated to the status of “old schoolroom” . However it has definitely been used in more recent years a store for paper recycling, a store for canoes as already mentioned and yep- a “bus shelter”. Our plan is to refurbish it as a deluxe “Man shed” and for it to become a hive of activity for personal arts and craft activities including stained glass and painting projects.

Newly constructed bench

Newly constructed bench

Cupboard construction

Cupboard construction

If all goes according to plan, one of the first  “Buzzshelter” projects will be a new stained glass panel for the church across the road.

Phil

Introducing Gilbert and George

Named after eccentric duo performance artists, these two are Lavender Pekin bantams. Previously we’d had hens but we sent them for adoption as they were causing too much damage and had learned the art of escapology.

Gilbert and George and Eglu

Gilbert and George and Eglu

They arrived just in time for the Armathwaite open gardens event and were a hit with the visitors. They are very friendly and don’t mind being picked up. We were told that they don’t dig, don’t eat the plants and are poor fliers. Perhaps these two just like to prove them all wrong; they are excellent tunnellers and we caught George perching on the netting of the enclosure last evening !

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First hive inspection

Introducing our bee mentor Chris Barnes

Chris lighting the smoker

Chris lighting the smoker

Having been stung on the eyelid on day two of our bee keeping experience we had been a little nervous of opening the hive. We did have a quick look in on Thursday and after a few terrifying minutes of blowing smoke and shuffling frames we were more than happy to close the hive and  retire to the summerhouse for what felt like a well deserved beer.

Chris arrived at 4.30 pm today and was keen to see how his little babies were getting on.

Our hive has a 14×12 brood box and the nucleus was on standard frames. Few bee keepers seem to have had experience of this transition. The photos below show the result.

Off with the queen excluder

Off with the queen excluder

Newly drawn frame

Newly drawn 14×12 frame

Wild comb on bottom bar of standard brood frame

Wild drone comb on bottom bar of standard brood frame

Bees and brood

Bees and brood

Jane and Chris. Job done

Jane and Chris. A job well done

Hope to see you all after the next inspection. Phil

don’t buzz off