Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Not your normal holiday purchases

Now we're home we've got the post holiday blues. That said we're starting to make plans to move the house along and get the garden looking better.

I took some photos of some of the bits and pieces we bought. As always happens we had our luggage searched by the TSA security guys. To be fair whilst everyone else's suitcase is packed full of new clothes, we come home with some odd stuff that must look curious on the x-ray machine.

As you know I'm keen on having some food, water and fuel stored and doing what we can to ensure if we need to we can keep to ourselves for a good period of time. So the first picture is what I was most excited to buy.

I have wanted a mini Sawyer filter for ages and look what I've got!! I also managed to get a lantern for about £6. It burns kerosene the same as our boiler, so is ideal for if we need emergency lighting as kerosene is the fuel we have most of. We need to have practice soon to get the hang of it.
Plus ball jars, a whole tray of a dozen for another £6 odd and what's all they all got home in one piece. A £1.50 toasting fork and some ziplock bags. As you can see the machete made its through UK customs.

Anyone who's seen my Christmas posts knows we buy a Christmas decoration for the tree when we go away and this year we've continued the tradition.

My other joy is home decor and we got a few vintage bits when we were in Mount Dora at the most amazing antique mall. I always like homewares and lucky for me it's pretty common stuff so you can pick it up at a really good price. We got an old mirror, a cornbread skillet, an old oil lamp (that had a bracket that just caught my eye) and a salesman's sample stove. God know's where that will find a home.

I've also been looking for a post box forever and look what I found, I love enamel things and it will hopefully do a better job of keeping my post dry than my current one.

Last but not least, we didn't buy a whole lot at Disney as it's pretty overpriced but I had a silhouette made of the kids. It captures a moment in time. The lady does it there and then with a small pair of scissors in about 2 minutes, it's certainly a talent.

Now we need to start planning what our goals for the year are and getting started. Here's hoping that the weather turns for the better so I can get out in the garden.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Florida bound

We've been planning our holidays for the last 18 months and the time has finally come, we're here.

James and I used to go to the good old US of A before kids and now we've brought them along to nurture the family obsession.

The Florida climate during the Spring is just perfect and I have loved being warm, all the time!

We've done Disney, which is predictably fun for the kids and a bit mental for us. The school holidays are not the best time to travel but with wee man being school age we're out of choices. Baby girls highlight was being chosen to be the real family at a Beauty and the Beast show. She was given a rose and we got to sit at the front, the staff all bowed to her. She was made up!

We have travelled to some of my favourite places like Mount Dora, that has the most amazing antique mall. I bought an awesome corn bread skillet and James got a salesman sample oven, I can't wait to find a place to display them at home. 

We also went to St. Augustine for the first time. The oldest European colonised city in the U.S. and it is just beautiful. James and I fell in love with the place! The streets are quaint and they have the most beautiful Victoriana style wooden houses. We visited the Castillo de San Marco. If you want a great day in the states the U.S. national parks service will give you one every time. We also visited a distillery and a winery, because it's a rule if you're near.

Today we went to Fort Christmas and saw the historical park with re-sited pioneer homes, I was in historical heaven. Some of the wooden cabins are bigger than our house and so gorgeous. We planned it to coincide with re-enactors doing a display and they gave a great show and talk on the Seminole wars. We got chatting to some of them and they were fascinating, I have always fancied doing re-enactments. 

We also visited the wetlands and saw some huge Gators. We had to go the long way round as one was blocking the path and I didn't fancy our odds.

On the way home I suggested we stop at a Pro Bass shop. It's an outdoorsy, camping, fishing, hunting shop and it was huge. We could have spent all day wondering round and got a few things to take home.

We've done the traditional shop to you drop. That being said we've done it in our own unique style and bought mason jars, sawyer water filters, an oil lamp that burns kerosene (same as our heating oil) and a machete, it's like a peppers paradise. Here's hoping we make the weight limit home and customs takes kindly to our purchases.

I will find more pics to show you soon, it's been amazing and well worth saving for.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Land clearances...

...and not in the traditional English being particularly unpleasant to the Scottish way. We have cleared most of our recent land purchase.

It has been snowing again here, before the last few months I couldn't tell you the last time we had more than a few inches of snow and we've had three big falls in as many months.

The one a few weeks ago, one of James' friends (a digger driver) rang and said his job had been cancelled in anticipation of snow. Would we like him to come and clear the land of brambles/brush and unwanted trees? We said yes as quick as you can imagine.

The difference is phenomenal, it's all opened up and we got some good wood to boot.

The plan is to plant a small orchard closest to the road to provide more fruit for us to eat and preserve and so reduce our reliance on the supermarket. I've got plans to have a few different varieties to include some apples that last longer in storage.

...and After

Not as pretty without snow
There are a few more trees to come out to open the area up further for our polytunnel to be relocated, we can't wait. Unlikely to be in time for this years season though unfortunately.

In other news James has been putting on skirting board upstairs. I've started planting some chilli seeds, although the house is so cold they're showing no signs of germinating yet.

I am also in the process of dropping one of my three jobs as it's all getting a bit much. I struggle to fit them all in and end up working evenings and weekends to make up the hours. I hope to get back to doing 4 days a week, which will be awesome!!

Last weekend James and I got up to find wee man had made breakfast for himself and his sister. He'd poured the cereal, milk, and a drink for them both. He had even cut the loaf of bread and put two slices into the toaster for James. They weren't even doorstops, they were perfectly done. It was so kindly meant I was very proud.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Stairwell progress

The last few weeks we've been beavering away at the space above the stairs. In essence we've moved down the hallway and come to the last big space that needed plastering upstairs.

I struggled to find photos for this bit as it's been a work in progress longer than I'd realised, I had to go as far as last Easter! 

Now this post is pretty picture heavy, so hang on...

When the stairs were first turned round, the walls were plastered to the left over the timber frame and covered in plywood on the walls to the right (bordering wee man's room). Unfortunately the plaster on the timber side was crumbling and on the other side there was just wallpaper on board, which was coming away from the wall.

We stripped the old walls back.

Put some insulation in.

Put up plasterboard.



 Lights up.

The last step is to clean up the beams that we've left exposed, but that will have to wait for a while, they'll get done with all the other beams that need doing.

James noticed some maker's marks on the timbers the other day. Where two timbers are jointed they've made matching marks on the wood, presumably as the frame was made off site so they knew which piece goes where, pretty cool hey!

Off the project side of things, I managed to get my portfolio submitted for the training pathway I've been on at work, so am hoping that is finally finished.

Now to get some plants started ready for the warmer weather.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Hallway progress

We had planned on finishing the upstairs of our house last year, but I think we were a little over optimistic.

We really would like to get the majority of the work finished before summer though so we've made a concerted effort to get going again.

It's only in the last few months that we've managed to get the stud walls up that changes the hallway from the front to the rear of the house and the new spare room was plastered. Now the small hall (I call it the landing) between the bedrooms and bathroom had all sorts of angles involved and so I think there was some putting it off. James has worked his socks off plastering them and putting up the doorway architrave. I've been busy painting and we're getting there.

Poor James was also made to visit IKEA for picture frames to decorate the landing and buy some paint, as I decided the usual colour of white wouldn't do.

We also finished off the step between the hallway and landing and it all looks much neater.

Last weekend James plastered the hallway wall, and filled the gaps left in the plaster where the walls had been moved around. Yesterday he did the first wash coat to try and keep the dust down.

Now we are raking out the pointing from the stone wall in the landing ready for re-pointing. Pointing is a good job for evenings after work as it doesn't wake the kids.

So we're moving on at pace.