August 2006

We're back after a six week tour in the US. We tried to get a new floor done before we left, but here's where we are instead:

It wasn't the lap of luxury, but we did have a little temporary kitchenette set up downstairs. The windows are still boarded, so it's gloomy down here, but it was more or less useable. The old concrete floor was constantly damp, though, and had to come out. So now we have a dirt floor. Digging down far enough to put in a damp-proof, insulated floor is a big job. We've done it in the kitchen, with help (thanks Neil!) The bottom of the white plaster in the center photo is the old floor level. The next room is a bit bigger...

The picture on the left, looking in through the front door, shows a bit of the exposed dirt floor of the living room (former kitchen), with the stairs propped up on rocks and cement blocks. To the right at the base of the stairs is currently a step down, through the doorway into the dug out kitchen (former living room). The stairs lead up to the somewhat more comfortable, though still not picturesque, single room in which we live.

Mike asks me to remind you that I'm posting details of the job for the benefit of most of our friends who have never done anything like this. Those of you who have will of course know all about the process and be bored now, so I'll throw in some more pictures of the flowers. To tell the truth, we're getting pretty bored with it too, but I'm looking forward to baking some of those apples in another few weeks... if we can get any kind of an oven rigged up again by then.

The thistle isn't part of the garden, but we have loads of them and they are beautiful.
October 2006
Off again for another UK tour, and when we returned it was straight back to digging. Fortunately, we'd found another used caravan to put onsite for cooking and simply having a comfortable place to sit while the house was torn up. Even more fortunate was that our friend Pete loaned us his jackhammer. That made the job go much faster!

With a little help from our friends... (thank you Pete, Billy, Johnny, Paul, and thanks to Ronan for coming in with his tractor when the driver delivering the cement mixer couldn't get through our gate!) ... the floor went in. And, even though we know full well that it'll have to get cleared out again next summer so we can finish the job, we re-instated the temporary kitchen, with the addition of a water filtration system. We also added roof vents, in hopes of avoiding another mouldy homecoming next spring. Yes, we did get to bake some of those apples before we left, and gave stacks of them away to friends and neighbors.

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